23 February 2017

Otterpop rides again.

You would think Otterpop was done with her shady past. She's 13 years old, according to my calculations. Something like that. She's losing her hearing, and she snores really loud, and walks with a funny limp.

She is Otterpop, though. She gets to go with me wherever I go, because when I leave her home she howls and tells the other dogs to howl and tells them horrible stories along the lines of I'm never coming home and horrible disfigured witches are coming over to eat them and fly drones in the living room. She's also is the one who doesn't want to sit before dinner time. Dinner time can take a long time because of Otterpop. She chases chickens. She barks in Banksy's face til she gives Otterpop the ball. And she jumps on the couch and smashes Gustavo. And she bosses Ruby around. And she hates all the dogs in our neighborhood, especially the black and tan pair of little dogs around the corner that bark at her from their window. And Rio next door. And Oliver in the other next door. And so on and so forth.

There are a lot of reasons why only I love Otterpop. She is not easy to love.

And tonight, we were walking along the bluffs. And another dog came along, and that dog said something mean to Otterpop. It said something mean to everybody, but Gustavo and Banksy were all la la la la la la and were so happy there was sun! And grass! And air! And Ruby wasn't there because we were walking too far for Ruby.

But when that dog said something mean to Otterpop, Otterpop bristled. And she marches over to the dog. And I think oh oh. Does Otterpop still DO shit like this?

I keep moving on. "Come on, Otterpop." There's lots of space. A huge field, walking out to the bluff. Room for everybody.

But Otterpop goes over to the dog, who weighs about 50 lbs and looks pretty mean to me, and stands there in mean dog posture. And the mean dog is standing in mean dog posture. And both of them are all, yeah, muthatruckah. Just make a move. Double dare ya. And where most dogs eventually would stand down and diffuse and move on, and keep walking, OH NO. Not Otterpop. She can't let things go. And she kind of snaps her snappy, horrible little teeth. And the mean dog is all I HATE YOU BITCH! AND I'M TAKING YOU OUT.

And it's on. And Otterpop weighs like 15 lbs and the mean dog weighs like 50 and it's on Otterpop and there's a lot of noise. Otterpop is all NO I HATE YOU MORE YOU BITCH and the mean dog is all NO I HATE YOU MORE YOU SCRAWNY LITTLE MONKEY ASS. I'm hoping the mean dog isn't like a killer mean, dog just a blustery mean dog, because I have no doubt that Otterpop actually is a mean dog and I run over and stomp my feet and the mean dog is all EEK! Because Otterpop is under the very large mean dog and there is so much dog noise and dog teeth noise. The EEK dog backs off but Otterpop is still all I HATE YOU BITCH I CAN STILL TAKE YOU! So I grab Otterpop and yank her out of the fray and fling her a little way and she hits the dirt pretty hard. Oops. But I was really mad. So now I'm a mean dog too.

I told the guy sorry and he said he was sorry too and we go our separate ways. I feel like a shit heel for flinging Otterpop but I'm also pretty mad at her, where did that come from, that was so 2008?

Once an Otterpop, always an Otterpop.  

21 February 2017

The rain, mostly I can only listen to Metallica.

The storms keep sweeping through. The trees come down, leave craters were they used to be, and the mud slides down the hill. We haven't been near death, although I have had some nervous moments driving on a muddy cliff edge, forced over by some monsterous tree's evacuation and death all over the road. Mostly it means roads are shut and sometimes we can't get to where we want to go. We're lucky to live in the flatland but we do have to cross mountains to go anywhere.

So instead we walk through puddles, we walk where it's flat. When we try to walk in the woods, we mostly now can't get to where we want to go, so many trees laying down. Not trees you can easily go around. Big trees, hundreds of years old, ones that don't move once they're down til someone with a chainsaw can spend some time and cut through. Or not. There are places that we walk where no one much goes, and those trails will eventually go somewhere else, and somewhere new. Those trees aren't going anywhere. So many going down that we have been avoiding, for the most part, walking under them.

The sun comes out every few days, I put on my boots and we see where else we can walk. I never knew about the springs, now I know where some of the creeks start, where their beginnings bubble straight out of some mud in the ground. There is more water everywhere than I've ever seen in my life. The invisible spring now sounds like a bus fleet roaring by, the dogs are afraid to get in, these aren't creeks like they've ever seen.

Mostly I can only listen to Metallica, Slayer, and Judas Priest. Some Iron Maiden. Oddly, Rush. This started with the election. Sort of like when you have an aversion to a smell, or a taste and you can never eat peppermint again. But opposite of that. It's quietly soothing to bang my head over and over to the old Metallica back catalog. I thought this was a phase, but it doesn't seem to be going away. It's a concern, for sure. Oh, I do perk up for the Hamilton soundtrack, I know all the words.

Some rainy days I just give up and sit in the living room wearing this tunic thing that looks like a bathroom rug. I believe it was originally a sweater. It's horrible and has a mock turtleneck. The dogs climb up on the couch, well not Banksy, because god forbid she ever sit anywhere near me, but the others do and I watch documentaries and track the doppler radar and listen to the wind tearing things off our neighborhood.

Those are the bad days. We do get out. It stops raining in little bits. The dogs run, me and Ruby shuffle along. There isn't really any agility to speak of. There were few runs at Turlock the other day, I drove out for a few runs on a Sunday and didn't come home with a Q. It felt shitty for a while til it didn't.

My rain boots have sprung a leak, this saddens me, and I love them so much that I keep wearing them as if they aren't leaking and I don't have wet feet all day. My feet now have this permanent moistness. Always damp, always clammy, til night time. I think this defeats the purpose of rainboots. But I'm still holding on. Maybe today, they don't leak. I stuff in my pants legs, and off we traipse, at about half speed. Looking up towards the mountains, maybe we have an hour or so til it starts again.

09 February 2017

Happy Birthday to Banksy!

We got down to the beach at the crack of dawn to miss the crack of storm coming. A dog has to do something good on her birthday, and Banksy's our only dog that has an actual birthday. Everybody else has a fake one. Some of them have to share mine, so they don't even get their own.

Banksy is three years old. That seems old. We missed our goal of finishing her ADCh while she was two, we need to actually run pairs classes to get those pairs Qs. And go to trials. This is the year of maybe not so many dog shows. So if I can run pairs 4 times and get Qs this year, she can have her ADCh. But she did compete at Nationals in Arizona and competed amazingly.

Three year old Banksy seems about the same as two year old Banksy. But with better behavior. In general. With occasional lapses. Her favorite things to do are run, run, run, run. I say, "Go go go!" and she takes off around the perimeter of the park. Sometimes adding ciks and caps around things I point to for style points. Those would be left and right wraps around posts and trees, in case you don't speak Slovenian. Banksy speaks Slovenian for several words.

On these rainy days, this year the year the drought has broke, we go to the park in the breaks between squalls and I send her around and around to do laps, while I slog around in my rain boots. She likes to run, and she has to run. Running is a big part of her life. Being a border collie, and all.

Her favorite toys are Tennis Ball and anything she can tug on. Banksy is a tug machine.

I can't trim her nails. However, Erin can trim her nails and I drive her to Erin's groom shop and apparently we will do this forever so hopefully Erin never moves away. Sometimes Erin's sitting out front having a smoke when we pull up, Erin with her purple pigtails. Banksy loves Erin, she runs up to her even though she's also ready to bolt. She's terrified of everything involving fingernails and tries to leap off the table like a maniac. Erin just counts her nails like little piggies and it's done in a flash and that's how we do her mani/pedis forever.

Banksy's an agility machine. Our machine ran into bad weather this winter so we actually don't do agility except for maybe once a month. I'm sure she'll know how when the sun comes out again. I hope. They don't forget over winters, do they? We're lucky she was a puppy during the drought.

Banksy's best friends are Otterpop and Gustavo. Also everyone she meets at the beach or the park. Except huskies. Usually she runs away from huskies. She is not best friends with anyone at agility. Agility Banksy is run by Banksy's evil twin that must be alone. I MUST BE ALONE, says evil twin. Agility time is apparently THAT SERIOUS AND IMPORTANT and she must be alone with only me the person who drives to agility and points at the things. Then go all crazy watching the others do the agility til it's her turn as long as she is ALONE while doing so. We hate it when her evil twin takes over, but luckily it's not all that often. Sometimes her evil twin shows up at mealtimes. Evil twin wants all the foods to herself and must be alone to consume it and woe be to any dog who is near.

That thing about girl border collies who can be total bitches? That would be Banksy's evil twin.

Banksy turned into a stay at home dog when I go to work last year. She's kind of a couch potato during the day, so she's cool with that. She likes to sleep in the window so she's right there to see my car drive in the driveway when I come home. She is not cat sized, unless cats can weigh 25lbs and be 17.25" high at their withers. Yet there she is, in a cat sized spot, Gustavo takes the other window and as far as I know that's where they spend their days.

So happy birthday, Banksy. We survived. I think you're officially an adult. Three years old for border collies is I believe drinking and voting age. Banksy would have been Hillary all the way. We have our ups and downs and you are still a bad girl when we're on a walk and the german shorthair pointer that pulls the kid on the skateboard zooms by which makes me crazy but has gotten a lot better in general so at least if the german shorthair pointer walks by you don't freak out anymore. All that control unleashed stuff works good. And you're pretty cute. And let me pet you a lot of the time, if not all the time. Maybe someday you will sit next to me on the couch. I think once you did that but it was by mistake and you realized it and maybe that will be when you're four. If not, it's cool. You are your own dog, a lot of dog, and we can't imagine how life would be without you.

Here's to many, many more.

30 January 2017

La Vida Phantasmagoria

Competing in an organized sport with a dog who can see ghosts requires a delicate feather touch and nerves of steel. You get like that, hopefully, once you've sunk down deep enough into the quicksand that is agility. The muck crept up past my shins years ago to where I barely even notice it now. Why do I do it? With a dog who can see ghosts? I can tell you right now, it's not the financial genius behind stockpiling Qs instead of retirement dollars or the tremendous fame brought about by coming in second in Masters Jumpers on a random Sunday morning in somebody else's hometown that has a liquor store and a taqueria that are pretty much exactly like the ones just down the street from my own house.

Definitely not the gigantic windfall of a Steeplechase victory, where President Grant smiles brilliantly for a few brief moments before getting pawned off at the gas station on the way home, with just enough left over for one travel mug refill of caffeine from the nearest corporate coffee clone that also looks exactly like the one back home. And I finally figured out there's no impressing friends, family or random acquaintances with fancy title accomplishments and acronyms. Not surprisingly, the underage pot dealer in the park doesn't find inspiration or life improving aspiration from meeting dogs who come with their own set of fancy initials like MAD and ADCh. He's all, "Hey dogs," and moves on, back into the bushes to conduct his business. Their lifetime achievement memorabilia, flooffy ribbons and dusty plaques, get displayed unceremoniously under the bed with other long forgotten souvenirs.

If agility was solely leisure time recreational jolly good fun, I think there'd be less festering porta potties and questionable mattresses in cheap motels with cat suited hookers working on the other side of thin sheetrock exactly adjacent to my headboard. Fewer crazytalk ladies from opposing political solar systems yammering on about trying to get their dog to poop, and more majestic forests with dog swimming creeks adjacent to dog shows instead of freeways, train tracks and dead fields. It's doubtful I'd be volunteering to empty all the garbage cans into the dumpster on the edge of the parking lot or constantly waking up at dark o'clock to hit the road for another weekend somewhere else. Taking that long highway drive that's fueled by a a competitive streak to win. Or at least to be the best. The best that you can be. The best even if you're the kind of person who is sort of more pretty much usually all right, than the best. Like those army commercials. Be all that you can be? Working under the assumption that you're already somewhat limited?

The specific reasons for this completely illogical lifestyle are still unknown to me. And to be so addicted to it, to keep on going, when a dog such as my beloved Gustavo lives la vida phantasmagoria. For today's theory, I'll chalk it up to climate change. While CO2 emissions grow uncontrollably and unaccountably, the best way to hide one's head deep in a sand hole is to instead, immerse it somewhere else.

Dog agility, a fantastic somewhere else. All encompassing and all consuming. The competing and the training with pet dogs that have seen us naked and sleep in our beds, makes for tricky emotions, though. This is a thing I think I've finally grown out of, the emo that can spring up faster than a wet rat popping up through the bathroom plumbing. Mostly. Agility is a lot of bruised innards sloshing around out there, all the ladies and just a few dudes shoved together for two or so days, brushing shoulders and shedding hormones, all in the name of running the dogs. Passionate devotion can unleash complicated emotions, turning them loose like a wildfire sparked by fireworks that someone drove all the way to Nevada to procure, just to be able to set them off in the street in front of my house. All you need is one spark in a shabby neighborhood of dead shrubs to send the whole place up in flames.

You know how it goes. For the most part, I usually keep my head down in the dirt or up in the clouds. Maybe perk up an ear for some juicy little gossip tidbit now and again. I like to whistle to myself the cheerful little motto that's taken me a while to figure out. When I whistle it, bluebirds sit on my finger. Nobody really cares about you. Which is true. Although they may not care just enough to make a little remark in overhearing distance or even to your face, that due to the hormones or who you were in a past life or just that you didn't have a healthy breakfast that was at least 40% protein based, stabs a little deeper than it really should.

Used to be, when me and Gustavo had a fiasco run, I mean the worst, definitely the worst, the trauma used to spout out of my heart and eyeballs, red splatter trauma. The only good thing that at least it wasn't projectile barfing on the leash runner waiting over there as I came out of the ring. Let's say that, wow, does that Masters Challenge course look challenging but it's what we've been preparing for and practicing and training for. We got this one. In my mind, I can see it. Going to be the best ever. And then we're off the startline like somebody let the guinea pig loose at the boa constrictor jamboree, but when we get to jump number three, there's a lady who ran a few moments ago with her poodle, little poodle bangs held back with some rainbow hair ties, and the poodle lady, she's awarded the poodle a stack of meaty bones that are within sniffing distance of jump three and that's it. Gustavo's out of the ring and to the meaty bones which are being consumed under a score table so there's a bit of a ruckus as I rush over and dive under the table where scorers are quickly tabulating numbers on the score sheets.

Gustavo's will just read, E. No Time. Elimination. All day, the anticipation of this run, reading it on the course map, talking about it with the colleagues, walking it, thinking it, then a poodle with a pony tail and some bones, that was it. All done and over, before it hardly even began.

How many times does this happen? In my case, so many. In so many different ways. Chalk it up to bad training, funny dog, shit happens. Gustavo, who runs away in a crazy zig zag pattern involving a couple freebie tunnels not even in the course, until I air traffic control him, light sabers in hand waving wildly, over to the exit gate.

It's not necessarily a whiff of savory snack items. It can be something horrible about the poles. Maybe the bases touched his toes. Or the teeter. Might slam him in the sensitive booty. Or the table. Not so nice to lay down on, much comfier to spin in a couple circles before hiding underneath. Or a tarp that's blowing in the breeze. Looks like giant, sparkling wings of a fire breathing dragon with talons that pluck off hobbits and little dogs. Or maybe a butterfly flew by, just in front of him. There's a 50/50 chance that crazyland can happen out there. Which is a 50% chance that it won't. So the odds are better than the lottery or most Kentucky Derbies and we go out and run and roll the dice.

I understand his terrors. Used to happen to me as a kid from the psychedelic 7-Up commercials in the era of yellow submarines, with flutter attacks of technicolor animated butterflies unfolding into floral explosions. They would kaleidoscope at night into my dreams, causing me to wake up screaming over butterflies. Too many flapping wings, too many exploding flowers, too many colors, just too much. Where some find beauty and normalcy, others see dread.

Sometimes it's just the vibe. One spot where we compete, in the dry Californian central valley, we spend a day parked in the dirt, backed up to a rotting trash pile behind a mobile home park where a chihuahua pack holds court from a stack of plastic bottles and we see spooky little kids peer out of dirty windows from behind flowery polyblend sheets. Where Gustavo cannot tread near the end of the arena. A few times in his life, he's made it past the spook zone, but most of the times, most runs of his life on that field, he recoils in terror, or occasionally just stops dead in his tracks, looking at the sky or the wall or whatever it is, communing in his mind with some mothership that only he can see.

I got Gustavo from a lady I met at the beach. I saw him spinning circles around her and was smitten on the spot. She was the rescue dog foster lady, someone else plucked him off the street and drove him up in a van from Juarez and he wasn't really suited for regular pet dog home. He'd already proven a talented escape artist and had an energy level that might drive more gentle folk than I up the wall. I told her I'd take him and went home and told my husband I found what I wanted for my birthday, a skin and bones little dog from Mexico that I saw down on the beach. Gary rolled his eyes, and drove up to meet him and it was true love for all of us within minutes and it always will be.

But he's odd, not that all dogs can't be sometimes. It used to be, his kind of odd during dog show runs sent me running back to the parking lot and the privacy of my front seat, where I could sniffle and fume and bang my head against the steering wheel. So much hard work. So much! We've trained for distractions like this. But not hard enough or not good enough, because, this. Time after time, the course is thwarted at jump 3. Or 5. Or 7. Or wherever. With what feels like a hundred voodoo glow skulls watching, all staring in judgement at Why. Why does she run that dog? They never even get around. Hardly ever. I would say, equal part poor Gooey, equal part the hard work gone down the drain, and equal part wondering, did everybody see that? Now they think i'm a Loser, the kind with a capital L. That lady who said something about it, probably either to be kind in her own socially awkward way or just to fill up a blank space in the moment, her off the cuff comment went down my gullet like a handcuffed lobster before it got boiled alive.

Here's what the life coach would say. You can find them on the internet, everybody's a life coach these days. They help you corral your mentals into one convenient location, as far as I can tell. Maybe I can be yours. The life coach will say it with really tasteful yet chunky accessories and a flattering neckline. Always good hair on those ladies. Her advice, I can see it printed out now on an inspirational poster with seahorses or a mysterious snowy vista that has a little stone dwarf house off in the distance.

Nobody really cares about you. There's that bluebird, sitting on my finger. Maybe some butterflies and their hairy little antennas, too. It's a fact that's easy to forget in the moment, until you practice it and get used to it. You train, don't complain. Move on, shake it off, remember that failure's the stepping stone to success and that success is the ability to go from failure to failure without losing your enthusiasm. I heart those failure quotes so much, so much that I want to eat them up and never, ever poop them out. I want them to live forever in my stomach bile and dissipate through my bloodstream and ooze out of my pores. They are so mine. I take ownership to my failure, we love our agility and me and my dogs like to train til we're blue in the face and laying upside down in the grass, panting visibly.

In competition, I'm the only one who cares that we just faced disaster. As in, first world problem, dog agility disaster. Like if you went on a vision quest, and in the peyote infused haze, the shaman decreed that kitten was your spirit animal. And everybody else got bears and cheetahs and majestic buffalo. Life goes on, you know?

The horror of defeat from all directions diffuses pretty fast, because Gustavo's the cutest, sweetest, little dog you'll ever meet. His fur is really soft, and he has little white rings around his eyeballs, like a creature invented by Wes Anderson that's emblazoned on rain boots and desert plates and stuff you'd buy at an organic kids clothing store in France. He has a tremendous terror of coyotes that keeps him safe in the forest where also many shapes of tree stumps horrify him and stop him in his tracks. He suffers a medical condition, crappy deformed blood vessels that don't quite pass through his liver send ammonia through his bloodstream, where it does funny things when it gets to his brain. He gets medicine for it, and became a vegetarian.

Yeah. One of my dogs is a vegetarian to stave off the hallucinations that live in his head. It's cool. I live in Santa Cruz. We're used to situations like this.

He's healthier now, though, and pretty much his funny little seizures have turned into a used to be thing. He doesn't see ghosts anymore, officially. But he does, sort of. It's just him. He's the kind of dog that even if I was weeping because I can't figure out how to get him to be good at agility, I can pick him up and sigh into his fur and it smells like grass and begonias and the expensive kind of wheat bread, and he gives me a tiny kiss and would like to stay in my lap all day. When he hops off, you hear orchestral magnificence, an entire string section wells up, like something Sufjan Stevens wrote just for him. Gustavo's a dog who doesn't even know he has a soundtrack when he moves.

In agility, your everything is based on this. You're going to run around the ring with your dog as fast as you can and almost become like one animal together, driven by one giant endorphin rushing brain, with with six legs and two arms and shared blood and so many exposed teeth in open mouths, gasping for air and gaping open in joy.

Gustavo actually doesn't have many teeth, part of his medical condition. His tongue hangs out the side of his mouth like a chipmunk gone limp swilling acorn rotgut. Except for when he puts on his biggest smile, then it hangs right down the middle. When I tell all my dogs it's time to go back on leashes, coming out of the woods, he's the first one to run in and he always has that smile on his face, tongue wagging back and forth when he comes running in so fast. When we make it around a course together, the both of us doing the same thing and the run may or may not be clean but for sure it was fast and it contained clarity, my god, the smile that blooms in his face. His smile's infectious, his smile's the day when the Liz Taylor rises from the dead to win the Grand National on the Pie, it's the dolphins being freed from the bloody lagoon kill pen, it's the munchkin proclamation when the witch lays prostrate under the 3 bedroom 2 bath vintage Kansas charmer, it's the polar bear clan who suddenly wake up on intact ice and believe that imminent meltdown of the glaciers was but a nightmare.

His smile is my own personal saving grace. I've never felt so lucky, having a dog such as Gustavo.

Originally published in Clean Run Magazine, May 2016

29 January 2017

When the biggest tree in the forest fell down and died.

We went to visit the Advocate tree. We've known it for a long time. It fell down and died in the storm a couple weeks ago. All it took was the right wind and rain, and it toppled down, crushing everything in it's path. It was over 1,000 years old, 300' high and over 40' circumference.

Can you see Banksy looking up at you? She was the first one to run down and see what happened, where the tree went.

For over 1,000 years, it did all right, tucked on to a slope near the creek, with a friend of nearly the stature just at it's side. Why it picked this year, 2017, as the year to die, I don't know. Don't know how hard it tried to hang on, or if it even had a chance. I just know that it's gone.

The forest evolves, trees die, new trees grow. The river changes every season. There are some things, though, that are never coming back once they're gone. The tree grew during the middle ages, during holy wars between muslims and christians. Not sure what was there before it.  Now when we walk to its spot in the woods, heading down the hill towards the creek, we're blinded by a huge burst of sunlight where before it was always dark. The silver lining, sun blindness and a tremendous pit where it's roots used to be. I don't know how that is a silver lining, but isn't that what you're supposed to try and find in a situation like this?

27 January 2017

Limited edition, new shirt! Order by 2/3/17 or it's gone.

Buy it now, mens, womens and long sleeve mens. Limited edition means after next Thursday 2/3/17, it is gone forever so get it while you can.

100% of the profits go to Planned Parenthood, let's help them out this week since things aren't looking good for them. More shirts coming, different non profits will profit. Off we go.

Order now: https://teespring.com/love-trumps-hate-4515

26 January 2017

Limited edition free Trumperstickers.

To get yours, end an email to laurah at plasticdisaster.com and tell me where you think an excellent place for stickering Trumperstickers would be. If it makes me smile I’ll give you the address to send a SELF ADDRESSED STAMPED ENVELOPE to get your stickers.

First come first served and slow service.

If I run out, well, hell, I told you, LIMITED EDITION. Sorry about that!

Stickers are of course ©2017 Laura Hartwick/Team Small Dog who of course does not condone illegal sticker placements.

21 January 2017

Yes we can, Women's March against Trump.

Our March was small, only about 10,000 marchers. I believe the population of Santa Cruz is around 60,000. An entire sea of people and signs flowing through all the streets of downtown. I wish I had photos of so many amazing hand made signs. All my friends were there, all my neighbors, Otterpop, and all citizens who wanted to express that Trump is Not our President.

I'm not sure where we go from here, but the sheer numbers of people like me in hundreds of cities who came out in one day to announce together that the new president does not reflect our values and our beliefs, that's an awful lot of voices. The march in some cities was so big that they didn't even fit to march, they packed all the streets and could do nothing but be there, stand to be counted.

All totaled, more than a million people across the country stood up and marched to say that yes, we can stand up for what we believe in.  And yes, we will continue to do so.

17 January 2017

Free poster for you, carry proudly in the Women's March on Washington.

You're marching, right? Even if you're not in Washington, I bet a city near you has a Women's March on Saturday. Hundreds of thousands of women will be marching, in Washington and in every single state of the union that day. The point is, to send a bold message to our new administration on their first day in office, and to the world, that women's rights are human rights.

Since, among so many other things, the new president thinks it's allright to grab ladies by the pussy. Maybe you knitted your pink pussy ear hat. I didn't. I can't knit. It's cool.

We'll be marching in the Santa Cruz march at 1:30pm, starting at Santa Cruz City Hall. If you want to park near my house and walk there with me, me and Otterpop are leaving at 1pm sharp. Otterpop is the best parade dog. The other dogs are staying home. Otterpop can ride in my backpack if it's too crazy down there. Gustavo's afraid of loud noises and I'm pretty sure Banksy would blow all of her gaskets out in that kind of mayhem.

Here's a file you can print if you need a poster. I left a blank spot so you can add anything else to this you want. A little paint, some pens, some glitter, you're good to go. I'm covering mine with clear packing tape because it's supposed to rain.

The files will be a little blurry since I made them shrimpy for ez downloading. But just trace over all the lines with a black sharpie and you're good.

Here's the 11x17" file.

Here's the 18x24" file.

15 January 2017

Dog Training Tips for the NewRegime, Dominance theory is the new black!

Hey dog trainers! Too busy to read the news and train your dogs in the busy week leading up to the inauguration? Guess what? Now you can download 8 useful dog training tips for the NewRegime right here in FREE E-BOOK format! You are welcome!

03 January 2017

The ethics are now disbanded, gloves are off, just do it.

They have voted to disband the ethics. Screw it. Dog training, we're done.

From now on, if Banksy finds a box in the bushes full of one thousand rotten sandwiches by the railroad tracks, go for it. Eat them all. Resource guard away. Eat in excess til you heave your insides out your eyeballs, heave them all over the bedclothes.

Gustavo, if you want to run out the crack in the front gate and run away to the neighbor's house looking for the skunk, just do it. Go for it. See ya' later. Was nice knowing you.

Otterpop. Free reign for evil. You want to climb on the footstool and enjoy my dinner? Sample a ravioli and knock over the wineglass? Be my guest. Bite the UPS guy? Have at it. Bark at the asshat aussie that walks by every single morning and will probably be released by their ethics committee anyway to tear your throat out next time it sees you on the corner? There you go. Your swamp is drained and you can be the alligator lurking in the mud, springing out with wild glee to do your damage. Enjoy and win it all.

Ruby will abide. She's asleep on her chair. I will carry her down the stairs again before I leave the house. She squats, she pees, and I carry her back up. Good morning, and good night.

02 January 2017

2017, here we are.

Now it's 2017.

We spent New Years at a dog show. Banksy ran pretty great. We messed up in places, but she always runs pretty great. Banksy hates laying on the tables and waiting on a startline. Other than that, she's amazing.

Gooey had three runs. He ran amazing. He had all E's. If I see him starting to go around something, I don't fix, we just keep going. He runs very, very fast, and is very, very happy to do it and each run he ran by one jump, and I didn't care a lick. Gooey is pretty great.

Ruby came with us. Of course Otterpop did too. Ruby sat in the car and got out for tiny, shaky walks. That's pretty much her whole life right now, sleep and take shaky little walks. Otterpop did her usual thing. She's losing her hearing, and her knees look worse, and she wanted to spend most of her time in the car, in her bed, wearing a her big fluffy coat. So that's what Otterpop did.

In 2017, Banksy will turn 3, exactly. Gustavo will turn 11ish. Otterpop will turn 14ish. Ruby will turn 17ish. I will turn 50ish. We are all feeling our ages.

I have all these golden sunlight photos in my phone from dawn and dusk. They always look a little creepy to me, the dawn and dusk light photos, like someone's pointing a hose of yellow so bright as to squint you, at all the subjects.

Nothing gold can stay. If my words did glow, with the gold of sunshine. Stay gold, Ponyboy.

2017, coming in with that fool's gold. Be careful and don't blink. Move fast if anybody starts throwing glitter. 2017 is going to keep us on our toes.