Archive for May, 2013|Monthly archive page

A Poetic Conversation

In Canine Poetry, Shelley Widhalm on May 26, 2013 at 11:30 am

Shelley: I wrote this poem while writing my novel, “The Fire Painter.”

Lost Dog

Broken heart calling
Out to my lost dog
Where are you if not in my house
But in my soul
More room required.

Zoey: I wrote this poem in response to my BFF Shelley’s poem, which is about a dog character based on me. The dog should have been named Zoey, but Shelley calls her Flame.


I am not lost
With you in my heart
Squeezed against your side,
Licking the salt off your hand,
Kissing you,
Loving you,
Not wanting anything but
Being here.

Dog Princess reflects on Food, Clothes

In Being Cute, Shelley and Zoey, Shelley Widhalm on May 19, 2013 at 11:30 am

Zoey is wearing her mechanic's shirt.

Zoey is wearing her mechanic’s shirt.

My blogging partner, Shelley, talked about in her blog this week how the quality of food and clothing has gone down because of something called the recession.

Clothes I can do without, but I put up with wearing them, except for the green and yellow frog pajamas that have both front and back legs. They make it hard for a busy miniature dachshund to be on the run. Plus, they make me look funny.

I, however, like anything that says “Princess,” because that’s what I am.

The reason I put up with wearing clothes is that they represent a marker for going out, not just on a walk but somewhere fun, like places with people or with big back yards. I have in my wardrobe sweaters, a winter jacket, a skirt (really, why do I need a skirt?), and some T-shirts that describe me as the Princess, the Dogtini, the Hard Rock Girl and the like.

As for food, I beg for it by standing on my hind legs and crossing my paws in front and sitting back down every two minutes because it’s a hard position to maintain. I get samples, but not whole meals for this work. I quickly chomp these down without thinking of quality, only quantity.

That’s because I WANT FOOD!

I eat my organic dog food (why do I have to be Ms. Organic Puppy?) when there’s nothing better around. I must admit that it tastes all right because meats are the first few ingredients with boring grains lower on the list.

My point in all of this is I’m not directly affected by economic factors, because my BFF Shelley will feed, clothe and love me no matter what. In my world, everything is always provided for me, and in exchange I give out my love, affection and cute face to admire.

Barking Translator

In All About Me, Shelley Widhalm on May 12, 2013 at 11:30 am

I know, I know, I've got a really loud bark. Woof!

I know, I know, I’ve got a really loud bark. Woof!

I would like to provide dog owners with a barking translator as a reference tool.

Here is a translation of what my barks, noises and silences mean, which may prove useful for other dog owners.

• Bark: Here I am, look at me!
• Loud bark near a big dog: I am larger than you, and I’m going to beat you up with my miniature paws. My big-dog sound comes from 10 pounds of flesh.
• Growl, or snarl: I’m protecting my person, you big bad dog, and go away, now!
• Play bark: Duh, play with me, now!
• A quick, repetitive yelp: Get my teddy bear (even though I could get it myself).
• Tongue-out pants: I’m totally excited, or tired after exciting play-time.
• Howl: The sirens and train horns hurt my ears, so I’m covering up the noises with my own.
• Sighing moan: I am enjoying my zen moment with Big White Bear as I reenact feeding from my mother by biting the bear’s neck and steadily moving my paws back and forth.
• Yawn with a squeal: You just woke me up, but aren’t I just the cutest?
• Silent, plus not to be found: I’m usually underneath the bed and before I go, I wait for you to see me, so that you will know I’m mad at you, usually for ignoring me and not making me the center of your attention.
• Silent, cuddled next to you: This happens when I want dog-person time.

In essence, I talk to people, to other dogs and to noises I hear. I keep talking even if the sounds are far away, hoping for a response, even from the trains that roar past or the trucks that rumble through the alley below my window.

Figuring Out a Dog’s World

In Dog communication, Shelley Widhalm on May 5, 2013 at 11:30 am

Zoey has to work extra hard to figure out the world of her human companion, Shelley.

Zoey has to work extra hard to figure out the world of her human companion, Shelley.

I need smells, lots of them, because I’m a dog, but not just a dog, an extraordinarily cute miniature dachshund.

Call me Zoey.

Understand me as a complex animal that sees, smells and knows the world differently than humans.

My BFF Shelley is reading “Inside of a Dog: What Dogs See, Smell, and Know,” by Alexandra Horowitz, but I don’t think she needs to read a book to get how I operate.

The book advises Shelley to read my behaviors and not to anthropomorphize me and to consider my unwelt, or my subjective, or self-world.

To understand me, Shelley’s role is to figure out what’s meaningful to me, or what I can perceive, plus how I act in the world. Anywhere where I can’t sit, lie down or eat food is not part of my world and blends into my background.

Take food, for example. It comes from some place with a door (a cabinet) and automatically appears in my bowl. I am handed pieces of it when I use the potty box, do something good or sit or obey other obedience commands.

I act, or behave, according to my desire to receive the food, so I sit even though I want to snap up the treat instantly and chow down.

When I go on walks, I smell my way with my nose toward the ground, trying to figure out the news of my environment. I’m a sniff-a-vestigator.

Ms. Horowitz states that dogs make eye contact with humans to look to them “for information, for reassurance, for guidance.”

I stare down the hallway at Shelley when she’s in the kitchen without food smells, trying to find out if she’s going to leave, take me with her or head to the couch, where I can curl up with my favorite human. She doesn’t tell me what her plans are, which I think is unfair. I have to sit there and figure it all out.

What’s even more unfair is Shelley reads all these books to figure me out when I’m right here available for reassuring her that I’m all love and friendship.