Archive for August, 2012|Monthly archive page

Canine Poetry 101

In All About Me, Canine Poetry, Dog Writing, Shelley Widhalm, Uncategorized on August 26, 2012 at 11:30 am

Zoey the Cute Dachshund tries her paw at writing poetry.

My favorite kinds of poems are those about dogs, and my favorite books have dogs on the cover, as main characters and somewhere in the storyline.

I’ve written a few poems, which I showed off last year in my blog. You can check those out (which I highly encourage) under Canine Poetry or Poetry.

You may question my ability to write poetry given that I’m a dog. I can and have, plus I am working on a children’s book with me as the main character. It certainly will be a bestseller given how popular I am.

Wherever I go, people want to pet me, and they say that I’m cute, pretty, beautiful and soft (I have the best fur coat from my oatmeal shampoo). As they fawn over me, I pretty much can guess that they’re ranking my cuteness factor an 11 on a scale of 1-10.

Here’s an example of my poetic talent:

An everyday dog’s view
By Zoey the Cute Dachshund

What I see every day you don’t with your busyness and wanting to be something important. I get to lie down on paws, look out the window bark at passersby, mostly dogs, as I blog about life, not caring if what I say means extravagance, just a simple thought that I’m okay just lying here dreaming.

Smart dogs don’t do cliches

In All About Me, Being Cute, Shelley Widhalm on August 19, 2012 at 11:30 am

Where’s Zoey? (Hint: Look for the really cute dachshund!)

To treat or not to treat, that is the question.

The answer is, of course, treats!

I am a cute dachshund very deserving of good food, lots of cuddles and long, extended playtime.

What I’m not about is cat’s having nine lives, cats being let out of their bags and curious cats that taunt me and flick their tails in disdain.

Here’s an example: I was sitting on the window ledge barking at a feral black cat, and the cat stared back at me with its yellow, squinty eyes. The cat sauntered back and forth to entice my barking. The cat didn’t respond to my “hi,” except by turning on its paw and exiting, showing its backside, as if saying, “let barking dogs die.”

Cats and clichés, they can’t be too much of a good thing.

I’ve tried to befriend ducks, too, a gaggle of three that paddled out of range every time I pulled on my leash to get closer. They honked and lifted off on flapping wings, leaving me in a barking frenzy.

Oh, the life of a dog in want of friends.

The problem is Shelley goes to work eight hours a day, and she doesn’t give me the keys to the outside world. She doesn’t think I’m responsible enough to lock the door with my paws and take my own self on a walk.

The thing is, the writing is on the wall.

I’m a dachshund in need of attention, my moment of truth.

As I go on walks where I’m leash bound, I like to stop at every passerby to see if they’ll pet me. If they’re an animal lover, I show them my belly. If they pick me up, I’ll rub my face against their cheek or give them a kiss.

I’m a born lover, that’s all there’s to it.

Shelley talks up clichés on her blog, Shell’s Ink, at http://shelleywidhalm.wordpress.com/2012/08/19/avoiding-cliches-like-the-plague/

Zoey’s Take on the Animal Senses

In All About Me, Being Cute, Dog communication, Shelley Widhalm on August 12, 2012 at 11:30 am

Zoey the Cute Dachshund stops to smell the flowers during her downtown walk.

I am all about the sense of smell, and as a dog that blogs, I can smell my way into good prose.

Narrative writing like I do should engage all of the senses, those of sight, sound, smell, taste and touch.

I’ll start with smell, because it is my favorite sense, especially when I can smell food. I take that back – I love, love the taste of dog treats, rawhide and human food, particularly cheddar cheese, chicken, turkey, hamburger, eggs, apples and ice cream.

As a member of the canine species, I experience my world first through smells of different types and intensities, instead of relying on visual information like most humans. I track and explore these smells to obtain my information.

When Shelley, my writing partner, takes me on a walk, I have to stop at every brick wall, light pole, street sign and grassy area to check out the smells. I want to find out how many dogs stopped by and dared to consider my neighborhood theirs.

If I encounter another dog (hopefully not a big dog), we’ll engage in mutual sniffing to greet each other, as if shaking hands or exchanging business cards with our essential information, such as sex, breed and mood. I might be friendly, but I still want to tell the dog that this is mine, all of what I can see, smell and touch.

I can separate smells into distinct odors and don’t blend them. If someone is cooking, I can smell the individual ingredients, such as the steak, cheese and onions in a Philly cheesesteak sandwich.

I don’t do so well with sight, because, unlike humans who can distinguish the full color spectrum, I only see blues, yellows and grays; plus, I use vision as a secondary sense to confirm what I already know.

With sound, I am better than my human counterparts. I can hear higher-pitched sounds and am quicker at identifying a sound’s direction.

If you hear me (or other dogs) whimper or whine, I might be telling you that I’m hurt or that I want something.

I like to stand on my hind legs like a squirrel and jiggle my front paws to demonstrate that I want food, adding in a noise when I forget that with begging, there’s “No noise!”

If I yelp, I might be hurt or terrified.

If I growl, it’s likely I’m fearful, angry or demonstrating threat to another animal or human.

And when repeated barking occurs, I’m telling you I’m excited.

This is my sensory world, but when Shelley says about hers, “Avoid using adjectives, such as the pretty girl or the cute dog,” I have to growl.

How dare Shelley say that humans should avoid saying “cute dog.”

As if! I am cute, obviously, as the CEO of Cuteness and the cutest dachshund this side of the Mississippi (or globally, actually).

All right, go see Shelley’s blog, Shell’s Ink, at http://bit.ly/Rv5DSv

What Motivates Dogs (Besides Food!)

In All About Me, Being Cute, Motivation, Shelley Widhalm on August 5, 2012 at 11:30 am

Zoey the Dachshund chews on a rawhide treat.

I am motivated by what should motivate all cute dogs – praise, getting pets and, of course, the T word.

You got it. Treats!

Shelley, my human writing partner, went on and on this week about character motivation and the difference between what a character wants and what she needs.

I want treats. I need treats. It’s the same thing.

I want to talk about another of my want/needs. When we go on walks, I want to sniff around and catch up on the gossip from the other dogs, get a little exercise and meet people who will stop and pet me, saying how cute I am.

But what I need is to get carried. I don’t like my point-of-view being so low to the ground. Up high, I can gather more information and see what’s going on without relying so much on my sense of smell.

Another want/need is to run around a backyard, but Shelley does not have a backyard. Walking on a leash isn’t the same thing. Just imagine if you were told where to walk and had to follow the same old route every time your person got off work. Yeah, I thought so.

Plus, I hate how when I want to sniff a smell and really understand the source and identify how long it’s been there and why, Shelley pulls on my harness. I’ve got to move along.

Do you see me telling her to move along when she stops to greet someone she knows? Instead, I wag my tail and stare at that person until he or she give me my much deserved pet and remarks about my cuteness.

That’s because I’m the CEO of cuteness. As CEO, I want a higher salary. But what I need is (organic) food, toys, treats, walks and LOVE. The (organic) part is Shelley’s choice, but I like my food, or all food, except for watermelon, cereal that I can’t figure out how to eat and bad-tasting stuff.

I like, especially, treats, the extra good, once-in-awhile ones that are above all else. Call it eating my way into doggie heaven.

See Shelley’s blog, Shell’s Ink, at http://bit.ly/Pw2VHY