I’ve long been averse to most forms of exercise — especially those requiring repetitive motions, sustained cardiopulmonary effort, or lifting weighty items.
These days, walking the dog is about the only form I get.
It’s not that I’m devoid of energy, it’s just that I can’t think of hardly anything worth actually running for, or even walking quickly.
Suggest to me that I go to a gym or jog, and I will give you a “yeah, right” look. It’s not going to happen — at least not until I make an overly ambitious New Year’s resolution I can’t keep.
And yet, when a bouncing tennis ball comes my way, I’m off in mindless, tongue-wagging pursuit.
It’s a phenomenon I tried to figure out last week, when my son visited and we played — as we always do — some tennis.
The mere suggestion of doing so seemed to get me all excited.
I’m wondering if, possibly, it has anything to do with being immersed in dogs for the past four years — if, between dog blog and dog book and dog roommate, I’m starting to behave as one, or even more as one, or at least picking up a few of their traits, including getting overly excited about tennis balls.
Something sparks inside, and I get a little more spring in my increasingly springless step.
My tail doesn’t wag. I don’t jump up and down, or salivate. That would be innapropriate for a man of 59. But clearly the glowing green orb gets me worked up. There’s just something about a tennis ball — preferably one not drenched in spittle — that gets my juices flowing enough to get off my rear end.
It could be the fact that it’s a game, rather than exercise — that it’s faster-paced and has more thrills than golf or bowling, or other pasttimes practiced by somewhat sedentary men with bigger balls and smaller balls.
These days, the only time I play tennis is when my son visits, and maybe that is part of its allure — that it’s something he and I enjoy doing together, that it’s a tradition.
On our three tennis outings last week, I noticed my legs weren’t following my mind’s commands as smoothly or immediately as they once did. A couple of times they totally ignored them, like Ace sometimes does, with a look that seems to say, ”What makes you think you’re the boss?”
As a result of my disobedient legs, I was defeated.
Even then, though, and despite any sore muscles, I was ready to play the next day. Why?
Is it because my body, deep down, wants to exercise? Is it the joy of making that rare, perfectly placed shot? Or is it the fuzzy green ball itself that triggers something in me, as it does with dogs.
I wonder: Does an old dog’s old tennis ball remind him of his youth — does it make him remember the days when he could snag it while it was still bouncing, as opposed to after it rolled to a stop?
Do I see tennis as way to try and stay, or pretend to be, young? Do I see it as a way to bond with my son? Or am I just becoming more like a dog the more I ponder and write about the species, often to the exclusion of other healthy, sociable, normal activities.
I wonder if continued dog immersion will lead to more changes in me.
Will I start feeling the need to broadcast my urine throughout the neighborhood, sleep 16 hours a day, or stick my nose down chipmunk holes? And, if so, might other things suddenly become worth chasing?
Probably not; that would be … Hold on … Is that the UPS truck I hear?
OK, maybe not, but they were practicing both it and the freeze frame long before moviemakers came up with the techniques.
The only slow motion in this video of five border collies enjoying some spare time is the naturally occuring kind.
Once all the stealth and stalking comes to an end, the border collies in this video engage in another staple of moviemakers — the high speed chase.
Posted by jwoestendiek April 24th, 2012 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: animals, behavior, border collies, chasing, collies, dogs, freeze frame, herding, high speed chase, moviemakers, movies, pets, play, slow motion, stalking, stealth, video
Reports out of Namibia, on the southwest coast of Africa, say residents have been terrorized by a “bizarre pig-dog hybrid” with a doglike head and the body of pig.
That’s not him to the left — just the closest we could come.
For, unfortunately, there’s no photographic evidence — not even of the fuzzy, grainy, Chupacabra, Bigfoot sort — of the dog headed pig monster.
But legitimate news organizations, like MSNBC, and the Huffington Post, are reporting that the dog-pig hybrid (and no, dogs and pigs can’t successfully mate) have been spotted, chasing and attacking dogs, goats and other domestic animals.
One Namibian official, regional councilor Andreas Mundjindi, was quoted in Informante newspaper as saying, “This is an alien animal that the people have not seen before.” It seems to appear out of nowhere, he added. “We don’t have a forest here, only bushes. So, this must be black magic at play.”
Some villagers suspect the animal belongs to a reputed witch doctor in the area.
The piece on MSNBC — from the website Life’s Little Mysteries — says it’s not the first time unusual animals have been spotted in rural parts of Namibia. In July 2009 concerns arose over unknown creatures reportedly sucking the blood out of livestock, including nearly two dozen goats.
Nobody ever saw them though, and those who tried to track their footprints said they mysteriously stopped, as if the animal had vanished, or been beamed up, or spontaneously combusted.
Is it black magic, or just yellow journalism?
Only the dog headed pig monster knows.
Posted by jwoestendiek February 28th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: africa, alien, animal, animals, attacking, beast, black magic, body, chasing, chupacabra, creature, dog, dog headed pig monster, dogs, head, hybrid, legends, monster, mystery, myths, namibia, news media, pets, photographs, pig, reports, terror, yellow journalism
Johnna Hale, one of 59 victims profiled in the Kansas City Star Saturday, was prepared when the tornadoes struck on May 22. She’d phoned her daughter, stocked up on water and taken her border collie mix, Star, into the bathroom.
They were both in the tub when Star darted out of the bathroom, and out of the house.
Hale ran after her.
Apparently she caught Star and ran into a nearby building for shelter, where her daughter would hear from her, by cell phone, one last time.
She was found nine days later in the rubble of the building, with Star in her arms.
Daughter Miranda Hale told the newspaper that her mother was devoted to animals.
Things were looking up for Johnna Hale, her daughter said. She’d recently received a promotion at work. She’d redecorated her apartment, and seemed happy as her 50th birthday approached (June 15). She’d planned to treat herself to an expensive haircut, and she’d just bought Star a gate to keep her confined on the patio.
“My mom loved animals. She grew up on horses, we always had a cat or a dog around,” Hale told the newspaper. “We always joked about how our animals were better fed than we were. She had a border collie mix named Star, she was about 6-8 years old. I remember when she got her as a puppy and was really excited, she had adopted an older dog that just passed away, and was feeling sad from that.
“Star always slept with Mom, even if I went to visit, she had a full sized bed that the three of us, plus a cat, tried to fit on.
“When they had finally found my mom, they said that Star was in her arms.”
Posted by jwoestendiek June 14th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, border collie, chasing, disasters, dog, dogs, fatalities, johnna hale, joplin, kansas city star, missouri, mix, pets, profiles, rescuing, saving, star, tornadoes, victim
Some dogs have a habit of chasing cars, but a border collie in Prince Edward Island has figured out a slightly safer way to work off his energy.
Two-year-old Tucker spends hours lying by the roadside in Emyvale, waiting for cars to come by. When one does, he gets up and spins about madly in a circle.
His owner, Clifford Green, said it was just something the dog started doing on his own -- and only for certain vehicles.
"He's not that stuck on the red [ones] and he don't like big trucks," Green told CBC News in Canada.
Tucker was featured on the Today Show yesterday, prompting some chuckles among the staff. But as some of our readers point out in the comments section below, Tucker’s behavior may be no laughing matter — and even a sign of an illness.
Posted by jwoestendiek April 1st, 2010 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: animals, behavior, border collie, canada, cars, chasing, chasing cars, circles, clifford green, dog, dogs, emyvale, energy, news, ohmidog!, pets, prince edward island, spinner, spinning, spins, tricks, tucker, twirl, twirling, video
A springer spaniel chasing a seagull ran off the edge of the cliff and plunged 300 feet into the water during a walk in East Sussex.
After her fall, the dog, named Poppy, managed to swim to shore, where a lifeboat retrieved her.
Poppy was treated for a partially collapsed lung after the Valentine’s Day accident, but has now made a full recovery, according to The Telegraph.
On the day of the accident, the dog was being walked by a sister of the owner.
Posted by jwoestendiek February 24th, 2010 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: 300 feet, amazing, animals, chasing, cliff, cliffside, dog, dogs, east sussex, fall, falls, news, pets, plunge, poppy, seagull, survives, u.k.
A service dog dropout, Rip Curl Ricki, aka Richochet, is helping humanity nevertheless.
Richochet was born to be a service dog, bred and raised by Puppy Prodigies, a non-profit organization that trains freshly born pups who normally go on, after additional training, to be service dogs.
But, after 18 months of training, Richochet, a golden retriever, failed to qualify – primarily because she couldn’t be broken of her habit of chasing birds
“I still wanted her to do something meaningful with her life,” her owner, Judy Fridono says.
Fridono, and Richochet, found that something — in surfing.
Ricochet’s journey from service dog training to surfing is documented in the video above. Richochet now enters surfing competitions to raise money for those in need — most recently for quadriplegic surfer, Patrick Ivison.
Posted by jwoestendiek December 9th, 2009 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: birds, california, chasing, dog, fundraising, golden retriever, judy fridono, patrick ivison, puppy prodigies, quadriplegic, richochet, rip curl ricki, service dogs, surf, surf dog, surfer, video
Mayor Don Call pleaded innocent to two felony counts of animal cruelty in the February shooting of a McCune resident’s two dogs.
Call was bound over for trial after a preliminary hearing Monday in Crawford County District Court, according to the Joplin Globe.
Crawford County Attorney Michael Gayoso said he filed the felony charges because he believes the dogs were killed maliciously. Call, who says he killed the dogs after receiving a report that they were chasing a neighbor’s children, is also charged with the illegal discharge of a firearm, a misdemeanor.
Call didn’t seek re-election as mayor of McCune in April, but won it anyway, when the 98 write-in votes he received were enough to beat the only candidate on the ballot.
According to Crawford County Sheriff’s Department reports, witnesses said Call fired three times from his vehicle, driving around the block between each shot. The owners of the dogs says they were chained at the time. Evidence submitted during the hearing included the rifle allegedly used by Call.
The misdemeanor count carries a penalty of 30 days of jail time and a fine of $500. The felony counts carry a penalty of up to a year in jail, and a fine of up to $5,000.
The trial is scheduled for December.
Posted by jwoestendiek July 1st, 2009 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animal cruelty, chained, charges, chasing, children, crawford county, dogs, don call, innocent, kansas, mayor, mccune, plea, preliminary hearing, rifle, shooting, shot, two dogs
A deer being chased by a dog crashed through the front window of a Greek restaurant Thursday afternoon in Silver Spring, Md.
The Washington Post reports that the deer, a nine-month-old buck, upended tables, shattering glassware and terrifying customers who sought shelter in the kitchen and on top of tables as the deer ran through the restaurant.
“I thought the roof was coming down,” George Bourzikos, owner of the Greek Village Restaurant on New Hampshire Avenue, said yesterday.
For nearly five minutes, patrons sought shelter in the kitchen or on tables as the deer crashed around the restaurant. The deer left when an arriving customer held open the door. Minutes later, the deer entered the Giant store on New Hampshire Avenue through an automatic door and heading toward the bakery section.
Store employees turned off lights in the area, which seemed to settle the deer. Eventually, a biologist from the wildlife service used a dart gun to tranquilize the animal. Because the deer was seriously injured, it had to be euthanized.
No word on what became of the dog.
Posted by jwoestendiek March 6th, 2009 under Muttsblog.
Tags: buck, chasing, crashes, deer, dog, euthanized, greek village restaurant, maryland, news, restaurant, silver spring, tranquilized, window