Sunday, 29 July 2012

Bouncing (narrative style) Olympic event!

Oh I am just bouncing off the walls with excitement about all the wonderful entries to my Bouncing (narrative style) event. Every single one is a winner! Thank you so much to all the lovely participants, for taking the time to celebrate the act of bouncing with such creativity. We have poems, limericks, prose, haiku and even a citation from Blogville's Chief of Police.

Here they are, in order of arrival in my inbox. Read and enjoy.

Up on the sofa
Finn does her bee-bop bouncin'
While her peeps relax

But she hears them not
While they command her to stop
She bounces onward.

Casey the Boxer
Bouncey, bouncey, I like to bounce!
It's so much fun, it's like a big pounce!
I can jump and leap and spin and twirl,
My legs stretched out front, my ears all a-curl.
But the best reason for bouncing we know is just this --
It's the best way to leap up and grab a big KISS!

Molly the Wally

Molly’s Bouncing Ode!

I like bouncing off the sofa,
And bouncing off the walls,
Sometimes off my human,
And sometimes with rubber balls.

I bounce all day and night,
Bouncing like a crazy thing,
Sometimes with my tennis balls,
And sometimes when I sing.

I’m bouncing like a kangaroo
Or like a bouncing spring.
Sometimes I bounce far too high
And with ceiling my head doth ding.

Bouncing is the best of fun,
We should all bounce together,
So let’s get bouncing all my pals,
Nevermind the weather.

And when you feel you’ve bounced too much,
And fall into a tired heap,
Find a little restful spot,
And have a little sleep.

By Molly the Bouncing Wally. 

I bounce when I play
with Blue my favorite toy
bounce that day away

When I go to the park, and smell the fresh air, I bounce with joy.
The car stops and I run out and grab my favorite toy.
I bounce and bounce as I run and play.
I hope and hope we can stay all day.
I roll in the grass and pass some gas and give Mommy sass.
Today I wish with every ounce that today is the day I will go and bounce.

Incident Report
Officer:  Sarge, Chief of Police, Blogville
Date: July 29, 2012  Time: 0430est
Violation:  Disturbing the Peace
Accused:  Mr Hy Leaper
Witness:  Mr Lon Hopper
Victim:  Bounding Betty’s Bar & Bistro
Description:  This officer responded to report of disturbance at local tavern.  Took statement from Mr Hopper who did state that he observed Mr Leaper jumping repeatedly on the stools of the tavern. 
At the request of Ms Bounding Betty, Mr Hopper acted as the employed bouncer to remove Mr Leaper.  The accused verbally sprung assaults on Mr Hopper and jumped repeatedly on his toes. 
Mr Hopper then bounded down the street and disappeared. 
Citation issued by:  Sarge, Chief of Police

There once was a dog in Flor-ee-da
Who liked to bounce for his dee-na
One day he bounced so high
He caught a pizza on the fly
Next day he asked his Mom for a tramp-o-lee-na ;)

The Foodstuffs Dance
Correct-sized legs is hard to bend,
and leaping no is my best friend.
My belly drags across the ground
and Mama says "Reuben, you is too round." 

Although I is big, my legs no is,
so instead of bouncing, I does this:
When it is time for me to eat
I gets excited in my feet!

My legs just starts to go and go 
and the next thing that I know
I goes into a kind of trance
And I performs the Foodstuffs Dance.

There's lots of shuffles to and fro,
My legs is moving fast, and so
I then begins the Foodstuffs Whine
and the Foodstuffs Bark - those foods is MINE!

And I continues, all a-quiver
Until the foodstuffs is delivered.
I nom it up so fast I cough
and then I goes to sleep it off.

Susie and Sidebite
Bouncing by Susie:

Bouncing came easy to me, once I discovered the fun of the back yard, it suddenly struck Me. This is my happy time, it's what makes me bounce, when Mom or Dad come out and chase me around the 87 acres, about every third or fourth step I bounce, and then I go after Shadow to join in, and the real bouncing around on her begins. Now I have every body involved, then Bites shows up and the party is on.

My second best bouncing is chasing after something, ball, Frisbee, rabbit, just anything that goes fast, even Sidebite.

My bestest bounces come when I Bark, see I am a little girl with a high pitch yell, so's, to get my message out I put my all into it, I squat down, let it go, and bounce backwards till the problem is gone.

Bouncing by Sidebite:

One: I love to play footies while Dad walks and I chase after his feet, bouncing and attacking, then get another run, bounce in, attack, growl and do this till I can't move.

Two: Dad thinks he has a recliner, WRONG, by Scottie Law, It's MINE!. We come in during the late evening and get a snack, then Dad lies down on the floor in front of my recliner and we play ball, or wrestle with a suffie, till I am Tired. Now I got him, I take a run and bounce on his tummy and into MY recliner.

George the Lad
B is for Ball
O is for Outing
U is for Urinate
N is for New places to visit
C is for Chews
I  is for  Interesting Steps
N is for Nose to the ground
G is for Great time

If I get all of the above it makes me want to
Bounce. Bounce, Bounce, Bounce, Bounce

Bella does little ladylike hops
  while waiting for a treat.
But telly gets her bouncing high
  which for her is quite a feat.

Roxy bounces all the time,
  you'd think her legs were springs.
She bounces all around the house,
  leaping over things.

Daisy's like a cheerleader
  bouncing to get HER to go.
'Cause whenever it is walk time,
  SHE moves VERY slow.

Deccy the ex racing hound
Howled and bounced round and round
He just had to run
But it wasn’t for fun
KC’s claws were like daggers he found!

I'm two foot long and half a foot tall
and I bounce around like a fur ball
It is easy to see
I'm no WFT
'Cuz my bounces are overly small.

The wonderful thing about Winnie
Is Winnie's a bounceable dog
Her legs are long and quite skinny
She can bounce, she can run, she can jog.

She's bouncy, leapy, then she's sleepy.
Her legs are just a blur
But the most wonderful thing about Winnie is simply that she's her.

Jazzi and Addy
Addy and I loved to run and play and bounce around. One of our favorite games, was to run and chase each other around the house. Our main floor has a big square so we would run around the square several times and then we each took a leaping bounce from about 2-3 ft from the love seat and land right smack on our love seat.
Addy: Wait Jazzi, I don't think it was exactly 3 feet for you, I mean you aren't even 3 ft long!! Maybe more like 1 ft.
Jazzi: Hey!! I am telling the story here Miss Dogzilla! You just pipe down over there!!
Addy: Well, I think you should just be accurate, lol
Jazzi: yah ok. Anyway we bounced so hard on it, that the love seat would bounce back on its back legs and then make a BIG clunk when it hit the floor again!! bol. We would bounce right back off, take off running again. I would chase Addy cuz she is scared of me
Addy: Oh NO, you did not just say that Jazzi!! I am by NO means scared of You. PLEAZE!!!! If anything, you run from me cuz you know that I will getcha!! You do know that I could sit on you Jazzi?
Jazzi: (yawn) really??? (she really is scared, she just doesn't want to admit it)
After we switched turns, we would do it all over again and we had a blast!! It did drive Mom nuts but we didn't care, cuz we have tons of fun bouncing on and off of the love seat BOL!!! (We don't have a picture of the actual bounce but this is us after the bounce on our love seat.)

Seeing how this is the Olympics, I can do a Standing Bounce!! It is tricky to do and takes time to get it just right.
I stand or sit on the Living room floor and Mom sits there and asks, Jazzi, do you want a treat? I reply by Barking. 
Now when I Bark, my front paws both bounce off of the floor. It must be very entertaining because Mom sits there and laughs like crazy. Alls I know is that it gets me a treat and that's all I am interested in. Hey! A girl has to worry about the important things right??

As you all might remember, when I lived with Jazzi, I discovered that the grand-peeps had a trampoline. Jazzi in all her bossiness tried to get my not to go on it. usuaI I didnt listen to her, bol. I went ahead and got on it with the grand-peeps. As they bounced, I bounced and I went so high in the air. I actually think that all my paws were in the air at the same time and it was so much fun. I could feel the air on my face and my ears flopped all around when I bounced. I even took my toy with me and jumped with it in my mouth. I enjoyed it so much that when they were on it bouncing, I was right there bouncing with them and having the time of my life. Just call me the Bouncing Addy!!

Team Beaglebratz
Neither of us Beaglebratz due much bouncin’BUTT I, the Diva Shasta duz a little I guess.  When there iz sumthin’out in the yard that me an’brudder Shiloh go chasin’it – sumtimez when I am runnin’an’az I start slowin’down, then I kinda start duin’sorta bounce on my pawz.  It iz really kinda of a run, hop-bounce – mom sez it’z kinda like I’m slowin’down my runnin’an’start bouncin’up an’down butt I am still movin’forward a little – Shiloh duzn’t due this.

I, the Diva Shasta, just feel so furry much happy when I due this - an'I know that whatever I am chasin'iz furry much impressed an'a little scared cuz I am showin'my tail held furry much straight up like I AM the boss an'nobuddy better mess with me.

I did include a pikchure of me restin'up AFTER I bin out in the yard duin'my run-hop-bounce chase.


Don't forget to check out all the other wonderful events in our very own Pet Blogging Olympics.

Tuesday, 24 July 2012

The limits of science...(Boffin admits defeat)

Finally, we come to the results of my 'Science of Human Behaviour' project (for background, see 1st July post).

I have to tell you that when I first embarked on this study, Gail was a bit uneasy, saying "I hope you realise that you have chosen a very complicated subject Bertie, I fear you might have bitten off more than you can chew".

Well I reminded her that I have, I believe, an infinite capacity for chewing, so that really shouldn't be a problem. 

One month later, I have come to the conclusion that Gail was right and I am having to eat my own words....

Oh you have no idea how hard it has been, trying to make sense of all the fascinating reports you kindly sent me about the behaviour of the humans in your household. 

My starting point, naturally, was a sociobiological perspective. Surely, I thought, all human actions can be interpreted in Darwinian terms as evolutionary aids to survival.

To render the data more manageable, my first step was to divide it into broad categories. By and large this worked, and most of the reported behaviours fell into one of the following four groups.

Group A: Human exhibiting meanness to dog (e.g. withholding the tastiest food) 
Group B: Human ignoring dog (e.g. by going to work or to the gym)
Group C: Poor logic shown by human (e.g. shaving off their own furs then complaining of the cold)
Group D: Extreme excitement or distress of human when sport is on TV (you should have seen Gail watching the Tour de France last weekend...)

So far so good.

But then I tried to work out the adaptive rationale behind all these behaviours, and started to lose confidence.

Can one explain the human urge to spend time dressing up their pup in cute frocks in terms of the survival of the fittest? What has refusing to share a cheeseburger with your dog to do with altruism? Can there really be a 'selfish gene' for not allowing a pet enough computer time? 

Feeling quite overwhelmed, I confided in my neighbour Jake. It seems I asked the right dog. 
Jake tells me he knows all about human behaviour 'cos he shares a household with a nearly qualified Jungian psychotherapist! 

So, I learn it was a big mistake ever to imagine that the reductive, mechanistic methods of scientific analysis would be the right approach. Apparently what most of the respondents to my survey will need, for their behaviour to be understood, is years of (expensive) individual therapy in which their subconscious can be thoroughly scrutinised and their dream world subject to in depth exploration. 

Oh and Jake tells me he'll accept gravy bones as commission for every new client he brings to his human.

As for me, I have decided in future to stick to the natural sciences.

PS Remember it's my Olympic Bouncing Event on Sunday. You will absolutely love all the entries, I promise!

Friday, 20 July 2012

Dreaming of the yellow jersey?

I have been watching the Tour de France on TV a lot these past three weeks. Not my choice you understand, but it's what you get when your owner is a big cycling enthusiast.

So anyway I have a question.

How is is that in the Tour, staging a successful 'breakaway' from the peloton (see, I have mastered the jargon) is considered a brave and impressive achievement, but when I copy this strategy in the woods near Aberdeen, my actions meet with strong condemnation and threats of 'grounding'?

OK, I admit that my breakaway yesterday afternoon was inspired by an instinct to chase deer (again) rather than by an ambition to wear the maillot jaune. But that aside, I see very little difference.

Had messrs Wiggins, Froome, Millar or Cavendish managed to race ahead out of sight and stay away for two and a half hours before being reunited with their pack, I think Gail would have been leaping about with excitement, in a good way.

In fact she was, apparently, leaping about a lot when I made the break (she even phoned her friends Yvonne and Neil after about an hour) but, it seems, this was not at all a good sort of excitement...

Even the greatest of cyclists can tire of the solo ride, and likewise eventually I did start missing Gail's company and tried to find my way back to her. I had to bark a lot so she could find me in the lush undergrowth (not, I think, a problem ever encountered by Lance Armstrong).

Can you believe that later, what Gail seemed most upset about was that she'd missed the ITV4 highlights of the final Pyrenean stage of the Tour?

Thursday, 19 July 2012

It gets even worse...

Earlier this week I told you about the cr*p so-called ‘present’ Gail brought me back from Switzerland (cheers Deccy for suggesting that most appropriate adjective….)

Let me tell you, that was just the start of it.

You know, I could just about accept the fact that my human was going off to visit her beloved but now elderly and wheelchair-bound godmother Doris in Luzern and that as she had to fly it would all be a bit complicated to take me along etc. I also understand that animals might not be welcome in the care home where Doris now stays.


So why then does the first holiday photo I’m shown feature Gail out for a walk, clearly in ENGLAND[1] and being unfaithful to me with another dog? And no Gail I am not interested at all in hearing about Billy's immaculate behaviour on this walk up St Martha's Hill, what a perfect chap he is, what big, expressive eyes he has and what a calm demeanour, why can't I be more like that and so on and so on ad nauseam. Grrrrh!

And why does the next photo, taken by Gail, show her friends Kathryn and Steve half way up a mountain on a long and clearly fox terrier friendly walk in the FRENCH Alps[2]?

Oh no! Here are some of Gail's photos from what she claims is one of her top five walks in the whole world, in Luzern along the lake between the Kapellbrücke and the Verkehrshaus der Schweiz.

How can a walk without me even be in her top five hundred?

Then I learn that in Doris’s care home some of the residents are allowed to keep their dogs with them – Gail saw a Yorkie and a Lhasa Apso when she was visiting[3]. So most certainly I could have come along after all.

And finally. I have it on good authority that Luzern is a popular tourist destination crammed full of shops selling fluffy and eminently de-stuffable St Bernards, cows wearing bells and whistling marmots, all excellent toys available at reasonable prices[4].

I could even have fun silencing a cuckoo clock, if it came to that.

Footnotes by Gail

[1] Surrey, actually. The flight to Switzerland was cancelled due to thunderstorms in the Gatwick area, so my departure was delayed for a day.

[2] Before visiting my godmother I stayed for a couple of days with my Surrey-based friends in their Alpine chalet in Samoëns, France.

[3] This really is true!

[4] I’m afraid Bertie is ill-informed about the Sterling/Swiss Franc exchange rate

Monday, 16 July 2012

Is there a worse present giver in the whole wide world?

So Gail came home loaded with gifts of Swiss chocolate.

But what about something for me?

Oh. She's telling me all about how she visited a place in Luzern called the Rosengart Museum where she saw lots of paintings by this Picasso chappie, and she thought what I would like best would be a postcard of one of them...
Woman and Dog Playing (Picasso, 1953).

PS There are still a couple of days left for late entries to my Olympic event, Bouncing (narrative style).

Thursday, 12 July 2012

Update: Olympics Bouncing and Other Stuff


First, the Olympics! Just a reminder to keep the entries for the Bouncing (narrative style) event coming in. I am already bouncing off the walls with delight at the ones I've seen so far, they are all brilliant! Remember that it's your WORDS about Bouncing - not photos - that I'm looking for here. Entries to be emailed to soi718(AT)abdn(DOT)ac(DOT)uk. For full details of the event, click here.

Secondly, on the Boffin* front, don't worry, I haven't forgotten about my promised Science of Human Behaviour post! Thank you so much for your fascinating contributions. It is taking longer than I anticipated to synthesise all the data, but I shall have answers for you, er, in due course....

Thirdly, my assistant Gail will be away for the next few days. Most inconvenient from an Olympics perspective I must say. So if you have sent in a 'Bouncing' entry but have not yet received a polite acknowledgement, well that is 'cos a certain person has gone swanning off to visit friends in Switzerland and is ignoring her computer. (Don't worry about me though, I am staying at home and being cared for by Gail's friend Marie-Thérèse, and am hoping to be spoilt rotten...)

Toodle pip!

*Wasn't it just SO EXCITING about the Higgs Boson!
Relaxing at the cottage before the Big Olympic Event

Monday, 9 July 2012

Deer stalking in Torridon...

You're out for a walk with your owner. Not exactly a walk, more a galloping, gambolling frenzy of activity, all bouncing legs, flapping ears, manic tail and hypersensitized nose.

You're through the gate. The slope below the rough coastal path falls away steeply to Loch Torridon. The native trees planted a few years back are flourishing, protected from the voracious grazing of the local deer and sheep by the six foot fence.

You are let off the lead.

Your owner is happy, enjoying the rare sunshine and the midge-deterrent breeze, admiring the majestic, glacier-sculpted Torridonian mountains, lost in a Precambrian reverie.

You detect a faint, enticing whiff of large mammal. All senses now on high alert, you hear a rustle in the undergrowth, catch a momentary glimpse of antlers disappearing into a thicket of larger, older pines and birches.

You seize the forbidden moment and make off in pursuit.

You expect, half hope, your owner will join the chase. But no, she stays on the path, calls "Bertie, COME!" a few times but you affect not to hear.

You feel a pang of guilt and wonder whether to return. But the scent of the deer and the instinct to chase is strong. Your owner is out of sight.

The ground is steep and rough. You stumble between massive boulders. The trespassing stag dances lightly over the heather that for you is tough, scratchy and impenetrable. You know deep down that this is not an even contest. You are by now disheartened, panting and even trembling a little.

You think of your owner, of the bag of treats she always carries. Where is she? Suddenly the hunt seems less important.

You panic a little, zigzag back up the hill and find the path. Your spot your owner, just a few yards away, perched on a smooth slab of gneiss, waiting patiently.

You expect a treat. None is forthcoming. Your owner pats you on the head, but in an offhand, slightly frosty manner, and continues to walk along the path.

You follow, closely.

Thursday, 5 July 2012

To Pee or not to Pee (the dogs' dilemma)

Sorry, bitches (I hope that is an acceptable form of address for my lady dog friends, one has to be so careful these days) but today I am going to tackle a topic which is primarily of concern to those of us of the leg-cocking gender.

Perhaps there are some readers who are unaware of the difficult bladder-related decisions that the male dog faces when out for his daily walk. To be pee or not to be pee, that is the question. 

You probably imagine we just stroll out of the house without a care in the world, no native hue of resolution...sicklied over with the pale cast of thought, and casually lift our leg against the nearest lamppost or tree, and that's all there is to it.

Oh how wrong you are.

Hamlet himself would have considered it outrageous fortune that we are confronted with such a sea of troubles when it comes to the business of urinating. Their currents turn awry doesn't even begin to describe it.

One one hand, we know that we are supposed, by the end of the walk, to have emptied our bladder. A full bladder being, of course one of the thousand natural shocks That flesh is heir to. But on the other hand, who can tell how many times during that same walk, we will feel the compulsion to mark our territory? And we all know there's nothing make's a dog grunt and sweat under a weary life more than firing pee-mail blanks, as it were.

Ay, there's the rub.

It is, I admit, a bit easier when one has an established routine, and can carefully calibrate one's output.

The problem comes if, like me, you live with a human who enjoys exploring the undiscover'd country. So you have no idea when you set out, how long the walk will be, nor lie of the land. How then is a dog to determine his volume and frequency of releases?

Now please, girls, stop your sniggering!

I speak here of enterprises of great pith and moment.
Oh. Apparently I need to apologise to Mr William Shakespeare...

PS Many thanks for your amazing responses to my previous post. Boy have you set me some tough challenges!

Sunday, 1 July 2012

Your favourite Bouncing Boffin returns!

I am aware that I have in the last few months been rather quiet on the science front.

Time, I think, to remedy this sorry state of affairs. I fear that, as Olympic fever takes hold of Blogville, there is a danger that more cerebral matters are being neglected...

Now I know that many of my friends do not share my good fortune in living in a scientific household. Well I am a helpful sort of a chap, and would like you to benefit too from some of the advantages of I enjoy.

The topic I plan to tackle next in my world famous Canine Science series is a particularly challenging one, namely the science of human behaviour. This is, I admit, a change of direction for me - I have hitherto tended toward natural science subjects, physics, geology etc. - but not to worry, I am sure it will be no problem as I am young enough still to believe I can tackle anything!

The world is awash with books written by humans, endeavouring to explain the psychology of us dogs, but I fear that the reverse is not true.  When it comes to material aimed at clarifying, in a canine-relevant manner, how members of the species Homo sapiens think and behave, the shelves are bare.

Do the humans in your orbit exhibit any strange and disturbing quirks of behaviour that you are at a loss to understand? Do they act in ways that seem to you wholly illogical and deeply worrying?

If so, I would like you to tell me all about it, by leaving a comment on this post. If you are worried about confidentiality, then just include the words 'TOP SECRET', and no-one will know*. I am in no doubt that you will provide me with much fascinating material to chew over.

In a week or so (exact timing depending on the volume and nature of the issues you raise) I shall attempt to put your minds at ease by providing a rational, evidence-based and dog-friendly explanation for everything that your human does, however apparently bizarre.

Oh you can rest assured there will be no recourse to quackery and pseudo-scientific hocus pocus in this blog!

*Gail is a bit concerned that this protocol will not pass the ethics committee, but hey....