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Putting the Mo in Moorpark

1 Aug

Moorpark summer 008Here is where we walked this morning, and it was the perfect place, because I’m definitely a happy camper. Guess why! We’ve moved to a place with a big backyard and no stairs! The backyard is great for sunning and patrolling and general lollygagging (which is considerably more fun than it sounds…maybe lollypops should have longer sticks, so humans don’t gag on them).

Speaking of weird things that humans do, Big Red got her head shaved a few months ago to help raise money for a children’s cancer research group called St. Baldrick’s. (No, really.) Now she isn’t red at all. At first she was smooth and shiny; now she is bristly, but I’ve found that licking her head can be pretty relaxing.  We knew her hair wouldn’t be red when it started to grow in, and we were right: it’s a splotchy gray and brown. She laughed when I diplomatically called her “dappled,” and said that I wasn’t the first to liken her to a horse’s patoot, and surely wouldn’t be the last. Encouraged, I stuck with the equine theme and suggested “Old Paint,” but she said that applied more to her “henna decade,” so Lola and I aren’t sure what to call her. We shall ponder it while sunning ourselves.may 2013 021

Our new neighborhood is perfect for us. Right around the corner from Casa de Momo is a strip-mall with a donut shop and a breakfast café, both of which I sniff approvingly on our morning walks. And, believe it or not, there is a Harley Davidson shop just down the road!  I’m planning a visit soon, because where else would The Biker Chihuahua be as welcome? (Lola maybe not so much, but, hey, she’s with me.) Just the thought of those rumbling engines gives me delicious piss-chills, and makes me want to jump up and cavort for no apparent reason.

And our new backyard is perfect for cavorting. Lola runs around it in frantic figure eights, making the tight little turns of the truly obsessive. There are two sliding glass doors, and when they are both open, I chase her around in a big circle: out one door, across the lawn, in the other door and through the house, over and over. We skitter on the wooden floors and scratch up bits of grass as we go, while The Dog Mom Formerly Known As Big Red watches us, laughing and clapping in delight. She really is a simple creature, and so easily entertained. (Now I’m feeling a little misty. “Big Red” she’ll stay, because that’s how she looked at the animal shelter that fateful rainy day: tall enough to be a tad unnerving, and red enough to stand out like the proverbial turd in the punchbowl. Hey, wait…I still had my boys back then. Maybe that’s why I’m feeling nostalgic.)may 2013 026

I’d better get back to work; I’ve got a lot of places yet to investigate and christen here in the new ‘hood. Summertime, and the sniffin’s easy. Most of our neighbors like to grill and ‘cue, which is a very welcome addition to the olfactory world of living with a vegan. (“Wow! What smells so good? Is that TOFU?” said nobody, ever.) Note to self: practice sucking in cheeks so as to appear meat-deprived to neighbors. My “Howie-Do” list just gets longer and longer. I’m burning daylight, y’all. Happy Dog Days!

You Can Have My Cabbage

17 Mar

March 2013 035Seriously. I mean, what’s the point of it? You can fit lots more corned beef in your dish if you ditch the cabbage; call it “the sharin’ of the green.” And Lola can have my spuds. Bring on the beef! The love-handles/ folds of skin I acquired during my hot-tubbing days aren’t the only reason my nickname is “Mos’ Meetz;” I’m a carnivore, through and through. Lola is more of a “carbo-whore.”  She’ll go after any stray pizza crust or sandwich remnant along the way when we’re walking. The highlight of her day is if one of the chunks of bread Big Red puts out for the squirrel gets knocked into the patio where she can reach it. (Between the squirrel and the hummingbirds, Red is very well-trained. I’m glad to see that all my work with her has paid off. Note to self: reward her with some soulful eye contact and lap-time. Chicks dig that.)

When I was an Oktoberfest bouncer, I thought that March 17th was like the whole month of October rolled into one day, and I guess it is, if you do it right. More than a few times, I woke up on the 18th with a green tongue that felt as fuzzy as my memory.  Good times. As with most things, Lola is blissfully unaware of the revelry, and escaped the green bandana treatment thanks to her cowering shivers and hasty retreat under the bed. She has the Luck of the Crazy-Eyed, but, hey, photo-op for me.

Truth be told, Saint Patrick actually wasn’t all that swell of a guy in my book. They say he drove the snakes out of Ireland, but it was actually the pagans he ran out. “Snakes” is just sort of a code word. So I like to think of the green trees and the fields, and even the snakes if I’m wearing green or lapping it up today. I saw a big snake near our local dog park a few years ago. (Lola would have done her signature hunch-and-pee maneuver if she had been there, but she was still a sky-dog then, deciding who she would subject to her tireless combination of adoring torment that I have come to call “adorement.” Lucky me…winner, winner, corned beef dinner.) Anyway, the snake was slithering along, enjoying the sunshine like we were. Big Red got close enough to take his picture, because she doesn’t have good sense sometimes, and then we all journeyed on. Nobody needed to be driven out of anywhere; there was room for all of us.  Rattlesnake Oak Canyon Park 6-28-11 one

Saint Francis is more my speed. We need to plan something special for October 4th. Pet blessings are traditional, but, heck, we’re a blessing EVERY day, so we need something more festive. Food should definitely be involved. (People go crazy buying chocolates on Saint Valentine’s Day, and he’s a creepy-looking little critter. I don’t know why somebody hasn’t made a horror movie about him like the ones about the leprechaun; he wreaks a lot more havoc, it seems to me.) I guess a big Saint Francis Day barbecue would be hypocritical (in a delicious, meaty way), so maybe the feast could feature lots of peanut butter and cheese, and my favorite snap peas.  Lola would be in carbo-whore heaven.

Let her have one day, I guess. Pass the corned beef and make way for the snakes!

Feliz Navidog!

26 Dec

Sometimes I think Big Red is losing her mind, as demonstrated here.  022

It was a peaceful Sunday afternoon. I was reclining majestically on Red’s leopard-print Snuggie, contemplating the true meaning of Christmas. Okay, I was dreaming about deep-fried Spam, but fuzzy polyester has that effect on me. Anyway, with an unsettlingly gleeful look in her eye, Red bundled Lola and me up unceremoniously, carried us out in the rain, and plopped us into the car. When we got to PetSmart, she put us and one of our car-beds into a shopping cart and wheeled us inside to get our picture taken with Santa. It was pretty corny, but I went along with it because Red was so excited.  Santa asked what I wanted, and I said that I just wanted to get through this photo-op without Lola panicking and wetting herself like she did at the groomer. Thank you, Santa; another crisis averted. I’ve been good this year (really a saint for having put up with Lola as pleasantly as I have), so I’d love to wrap my lips around that Spam whenever you’re in the neighborhood, but I won’t be at Casa de Momo.

You see, we’re going for a visit this week, Lola and I, while Red takes a trip. She says she is going to investigate Lola’s “roots,” like she’s a shrubbery or something, and learn a bit about her past. I have a feeling that the crazy-eyed critter (Lola, not Red), is envious of my book’s success and wants to write one of her own. Here is how I think it would go: “Blah, blah, blah, shudder, shudder, blah, blah, blah.” And then more of that. Well, good luck to her. She’s a bit of a novelty, to be sure, but she’s no Biker Chihuahua!

Be that as it may, Red is taking us to stay for the week with a nice lady named Patti. Patti likes to look after other people’s dogs in her house, which is nice and has a big backyard. I’m fine with it, because I can lay in the sunshine a lot and bark at the tortoise that lives in the side yard. Red wasn’t sure how Lola would cope, though, since she’s never had a sleep-away before. So she took us to see Eddy, the animal communicator, and asked him to explain it to Lola. She actually listened to him, which proves how good he is, because in order to get her to listen to me I have to growl at her until she cowers, then tell her things while I lick her face gently.

I’m going to be a good big brother and watch over her while we are visiting with Patti. Just for fun, though, I’m going to tell her to make sure that the last thing Red sees is Lola looking trembly and devastated, just so she doesn’t get into the habit of going away too often. (Red, not Lola.) Then we can start exploring and having fun, and Red can desperately try to un-see the tragic mental image tattooed on her guilt-ridden maternal psyche. “Roots,” my ass.

It won’t be too hard to be a good big brother, though. Lola can be kind of sweet when she’s not being a pain. And after a week in that big, sunny backyard, I might not even be in such a hurry to go home! Just kidding. It’ll be a fun week, and I’ll be happy to go home when it’s over. After all, home is where the Snuggie is.

Gobble, Gobble!

22 Nov

Gobble, Gobble!

Here are some things I’m thankful for today: my sunshine time in the morning, Lola when she’s asleep, car rides, the kind of back-scratching that makes me curl my lip like Elvis, long walks, the dog park, and Big Red’s distaste for dog sweaters. The list goes on and on, because there are lots of people and things I’m thankful for, and not just today, but every day. Dogs actually spend a lot of time being thankful; it’s part of our daily routine. If we saved it up for only one day out of the whole year, we’d be just as exhausted and cranky and ravenous as most people seem to be around this time. Spread it out, I say; pace yourself. (Also, I’m not sure why people dedicate a whole day to celebrate some people in funny hats who stole everything from the Indians. I mean, I enjoy snatching a toy or a bone away from Lola every now and then, but I wouldn’t dedicate a whole day to it.)

If I did, though, my special celebration food of choice would be Vienna Sausages. It seems impossible that anyone could be unacquainted with these tubular boons, but they are bite-sized weenies from Sigmund Freud’s own hometown. You can make your own joke about that. (For some reason, the label says that they’re made in New Jersey rather than The City of Music, but no matter.) They’re chock-full of “mechanically separated” chicken, water, beef, pork, salt and corn syrup, so your purchase keeps lots of machines employed and embraces all the major food groups! Plus, the can has a cool pop-top, and the only side dish you need is a good burp followed by a long nap. Vienna Sausage = Party in a Can! The holiday doesn’t have to be complicated, although I know that humans enjoy that sort of thing.

Finally, I’m very thankful for you, my loyal readers. What’s the point of telling stories if nobody listens? You might as well be Lola. (haha) And, all you dogs reading this, remember that our coyote brothers and sisters are getting pretty hungry these days, so keep your people on a leash when you’re out walking, no matter how well-trained they are. Happy Howie-days!




31 Oct

This is what it looked like when we started out for our walk this morning:

It looked like freakin’ midnight. I knew that it was Halloween, because Big Red made me wear this:

So I thought the dark-as-a-bat’s-crotch death march was her idea of a Trick, but she explained that it was dark in the early morning because we hadn’t “fallen back” yet. I nodded wisely, because I went to my share of parties like that back in the day. Shoot, it ain’t a party til glass is breaking and folks are falling back. Lola is too young to understand, though, because this is her first Halloween. Naturally, like any good big brother, I lorded my expertise over her with smug insouciance, but I don’t think she noticed. She was too busy freaking out over each small, rustly object that blew past us in the eerie darkness. (OK, maybe I deliberately walked on the extra-crispy leaves  a few times, but, what the heck? It’s Howl-oween!) By the way, Lola doesn’t need a costume; her crazy eyes reflecting the moonlight could give anyone the piss-chills.

Now, on to my favorite part: the treat! (I’m looking forward to tonight. In my fantasy, I return home triumphantly bearing a pillowcase filled with pork rinds, sliders, Slim Jims and cheese balls rolled in extra-crispy bacon. But, I digress.) Finally, they came! The boxes with my books inside finally arrived! I was so excited that I peed on them right away, just to make sure that this happy event wasn’t part of my pork rinds dream. Big Red was so excited that, for a horrifying moment, I thought she might pee on the boxes, too. Thankfully, my tender retinas were spared this searing affront.

She cracked those suckers open, and there they were: copies of my long-awaited autobiography, “The Biker Chihuahua.” It was great to see my picture and my name on the cover, but the coolest part is that everybody who buys my book is helping animals in a shelter find a forever home, where they can tell their own stories! (As usual, the trick is finding someone who cares enough to listen, but that’s life.) I think you’ll get a kick out of my story. You’ll learn how I went from being a pup to being a dog, how I became Oktoberfest Bouncer of the Year, and how I masterminded a dog-friendly cathouse. You’ll even pick up a few pointers (hmm, that sounds like a joke where somebody walked into a bar… must work on that) about “predognition” and how you can use it in your own adventures. Not a bad deal, if I do say so.

So, for your Halloween treat, my dear Reader Peeps, here’s the Kindle link (mmmmm, links…) so that you can download your very own copy of “The Biker Chihuahua.” And if you would instead like a NOOK edition, that’s here at this link. It’s available in iBooks here. The Kobo edition is here. Have a laugh. Help a critter in need. When you fall back this weekend, curl up with a good book. Even though the days are getting shorter, you can still do it doggy-style!

The Author Reclines With His Book

Hi Again

4 Jul

Happy Dog Days of Summer, everybody! Why so Sirius? I know it’s been a while since we’ve talked, but two pretty cool things have happened in the last few months. First of all, I have a new friend! For some reason, as you can see, she thinks she can sit on my pimp chair, and for some reason, I let her do it. She’s only seven months old, she’s a Chihuahua, and we’ve named her “Lola.” The most important thing to bear in mind about Lola is that she has Crazy Eyes. One is blue and the other is brown. It still gives me the willies sometimes.

The day she first came home from the shelter with Red, I didn’t know what the heck was going on. I tried to send her a message with my mind while I was sniffing her butt, but what came back from “Her Trembliness” sounded a lot like, “Piss off, you!” I herded her into the kitchen just to show her who was boss, and kept her there for a while so I could check her out at a distance. Even accounting for her cowering mien, I could see that she was only about half my size, with some freckly, bovine little brown spots on her white fur, two brown ears and a brown patch over the brown-eye side. The side with the eerie blue eye is white. I sat purposefully in the doorway, looking at her, for maybe ten minutes. All of a sudden, out of nowhere, she raised up on her hind legs, did this weird Frankenstein-arms thing, and silently bared her teeth at me. Never in my extensive adventures have I seen something as batshit crazy-looking as her eyes at that moment. Flabbergasted, I took several steps back, at which time she walked casually past me and curled up in my bed next to my kittaboo. We settled into an uneasy silence. Later, I asked Red if we could call her “Batshit,” because it suited her.  Red said no, it would be “Lola,” because that was her real name.

Lola is extremely unpredictable, and has way too much energy for her (or my) own good. From a dead sleep, she will fling herself at me during my periods of contemplation and proceed to bite me up, or tunnel under my bed like a feral ferret and attempt to topple me. She will steal any toy or chewy-thing that isn’t nailed down, and has a peculiar fascination with hunting out unwashed socks or underwear and then hurtling pell-mell down the hall with them in her mouth like an Olympic sprinter crossing the finish line. She likes to carry all manner of things between her teeth when we’re walking, and appears thrilled by the even the grungiest little stick, or wad of paper. She is terrified by sudden movement and guests, but will snarl and bark unceasingly on-leash at any passer-by. I was really insulted at first that she wouldn’t pee on things after me when we were walking, like Brother-Dog does, but then I grudgingly decided not to take it so personally. It’s not about me. It’s about her. (Right, guys?)

In short, she’s squirrelly and can be a real pest. But sometimes, she comes up and starts licking my face with her tiny pink tongue, at which time my heart melts and I respond in kind until she falls asleep. Then I can finally get some rest. Whew. When she was first in residence at Casa de Howie, I didn’t sleep at all. I was afraid that I would wake up with a start to find her standing over me, staring at me, her head turned to the left and her spooky blue eye emitting some sort of soul-sucking rays, or at least glowing in the dark.

Depending on my mood, and her behavior, I have several songs that I sing about her. The first one I came up with is to the tune of “Copacabana,” and it starts out: “Her name was Lola. Her eyes were crazy.” There will be a part about me, of course, that goes: “His name was Howie. He was a biker,” but I haven’t worked out all the kinks in it yet. Speaking of Kinks, I also have a few variations about my new friend, set to the tune of their immortal classic. When I’m feeling kindly and big-brotherly towards her, I sing this one: “Lola…She bubbly like cola… Too shy to say Hola’.” When she’s being little-sisterly, though, sometimes the nicest thing I can think of to say about her is: “Lola… She don’t got ebola… She full of crapola.” Red says that there is a showtune called “Whatever Lola wants, Lola gets,” sung by some female in league with the Devil (which figures), but not if I can help it. My customary haiku, perhaps, sums up my feelings best: “Inexhaustible / Aggravating. Kinda cute / Crazy-Eyes Lola.”

Oh, the other cool thing that happened? My memoirs are finally complete! The heretofore untold story of my checkered past can finally be shared with the world. Once I’m famous, maybe I’ll get my own room, so that I can get away from you-know-who once in a while. Anyway, I’ll keep you posted.


25 Sep

I have grass. Walking on grass is one of my great pleasures. It allows me to embrace my inner critter, if you will, because I can get a whiff of who’s been there before me and then I can claim it for my own, thus temporarily establishing my place in the ever-changing mosaic of life. Plus, it tickles the hair between my toes.

Anyway, my people, Big Red and Biff, finally caught the hints I was sending them subliminally. Sure, they were very good about being taken out for walks both long and short, so that I could revel in the many pleasures grass has to offer. But I wanted some of my own. So after they finally got tired of cleaning up the little memos I was leaving them, they installed a doggy door and sank some sod in the patio. The really cute part is that they thought it was their own idea.

It’s delicious, my grass. Often, in the afternoon, when the sun is just right, I retire to the patio for my daily meditation time. Usually, I just meditate in one of my beds, but then I call it “Beditation,” which is a somewhat less formal, yet no less fulfilling, approach to the discipline. But I’m a sucker for soaking up the rays, and here you see me in full absorption mode, inwardly chanting the mantra, “Bacon fat.” This was such an energizing sitting that I composed a commemorative haiku:

“Badass in repose.
Lo, he is meditating,
Fierce yet focused one.”

The grass really gets the creative juices going, especially when it’s fresh. I’ve got the folks on a routine now, so they replace the sod every seven to ten days. If it starts looking a little tatty, I go outside and pace with an intense expression, then come back in looking dejected and trot purposefully upstairs as if to commit some vile act of random, inopportune urination. This is highly motivational, and usually the sod is quickly renewed. Patient training does pay off.

Another great thing about my grass is that it really irritates the barky little dog at the end of the building! Fortunately, that’s not hard to do, which is great, because I thoroughly enjoy it. For our purposes of dirt-dishing here, let’s call her “Olive” (for Our Lady of Vexation). Olive has a quiet, cherub-faced sister, which seems to add to her ongoing state of general annoyance. We’ll call the sister “Butter,” because she’s so sweet that she wouldn’t melt in your mouth. I’d be afraid to make her melt in mine, because I suspect she’s the brains behind the whole operation. If I had to live with them, I think it would require lots of gunny sacks and duck tape, but I delight in their dramatic balcony presentations from afar.

Every time I walk past, Olive grimaces and growls and yaps, so I give her a look that clearly says, “I have grass and you don’t,” and it irks her.  (That’s okay, because when I first moved here, she tried to make me believe that she had a cell phone and her own Petco card.) One of these days, she’s going to bark herself into a state of spontaneous canine combustion, and Butter will just sit there looking pretty and appearing oh, so mystified by it all. I believe it’s part of her Master Plan. They could both do with some meditation, if you ask me.