Monday, September 28, 2009

Trixie the Pixie

With now Joe, Snoopy and Tuffy - the pack felt a little incomplete. There was Snoopy and Tuffy who got on well and played at basset's pace and Joe who sometimes wanted to join in the fray didn't quite get on as well as we hoped ... the Bassets felt he was too rambuctious and would loudly protest - esp. Snoopy. Although low, she had the loudest protest when Joe did something she didn't agree (like mischeviously sitting on her) and surprisingly he'd back off. He would however pick on Tuffy - and Tuffy for a while was terrified of Joe - not daring to move a twitch when Joe was up and about.

So Joe needed a playmate - as robust and rambuctious as he ... and along came Trixie - who's first deed was to nip us all in the butt (Joe included) when she first arrive. She was a wee little thing then but oh so much spirit ... too much infact! Which explains why today most cuts, bruises and grazes are Trixie inflicted :p (Joe and Anna getting the brunt of it all).

She's the only dog at Dogwoods that came with formal papers. Registered as the masculine Rohan Jupiter ... from the Land Under the Winds (yes, there is such a state next to us), the breeders that her to us claimed she came from a lineage of champion Malinois. But since we're not into showdogs nor breeding, she's since been fixed (too bad) and spents hier time guarding Dog Woods and wrestling Joe out of his favourite toy.

"Tic-tic" or 'Tiiiiiiiiicccccc!!' - is what we call her at Dog Woods who thankfully have outgrown her nipping habits - at least when it comes to us humans. But when it comes to her canine buddies, in a frenzy of competitiveness, she sometimes forgets and nips to get ahead (which explains Joe and Anna's wounds). Trixie, as I've already mentioned has loads of spirit. She simply must win - at everything ... even at running. Must always outrun the pack! If they do one length, she'd do two!Pe rhaps it's part of her Sheepie lineage, her herding instincts, Trixie likes circling the Furkids or Joe and I while we're playing the game of 'fetch'.

There were also a few other of her bad habits which we're glad she's outgrown, one of which is her 'flying hug' which would never fail to knock the wind out of anyone (that's if we're prepared) ... on some occassions she'd come from behind and well, someone usually goes off balance :P

With the exception of Trixie, the Dog WOods Pack are home-schooled (at least in the obedience sector). Trixie on the other hand needed some extra firmer help ... So Saturday mornings, Trixie's 'teacher' would come to visit and teach Trixie and yours truly a thing or two about handling a wilful Malinois. Trixie seemed honestly awed by him and would do anything he'd tell her to while she'd pause whenever yours truly tried. Her teacher said something about my being too soft spoken need to sound meaner so the dog would understand this human mean business!

Out of all the dogs put together, Trixie is possibly the fastest, fearless and most determined. It's a good thing she keeps her chasing within the perimeter fences of Dog Woods. We've seen her chase an intruder right up to the top of his van once ... bet he since learn to leave Dog Woods out of break-in list! ;)

The only thing that Tic is afraid of are firecrackers. You'd see her scrambling for cover - even climbing the house grill just to get inside house to cower next to yours truly begging that I stop all that dreadful noise ... not that I can help it. It's part of the festive culture (which happens more than twice a hear) in our neck of the woods. I don't suppose ear plugs work on dogs ...

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Tuffy trails

When Tuffy arrived at Dog Woods, he was barely a few weeks old ... the size of a grown guinea pig! Tiny, compared to what he is now. Poo-pee girl who was a couple months older than, was at least a few times his size. And Joe who always treated Tuffy as the underdog until his Furkids came along could swallow the basset in one gulp, if he wanted to! I won't be surprise if the Vet told us he was heavier than Joe. The furboy is short and compact - heavy enough to totter anyone unprepared by his bulk over.

Tuffy, 'Tub" or "Tubby" - short of Tubular soon became his nickname. Mainly because he reminded us of an overstuffed bolster with legs or the midget Jersey Cow. Unlike Snoopy who's always sniffing for opportunites for treats in between meals - Tuffy spends his time in between meals snoozing - preferring his Zzz to treats!

In between Zzzs and a meal, Tuffy assumed the role of Dog Woods ambassador using his furry looks and charm to his advantage where he soon grew to be the favourite amongst visitors to Dog Woods. He'd greet them with his extended paw - his version of a pawshake and a greeting of "how do you do?" He'd trail visitors everywhere - even to the top of the dreaded stairs and then insist that his humans help him down! He's even one the friendliest terms with the Vet - Yes, even after all his share of poking and prodding! This nosey basset always insisting on poking his nose into the good doctor's bag, sniffing out all the great medicines inside until he's pulled aside.

Another activity that our Tub (of lard) does with relish is to remarking his territory - esp. the all the lamp posts out side of Dog Woods. He's not allowed outside unsupervised since the ol' boy, inspite of his cuteness can be quite an intimidating force. Imagine short furry bulky dog with flapping ears running towards you, growling menacingly ... it's really all fake bravado (since he does that to Joe and his Fur kids all the time!) But it's enough to set any stranger running - which makes him want to give chase even more!
Tuffy boy is known not only as being the father of our ( fortunate accidental) Basset-Dobie furkids but also for his baying! A typical characteristic of hounds, so I was told. He has a special bark for joggers, a growling bay for intruders, a bay to complain that Joe has been pushing him around (yet again!), a bay that dinner's late, a welcoming bay when we get home, a complaining bay that he's not getting enough attention, a bay that he should be the centre of attention and NOT Snoopy or the Furkids, that it's too hot, or too wet ... the list goes on. Tuffy being most verbal of the dogs in Dog Woods has even lost his bark once or twice after his over enthusiastic non-stop bayings when one of the furgirls went in heat. (Thankfully, we no longer have to deal with that since all the furgirls all been fixed! I don't think we nor the neighbours can stomach another non-stop episode of love-sick bayings!)
Interestingly enough, having Furkids and expanding his Basset gene pool has given Tuffy a leg up over Joe's tenacious brains and brawn. The change is evident. Tuffy is now TOP DOG and Joe no longer pushes him about like he used to!

This blog, "Tuffy's Tales" began mainly because of him. An underdog who once trailed after Snoopy and got pushed around by Joe the Rottweiller, is now reigning TOP DOG of Dog Woods - with Furkids on tow!

Friday, September 11, 2009

And then came Po-pee ...

... which is actually Snoopy. She was nicknamed Poo-Pee Girl because her countless 'Poo-Pee-ing' accidents. It didn't help that she liked her food alot and was perpetually manipulating for more with her soulful basset looks and her special 'Please can I have some more' bark.

So as the laws of nature goes:- what goes in must come out ... and Snoopy had no qualms about 'going' any where, any time without giving much indication to her humans.

Snoopy, who also goes by 'Sch-noops' or 'Poops' has now grown into a prim and proper Basset Furgirl who's now wonderfully house trained. However, the nickname's stuck. It's now affectionately 'Poops-ies' and no longer the exclaimatory 'Poooop-Peeee!!'

Apart from her ' accidents' Snoopy's possibly one of the better behaved pups while growing up - not in a sense that she was devoid of mischief (that would be real odd of a puppy). Snoopy simply had impeccable timing ... her misdeeds - chewing corner of chairs, table, shoes, flip-flops etc. committed only behind our backs and the crime is not discovered until much later ... by then, it's all guess work i.e. 'Whhhoooo did this??!!! Poo-Pee?! Joe?! Tuffy??!' And Snoopy and her (fairly clueless) fall-dogs would look equally guilty, while the real culprit is up to more mischiefs.

Unlike energetic Joe who's always game for 'Fetch', Snoopy likes to be pampered and massaged - like a proper little princess. In her more enthusiastic moments, she'd actually 'indicate' to you (by swinging her head from side to side, pointing her snooters at her tail) that she wants a back scratched and rubbed! Showers however, is one of her least of her 'pampering' activities ... though she's always keen to be towel dried
She once had beautiful velvety ears however, due to her allergies and skin problems that demanded many a shots and pills, the poor girl is now bald bottom ears down. It's because of those traumatic poking and prodding reasons, Snoopy with hackles raised, hates the good doctor or anything related or smells remotely of the VET, vehicles included. Thankfully, she's no longer suffering from angry red itchy rashes. Somehow our hot and humid weather don't quite agree with many imported dog breeds - some, who are more susceptible end up with chronic skin ailments like the nieghbour's absolutely bald dog - which i swear was once a Rottweiller!

It's not surprise then, other than her angry protest at Vet and strangers, most of Snoopy's barking expressions have got to do with food and the timing of meal service. There'll be special barks to indicate that she's hungry, or to complain that service is slow, requesting a tasty treat and some more please! :)

Monday, September 7, 2009

What's in the name : Joe


I thought I'd change the style of posting and write about how the dogs of Dog Woods came to Dog Woods and got their names.

Joe was the first dog to make Dog Woods his home ... long before the Pack came to be. He was 5 months old when he arrived. The minute he was let loose from his travelling crate he romped about Dog Woods like it's always been his home. His breeders called him Joe and so the name stuck - with some variations over the years. He's usually 'Joe-ee' when he gets called for dinner or a game of 'fetch' ... but 'Joe!' when he's in trouble. He also goes by Joey with his other best human friend - the Vet.

Like all puppies, he was a mischevious little fellow - who'd chew through things that he was not suppose to chew ... from the telephone, to furniture ... and was always up for a game - at all hours. Joe's also our miracle pup who survived Parvovirus (we're told is lethal to the Rottweiller breeds) and came back after a couple weeks of intensive care at the Vet keen on making up for lost play time!
Although Joe doesn't chew through furniture and household appliances, he's chewing of his toys have gotten him into more trouble - which explains why he's such best friends with the Vet!

Eager to please, Joe not only understands simply commands (verbal or hand signals) like 'sit', 'stay', 'down', 'shake', 'come', 'enough' ... he also understand simple sentences like 'where's your ball Joe-y?' and that would set him on a sniffing search for his ball or ' Can't reach it Joe-ee, can you get that for me?'Joe has also learnt to open doors (from his own crate to the doors in the house) with his paws on his own - we figured it came from watching us humans.

Since they docked his tail when he was a pup, we can't really read his tail cues but Joe-ee makes up for it with his body language, facial expression and range of barks. When his ball is out of reach - in the trees or under the cars or sometimes he'd thrown the ball in sitting room when he's outside ... he'd romp up to the spot, sniff enthusiastically and look at your expectantly and then back to where the toy lies (even if its out of sight). It's almost as if he's saying wordlessly with a big grin on his face, 'Here! Here! I found it! Get it for me please!'

If you're a little distracted, he'd 'holler' to help you along...not the usual ferocious Rottweiller growls but more of a 'Wooah!' and it gets more and more persistent when you choose to ignore him. Translate that into English, that probably goes along the lines of 'Oi! Over here!! Here! Here! (Stop dawdling!)'

So that's ol' Joe who's now four (in human years). Who's as rambuctious as ever - insisting on going for walks and carrying his precious ball about. He is however, taking a little longer to get back to his energetic self, after his second surgery ... but uncannily enough, like all Dog Woods Pack, he'd go about Dog Woods wanting to 'shake paws' with his human friends, like a proper little gentledog (though he isn't exactly that little ...) 'How do you dooo?? How do you dooo?'
And that's another one of Joe's self-taught tricks.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

When hell's let loose ...

Truth be told, we're not really big on festivities on our neck of the woods. There's always so much to do daily - we tend to forget that another season of festivities have arrived. The entire where the inhabitants of hell is let loose would have gone unnoticed had it not been many sightings of gigantic joss stick burnings (some 2 metres tall!), and bonfires. Infact, the Chief mistook the letting off of firecrackers around the neighbourhood recently was some sort of new fangled ritual of breaking fast i.e. "Yay! We can now eat!" (it's the Muslim's Holy Fasting month too) ... only to be informed later on that, it's the Hungry Ghost festival and the firecrackers are to ward off evil hungry ghosts.

Celebrated on the 7th Lunar Month which translates as the eighth month on the Gregorian calender, September ... (not sure how that works out but the Chief guesses if you count 7 moon cycles that would effectively brings us to middle of August and some weeks of September), the festival literally celebrates all hell breaking loose - for a month! Those who observe the festival believe that's when the hungry ghosts are let to roam the earth looking for 'food'.

An interesting superstition that the Chinese have about the festival is that it is bad to go swimming during the 7th month or stay out too late. This belief is that this leaves one open to demonic possession that may lead of injuries, sickness and even death! Needless to say, the 7th Lunar month is not considered an auspicious time to get married, start a business, move house or even to travel.
There's also a local cultural belief about the ominous howls of dogs. So you understand why our superstitious neighbours are doubly spooked when we have a howlin' good time!

Hell Notes

Traditional chinese families would celebrate this festival to remember their dead family members and pay tribute to them. At the same time, they also pray and pay tributes to other unknown wandering ghosts so that these homeless souls will not intrude into their daily life and bring along misfortunes or bad luck. They do this by burning joss sticks fake money or 'hell notes' and offer food.

Trick or Treat: Feasts for the Hungry Ghost!

Another belief among the Chinese is that the dead return to visit their living relatives during the 7th month and thus the living family would prepare a sumptuous meal for the ‘hungry ghosts’. The Chinese feel that they have to satisfy the ghosts in order to get good fortune and luck in their lives.

Chinese Opera

In Malaysia and Singapore, it is a common sight to see entertaining ‘ wayang’ or Chinese Opera and concerts performed on outdoor stages. These events are always held at night and are thunderously loud affairs with singing, screeching, dancing and performing. There is a belief that this loud entertainment would attract and please those wandering ghosts (half deaf ghosts perhaps?). Interestingly, the coveted front row seats are always left empty while the living audience are pack at the back ... You guessed it, the seats are reserved for the unseen ghosts!

Check out the paper stuff they are burning ! An entire paper condominium block?!

In addition to burning hell notes, the Chinese also do a lot of burnt offerings for their deceased - mainly paper representations of earthly material needs that the living strive to acquire in their lifetime. It's gotten quite extensive, even the Chief (who happens to be a paper enthusiast) is impressed! From paper high rise blocks (see picture), to houses, luxury cars (Mercedes Benzs!), Rolexs, flat screen TV , paper apparels ... you name it, they'll make it! The belief is, these burnt paper offerings would translate into real forms in hell - thus, providing their dead relatives a luxurious comfortable lifestyle - in hell! (?!)

Which leads us to the next curious question (a question that our fairly clueless Chief have asked her chinese side of the family) ... do all Chinese automatically end up in hell?

Thursday, September 3, 2009

'Ear-ring it out ....

Haaa-woooo there fuwwee fwiends!

It's Waa-Wee posting...

Here are some pictures the Chief took of me with my ears turned out. She says we Furkids look like a cute gob-win (goblin) especially me, with my furry looks. I weally don't know what she's weefurwing to but I hopes its good. Anything cute must be good! :)

All ear-ed out : Dexter, Wally and Tubby

Our ears somethings have a mind of their own. They turn inside out when we play too hard ... not that that's ever stopped us from playing ...

From left to right : Brandi, Wally, Tubby and Tuffy (not facing camera)

Sometimes the Chief would helps them turn inside out and always starts chuckling. When I ask what's so funny, she giggles even more !

When I question her about purposely turning our ears inside out she tells me she's just airing them out so they won't smell ... as IF they do!

Honestly, sometimes I don't unnerstand them human beans ...Waa-wee bye bye!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Oops I ate(s) it ...

Allo there good furry and fur-less readers !

Dennis Vizla passed us the challenge of recounting tales of what food we've stolen from humans and gobbled. We were going to appoint Joe as our Dog Woods spokesdog since he's got the most experience in exotic chews (i.e. non-edibles) but then we realise that his non-edibles are not considered food.
So ... what have we stolen off our Chief's plate? Nothing really. Come to think of it, we've been really GOOD dogs. No stealing human food ... then again, this TOP DOG would if only I was tall enough to reach the top of the table ... :P
But since ol' Joe needs some form of distraction from his itchy stitches, we'd let ol Joe recount his non-edible chewing adventures which landed him on the V-E-T's operating table, not once but TWICE!


Thank chews! Thank chews! Short TOP DOG Tuffy, you do me much honor!

I guess you good readers would have read about my surgery(ies) by now. I must say my stitches itches like hell! With that dratted collar that the Chief fixed on me, I can't even reach 'em ... But! the sight of me precious ball (irritatingly beyond reach) keeps me distracted. Chief not trusting me with it now without supervision ... :P

Without further a-woof, I'd just highlight some of my finer chewing moments ...
  • Ate me first rubber squeaky pig of a toy ... which thanks to my younger more robust digestive system cleared in no time - much to the Chief's horror of finding parts of toy in me regular output ...
  • Stole and wolf down a small towel. Needless to say, my poop was a little stringy after that.
  • Highly recommend newspapers! They're a great source of fibre ...

  • Snatched the TOP DOG's cuter toys and enjoyed eating it - well, part of what could be eaten - which explains the stitches .... and the fact that me digestive system is not quite as robust as it once was ...:p
  • Chewed through them holee-molee balls which since been confiscated before could chow it down ... they're really not quite as tough as they claim to be but it's still the toughest toy (apart from the gigantic stone of a ball at the bottom of the garden that takes two human beans to move) in the pet store ...

  • Last but not least, had it not been the support and woofs of the Dog Woods Pack - esp. Trixie and Fur Kids get themselves into all sorts of trouble by stealing bipeds shoes and chewing 'em, swallowing all them non-edibles would have been no fun at all ... (those short basset only steal food ...:P)


Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Happy September and howls in between ...

Hello there good furry and fur-less readers!

Happy September! Can you imagine ... more than half the year has passed. And our bad, we did the least post in August. Much busy with many injuries (Joe, Trixie, Anna) and V-E-T visits ... (our V-E-T's building a new mansion at our expense!). Everyone's recovering nicely - thank you for the well wishes. Anna has scabs, Joe's still taking it easy - no rough and tumble games of fetch and Trixie in the mean time is in charge of guarding the house at night. :)

We've been practicing our nocturnal howlings. . The Chief wonders if its because its the month long Chinese 'hungry ghost festival' - not that she's superstitious but apparently some of our more scared neighbours (who've been burning hell notes) are not very appreciative of our howls. Somefin about death and ghosts...Arwowowoooo! in our neck of the woods, the gates of hell is left open for a month as oppose to a mere ONE night on Halloween

Anywoos, to keep the peace, the Chief advised to keep our howling to as briefly as possible - or at least howl quietly - if we absolutely must let out a howl or two. :p How's that possible? Them ambulance that wails past the area is like fuel to fire. Can't help it ... simply got to howl along sirens. Wooowoowoo! It's like letting out a good burp after a very satisfying meal - how can one do that briefly or quietly?! We knows, some cultures consider burping quite rude but in others a good burp is but compliments to the chef! We Dog Woods Pack (and other dogs around in the area) are merely paying howling service for great whines ...

As for the great digs around Dog Woods - the Chief & gang are in the process of putting dirt in to patch up them holes. She says, Dog Woods landscape is interesting enough and there's no need for us to add additional bits of' holey surprises' in the area. Harumph! there goes all our hard work ... but on the bright side, least there'll be more dirt to roll in ... Aroooo!