Monday, July 25, 2016

Dear Oscar, Where do you like to eat? -- Foodie

Like a fisherman who tries to cast his lure or fly into waters with high concentrations of fish, a dog trolls areas with a high probability of food occurrences. That's why, three times a day,  I like to position myself around the chair in the photo (see left). When this chair is occupied, it's almost too easy: food all but flies off the plate and into my mouth.

Sometimes I feel like I should be putting forth more effort; begging, whimpering, or even jumping up and down. But, without encouragement, occupants of this seat just throw food to the floor. So I have to wonder: why waste the effort?

That's where I like to get my between-mealtime snacks. Otherwise, it's two scoops of California Natural Lamb and Rice formula in my bowl two times daily.

Hope this helps. Your friend, Oscar

Friday, February 13, 2015

Back in the Country

You can't rush certain things. And a backcountry ski season is one of them.

Backcountry skiing in 2015 took its sweet time getting here. There are, of course, enthusiasts who hit the woods almost after the first frost, wrecking their skis, getting tips caught under called logs, and tearing their clothes in brambles. Not us, however. My human, having an employee season pass at Stowe, prefers to access the lift-served trails until the woods have halfway decent coverage. Despite inherent risks, it's nicer to concentrate on the solitude, beauty, and fun rather than the hidden dangers under a less-than-adequate snowpack.

Anyway, after a bang of a start and a cold, but not-very-snowy January, winter arrived with the Ground Hog... and the backcountry is deluxe.  Skiers were really getting restless towards the end of January though...

Not me, of course. Instead of restless, I get opportunistic. Without referring to weather records, January 2015 must have been one of the coldest in history, and my people just didn't take me out as much as usual. My answer to that? I simply eat every morsel of food in the house that is left on a counter, left unwatched on a plate, or even left in the sink on a dirty dish. Just my way of sending a message: exercise me!

But then in came February. It has remained cold, but the snow has arrived. And the backcountry has never been better. In fact, without a thaw yet, the skiing in backwoods Vermont has been awesome and sustained. We keep getting an inch here, a few inches there, a foot there... and tracks and skin trails get filled in. Today, we went to a backcountry area growing in popularity, but because of the repeated fill-ins, we skied the shot where "everyone goes"... and got fresh powder all the way. We never ski that line because -- even in the backcountry -- it gets tracked up.

Why were there freshies there today? Well, I suppose the minus-9 degree temps had something to do with it. With Gunnar in a new childcare (we are referring to it as "school") that takes him on Fridays, Mark, Gladys, and I are now fired up about skinning and skiing on Fridays. We went back and forth this morning, but ultimately decided to go for it, figuring there was not much wind, the sun was shining, and we could always turn back if it was too cold. Let me tell you: it was brisk but beautiful. As usual, the "go for it" call worked.

We have been out in the backcountry about five times in the last two weeks. The first time out, Mark was concerned about me. Something about my age. The snow was deep, and -- I'm not going to lie -- if there's an easier way down (read: a skin track instead of swimming through snow over my head), I'll probably take it. And that can sometimes mean I'm not right behind him. And two times that first day -- twice -- Mark stopped and called for me. I was nowhere in sight as he and Gladys wondered what to do. Both times I had to double back and return to him... from my spot on the route farther downhill from where he was. Don't worry about me, human. You just try to keep up.

I'm not too worried though. If I have to climb back up to let him know I'm waiting, so be it. I'm just psyched to be out on negative temperature day in the Vermont backcountry.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Variation on an Old Game

Commence giggle-fest
I keep hearing my humans (they are such parent dorks) going on and on about how much Gunnar has grown. People, get a grip! The kid's a year-and-a-half, and he weighs like 25 pounds. I weighed 25 pounds when I was two months old. And I was full-grown by my second birthday. Full grown!

On the other hand, the kid has finally come around to be of some use. We've been playing a variation of the popular dog game Fetch the Ball. The way Fetch used to work was Mark (my human) would throw the ball, I'd get it, Mark would come over to me, we'd play tug-of-war with the ball for twenty minutes, and that was the game.


The way it works now is that Gunnar throws the ball. It goes like two feet, but the kid just laughs and laughs until I pick it up. Then Mark comes over to where I am, and the tug-of-war starts. The variation comes here: I finally let him have the ball, which he gives back to Gunnar, and we repeat the game.

Why do I let them have the ball back, you wonder? I'll have to be honest: it's for the laughter that goes on between him throwing the ball and me picking it up. It's a full-on-giggle-till-he's-gasping-for-breath-while-he-stamps-one-foot-then-the-other laugh.

It makes the whole game worth it.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Guest Post #2

And one more thing -- this is Waffle the cat here again. How can you take a perfect bathroom -- just the right size, perfect sand, outdoors -- and set it up for use as a kids toy? A kids toy!

I'm disgusted. (Stalks off.)

Guest Post (Waffle the Cat)

Let me get one thing straight: cats don't blog; we are way too cool for sitting in front of computer screens and typing. At the same time, cats are sometimes vindictive, and sometimes I can't help pulling my big yellow brother back down to earth.

So pay attention Oscar... You'll never believe the vacation I just had. It started last Wednesday, when I was duped into riding in my cat carrier for 50 minutes to the Aiken camp in North Hero. I hate that cat carrier.

To be sure, when Friday rolled around and it was time to leave, I stayed put. No matter how much they shook my food dish, I stayed out of sight. They left, and the party began.

First off, feeling guilty, they filled my food bowl half-full. If they should feel guilty about anything, it should be the fact that ordinarily they only put like 20 kibbles in that dish. How's a cat supposed to survive on that? I immediately went down and ate every bit of that high octane cat food in one sitting. Delicious!

Then I went into food-coma-relax mode for 14 hours before terrorizing the mice in the area for the next ten. Then I heard some commotion outside, so I hid in a dark corner. It was Gunnar's grandfather.

He looked around for awhile, mowed the lawn, and poked around more. But I stayed out of sight. I don't trust these people; I remember my car ride in that carrier. And then (this is the greatest part of all -- read closely Oscar) he filled my food bowl to the top before leaving! To the top!

Now I had a full bowl and the camp to myself! I clawed myself several times to make sure I hadn't died and gone to heaven. Sure enough, I was alive.

Again, I gorged on all the food immediately. Every bite.

By the next day, the family (and the two dogs -- sheesh, those things are big, clumsy, and loud) was back. I can't say I had really done much after all that food, but surprisingly, when they arrived, I noticed something: I was hungry again!

I let them bring me back to Richmond this time. But have no doubt: I see how things can be at the camp. I will be returning... make no mistake about it!

Monday, May 19, 2014

Why scam a dog?

I do not understand humans. Case in point: I opened up my laptop this morning for the first time in months.

Do I do most of my computing on a smartphone, you ask? No! I'm a dog, I don't have a phone!

Do I use someone else's computer to take care of my web browsing, emailing, and other electronic needs, you wonder? Well, duh, of course I'm using my human's computer -- no dog can just walk into a computer store and buy a laptop; besides, why would I waste money that could otherwise be spent on dog food, human food, or toys when I have access to a perfectly good computer already (don't tell my humans).

Well, then, how can I bear to go months without logging on, you say? I'm a dog! I don't care about surfing the web, et cetera. I care about three things: food, food, and food. Now quit interrupting!

Anyway, as I was saying, after logging on for the first time in months, I open my email account ( and it is filled with spam. I have three guys wanting to sell me cars, several women who think I'm fun and want to meet up, many people offering to loan me money, tons offering me medications, and one semi-acquaintance who is vacationing in Turkey, hates to bother me at this time, but has fallen on hard times (i.e. he lost his wallet and passport) and needs me to wire him money. I doubt many canines can compete with me in terms of traffic coming into my inbox!

I am a dog. I don't need meds, cars, or money, and I don't visit websites I'm unfamiliar with. Now, if there was a dog bone scam someone was running, I might fall into that trap.

But these scammers here are barking up the wrong tree.

Dear Oscar, Do you really think readers will follow your blog if you don't post consistently? Loyal Follower

Dear Follower,

This question came in several weeks back. The question is paraphrased (as is the name of the questioner). The question went on in the following vein: listen dog, you haven't posted in forever. You don't have a job or any real responsibilities. While your humans may have excuses for decreased blog presence, you do not. Do you really think loyal readers are going to continue checking your blog if you don't post consistently?

My answer, as a dog with a blog, is simple.


Hope this helps! Your friend, Oscar

PS I also hope you'll enjoy the photo of a backcountry ski trip from 6 weeks ago!