Playing with the Dog — What a Treat!

ANSWER TO LAST WEEK’S MYSTERY

Congratulations to Robin, who indeed guessed correctly that Ryan was the thief.  Here’s what happened:

When Daisy told Ryan about the missing dress, he guessed the exact price.  This means he had to have seen the price tag up close–as in when he was stealing the dress.

When asked about it, Ryan admitted he was jealous of Rita’s success and needed her to have a reputation-damaging experience or two.  Also, he considered Mrs. Winger his prospect and didn’t want her to work with Rita May Designs.

And why did Mallory walk away?  She was in a new relationship and the cell phone call was from her new boyfriend.  Daisy could surely understand this, but Rita made a note to work with Mal on her honesty issues.

Now, on to other items …

PROPHET LEADS AGAIN

Two dogs play chase at Chatfield State park.

Prophet & Kuma playing chase at Chatfield State Park.

Yesterday, while we were at Chatfield State Park,  Prophet showed me I’m an old dog that needs a few new tricks. I had forgotten his dog food, which I usually use as a reward for fetching a ball we use for exercise.  The wind was up a bit and the temperature down a bit, so I didn’t feel much like throwing anyway.  So we wandered the dry, gold land, just enjoying the sun.

Recently, my husband read a book where he learned that army dog trainers use tone of voice for clearer communications with their dogs.  Low tones connote alpha behavior, while high-pitched “baby talk” is used to reward and excite dogs.  Hmm…Interesting.  Would this work with Prophet?

As we wandered I would call him in my usual happy tone.  Occasionally, he looked up, but generally kept sniffing at or chewing on wild grass and dog poo.  Then I used a deep voice, and Proph came running.  How cool is that?

Later, I called again, and again my dog ran up to me.  This time, when he arrived, I got down on one knee and hugged, laughed, kissed, and squealed my delight with my doggie. Proph responded by coming so close you’d think he wanted to jump inside my skin.

Suddenly we were rolling on the ground, with me laughing and him panting.  Great stuff!

It was then that Prophet decided to take the lead in our play–literally! He rooted around the doggie pack I keep with me whenever we go for walks.  The pack usually contains treats, but is also good for carrying extra poo-bags, park dog pass, and Prophet’s leash (you must have all these things in order to be a patron of good standing with the state parks).  I keep the leash clipped to the outside of the doggie pack for easy access.  You never know when Prophet’s enthusiastic play will be interpreted as aggression from other dogs or dog owners.

Prophet grabbed the leash in his mouth and started tugging.  Soon he was at the handler’s end of the leash with me at the clip end.  He took off at a trot, strong enough to make me run after him, but he didn’t run full-out.  He was dragging me into doing some nice cardio work!  I could almost sense my guy coaching me along.  When I’d had enough (after about 20 feet of all out running on my part), I stopped.  Proph understood I was out of breath, but he looked at me as if to say,”Okay for today, but you’re way out of shape.  We need to do this again, soon.”

When I got home, I was curious about whether running is a dog’s favorite game, so I looked it up on-line.  Didn’t determine for sure, but I found a great site I bookmarked for future game ideas. Shiba Shake is a website I plan to return to often.

How’s your pet today?  Are you two having fun?  I hope so.

Out in the Cold–With Prophet

The weather report on my computer said ten degrees.  The temperature on my car dash generously reported thirteen.  I grabbed the long-johns, ski pants, scarf, hats, two pairs of gloves, and, oh yeah, the dog.  Time for Prophet’s morning walk.

Taking your dog for a walk when the weather is bad may be one of the most difficult jobs for dog caregivers.  For me, unlike my healthy friend, Daisy Arthur, cold weather is a real threat.  I have had chronic bronchitis for nearly 45 years, ever since I walked home from school in inappropriate clothing and weather cold enough to make the most hearty among us run for a scarf.

Still, I skipped Proph’s walk yesterday (the temperature was listed as seven on my computer weather report) so I really needed to get my guy to the park.  After all, he needed to wear off the bits of chicken that “fell” to the floor, the marshmallows snuck from my bowl and whatever else it was that made his tummy so grumbly this morning. I forgot my camera to illustrate today’s post.

Miracles are part of this special time of year, and today we had ours. The walk was easier than I’d expected, and we bumped into a few friends along the way. Have you ever noticed that when you force yourself to do something good, good things usually happen to you?  For me, I was okay with the weather–amazing how proper dress keeps a person feeling good.  Then, Prophet actually played nicely with a little German short hair who chased and ran off a little excess Christmas energy.

We also bumped into Indy and her caregiver, John, who has become more and more of a friend over time.  This past fall, John was the one who brought apples from his fruit tree.  We loved them.  Indy is a shepherd mix, but probably a good 60 pounds shy of Prophet’s 115.

Proph and I are back home now.  My cheeks, while not glowing, feel fresh from the cold, and my fingers are okay.  I am breathing easy and looking forward to a nice cup of tea.  The snow was lovely to walk through.  Denver and Littleton had a “white Christmas” without any blizzard or other hazardous over-the-top snow and sleet to wreck the spirit.

Sometimes, Christmas doesn’t have to be a big, lalapalooza of an event.  Sometimes the holiday season is special just for the snow, the smiles and the walks with your dog.

Prophet’s First Birthday Party Invitation

There is no doubt that Daisy’s dog, Thunder, is based on my own, Prophet.  I don’t know how I can add a doggie-welcome birthday party to any of my Daisy stories, but the concept is just too delightful not to record.

The invitation came by email.  My neighbor’s granddaughter was in town for a week, and a good deal of that time was going to be taken up with three special birthdays–my neighbor’s daughter and each of her two granddaughters had celebrations.  I would love to tell you the little girls’ names, they are so precious, but I try not to use even first names of people under 18.  I’m all about safety, even on the internet.

Prophet the dog, dressed up with doggie treats

Anything for a doggie treat. Party on!

“Tomorrow is (my granddaughter’s) birthday and I was wondering if you could bring Prophet over for a short visit,” said the note. “We just thought it would be fun for (her) if Prophet was a surprise guest at her birthday party.  She just loves him and talks about him constantly!”

Hello toy store!  I love the excuse to go into a toy shop, see the latest goodies and pick up something “I always wanted” as a kid.  I picked up a little something for each of the children and headed over.  I tried to have Proph lug the packages, but couldn’t find his doggie hiking pack and so we walked over with the gifts in a terrific fold up shopping bag I have.  Just before ringing the doorbell, I stuck the bag of gifts around Proph’s neck.

Between the time the doorbell rang and they answered–all of about 10 seconds–Proph managed to get a paw stuck in the bag with the goodies.  Our first five minutes were spent in de-tangling Prophet from the toys. Luckily, nothing was damaged and everyone remained calm.

Then Proph realized he was in heaven.  Three little people were all over him and he knew he was the star of the event.  He laid down and let the little fingers run all over his body. Then, for all the hard work of laying down and not licking too much he got treats.  Lots of doggie treats. What dog could ask for more?

Soon we went outside.  Prophet played hide-n-seek, one of his favorite games, then lick whichever child wasn’t watching and eat one of the girls’ soccer balls–the pretty one in pink and black.  We scooped up the ball and put it into an old kennel that was at least two sizes too small for Prophet to fit in, and let the play proceed.

Prophet helped clean up in the yard of anything interesting to sniff.  He found an old steak bone, no doubt a treasure acquired by the fox who has been known to nest in my neighbor’s yard, and carried the thing around for all to see.  We took that away and he got more treats.

Later, Proph performed his tricks for the children–sit, bang! fall down, say grace, and an attempt at roll-over.  The last one was hard, as Proph is about twenty-five pounds heavier than an ideal 85.  Still, he got over once, and this was a party, so no watching calories for him on that day.  More treats.

At last, there were photos.  Even the littlest guy, a toddler who wasn’t quite sure about a beast who could look him in the eye laying down and has teeth as large as the pictures of the big bad wolf patted away and smiled for the camera.  And of course, you guessed it, Proph had to have payment for sitting still–surprise–more treats!

We went home, and Prophet fell right asleep. Parties are hard work, I guess, for good doggies like Prophet.

One time I had to make grain-free treats for my dog.  We were testing him for allergies, so the vet encouraged me to make my own version with oat flour.  I am not known as a great cook (that is a post all in itself), but my dog, picky eater though he may be–not!–loved this recipe I adapted from The Doggy Bone Cookbook:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 cup water
  • 3 cups oat flour
  • 1 cup oatmeal
  • 3 tablespoons molasses

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. In a large bowl mix your wet ingredients, then slowly add the dry.  Pretty standard cookie steps. When you have an oatmeal cookie look going on in the bowl, scoop out melon-ball sized treats and stick ’em on a cookie sheet.  Pop them into the oven for about 35 minutes.  They taste rather bland for people, but my dog loved ’em, and the cooking makes the house smell nice and homey.

Have fun and happy party times with your own doggie.