Archive of ‘Silly Stories’ category
I don’t have that many friends. No, it’s true. I don’t. But I am okay with this. I am not the kind of person who likes to be surrounded by circles of people. I would rather have one solid friend I can speak to every day, than one hundred people I hear from only once in a while.
As a private person, it isn’t an easy thing for me to relax around others. It takes a great deal of time before I am at ease enough with someone to call him or her a friend. It is a big investment. I don’t have casual relationships. There is quite a gap between friendship and acquaintanceship. Work associates, classmates, neighbours, people I talk to at the bus stop, these all fall into the latter category. They come and go out of my life and don’t leave any scars. Friendship, for me, is much deeper. It involves loyalty and shared confidences, emotional connection and mutual concern. Whether with a winky face or an outright jibe, You know I consider you a friend when I am comfortable enough to make fun of you.
I tease because I love.
Which is why, the few friends I am so lucky to have, are people I have known for a long time. For example, I am still friends with the very first person whom I ever gave this title, at age three. Almost thirty years later, we don’t speak often, but the friendship remains intact. With or without social media, I do believe we would have kept in touch.
My friendship with Kelly is young in comparison. I met her in 2011 when we shared an office. It is rare for me to befriend someone at work. I like to keep separate worlds. It is easier to organize and prevents me from having to reveal too much about myself out of my usual sphere. At work, I like people to think I have my shit together. The less they know, the better. I had just left an awkward job elsewhere and was still trying to figure out if there was a polite way of unfriending former co-workers on Facebook. I told myself I would never add colleagues to my personal accounts ever again.
This vow didn’t last long. Kind of hard to ignore a Facebook friend request from a boss.
Kelly and I weren’t immediate co-conspirators or kindred spirits. We both have our issues, after all. I can’t say when we shifted from officemates to partners in crime. It was a seamless, gradual change. Maybe it was after her cat drew my blood after the Sandwich War of 2011. Or perhaps it was more subtle than that. I don’t know if it is because we have so much in common, or if I just like people who test my patience, but in retrospect, it seems to me she was bossing me around quite regularly within six months. It stopped annoying me after twelve.
Remember, verbal abuse equals affection, just ask my sister.
We’ve been through some stressful times together. At first they were all work-related. I can recall so many episodes of Adventures in Late Night Photocopying and Let’s Get This Conference Over With. Of course, we can’t forget the classic, Year of Shittery. Always a pleaser. But as horrible as things seemed and as overwhelming as it all was, we could always laugh about it. We experienced so many breaking points together, moments of meltdown over inoperable hand carts and frustrating emails. But the solution was often just a Starbucks trip away.
And if it wasn’t, we were there to support. We couldn’t solve each other’s problems, but we could understand.
I don’t keep in touch with many former work pals. As I’ve mentioned, previous acquaintanceships have died the instant I left the building. When we made the decision to leave Halifax, one of my biggest regrets was moving away from friends. I worried I would lose what I had gained.
Kelly was, and is, different. At that point she knew who I was, dorky dog blog and all, and didn’t judge. She put up with my heckling and my insecurities and I put up with her commandeering and lack of filter, knowing she had the tougher end of the deal. My hermit ways are not easy to withstand. I should have known if she’d already ignored my previous attempts to evade, she wasn’t going to drop me the instant I was out of sight.
We still talk almost every day. She has been an incredible source of calm, even from a distance. When Shiva was injured last fall, Kelly didn’t think I was crazy or overreacting when I called her in tears. She understood my fears, stayed up long past midnight to listen to me yammer, and offered her resources to help us out. There was no hesitation. When I think back on that night, I realize just how lucky I am to have such a warm and giving person on my team.
It’s a small team, but it’s a devoted one. I don’t know if I will ever deserve it. Kelly would be the first to chime in that I don’t.
I am not as skilled as Kelly, unfortunately. I can’t craft beautiful images or dedicate hours to sewing thoughtful gifts. The birthday presents I have planned out for her, have not been good enough to match what she has given me. It is a failure of mine, that I can never seem to synchronize the image in my head with the outcome. I fear this makes me a terrible friend. One little blog post is hardly an appropriate gift. It is just all I have to offer today, alongside my constant support and solidarity.
I often reflect on how much of life depends on the small decisions we make. The deadline had passed when I applied for the job where I met Kelly. I recall wavering before emailing my resume anyway. What would have happened if I hadn’t pushed the send button? Where would I have worked? Whom would I have met? I am certain I made the best choice. I know if I hadn’t met Kelly, if she hadn’t been kind enough to ignore all of my flaws, I wouldn’t be the quasi-well adjusted person I am right now.
Of course, it’s also possible I would have met a friend with a yacht and a house on the island of Sardinia, but I’ll give Kelly the benefit of the doubt on this one.
Happy Birthday, Kelly. Even if you like the Backstreet Boys, I am so grateful I can call you a friend.
I can be a repetitive person. A person of routine. There are phrases I utter with great frequency without realizing. This was shoved in my face the other day when, after interrupting one of Shiva’s daily barkfests at the back door, I overheard our downstairs neighbour mimicking my words. I guess I do say the same thing almost every time. No doubt it would get annoying.
The challenge is, we share a Queen Anne revival-style home with thin creaky floorboards and sparse insulation. It is beautiful and I love it. However, the sound-related aspects are a problem. My neighbours may disagree but I think it is we who suffer the most. Between Stompy in the flat upstairs and the transient crew in and out of the basement suite, life in the middle can be awkward. And I mean that to the fullest extent of the word. Let your imaginations take you all sorts of stunning and icky places.
So when it comes down to it, I don’t feel all that bad about the the constant phrasings my neighbours overhear. If anything, we should start charging them for the free entertainment. My PH and I have some pretty wicked conversations.
Here is an idea of what you might hear at any given time if you tipped your ear to our walls:
“Cat! Caaaaaaaat! Stop eating yourself.”
“Do my pants really taste that good?”
“Sit! I said, sit. Ahem.”
“Go lay down. All the way. No really, all the way.”
“Is it time for bed?”
“Really Sheevs, really??”
“Voice box removal. We need to start saving now.”
“You worry too much.”
“Are you happy?”
“The city would make a killing if they put a red-light camera on that intersection.”
“Seriously? You seriously think that’s going to get you a treat?”
“We have the cutest dog in the world.”
“Shiva! C’mere! Want a treat?”
“There is nothing on television. Why do we have cable again?”
“Want a drink?”
“You are awesome, dog.”
I’ll let you decide who most often says what and to whom it is directed.
Do you find yourself saying the same things over and over again? Or do we just need to get out more?
My mobile phone is in the midst of an identity crisis. It sounds like a joke but I couldn’t be more serious. It is stuck in cellular purgatory. Not quite a Blackberry, not quite an Android, it doesn’t know where it belongs. Half the time, it doesn’t even know it is a phone. Frankly, it is a mess. I don’t know how much longer we can co-exist.
It used to be so cool. When we first met, I felt proud to have it in my pocket. We were pals. I loved to talk up its full keyboard with its wicked email functionality. And if you have never used Blackberry Messenger, you are missing out on one of the smoothest communication systems ever implemented on a smart phone. The messaging system of a generation. And the emoticons? Don’t even get me started.
Alas, due to extenuating circumstances, we are going to have to part ways. It isn’t something I ever foresaw. Despite all of the naysayers, I have been true to my dear little phone. Applications and photography meant nothing to me. I didn’t flinch when friends went the way of Instagram and Evernote. Loyalty, that is what mattered to me. They could keep their Angry Birds and their high-speed Internet. My Blackberry and I were just fine with our app-less realm filled with blurry photos.
But, something unfortunate occurred and I was forced to make a difficult decision: my camera lost its zoom. And I mean this quite literally. The zoom button on my camera is broken. Thus, all of my photos require serious editing before they can be published online. Otherwise they look like this:
Do you know what the subject of the above photo was supposed to be? Me neither. Anymore. Ugh. Pretty unforgivable for a blogger who spends the majority of her time posting pictures of her dog.
So maybe zoom isn’t as big of an issue as my impatience and utter lack of skill. Whatevs.
Something had to be done. As much as it pained me, and it hurt a lot, I knew I had to make a change. The world cannot be deprived of Shiva photos. It is my sworn duty, after all. It has gotten to the point that I either spend money on a new camera or upgrade my cellular plan. A greater dilemma one has never faced.
I loved my little black phone. It was the first mobile device to give me access to email on the fly. We had a great time together, chuckling over Facebook feeds, making snarky remarks on Twitter. Unlike all of my other phones, this one understood me. It knew my distaste for personal calls and responded by having almost no calling ability whatsoever. Never once did it make me feel guilty for not answering a ring. Never once did it store a voicemail message for me not to return later. In gratitude, the only time I forced it to make a call was in the midst of a dire emergency. Even then, I made sure to keep it under a minute. I could always tell when my phone was overwhelmed by the heat in my palm. I will miss that heat. We were united in our anti-social inclinations. It never expected me to be who I wasn’t. I never demanded anything more than it was capable of providing.
This isn’t to say our relationship was perfect. There were times I took my phone for granted, neglecting it enough so as to let it fall in a puddle. Unforgivable, I know. But did it forsake me? Perish the thought! As soon as I realized my mistake and gave my phone it’s due, all was well again. My phone never held a grudge.
Sadly, things changed. My wireless company was displeased with the lack of modernization within my account. They told me I could not update my phone number from a Nova Scotia line unless I upgraded my calling plan. They didn’t understand the link between my phone and I. They especially didn’t understand my lack of calling features. They wanted to separate us forever.
For a long time, I refused. Faithful to my stocky pal, I weathered their threats and clung to the past. They couldn’t make me change. I would never let go! They would have to pry my Blackberry from my cold, dead hands.
And then my camera lost its zoom and my priorities shifted. With a new job forcing me to hustle from one meeting to the next, having a phone that could be used as a phone started to make more and more sense. I couldn’t keep paying long distance charges every time I needed to call a taxi. It was time to say goodbye.
Now, as I wait for my new phone to arrive, scared to discover uncharted land, my Blackberry isn’t what it used to be. It has forgotten how to and has all but lost connection to the outside world. The only communication we have these days is via text message. It just isn’t the same. It knows the end is coming. I wish there was something I could do to ease its transition to the next world. I wish I knew what to say or how to prepare.
The thing is, I am not as afraid as I expected I would be. The time has come to discover my next mobile relationship. It won’t be the same, it couldn’t be. I will never forget my Blackberry. It was my first glimpse of a new technological world, my first real experience of mobile freedom, of breaking out on my own without being tied down by cords and dying laptop batteries. Nevertheless, if there is anything this week has taught me, as I say farewell to my fading smart phone, it is that I am nothing if not resilient. Just as I learned how to type on my Blackberry’s keyboard, I will conquer the touch screen. I am ready to move on.
Maybe, just maybe, I’ll even set up my voice mail this time. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves.
Finally! Dog blogs are legitimized! They aren’t just for odd women who get up far too early every morning and need someone to whom they can vent all of life’s frustrations.* Pet bloggers are cool people too!
At least, that’s what I thought after my first, second, and even third viewing of the below commercial. Now that I have come down from the high of temporary credibility, I am realizing this adorable television ad is not what I’d hoped. It turns out, the lyrics aren’t what I thought they were. I hate when that happens. Sometimes actually paying attention to the real words being said is such a bummer.
Before I say any more, I’ll give you a chance to understand what I am talking about.
Cute, right? I mean, she has a dog blog and everything! This is my life! I can relate!
Except for the fact that I can’t. Not really. Those bothersome things called “sexism” and “diet industrial complex” and “grammar” make it very hard to enjoy what could have been an endearing little commercial. If this is the world’s idea of a “morning win” I am worried for the future of the world. Frankly, a morning where all I eat for breakfast is a thin cookie is not one for the record books.
To ease some of my pain, I thought it would be fun to come up with my own sunrise song. I haven’t filmed a video – I am too much of a perfectionist for that – but maybe a company will hear my cry and give me the cash to do it right.
It’s worth a shot.
Here is my idea of a morning win:
I had a shower, ran the dog, took some photos for my blog, didn’t get hit on during my commute.
Bought a muffin, scored free coffee, pet a kitten, lamented hockey, impressed the boss with an argument she could not refute.
Deadlines chased, projects aced, dressed with taste, mistakes erased, and I even wrote this song!
What do you think? Sure, my version doesn’t have a fluffy poodle but it is a morning that would make me proud.
I know, I think far too much about commercials. These things are not meant to be analyzed with half as much effort as I put in. But humour me, will you? What is your idea of a morning win?
*Please note, I describe only myself with this sentence. Most dog bloggers I know have active social lives and are not even slightly strange. In fact, they are so normal, it’s creepy.
Shiva and I make for the most awkward team in history. We must rank up there with any movie starring Michael Cera. I wonder if the combination of over-anxious dog and over-imaginative human is a smart idea. Maybe Shiva and I should never be left to our own devices. It only leads to trouble or utter embarrassment. It looks like I am at a two for two on the mortification scale this weekend.
Do any of you remember this post? If not, I will give a rapid summation: Shiva and I were walking in the ravine, pre-dawn. I couldn’t see very far ahead due to the lack of light. All of a sudden Shiva stopped and refused to move forward, a very weird action on her part. Staring straight ahead she barked several times, seemingly at nothing. Freaking out and thinking it was either a pack of coyotes or a serial killer hiding in the trees, I swung around and booted it out of there as fast as my rubber soled feet could carry me through the snow.
Well, in the light of day we have now uncovered the source of all the commotion, the reason for Shiva’s unaccountable behaviour. I brought her back to the same area and she had the exact same reaction only this time I could see what was causing her so much consternation. The closer we walked to the evil doer, the more tense she became. Until she too realized her mistake. The crazy thing is, she didn’t even look that ashamed.
Can you guess based on the picture below?
Any thoughts? How about if I make it easier?
That’s right, Shiva was flipping out over a garbage can. A large garbage can that had been moved closer to the path, but nonetheless, the same metal container containing rubbish Shiva has encountered millions of times before. Garbage cans have apparently been added to her long list of enemies, a list which also includes rocks, garden gnomes, plastic bags, fire hydrants, snowmen, and lake monsters.
So much for the canine instinct. Perhaps I just need to invest in a good headlamp. Sheesh.
A dog who was known for her eagerness, though some may have called it plain meddlesomeness, spent a great deal of time in search of fresh smells and adventure. Intrusive she may have been but she was also a friendly sort. While sniffing and traveling she came across many fellow wanderers and meeting others was one of her greatest pleasures. No matter how startling the appearance of a fellow wanderer she always approached like an old friend. In other words, the dog had little use for manners and never understood when others were not so keen to converse.
On one of such journeys, the dog found herself trotting down a narrow path. She closed her eyes, touched her nose to the ground, and picked up an unfamiliar smell. Delighted by the prospect of a new encounter, the dog kept her nose in the dirt and allowed the scent trail to guide her. It wasn’t long before she found herself eye to an eye and nose to nose with a strange looking creature indeed.
The dog had never seen such an odd little face in her life. It had two eyes and what looked like a nose but the stubby legs and the wide body were covered in a mysterious sort of fur. The astonishing mammal blinked once and the dog blinked back. Ever curious, the dog continued to sniff, putting her face right into the neck of the other animal.
“What are you doing?” squeaked the smaller being. “Don’t you know I could hurt you?”
This made the dog giggle. “How could you hurt me? I am a dog with big teeth and you are a rodent-smelling thing. Do you want to play?”
The odd creature, being a quill-covered porcupine, had no desire to interact further with such a silly beast. He had twigs to eat and clover to find and had no time for leisure. Besides, he was a slow-moving animal and knew the dog’s kind of games were not games he liked to play.
“Certainly not,” said the porcupine and with that last he circled around to furrow back in the bush. As he turned his tail swished and hit the dog in her interfering black nose.
“Ouch!” cried the dog and she sprung back. She would have jumped forward again to give chase to the spiny animal but she was stopped by the leash attached to her collar. The dog did not understand why the porcupine had been so rude as to cause her pain. Rubbing her nose with a paw, she wandered away.
It wasn’t too long before the dog met the porcupine again. This time there was no leash to restrain her. When she spotted a pointy tail wagging out of a thicket, she bounced over to say hello, wagging her tail in response.
“Hello, you odd creature!” The dog shoved her nose under the belly of the smaller animal. “Would you like to play today?”
The porcupine was quite startled. He had been enjoying an early breakfast of bark and willow leaves and did not appreciate the nosey dog interrupting his meal.
“Eep!” the porcupine shouted. Abandoning his food, he shuffled as quick as he could over to a nearby tree. Much to his dismay, the dog followed right behind.
“But why?” asked the dog, leaning forward to sniff his neck. As she leaned with her tonque flicking out a quill caught her just below her eye. “Eieeeeeee!” The dog cried out, shaking her head in pain.
“I warned you!” squeaked the porcupine. He seized the moment of the dog’s surprise to shimmy up the tree. “Leave me alone!”
“But why?” The dog persisted. Even though her eye watered from the spiney jab, she placed her front paws on the trunk of the tree. Her tail wagged vigorously behind her. “I just want to taste you!”
“Don’t you learn?” asked the porcupine from his spot on a branch above the dog’s head. “I have already hurt you twice. I will hurt you again.”
The dog started up at the strange-looking animal, tilting her head. She couldn’t understand why she had been hurt but didn’t think it had anything to do with the creature in the tree. He was so small and so slow. She was so big and so fast. It must have been a mistake.
Eventually the dog was called away from the tree with the promise of dinner and the porcupine was left to his own devices. He hoped it was the last he would see of the ignorant beast. But it was not to be so.
A few days later, just as the porcupine was meandering off to bed, the dog appeared at the rise of a hill in the meadow. The sun had yet to rise and the porcupine hoped he would not be seen. Alas, the dog took a big sniff of the air and then started to wag her tail in his direction. With nowhere to hide, the porcupine crouched his stubby legs and curled up into as much of a ball as he could.
“Hello again!” The dog bounded over. “Would you like to play?”
The porcupine did not answer. Instead, he curled up tighter. The dog jumped in a circle around him, barking and laughing. When he didn’t respond, she shoved her face underneath him to get a good whiff.
“Ow!” cried the dog. “Ow! Ow! Ow! Ow!”
The porcupine lifted his head, expecting to see the dog running away. He was surprised when she continued to stand in front of him, tail still high in the hair. The porcupine immediately lost his patience.
“I don’t understand you,” he declared. “Three times we have met and three times I have hurt you. How many times will it take you to learn? What kind of animal are you?”
The dog puzzled over this question, thinking the spikey fellow even stranger than ever. What kind of animal did she look like? After much deep thought the dog answered as honestly as she could.
“I am a Shiva.”
The porcupine’s shoulders hunched and he let out a sigh. All of a sudden he understand. If a Shiva had infiltrated the forest, there was no hope for solitary creatures like him. It was time to find a new home.
Fool you once, shame on me. Fool you twice, shame on you. Fool you three times… You must be a Shiva.
Before anyone worries, no Shivas were seriously injured in the telling of this story. Shiva has encountered several porcupines and has once chased one into a tree, but any wounds were strictly to her pride.
Top Ten Reasons to Bring Your Cat With You on an Airplane
1. You are deaf.
2. You are moving across the country for the second time and the last time your cat’s screeching during the drive nearly caused you to be arrested for animal cruelty.
3. Your practically husband threatened to put the cat in the box of the truck if he had to endure another five-day road trip with His Yowliness.
4. You have a pet blog and think it would be a fun experience to write about.
5. You are insane.
6. Your cat already spends his days plotting your death and may as well have one more reason to hate you.
7. You are seeking revenge on your cat for chewing the cord of your $300 flat-iron.
8. Your cat is deaf and/or dead and/or actually a stuffed animal.
9. You want to discover if the pitch of your cat’s cries is louder than that of a newborn baby.
10. You have a loving relationship with your cat and he or she travels well, ie. you live in a magical fantasy land, ie. your veterinarian is kind enough to give you drugs.
Top Ten Reasons Not to Bring Your Cat With You on an Airplane
1. You have healthy hearing abilities.
2. You are moving across the country for the first time and naïvely think your cat will do well on a road trip for five days even though he despises the car and even though you have never leash or kennel trained him before.
3. Your cat’s yowls are easily drowned out by the radio.
4. You decide to put your cat’s comfort first and turn down the job promotion.
5. You haven’t lost your mind.
6. You are pretty sure the pilot will make an emergency landing just to get away from your cat’s screeching.
7. You have a loving relationship with your cat and have spent many years training him so he travels well in the car, ie. you are a far better person than I am.
8. Your cat has healthy hearing abilities and/or is alive and/or is not a stuffed animal.
9. Your veterinarian only gives you a small cloth soaked in feline hormones, an item which is essentially useless when your cat is already stressed from being shoved into a bag, hauled out of said bag when going through security, and then shoved back in for six hours straight without being able to empty his bladder.
10. You are smart and decide to ship him cargo.
Blog statistics aren’t something I delve into very often. They usually make me feel icky inside. Numbers have always had that effect on me, really. Ever since I entered ninth grade and encountered trigonometry. And graphs.
Naaaasty. Wasn’t math so much nicer before all that crap? When all one had to do was find the value of x?
Because it’s been a self-esteem-kicking week, I decided I may as well pummel myself down further and dust off the ol’ Google Analytics. Maybe I just needed an excuse to pour myself another glass of wine, I am not sure. Regardless, I logged in and immediately became immersed. It wasn’t the statistics themselves that grabbed my attention, though. I really still could care less about those. It was the common search terms.
Hilarious stuff, truly. If you haven’t checked out yours lately, I highly recommend it for a giggle.
Most of the top ten items on the list made sense. A lot of “rescued insanitys”, “heart dogs”, and “what to buy before getting a dogs.” It stunned me that according to Google the top search term for my website is actually “Rottweilers” and by an enourmous margin. It is something like thirty percent! To this day my most popular post ever written was the one in which I admitted to an instinctive, yet embarrassing fear, of the breed. I hope this means my shame-faced confessions have helped other people conquer their own demons.
Yep, focusing on the positive today.
Many of the other search terms were not nearly so logical. I thought I would share some of the ones that had me raising an eyebrow. The title of this post being number one, here are some of the others on the list:
“Empty bread bag” – This makes me a little sad, actually. I hope these people were able to find some cheer through my silly stories, despite their lack of bread.
“Pimp outfit” – I am sure most of these people were sorely disappointed.
“Cats are evil” – Egads! No! Cats are AWESOME! Awesome, I tell you! Pay no attention to the cat plotting my demise in the shadows…
“Name a breed of dog a man would be embarrassed to admit he’s afraid of” – This is a judgment-free zone. You will not be mocked for your fear of Yorkies here. I promise.
“Picture of elephant’s front feet” – Did you find what you came for? If you didn’t here you go:
“Tim Flach poster” – I am sorry to say I didn’t know who this was until I looked up his name. I am so glad I do now.
“Fort Needham Memorial Park” – Ugh. Worst. Dog Park. Ever.
“Don’t say you ever loved me you always loved yourself” – Yikes. Good luck with that. Sounds like you are better off without.
“Absurd looking dog handlers” – You came to the right place?
Why, yes. I would rather stick a slobbery pouch in my back pocket than wear a fanny pack.
“Breed of dogs with crook at the end of tail” – I believe you are thinking of the Briard.
“If my dog shits in the woods do I have to pick it up” – Yes.
“I fostered kitten now its gone and I miss it” – Awww, that’s sweet. There is an easy solution to that problem, though. Why not foster another?
“Just Say Nana Na Nan Anananaaaana” – You know what? I couldn’t have said it better myself.
Have you come across any interesting search terms for your website? Do share. I always appreciate a reason to laugh.
As I am writing this and you are reading it, I think it is safe to say we have all survived the latest Apocalypse. While the Mayans may or may not have been wrong, a part of me is disappointed. It would be cool to live in a bus shelter. That and I was hoping to get out of the credit card bills I’ve accumulated. It’s really too bad.
I got the idea for this post from one of my blogging heroes, Karen Walrond. Last week on 12/12/12 she live photoblogged her day, showing bits and pieces of her experiences throughout a typical day in her life. I instantly wanted to do something like that myself, though my photographs aren’t going to be nearly as gorgeous as Karen’s. I may have missed 12 12 12 but what better day to record for posterity than the End of the World? In the future, it will be fun to come back to this one day of my life to remember what the little details looked like.
I will start with the first pictures I took after waking up this morning. As the day progresses, I’ll keep updating with more shots from my thrilling part of the world. Prepare to be stunned with just how glamorous things are at Shiva’s House of Deluded Dreamers. It’s just like something out of old Hollywood.
Welcome to the Advent Calendar for Dog Lovers hosted by Kol’s Notes, PupLove, Rescued Insanity, Woof Woof Mama & I Still Want More Puppies!
Today’s giveaway is sponsored by the Real Meat Company. Click here to enter to win a prize package of their new freeze-dried real meat dog food and be entered to win our Grand Prize package worth more than $1000!
The first time I heard about the book Things Your Dog Doesn’t Want You To Know was in a review written on The Poodle (And Dog) Blog. It sounded so delightful and I was tickled a few days later when I received an email offering me a free copy to review on my own website. While product reviews hold little interest for me, I am always up for a chance to check out a new dog book. Especially one as pretty as this.
If you haven’t heard of the book before or read any of the other reviews on the tour, essentially it is broken up into eleven separate stories as told by eleven different dogs. Each tale is broken into different parts throughout the book and written as a series of letters. You can either flip through the book reading each story in its entirety before moving onto the next one, or – like I did – you can start at page one and read straight through to the end. Either way you are sure to find a giggle at every turn.
Authors Hy Conrad and Jeff Johnson are obviously big-time dog lovers and based on their understanding of the canine brain I assume they have lived with many dogs in their lifetimes. From his website I learned Mr. Conrad was one of the writers of the popular television show Monk and this creative background definitely shows in his latest work.
While most of the dogs’ stories made me laugh out loud, there were a few that depicted a different, more dramatic tone. The life of Sarge the German Shepherd, for instance, seemed anything but happy. I think my PH is still a little miffed the working dog was given such a bad lot.
With so many dogs, it was hard for me to choose a favourite. Would it be the consummate lab, Axelrod? Or the OCD Border Collie, Bandana? Naturally, my love for mixed breeds held out and it was Moonbeam the scraggly rescue who retained my strongest affection. I loved her version of humour so much that I was inspired to write a little “Shiva” tale based on one of Moonbeam’s letters:
Things Shiva Doesn’t Want You To Know, or “Why I’ll Never Be A Champion”
I know you are frustrated with me when I run around on the agility course like I don’t know what I am doing. You are worried I am stressed out or that I don’t like to play the game anymore. Neither of those are true in the least. I love jumping over obstacles! Even more I love running through those wooshy tunnels! Can’t you tell by the way I pass up treats in order to zoom through just one more time?
It’s not that I don’t know my job either. Please don’t insult me that way. We have been practicing for three years! I’m not stupid and I am way, way faster than every other dog. If I wanted, I could show everyone up, even those snobby Shelties, and be a world champion by now!
Here’s the thing: I don’t want to.
There is something about me you don’t know. Something that happened long before I ever met you. I’d tell you but I’d have to kill you. No joke! It’s a secret so big I had to be put in the Witness Protection Program for Dogs. Seriously! It’s a real thing! That’s how I ended up at the shelter and why they tried so hard to get you to take me home. They knew I’d live a life of obscurity in your care. No offence. This is why I was so anxious all the time that first year. I kept thinking I saw the guy who was after me. I had to bark and bark and bark to keep everyone away, just in case.
Then we started doing the agility thing and it was so much fun! For a while I almost forgot all about my past and how I had to remain unknown. When I learned from the other dogs how famous I would get if I kept at it, I realized I had no choice. I had to throw the match. And every other match. It’s the only way I can stay safe.
It’s not easy! Sometimes I still forget I have to be careful and I find myself actually following directions and flying over the obstacles like the superstar I am. But then the videos get aired and I get worried my cover will be blown. So next time I have to pretend I am crazy again. You have no idea how much it hurts to see those slow dogs win all the ribbons and all I get is a sad expression from you. My soul! It bleeds!
So now you know. Don’t tell anyone okay? It will be our little secret.
Okay, I am totally making this up. I can’t lie! The reason I run around so much is because it’s just so much fun! You should try it! Maybe then you wouldn’t be so frustrated all the time. Take it from me, life is too short.
Shiva (the Dog)
If you think that was amusing, you’ll want to read the eleven better accounts in the actual published book. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, and you’ll probably never look at your own dogs the same way again. Don’t believe me? Find out what the other bloggers on the tour have to say!