Posts Tagged ‘Barking’

Six-Month Report from the CEO of Cuteness

In All About Me, Cute Dogs, Shelley Widhalm on July 1, 2012 at 11:30 am

Zoey poses as she fits in with a statue, displaying her cuteness factor.

How many dogs do you know who blog?

That’s what I thought. Zero, zilch, nada.

I am Zoey the dachshund, the cutest dog this side of theMississippi(actually worldwide, but I don’t want to seem too conceited).

It’s time for my six-month review, and as the CEO of cuteness, I must say:

  • I have not gotten enough pets, though I get plenty when I’m out on walks, sitting on coffee shop tables or shopping at PetSmart. It’s just I need to be out 100 percent of the time (except when I’m sleeping, of course, or eating, too) to get attention.
  • It’s too cold during the winter solstice and way too hot this summer solstice. I pant and need to drink lots of water. (I overheard Shelley, my pet parent, say that she may take me in for a haircut. No-o-o-o! Do not hurt my ego!!!!!)
  • Treats are the best. I get them when I go potty in my potty box. (I know that I’m not a cat, but I’m smart and I go where I’m told, at least when I’m rewarded.)
  • Working is not the best, in that it takes Shelley away for eight hours, five days a week. What am I supposed to do? Listen to noises and look out the window. B-O-R-I-N-G.
  • I remain cute, as always.

Let me reiterate, I am one cute dachshund.


A Dog’s Story Journey

In All About Me, Being Cute, Big dogs, Shelley Widhalm on May 27, 2012 at 11:30 am

I’ve figured out how to describe arc in storytelling.

Arc is something I need to know, because as the cutest dachshund this side of theMississippi, I’m writing a children’s story with me as the main character.

Arc is the path from the story’s beginning to the middle and to the end. The path has lots of nice smells along the way for me to stop, sniff and ponder.

In my story’s beginning, I plan to describe an incident that sets up the conflict. I can think of plenty, like all the big dogs that try to walk by without paying me any heed. I bark loud and long, just to let them know, “Here I am,” with an “Aren’t I cute?” thrown in for a conversation starter.

Conflict arises because they just look at me like, “Excuse me, Little Missy, but you are awfully small.” They don’t tell me I’m cute, but trot on ahead.

I don’t agree with their “awfully small” business. I’ve got a big dog bark to prove them wrong, so I say, “B-A-A-R-K!!”

The conflict escalates as I try to prove that I am a big dog (okay, I do weigh 9.5 pounds) as I wag my tail. I am trying to say, “Yes, I am tough, but I also want to be friends.”

I find it frustrating that they respond by putting their doggie noses in the air as if to say, “No thanks, you’re not one of us.”

“But I am,” I say with a smaller bark and more tail wags.

As they continue walking away, I know how this will end. I have to stay behind all sad and lonely, all because I forgot how to play nice when all I really wanted to do was say, “Hi.”

They don’t get it, those big dogs.

My story is not resolved because I have this penchant for barking, because as I’ve said before, I bark, therefore I am.

The end.

See Shelley my pet parent’s blog on arc at http://shelleywidhalm.wordpress.com/2012/05/27/a-storys-arc/

A Dog’s Poetic Barking

In All About Me, Dog communication, Shelley Widhalm on May 23, 2012 at 1:50 am

When I bark, there is no subtext. It’s simply, “Woof, woof, yip and yap.”

I bark loud when I want to let the big dogs know that I am 9 ½ pounds of toughness.

I bark long when a noise – like a truck rumbling over the alley below my window or the neighbor click-clacks up the stairs – interrupts my quietude.

And I bark yippy and yappy to let my friends, along with any would-be-friends, know that I am here.

My vocabulary of different barks carries a variety of meanings. What I want to say is pretty obvious in the “hello, I’m here and I’m cute” message, though there is a bit of underlying meaning that the listener of my barks has to interpret.

Okay, I was wrong, there is subtext in how I express myself.

If I am engaging in zen with my dog bear, paddling my feet as I bite his neck, I bark with irritation at the interruption.

If I’m drifting to sleep, I bark a soft half-bark, saying, “Go away, I’m dreaming.”

Or starting to.

If I snarl with a bark, I’m pouting because I’m not getting my way. To emphasize my message, I go under the bed and take a timeout.

Shelley, my pet parent, put a rug on my pouting spot, but I walked over it (under the bed) to the spot next to it.

To pout, you need a lot of space. Not plush carpet-y stuff.

I need a blank slate, or floor, to figure out what I’m thinking. Woof! And bark, bark, bark. Sigh-h-h.

A Dachshund’s Toolbox

In All About Me, Being Cute, Shelley Widhalm, Woof! Woof! on May 13, 2012 at 11:30 am

Writers like to say they have a toolbox, while it’s their dogs who like boxes.

I like tissue boxes and boxes slighter larger or smaller that I can rip apart into smaller pieces. Newspapers and envelopes also work for ripping.

I’m not interested in tools, because as a dog, I can’t build things, though I can dig.

With some imagination, however, I see that I have a tool, that of my cuteness. Don’t I look adorable in this photograph where I’m posing for the camera?

My cuteness stops traffic wherever I am, because people (most of them anyway) want to pet me. They say, “She’s so cute.”

Yeah, I know.

Another tool is my bark. What do I love about barking? you ask.

I like hearing my own voice, and I like grabbing attention. I like pointing out sounds, like the neighbor coming home, trucks driving down the alley and people talking on the other side of the window.
Do you think it’s easy to bark with all the steps I have to go through?

First, I hear a sound, lift my head and decide whether it’s a perceived threat, annoyance or stimulant (i.e. a potential visitor to pet and play with me). If I determine the noise needs an echo, I bark. If the noise is unusual or new, I bark loud and repeatedly.

Like I’ve said before, I bark, therefore I am.

My dog toolbox has cuteness, barking and oh no, not that.

“It’s time for your bath,” Shelley says.

I run under the bed to my secret spot where I hide when I want to have a pout or avoid things.

“Don’t you want to be clean and pretty? If you smell, no one will pet you.”

I don’t care, I bark to say.

After two hours of hiding, I realize I’m not getting a bath. I won! Until the next day when Shelley grabs me and hauls me to the sink.

So does my heart.

I so wish baths didn’t have to be in the toolbox, but that’s the way it is in a world where being clean matters.

See Shelley’s blog on writers’ toolboxes at http://shelleywidhalm.wordpress.com/2012/05/13/a-writers-toolbox/

Dog-Themed Love

In All About Me, Being Cute, Shelley Widhalm on March 18, 2012 at 10:30 am

Zoey the dachshund is cute eating ice cream. She believes that she's cute no matter what she does.

The theme of my life boils down to one word: me!!!

The main message of my story is that I’m cute. The message that people get when they see me out on walks or at PetSmart is that I’m head and nose above the other cute dogs.

The passersby want to pet me for this reason and probably because my fur – I am a long-haired miniature dachshund – is really soft and quite pretty.

In other words, the theme is that I am top dog.

Theme, according to books about the writing craft (why aren’t there books about the craft of barking?), is the deeper layer of meaning that runs through the surface of a story. What I say is the depth comes from the unconditional love that arises between a dog and her owner.

The deeper layer is how I can be a good dog even though I want to bark at everything, grab treats when I’m not supposed to and rummage through what’s not mine, I don’t. Well, except for the barking, of course.

My breed is known for being barkers.

I like to bark at unfamiliar noises, particularly noises that repeat and I find to be annoying (like the dump truck coming down the alley) and bike riders that ride too fast on the sidewalk with their wheels jangling on the cement cracks.

I also bark to say, “here I am;” “come here and pet me;” or “come here and play.”

The theme of my story is that I’m cute, a fact I communicate through my barking, though there probably isn’t any deeper layer to my yipping and yapping . Except that my bark can be low, growly and rumble with a snarl thrown in if I really get mad at the noises.

Oh, I forgot, I’m supposed to be a good girl.

And don’t forget CUTE!

* See Shelley’s blog on the same topic at http://shelleywidhalm.wordpress.com/2012/03/18/theme-in-writing-reading/

Reading the Dog Way

In All About Me, Chasing smells, Shelley Widhalm on March 11, 2012 at 10:30 am

Zoey is the center of her story, a plotting, but cute dachshund.

Duh, dogs don’t read. If I were to read, I would read anything with a dog on the cover, a dog character or a dog plotting to get even for not having a major role in great literature.

Enough about books.

The way I read is I sniff. I can figure out the source of smells – another dog, a dropped scrap of food or food cooking on a grill – by hanging around telephone and light poles, trees or whatnot as if staring at a sunset. I smell this and that, like thinking there is red and yellow coloring the sky.

My sense of identifying characters comes from listening to sounds.

Is it the neighbor coming upstairs? If I hear the click of her heels, I bark triple time, hoping she’ll come over to play.

Or is it the trash trucks coming down the alley? If there are the usual clanks and bangs, I bark extra loud, telling the truck to shut up.

If it’s the trains, I don’t say anything. I like the whistles and the rumble of wheels, kind of like a heartbeat broken by a scream.

Dialogue is a matter of all the talking I hear around me, interspersed with a bark, a pant or rolling on my back, seeking pets.

As for plot, when it’s about me and what I do all day long, it’s thrilling. The mystery is when Shelley, my pet parent, will come home, but it’s usually after work because I get bones in the morning, a kiss and a “Be a good girl.”

As if.

The end.

And happily ever after, because I’m here, the center of my own story.

* See Shelley my pet parent’s blog on reading at Shell’s Ink. http://shelleywidhalm.wordpress.com/

A Dog’s Voice

In A keen barker, Being Cute, Shelley Widhalm on February 12, 2012 at 11:00 am

Though smaller, Zoey the Super Dog has a big bark.

A dog’s voice is, at the surface, a matter of his or her bark.

But it’s more than that.

The quality of the bark – shrill and yippy, low and rumbling, or quick repetitive snaps like clapping – is based, in part, on breed. But how that bark is executed differs according to the individual dog.

Take me, a nine-pound miniature dachshund. Looking at my cute face, you would think my bark would be kind of small and quiet, but it’s big and deep and has a lot of growl – at least at times when I need to show you who’s the big dog of us two.

Voice is how I tell my story.

I have a certain bark for treats.

And one for the noises I don’t like.

And a bark for the trains.

If I am outside, I howl at their rumble on tracks and the scream of the whistle, long, short, short, repeating as if we don’t know there’s something speeding through town.

I bark from the patio to tell the world here I am.

Zoey, super dog.

I bark, therefore I am.

Dog Talk

In Shelley and Zoey, Shelley Widhalm on February 5, 2012 at 10:00 am

This is how it should be, Shelley and I together, not separated by 100 miles!

Animal communication doesn’t require dialogue, as such, but it does take being able to communicate through the heart, the eyes and the mind.

Shelley, my pet parent, dropped me off at her dad’s house for three weeks, though I don’t know what three weeks is or three hours either. I just know she’s gone, gone, gone, and I want her back.

I am sending her a message to come get me.

Right now, her dad is seeing me pout, only perking up to go outside and run around the back yard. I like barking at the noises from other dogs and the trucks driving by on to the next town.

I get left here twice a year, once during winter so Shelley can work on her writing, and once in the summer during her vacation.

Shelley’s dad likes that I come, so he can spend lots of time with me, playing our games of chase, tug-of-war and keep away. He likes letting me sit on his lap when he works at the computer or when I cuddle next to him when he reads or does puzzles.

Sure, I think he’s a great guy and all, but he’s not my person.

I snuggled tight smack against Shelley when we visited her dad last weekend before she abandoned me. I kept track of her, continually on the lookout for any signs of packing.

On the third day of the visit, her stuff got put in its bags.

Mine didn’t.


After she left, Shelley made it clear that she’s missing me. I can feel it in my heart, a message from hers that she doesn’t like coming home without my tail-thumping greeting. She doesn’t like leaving for work in the morning, when she gives me treats and says, “I’m going to work. Be a good girl.”

She doesn’t like the quiet.

Oh wait, I hear a noise. I start barking and scratch at the door. I gotta go. There’s sounds for me to investigate, I realize as I take off running around and around the back yard. I’m barking as I forget, at least for a few minutes, that I’m missing Mom.

Pawsitive Motivation

In Loud barks, Motivation, Shelley Widhalm on November 20, 2011 at 7:00 am

Zoey is motivated to bark and bark, but she's excused because she's cute. Right?

I am motivated, obviously, by the milk bone. Oh, and the food pyramid, starting with meat, followed by vegetables and sweets.

I like coffee; yes, dogs can like the caffeinated beverage when it has cream and sugar.

I like to play tug-of-war, chase and catch.

And I like to get petted.

To achieve these things, I rely on my cuteness.

My motivation comes from my natural instinct of going for what I want and making sure I get what I want while also being adorable. The adorable add-on is like frosting on the cake. I can get what I want – play or pet time or food – and eat it up, too.

I have the persistence quality, which gets me what I want. I love, just love to bark, because I’m a dachshund, a breed that has a big bark and a long body.

Shelley, my pet parent, tells me No Bark, and I, of course, bark and bark.

I bark when I hear noises. I bark when the train whistles blow. I bark when the trash trucks beep. And I bark when doors bang shut in the building below.

I think that I bark because I am.

I am, therefore, I bark.

I bark. I am motivated to bark. And to be cute when I make lots of noise.

Waiting for Her Return

In Missing Mom, Pet Sitting, Shelley Widhalm, Waiting Up on November 13, 2011 at 7:00 am

Zoey the sad puppy.

Shelley, my pet parent, left me at her mom’s house this past week while she went away. I waited up for her the first night, thinking she would come get me.

She didn’t.

I slept on the couch with my blanket on top of two pillows. I was comfortable but sad.

The next day, a Sunday (Shelley left me on Saturday to go to her grandma’s funeral), I ran around the backyard, barking at the dogs who live on three sides of the fence – in back and on either side.

I was saying “hi,” not being a rabble-rouser like Shelley says.

Inside the house, I moped and licked my fur over and over, waiting and waiting.

Though Shelley’s mom kept her bedroom door open, I kept watch from my post on the couch just in case Shelley came home.

I had to wait one-two-three-four-five long, long days.

With a wag of my tail and a few happy circles, I silently greeted Shelley on the afternoon of the fifth day. She picked me up and kissed me. I didn’t bark or anything, so happy was I to have her back where she belonged.