My Nemesis

Kate the Springer Spaniel here. As you may know, I love to go camping. We live in the desert, where it is usually hot, hot, hot. So hot that you can burn your paws if you walk down the street in the afternoon. So it is great fun to go up to the cool mountains and sit in the shade of the trees. I take a nap every morning and every afternoon, enjoying the cool breezes.

Dee gets mad at me sometimes because I forget to come in the tent when it starts raining. She doesn’t like “soggy doggies” in the tent. When I’m really wet I make sure I sit on Brian or Dee’s pillow on the bed. They get upset, but just for a minute, because I look so darn cute lying there. When you’re cute, you can get away with a lot of stuff.

There’s not much I don’t like about camping except for my nemesis, THE SQUIRREL. I call it a tree rat because it has this bushy tail it waves at you and it scampers up a tree when I try to chase it, then taunts me because I can’t go up the tree after it. Don’t think I haven’t tried, though.

Brian says it is called “Abert’s Squirrel.” Well, this Abert guy should keep it in his own backyard. It follows us wherever we camp. I’ve seen it all over Arizona. How did it follow us all the way from Tucson, to Flagstaff this year? What does it have against me and my sister Rose the Irish Setter?

When we get to a new campground, I sit outside the tent and wait for it to show up.

I chase it out of our camp because I think–no, I’m sure–it wants to steal our food. It eats those yucky wild mushrooms that pop up after it rains, so it must be really hungry.

One time, just after sunrise, I spotted the squirrel in a clearing. I pulled so hard on my tether to chase it that I broke my collar. All of a sudden I was loose. You should have seen the look on the squirrel’s ugly face when I came charging after it. Brian had to put on his shoes before he could run after me. I chased that tree rat deep into the forest, but pretty soon I felt sorry for Brian and came back to him. He’s not used to running and got tired. Dog are better athletes than humans, you see.

The squirrel got away that day, but there’s always tomorrow. When it shows up in my campsite, I’ll be ready.

By the way, Mr. Abert, if you want your squirrel back, please contact me. I know where it is.

At all times.

And Mr. Abert, you might keep it on a leash. If a good girl like me has to be on a leash, so should a naughty little tree rat.

Even better, get a more respectable pet. Who wants a tree rat for a pet? Even a cat would be better. Sheesh.

Posted by Kate, the Watchful Springer Spaniel

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I Like the Rain

I like the rain. I like the way it pitter patters on top of the tent. I like all the clean smells, I like to snuggle down and take a snooze on top of the blankies on the air mattress. and then Kate jumps on the mattress and rolls around getting everything all muddy.

Rose, the pissed off setter.

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I Like the Rain

I like the rain. I like it getting in my fur all wet. I like stepping in the puddles. The mud squishes up between my toes. The tips of my ears get muddy too when I sniff the ground. I like laying on the soft wet ground. And then I like going into the tent, shaking the mud off and rolling around on top of the sleeping bags.
Kate, the wet one.

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Maya and Me

Maya and Me
And Oreo and that’s three
Rose is one more
And that makes us four

I like to write poetry, not all the time, but sometimes. Maya’s a mixed up chiwowwa. I don’t mean she’s confused, I mean she’s a chiwowwa mixed up with another kind of dog. I think she kinda likes me. When we met on a walk she came up to me nose to nose. She didn’t wag her tail because maybe she was a little scared. I’m a big girl and maya’s little.

We had dinner over at Maya’s two-legged companions RV. ‘Cause they were camping next to us. Well, our two-legged companions, Dee and Brian had dinner. Me and Rose and Maya and Oreo got biscuits. The biscuits were okay but they weren’t the ribs, the two-legged companions were having. I mean which would you rather have biscuits or ribs? Anyways.

About Oreo. He’s little too. He’s furry and funny. He didn’t like me at all. Rose liked him. She put her ears up like she does when she wants to play, but Oreo just barked and growled. That’s okay. Not all dogs like every other dog just like not all two-legged companions like every other two-legged companion.

Kate, the cute one

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The Art of the Meal

Hi! Rose the Irish Setter here. I want to talk to the younger dogs out there about how to train your two-legged companions to give you what you want at mealtime–every time. This takes advance planning and of course persuasive abilities. Humans can be stubborn creatures, so you have to be more stubborn. I call this strategy, “The Art of the Meal.”

And I know everything there is to know about this subject. I am 14 years old and have eaten 3.5 meals per day, 365 days a year, all those years. It’s more than 3 meals per day because I’ve been known to steal food from time to time–anytime I can get away with it in fact. I’m talking pizza, steak, enchilada casserole, to name just a few. Ah, the memories.

So anyways, the first and most important technique in The Art of the Meal is to not let two-legged companions off easily. They might spend two hours preparing their wonderful dinner, but try to pass off a bowl of dry kibble as good enough for you. You can’t let them get away with that culinary crime.

So, let’s suppose they set the bowl down and say, “Here’s your yummy, yummy breakfast for your tummy, precious Rose,” or some other babbling nonsense. You need to perfect the look that says, “Are you kidding me?” If you have sad-puppy eyes, this works even better.

And don’t even consider taking a bite, no matter how hungry you might be when you get up. If you hold out, they will quickly show signs of guilt that you can use to have something delicious added on top of your cruddy kibble.

Eventually they can be trained to go ahead and add the delicious food right away so you won’t have to go through these extra steps. All you have to do is roll out of bed and enjoy a wonderful meal. We canines deserve it.

Now, suppose they give you the tasty meal you deserve. How do you react? Like you are so, so grateful? And they are the bestest two-legged companions in the world? NEVER! Now, my sister Kate the Springer Spaniel might act that way, but if you’ve been reading these blogs you know she’s far too eager to please Brian and Dee. If I weren’t here she would have been stuck with some brand of bland kibble every day of her life. And she’s not as tall as me so she can’t steal the much tastier human food on the counter like I can.

So the proper reaction is to let them set the bowl down, sniff the food a few times as if to give it the quality test, then quietly eat–no excited barking, no tail wagging. Have an expression of, “Oh, yes, I suppose it it time for my morning meal.”

And on the subject of kibble, don’t let your two-legged companions get away with telling you they bought Rachel Ray’s Super-Duper Nutrient Rich and Grain Free Awesomeness brand, or whatever they call it. Ask yourself, does Rachel Ray eat this? I rest my case. At the end of the day, dry kibble is still dry kibble.

And that my young friends is “The Art of the Meal.” Eat well. Like I do.

–Posted by Rose the Irish Setter, sometimes satisfied but seldom grateful

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So I Went Visiting.

The tent was kinda hot and I was kinda bored. Brian was in the hammock and Dee was writing in her notebook under the trees. Kate was snoozing. So I thought I would take myself for a walk. We’ve been around this campground a lot so I know the way. A snack would taste really good right now. I saw the two-legged companion across the way. He has two four-legged companions.

The black and white one barks every time me and Kate or another dog goes by. He’s just saying hello and being friendly.
I thought maybe since the two-legged companion has two dogs, he might have snacks. So I went over. I asked very nicely. I mean I sat down and looked up at him and lifted my paw. But nope. No snacks. He took my leash and brought me back to Brian and Dee.

Oh well, it was worth a try. And now Brian and Dee pay more attention to where I am. See sometimes I have trouble walking because I have arthuritis in my back legs, but not when it comes to snacks.

Rose, the Irish setter

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Swinging in the Breeze

I like my hammock I every way
The breeze gently causes it to sway

I watch the clouds float in the sky
I listen to the pine trees sigh

The sun is warm upon my fur
Life is good, that’s for sure

When you have a hammock to lay your head
It’s more comfortable than any bed

By Rose Hill, the Irish setter

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Keeping Clean

Just because we’re camping doesn’t mean we don’t get clean. Okay so we don’t often get a bath unless we’re near a lake or river but there’s other stuff. Like getting your ears cleaned with this liquid that smells all like flowers. And then there’s getting our nails filed. I don’t like that at all and do my best to pull my paw away. We get brushed and brushed and brushed. Sometimes every day if it’s dusty outside. See Brian doesn’t like the dust on the blankets when we go to bed. It makes him sneeze. And then there’s brushing teeth. I kinda like that. The dog toothpaste tastes like peanut butter.
Rose, the Irish setter

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Camping Buddy Puppies

Brian and Dee, our two-legged companions, always bring us along when they go camping which is almost all the time. I get to meet lots of other four-legged companions in our campsites. Most of them are friendly and all of them are good dogs, but sometimes some of them could use some manners. That’s not their fault, but their two-legged companion’s fault.

Anyways. There was this bull dog named Brutus. That was the wrong name for him because he wasn’t a brute at all but what Dee would call a sweetie pie. He slobbered all over my head.

You can always tell when a dog barks hello, get away, or I’m going to bite you. At least us dogs can, humans maybe not so much. One RV had three little bitty dogs called yorkies. Yanno, the ones with the bows in their hair to keep it out of their eyes? They made a lot of confused barks’ cause one was barking hello, one was barking get away and one was growling. Have you ever noticed how little dogs have shrieky barks?

Then there was the lady who had two terriers. One was really little and one was sorta little. She said she adopted them from a shelter. It must be scary to be in a shelter where you don’t know nobody. I don’t understand how dogs end up in a shelter. Who puts them there?

Both terriers were happy and wanted to say hello. Hello means butt sniffing. It’s what dogs do instead of shaking hands. Hey, you can tell a lot from a good butt sniff.
In all the time we’ve been camping, I’ve seen only one other Irish setter. Us setters aren’t too common. But we musta been common sometimes ’cause nearly everybody I meet says “I had a red setter when I was a kid.” I’m thinking they just saw that movie “Big Red” and just imagined they had a setter.

Rose, the Irish setter

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Potato Soup is Everywhere

See there were these birds. Big black birds with red heads, flying over our campsite. My job is to keep the birds away. Big birds, little birds, squawky birds, singing birds… it doesn’t matter. So when these big black birds came flying over our campsite I had to chase them. Now about that potato soup…

Brian keeps me and Rose on tethers – that’s a long leash – when we’re camping. That’s the rules. My tether is about 12 feet long. So this bird flew by and I go after it. I jump over the rocks around the fire ring and my tether snags one of the rocks and smashes it into the pan of potato soup. A big pan of potato soup. Potato soup was everywhere … in the fire, on the ground, on the rocks … everywhere.

The potato soup tasted pretty good if you don’t mind a little extra dirt seasoning and us springers certainly don’t
Kate, the cute one

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