Tuesday, December 19, 2006


That Blinkin' Dog

As we rapidly approach the winter solstice, our days are getting shorter and shorter. And when it comes to walking the dog, that usually means it's done in the dark. Early morning walks are done before sunrise and after work walks are carried out after the sun sets. That means safety becomes an issue.

I only walk Oreo occasionally (as per section 1(a).2 of my Reluctant Dog Owner's Agreement) but even I've noticed that you have to be careful of cars when walking the dog when it's dark outside. Apart from drivers not bothering with stop signs, stoplights and the like, it's difficult for them to see pedestrians and dogs.

Cheryl has come up with a solution that she saw at the local dog run. It's a flashing red light that affixes to Oreo's collar and warns one and all that a three-foot high something is coming in their direction. As Cheryl says, she now can truthfully say that she has to take "that blinkin' dog" for a walk.

On the doggie playdate front, it sounds like Oreo may have had a frustrating playdate today. Cheryl dropped him off in the backyard of his good pal Mickey without checking to see if Mickey's owner Sandra had let him out. It may be that Sandra forgot and thus Oreo and Mickey may have spent a couple of hours barking at one another through the closed back door. Here's hoping no neighbors were home this morning!

Wednesday, December 13, 2006



It suddenly dawned on me today why Oreo doesn't always do as we want. I suspect it's a simple linguistic misunderstanding. As in, we speak English and Oreo speaks Portguese Water Dog.

So I probably shouldn't get that upset when Oreo puts his front paws on the bed or the sofa and wants to get up. I'm shouting "Down, Oreo. Get down!" I'm not entirely sure but I have a feeling that those words loosely translate into Portuguese Water Dog as "Come on up, Oreo. Come on up!"

Likewise when I take Oreo for the occasional walk and order him to "Heel! Walk next to me Oreo!", I suspect that what he hears in PWD is "Take off! Run fast and pull hard on the leash!"

I'm unaware of an English-PWD - PWD-English dictionary but surely one exists. And once I find a copy, I think Oreo and I are going to get along a whole lot better.

Thursday, December 07, 2006


Oreo Moves to the Kitchen

It's been a week since I've posted. I just read a piece on Cam Stracher's blog "Dinner with Dad" about their new puppy which reminded me that it was time to update the ongoing saga of life with Oreo.

The major change in Oreo's life was precipitated by the purchase of our first (and with any luck our last) artificial Christmas tree. The debate had been ongoing for years as to whether we should go natural or artificial. You know the arguments - both have their pluses and minuses. Well, we finally took the plunge and the pseudo-tree now stands proudly trimmed and lit in the living room in front of the window.

Unfortunately for Oreo, the tree has taken over the spot where his doggie bed usually goes. So for the holiday season, Sarah and Cheryl have moved his bed underneath the kitchen table. It didn't take him long to get used to the new location and he now flakes out around 9 P.M. even when the kitchen lights are still on.

If I'm passing through the kitchen, I try to remember to turn the lights off to help poor Oreo get to sleep. Tonight, however, was not the most restful evening for the pup since I was slaving away at the kitchen sink trying to replace the CO2 cartridge in the single lever, washerless faucet. This is a chore that has to be carried out every five or six years when the old cartridge nears empty and the faucet becomes more and more difficult to lift. Since we were fast approaching the stage where it takes two hands to lift the lever, I knew the cartridge had to be replaced soon.

Rather than wait until Saturday to do this chore, I succumbed to a wave of obsessiveness and tackled the job tonight. It's not really that difficult a task. And given that I've done it a couple of times before, it should have been fairly straightforward. But since I am lacking the handyman gene and because I can't remember how I did it five years ago, it's always an adventure.

This time was no exception. Although I thought I had done the job properly, when I turned the water back on, somehow I had reversed the hot and cold positions for the single lever faucet. Eventually I managed to reverse them back but I didn't get the lever functioning properly. Since the faucet basically worked OK, I left it as is - but not for long. A half hour later, I attacked the tap again and through a combination of luck, skill and magic, I got the faucet working as it did before.

All this to say that Oreo was not having the most restful sleep under the kitchen table while his master was grunting, groaning and swearing at the sink not six feet away. He would rouse himself occasionally and stare up at me with that look that said: "What the heck are you doing?" Which, given my limited success with the faucet repair, was a fair question.

But now all is well in the Martin household. The faucet has been repaired and Oreo is sleeping peacefully in a darkened kitchen while I type out this latest tale of handyman heroics. But even though Oreo's bed has moved, his preferences have not changed. Which means that sometime before morning, I'm likely to find him comfortably asleep atop the living room sofa.

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