Sunday, December 30, 2012

Rest in Peace, Otis

Our good pal, Otis, made his final journey yesterday.
He and his Ma Ape are very special to us here at the estate.
Otis hasn't blogged in a while, but his brother, Wally, was one of the very first ever dog bloggers.
We're going to miss you so much, big goofy bowling ball head, slobbery guy.
You can visit his blog here.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Sulking Saturday

There are limited safe zones on house cleaning day.

Dexter done!

Friday, December 28, 2012

On the Subject of Mango Minster

Hey Dexter! You want to help me choose judges for Mango Minster 2013?

What? I thought we were canceling the show.

No, I don't recall saying that. I think you would make a great MC.

I can't argue there. In fact with me as MC, the overall quality of the commentary would be vastly improved.

So you'll do it?

Sorry, no. It IS "Mango" Minster after all. Don't push your luck. You don't want to Jump the Shark. 

Well, maybe you're right. Hang on, what if I did a Mango Minster 2013 Special Rainbow Bridge Edition? It could like totally have only Rainbow Bridge dogs in it.

Dead dog Mango Minster? That's messed up.... even for you.

OK, you win. Mango Minster 2013 is officially cancelled.

Now what? Are you crying momma?

Oh Dexter, I miss Mango so much and I always loved Mango Minster even though it strained my mentals to the point of breaking.

How about a compromise? You can do a short history of Mango Minster (yes, on MY blog) and even use your blue italicized words.

You would let me do that?

Who loves momma best?

Thanks, buddy, here goes...

For any new readers, who never experienced Mango Minster, here is a link to the blog. I have the posts categorized by year and, of course, the special adventures can all be seen by clicking on the "mayhem" tag. 

Here's a short retrospective of four great shows.

Mango Minster grew out of my frustration with Westminster and the annoying partiality in the Best in Show category towards certain breeds (did somebody say Wire Fox Terrier?). I figured, a good joke, with some of my blogging pals. No biggie. So in 2009, Mango Minster was born (scheduled to coincide with that other dog show). I recruited some of my blogging pals to act as judges and we were away. The response was overwhelming (110 entries). Wow!

Mango Minster 2009 Best in Show

Friends sent me some impromptu photoshop images that got me to thinking about making a photoshop adventure a permanent fixture for the following year.

That first year was kind of expensive (I did all the awards and prizes) so for year two I started soliciting sponsors. Again, great support and I quickly filled the slots for all the awards.

Entry was still just "submit a photo" in 2010 and the number of contestants ballooned to well over 200, forcing some categories to be broken out into boys and girls (for the sanity of the judges). 2010 also included the opening of the official Mango Minster store (thank you Country Corgis). I still have my Mango Minster 2010 sweatshirt. In fact I'm wearing it now. Hehehe.

Mango Minster 2010 Best in Show

Moose Mom did a bang up job assisting with the photoshop adventure.

I usually solicited judges in the last week of the year. I assure you that ALL the judges comments and decisions were always entirely theirs. The hardest job for judges was listening to my hysterical rants as deadlines approached, late entries were dealt with, and the photoshop adventure seemed like it would never be done.

In 2011, I did my best to limit the work of the judges by requiring contestants to write posts about themselves. I also closed each category after just 20 entries (well, OK, I stretched it a bit). The complexity of the big adventures also increased (what fun). Try putting together a photoshop adventure as an internet "team" with other crazy dog ladies if you want mental fits.

Mango Minster 2011 Best in Show

Abby, self appointed Guardian of Ethics for Mango Minster played a pivotal role in unearthing less than stellar behavior on the part of some contestants and (gasp) judges. 

Not totally immune to the charms of cracker dog Loki, her integrity was near compromised.

And finally, Mango Minster 2012. All the thrills, all the excitement. Totally the BEST Mango Minster. For real.

Mango Minster 2012 Best in Show

I think my photoshop skills improved over the years. This is my favorite MM adventure photo ever. 

Water skiing on the Kansas Ocean!

You know it! Oh yeah!

Never say never, but for this year, I'll let Mango Minster take a breather. It was a wonderful ride. I am forever grateful to all the sponsors, judges, contestants, and fans. Despite the hard work, Mango Minster was a joyful experience which allowed me to make new dog blog pals and get to know some of the humans (meaning noble souls who agreed to judge) a little better.

To see more, visit the Mango Minster blog and enjoy.

Mango Momma

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

I Get Boots (and it's not all bad)

Momma: Dexter! I bought you a present!

Me: What? I didn't think we did that whole gift exchange thing at the holidays.

Momma: Well, that's true. But remember, the rule is that if you see something that you think somebody really wants, then you can get it. No strings.

Me: Oh boy! Is it a membership in the Bacon of the Month Club?

Momma: Not exactly. Something even better.

Me: Better than bacon?

Momma: Yup, I got you BOOTS! Fido Fleece Boots to be precise.

Me: Why on earth would you think I wanted boots?

Momma: Because sometimes the road salt they use to melt snow hurts your feet. You walk like you don't want any of your feet touching the ground. That has to be uncomfortable. Tell me the truth.

Me: The truth? You can't handle the truth! Momma, we live in a world that has humans. And those humans have to be protected from their own torpidity. Who's gonna do it? You? You, momma? I have a greater responsibility than you can possibly fathom. You weep over the snow and you curse the ice. You have that luxury. You have the luxury of not knowing what I know: that walking in inclement weather, while inconvenient, probably keeps your bottom from getting as wide as Lacie's. And my existence, while trying and incomprehensible to you...

Momma: WTF Dex? Were your watching "A Few Good Dogs" on Netflix again? Besides, I'm not returning them. Do you know how many pairs I went through before I found something that fit your big clown feet?

Me: Excuse me?

Momma: Besides, no boots, no walks.

Me: Blackmail for Christmas. Nice.

10 minutes later...

I hope Rocky the Shih Tzu doesn't see me. He'll tell everyone I'm a wuss.

Momma: Just start walking. You won't even know you have them on.

Me: Oh, I'll know. 

One mile later...

Me: Hey! These boots aren't half bad. Take a movie, Momma.

Momma: OK.

Me: Now POST IT! Do I have to do everything around here?

Momma: Oops. Sorry, pal, I posted it here.

Me: I have to admit, I look kind of sporty. Almost like a rugged action dog. Hey Momma, do you think R wears boots? R is my hero.

Momma: Well, Dex, I don't think they have road salt in the mountains where he lives, but I'll bet he wears boots when it is really cold and snowy.

Me: Cool. Post my photo! Post my photo!

I am a rugged adventure dog, just like R!

Momma: So did you like wearing them?

Me: I have to admit, my feet did stay nice and dry and even though I never complained, that road salt did hurt sometimes. Thanks, I love them.

Momma: Great! Because I ordered you a set of high tops for when the snow and slush is really deep. 

Me: Ruh roh.

Dexter done!

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

A Festive Tour of our Estate

Hello friends. Today I am going to take you on a short, festive tour of our holiday decorations.

First, I want to say that momma had a bit of an arithmetic challenge this year and did not buy enough cards for all my friends. So for those of you who missed out, here is my official holiday photo (looking my most labradorable).

Look at all the beautiful cards I received (yes, there are a couple in there for momma and master).

Momma really jams them in so that she can see them all from her comfy chair, but she tried not to cover any faces up. You might need to bigify to find yours, but trust me, they are all there and accounted for.

Thank you so much.

We always get a little tabletop tree. Easier for momma to decorate. I think she did a decent job this year.

That angel on top is in honor of Grandpa Angus. It's an Airedale!

Under the tree are some of momma's little holiday birds.

Momma just bought this tarted up cardinal yesterday (I fear her bird fever might start to approximate the snowman fever at Frankie and Ernie's estate - better keep an eye on her).

And of course our dogtivity. Sorry, gentle readers, but this is now an official collector's item as it is no longer in production. 

Mango's portrait gets hidden away every year (but Beautiful Raja gets to stay on the wall) to make room for a lovely quilted tapestry that Momma picked up at her annual work place charity auction.

There are some ornaments that one wishes to admire and they can get buried in the tree. We have an ornament tree for those. Uh oh, more birds, but also a cool Dexter ornament that Norwood's momma made just for me.

The folks at the bird store gave us this (momma says because they love us but I think it is because we buy about 20 pounds of bird food every week). In any case, tradition dictates that you put the seeds out for the birds as a special treat today.

Finally, yours truly, all cozy with my glittery sled and happy wreath.

Dexter done!

P.S. I am carrying on the blogville tradition of disabling comments for the holiday. Just enjoy, stay safe,  and have a wonderful time with your friends and family.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Adventure Walkie in the Woods and Other Places

I have many photos from today's adventure walk as well as a short video, so I will endeavor to keep my commentary crisp.

Today's walk started in the woods behind our estate. One might think that we would take advantage of that venue more often, but momma has declared it to be "tick city" and will not set foot there until "those blood sucking parasites are good and frozen."

For woodland walks, momma allows me to utilize my extra long string. This is intended to provide more freedom of movement, but as you can see, there are frequent handler errors.

Control tower to Labrador. We have detected pilot error. 

I am dismayed by the amount of furniture in the woods. On today's walk, in addition to this living room set, we counted three couches, two mattresses, a snow plow, and a television. It isn't as if dumping here is convenient. In fact one wonders how it actually gets into the woods as the path is not exactly automobile friendly.

Momma is a little bit afraid of this bridge because you can see the traffic right through the boards. 

Not yours truly who can be seen here doing a bit of a jig to demonstrate my excellent balance and fearlessness.

I feel like a ballerina. 

Oh momma, are you really posting this photo? She just loves the fact that I can engage in "free range" poops (meaning not to be picked up). Lazy, that's what she is.

A little privacy please.

I was certain we would have to turn back when we encountered this tree taking a snooze across the trail. So imagine my surprise when momma scrambled over it (albeit rather gracelessly) with only minor bruising to her tender and decidedly nonathletic person. 

Ruh roh. 

We emerged from the wooded wonderland onto one of the main thoroughfares in our community and I thought we might journey home along the highway to see what other things there would be to explore.

Here I sit in front of a vexing facility. While I have grown accustomed to signs forbidding close examination, the dangling sentence on the sign gave me pause. "Framingham water works...."

Works how? Works at what? I wonder if vandals stole the punchline.

Maybe with more tax revenue they could finish their sentences. 

A parrot on a stick. Now there's something you don't see every day.

Hello, birdie. 

Uh oh, this is the scary underpass under the Massachusetts State Turnpike. You all know that my estate used to be on the turnpike, right? I assure you, it is a true statement. 

In 1955, when the turnpike was constructed, the Commonwealth arranged to move our cozy cottage from its original location to the spot that it now resides. They did a great job too. The house is nice and square and plumb. Speaking of plumbs, I admit that I was getting a bit peckish at this point (somebody neglected to bring good dog hot dogs along).

That's a kind of small bridge for all that traffic. Do you think it's safe?

As promised, a short, but exciting video of yours truly walking under the turnpike. It made some peculiar sounds, but I was really not too bothered (I think momma the more nervous of the two of us).

Oh dear, it seems the video will not play on iPad versions of Safari. Well, you'll have to use your imagination (or go to the big computer).

Did you see that plastic bag I was snuffling? Momma came this close to opening it up to investigate, but then she decided not to. I can't blame her. What if it had been filled with, let's say "organic material of unknown origin" or contraband. She would have been compelled to interrupt our walk to alert the authorities. Unacceptable.

Back in familiar territory, it seems that this little tableau arrived on our village green (don't even get momma started on what she thinks about that). 

Ah yes, alert readers should recognize that chap.

This little guy has a Tibetan name which I can never remember. Kind of odd when you consider that he is an American Eskimo dog.

But not something I pondered for long as his master just so happened to have a pocket full of cookies and that peckish sensation in my belly had blossomed into full out hunger. Thank goodness some humans are always prepared.

Hurry up, nice human, I'm kind of teetering on the edge of starvation now.

Heading for home, as we passed the bagel shop, a stranger lady rushed out, came up to us and said "I'm a wreck! I just put my dog to sleep three days ago." Oh wow. She looked awful too. Momma listened to her (my momma has a lot of faults, but she is a good listener) and asked her questions about her dog and the lady talked and talked and I even let her cuddle and smoochie me (despite being normally rather aloof with strangers).

 I think we helped that lady. That made me and momma very happy. Kind of the spirit of the season, right?

Dexter done!

P.S. For my pal, Goldie. Are you reading this? Maybe mama and papa can get you an outfit like this for next year.

Friday, December 21, 2012

A New Fashion Low

We're having a bit of a weather event, here at the estate. Big, fat rain, howling wind, and a chill in the air.

In preparation for today's walkies, momma put on about 87 layers of clothes, topped with her rubber shoes, her waterproof fisherman pants, and alarmingly bright jacket. 

I believe this sets a new standard for all dorky dog moms out there.

Great self portrait momma. Face forward, OK, but your eyes rolling around like a nutter are a dead giveaway that you're admiring own image on that iPad of yours.

Of course, one can rise above being seen out with a human of alarming visage when the end result is a nice two mile walkie. In fact, given that every inch of momma, save her face, was warm and dry, she was actually quite giddy and festive.

And what about yours truly? Need you ask? 

I am, after all, a water dog. 

I savored each and every puddle.

I apologize for the blurry picture. It was taken with momma's prehistoric flip phone.

Note that I am wearing my festive glow collar. My rule is that if the cars driving by have on their headlights, then I want to be wearing something bright. One cannot be too safe, right?

Dexter done!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

A Poem for Beastie

For almost five years,
You have accused me,
Of forgetting my dentures occasionally.

I wouldn't throw stones,
Oh Beast with large ass,
For it seems your uppers are still in their glass.

Dexter done!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Hooray for Honey and Notes on Grey Hair

Last week it seemed that all of blogland was holding its breath waiting to see how Miss Honey would do with her surgery. She had an eyeball that was getting ready to explode. Her humans had tried everything they could to save her eye. You see, Miss Honey was a very risky patient for surgery because (a) she is a giant dog (b) she is a senior citizen - sorry Honey, but it's true and (c) she has a bad heart.

Well, the good news is that the surgery went fine, out came Honey's eyeball, and home she went.

Apparently Honey's humans were a bit put off by her appearance upon her return to their estate.

Yes, she does look different, but I think even more beautiful than ever, don't you?

Now, I have the results of a scientific investigation for you. Ready?

First, a little lesson in Airedale furs.

When Airedales are babies, they have black on their faces as demonstrated here by my friend, Molly, in one of her baby pictures. Awwwww....

But here she is now (playing catch the popcorn with brother Mitch) and nary a black fur in sight on her lovely face.

Got it? Baby Airedales, black face, grown up Airedales, brown face.

Let us continue.

It seems that my good friend, Miss Sunshade is getting puppy face. Now Sunshade is, well, a senior citizen dale who has had some fairly serious sickies. In the photo montage below, you can see Sunshade a year ago with her nice brown snooter, and below, today, with black puppy face.

I mentioned Sunshade's sickies because when I recently saw my human Auntie (who is even older than Momma if you can believe that) she was sporting a full head of thick, curly, dark hair, with no grey in sight.

Imagine how huffy momma was given that "brown" is only a memory on her noggin. 

Curiously, my human Auntie, although now fully recovered, was in a coma for several days earlier this year with terrible sickies.

What is going on here? What is it about sickies that makes one revert to the hair / fur of youth?

Well, says I, time to consult a hair specialist. And who better than Alberto? We usually see Alberto busy practicing his hair alchemy when we are out on walkies and I know that he went to hair college and everything, so I sent Momma in for a consult (I opted to wait outside given my visceral response to anything that even smells like it might involve a bath).

Go ask Alberto, but leave me out of it. 

And what did we learn? It seems that lack of oxygen causes human hairs to turn grey. Not only that, but they turn grey all at once, from stem to stern, from tip to tail, from dinner bowl to poop bag.

That's why you don't see humans sporting grey roots (well unless they're growing out a bad dye job).

And what, I asked myself, could this have to do with serious sickies and baby hair? I believe the conclusion is obvious. Serious sickies must cause overproduction of healthy goo in one's innards which will thereby overstimulate the hair follicles into thinking that they are once again young and spry. In fact it wouldn't surprise me if humans and doggies who have recovered from bad sickies also have better skin. Just a thought (should have run my magnifying glass over Auntie's face when she was here).

On a final note, if lack of oxygen and other life giving sources causes the grey, then what does it mean that I, Dexter, am already sporting grey furs on my labrachin?

Hopefully not an early warning that my entire lower jaw is about to drop off. That would be seriously inconvenient.

I actually think my grey whiskers make me look dignified.

Dexter done!

Monday, December 10, 2012

A New Pal and Commentary on Commentary

I want to introduce to you one of my newest blogging pals. Her name is Georgia Little Pea. Isn't she lovely? She lives in the mythical land of Australia. I have several friends who claim to live in that same location. I'm not quite sure where they actually reside. Possibly somewhere outside the Rt. 495 force field. 

Please stop by and give Georgia a big old DWB howdy do. You can visit her here

Now on to the topic of Momma's blue, italicized post of the other day. While she was quite appreciative of all your comments, I, for one, was slightly perturbed when she took the opportunity of posting her Mango gifts to lament her decidedly limited ability to transcribe my words.

It is not easy for an erudite chap such as yours truly to be saddled with a secretary whose vocabulary tends towards HBO words and meaningless exclamatories. 

Take, for example, our recent exchange regarding captioning a walkie photo.

Momma: Oh Dexter, what shall we caption this photo?

Me: I suggest "Acquiescent canine demonstrates extreme imperturbability when asked to assume pose."

Momma: Imperta what what what? WTF did you just say?

Me: Just type it.

Momma: Maybe you meant "Check out this big dude. Good thing he's chained up or he would take off like a total giant nightmare holiday terror."

Me: It is an inanimate object, foolish woman. Let's try to get past this whole pretending thing and stick with reality.

Momma: Who're you calling foolish? I have THUMBS, you know! Besides your readers love to see you posed with the soldier every year. They've been all begging for it.

Me: Which readers might those be?

Momma: All of them! Like 87 thousand. Totally. I HAD to take that photo.

Me: Post it if you must. I'll be listening to the BBC when you're done.

Momma: Yeah, that's right, run away. Leave the blogging to me. I don't think like a lab, you know. It isn't easy to read your thoughts.

And so, friends, we have the photo itself (captioned by momma).

Black dog with absurdly large holiday decoration (which might emit a gigantic
fart at any moment therein which melting its chains and freeing
it to crush said black dog and terrorize our little village).

Dexter done!