Chairman Bao is a Shih Tzu. We travel a lot. I drive. He watches. We've logged at least 10,000 miles and he's never once said, Sweetheart, don't you think you should stop and ask someone?

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

People who abuse animals abuse people, too. When they abuse people, they sometimes get arrested. But when they abuse animals, they mostly get away with it. That's because people -- including creeps like Michael Vick -- have basic, legal rights, whereas animals don't.

What we need is an Animal Bill of Rights. We're talking about things like the right to food, shelter, medical care -- and also, the right to legal representation. Bao and I believe that the time has come to grant animals basic, legal rights. And guess what? At least 125,000 other Americans agree with us.

There's already a group of lawyers working on this. The Animal Legal Defence Fund has sued the USDA for violations of the Animal Welfare Act, has put a stop to annual deer, bear and mountain lion hunts in California, and is lobbying for state laws that define cruelty to animals as a felony offense with criminal penalties. Being sued is a real wake-up call.

They've also drafted an Animal Bill of Rights which will be presented as a petition to the United States Congress. I've signed it. You can sign it, too. Go to

"It's a matter of taking the side of the weak against the strong, something the best people have always done" -- Harriet Beecher Stowe

Take sides. Sign the petition. Every signature counts.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Another shaggy bone story.

We've just come back from Mexico. The first day we were there, sunning ourselves by the pool, Marlene gave Bao another steak bone. She'd saved it for him. He promptly marched off and buried it beneath the bougainevilla. (Bao hasn't buried anything since we left Florida. We don't have dirt, in Tucson. We have pebble mulch, with caliche underneath. Caliche is rock)

Silly dog! I told him.

He ignored me. For the next couple of days, he ignored the bone, as well. I figured he forget about it, or one of the other dogs dug it up.

Then yesterday, while I was chatting with visitors from Colorado, the dirt started to fly. Bao was digging up his bone. Yes, he remembered. Yes, it was still there. He extricated it, and carried it proudly to my beach towel. It was so cute. Everyone just cracked up.

He must think he owns the place, the man from Colorado said.

Bao looked up as if to say, Don't I?

Friday, February 15, 2008

A couple of weeks ago, Marlene told Bao the next time we came to Mexico, she'd have a nice, juicy steak bone for him. Appreciatively, Bao wagged his tail. He understands! said Marlene.
So last night we arrived in Mexico. I knew Marlene was coming over, and I knew she'd bring a couple of steaks for the barbecue. But I wanted Bao to have a proper dinner, first. So an hour before Marlene arrived, I cooked up his favorite chicken breast and spaghetti combo. I figured the steak bone could be his dessert, but Bao had other ideas.
He literally turned his back on his dinner. He looked at it, looked at me, and curled up and went to sleep. It was as if he knew that if he hung out long enough, he'd get steak. But how could he know? Marlene lives in the same complex, but in a different building. I know a dog's sense of smell is 70,000 times greater than ours, but even so -- even if Bao could actually smell the steak in Marlene's refrigerator (and assuming he knew that it was Marlene's refrigerator), how could he have possibly known she was going to bring it here? And he knew, no doubt about that. Bao doesn't mess around where food is concerned.
Suggestions, anyone?

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Life after people will also be life without Shih Tzus.

Little, flat-faced dogs won't make it. Little, short-legged dogs won't make it, either. But big dogs might be okay. At least they'll have a chance. So will rats, cats, fish and cockroaches.

Have you ever noticed that no matter what the scenario, cockroaches always seem to be among the survivors? Perhaps there is a lesson to be learned, here. But I've just come from the dentist and I'm not in the mood to learn lessons in life from a cockroach.

Did you see the National Geographic documentary? It's quite gripping, except for the fact that it never explains exactly what happened to the people. No nuclear holocaust, no natural disaster, no dead bodies. Just, nobody. The lights are on and the refrigerators are running, but all the human beings are gone.

There's a shot of a Shih Tzu, looking cute. And a Boston Bulldog, trotting wearily along on its little legs, looking sad. All the rest is wolves and coyotes.

After 10,000 years, you'd never know people existed. One of the last things to collapse is the Hoover Dam.

Bao found it all very interesting, but prefers Cesar Milan and calm, assertive thinking.

Saturday, February 02, 2008

We've got sunshine and blue skies in February, here in Tucson. But what we don't have is grass.

Tucson frowns upon grass, and here in the Old Pueblo it's considered politically incorrect to have a lawn. We have xeriscape, instead. Xeriscape is cacti and mesquite and rocks and pebble mulch. It's pretty, in its own way. And utterly authentic. But it's not much use when Bao wakes up at 2 am with tummy rumbles and wants to go out and eat grass.

The last time this happened was several weeks ago, and it was freezing. And dark. I stood in the back garden wretched and shivering and looking out for bobcats and coyotes while Bao minced fretfully to and fro trying in vain to find something green to eat. He ended up munching on a frost bitten lantana, which helped not at all. And I was up the rest of the night.

The next morning, I wrote away for a Pet Grass Growing Kit. Yes, there are such things. The kits come complete with everything you need, including soil. (We don't have that, either) Follow the directions and the stuff grows practically before your eyes.

Looks delicious, doesn't it?