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?

Friday, February 27, 2009

So there we were, enjoying our morning walk.

My thoughts were a million miles away -- I'd just received the ARCs (advanced readers copies) of my novel, Sea Changes. These are pre-publication copies that get sent to reviewers and I was lost in thought wondering, Will anyone even review it? And if they do, will the reviews be good?

Suddenly, I became aware of an unnatural hush. Everything had gone quiet. Bao had frozen in his tracks and was looking back at me, horrified.

Right there in front of us -- not six feet away -- was a coyote. It was just standing there, looking at us. Looking at Bao. And it wasn't afraid of me, not a bit. It was big, too. Its shoulder would have reached almost to my waist.

I picked up Bao and ran. I know you're not supposed to run. If you run they think you're prey, and run after you. At least that's what people say. But I wasn't thinking. I was too scared to think. So I ran.

It didn't run after us. But what a shock. No more daydreaming during our morning walks, that's for sure!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Bao swallowed a bee this morning, while we were having our walk.

The weather here in Tucson has been unseasonably warm and all sorts of things are prematurely bursting into bloom, including our dozens of lavender bushes.

When a low-flying, blossom-browsing bee buzzed Bao, he snapped at it. And caught it. And swallowed it.

I thought, If it stings the inside of his mouth or his tongue and he's allergic, his throat will swell up and he'll die. He'll suffocate. I was so scared. I picked him up and ran home and got in the car and we drove straight to the Emergency Veternary Clinic.

It was closed. You're supposed to call ahead.

Bao sat happily next to me on the front seat. He wagged his tail. He got up on his hind legs and licked my face. His tongue looked fine. He looked fine. Maybe I over-reacted. I do that, sometimes.

So we drove home again. I'm feeling a bit sheepish, now. Even so, it's better to be safe than sorry.

Friday, February 20, 2009

I used to be quite smug about cooking Bao's dinner every night. Chicken breast or beef, grilled. Only the best for my precious treasure. (That's what Bao means, in Chinese. Precious Treasure. But you knew that, didn't you?)

No additives. No preservatives. No chemicals. Fresh, wholesome food. At least, that's what I thought.

I was wrong. Bao may be a carnivore, but he's as corny as Kansas in August. And so am I. So are you. So is just about everybody in the United States. Our main food -- dogs and humans -- is corn. We eat more corn than Mexicans. We eat more corn than anybody.

Australian beef cattle consume grass, but American beef cattle are fed corn. Problem is, cattle aren't meant to eat corn. It makes them sick, which means that lovely, marbled hunk of corn-fed beef I fed Bao last night probably came from a sick animal.

Chicken isn't much better. We feed chickens corn, but we also feed them the ground up bits of beef cattle. Sick animals, again. And apparently, I've been wasting my money on organic beef, and chicken. Organic doesn't mean free grazing. It just means, no hormones.

So I am a corn-fed person with a corn-fed dog, even though my dog is a carnivore. Not nearly as healthy and as wholesome as I thought.

Friday, February 06, 2009

We're in Mexico for a few days.

Here's Bao, watching me swim.

There are a few big dogs visiting and one of them apparently peed high up on one of the walls, leaving a trace above Bao's head. This caused Bao no end of consternation, as the first thing he does when we arrive is check out the area and pee wherever any other dog has recently peed, thus establishing his absolute sovereignty.

Confronted with the offending wall, Bao promptly lifted his little leg and had a shot, which fell far short. He stood there staring at his little stain, baffled and clearly miffed. He turned around and looked at me, but I just shrugged, as there wasn't much -- short of peeing on the wall myself, which I wasn't about to do -- I could offer.

So Bao tried again. He kind of hunkered down and angled himself, and let fly.

Better, but not nearly high enough.

One more attempt -- and he might have made it except that by now, his little bladder was just about empty.

Poor Bao! I gave him a hot dog for lunch. It's no fun, losing a pissing match.