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Friday, July 21, 2006

Dog Dreams

Honey has started wagging her tail in her sleep lately and it is very cute. I've heard about other dogs doing this but I've only seen sleeping dogs run, whimper - or even growl a little bit. It makes me feel good to see the sleeping tail wag - it makes Honey seem so content.

I don't know what dogs dream about (and, through the magic of google, it doesn't look like anyone else does either) but, it sounds like dogs - like us - dream in REM sleep and you aren't supposed to wake them. If they seem traumatized by the dream, (perhaps a previously abused dog) one site recommended making some small noise that will change the dog's dream but not take them completely out of the deeper sleep. Honey? I think she's dreaming of treats and walks - she doesn't seem to be looking for interruption.

While looking around through dog dreams, I also learned a little bit about what it means when people dream about dogs. Out of the Ten Thousand Dreams Interpreted, there are over 20 about dreams with dogs. Apparently, you need to pay close attention to the dogs in your dreams, because the interpretations are pretty specific:

-To hear the growling and snarling of dogs, indicates that you are at the mercy of designing people, and you will be afflicted with unpleasant home surroundings. (That sounds reasonable and almost obvious - you hear fighting which turns to snarling dogs in your dreams)

- To feel much fright upon seeing a large mastiff, denotes that you will experience inconvenience because of efforts to rise above mediocrity. If a woman dreams this, she will marry a wise and humane man. (Hmm...less obvious, and, actually, kind of strange.)

- To dream that a dog kills a cat in your presence, is significant of profitable dealings and some unexpected pleasure. (And now I think we're getting the interpreter's feelings toward cats - or is that just me?)

When you read enough of them, you realize you're safer keeping dogs out of your thoughts when you go to sleep. Stick to sheep.


The guest photo above is of Spud from the Smilin' Pit Bull Rescue site - one of my favorite pit bull sites. More about that another time.


Sunday, July 16, 2006

Dog Car

I have a four-door car. The back is basically Honey's. There's a thick blanket covering the seat, a travel water dish, a bottle of water and a couple of bones in the back. I also have some treats in the glove compartment along with extra Mutt Mitts. I don't have a dog seatbelt for her (other, better dog owners at the dog daycare have ones for their dogs) but I'm thinking about it.

When she jumps up into the backseat, she positions herself near one of the windows. As we drive off, I'll roll the back windows 3/4's of the way down. Although she can't reach her head all the way out like most dogs (as demonstrated here by willing model and web friend Luca) -- she sticks out most of her snout which I can see in the side mirrors. After a while, she moves back from the window and goes to work on plumping up the blanket, circling around the same spot over and over, then throwing herself down when it reaches that very specific but inexplicable point of perfection. And then the snoring starts.

It works for now but I have wondered why there isn't a car designed more efficiently for people to transport dogs. I know there are a lot of us. I looked it up on line and it seems like Honda did make a pretty silly attempt.

The Honda Wow (from Bow Wow) was announced back in October of 2005 but I can't find any other information about it. I think it didn't make it into any kind of production. It didn't look like it had a future to me but I was hoping it was the start of other car lines to follow so I kept looking.

I don't know if this is a homemade idea, photoshopped or even if this is the Honda from a different viewpoint but it could mean there are other ideas out there waiting - I think Honey would love it:


Friday, July 07, 2006

What is a Pit Bull?

Someone lost their dog so they posted notices all over the neighborhood - "Lost Dog, Female Boxer Missing." I noticed them, and, of course, hoped that they would find their dog.

A couple of days later, Honey and I walked by one of the neighbor's houses and the owner called out, "I saw the signs and thought it was your dog that was lost." I said I had seen the signs, too, but, no, it wasn't about Honey. And, then, mumbled a kind of thank you because it seemed nice he had thought of us.

What I didn't say to him is that Honey isn't a boxer, that she's a pit bull. He is the owner of the cute little Yorkie that attacked Honey twice - each time with Honey backing away in confusion - which he never acknowledged during or after. In fact, last week, when I quickly put Honey on leash because he was walking up with his Yorkie, he said something about understanding because his dog was likely to attack, TOO.

Honey has been good as could be and he thinks she'll attack. Well, that's okay, I guess, because he's judging all dog behavior by his dog but...if he knew she was a pit bull I'm sure he would think the worst.

When people do ask me what kind of dog Honey is, they're often surprised to hear she is a pit bull. More than one person has said "But she's so friendly - she's a mix, right?" Other people have gone further and told me she is not like most pits and then will describe something they've heard about pit bulls.

As far as I know, she's a purebred - both in looks and in actions, judging by other pits we've met. I do know that some dogs - identified as pits - have been involved in horrible situations. I don't know anything about the dogs (Were they unneutered males locked in a room their whole life? Were they trained to fight? Were they raised to be tough so their insecure owner could feel tough?) Whatever the situation, I believe when you have a dog as strong as a pit, you have a serious responsibility toward any person or pet they come in contact with. But, you also have a responsibility toward your dog (or any other pet you have). That would include humane treatment (at the least), training and protecting them in uncertain situations so they don't get in trouble.

But, getting back on track -- what is a pit? Honey is an American Pit Bull Terrier (APBT). That is the closest breed name to pit bull but many other breeds are identified as pit bulls. Just looking at these pictures of purebreds (not even getting into mixes here): Which of these would you say is the APBT?

Now, what does that mean when someone identifies a dog as a pit bull?


Sunday, July 02, 2006

Dog-friendly Bar

The Santa Susana Cantina was built in the late 1800's. It started as a stagecoach stop - it still has horse hitches in the front, became a church in the early 1900's and then, was turned into a bar in 1932 and has been one ever since. Funny transition but, it makes a great bar.

The Cantina is in Simi Valley, set in the hills of a canyon. It is in a somewhat rural setting for Los Angeles which, after seeing the picture on their homepage, might not always be ideal.

It is a casual, friendly place. There is an inside area where you can eat and drink at the counter, some old school entertainment like pin ball machines, a pool table and darts. The outside area has a large set-up of tables, a stage and dance floor and lights strung from the trees around and on the patio. And they love dogs.

Honey and I went with our friend Marc on Saturday night, showing up around 6:00. It's very early but that's when they teach line dancing and I wanted to try it. When we walked in, PJ Stover a country singer and the Cantina manager, immediately came over to say hi to Honey -- and periodically visited her throughout the evening. Other people would walk by and kneel down to spend some time with her. They were very impressed that Honey would just lie there with all the noise and people around. I didn't want to tell them Honey has no problem just lying there when the action doesn't involve her - it's either playtime, edible or she's asleep.

So, what did interest her was the big buffet they had over to the side. There were large, covered chafing dishes with everything from salmon in a lemon sauce, to sausages, marinated vegetables, salads and tortollini. There is a very large barbeque grill where they make ribs, vegetables, chicken. For one buffet price, you are allowed to pile as much as you want onto a dinner plate. A quick tip from my first try: I recommend saving the rolls for last. They take up a lot of room and could just as easily sit on top of the food. But Marc, Honey and I had a good meal off one plate so, even though I'm a plate-loading amateur, I show promise.

The dancing was really fun. Mike, the teacher is very clear and patient. His girlfriend, who's also very good, hangs out toward the back of the dance floor so you have someone to follow no matter which way you are facing - you do the dance in all four directions. I only learned one, very simple step but that's okay. Even that was fun to do and I like watching others out there. People start putting personal touches on moves, shaking their hips out a little more, extra kicks, whatever it takes to make it their own.

In case you're wondering - no, Honey didn't learn the dance. I know there is a Musical Dog Sport Association (MDSA) for people and dogs to work out dances together. I've gotta say - their clip of "Carolyn and Rookie" dancing the Olivia Newton-John/John Travolta Grease dance is really amazing. (If you haven't seen it, you can download it off this page)

So I'll be getting right on that as soon as we've tightened up Honey's sit and stay.