Well, I survived the hullabaloo at the airport with my trendsetting flag, and we are happily in Florida.
Although we didn’t actually sell any books at MSP, Momma did manage a few photos with us and gave out my business cards to some bemused travelers. And we did get a few odd stares, but trust me, I’m used to that.
Momma thinks it’s just a matter of time until other doggies and their humans copy us. Maybe I should copyright our idea? What do you say, Uncle Chuck, Esq.?
The Norgaards were on hand to greet us at the airport and spent a few days with us. You probably remember them — the Norgaard boys are the ones that love to tease me, and this week was no exception. Photo at right above is of Gunnar (one of the culprits) and Jenny, his momma, who is very nice to me. I do have to woof that Chris, who may be coming around a little bit, took me out to potty a couple of times. I rewarded him with a lengthy tour of the grounds and several pees and poops. As you can tell, it still takes a village.
At least I got a break from the boys when Momma hired a sitter so we could go on a boat ride. This is Natalie of Nanny Paws on Marco Island. Cute huh?
Lina, Looking forward to another never-a-dull-moment year!
Santa came early to our house this year when I got a new airline carrier. Not that I needed one, but this one had better wheels (said Momma the engineer) and it also had a flag — perfect to personalize and make the carrier into a real statement piece, she thought. Plus, Momma could call this my Christmas gift! As you can see, I’m overjoyed.
As you also might be able to see, the flag proclaims to the world that there is a PET ON BOARD! I’m not sure what else people think would be in a pet carrier with wheels and air vents and straps, a little animal inside and maybe some barks or meowing emanating from within, etc., but that was not the point. The point was that Momma wanted to jazz up the flag so people would inquire about me, she might give them a little look-see of me, and then she could sell them my books. I, on the other paw, a serious author, could do without the commotion, and only want to use the airport to get from point A to point B like most rational people and pets
Anyway, Momma was on a mission, and went to work on the flag as soon as she ripped open the Amazon box. First up was a trip to Hobby Lobby (Momma who shops according to establishment politics, loves that store). There she bought several bags of crystals, a HOTEE gun to attach them and plenty of red and white felt to allow for mistakes. Then she spent the better part of two days measuring, making patterns, sewing, and applying crystals. Apparently the HOTEE gun was just a little over her head.
Realizing that it might take the rest of her life to complete the tiny flag, she sought help. Luckily, our good friends, Jenny and Delaney, were in the neighborhood visiting Nanny Becky and came to the rescue. Here they are easily and happily putting on the finishing touches!
And here I am with my new flag. If you see us at the airport, you might want to run. Oh, and by the way, how are we supposed to get this show piece through the scanner?
Well, I’ll soon find out since Momma and I are only six days from liftoff to Florida. When the temperature registered negative five and we saw sun dogs flanking the sun this week, I knew it was time for this sun dog to head south.
I want to woof out a super big thanks to all of you for reading my blog. It is one of the best presents Momma and I could ever have. May you have Happy Pawlidays and a new year filled with your favorite treats.
I think it’s time for a little winter update! Life goes on pretty much as usual with Momma and me, but as you know, as usual for us is not always a smooth ride.
Speaking of smooth rides, Momma continues to drive Sparky even in the winter here — although it is common knowledge that Teslas do not do well in cold temperatures or snow. I think Momma learned her lesson when she drove it to a store in Wayzata which is twenty-six miles from our house — according to Google — to have a watch repaired (and treat herself to a little look around). Momma prides herself on her math and saw that Sparky had ruffly eighty-five miles left on the battery. No problem Momma reasoned: 26 x 2 = 52, so she’d have plenty of charge left over. Or so she thought.
Turns out it was a cold day in Tesla’s world with temps in Minni only reaching a high in the upper forties. Now to those of you from Minni, you know that could even be a nice golf day, but apparently Sparky is a lightweight. Momma began to realize this when she was two miles from our house and the range had gone down by about five miles. After driving a little farther and watching the charge go down more quickly than she had estimated, Momma realized she had to conserve energy and turned off the heater and the media system. She also did not take or make any phone calls or do any texting that could possibly be routed through the car.
By the time she got to the store in Wayzata and parked, a message popped up on Sparky, warning her that the mileage was getting low and the battery would drain faster because of the cold temperatures. So full of #rangeanxiety by now was Momma that she could not even enjoy herself at the jewelry store (wondering if the battery could be draining even as she spoke with a rep about her watch repair), and practically ran back to the car. The mileage was now at about fifty miles remaining.
Gently backing out and careful not to accelerate or decelerate quickly or make sharp turns, Momma crept to the main highway and the road home. Momma kept the heater and media systems off and barely dared to use the blinkers. By now she had her tassel cap and fur-lined mittens on and she could see her breath as she drove, all the while keeping her eyes on exit ramps in case the car started to die.
By the time Momma got home, she was dog tired (by the way, I’m so glad I wasn’t on this trip). Sparky registered a range of about twenty-five miles, and the car gave her a stern warning that the battery was dangerously low and must be plugged in immediately to avoid damage. The down side to this was that Momma had to reprogram the car to charge “right now” instead of during off peak-hours beginning at 10 pm, something that would likely take her the rest of the afternoon. The upside? We still have a car with Dog Mode.
My dog cave
On another front, Momma has taken to putting me in my own gated community (something which I vehemently oppose on principle) when she leaves the house for longer than an hour. And all because I happened to have two teeny-tiny accidents in the house when she left me alone for a long time and it was dark out and I was scared. (“Better that you are in your own safe space then, Lina,” Momma chided.) I am making the most of it though and spend my time looking out the window for squirrels and taking naps in my bed. Momma also leaves out a pee pad, but I always hold it until she gets home just to prove I can have the run of the house again at any time.
Because it has been so cold outside and we’ve had several inches of snow in Minni, Momma has wisely not taken me for any walks lately. In fact, even going potty is a challenge and I’ve taught myself to squat right outside the door to do my business since I hate wearing a coat or boots. Have I woofed yet that I can’t wait to get to Florida?
As a result of our pawful weather, we are forced to play fetch in the house. And when Momma is binge-watching Fox News or Yellowstone, I make my own fun!
Momma can no longer deny it. She is getting older. Sales people and others in the service industry have started referring to her as “honey,” “sweetie” and “dear.” (“So ageist, Lina,” says Momma who normally claims only liberals play the victim card.) Cases in point: Just the other day a clerk at Byerly’s referred to her as “dear,” and the bagger almost begged her to drive up for her groceries rather than try carry two bags to her car. Then there was the clerk at Pilgrim Cleaners who, totally unsolicited by Momma, offered her the senior citizen discount of 10%. And let’s not forget when the driver of a courtesy cart at MSP asked her if she wanted a ride to her gate (see blog post, April 29, 2022). And when did the TSA people get the impression that it is “okay” to ask certain passengers if they have an artificial hips or knees before going through security?
Also, just a couple of weeks ago after attending one of her right-wing extremist events, Momma had another wake up call. Upon leaving the meeting, she was speaking with an employee of the venue (who was sporting a patriotic t-shirt), while carefully descending some steps in her fashion boots. All of a sudden, a guy behind her called out, “would you like me to help you down the stairs, ma’am?” Momma almost gave him a sharp retort, but quickly relented and took his arm when she realized he was a member of her tribe.
And last week Momma was navigating her way through the security maze at MSP on her way to Florida, when reality “bit” her in the butt again. When she finally got to the TSA guy who let her pass, Momma asked him, “so do I get in that line over there?” pointing to the right where she saw there was no waiting. He replied, “Are you over seventy-five?” Enraged (and triggered), Momma informed TSA Guy in no uncertain terms that she was not even close to seventy-five. TSA Guy, trying to defuse the situation, said placatingly, “and you look good.” Momma, satisfied, held her head a little higher and jauntily marched into the large plastic tube reserved for the younger crowd.
And so it goes . . .
Chief Fluff Officer?
On another topic, Momma’s friend, Linda, recently sent her an article on Yappy.com’s pup influencer contest. It seems that Yappy is looking for a “Chief Fluff Officer.” (Momma especially liked this title because her hero, @ElonMusk, is now calling himself “Chief Twit” or something similarly foolish.) Momma was also wild about the article’s headline: “Your dog can earn $10,000 a year as a pup influencer.” For my part, I knew that I could trust the bone fides of the contest since CNN wrote the article; however, I was still not on board.
In a company ad, Yappy explained the winning canine candidate’s qualifications: “The successful pup will be a natural behind the camera, always happy to strike a pose and genuinely enjoy having their photo taken and being filmed as they try out our latest personalized gifts.” Yappy further explained that the pup should have a social media page and warned that the competition would be ruff with over 3,000 applicants so far.
Although Momma had already all but spent the $10,000, we had a few drawbacks. Number one, I don’t like to have my picture taken (and by the way, Yappy, shouldn’t your ad say that the pup will be a natural in front of the camera). Just woofin’. Number two, I don’t like to dress up in any type of clothing (other than my Joe Biden scarf), and noisy toys scare me. Number three, although, I do have Instagram and Twitter accounts, (@linadogblogger) Momma has failed in her administrative duties to keep them up-to-date.
Nevertheless, I fear that Momma will forge ahead with our application. In fact, she has already put together my professional modeling portfolio. (“Surely Yappy will see that you know your way around toys and outfits, Lina.”) What do you think?
The other day Momma went to a golf outing called “The Elephant Open.” I’m sure you can guess what type of humans were there. Anyway, Momma loves this day. Golf + Republicans is heaven to her.
She was a little less excited though when she met State Representative, Peggy Bennett, who had a huge Shiloh Shepherd. When Momma heard the dog, Hawkin, was a Shepherd, she almost flew to her golf cart to retrieve one of my business cards. Momma told Peggy I was also a Shepherd, a Toy Aussie, and launched into a spiel about my blog and my books, etc. She was pretty sure Peggy couldn’t top that.
But it turns out she could. Peggy told Momma that she and one of her dogs, Colter, had actually appeared on Fox and Friends a few years ago. Momma was incredulous (and a little skeptical truth be told), but, alas, it was true. Peggy had taught Colter to obey flash cards that spelled out words like SIT, PAW, and DOWN. Peggy, a school teacher, had used that demonstration to show her first graders how they could learn to read with practice! Peggy later sent Momma a link so she could see Colter with Elizabeth Hasselbeck, Steve Doocy and Brian Kilmead. You can watch it here: https://video.foxnews.com/v/3619007450001#sp=show-clips.
Momma was pawsitively green with envy. But at least Peggy’s dogs hadn’t written books, she reasoned. She was beginning to come to terms with Colter’s talent and fame, when Peggy continued that she had also written and recorded several books for her students starring her dogs and cats. And put them on YouTube.
This was almost too much for Momma to handle. I can woof you one thing, though — she is in the other room right now making flashcards.
Although Momma was still a bit disconcerted at the awards dinner that evening, she did feel better when she won a box full of doggie goodies that — wait for it — Peggy(!) had donated. Momma was sitting at her table with the rest of her foursome (photo right), including my pro bone attorney, Uncle Chuck, who had allegedly won second place in the tournament, when her name got drawn by Minnesota House Leader, Kurt Daudt. Momma was over-the-moon until Leader Daudt, himself a dog lover, handed her the microphone and said, “tell us about your dog, Robin.”
Momma was all deer in the headlights, but knew this was her chance for us to get some free publicity and maybe even get on Fox and Friends! She therefore snatched the microphone from Leader Daudt, and began her pitch: “Well, Lina is a whole lot smarter than her master.” (Always start with a joke she’d heard.) Pretty good laughter. “She even has a blog — Lina’s Dog Blog, and has written two books, Lina Unleashed and Sit Stay Pray. And both books have won national awards!” Audience attention beginning to wane. Also, a few nervous glances around the room, attendees wondering if Momma had all her marbles. Then, with a big finish, she declared, “and I probably shouldn’t tell you this, but Lina is a Democrat!” Polite laughter and applause. And mercifully Leader Daudt snatched the microphone back, thus ending Momma’s fifteen seconds of fame.
And here I am with the winnings. (Thank you, Peggy!) You will see, however, that it takes more than Rs bearing gifts for me to abandon my pawrty! You go, Joe!
Well, I’m eight today and Momma and I are still standing so we have cause to celebrate — and bring you up to date on my life!
Here I am paw-ndering my birthday this morning and celebrating with my friends at Camp Bow Wow!
August got off to a rip roaring start when Momma got picked up for speeding on 35W on our way up to the cabin. I don’t know how she did it, but Momma got off with a warning. Maybe it helped that she rolled down my window so the patrolman could view the cute little Aussie in her car seat giving him her most pitiful look. Just woofin’!
Once “Up North,” we went through the usual routine, Momma and I relaxed, she played golf and I got to spend time with my good friends, Dave and Sue. Here I am four-wheeling with them. Yay, freedom!
Momma also brought along my agility training gear and our friend, Karen, shot this short little video of me strutting my stuff. What do you think: does the old girl still have it?
Then last week, Momma brought me to Jenny Gott of Animal Intuition to do a de-stress from Momma session. Okay, that’s not what it’s really called, but it could be. Jenny actually uses soothing techniques to enhance my wellness and help me live a healthier life. Maybe I’ll live to be as old as Momma! I loved every minute of it. Thank you, Jenny.
During our session, I saw and heard the wheels turning in Momma’s mind. She knew my birthday was coming up. Could she possibly count this as my birthday present? But even Momma knew this was almost fraudulent since Dr. Becca had given me the visit as a gift for Christmas. She would have to think of something else. Maybe she could make a chiropractic appointment with Becca (as shown in photo left)? Which I needed anyway? And call it my gift? She would have to think on it.
Next up was our practice session for the Crystal Lake Lefse Loons annual video. It had to be filmed early this year because it was to take place on our pontoon (and as you may recall, our lake is frozen over nine months out of the year). Here we are ready to roll, except for me because Momma made me stay on the dock with Uncle Ken to keep me out of the way. Don’t worry though, I am officially one of the Lefse Ladies and will play myself in the film. Can you guess the theme?
Stay tuned — it promises to be a good one.
And last but not least, a belated Yappy National Dog Day!
Considering what we have gone through recently, the past couple of weeks has been almost Nirvana. We continue to do agility training, boarding and even visiting with some of my BFFs and their humans. However, as you might guess, life with Momma is never without its moments.
For example, the other day she saw that I had an irritated right eye and just knew I should go to the vet. However, she really didn’t want to give up her golf game, and was trying to decide if she could postpone bringing me in. Let’s see(!), what was more important — her game or me possibly going blind? Luckily Nanny Becky was available and brought me in to get the care I needed. Here I am getting my weekly exam.
Then there was the embarrassing moment at Camp Bow Wow. A couple of weeks ago Momma brought me to the Camp on the way to her golf game (I know, right?), and noticed a new digital display screen in the Camp’s lobby. She also noticed that many of Bow Wow’s dogs were prominently displayed in cute pictures on the screen. Unfortunately, I was not one of them. Whoops.
After watching the photo rotation about ten times and realizing there was no way I was included, Momma, the ultimate stage mother, took action. “Excuse me,” she crowed to the young receptionist, “but I’m just wondering why I don’t see any photos of Lina up there.” And of course the next time we came in (these folks know how to muzzle Momma), there I was with my name and face in lights. I just hope I have some friends left at Camp.
Okay, I do have to admit that, to ease her conscience when constantly dumping me off, she does purchase “One on One” time for me at Bow Wow. This includes snuggle and playtime and one of my favorite activities is the Camp’s “Sniff and Seek” game. Digging it!
And then there was yardgate.
Momma recently hired a company to help her care for our flower beds. The company we contracted with was wonderful and dispatched great employees to come out and do the job. The only hitch was that the employees were Hispanic and there was a bit of a language barrier. They spoke some English and Momma knew virtually no Spanish. (And I only know “woof.”) Undeterred, though, Momma used her vast Spanish vocabulary of four or five words — and sometimes pantomimed the words when that failed — to communicate.
For example, one day when it was really hot out she asked the crew if they would like “agua.” (Fortunately, she couldn’t find a way to work “cerveza” into the conversation.) And when trying to communicate about the time of day, Momma would say something like, “so you’ll be here until ‘dos’-thirty?” kind of acting out the hands of a clock with her arms. Then, showing off just a little, she would eagerly point at me and exclaim “perro!” (Oh, God, the humiliation.) Finally, when they were getting ready to leave, Momma would grandly say “gracias” about a hundred times, and cap it all off with “adios!” Luckily, I was able to smooth things over with my face licks and winning personality.
The trouble began when Momma took me in for what has become my annual teeth cleaning and extraction procedure. I’d been through this “drill” before, and wanted nothing to do with it (see photo right), but Momma held tight. Long story short, when all was woofed and done, the vet had removed four (more) teeth and I was one sick puppy. Here I am recovering the day of my surgery and with my vet tech during my recent re-check. Luckily I still have some teeth and my tongue is not hanging out of my mouth (yet).
Pirate of a Minnesota Lake
Then, just a couple days post surgery, we had more trauma. Shortly after turning in one night, Momma heard a helicopter overhead as I slept and she read a book. When she first heard the chopper, she did her best to ignore it, wanting to continue with her “beach read.” The whup-whup-whup noise did not stop, however, so Momma was finally forced to go out on our deck to see what was going on. Sure enough, there was a large chopper bristling with lights hovering right over our house. Amazingly, though, Momma still went back to reading her book, hoping it would soon be gone. (As you can imagine, I was no longer resting comfortably.)
When the noise continued unabated, curiosity finally got the best of her. What was going on? Then she had a brainstorm — she would see what she could find on the Internet! She quickly Googled MN CRIME (this was the same thing she Googled when she heard about the supposed alligator on Crystal Lake Beach two weeks ago). Bingo. The site reported a boat-jacking and an assault on or near Picnic Island on Crystal Lake. The perp (who was now being referred to online as a pirate) had apparently been in a kayak, then overtook a pontoon by knocking the driver over the head.
Now the situation had Momma’s attention. She rushed out on the deck again — and saw that Picnic Island was awash in light from sheriff boats and search lights. She also kept an eye on helicopter overhead and peered out the window in our bedroom (being careful not to turn on the lights so the “pirate” could see her — even Momma knew that this was self protection 101), scoping out our shoreline.
Meanwhile, here I am watching the action and hoping that, as Momma’s swashbuckling guard dog, I wouldn’t have to save her from the pirate —especially without a full mouth of teeth.
Finally, after about an hour and a half, Momma read on MN CRIME that the suspect had been apprehended. Photos below are of the helicopter over our house and the searchlights and sheriff boats and zodiacs around Picnic Island.
Now, after all this, you might think that Momma would be hesitant to take her little Aussie out on the board again — particularly near what she is now calling Pirate Island, but she is refusing to be bullied. In fact, she’s ordered me a new outfit that will be sure to scare off any would-be villains.
I hope you don’t think I’ve been ignoring you. It’s just been a busy time trying to fit in all my activities and caring for Momma. After her numerous trips out of town, we are finally getting into our summer patterns again: a little bit of adventure, some embarrassment and a scary moment or two!
Up north to the lake
On Memorial Day weekend, Momma and I headed north to our cabin at Pine Lake. Momma wanted to take Sparky to show it off to her friends and family, but after suffering a panic attack in Duluth when she could not find a Tesla Supercharger and her charge bar had gone into the “orange,” she is understandably skittish about straying too far from home with it. So we took what she now calls “The Tank” and off we went!
Soon after we arrived, Momma’s nephew and family arrived and the fun, and the tormenting of me, started. We had a great time, even with the teasing from the Norgaard males. Here I am hiding under the glider to get a break.
The girls are nice, however, and here I am helping Jenny and Addie plant flowers, giving Jenny kisses and seeking refuge with Addie during a thunderstorm.
Momma and I have also resumed our agility training this spring, and I continue to attend an intermediate class. One of the things Annelise and other class participants have finally driven home to Momma is that I need “high value” treats to entice me to engage. So the other day, Momma looked up recipes for dog training treats and found what she thought was the easiest one to make: Doggie Hotdogs. One ingredient. Perfect. How hard could it be?
Well, a little more difficult than one might think. Momma got through the first step okay — cutting the wieners into 1/8″ slices, then cutting them into halves or quarters (which she selected to keep the calories down) for training purposes. Then cooking them in the microwave on paper towels. Where she ran into trouble was that the instructions called for cooking them on high for five(!) minutes, then stirring them up for even cooking and continuing to microwave them for three(!) more minutes.
Now, I think that anyone who has ever used a microwave before knows that nuking the little tidbits of wieners for eight minutes (on high!) would annihilate them, but Momma didn’t seem to grasp that. So she proceeded on course until the little bits were like chunks of charcoal (see photo right). Very low value as treats, needless to say. Having no other choice, Momma made another batch and only slightly overcooking the wieners this time (“I don’t think three minutes is too much, do you, Lina?”), and I had my treats, which Momma proudly announced to the whole class.
By the way, later in class, Momma luckily avoided what might have been her most embarrassing moment ever. Annelise had spotted something near the dog walk and asked, “did someone have their nails done recently?” Momma, remembering that she had just had a mani-pedi that day (and wondering how Annelise knew), almost blurted out “I did,” before she came to her senses and realized Annelise was talking about a dog and a spot of blood from a nail trimming. Not sure we could have ever overcome that one.
A turtle and more
Early Friday morning, Momma took me out to the front yard to go potty, when I spotted a humongous snapping turtle. It was huge and scary and I put on the brakes. Momma looked over at me and asked impatiently, “now what, Lina?” Then she saw him/her/it (I want to be sensitive to the turtle’s preferred pronoun here), and actually screamed and whisked me off to the back yard. This morning we saw the giant turtle laying eggs outside our front door. Oh yippie, thought Momma, a herd of baby snappers!
And then there was this. Just when I thought things couldn’t get any worse, Momma got this screenshot of a MN CRIME Tweet from a friend who lives on Crystal Lake. The posting declared that a 3-5′ alligator had been spotted in our lake by the swimming beach.
Momma and I agree on one thing in life — we are intrigued by @elonmusk. He’s everywhere and has done a lot of good for the environment with his electric cars and so on. My only reservation is his proposed takeover of Twitter because really wasn’t Twitter okay with its policies of canceling some offensive people like Donald Trump? (Momma: except remember when you yourself were a free speech advocate who was upset about being temporarily cancelled by Twitter?) Details, Momma. And, either way, we have plans and are increasing our presence on Twitter.
But first back to Elon, the original disruptor. I love him because of Dog Mode in our new Tesla, and Momma does because she now believes he’s a conservative and she also thinks he’s kinda cute. And now she’s pawsitively thrilled with our new Tesla (which she has nicknamed Sparky)! She has finally figured out a few of its features, and the Tesla also makes her feel superior because of the money she saves not buying gas (the high price for which she unfairly blames on President Biden). Plus, she really hates stopping at those annoying gas stations with all the fumes and out-of-order signs.
But I dogress. I have come around to Momma’s way of thinking about how we might hitch our wagon to Elon’s SpaceX, er … star. Why not, I woof — it might be fun to become the spokes-dog for Tesla’s Dog Mode, and the space trip as Momma’s support dog sounds like a real hoot. Incidentally, I’m pretty sure I have the right stuff. (After all, I have survived all these years with Momma.) If the Russian dog, Laika, who went up in Sputnik 2 can do it, so can Lina. We even sound alike, no? Laika in Sputnik; Lina in Starship. Also, just think of the yummy treats I might get for my bravery!
Tweeting with @elonmusk
The other day, Momma and I saw the following meme –
and it got us thinking. Why don’t we reach out to @elonmusk via Twitter directly and make a pitch. He is an outside-of-the-box thinker, is he not? Everyone loves dogs and my winning persona might even increase his bottom line. Here are some screen shots of my Tweets to @elonmusk. The first includes my response to him putting Amazon in his shopping cart ~
I hope he gets the joke. And here I am responding to Elon’s Easter greeting and shamelessly begging to be his Dog Mode spokes-dog ~
And here are Elon and me both rocking the shades!
So, what do you think? Worth a (moon) shot?
Finally, here are Momma and me at Tesla this week when we stopped by to get a little help downloading a software update. (Yes, some things are still a little over her head.) Come to think of it, I’m going to Tweet that picture to @elonmusk right now! Paws and fingers crossed!