No animals, or babies, were harmed in the making of these videos.
The top one shows a one-year-old Siberian husky-Australian shepherd mix named Haiku going through his first car wash.
The second one shows an unidentified baby also experiencing a car wash for the first time.
I recommend starting them up at the same time.
Notice the similarities in reactions — namely, the bug-eyed look they both get, a seeming mix of horror, uncertainty and curiosity.
All of which proves nothing major — only that, for dogs and humans, a new environment is scary the first time you roll through it, especially one with noisy blasts of water, flailing sponge strips, whipping brushes and mounds of cascading suds that seem intent on burying you.
By the time we — dog or human — take our second trip through the car wash, though, it’s usually a different story. It’s not as scary. The baby, in fact, appears to be getting used to it by the end of the video, relaxing enough to enjoy a sip of his beverage.
Posted by jwoestendiek May 9th, 2012 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: animals, australian shepherd, baby, behavior, car wash, conditioning, dog, dogs, environment, fear, first time, haiku, horror, husky, mix, new, new situations, pets, video, videos
I wonder why some dogs lean
On humans as if they were beams
Do we support them,
Or do they support us?
It’s a little of both, it seems
Like a bad case of heartburn, the poet within me has resurfaced.
What caused it to gurgle back up was an offer from Paw Nation, the newly revamped AOL dog website.
As part of its makeover, I was invited to submit some dog poetry, along with photographs illustrating each short verse, which I agreed to do under the condition it could be silly poetry and not be taken too seriously.
(Most poets take themselves too seriously; generally they are the ones who eschew rhyming and wear berets.)
I turned in five poems, and they are published under the title “Minstrel of Mutt,” a designation I am happy to accept, provided there are no minstrel pains involved.
You can see what I gave them, in addition to the example above, here.
They paid me a little something, which, if I’m not wrong, makes me a professional poet and entitles me to call myself “poet” when I file my income tax return. (My goal now is to become a poet laureate, even though I don’t know what “laureate” means.)
To illustrate “Leaners,” I opted to take some shots of my dog Ace and his good friend Al, who lives down the road, one of several people Ace is prone to leaning on.
Unlike some of my lengthier poetic works — my ode to feral cats, for example — those I submitted were all haiku, limericks and other short verse, all pertaining to dogs.
In a way, it’s a frivolous pursuit. For one thing, I don’t think there’s a great demand for dog poetry in today’s market. For another, dogs are already a form of poetry that outshine anything I could capture by stringing words together.
Alas, it didn’t evolve into a long term gig, leaving me with surplus poetry, which I’m now contemplating what I should do with:
Can poetry, like tots of tater
Be stored away and enjoyed later?
One year in the refrigerator
Might even make a bad poem greater
Posted by jwoestendiek March 25th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: ace, animals, aol, dog poems, dog poetry, dogs, haiku, highway haiku, leaners, limericks, minstrel of mutt, paw nation, pets, poems, poetry, short verse, travels with ace
Shuffling through dry leaves
One of life’s distinct pleasures
Wet ones … not so much
(All our Highway Haikus can be found archived here.)
Posted by jwoestendiek November 5th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: america, autumn, crunch, fall, haiku, highway, highway haiku, leaves, poetry, road, road trip, shuffling, travels with ace, verse
“Ode to October”
If ever I’m told
I’ve only one month to live
I’ll choose October
(You can find all our Highway Haikus archived here.)
“Going in Circles”
On a spinning wheel
Beasts circle, musically
Posted by jwoestendiek June 5th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: america, animals, burlington, burlington city park, carousel, circles, dog's country, dogs, dogscountry, going in circles, haiku, highway, highway haiku, merry go round, north carolina, pets, photography, poetry, road, road trip, travel, traveling with dogs, travels with ace
Willow’s Wily Ways
Flowing tresses writhe
Seductively in the wind
You don’t weep, you flirt
(Highway Haikus are
featured in Travels With Ace
To see all, click here.)
Posted by jwoestendiek May 16th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, dog's country, dogs, dogscountry, haiku, highway, highway haiku, pets, photography, poetry, road, road trip, travel, traveling with dogs, travels with ace, trees, weeping willow
The Layers of Life
Life’s layers unpeeled
Like an onion, suddenly,
Old is new again
(Photo and poetry by John Woestendiek / Needlepoint by Kathleen Hall)
(To see all our Highway Haikus, click here.)
Pieces of my past
Freed from their dark cardboard jails
What the hell is this?
We’re at that point in our unpacking now where there are just a few lingering boxes, and they all contain what I will loosely call junk — items that I’ve hung onto for reasons sentimental, hopeful and, more often, unclear and irrational.
All those 34-inch waist blue jeans? Hoarding those paid off. After decades of wishful thinking, they suddenly fit now, after our near year on the road. My baseball autographed by Willie Mays? It — though his name is fading – still falls into the category of forever keeper.
But what of all the rest — the five unpacked boxes that remain: a jumble of shoelaces; matchbooks; cables, cords and adaptors that I have no idea what they go to; marbles; sea shells; little green plastic toy soldiers; a doggie Christmas stocking; old dog collars; artwork by my son; artwork by my self; unlabeled VHS tapes that contain who knows what and I have no way of finding out; cassette tapes of which the same can be said; old sunglasses; remote controls with nothing to control; owner’s manuals for things I haven’t owned for a decade or more, old keychains, some of them with mystery keys; a set of large plastic ears that fit over your real ears; a fake severed finger in a pool of blood; balls of all kinds; musky smelling pipes; business cards for people I can’t remember ever meeting, mysterious names and numbers scrawled on bits of paper?
All, mostly, things that served a purpose, things that were important, once; and at least one item that, as mentioned in our poetry above — it has been some time since our last Highway Haiku – we’ve never been able to figure out.
Mixed in with these are souvenirs accumulated during my travels as a writer — some Korean money; two stuffed dogs from a company that clones dogs; chips of wood from the woodpile outside the Unabomber’s isolated cabin in Montana, a framed get-out-of-jail-free Monopoly card; a matchbook from the Mustang Ranch in Nevada, a no-longer-greasy stone from the Exxon-soiled shores of Alaska; a photo of a twenty-something me swilling Thunderbird wine with two hoboes on a dirty mattress in Lexington, Kentucky.
They, too, occupy the boxes of items not essential to everyday life — boxes labeled “junk,” though not all fall under that rubric. (Speaking of which, where did I put my rubric? I thought I packed it away with my milieu, under my ephemera.)
I remember a time in my life when I only had one junk box. How did I get up to five? It seems once we outgrow and leave behind our childhood toys — hey, there’s my squirtgun! — we find other stuff to squirrel away, in my case enough to fill a box every five years or so.
In these boxes – oh look, a yo-yo! — are items of great sentimental value, nestled with items of questionable value (plastic vomit, anyone?), nestled with items of no apparent value and, sometimes, no clear purpose.
Which brings me to these wooden things — pictured atop this entry.
I’ve probably had them for a couple of decades at least, and I believe they came from the home of grandparents. I haven’t a clue what they are, yet I’ve held on to them, moved them from home to home, and packed and repacked them away in junk boxes.
Maybe you can help me out.
Allow me to describe them. They are made of wood, polished on one side, grooved wood on the other. They interlock. They have a brand name, “Blitz” emblazoned on one side. They are slightly bigger than your average blackboard eraser, about the size of a telephone receiver, or what used to be size of telephone receiver.
What they do — or ever did — I don’t know. My best guess, given the grandparents I think they came from were once in the laundry busines, is that they have something to do with the maintenance of garments.
If you know, I’d love to hear. If you just wish to hazard a guess, I’d love to hear that too — for often there can be more fun in the guessing than the knowing. (The first person to provide the correct answer will receive some slightly used plastic ears; I won’t just lend you an ear, I will give you two.)
We are nearing the last of our boxes, and have made five trips now to the Goodwill donation center down the street. I love that place. One can drop off unwanted items with such ease — you pull in, drive over one of those gas station hose bell ringer things, and a smiling man comes out with a cart to help you unload. Then you’re off. It all goes so smoothly — unlike much else in life — that I’m tempted to start dropping off items I actually need.
Need, of course, being a relative term. If we learned anything during our travels it’s that so much of what we think we “need” is really just what we want, or are convinced we must have by advertising and the media. In our 11 nomadic months, food, water, coffee, something to sleep on, a roof when the weather’s yucky, an electrical outlet and, of course, each other, sufficed nicely. Not until Ace and I moved into a structure of our own did I start feeling the need to accumulate things – even as I’m doing the opposite of that, getting rid of the junk.
I really shouldn’t call it that. It’s an overly broad term that’s unfair to some of those items that reside in the boxes so classified. “Accessories,” or “accoutrements,” would be a kinder label, but those are too easily misspelled, and take too long to write on the side of a box.
And, in truth, they have value. In a way, these items — your junk, my junk — are like life’s loose change: However seemingly trivial they appear, taken together they amount to something. We keep them because, even when packed away, they are pieces of our identity, they’re what makes us us, and throwing them away is like throwing pieces of ourselves away.
That, in my case, those pieces include yellowing newspaper clippings, whorehouse matchbooks, big plastic ears and a severed thumb in a pool of blood, says something.
I’m just not sure what.
Posted by jwoestendiek May 4th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: america, ancestral, animals, beginnings, belongings, birth, blitz, dog's country, dogs, dogscountry, haiku, help, highway haiku, home, homeplace, house, identity, items, junk, matchbook, mementos, moving, mustang ranch, north carolina, novelties, pets, plastic ears, possessions, resettling, road trip, settling, severed finger, souvenirs, stuff, travels, travels with ace, unpacking, what is this, whorehouse
“Some Guy Named Bud?”
Who named the seasons?
Kudos for Spring … We wake up …
And, KABOING, it’s here
(Highway Haikus — poetry composed behind the steering wheel — are a semi-regular feature of Travels With Ace. To read them all, click here.)
Posted by jwoestendiek March 11th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: dog's country, dogscountry, haiku, highway, highway haiku, nature, photography, poetry, road, road trip, seasons, spring, travels with ace
I wonder if home
Will be there when I get there
And, moreso, will I?
(To see our entire collection of “Highway Haiku,” click here.)
Posted by jwoestendiek January 4th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: again, animals, balloon, dog's country, dogs, haiku, highway, highway haiku, home, hot air, pets, poetry, road trip, travel, travels with ace