So maybe I'm being too harsh on Chigger. She's probably never going to be any fun, but she ain't disrespecting me either. Apparently there was a dog named Woody used to roam these parts and Chigger keeps telling me I got some big-ass paw prints to fill.
So when she's feeling up to it, she takes me around to various places around the farm and in the woods and says, "here's another thing you need to know." It's always a great tree hollow, or an animal crossroads that's needs marking or a territory boundary.
I'm tellin' ya, when I start lifting my leg to pee, I'm gonna have a lot of work to do.
One thing I'm learning is that it's a whole lot easier to tell where you are by smellin' than it is to figure out what these roadside numbers mean.
Oh, and another thing. Did you know that a plastic duck doesn't fart? Really. I checked it out.
So, the Gerret has found his first lucky deer foot in the woods today! Sure beats chewing on a stick and it smells a lot better, too. It set me to wondering just where deer feet come from. Stump muttered something about "hunners" but I didn't quite get it because I don't always understand what he's talking about. Course it took him a while to get it when I would say, "I gotta to pee. NOW," but he's getting better. Now if I could just get my paws on one of those clicker things.
So I asked Chigger if deer feet come from hunners, cause she knows everything. She explained that "hunners" wasn't a thing, hunners was a season. And every winter there's a deer hunner season. That's the season when deer shed their feet and leave them laying around in the woods for dogs to find. Now I get it. (Chigger also said that deer feet weren't lucky, but I think I'll be the judge of that.)
Anyway, my lucky deer foot is a great chew toy, but I can only give it two gerrets out of five because as soon as you set it down and turn your back it disappears.
Okay, today I'm going to take you behind the veil of a secret society that few readers have ever experienced. It's a place where you arrive a young, innocent pup, and leave a tough, grizzled canine. Stump and Tweet call it "Puppy Kindergarten." I call it "ultimate fast-and-furious full-contact no-holds barred paw-to-paw combat survival training," or "bite club" for short. (Yes, I know the first rule of bite club is you do not talk about bite club, but someone's got to step up and stop the madness, and it might as well be the Gerret.)
There's maybe ten of us at bite club. We try to socialize but we are all restrained with straps attached to our collars while people practice bizarre psychological and behavioral modifications on us with a combination of cheese, ham and an incessant clicking noise. Oh that clicking noise. But finally, when we've all been brought to a state of extreme agitation, the restraints come off and it's every puppy for him or herself. Here's my recollections.
I head for the middle of the room but without warning I'm blind-sided by NIkita who bangs into my side and licks my mouth. I turn to retaliate but before I can lick him back he bolts and I run in pursuit. Soon I'm joined by Lucy and Corbin. We chase furiously around and around the room. Then Nikita slips trying to make a hard right and we pounce. Corbin grabs a foot and Lucy sucks on an ear, while I sniff Nikita's butt. He wacks my nose with a hind leg. I rear up and pounce on top of the pile using a move I saw on WWF the other night. I think I'm in control but then the pile moves and I find myself on my back with Nikita drooling saliva down my steaming nostrils. The other puppies, sensing my helplessness, all pile on. I gasp for air. The room starts spinning. The sound of barking become distant. I feel a wet tongue on my cheek but I'm powerless to stop it. I see a long tunnel with a light at the end.
Then, suddenly I hear a voice in the distance saying "okay." The barking quiets and the action in the room stops. We all get up and return to our respective areas and sit. They feed us more cheese and ham. I catch my breath and think to myself, "I survived! The Gerret survived!" but my joy is tempered by a deeper and more ominous thought: "There's still seven more weeks of this."
Corbin and Lucy hold down Nikita while Royal and I and others look for a soft place to pile on.
The crazed animal you see me with here is Lucas. He's one of my classmates in Bite Club and sometimes we hang out down at the dog park on the weekends. He's a bit younger than me, maybe a year or so in dog years. I mention that because last week it was my task to teach Lucas how to hump.
What is humping you say? Well, for starters it's a guy dog thing. Chigger claims that back before there were vets and humane societies, humping had a biological purpose, but these days it's used mainly for entertaining at people parties and, of course, for dog fraternity initiation ceremonies, which is where I'm going with this story.
It was only a few weeks ago that I myself met Elmer at the dog park. Elmer was a worldly sort who trotted over, sniffed my butt and said, "You new here?" When I conceded that "yes" this was my first visit, Elmer said, "okay, I got something to show you rookie." From that point on Elmer chased me relentlessly for the rest of the day, and every time he caught me, well, he just started humping me like, well, like whatever something that humps a lot humps like.
About the time this was getting really old, I realized that even though I was much younger than Elmer, I was bigger and stronger than he was, and with that realization and my newly learned skills I turned the tables on the dog. Elmer was soon humped into submission and the two of us retired to the water bowl for a drink.
"Nothing personal, kid," he said. "We all gotta go through it. One of these days we'll call your number and you gotta be ready to pass on the skills you learned here today."
Little did I know how soon that day would come. It was only a week later. I arrived at the dog park and greeted Elmer and the others. We ran and chased a bit, and then things got quiet. There was a new pup arriving. It was Lucas. Elmer called me over and said, "Gerret, this is the moment we've been preparing you for. Don't let us down."
I won't bore you with the details. Suffice it to say, yesterday, when Lucas's people ran into my people they thanked them profusely for letting me teach Lucas how to hump and that because of that Lucas was now humping everything in their house all day long. It was a genuine feel-good moment for the Gerret.
So I know you've all been wondering, as has my good friend Hoonie, how The Gerret survived the dilemma that was the invasion of the black puppies I told you about in the previous post. Well, it's been an epic journey fraught with peril for The Gerret, in that I risked not only life and limb, but the grim specter of those alien pups alienating affections around here I so justly deserve. Maybe it's a story I'll get around to telling some time. (The Gerret does not believe in cutting a good tail short, so better later than shorter. Maybe I'll catch up in installments. Or maybe not. I'm a dog. I waffle on these things.)
As for the three Maggies...
Maggie Mae, the biggest and boldest, eventually went to work at a group home where she and two other dog pals care for a family of three. She says she's been teaching them how to play hide and seek. She hides their stuff, and they try to find it. Guess who she got that from, huh?
Maggie April? Well she learned about this woman named Jean who was orphaned when her Lab died. At first she considered fostering Jean until they could find her a permanent forever dog, but eventually Maggie April decided to change her name to SawsyPaws and just go ahead and adopt Jean. She says that Jean is recovering nicely and they're coming to visit one of these days.
So that leaves Maggie (née Maggie March), who has decided to stay on and help The Gerret keep everyone in line around here. (Personally, I think she's sweet on me. Can't blame her, really.)
What's she like? She's big and getting bigger, which gives me pause. Actually, it's her paws that gives me pause. They're the size of dinner plates. Heck, she weighs almost 280 dog pounds and she's only about four months old. But she gets sensitive when I talk about her weight, so I'll stop now before I get whooped along side the head with one of those giant mitts of hers.
So I have to say that given her potential and good taste in friends, I'm going to give Maggie four-and-a-half Gerrets, and if she quits sitting on me I might even give her that last half-a-Gerret.
Anyway, once I get done teaching her how to mangle a keyboard with those massive clodhoppers, she'll probably start doing a bit of writing herself.
Hey The Gerret wants to give a shout-out to my new friend here. He showed up in the ditch last week. A pup of maybe 12 weeks. He was a collegial dude with a cool attitude, but he had some problems. For starters he was trying to feed half the world's tick population all by himself, and his ribs were sticking so far out they needed to be pushed back in, and there was a lot a places where he needed new hair glued onto his body, and then there was that nasty discharge. It's hard to come up with that many problems in twelve weeks.
We'all figured he must have either been badly abused and abandoned by some a-hole (Chigger's and my personal opinion), or he'd gone on a hunger strike to protest the demeaning image of the drug-addled dog stereotype portrayed in Internet TV series such as Wilfred. (Maggie's opinion. Hey, she's just a puppy.)
Anyway, we tried to keep him around, but after a couple of days it was obvious that he needed more skills than we had to offer. So I says to him. The heck with pack etiquette. Give it to me straight. What do you need? Here's what he said. Cool? I swear he sounded just like Mick Jagger.
So we took him to the shelter where he could get proper medical attention. The sad part is that there's gonna be more like him before this war is over. We miss him. We're hoping he recovers and we're thinking we might see him again back here at the farm if everything works out. We named him Lassie. It just seemed right.
The Gerret is a bit out of sorts today. I just learned that Lassie, whom I had just written about in my last post, will not be coming home. He apparently was not able to overcome the conditions of his abuse. Am I surprised? I guess not. Disappointed? Certainly. What's really gnawing at me is that Stump keeps trying to convince me that I shouldn't growl at or bite humans, and I'm like "why the heck not?"
On a more positive note, the word out there on the dog-cosmic-consciousness street (Yes, we do communicate telepathically and you don't. It's because we have tails that act as antennas for sending and receiving signals, but that's a science lecture for another time.) is that Lassie is due back soon. Below I've downloaded images from the dog-cosmic-consciousness wiki that show Lassie's previous life, his current life, and his next life. Looks like he'll be kickin' ass and takin' names real soon. I wouldn't want to be the dude that left that dog in the ditch.
Well, it's been a long busy week here at Lake Whoabethegerret.
Whinehouse stuck around for a few more days since the last post then split. She was looking a lot better after a few good meals and sneaking in through the dog door to crash on the sofa at night. But she wasn't going to be tied down, no way no how. I'm not sure running off was the best choice for her, but I wish her well. Maybe she'll find her puppies.
On the other hand, Slippers, the kitten, looks like she's planning on staying. Actually, it turns out that Slippers is a boy so The Gerret is taking some heavy-duty grief from the fellas down at the dog park who saw this picture in the last post. How was I to know? Really?
In her last post Maggie did briefly mention the six new chicks that had just arrived. Well that's been a bit of drama in itself. About the middle of the week one of the chicks disappeared, and soon after another one. There was much speculation and innuendo around the place that yours truly and Maggie had something to do with said population decrease. Accusations were flying and the atmosphere was becoming very, how you say, acrimonious. Stump and Tweet tried to make us 'fess up but The Gerret don't cop to nothin'. But I think they were using the ol' water torture on Maggie. She was pretty much ready to turn state's evidence. She hates water.
So just when it looks like Maggie and I are going to have to change our names to Connie and Blyde and go on the lam, Stump goes out to the chicken coop and discovers that now there's only THREE chicks plus one REALLY FAT SNAKE.
All along it was SLIM! That connivin' varmint! You might remember Slim from his starring role in "Snake on a Plain." Now he's just another celebrity gone bad, driven to self-destruction by a habit he couldn't control. Stump captured him and drove him way into the woods and released him. The Gerret went along to yell at him and tell him to not come back. Is he dead? No. But his career is finished in this town.
Three chicks hanging out, doing nothing.
This was also graduation week over at K9 Prep & Neuter. Maggie finished up puppy kindergarten and Tweet said she did real good. But her final grade was a 4.0, which if that's in dog grades, is really really low.
The Gerret was doing post-dogtoral work in the three "R"s, which is a class called "Really Reliable Recall." The whole point of RRR is to train your human to carry lots of very high quality treats at all times or else you won't come when they call. I was skeptical, but by the end of the seven-week class Stump seemed to have the fancy treat thing down cold. Now I just have to keep working with him here at home so he doesn't start backsliding. Sometimes he'll call The Gerret and think he can get by with a "good dog" or a pat on the head when I show up. Sheesh. You can't let bad habits like that get started.
But it's not all fun-and-games around here. The Gerret still gotta go to work. (Funny. I never see the cats having to go to work around here. What's that about?)
So anyway, this week I finished editing my evaluation video for the second installment of "For Dogs on a Budget." This was shot a while ago but because of all the film festivals and legal stuff I'm only now free to release it here. You can learn more about the series in this earlier post. And yes, that's Maggie acting as my assistant.
So granted it's not colorful as most store-bought dog toys, but there's just as much plastic, so I'm given the water bottle four gerrets!
Water bottle as toy:
And that's it from Lake Whoabethegerret, where all the people are lazy, the cats are annoying, and The Gerret is waaaaaay above average.
There's been some rumbling behind my butt lately that The Gerret is a bit of an elitist who's not all that in touch with the more, ah, "working class" animals around here. It's been suggested that I think I'm better than everyone else, that I think that everyone else's shit doesn't stink as good as mine.
So? What can I say? There's a reason my middle name is Alpha.
However, as Chigger has pointed out, this has created a bit of a dilemma for me, since not all the other animals recognize the reality of their lives relative to the reality of The Gerret and sometimes fail to exhibit the appropriate approbation. And yet I so desire to be a benevolent despot.
So after studying the lives of contemporary politicians, I've come up with a plan to win the hearts and minds of my constituents. I will pander.
To do this I'm initiating an occasional feature here called "Profiles Encourage" [them to like me]. I will flatter them. They will share their food with me. Pure genius. Today's profile is on Jane.
Jane is a chicken. She's been around here since before The Gerret was bored. Actually she's what they call an Easter Egg chicken because she lays blue and green eggs. (You have to take that with a grain of salt. They may be blue or green on the outside, but they're still white and yellow on the inside.)
Anyway, every day when Stump leaves the house to go to the office, Jane tags along, waits for the door to open. Then she goes inside, jumps up on the desk, finds her box in the corner and sits there, sometimes for hours, until she lays an egg. Pretty weird, but here's proof. Pay attention and you'll here the egg drop and see it roll around.
Argh. The Gerret has to admit that after that display I'm sorta glad I don't have to lay eggs.
Yes, been a long time between posts. That's because I'm a dog. And I work like one. Sometimes. I also sleep like one. And you know what they say about sleeping dogs. Especially The Gerret.
Anyway, that's a picture of Amy, who recently passed away. Why is this important? Well, because she was one-half of the comic duo Rufus and Amy, ("The Mallards") current residents of the pond. Around here we're kind of used to turnover in the resident duck pond population, but there's always a moment that's really annoying, and that's when you reach a point where there's only one duck left. As has now occurred.
There's nothing more pathetic than the last duck. Especially if it's a guy. He'll mope and pout and emote mournful semi-quacks and on and on and on. Rufus been all that in spades. He stares at his food, follows the chickens around, sleeps late, drops feathers all over the place and just generally sulks. Really no fun to be around.
So it was with some great sense of relief that Stump and Tweet came home with three new call ducks the other day. Call ducks look like regular ducks except they're smaller. Sorta like the Chihuahuas of the duck world. (Well, not THAT small. They'd probably eat one of them tea cup Chihuahuas. But imagine something that looks about like a pigeon except it has a bill and duck feet.)
So they put the call ducks in a pen and those ducks quack a few times and Rufus comes waddling up the hill. (You'd think he'd come flying up the hill, but no, he's too depressed to fly. Sheesh.) He sees the new ducks and you could see an immediate change in attitude. Best I can describe it is sorta like if there was a duck version of Enzyte, the once daily tablet for natural male enhancement, and Rufus was doing the TV commercial.
But still there was the problem of Rufus being on the outside and the call ducks being incarcerated. Of course the call ducks didn't know any better because they had always been in a pen. So Rufus spent the next day-and-a-half keeping a vigil and lobbying the governor for a pardon.
Finally this afternoon the word came down and they opened the gates. That actually didn't mean a whole lot to the call ducks who pretty much stayed put. So Rufus started talking and Rufus started walking and pretty soon the call ducks, sensing a ancient shared kinship, decided to throw their lot in with the big handsome dude with the green head and the corny sense of humor. (Two of the call ducks are girls, so there's definitely the makings of a reality TV show at work here.)
It was at that point that The Gerret, already in search of a subject for my next documentary, grabbed a camera and caught the drama.
The interesting part is that those call ducks didn't know a pond, or even a water feature, from a flat piece of dirt and the minute they hit the water and their feet didn't stop going down, they were totally panicked. But that only lasted a few seconds as they took to that pond like, well...
Oh! Oh! Oh! Oh! This is just sooooooooooo cuUUute!!!!
Maggie here!!!! Look what Slippers brought home last night!!! OMG! I guess because it was just rainy and stuff and he was feeling nice and stuff and he brought this dude inside and stuff sorta! Awesome!! Where does the warm and fuzzy stop!!! The little dude was just totally squeaking a lot at first, but once Tweet took control things settled down! Anyway, I named her Spot! Isn't that perfect!! Tweet wanted to name her Thumper, but I'm all like "Thumper? Thumper? That's soooo lame!"
FWIW Tweet is the same person who wanted to name Scoobie Sinatra "Bambi" LOL!!! Where does she get this stuff?!!!
Anyway, once she dried off and the rain stopped Tweet took Spot back out and turned her loose and she ran off into the woods. Probly gonna hit the mall!!! Then go hang with Scoobie!!! LOL girlfriends!!!!
And so anyway The Gerret has got his collar all in a bunch over something he calls the supreme cord decision allowing videos that show violence toward animals. Gag me with a chicken bone!!! You want to see just total violence and degradation perpetrated towards dogs? Huh? Huh? Check this out!!! GaGa is right!!! Or maybe GagGag!!! Hahahahahaha!!
So this dour young lady is Snowball, one of our resident turtles. Snowball generally hangs out 24/7 in the frog pond so this is a rare land sighting, even for one as eagle-eyed as yours truly The Gerret. Tweet suggested that Snowball must be headed somewhere to lay her eggs 'cause that's about the only thing that would get her to leave the pond, but I know better. Snowball's clearing out for a few weeks because she knows that it's almost time for the annual Frogapalooza at Frog Pond Farm. That scowl is her way of saying "get me outta here."
And what, you ask, is Frogapalooza? I'm glad you asked. When Stump and Tweet first moved here there was a pond, and it had a lot of frogs in it, so they named the place "Frog Pond Farm." Personally, The Gerret would have preferred "Dogpatch" but I wasn't around back then to make my case.
Anyway, Frog Pond Farm eventually got listed in all those little froggie tourist guide books, and featured on the froggie Internet and even had several hundred thousand froggie fans on Frogbook. And out of that grew Frogapalooza. Happens every year. First week in June. Every frog from here to Calaveras County comes to the Frog Pond, or at least it seems like it. You got your tree frogs, and your bullfrogs, and your green frogs and cricket frogs and barking frogs and peepers and chorus frogs and every whichever kind of frog. They all show up at the pond looking for a little bit of that froggie love.
It'll be pretty quiet during the day cause they're all sleeping it off, but once the sun goes down, those frogs start hollerin' and humpin' and they don't care who's listening or who's watching and they don't stop until the sun comes up in the morning. They're so loud you can't hear a cat fart from six inches away.
So this here is my sound and pictures documentary of Frogapalooza, just so you know what I'm talking about. If you're brave you'll plug your computer into your sound system and crank the volume up to like 12, because that's makin' it real.