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?

Thursday, January 27, 2011

If you were forced to choose between your spouse and your pet, which would you choose? And how difficult would it be to make the choice?

84% of the respondents to this survey (conducted by said they'd keep their spouse. 14% said they'd keep their pet.

Not surprisingly, unmarried people were more likely to say they'd choose their pet.

And women were twice as likely to describe the choice as "tough" than men.

It reminds me of the question little children often ask their parents, Who do you love more, me or my brother?

You reply that you love them both the same. But differently too, because they're different people. Not more or less. Just different.

I remember being appalled when -- after my son had suffered massive head injuries in a car crash -- people "comforted" me with the comment that I was still young enough to have another child. As if a child could be simply replaced, like a worn-out appliance! Several years later when my husband died, the same people assured me that I could easily "find another man."

So I guess I found this particular poll a little bit disturbing.

Love is special, inclusive and limitless. The loss of a loved one is horrible, and it's no less horrible when that loved one is a beloved pet.

Who would I keep, my pet or my spouse? What a silly question!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Here in Scottsdale, Chairman Bao and I are more likely to be walking than driving, What they call Old Scottsdale is a pedestrian's delight. Meandering avenues, squares, fountains, trees, bridges, a canal, shops, al fresco restaurants -- sort of like the River Walk in San Antonio, without the river.

They say if you walk five miles per week, you're at significantly less risk of a stroke or a heart attack. And Bao enjoys walking, up to a point. He'll trot along happily for a mile (more if there are other dogs around) but then suddenly, it's over. He stops in his tracks, and sits down. The little legs are tired. He's done.

That's why we've got the stroller. Here he is with our friend Luz, in one of the many plazas. He's had his walk, and he's had prosciutto and cheese from my fabulous panini, and a sip of my zinfandel. Now he's mellow, ready to curl up and watch the world go by as I push his stroller home.

Ah, well. It's a dog's life.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

If you're reading this blog, you're probably a "dog person".

In other words, you're likely to be agreeable, outgoing and conscientious.

These are the findings from a psychological study that measured the personality traits of 4500 people and then asked them whether they considered themselves to be "dog people" or "cat people".

The five personality traits measured were conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness, neuroticism and openness (which meant creative, philosophical or non-traditional)

Dog people scored higher on conscientiousness, agreeableness and extraversion.

Cat people scored higher on neuroticism and openness.

Bao and I are together all the time, so people who don't like dogs tend not to become friendly with me. That's okay. But I do have friends who have cats, and now that I think about it, they are a bit more creative and generally more "unusual" in their attitudes than my dog-owning friends.

Of course, you can't generalize. There are all sorts of people, just as there are all sorts of dogs and -- I suppose -- cats.

But I thought it was interesting.

Friday, January 14, 2011

We've come to Mexico to escape the rats.

Neither of us was sleeping. I'd wake up in the middle of the night and Bao would be sitting up and staring into the darkness, growling softly. I guess he could hear them, or smell them. Or both. And then afterwards, I couldn't get back to sleep.

Bao has never chased anything -- much less attacked anything -- in his entire life. He is indifferent to lizards, and scared of rabbits. Birds puzzle him. And as far as he is concerned, cats do not exist. I cannot imagine him going after a rat, although I can imagine a rat coming after him! That's one of the reasons we've decided to spend the week here at Rocky Point.

The other reason is to give the exterminators a chance to set traps all over the condo, instead of just in the places where Bao can't go. I don't know how many rats there actually are, but even one rat is too many for me.

Bao loves it here, and has made himself comfortable on the banquette, in the sun. And don't you love the glittery little bow the groomer gave him?

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Arizona is in the news again, for all the wrong reasons. The shooting in Tucson was horrible. But contrary to what you're thinking, everyone who lives in Arizona doesn't carry a gun. I don't carry a gun. I don't even own a gun.
Moreover, I've never seen anyone shot. (Except in Tombstone, where they reenact the Wyatt Earp thing several times a day.)
However, during the five years I lived in Tucson, there were several incidents concerning young men using dogs for target practice, and then leaving them to die -- in agony -- in the desert. To my dismay, this didn't really upset many people. Boys would be boys. Besides, the victims were "only" dogs.

This time, the victims were people. Six of them died. (Of course, we're not hearing as much about the dead as about Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, who was one of 14 people who were wounded) There has been much talk blaming this tragedy on the "inflammatory language" that characterizes so much American political debate.

Yet thus far, there's no evidence that the shooter was influenced by the ravings of either the far left or the far right. He seems to have been just another angry young man with a gun, not all that different from the young men who shot those helpless dogs.

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

What does a Shih Tzu do when it sees a rat?
Apparently, absolutely nothing.
Living in a brand new, state of the art, fifth floor condominium, I didn't think I had to worry about critters, anymore. Turns out, I was wrong.
When my dishwasher flooded the day before New Years Eve (these things always happen on a holiday weekend) the repairman removed its front plate so we could see underneath and voila! A gnawed-through hose, and rat droppings. I couldn't believe it. Rats? On the fifth floor?
Apparently, they're in the walls. "And once they get in, they climb," said the exterminator. "They didn't just pick your condo. They're on all the floors below you, too."
He set four traps, and we caught a rat that same night. Happy New Year.
Over the past few days, I've learned more about rats than I ever wanted to know. For instance, their teeth never stop growing and that's why they have to keep gnawing on things. I didn't know that. Did you?
Anyway, we haven't caught anything for a couple of days now and I'm sort of hoping it was just the one rat.
And Bao? He couldn't care less.

Saturday, January 01, 2011

Happy New Year, everybody!
And thank you for the emails. Bao is fine. I am fine. In many ways, 2010 was a difficult year. But knowing that you are out there in cyberspace actually reading what I write has heartened and inspired me.
So guess what? It snowed yesterday, here in Scottsdale. Not enough to make a decent snowball, but definitely white stuff coming down from the sky. Bao looked up, and a snowflake landed on his dear little nose. He was more amazed than anything else -- and of course it melted in less time than it took him to lick it.
He's on four different medications (two for his heart, two for the constipation problems due to the hernia that they don't want to operate on because of his heart) and so far -- knock wood -- is doing fine. Blood pressure down, energy levels up, everything good. At the moment, he's a happy senior citizen. And if he's happy, I'm happy.
Let me take a moment to wish you -- and your four-legged loved ones -- a happy, healthy and prosperous New Year. And to assure you that one of my three New Years resolutions is to blog at least once a week. (The other two have to do with more exercise and not eating so much chocolate, and will probably fall by the wayside)
Next time I'll tell you about the rats.