Friday, September 30, 2011

Our Cherokee Heritage!

My dog Ozzy is excited to discover the Cherokee ancestry of his adopted family, and is trying his level best to learn some customs of this ancient people. I told him of their ancient homelands, and how they were the largest native tribe in the southeast. Hunting and raiding parties would travel great distances to conduct their affairs, and were respected and feared by all other groups with whom they came in contact.

Trying to prevent Ozzy from confusing the Cherokee lifestyle with other well-known tribes has been quite a teaching experience. Long hair and elaborate headresses were associated with plains tribes. Cherokee men usually plucked or shaved their heads, and it was difficult trying to keep Ozzy from grabbing my razor and going to work. When he asked what he could do to be more like "his ancestors", I shared historcal facts that would help him better understand life in times past.

Ozzy said he saw a tribe conduct a vision quest ceremony, and said he wanted to conduct one of his own. I did not take him seriously enough, and shrugged it off. Taking advantage of my inattention Ozzy disappeared into the woods to gather items necessary for a his little adventure. Ozzy watched the tribe utilize a few items from nature's garden, and during his search he happened upon a strange mushroom. An hour later I found Ozzy blissfully chasing butterflies all over the front yard, uttering strange sounds and speaking a language I have never heard before. He also told me a toad spoke to him and said we should sell all our possessions and move to Oklahoma. Later that afternoon I had to intervene when he tried to rally the family and conduct a war dance before attacking one of our unwary neighbors.

With this in mind, there is absolutely no chance I am going to tell Ozzy we have Scottish and Irish ancestors as well. For the life of me I can't picture Ozzy playing bagpipes and wearing a Kilt.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

"Over the Hill! Happy Birthday Old Man!"

It is September 28th and my dog Ozzy harassed me the entire day. It wouldn't have been such an ordeal if he made a few off-handed remarks about my 51st birthday. Instead, he took cheap shots at me every chance he could. The problem is I heard most of them when I turned 40 (the much anticipated year of the fabulous "finger exam"), and every year following. However, his referrence to my need for a supply of "Depends" was the last straw.

Why is a man considered "over the hill" after a certain age. What exactly does "over the hill" mean? What hill are folks referring to? Does the idea of "Boot Hill" play into this unreasonable vein of thought? I want to know what IDIOT came up with the concept of a downhill trek after 40. I never felt I was walking uphill to begin with. In fact, I was always under the impression that the way up was more difficult than the way down. I mean, does a car engine strain more to run uphill or downhill? As far as I'm concerned, if I have spent half a century plugging away to get to the top of the hill, I'm going to have a blast coasting on the downhill leg of the journey.

Ozzy has been staring at me during this entire rant. He says I'm making a mountain out of a mole hill. Hmmm. Is that up or over the Mole Hill?

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Daddy, Read Me a Story!

I am not sure how my dog Ozzy discovered one of the duties of a father is to read books to his children. Either he saw it on television or my wife put him up to it. No matter which one is true, I now find myself caught in one of Ozzy's little manipulative webs.

It all started when Ozzy jumbed into my chair, looked at me with the same sad eyes seen in the blog's profile picture, and sweetly asked, "Daddy, will you read me a story"? It softened my heart, and I caved like an unstable coal mine. I asked what he would like for me to read, and he left the decision to me. My story book selection is limited, so I picked a book from my wife's collection entitled "The Light in the Forest".

I was certain Ozzy would enjoy this story about the adventures of a Native American boy, so I opened the book to the first page. Ozzy settled in, his eyes wide with excitement in anticipation of his daddy reading a story to him. About ten minutes into the book, I could feel him squirming in my lap. Ozzy looked up at me and asked if there was any violence in the story, to which I replied "Not really". Then he asked if there were any fine chicks..."Not really". "How about car chases and explosions like the Vin Diesel and Paul Walker flicks"? "Not really". At that moment Ozzy's expression changed from interest to disappointment. "Boring", he said. "Let's watch a movie."

I guess I need to drop by Borders Bookstore and grab a few "James Bond" novels for Ozzy's next attempt at a bedtime story. It's everything Ozzy asked for, and then some.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Football Saturday!

After a busy week Ozzy and I decided to spend the day watching college football. At the time of this writing there is a knock-down drag-out game between Clemson and Florida State. Channel surfing yeilded the usual mix of great games tempered by blow-out victories. Ozzy has a soft spot for the underdog, and tends to root for such teams as Idaho, Florida Atlantic, and the like. He says he would like to apply to a smaller college and join the football team as a walk-on. Then he would lead the unheralded team to a national championship, winning college football's most coveted prize en route (he's been striking the pose all afternoon).

Ozzy says Georgia has a freshman running back that impresses him. That's saying alot, since very few things impress Ozzy. This young man is an amazing athlete with a good combination of size, stength, and agility. Ozzy says the Ole' Miss defenders had a difficult time tackling him. He said it was like trying to catch a kricket while wearing a blindfold.

The games on tap for this evening include Florida at Kentucky, Vandy at South Carolina, among others. Ozzy says we are going to relax, tune to our favorite team, lie back in our recliner, and place the fan in a position where it blows up one pajama pants leg and down the other.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

"Peace on Earth... For Now!"

It took alot of political wrangling on my part, but difficult negotiations have resulted in a peace accord between the Squirrel Kingdom and Min-Pin Nation. A demilitarized Zone (DMZ) has been established, along with promises from both sides in order for this document to be "signed". If paw prints will suffice as binding, then this deal might actually work. On behalf of the pooch patrol, Ozzy made compromises that are a sweet deal for his bushy tailed counterparts.

A permanent border has been established along the boundary of our manicured yard and the tree line. UN peacekeepers (mice) have been stationed along this new DMZ to enforce the treaty, but it seems apparent to us the sqirrels are not fully complying with this new agreement. Thus far there have been several complaints from Ozzy and company. This morning Ozzy charged the squirrels with breaking the treaty by lauching acorn rocket attacks while he was leaving a calling card on the edge of the lawn (the West Bank). Twice Mack attempted to mark a tree (the Oak Tree Gaza Strip), only to be harassed by marauding tree rats. To make matters worse, the animal version of the United Nations passed nine resolutions condemning my dogs for the incidents. Just an hour ago, several squirrels were placing pine cone bombs in various places within the doggie boundary. Another resolution was brought to the floor of our UN once again blaming the dogs. Now the squirrels want us to give up half of the yard, and there was a kidnapping attempt on Chrissy. Ozzy says he's had enough... there can be no peace.

Within fifteen minutes of this last breech, I let the dogs out once more to do the doggie thing. They immediately hit the woodline, barking in all directions. The squirrels weren't expecting a suprise raid and ran in a free-for-all frenzy to the closest tree they could find. It seems everything is once again as it should be. Ozzy is still high-fiving, fist pumping, and chest bumbing with the rest of the gang. It takes the phrase "You go dog" to another level. He says everything has returned to normal.

Nothing is ever "normal" around here. Think about it... I talk to a dog, who responds in kind. Ozzy is always stirring up trouble, I get left holding the bag, and he gets away with his foolishness. Normal is everybody else. In the immortal words of the great sage Henry Fluker (my neighbor), "Ya'll ain't right". Henry's diagnosis is correct. Now I'm just waiting on the Men in the White Coats!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

"The Empire Plans to Strike Back!"

After yesterday's humiliating defeat at the hands of the dreaded Squirrel Kingdom, our home now resembles the Pentagon preparing for war. Personnel running to and fro, orders barked out as Ozzy and his canine squad make preparations to strike back at the "force of evil" lurking in the woods which surround our home.

At the time of this writing Chrissy and Spazz are posted as lookouts, peering through the windows for signs of what Ozzy refers to as the "enemas". Any movement in the woodline is greeted with a glaring teeth and a hardy growl. Just moments ago an acorn dislodged, landing on our roof and causing the dogs to scurry for cover with cries of "Incoming" echoing through the house.! This is serious business, and anyone who doubts a dog's resolve to maintain order in the yard is sadly mistaken. Ozzy says this bushy tail act of aggression must be answered, and in this counterattack all squirrels will be terminated with extreme prejudice!

Ever since WWII started in our back yard, the dogs have sought to deliver a final devastating blow, and I have sought ways to avoid further violence, offering to negotiate peace between the two sides. I told Ozzy his idea of terminating all squirrels is genocide. However, Ozzy argued that he and his little Ranger Unit are well beyond sentimental feelings, and if it takes "gingerale" to eliminate the enemy, so be it (see what I have to contend with?). It makes me wonder what conditions will have to be met in order for things to return to normal. I do know the dogs will not give up chasing the squirrels... "It's what we do", they say. Ozzy says if I can pull this off, bringing peace to the Middle East would be a walk in the park.

All I am saying is, Give peace a chance!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

"War on the Horizon!"

No human word seems to have a more behaviour-altering effect on a dog than "squirrel". Even the most relaxed canine can transform into a ravenous beast in the blink of an eye. However, my little group of min-pins are always on the lookout for tree rats. Simply opening the front door unleashes all the fury of hades. Although merely four in number, these pooches seem to go in twelve different directions, hitting the woodline in an all-out assault, causing squirrels to scramble for the safety of the trees, their peaceful lives interrupted by an unexpected attack. Ozzy and company did not realize things were about to change.

Apparently the squirrels have decided they have had enough, and are taking the fight to the dogs with a vengance. Ozzy's world was turned on it's head this morning, as he an his cohorts received an unexpected response from our fuzzy-tail tree rodent population. The day began as usual, with the front door opening wide, and the little dogs hitting the woodline barking in all directions. Suddenly the vicious assault turned into a dead silence; there were no squirrels. Standing in disbelief, Ozzy and company weren't sure what was up. Then without warning, a squirrely scream from above unleashed a bombardment of acorns and pinecones. Cries such as "Give me liberty, or give me death" echoed through the trees. My favorite was "dang the pinecones, full speed ahead" (a southern squirrel, no doubt). In short order, the dogs in a panic came running out of the woods, squalling and reeling in disbelief. Their pride wounded, I let the defeated group back into the house.

After they gathered their wits, plans for a counterattack were underway. Ozzy tried to drag a shotgun out of the firearm safe, and the others attempted to arm themselves with anything they could find (I thought I heard Spazz say "This ain't happening"). It is no longer a game of chase between canines and tree rats; it is total WAR! I offered to act as a mediator between the two combatants, but Ozzy said this has been taken to another level, and unless it is met with force, chaos will reign in our backyard. He says it is now time to unleash the "Dogs of War", and he fully expects to have control of the situation within hours.

Whether this skirmish escalates into a full-blown revolution is uncertain, but there is one thing I am sure of: I just witnessed the "Shot Heard 'Round the World", and unless this squirrel rebellion is crushed, it may soon be coming to a neighborhood near you.

Monday, September 19, 2011

"After Further Review..."!

This particular post is being written at 3:15 in the morning. I was sleeping soundly until I was aroused by a loud bark from outside the house. As I struggled to gathered my wits, I also noticed the outside floodlights going on and off, as something was setting off the motion sensors. I soon discovered the cause of this middle-of-the-night ruckus.

The culprit was our Alaskan Malamute "Aurie" (named for the northern lights). She wanted to come into the house, so she started running in a circle on the outside perimeter, and would stop at the front to bang on the door and bark. This sensless display caught Ozzy's attention, and he asked me what her problem was. I was still too dazed to answer, and the only thing my brain could come up with was "I don't know".

At this point Ozzy kicked into his Monday Night Football instant replay mode, and demanded that this entire scenario be placed under review. "First, he says, we have a large dog running circles around the outside of the house at 3 AM, causing the motion- activated lights to go on and off, and stopping only to bark and bang on the door. In addition to this, we're talking about a Malamute, the mighty hunter, the scourge of the Arctic Tundra, companion of the hardy Northwestern Native Peoples, puller of sleds, the saviour of Nome, Alaska... and she wants to come from 60 degree outdoor temperatures to 70 degree indoor temperatures. You may not be able to figure this out, but it's obvious to me: After further review, I think she's an Idiot!"

I believe my little "ref" made the right call.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Too Early for Halloween!

My dog Ozzy is a hard-core M. Night Shyamalan fanatic. He is constantly asking, and sometimes begging me to put on one of the Blu-ray discs so he can watch his favorite flicks. He is obsessed with both "The Village" and "Signs". Lately one of these movies has become vital in his planning for a Halloween costume. Yeah, it's a bit early, but this is Ozzy we're talking about.

Ozzy has asked for some unusual materials for his costume. I can understand cloth, paints, glue and glitter, but when he asked for burlap and grass I had to ask what he was up to. He claims his costume will be an original taken from the film "Signs". I racked my brain trying to figure how he could create one of the aliens using burlap and grass, as it sounds more like alien Bigfoot material than an actual alien. That's when Ozzy told me how wrong I was. Ozzy is not going trick-or-treating as an alien... He's going to dress up as a Crop Circle!

I'm not sure whether it's the smartest or dumbest thing I've ever heard!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

"Thor, Dog of Thunder!"

My dog Ozzy recently watched a tv program which tells of costumed vigilantes patroling the streets in various cities nationwide in order to protect the innocent. He decided to become Thor, the Dog of Thunder. At first I thought this to be cute; now I'm not so sure.

In order for Ozzy to transform into his alter-ego, the first step was creating a costume. He snatched a towel out of a pile of clean laundry and tied it around his neck as a cape. Later, when he was let outside for exercise, he found a rubber mallet in the tool shed. Thor was reborn, and I'm certain criminals everywhere shivered in fear.

Later that day I was running the vaccum cleaner, and failed to hear "Thor" yelling "Save the Earth", "Down with Yodenheim", and "Slay the Frost Giant"! However, I got the message loud and clear when he wrapped the rubber mallet around my shin. I dropped to the floor and writhed around like a wounded athlete on Monday Night Football. The last thing I saw was a caped vigilante leaping down the hallway looking for more villians with which to do battle. My poor son was in his room; moments later I heard him scream. The Dog of Thunder has saved the day, leaving two victims in his wake (just in time for my wife to arrive home from work). Make that three victims!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

"You Have a Right to an Attorney"!

I came back from town to find foam from a pillow in pieces all over our great room floor. The pooch patrol were all seated in different chairs looking ignorant of what had transpired. Ozzy had a piece of foam hanging from the left side of his mouth, and I began fusssing at him.

Immediately Ozzy pleaded his innocence, so I asked if there were any eyewitnesses willing to testify. His canine pals gave me explainations as to why they could be of no assistance. "I didn't see a thing", "I was in another room", and "I'm not talking" left me with no choice but to utilize the evidence to get a conviction. Ozzy explained the foam in his mouth was purely circumstancial, and was not enough to charge him. I felt I had a case, but he countered with a claim to right of council. He also said I failed to read him his "Veranda Rights" ("Matlock meets "Gone With the Wind").

I realized Ozzy was slicker than greased asphalt, and proving he was the perp would be an immpossible task. If this crimewave continues, with no one willing to testify, I may have to resort to video surveillance. What has this world come to?

Friday, September 9, 2011

Ozzy's First Chaw!

My dog Ozzy and I were driving through the country one day and pulled into an old country store. Sitting just outside next to the entrance were several "Old Timers" enjoying a chat and a chew. The cool morning air invited tall tales of hunting exploits past and the hopes of fortunes during the coming season.

I told Ozzy to stay in the vehicle while I went inside to find refreshment and a fresh serving of boiled peanuts. I greeted the group of gentlemen before I entered the store. Ozzy couldn't resist his curiosity, and while I was inside he joined the group out front. As I gathered items to purchase, I heard a commotion from outside. When my business was done, I walked out front to witness Ozzy conversing with the Old Timers, and enjoying a helping of Beech Nut Chewing Tobacco. The men were laughing at Ozzy's stories, and were amazed at how far he could spit. He was a quick study, mastering this ancient art in short order.

Ozzy did not expect the nausea that usually coincides with the first chew, and spent the rest of the road trip with what he described as "sea sickness". I was forced to stop several times for him to hang his head out of the window. He vowed he would never do that again.

Yesterday Ozzy asked for a can of snuff! Here we go again.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Shave And a Bath, Please!

A man's daily ritual of shaving makes an impression on his kids, especially young boys that wish to grow up in their father's image. Years ago my son shaved his face, and received a few nicks in the process. I knew this would eventually happen. Never in my wildest imagination did I believe this would apply to my dog Ozzy.

Recently Ozzy mentioned on several occasions his desire to achieve manhood (if dogs can do so). He believed part of this "rite of passage" included initiation by the dreaded first shave (I tried to warn him). While I was in town one afternoon, Ozzy proudly strutted into the bathroom, wet his little face, doused himself with shaving cream, and created a real work of art. When I arrived home, I found him with small pieces of tissue paper all over his face. His visage was like that of a pampered poodle dog that had been groomed by an angry Apache on the warpath. Ozzy exclaimed that next time he would use a bottle of Nair.

Regardless of the outcome, Ozzy believes he has graduated into "manhood". Now he just needs to graduate from charm school.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Ozzy's New "Girlfriend"!

My dog Ozzy has no problem rolling me out of bed in the middle of the night to be let ouside. I keep watch while he and his cohorts run around in all directions staking claim to our yard. It was very dark one particular night when Ozzy met the "new dog" in the front yard.

I stood on the parking pad while Ozzy stumbled onto his newfound love. Initially he growled loud enough for me to investigte. Although visibility was limited, I could make out two figures standing nose to nose. Ozzy introduced himself and proceeded to talk trash, while his "sweetheart" remained silent (Ozzy accused her of playing "hard to get"). The mush he lavished on "her" was enough to make one sick. Ozzy was not a happy camper when I called him to go back inside without inviting his date. He tossed and turned the rest of the night.

The next morning I took Ozzy back to the front yard and properly introduced him to my son's football. Upon realizing what he had done, he looked up at me and calmly said, "They all get prettier at closing time".

Tuesday, September 6, 2011


One of the daily chores we have to do around the house is running the vacuum clearner. I can't turn the doggone thing on without Ozzy attacking it from every angle. He seems determined to bring the little machine's life to an abrupt end.

Earlier today I pulled the vacuum out to clean debris out of a chair, which includes removing the extension and using the open suction end of the handle. At one point I placed the handle on the floor. Ozzy attacked, and vacuum cleaner snatched on to his nose. Ozzy tried but couldn't escape without help, and I managed to pull the hose off his face before it sucked his ears into his brain. Ozzy shook his head, and the his only words were, "Great Googly-Moogly"!

Monday, September 5, 2011

Beautiful Dreamer!

Dogs are entertaining in a variety of ways. They play fight, fetch objects, express joy unspeakable when their humans arrive safely home from work or school. Man's best friend is a source of many unforgettable moments, and Ozzy has provided his share of memories, even while he is sleeping.

Two nights ago Ozzy fell asleep lying on his stomach in what I consider a normal position, and then rolled onto his back, his tiny legs sticking straight up, his little feet slightly bent. Normal breaths were occasionally interrupted by deep breaths and exhalations similar to a whimper. Snoring was on the menu as well, and it wasn't long before he began twitching and emitting a sound best described as a muffled bark with an occasional whine. At one point his movements gave the impression he was running through a field; then I thought I heard him speak someone's name.

The next morning I asked how his night went, stating it was obvious he not only slept well, but he was dreaming. When I asked what it was about, he gave the type of explaination that military personnel refer to as a "tap dance". He stuttered and stammered, nervously scratching like he was infested with a thousand fleas... until I asked him who "Fifi" was. It was the first time I had ever seen a dog turn red, and the first time Ozzy was speechless.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

College Foosball Ain't the Devil!

So here we are, me and my dog Ozzy, kicked back on my recliner, catching the all the sights and sounds of college football.  It is the beating heart of football fans everywhere.  Friendly (and not so friendly) rivalries are renewed, family and friends are reunited, and we find ourselves settling in to everyone's favorite time of the year.

This is all new for Ozzy, and I am trying to break him in slowly.  It isn't working too well, as his first glimpse at the coming season was a cute chearleader.  He kept trying to press the rewind button on the remote so he could check her out again and again.  When we got beyond that, we spent the rest of the firs hour tuned to College Gameday.  Ozzy asked if eating chips is part of the tradition, and since it is, I went to the pantry and grabbed a couple of bags.  Chips, cold drinks, team flags and shirts in hand, we settled in for today's games.

Update:  During one series, a player from an opposing team caught a screen pass, made a break toward the outside, and ran down the sideline.... Ozzy jumped up, screaming "Get'em, Get'em".  Chips went everywhere.  He's definitely learning all about football.  He'll probably start betting on games before too long.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Too Hard to Swallow!

Man's best friend can be many things to their owners; comforting, frustrating, and puzzling.  At times they can be downright entertaining.  My dog Ozzy and his canine cohorts rally when they recognize a particular sound or word.  I can never sneak into the kitchen and open any food item unnoticed.  One sound that causes excitment is a can or jar of nuts.

On several occasions I  have left a container of nuts out by mistake, and left the house without putting it back into the pantry.  Ozzy and company quickly recognize a vulnerable food item, and nuts are a special treat.  I can understand the ease at which these dogs break into a can, but I am often amazed when they unscrew a jar lid.  I have never caught them in the act, but I wonder how they divide the spoils.

While I was away one afternoon, Ozzy found a plastic container of Bubble Gum.  He went to work breaking into the container, and of course his buddies joined in the heist.  I would have loved to have seen the beginning of this raid, but I did walk in to discover the results.  Watching a group of small dogs using thier front paws trying to dislodge pieces of gum stuck between thier teeth is rather funny.  Ozzy, however, not only had gum in his teeth, but also all over his face.  I didn't say a word, but had a puzzled look.  After a moment of staring, Ozzy suddenly blurted out "Hey... I was trying to blow a bubble, Okay?"