"Cry 'Havoc,' and let slip the dogs of war...."
-- Julius Caesar

"Life...is a tale...full of sound and fury...."
-- Macbeth

"No woman can be too rich or too thin."
-- Wallis Simpson

"Let them eat cake."
-- Somebody, but not Marie Antoinette

Monday, June 30, 2008


I am in the back yard. I am sniffing around. Today the sniffing is routine -- some ants, some leaves. Then I come across it. It is greasy and particularly smelly. It has been dead for some time. It is small enough to carry in my mouth.

I take it into the mud room and sit on my bed. I put my prize down so I can guard it. Duncan is mildly curious.

Mommy comes in from outside. Somehow I know this is not a prize she will want me to keep. I grab it again, but she sees, and comes toward me. "What is that?" she asks.

She comes closer. I am torn between wanting to keep my prize and wanting to please Mommy. Right now I am trapped in the end of the mud room. Mommy is in front of me and Duncan is to the side. The chances of me escaping to the yard to play with my prize are thin. Mommy says, "Drop it." I obey.

Mommy looks closely at my prize. I see that she sees its greatness. She says, "Oh, poor little dead bird!" Then she picks it up, takes a trowel off of the shelf, and walks with my prize out the front door. Duncan and I do not follow.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Tom Sawyer

Duncan finished his chewy before I did. I, Poppy, wishing to avoid a shakedown, took my chewy and sat at Mommy's feet. After a while, Duncan came in and started kissing Mommy. I saw this, and wanted to kiss Mommy, too. (Mommy is particularly salty when she has just worked out). I dropped my chewy. But as soon as I started kissing Mommy, Duncan stopped, picked up my chewy, and took it in another room. I didn't know what hit me.


I, Poppy, did not like taking baths at home. When some one starts running a bath around our house, I am on guard as I am suspicious that I'm going to wind up in it. Now that we are two dogs, we get baths at Petsmart. I do not like baths at Petsmart any more that I like baths at home. Baths are a good trip to Petsmart spoiled.

We are always excited to go to Petsmart. There are many exciting smells there, and often we go home with treats and bags of food. We are always excited at Petsmart until we go to the room behind the glass door. There is a gate in the room behind the glass door, and when a lady comes to take you through the gate you are scared and uncomfortable. Duncan knows right away that he does not want to go behind the gate. As soon as we enter the room behind the glass door, he turns around and looks back out the way we came. He turns his head to Mommy and with his tail wagging shoots her a look that says, "All right. I've had enough. I think it's time to go."

Though we are usually friendly and trusting dogs who will come when a human calls us, we stay put when the gate opens and the ladies call us to come through. We just stand there and look at them. It takes Mommy and two ladies to push and pull us through the gate. Duncan is just big and hard to maneuver while I place my forepaws out in front of me like I'm putting on a break. They finally get us through the gate. We watch with sad eyes as Mommy turns and abandons us in the black hole of Calcutta.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Visit to the Vet

Today I went to the vet. It was a typical veterinary visit for a regular and routine wellness procedure, so please, do not worry that I, Poppy, am ill.

It went something like this.

Mommy put Duncan in the mud room, but without me. I watched her closely to see what it all meant. When she had turned the key, and told Duncan that he was a good boy and we would see him in an hour, she looked at me and said, "Ready?"

"Ready" is the magic word. I perk up when I hear that word. I start to bark when I hear that word. It means that Mommy is going to put on my leash and that I am going to get to go for a ride in the car. Rides in the car are most important because I am With Mommy, which is the reason for my life's happiness. Second, they are important because they usually end some place that I like, like Grandma and Grandpa's house, or Petsmart. Today I was a good girl and sat so Mommy could put on my leash. Then I danced and jumped all the way out the door.

I am a good rider in the car. I am not allowed in the front seat, so I sit in the back, on my bed. Often, I fall asleep. Other times, I look out the window. I am highly offended whenever I see people or dogs walking along the sidewalk. How dare they walk along the street when it is within my view?

When the car slows down and starts and stops a lot, I like to stand with my forepaws on the center console and look out the front window. I like to know where I'm going to end up.

Today we ended up at the vet. I was very excited. The vet smells like dogs and cats and other various animals. I pulled on my leash all the way in.

I am happy in the lobby. There are people there who pet and coo at me. There are bags of food that smell particularly yummy. Mommy makes me sit on the thing called the "scale." I am too excited to stay still, so Mommy makes me go up there a second time. Mommy looks at the reading on the wall and grimaces. Today she grimaced again, and I jumped off and went searching for crumbs on the floor.

We went into the little room, and I was excited and happy until we got there and the door closed. Then a human lady came in and Mommy put me on the table. It is a high table, and I have jumped off of it before, and I tried to do it today, but Mommy held me there. It takes all of Mommy's strength to hold me down while the lady performs the procedure. I do not like procedures, and I get a very angry look on my face when they are performed on me. Today was no different.

But when the procedure is over, I try to fly off of the table, because when I get down on the floor and sit, I get a treat. Today, the lady was slow in getting me my treat, so I barked at her.

Monday, June 23, 2008

All Together

My mommy is home from far away. I follow her around all the time now. The pack is back together.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Why I Reject the Creation of a PLO (Pug Liberation Organization)

My grandpa has heard my cries for more treats and has promised that he will help create a Pug Liberation Organization for me. However, I think that my grandpa, however sensitive he is toward the plights of the oppressed peoples of the world, does not understand the particular plight of the pug. I will endeavor to explain.

First, the pug understanding of liberty is in marked contrast to the human understanding of liberty. For humans, the state of nature is a state of war, in which to protect himself and his property, an individual must be constantly struggling against the incursions of other individuals, thus making human life in a state of nature, nasty, brutish, and short. However, pugs in a state of nature are part of a pack -- our nature is to be part of a group. Thus, pugs do not need social contracts that require us to give up some of our liberties in order to protect others. In fact, as creatures who do not see ourselves as individuals, but as members of a pack, we see liberty, security, and the pursuit of happiness as one entity.

For example, when I try to get out of the house -- what humans might call liberty -- I am not trying to run away, I am trying to do one of two things: go with the part of the pack that is leaving, or play a game with the pack, to bring us closer together. Based on these examples, pugs might define liberty as "that which gives a pug unlimited access to the pack." This is why Duncan and I get very excited when our leashes come out. (Duncan is not pug, but he is useful for this argument). We know that we are going to get to go along. That is why I scream with fear and fury when I get left in the car when the humans go into Safeway. I want to go to. That is why when a human would drop Shadow's -- may he rest in peace -- leash, he would simply sit down and wait, letting the human walk ahead and waiting for him or her to come back and get him. (Shadow was also not a pug, but his example still works in favor of my point).

If we ran away, who would feed us? Petsmart is a long way away, and the bags of food are high up on the shelf. Would we be expected to be the hunters? It has been widely noted by my pack members that I really don't pay attention to squirrels. The squirrels call to me, and then I look at them with an expression devoid of curiosity and continue to sniff around for crumbs on the floor. Sometimes I point, but usually it is at statues of large pug-like creatures (see my previous blog).

So you see, what we want (liberty) is to be with you. Being with you makes us feel secure and happy. You complete us.

Access to treats (the stated reason for the creation of a PLO) is perhaps the only bone of contention that I might have with the alpha male and female in my pack (Daddy and Mommy). I consider access to treats a natural right. However, because it is a natural right does not mean that I have to be given treats by the alphas in my pack, I just need to have access to them. I am only oppressed when there is no access. Often access is not a problem. To get a treat, all I usually have to do is go stand by the treat jar and bark. Then, when Mommy comes over I sit and look at her expectantly. It is not beneath my dignity to lick out Duncan's empty bowl, or to try to eat out of the takeout cartons left on the coffee table when no one is looking. This is what I call "access." As this all happens often enough around my house, I see no need for mutiny or revolt. Neither is my freedom of speech curtailed -- I exercise my right to complain when the alphas have failed me.

The Aesthetic of the Pug Form

This is a photograph of some statues at some hotel in Las Vegas. I don't like Las Vegas. My mommy is there now. She is away from me. Moreover, it seems that Las Vegas is an easy place for some one like me, who is small, to get stepped on.

Anyway, my fans with eyes for art will notice that these statues have a shape that is remarkably pug-like. Notice the prominent belly. Notice the flattened face resulting in the wide smile. I do. In fact, if I were there and not being stepped on, I would bark at these statues for their resemblance to pugs. I would bark at them after a prolonged, silent study of their features during which I would be perfectly still. I might refuse to walk past them, agreeing only to do so if the person holding my lead walked between me and these statues. For, I, Poppy, understand representation only up to a point. Might these huge, still, scary monsters in the shape of pugs pounce, just as we are least expecting them to?

Wednesday, June 18, 2008


I, Poppy, have determined that being a dog is much like being at the court of Louis VI, or any of the Louis, really. Really, probably all courts everywhere.

Dogs have been described by sociologists as, ahem, "social parasites."* The definition of a -- and this is offensive, we're dealing with some very disturbing stuff here on Poppy's Blog today -- "social parasite" is something like this one from Wikipedia**: "a derogatory term denoting a member of society who is considered to be detrimental to others, by taking advantage of them in some way." These "scientists" have suggested that because dogs live with humans in their houses and eat their food and in return give only intangible and unmeasurable favors like love, companionship, loyalty, and protection, we take advantage of them in some way. How can I, Poppy, be accused of taking advantage of any one? Dogs are courtiers. It is our duty to "take advantage," otherwise, who else would give our masters and mistresses unconditional love, loyalty, and companionship? Their human friends? To that I ask you, how many friends have abandoned you? How many dogs have abandoned you?

We are like courtiers because every day we are teased, made fun of, eat off the floor, yet we never fail you. Our entire routines are based on those of our masters and mistresses. You are never our of our sight. We take the keenest interest in your every movement. And if we demand rights to the lever and the coucher of our masters and mistresses, how is this any different from Versailles?

The picture here is of the dog who played the much put upon Mops in Sophia Coppola's film, Marie Antoinette.*** As you will remember from history, Mops was most cruelly separated from his mistress, the young Dauphine of France when she crossed the border into France. You will also remember that Mops and his mistress remained loyal to one another through this alarming breakup of the pack. In fact, Mops managed to get returned to his mistress through the skillful use of international diplomacy.

*I, Poppy, have a bone or two to pick with sociologists. The science is so soft.
**I, Poppy, am all for the creation of reality. For examples of times when my sense of reality clashes with everybody else's, please refer to my blog archives.
***The film, Marie Antoinette, has won a Palm Dog award for its treatment of dogs as characters. When bestowing the award, the committee noted that the film shows dogs getting to eat cake. I petition my mistress daily for cake. She does not let me eat cake.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Daddy calls this my sky-diving pose.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008


For the last few days, when I breathe, I have been sounding like a pig out searching for truffles.

Friday, June 6, 2008


It used to be that when my daddy would feed me, I could expect to get 3/4 of a cup of food for each meal. This amount was in contrast to the amount of food that my mommy was feeding me -- 1/2 cup of food for each meal. To clarify the discrepancy, there had been a miscommunication about my food -- Mommy was feeding me the right amount, while Daddy was giving me more. I didn't say a word.

A few days ago, my mommy noticed that I had grown some rolls of fat around my neck and that in general I had become more round. Such an observation is always bad for me. I have come to learn that changes in my diet are inevitable when Mommy finds that I am not en forme.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Activity Next Door

When there is something going on on the block, like city workers filling a pothole, or fixing the sprinkler heads in the schoolyard lawn, I like to add a running commentary on the action. I sit in the doorway or on the end table by the window,* and woof quietly but regularly as the workers go about their jobs. I have been doing this all day, as landscapers are working next door.

I, Poppy, am what trainers of human young call an "active reader." Though I am not actually reading (see my profile if you want to know how I feel about books), I am participating in the story unfolding before me. As the people outside go about their business, I am using in higher level thinking strategies to understand their actions, how they relate to each other, and what they have to do with me. At my mommy's school, such thought is labeled, respectively, literal, interpretive, and evaluative thinking. For example, on the literal level, I am thinking, "There are men working outside!" On an interpretive level, I am watching what the men are doing with each other -- how the text relates to itself. On an evaluative level, I am waiting for it to have something to do with me. Will the men come over and give me treats? Will they cross the property line and thus make me bark at them? Each little, gentle woof is an annotation in the margin.

*Mommy does not like this, but I am so engrossed in what I am doing that I don't pay attention to her, even when she comes and physically removes me.


It is hot. Heat is a problem for some one such as I. I, Poppy, am a round dog. I always wear a fur coat, and I have a short nose. I do not have an efficient cooling system. To keep warm, I lie on my side on the wood floor with my legs outstretched.

Hot weather does have its advantages. I pant a lot, which makes me look like I'm smiling. When I smile, I look especially pretty, as well as eager and accommodating. Such a smile can often convince my mommy to give me treats.

Sunday, June 1, 2008


I, Poppy, have been asked by one of my fans to comment on frogs and stories about frogs.

I have never seen a frog. However, I have been told that I look like a frog. I, Poppy, am not vain. I do not care what I look like. My mommy and my grandma try to dress me up in pretty collars with matching leashes, but I am not particular about what I wear.

I am also not particular about who I kiss. I might like to kiss a frog. But I am thinking that I would rather play with the frog than kiss the frog. A frog might be like a toy. It might smell particularly yummy from having been in the water for so long. I have been told that frogs hop. This might be fun to hunt. The frog would hop, and I might scootch after it. It might hop further, and then I would bark and do the play bow. Once I have caught the frog, I might have to clutch the frog between my teeth and shake it, like I do with my other toys. I might have to locate the squeaker and remove it. The frog might wind up in pieces with its stuffing removed, much like the toys Duncan and I got for Christmas.