Archive for the ‘What’s important’ Category

Don’t freeze out your dog (please)

In Shelley Widhalm, What's important on January 12, 2014 at 11:30 am

Zoey is cozy warm underneath her BFF Shelley's winter jacket.

Zoey is cozy warm underneath her BFF Shelley’s winter jacket.

Dogs are not livestock to be left out in the bitter Midwest cold, especially if we live in warmer climates that are part of the big January 2014 freeze.

When temperatures are subzero, I don’t think even livestock should have to brave the elements. They lack the blubber and fur coats meant for arctic conditions, because they’re acclimated to warmer weather.

I learned about dogs in Tennessee dying after being left unattended outdoors and saw a photo of a snow-covered dog biting through a cage, his paw raised in dying rage at the cruelty done to him.

It kind of ruined my day to see that other animals are suffering in the world.

Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, a tool used in psychology, applies to animals, too, because we need food, clothing and shelter. Shelter! That means indoors and outdoors only when temperatures are Goldilocks-like, not too hot or too cold.

Don’t leave us in cars when you can see your breath or shiver, or when you sweat.

Don’t tie us up when you don’t have a fence.

Don’t put us in kennels outdoors, because you can’t predict if it will rain, snow or the wind will rattle our cages, causing injury.

Do know that you can kennel us indoors for up to four hours.

Don’t leave us for more than eight hours a day.

Love us. Care for us. We look to you for our Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, which at the higher levels includes the social-emotional needs.

We need exercise. We need to go on walks. We need to play. And we need your love.

Got it?


A Not so Materialistic Dog

In All About Me, Being Cute, Shelley Widhalm, What's important on March 31, 2013 at 11:30 am

Zoey hangs out with some of her toys, but would like more!

Zoey hangs out with some of her toys, but would like more!

I am a materialistic (but very cute) dog with lots of things – toys, stuffed animals, chews and balls.

But like people, I have outgrown some of them, got bored with others and keep wanting something shiny and new.

When I was a puppy, I had small toys, such as stuffed bears two inches long, plastic chewy things and tug ropes.

I grew, so the small stuff failed to challenge me. I began to desire bears larger than me and balls I could barely grab in my mouth. Once I conquered these (by shaking the bears and chasing and stopping the balls mid-bounce), I wanted something different, bigger and better.

A few of my toys I still adored and wanted for playing when I was in my play mood. One of them is a big white bear holding a pumpkin in its paws, a hedgehog with two different squeakers, a hedgehog with a tennis ball for the body, and a stuffed pink bone that makes for a handy pillow.

However, I noticed that some of my toys disappeared – they got old, torn, smell or I just didn’t play with them. And some stayed around despite their age, because without them, I would be distraught. Think white bear, my always-there best friend.

Every night I have to paw him, sliding my front limbs back and forth as if milking from my mama. It’s my version of zen. It’s how I relax and let go.

These things have importance, but do I really need them? Probably not. They’re just toys, not real life. Life is what I have every day.

Golden Dog Books, Book 4

In Dog Tales, Uncategorized, What's important on March 3, 2013 at 11:00 am

Zoey uses her laptop to write another children's/puppy story.

Zoey uses her laptop to write anothyer children’s/puppy story.

Zoey White and the Seven Little Dogs (Zoey’s Version of “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs”)

Once upon a time, long, long ago, a lovely maiden sat by the window, sewing. As she worked, she thought, “If only I had a puppy, I would be so, so happy.” She got her wish when a dachshund puppy named Zoey entered her life.

But unfortunately, the maiden died.

The puppy got a new owner, an ugly, crooked lady who kept asking her mirrors to make her the fairest of them all. Meanwhile, the puppy grew into an adorable, beautiful creature with black-tipped ears and a long, fluffy tail. Everyone loved her, well, except for the crooked lady.

The lady took away the puppy’s leash and clothes and put her to work, not allowing her to go on walks or see the outdoors. The puppy wished for a handsome prince, but the lady wanted her to be very ugly, so that nobody could love her.
Not liking the competition, the lady sent the puppy into the woods. The puppy found a sweet little, tiny little doghouse and fell asleep on seven tiny beds.
The seven little dogs who slept in those very beds, smaller even than Zoey, came home singing about hi-ho, hi-ho stuff.

Zoey saw them and cried, “I know who you are” (having seen their names on their tiny little bed frames) “Zippy and Zappy and Pretty and Pappy, and Play, Jay and Fay. Hello, I’m Zoey of a beautiful Maiden.”

After telling the little dogs about the crooked lady, they guarded her and wouldn’t let her eat a poisoned dog treat. Alas, when Zoey’s love, a handsome dog prince named Zach, came into her life, the little dogs served as groomsmen and bridesmaids.

And so, Zoey and Zach lived happily ever after. They had puppies they named after the seven little dogs, minus one.

Zippy, Zappy, Pretty, Pappy, Fay and Play Jay, these are the names of the new loves of their lives.

How nice!

A Case of Doggie Depression

In All About Me, Shelley Widhalm, What's important on February 24, 2013 at 11:30 am


I don’t like it when my BFF Shelley uses computers or cleans or does anything without me, especially when her attention is on the less important stuff of life.

She goes to work all day and doesn’t come home for eight hours (though I don’t understand time, I do know that it seems like forever). While she’s gone, I don’t eat or go potty, but resort to taking naps and barking at noises.

Given my days of loneliness and unasked for solitude, I want that when she comes home, she keeps me entertained. But she sometimes leaves again to see her friends, go to the gym or get dinner. All of it without me!

She’s worried I might have doggie depression. Her worry got me worried, so I went online and researched canine and dog depression.

Apparently the symptoms for depression are the same in dogs as in people, such as becoming withdrawn and inactive, changing eating and sleeping patterns, lacking enthusiasm and not participating in what were once considered enjoyable activities.

A trigger into the depressive state can be a change in the home environment (I visited Shelley’s dad for three weeks and now am back home for the second week), or a change in schedule (Shelley’s dad is retired and hangs out with me, while Shelley has to go to work all the time).

Research shows that most dogs bounce back within a few days or months if their owners give them some extra TLC following those changes, playing with them more, taking them on walks and doing those things they like to do.

Hint: I’m waiting for my TLC.

In the meantime, I eat like I always do, which is avoid my dog food in case something better comes along, but if I’m really hungry, I’ll eat it. Usually I eat my big meal at night because I’ve been waiting all day long for the good stuff.

I sleep the same during the entire night, except when trucks in the alley make noises or people talk outside the window, plus off and on during the day for my dog naps (not cat naps, because, well, you know …)

And I pout the same. I go under Shelley’s bed and hide and won’t come out until I feel like it.

Pet owners are advised to reward dogs when they show signs of happiness, but not when they pout or mope. The reward at the wrong time would make us think we’re being rewarded for that behavior. The thing is I’m rewarded for moping because Shelley keeps asking me what’s wrong. Duh! I have doggie depression.

Dog Gone Too Much

In All About Me, Shelley Widhalm, Two homes, What's important on February 17, 2013 at 11:24 pm

Shelley, my BFF, edited me right out of her life to work on her novel revision.

She shipped me off to her dad’s house for three weeks, so that she wouldn’t have to hang out with me. Though I don’t understand time, I did understand that her sending me away for more than one minute was a very long time for separation.

I left in mid-January and returned last Saturday, chauffeured by The Dad. I got excited when The Dad took me to Shelley’s apartment, but a sniff around each room didn’t produce my BFF. I cuddled up with The Dad to wait, my impatience expressed by barking at every sound. Bark! Is that her? No? Sigh …

And then I heard her familiar footsteps on the stairs, and The Dad opened the door, releasing me onto the landing. I wiggled my tail, panted and turned a circle in my excitement.

Shelley picked me up for a long hug and kiss. “I missed her so much,” she said.

“Of course you did,” The Dad said.

Well, yeah!

And this is how I responded to my boomerang love story. I pouted at The Dad’s house for a week, reducing the amount I ate, played and sniffed, while adding to the sleeping bit. But then it snowed, and I ran outside to romp and roll, loving the cold stuff.

The next two weeks were fun as I played snow bunny, sat on the window ledge to observe the world and barked at all unfamiliar noises.
And then just as I was used to my new home, I got ripped away and shipped back, so I pouted while I had my BFF and The Dad both with me. I pouted when the Dad left four days later. And I pouted just because I liked the sympathy I get.

“I think she might have doggie depression,” I heard Shelley say.

No. I. Do. Not!

I have doggie-doesn’t-know-where-home-is-ion.

And, yes, pouting is my way of picketing to let humans know what I want from love and life. I want adoration and attention, to get petted and to be the recipient of a multitude of treats.

Golden Dog Books, Book 3

In 52: A Dog's Life and Tales, Shelley Widhalm, What's important on January 27, 2013 at 11:30 am


The Tale of Zoey Dog (Zoey’s version of “The Tale of Peter Rabbit”)

Once upon a time there were four little dogs, and their names were Pansy, Poppy, Mopsy and Zoey. They lived with their momma in a big dog bed in the den.

“Now, my dears,” said Momma Dog one morning, “you may go into the fields or down the lane, but don’t go into the garden. Now run along and be good puppies.”

Pansy, Poppy and Mopsy were very good indeed and went down the lane to sniff for treats.

But Zoey, who has a naughty streak, went to the garden, where she ate carrots and tomatoes until she felt rather bleak.

That is, until Ms. Humbledum, the garden’s owner, yelled, “Stop, thief.”

Zoey was dreadfully afraid and forgot her way back to the den. She lost a shoe and started to bawl until she collided with a net and ripped her hoodie, feeling very much the fool.

After what seemed to be hours and hours, Zoey found her paw print at the gate. She ran as fast as she could go, even though Ms. Humbledum caught sight of her. Zoey didn’t care and slipped underneath to escape.
“I’m safe,” she yelped.

Zoey ran the rest of the way home, so very tired, that she flopped down in the den and shut her eyes.

Momma wondered what had happened to Zoey’s one shoe and hoodie. Zoey, who was a wee bit sick, wouldn’t say.

Momma sent her straight to bed, while Pansy, Poppy and Mopsy got treats. Those three stayed up very late eating, playing and having fun.

That’s what happens to naughty dogs.

They don’t get treats, or get to have fun.

Zoey sighed, falling into a long, sleepy pout, feeling very sick indeed.

Dogs Needing Transitions

In All About Me, Being Cute, Shelley Widhalm, What's important on November 25, 2012 at 11:30 am

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

Dog-gone it, I am in transition.

I have been in transition, am in transition and will be in transition, probably for a really long time.

It’s not because I’m changing and growing slightly older, because everyone does that. (BTW, I’ll be four on Dec. 20, and could you please put that on your calendar).

I am in transition because as the cutest dachshund ever, I have an image to uphold.

What I’m saying is I’m trying really hard at being good.

I am moving from a place in my life of being kind of bad – when I chewed shoes, the legs of furniture and the corners of rug; when I barked at every little sound (it’s my job!); and when I ran under the bad to pout – to being for the most part good.

As a puppy, I chewed everything I could get my paws on, but now I chew my rawhides and chew toys. That change was easy, because it was a matter of growing up.

The other two changes actually require work, and – big sigh – I have to try.

My automatic and most natural response to loud noises and big dogs is to bark big and loud. But Shelley, my BFF, doesn’t want me to do that. So, should I consider the possibility of barking a tad less and a tad quieter?

Maybe. Or maybe not.

My other bad behavior is throwing a big pout whenever I don’t get my way. I scurry off to hide under the bed and slump onto my paws, bemoaning the fact that I am not getting the attention, treats or playtime that I want.

I pout at least once a day. This behavior I probably will not work on changing, because I have to pout. If I don’t feel sorry for myself, I would have to accept not being the center of everyone’s attention span. And that’s where I belong.

See, don’t you get it? Transitions are in the middle spot between things. I am between things and in the middle. I guess that means I can keep on being a little bad, always in transition.

A Dog’s Take on Storytelling

In Seeking attention, Shelley Widhalm, What's important on April 1, 2012 at 7:05 pm

Duh, as the cutest dachshund in the world, I am the main character is my and everyone else’s story.

While Shelley blabs on about all this writing stuff, I thought I would try my paw at some fiction, writing from the third-dog perspective:

Zoey the dachshund lives in an apartment in a city in the middle of somewhere. She is looking out the window, waiting for Shelley to come home from a long day at work.

“Let’s play!” Zoey says with a tail wiggle when the door clicks open.

Shelley puts her work stuff away, but she doesn’t pay Zoey any attention except for a kiss and a quick pet.

Why is she in a hurry? Why won’t she play? With! Me!! Zoey thinks and drops her head onto her paw.

Upon hearing a noise, Zoey lifts her head. Shelley’s talk-talking away on the cell phone, the big antagonist to Zoey’s playtime.

In a huff, Zoey runs under the bed, her place for pouting or hiding or taking a time out from the busy-ness of being a cute dog.

Zoey wants to be the main character in Shelley’s life. The leash rattles and that beautiful sing-song voice she has asks, “Do you want to …”

Zoey has a journal at the ready to tell her stories.

Duh, of course I want to do anything that involves you, Zoey thinks as she sits still waiting for what she had been waiting for all along: time with Shelley.

It’s a love story, a girl and her dog. It’s also a mystery when Shelley will come home. It’s a horror, too, when Shelley can’t play. It’s drama. It’s comedy. It’s a dog’s life. This love that does not end, unconditional in its beingness.

Paws-ing on Black Friday

In Shelley Widhalm, The importance of play, What's important on November 27, 2011 at 7:00 am

Zoey is ready for some play time on Black Friday, which she would like to be renamed Play All Day Friday.

Black Friday. Blue Friday. Black Saturday.

Black and blue and black all over.

What are the corporations thinking? Black Friday is when retailers are in the red.

But black is all colors combined. Blue can be a symbol for a mood. And red can be for passion or fiery.

In a dog’s mind, none of this color business makes sense.

The Friday after Thanksgiving is just another Friday that follows a Thursday. Right? It doesn’t mean I get extra deals on milk bones.

Actually, I did not get any new boxes of milk bones, bags of treats or toys on this supposed biggest shopping day of the year. I got left at home while Shelley went to work to write an article about Black Friday.

I napped and felt blue until she returned. We played, but she stopped playing with me, so I did my pout thing and went under the bed. I liked it there for its being dark and all, but not black because the light was on.

In a forever long time, Shelley got out my leash and we went out on the town, not shopping, but just being together, a girl and her dog. That’s what Black Friday or any day of the week should be about, being together and not wanting what you can’t have.

I call my Black Friday Happy Friday. So there, and give me a milk bone!

In Celebration of National Dog Week

In All About Me, What's important on September 18, 2011 at 7:00 am

I need to alert you, dog lovers and silly non-dog lovers alike, this week is – give me a paw roll – National Dog Week.

Just think.

It’s a whole week dedicated to, who other, but me!

National Zoey Week is during the last week of September and started 80 some years before I was born.

The dog celebrators were awaiting my arrival on Dec. 20, 2008.

Now that I’m here, it’s time to give your all to my week.

Here are some ideas:

* Put yourself in a dog’s paws: we like to be treated with respect and love with healthy dog food, coupled with treats and human food.

* Play with us at least once a day: we need to keep in touch with our inner puppy.

* Take us on walks: we need the exercise; we need to network through light pole and fire hydrant sniffing; and we need the fresh air.

* Love us as if there’s no tomorrow: we may give you unconditional love, but it does come with some strings. We need to know that we’re your number one and that you’re our constant source of hugs, kisses, comfort and, yes, requited love.

* Make sure we’re a member of your pack, so take us along whenever you can to dog-friendly stores, restaurants and coffee shops. We like to socialize as much as you – we might not only get pets from other people, we might meet another dog as a possible playmate.

To sum up, it’s a dog’s life during this very important National Dog Week.

But as far as I’m concerned, every week should be Dog Week. Or how about, it’s just a matter of another Dog Year.

We get seven to your one.