Thursday, August 20, 2009


The other day, I got home from work and since it was starting to rain, I decided to take some beef barley soup out of the freezer to have for dinner. I went down to the furnace room, grabbed the container of frozen soup and then went back upstairs and started to watch Dr Phil or Oprah. About a half hour later, I began to wonder where Grits was. I looked in the office first, but no Grits, then in the bedroom, the closet and the guest room. Still no Grits. Then the living room, kitchen and laundry room. Your starting to get the idea now. Finally, I checked back in the furnace room again and that's where Grits was... alone in the dark furnace room. Poor Grits! Once free, he quickly followed me up the stairs. I tried to pet him and tell him I was sorry, but he just turned to face me and barked at me when I tried to touch him. I'm pretty sure he was trying to tell me he was really mad at me!
I worried that he thought I had done it on purpose, or that he was being punished. It really bothered me that I couldn't explain it to him. By dinner time all was forgiven, but of course I felt guilty for the rest of the night. I wonder if he knows that's why he got to sleep in my bed...

Monday, August 17, 2009

Sleep, Sleep and More Sleep...

The only one I know who enjoys sleeping as much as Grits is... well me. Unfortunately, I don't have that kind of time...
Here is how a typical day in Gritsy's world goes (when my husband and I are both working):
- Grits wakes up at about 6am, yawns, does a little yoga stretch (downward dog) or snarf (this is what we call rolling around with all four paws in the air) on the floor, shakes his head making noise with his floppy ears to be sure that everyone knows he's awake
- Once one of us gets up, he follows us (for some reason we have to go with him, or he'll come back in before he goes) out to the back yard for a pee, then breakfast (breakfast takes about 30 seconds)
- Next it's cuddles and naps on the couch while my husband watches sports highlights
- Once I'm dressed, by about 6:50, I stop by the TV room and give him a pat on the head on my way to the kitchen for my breakfast and to put my lunch together
- A few minutes later when he hears the crisper drawer open, he is down stairs like a shot, in hopes of getting his favorite snack, a baby carrot
- My husband and I both head off to work shortly after that so Grits sleeps for about 5 hours until I come home at noon.
- I wake him up at about 12:15 for another pee break in the back yard (our grass takes a beating) and a light lunch
- Two minutes later, I'm on my way back to the office
- I get home a about 4:15... so that's another 4 hours sleep, then or after dinner, weather permitting, we go for a walk (it's best when the whole pack goes)
- Gritsy usually hangs around watching us make dinner, hoping something will fall on the floor, or watches Oprah with me, or tries to get us to play with him
- Let's not to forget the stares, fussing, jumping up and down and sometimes whimpering that usually happens around dinner time which is at 6:30pm (we don't mean to be mean, but if we feed him earlier he'll wake us up earlier the following day)
- Then more doggin' it until about 7pm at which time he slips into a coma until about 9:30 or 10pm
- At this time one of us carries (yes carries) him downstairs for a drink and another piddle in the yard
- Then he gets a bit of a second wind and usually looks out the window or snoozes on the couch until husband is finished brushing his teeth and gets into bed
- Next thing we know, Grits is curled up on his designer Roots doggie bed at the foot of our bed for another 8 hours of sleep.
You can do the math yourself, but I count 20 hours of sleep per day.
So I guess what I've learned here is I need more sleep! I shouldn't feel guilty about napping! I should sleep as much as possible, for as long as possible, then when I'm awake I will have the energy to put 100% into whatever I'm doing! That's what Grits would do...

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Don't Forget to Feed the Dog

For the first time in his short life, my dog Grits didn't fuss about his dinner. No, it's not that he's a fussy eater, far from it. He usually reminds us that it's his supper time by jumping up and down and whimpering or generally just staring at you until you remember to feed him.
For some strange reason last night he didn't and sure enough we forgot... until about eight in the evening. We finished our own dinner, then made some phone calls, then ran out to pick up a few things, then came back home. Grits was very happy to see us. No wonder, we are the ones with the thumbs after all. Then about half an hour later I was brushing my teeth after my snack of yummy cornbread with homemade cherry jam when I remembered. I asked my husband and he hadn't remembered either.
Poor Grits! We felt so guilty! I guess it'll be a while before we forget again!

Monday, August 10, 2009

How Many Words or Phrases Does Grits Know?

I just read an article on where University of British Columbia professor, Dr. Stanley Coren claimed that dogs can understand from 165-250 words. This is similar to the mental abilities of a 2.5 year old child. So I thought I'd see if I can think of all the words or phrases Grits knows and count them:
1. Grits
2. Mom
3. Dad
4. Breakfast
5. Dinner
6. Snack
7. Carrot
8. Wait
9. Sit
10. Stay
11. Let's Go
12. Hurry Up
13. Cheemo
14. Bone
15. Have a Drink
16. Turn Around
17. No
18. Leave it
20. Go See
21. No Bark
22. Magoo
23. Come On
24. Gritsy
25. Lay Down
26. Go to Sleep
27. Mr Squeaky
28. Ball
29. Toy
30. Down
31. Off
32. Go to Bed
33. Bud
34. Outside
35. Come
36. Good Boy
37. Hungry
38. Where's Mom?
39. Let's go see who it is
40. Your so smart
41. Who's the best puppy?
42. Marian
43. Patty
44. Len
45. Good Job
46. Get out of the kitchen!
47. Use the stairs
Okay, I give up. It was a struggle to come up with 47 phrases. I guess my dog is no genius... not even close.

Friday, August 7, 2009


We have email, facebook, twitter, cell phones, texting, and occasionally speaking face to face. I think dogs of have "pmail". Why else would they feel its important to pee on every corner. When we walk Grits he makes sure he leaves little messages all along the route in the form of pee, I think so that he can say to other dogs that come by, "Hey everyone, Grits was here!" At the same time, he can tell who was walking around the block just by sniffing a lamp post or edge of the path. It's crude, but effective... and it's all dog! I think I'll stick to email myself...

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Dogs Are Family

The other day, I read an article on about how dogs are becoming thought of as members of our families. It said this is shown by our choice of names for our modern day dogs: instead of Spot, Lady and Fido we are now naming our dogs Max, Molly and Jack.
I think popular names for pets follow trends the same way children's names do. While we like to name our dogs with traditional human names, there also seems to be a trend toward naming children with non-traditional human names such as Apple, Poppy and Rocket. Of course, these are celebrity kids names; Jacob and Emma still top the charts. But I'm guessing the rest of us will eventually follow.
According to Wikipedia, pugs were bred to adorn the laps of Chinese sovereigns before 400 BC and the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel was named because it was the children's pet in the house of Charles I. Evidence suggests that dogs began their road to domestication some 15,000 years ago. They have been working, living and playing with us for literally ages.
In the past it may have been common only for royals to enjoy the companionship of a dog as a family member. But as our standard of living has improved over the years, more and more families have been able to afford dogs and appreciate them as part of the family.
The media has had a hand in this as well. In the 1923 movie "Where the North Begins" Rin Tin Tin plays a wolf dog. The movie was credited with saving Warner Bros. from bankruptcy. In the 1957 movie "Old Yeller" a boy bonds with a golden mongrel and is heartbroken when he has to shoot the rabid dog. In the 1960 episode of Looney Tunes, called "Dog Gone People," Elmer Fudd cares for a dog named Rupert who expects to be treated like a human. The 1974 film Benji, one of my personal favorites, the hero not only has a human name, but helps the authorities nab kidnappers as well. The 1990's the hit comedy series "Mad About You" featured a lovable mutt named Murray. And, of course we can't forget Brian of "Family Guy" who sips martinis one minute and chases his tale the next.
I would say that my dog Grits most reminds me of Brian. He has a way of communicating with his eyes, sighs, growls, whines and barks, while being an expert at reading body language and recognizing routines then assigning meaning to them that is sometimes astounding to me. At the same time he is all dog and likes to chew on his bone, tear the stuffing out of his toys and sniff the butts of his four legged friends.
His name may not be traditional in any way. He may not be a related by blood or marriage. Technically he's not the child of this person or couple, but he is definitely family.