Wednesday, July 30, 2008

You can call me Al

Gore, that is.

Depending on your political leanings, I am either Al Gore from 1992/1996 (Democrat) or 2000 (Republican). Faya the Airedale beat me, and I have decided NOT to appeal to the Supreme Court, as she has that certain je ne sais quoi, that French femininity, that was so sorely lacking with Katherine Harris. Faya, I'll be your #2 any day. I like strong women leaders anyway.

Today, the Featured Site Award, tomorrow, the Nobel Prize!
My ally George from across the pond also gave me a Brillante Award which my Momma is trying to figure out how to add the logo of the award. It's not quite the Nobel Prize, but I guess I need to travel around the world giving PowerPoint presentations for a while before I am ready for the Nobel. Anyway. These are the rules:

Brilliant Weblog AwardAdd the logo of the award to your blog
Add a link to the person who awarded it to you
Nominate at least 7 other blogs
Add links to those blogs on your blog
Leave a message for your nominees on their blogs

The problem is that there are so many brilliant bloggies and they have already won this award. So my Momma has to look around and will update this post with her nominations. But Momma has some big movements or motions or something to write and she has to argue with people which always makes her a little cranky so she might not get to adding the links until this weekend. Plus she has been dealing with my naughtiness at day care. I am reminding everyone I still have Addled Less Sense. Like I said, I am very good with strong female leadership but if someone acts scared around me I have to show them who is Boss.

If you haven't won this award yet consider yourself nominated. Momma said no more blogging until she's done making those movements. (Again, if she were on the raw diet her movements wouldn't take so long and then she'd have more time to spend on ME!) Links and nominations to come.

Biggie Al Gore

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Water Polo Instructional Video

"How can you be named after a famous water polo player but you won't swim??" 

I didn't bother to tell Momma that "famous water polo player" is an oxymoron, but it's true that until our last trip to Brrr Mont I didn't really swim. I love the water. I play bitey-face with the hose, splash in my water bowl, wade up to my legpits, stick my face in the water up to my eyebrows, and blow bubbles with my nose. I KNOW how to swim and I've done it a few times. BUT - going into deep water is DANGEROUS and I am a GUARD DOG which also means being a LIFEGUARD sometimes. Mostly the little people have been staying where I can keep an eye on them but as Momma's shoulder has been getting better she has been taking more and more chances. Last time at the beach she went so far out she could not touch the bottom, and then she and P-Daddy decided to PLAY out there!

So in this video I had to go out and make sure they were ok. Momma wasn't using her other (really gimpy) arm, just her legs to stay up. Her throwing arm (she is left-pawed, just like me) had splurgery 6 months ago. I went to check on her a couple times and she seemed ok. She seemed really happy that she can throw stuff again.

Sorry for the quality of the video. Auntie Pita couldn't find the zoom button on the camera. What a dopey head.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

NEWS! (updated, Sunday edition)

Biggie-Z, pup reporter here, with LOTS of news to report! My beat's been very busy, so here are the top stories: 

First of all, I got nominated for the Dogs With Blogs Awesome Blog Award for July! (Thanks Nanook and Pooka's mom)  Voting ends next week, on July 26. At the time of this post, Faya the Airedale is... well, she's way ahead of me in votes. I attribute this to the prevalence of Airedale dog blogs. I figure they're just dyed-in-the-fur Airedale voters no matter what. So I'm going to have to build a rainbow coalition of dog bloggers if we're going to have a chance of winning this. But we kuvasz are not known for being sprinters anyway. We're more the strong, silent type.  Anyway, you have to be registered and signed up at Dogs With Blogs in order to vote. Drop me a comment if you need me to help you get registered... 

And I was sort of kidding about the "Vote Often" part. We're not in Florida anyway, so unless Booker wants to give me a hand with the hanging chads, we have to win this one fair and square! 

My big buddy and Gentle Leader commiserator, Mango, gave me the Arte-y-Pico award. 


1) You have to pick 5 blogs that you consider deserve this award, creativity, design, interesting material, and also contributes to the blogger community, no matter of language.

2) Each award has to have the name of the author and also a link to his or her blog to be visited by everyone.

3) Each award-winning, has to show the award and put the name and link to the blog that has given her or him the award itself.

4) Award-winners and the one who has given the prize have to show the link to the "Arte y pico" blog , so everyone will know the origin of this award.

5) To show these rules.

So I give the award to: Pacco, Booker, Huck, Balboa, and Peanut, because he could use a little cheering up right now.

I know this sort of sounds a little like a chain letter but what the heck, I don't get that many awards and this one came from Mango, who I'd give the award to but I can't give it to him since he gave it to me so the next best thing I can do is pass on the award to 5 other winners. 


And for our last and most dramatic news, and MY Story of the Year: 


In the last year I have used my cover as a "puppy" to great advantage when monitoring the neighborhood. Last summer, when I was tiny, I'd bring my humans up to strangers in the neighborhood so they'd start talking while I stood around just ... observing. Also, "potty training" was a perfect excuse for my frequent reconnaissance strolls at all hours. Pretty soon I noticed some strange goings-on in the freight entrance of our building including lots of men coming in and out (but no women) and a couple large men at the door. 

Using "puppy socialization" as my opening, I brought my humans to visit them. They first told me that the 5th floor was being used as a photography studio and that there were pretty "models" coming in and out. But then who is doing "photo shoots" at midnight on a Saturday night? I brought my P-Daddy along to sniff things out. Occasionally there would be a few women leaving in ones and twos, and I tried to bring P-Daddy along to sniff their ... motives. Momma and I also made friends with the Friendly Neighborhood Crack Dealer. We weren't 100% sure he was a crack dealer. Maybe he only dealt other stuff. But he and his posse loved the fact that I was called Biggie, and I was able to observe their behavior without anyone thinking I was anything but a puppy out on a potty walk. Later they said it was a "private party space" and then after that they said it was a "private club." During all this time, the bouncers would be so distracted by my puppy cuteness that they didn't notice the unmarked surveillance across the street. 

Finally, last Thursday night around midnight, all our work paid off as NYPD Vice raided the joint. They blocked the the WHOLE STREET off, and there were about 10 unmarked police cars and 3 paddy wagons double-parked on my street.  When I went out for my late night "walk" to see how the raid was going, there were several plainclothes vice cops standing around on the street watching the entrances to the nearby buildings. Some people who lived and worked on the street were standing outside watching what was going down. I stopped to chat with the cops who were blocking the street, and they said they'd got about 100 people in there. I took a walk up and down the middle of the street, greeting and thanking all of the cops who had helped to make this raid happen. We also saw a few not-so-bright ladies who must have been late for work, because they were downstairs getting questioned while everyone else was upstairs with all the police. (Note to late-night professional ladies who want to avoid questioning: If you see the street to your "office" blocked off by the cops, just turn around and walk the other way.)

Friday night I took another tour around and it was much quieter. There were a few men who were looking at the freight entrance to my building, trying to get into the club. By Saturday there were no more, thanks to the press coverage by the New York Times, NY Post, and NY Daily News (photos may be borderline NSFW). My next surveillance project: the underground club on the other side of my building. 

Detective Biggie signing out!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

dese kuvaz iz not fer sale kthxbai

July 15 2007 was the day my humans got me after a long, almost-cross-country driving trip from Mama Clare's with the Puppy Transport Team. So the other day my humans got to looking at some long lost video from P-Daddy's laptop (Momma didn't have her nice computer yet) and they decided to keep me after all. 

Now they think I'm all "cute" again even though I miss my Auntie Pita who came to visit for a week. I'm going on a hunger strike until she comes back. Or, until I get too hungry, which might be tonight.

In the meantime, here's why I'm staying at Biggie Momma's House for the forseeable future:

(I love how he perches his butt on the top step before he decides to go for it, and how toddling down the steps becomes an adventure in its own right.)

(They grow too fast. Sigh.)

P.S. Hi Anonymous Dave! Hope these bring back memories of your guy as a little dude. 

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Special Markdowns!

L@@K!!!! MUST SEE NWT Canine Good Bad Mediocre Citizen. NO RESERVE!!
Size: XXL, approx 28"-29" at shoulder, will expand slightly. NO RETURNS FOR SIZE I POST MEASUREMENTS SO ALL SALES FINAL!! :)
Condition: EXCELLENT.

Very protective. Housebroken, very strong jaws but shows bite inhibition. Knows several useless tricks and comes when called around 50% of the time!! Great with kids and dogs, but must go to WTF-free home. Does not shed AT ALL. REALLY.

Click on pictures to enlarge.

Markdowns taken at register. 

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Canine Bad Mediocre Citizen

The Biggie Momma here. Biggie's been mostly a g'boy lately, but each time we think he's ready for a Canine Good Citizen test, he reverts to doing something he KNOWS he's not supposed to do, though it usually comes from his kuvasz instinct. At the same time, he is progressing nicely with some other skills that I would not have expected of him (like being a good quiet boy in a hotel room in DC). One step forward, two steps back...

In some respects, teaching a kuvasz just to live in the city (especially our neighborhood - full of WTFs) requires skills far beyond the CGC. It is, and always will be, a struggle between what is expected of a dog, especially a large one, in a very close urban setting, and the kuvasz temperament (See here, here and here for more on the kuvasz temperament...) Every walk is an adventure, or a learning opportunity, or both.

It's a 2-mile round trip to a public dog run we've been going to since the closer, private run has been closed for unspecified "work." Yesterday morning is an example of the highs and lows that come on a morning outing. It started out auspiciously enough... At the industrial kitchen next door, there was an older man hosing down the sidewalk. He saw us come out of the building and turned the hose away, and as we walked past, asked "What kind of dog is that?" Biggie seemed relaxed, so we stopped to chat a bit, and he seemed curious about the guy but didn't a) bark at him or b) immediately ram his nose into the crotch, the two most common reactions he has to strangers. When the guy held out his hand, he went to sniff it and then went to get petted. After brief conversation, we moved on to a guy at the butcher/sausage maker next door, taking delivery of giant barrels of pork pieces, who asked, "Did you know when you got him that he was going to be so big? I remember last summer he was sooooo little!" We chatted very briefly, and Biggie just stood there, and we've just aced 2 CGC tasks: Accepting a Friendly Stranger and Sitting/Standing Politely for Petting.

Actually three more tests are no-brainers for Biggie: Appearance and Grooming (Biggie loves having his face brushed and his ears cleaned with a cool wet cloth), Walking on a Loose Lead and Walking Through a Crowd.

Half a block later, we are on the sidewalk and there is a man approaching us. He is pretty nondescript, maybe he walks with a little limp, but really he's not anything that would normally set him off. He certainly doesn't look domicile-challenged or likely to make WTF remarks. But Biggie gets The Stance - his ears go forward, he gets tall, all while walking on a loose lead toward the guy. As we get to about 8 feet away he lunges and growls/barks, but since I'm ready for it (and he happens to be walking next to me in good "heel" position), he gets pulled around by his collar and shoved off the sidewalk by my left knee, and pushed into a sit by a suddenly dominant Biggie Momma. The leash goes onto the Gentle Leader, and he doesn't get to resume his walk until I say so. After that, the remainder of the walk to the run proceeds uneventfully - Biggie walks politely past loud, exhaust-spewing buses, trucks and cars, some off-duty cops outside the stationhouse who call out, "Hello, Wolf!" as we walk by, a doorman who shouts, "How's my boy?" (Who are these people? We walk by most days but we have not stopped to talk to any of these folks before). Biggie smiles and trots by with just a turn of his head to acknowledge all his fans, and we finally get to the dog run, where there are a few dogs already in the run.

Biggie runs in and...

immediately aggresses on an intact* male yellow lab about his age and half his size. The lab is yelping and jumping on his owner to get away from Biggie, who is double his size, and making a big show of teeth but otherwise not hurting the lab. I am silently shouting to the dog, just lie down submissively and he'll stop! while racing in, chasing and grabbing him by the collar and wrestling him away from the appalled onlookers. The intact male's owner says in an aggrieved tone as I take Biggie out of the dog run, We were leaving anyway. I think of creative uses of the English language but hold my tongue - one thing I've learned is that it's always the bigger dog's fault, and I'm not going to convince this woman otherwise.

*people, there is a reason why most dog runs have rules like "no intact males and no females in heat"...

So Biggie gets a time out from the dog run. We go to the benches outside where he has to lie down and I stand with my back to him. After a few minutes, so Biggie doesn't think he successfully chased the lab away, we go back.

A few minutes later, when most of the other dog owners have left because the 'aggressive' dog is back, a WTF walks by the outside of the dog run wheeling a bike with clanking chains on it. Biggie goes up to the fence and starts barking at him, I take Biggie by the collar and start walking him away. The guy calls after me,

"yeah, that's right. You better make him F--ing stop because I got a gun and I'll shoot him and then I will stab him so he better stop barking because I'm gonna stab him and stab him if he don't stop...(etc) I HATE DOGS!"

I don't know why, but this bit is the last straw. "IF YOU HATE DOGS THEN DON'T HANG OUT AT THE DOG RUN!!!"

Of course, once I react to the guy Biggie gets protective too, and he turns and starts barking again. WTF goes, "What, he doesn't like black people?"

And I don't know why -- I guess I was trying to show I'm not racist, though why I even care what the WTF thinks, is beyond me, since he's going to think what he's going to think -- but instead of saying "No, he just doesn't like YOU," I said, "He doesn't like bikes."

WTF proceeds to sit down at a bench with his back to the dog run, and once he stops yelling at us, Biggie ignores him.

On the way home, we walked nicely with his friend Puccini and his dad, past a group of 6 police horses walking slowly past (Biggie sees them but acts as if it's the most ordinary thing in the world), stopping on traffic islands with morning rush hour traffic and bicycles whizzing in front and behind him, and greeting another dog friend and her mom calmly.

Sigh. We have to work on the approaching joggers, greeting a friendly stranger with dog. Someday...

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Back from Brrr Mont!

And boy are we tired! (As you can see, I get tired a lot in Brrr Mont but I'm a little too big to fit in the coffee table now.)

We had a long weekend celebrating P-Daddy's birdday and the USA birdday (although I always thought the BIG birdday came in November). It was great, because I got to play baby puppy with Mommy, which I love to do. 

People usually think since I am such a large boy that I'm a grown up dog, but really I am just a puppy still. My sister Spirit just got her CANINE GOOD CITIZEN and she is off competing in beauty contests all over the place and winning them! Congratulations, Spirit! Me, I am working on my Canine BAD Citizen. I have all sorts of Addled Less Sense going on, and even while I get better at some things, I "forget" others. On July 4th we went to the Beach and P-Daddy remarked how there is only a 1-letter difference between being a "pet" and a "pest." I was being the latter. So much so that I lost my off-leash privileges for a while. There were so many children I didn't know who to play with first, and so I ran up to them to see who would play with me. They got scared. One girl got so scared when I came up to her that she grabbed her daddy right by the you know whats. Her daddy yelled really loud and everybody else was laughing, I don't know exactly what was going on there...

Then this boy was going to play with me and I was standing right in front of him and he threw a thing over my head for me to chase. So I turned around to chase it and --- oops --- knocked him over with my butt. Luckily he was ok and his parents were ok with it. Then some other kids were collecting salamanders in a bucket and I had to see what was up (and drink some salamander tea). Then I chased a jogger, and there were NO dogs to play with. Mommy and P-Daddy brought the camera but they didn't even take it out once because they were trying to make me behave. There were just too many people and not enough dogs. 

We went back to the beach the next day, really early, and I played with a bunch of dogs including a Brrrnese Mountain Dog that made me look little, and a little dog named Max who looked like a little black fox and who came from a place where someone named Katrina had made a terrible mess. Max looks a lot happier in Brrr Mont and we played and ran all over the place. 

And then... TODAY WE WENT ON THE MOUNTAIN! And I have to say that little T-Bone is quite an inspiration. We smelled some flowers, we got caught in a little thunderstorm, and then we found a lovely mud pool. T-Bone, little grasshoppah, let me show you how it is done:

Step 1: Safety first: Test the depth of the mud puddle before jumping in.

Step 2: See if some gentle digging makes it deeper. 

Step 3: If the puddle is appropriately-sized, you can put all 4 paws and snout in. And start playing. I think the rest of these pictures are self-explanatory. 


Our glossy white coats show really dark mud the best. The contrast is really quite striking.

Spirit, good luck next weekend! Your dirty white boy brother sends lots of love your way.  (P.S. Maybe a mud bath would be a good beauty treatment for you before your next show?)

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Beach time!

I don't have quite the beach that Nanook and Pooka have. In fact, I've never been to an ocean beach. But don't be calling the Humane Society for me or anything. We have a rocky dirt "beach" in Vermont where I like to play and wade and drink (see below), and I'm taking my people there for 4th of July.

I will swim a little, but only to go out and make sure my peeps are ok. I would much rather they stay in shallow water where I can keep an eye on them. Someone needs to keep bringing home the bacon (and salmon, my new favorite food). I much prefer to wade and run around and stick my entire head in the water. 

Lots of people come, of all sizes. I like to lifeguard them too. Here I am helping a particularly small person to shallower water by giving her a ride on my nose:

The best thing about the beach is the dogs and people who come. Unlike NYC, there are lots of people who know (and like!) big dogs and my peeps are a lot more relaxed around them. I'm also a shameless beggar for treats. 

If there's a chance for more treats, I will accompany people on a walk around the pond to make sure they are ok. And monitor their treat levels. Even if they have a dog with them already, sometimes some people deserve some extra special Biggie attention. If they fell in deep water with all those treats, it would be unsafe for them (the people and the treats).  Then P-Daddy has to walk around the other way and meet us to bring me back to where we're hanging out. 

And there are lots and lots of dogs. Here I am making sure Sharky, this baby girl lab, doesn't get in over her head. (Biggie, she already swims better than you and she's 6-1/2 weeks old!) Isn't she cute? 

I also had a tremendous time playing with Tongo, an 8-month old German Shepherd boy. We can be Addled Less Sense together, though you can see from the video that he still has a lot of energy, that little boy! Obviously, I have calmed down SO much since in comparison, since I am already 13 months old.

I hope you all have a really FUN 4th of July, and may your humans be clumsy flipping burgers on the grill!