5

Captive Audience & Time to Go

Dear Readers,

Okay – I’m going to be honest.  Most of you are stuck at home with nothing better to do than watch me practice my agility training, so for your viewing pleasure, I’ve attached some videos and photos of my latest romps at Ruffgers.  And really, can’t we all use a little entertainment right now?

I continue to learn and improve, and have even conquered the teeter totter and the weave poles!  My trainer, Gigi, who has two doggos of her own — Chewy and Ringo, said that I “rock.”  See — based on that alone, you should be glued to your seats with a big bowl of popcorn waiting to watch the show.  Now sit, stay and enjoy!

Let’s start out with a little trick — Momma calls this “tall,” and Gigi calls it “dance!”

And here I am running the course with Gigi:

And whipping through six weave poles (the amount used in competitions with novice dogs) with Gigi!  Note she called me a “superstar!”  Life just doesn’t get any better!

And then twelve (used with more advanced dogs)!  Okay, now I’m just showing off.

And mastering the teeter with Momma.  That’s Momma in the mask.

At the end of our session, Gigi officially pronounced me #1!

IMG_1550

Well, that does it folks — my home movie/slide show is complete, and so is our stay in Florida.  Governor DeSantis has just issued a statewide stay-at-home order, and Momma has decided it’s time to pull up stakes and fly home to Minnesota.

Here I am after our last session saying goodbye to Gigi.

IMG_1557

And speaking of masks, Gigi gave Momma and me each one for the trip home:  who do you think wore it better?  (And before you get upset, Momma has already given my mask to (another) elderly human.)

IMG_1563

See, that took your mind off our troubles for awhile, did it not?  Thanks for being such good humans and watching my show.  And may you and your animal companions stay safe and well.

Lina, It’s Been a Good Run

Woofda!

 

 

3

Momma Goes to the Grocery Store

Hello Again Dear Readers,

I thought you might like to hear about Momma’s wake-up call with regard to the  coronavirus crisis.  To date, she and I have been very lucky — we have not “presented” any symptoms, hopefully have had no contact with an infected person or dog (I have heard now that dogs can get the virus!), and are not sequestered.  In fact, our lives have gone on so routinely that Momma may have not been paying as much attention as she should have to the problems at paw.  Although we’ve had no real slip-ups, Momma has had her moments.  Here’s the latest.

So a couple of weeks ago she wakes up to a text message from her brother.  He asked very pointedly if we are planning to stick this thing out in Florida, and if we have at least a three-month food supply and other essentials in our home.  Well that got Momma’s attention.  She didn’t think she even had a three-day supply of food.  Remember this was early on in the crisis and she was still focusing on tee times, nail appointments and happy hours.

But back to my story.  Momma, alarmed and wondering if she’d already missed the boat, jumped in the car and sped off to Publix.  What she saw there increased her anxiety ten-fold.  The parking lot was quite full, there were at least fifty people in line already, and it was only 6:55 a.m.

When the doors opened, people stormed the store — most of them heading for the toilet paper aisle.  See my “Crisis and Update” post for more on that.  Momma, still not understanding the urgency for toilet paper, nevertheless followed the crowd, elbowed her way in and grabbed a bag.  Although she would never admit it (and I know Momma), she secretly felt like she’d just won the lottery.

Unfortunately, Momma’s foray into the critical toilet paper aisle caused significant delay for other items she wanted, especially because it took her awhile to fight her way out of the crowd.  Her first priority was frozen pizzas because they would be easy to make and would keep in the freezer, like forever.  Plus, there would be no limit on their purchase.

Precisely.  When she finally got to the frozen food department, it was practically picked clean.  The only kinds of pizza left were the kinds nobody wanted, such as those with cauliflower crusts or fake cheese.  Oh well, at least they would keep her alive, she thought, and grabbed a few boxes.

At that point, Momma was losing focus on what she meant to get, so she started picking up random items and wildly throwing them in her cart.  Who knew when she might need Cool Whip (which she hadn’t purchased in at least ten years), Campbell’s Cream of IMG_1476Cauliflower Cooking Soup (the only kind the store had left) and extra large yellow rubber gloves meant for washing dishes (fat chance)?  One thing she knew she needed, especially after this little excursion, was wine.  Luckily that aisle was far from the madding crowd.

So here is Momma’s start on a three-month supply of “necessities.”  What more could she possibly need?

IMG_1457

Luckily for me, Momma, motivated by a $5.00 off coupon, had already purchased a bag of dog food.  Somethings never change.

Lina, Safer at Home?

Woofda!

8

Sit Stay Pray Named National Book Award Finalist

Dear Readers,

I feel guilty announcing this now because of the enormous crisis the world is going through, but, as my loyal followers, I thought you’d want to hear our good news.  We could all use a day brightener, could we not?

Momma and I just received word that my latest book, Sit Stay Pray, has been named a finalist in the Independent Book Publishers Association (IBPA)’s 32nd annual Benjamin Franklin Awards program!  We are one of three finalists in the humor category.

This year there were almost 1,700 entries and 164 finalists.  The ceremony to announce the winners, originally scheduled for April 3 in Redondo Beach, CA, was cancelled and now will be held online in early May.  One finalist in each of the fifty plus categories will be named a Gold winner and the remaining two will become Silver winners.  Momma and I could not be more grateful and excited to be among the finalists.

For more on the program, you can go to https://www.ibpa-online.org/news/494443/IBPA-Announces-Finalists-in-the-32nd-Annual-IBPA-Benjamin-Franklin-Award-Program.htm.

As many of you may remember (Momma’s made me write about it enough), we won a Foreword INDIES 2017 Book of the Year Award for Lina Unleashed, so we are actually two for two!  Speaking for both of us — which I’m going to take the liberty of doing — I think maybe we’ve got something good going on here!

All of this pales in comparison, of course, to what’s taking place right now in our country and the world.  I hope you, like Momma and me, are taking measures to stay healthy and help turn the corner on the corona virus crisis.  We are praying day and night over it.

Lina, Proud but Concerned Pup

Woofda!

2

Crisis and Update

Greetings Loyal Readers,

In light of all that’s going on with COVID-19, I want to give you a big woof-out to try stay safe and well, and let you know that Momma and I are just fine.  In fact, life for us has required only a few adjustments in this strange new world.  (I am often quarantined against my will anyway, but when I’m out and about, you can pet away — no social distancing necessary for doggies.  Momma has – amazingly – limited her activities and puts a healthy distance between herself and her fellow humans when she does.)

One thing about this phenomenon, however, is really puzzling for Momma.  What is the big deal with toilet paper?  She has even Googled it:  “Why are people buying so much toilet paper?”  Has she missed the boat on hoarding it and thus saving our lives?  Should she be lurking outside the door of Publix to grab a few rolls when it next opens?  And, by the same token, should she be stocking up on poop bags for me?  She thinks not — the world may be crazy, but she is not.

Moving right along, I thought I’d take your mind off the problems at paw with a little update of our pre-crisis activities.  Momma and I had a great book event with the Women’s Cultural Alliance in early March.  It was well attended, the audience was engaged, and we sold several books — both Unleashed and SSP.  Momma and her friend, Cathy, hosted the event (Cathy kinda filled in for me as Momma’s support person since the venue barred dogs from attending — even though we now know that I would probably have been the safest being in the room!).  I did get to meet several of the attendees at the door, however, and the women seemed excited to meet the real author.

Momma’s cousin, Janet, who I adore, helped out with setting up and minded me during the meeting.  Momma was pawrticularily thrilled when the chair of the group, Lenore, told her that she would try schedule a bigger event next year!  Here are a couple of photos of our little group.

The next day Janet, Momma and I made the familiar trek to Naples.  First, they dropped me off at Ruffgers so they could shop and dine and hobnob unencumbered.  After a little shopping on Fifth Ave., they lunched at Minnesota-based Campiello which was right next to Momma’s favorite shop — BRUNO!  Momma, never missing a marketing opportunity, stopped in to check on book sales and flirt with Bruno himself.  Here he is with some of the most popular items in his store!

IMG_1371

From there Momma and Janet returned to Ruffgers so Janet could watch me train.  Although I was tired from all the socializing I did at day care that morning, I still managed to pull off a pretty good run with Gigi!

And so it goes.  Momma and I are taking this virus crisis seriously and one day at a time, and hoping you, dear readers, are taking the necessary precautions to stay healthy.  If you need any good reading material while hunkering down at home, I know of a couple good books you might like.

Lina, So Far Surviving and Thriving

WOOFDA!

 

1

My Training Continues

Dear Readers,

Just so you don’t think I’ve forgotten about you, I want to give you a little update on my training at Ruffgers University.

I continue to work hard on the jumps, tunnels, tire, weave poles, plank and am even learning the teeter totter (those of us in the know just call it “teeter,” however).  It’s a little scary, but, as Momma says, one should do something every day that scares oneself.  Momma is actually (semi) quoting my hero, Eleanor Roosevelt, but don’t tell her that or she won’t say it anymore.

Here are some photos taken by my trainers, Gigi and Ashley.  Prior to taking the photos, they announce that it’s  “Tongue Tuesday” or “Tongue Thursday” depending on what day we’re there.  (Momma snarkily:  “At least I bet they know what day it is,  Lina.”)   All I know they are both Super Tuesdays or Thursdays because I get a ton of treats!

And here I am running the course with Gigi last week (with a little pawse to fix my fur):

And resting up after another grueling session at Ruffgers.

IMG_1341

No rest for the wicked, though, as they woof.  Momma has booked as many sessions as she could cram in before we leave Florida in early April.  I know she will stop at nothing to see her little Aussie “in the arena.” Can you woof stage mom?

Lina, In It to Win It!

Woofda!

1

Off to University

Dear Readers,

I am continuing to embark on a new chapter in my life (and maybe one for my next book)!  Momma has enrolled me in Ruffgers Dog University in Naples for agility training.  As many of you know, I had already done some awesome training with Sara of “Adventure is Barking” in Minni, but when Momma heard of Ruffgers (don’t you just love the name?), she couldn’t drive me up to Naples fast enough.  It seems she still has dreams of me with that blue ribbon — or at least on a stage somewhere.  Here I am on my first day.

IMG_3102We got off to a mind-blowing start at Ruffgers when, right after we walked in for the first time, another smallish Aussie who looked uncannily like me, came in right behind us.  It turns out the Aussie, whose name is Rye, is also from Blue Horizon Tiny Aussies Kennel in Sarasota and was also born in August of 2014, but two weeks earlier than me.  Momma, thinking this through — and I could see the wheels turning — realized that we couldn’t be full brother and sister (unless the mother had a very unusual pregnancy), but we could be half siblings.  Here we are posing with Rye and his momma, Mary.  What do you think?

IMG_0881

No sooner had Momma gotten over the thrill of meeting one of my relatives than she started feeling a little resentful towards Rye.  He seemed to be the star of Ruffgers — not only was his picture prominently displayed on the wall and on the counter, but he was also featured in the school brochure.

Well, Momma would have to go to work on that, wouldn’t she?  Shouldn’t a dog with a blog and two books under her collar be featured here?  Perhaps she would just ask Ashley, the owner, where the Ruffger’s library is (“it is a school after all, Lina!”) and suggest that they stock it with Lina Unleashed and Sit Stay Pray.  I just hope we don’t end up in the principal’s office over this.

Somehow I managed to tamp down Momma’s expectations and redirect her attention to the training at paw.  I have now had several lessons with Ashley and Gigi and love my training — especially since I am constantly rewarded with treats!  Sometimes I throw in a “speak” just to get a little extra.

Here I am showing off my skills with Ashley at my session last Thursday.

Momma has predictably already asked where the nearest competitions are and how we can get involved.  I just keep my head down and train.  Actually, I wouldn’t mind seeing a blue ribbon either.

Lina, Future Competitor?  Go Ruffgers!

WOOFDA!

 

3

Book Doggie Does Well

Dear Readers,

On February 20, Momma and I held a pawdographing/reading at Sunshine Booksellers for my latest book, Sit Stay Pray, and I’d have to woof that it went very well.  We sold scads of books (including some of my award-winning Lina Unleashed) and had a nice crowd.  Frank Steiger, who did the photo shoot for SSP, even came and snapped a few photos (some are included below).  Thanks to all the folks at Sunshine and thanks to our friends and fans who came!  Special thanks to Momma’s friend, Cathy, who helped set up, and Donna, who minded me.

Here are some photos of our big day.  Donna (in the pink), wants everyone to know that the wine bottle is not hers.

Note that our signed poster was later added to Sunshine’s wall, along with such luminaries as Randy Wayne White, Sue Monk Kidd and Robin Cook!

IMG_1286

Lina, Noted Book Doggie

Woofda!