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Katie Up and Down the Hall

Katie Up and Down the Hall

A couple of months ago, I received an email from a book publisher asking if I was interested reading and then reviewing a book on the fleas blog. I periodically get such emails and usually don’t even reply to these types of inquires for a couple of reasons: 1. I’m not really what you’d call a book worm. I can honestly say I haven’t actually sat down and read a book for 15 years (not bragging here). I’m just more of a magazine guy. 2. I’m scared that I’ll get either bombarded with emails from some stranger trying to sell me a book, or worse, it’s some sort of scam. But on this occasion, something in me said OK (maybe it was because it was a book about a cocker spaniel). So I replied with a Yes and forgot about it.

A few weeks passed and I came home from work and found a little brown package in the mailbox. I excitedly opened the package to see what was waiting for me inside and there was the book I agreed to read – Katie Up and Down the Hall by Glenn Plaskin. I thumbed through it and was happy to see there were pictures to help me along the way. I told you I’m not a book worm! That night I sat down and started reading and was pleased to find that not only were there pictures, but the chapters were pretty short too.

In the first few chapters, we meet Glenn Plaskin and learn that he’s a single guy working and living in New York City as a celebrity interviewer for the New York Times. We meet Katie (named after Katharine Hepburn who happens to be a friend of Mr. Plaskin) his beloved companion for over 15 years, as he picks her up from a breeder as a pup. In the remaining chapters, we learn how a beautiful little blonde cocker spaniel brought five strangers living on the same hall in an apartment building in NYC and “herded” them into a family. These neighbors struggle with job loss, single parenting, 9/11, and even death. But don’t worry, there are happy times too like birthday celebrations and games of racing up and down the hall.

I’m not going to give you a book report and tell you what happens in the end because that would be cheating, but I will tell you what it isn’t. It isn’t a collection of stories of how cute Katie is and how she did this funny thing at this inappropriate time. It is WAY better than that.

This being my first book review, I’m going to say I’m thrilled that I was chosen to read it and oh so happy that I responded to that email. If you are a book reader (or not I guess ’cause I read it!), or if you happen to be looking for a really great Christmas gift to get for a member of your family, this is the one. You won’t be disappointed.

unstuffed design, LLC

unstuffed design, LLC

Howdy pups and pup-etts! Mr. T and I (Shelly) are doing just fine. We still like to lounge together at the window and Tommy is still his scaredy-cat self – but not quite as bad. The reason we haven’t updated in so long is that Pop lost a lot of his free time. Can you believe that? What a lame excuse. Well, you see, he’s been trying to start his own business and has finally caught up with all of that. He’s now working evenings as a web designer so if you or anyone you know needs a website please pass his info along to them. It’s called ‘unstuffed design’ and he says I was his inspiration – I guess it has to do with the way I like to unstuff all my toys :-)

You all might like to visit his website because he’s been writing tutorials on html and css and wordpress that just might come in handy. Hope you all are having a fantastic summer (or winter down below)!

Achoo!

Well, I can’t say we didn’t ask for it but jeeze Spring has sprung and brought the wrath of pollen with it. Pop is even feeling the ill effects of this dusty time of year. He was congested all weekend and still feels rather “crappy”. Take a look at this photo out of his office building. That’s not dirt on the cars below, that’s pollen! You can even see tire tracks on the pavement it’s so thick!!

pollen

green haze of pollen

Ding, Dong!

doorbell

doorbell

I have a complaint. Is it me, or does every commercial and intro to television programs (especially on HGTV or DIY which I watch obsessively) have someone ringing the stupid doorbell?! Don’t these “ad-men” have dogs? Are they oblivious to the fact that when pups hear a doorbell, whether it be on TV or in real-life, they go ballistic? That’s great if someone really is at your door at 10pm but it totally sucks when it’s a false alarm. As viewers, we don’t need to see the designer come to someone’s front door, ring the bell and see the homeowners act like they didn’t know who was outside. Especially when they cut away to a camera that is clearly located INSIDE the house. I’m tired of playing the “push the mute button before the bell rings” at night. I believe it’s wrong that I had to ingrain into my brain (hey that rhymes) the first milliseconds of every commercial that feels the need to ring the bell so I can quickly click away. I’d like to relax and watch some poor saps destroy their kitchens in hopes of upping their houses property value by .01% in the peace and quiet of my living room. Plus Shelly is loosing valuable beauty sleep at night. So if you’re listening ad-men and women, stop being ding-dongs and leave the doorbells alone.

We had snow over the weekend! We haven’t had snow in years and this is the first time it accumulated (more than a dusting) since 2003. The flakes were big and wet and when it was all over, we had about 8 inches – and it was pawesome! Tommy and I got to break out our winter jackets and play in the white stuff. But as fast as it came, it went. Today, all that is left is the remnant of a little snow man. I, Shelly, had a great time walking and hopping around the back yard, but little Tommy says “it sucked!”. Tommy, watch your language. His little legs weren’t long enough so his belly dragged in the snow and Pop had to clear a spot for him to do his “business”. It was fun while it lasted but it’s nice to see the grass again :-)

Shelly and Tommy in the snow

Shelly and Tommy in the snow

shelly in the snow

it was snowing so hard, shelly had to squint

Tommy checking out the snow

Tommy wasn't so happy to see the snow

Shelly in the snow

shelly really enjoyed the snow

‘Tis the Season

Howdy pups! Well, Christmas has passed and 2009 is almost over – BUT there is one more day of celebration in between. Anypup know what it is? If you guessed “Pop’s Barkday” then you were right!! Happy b-day (tomorrow) Pop :-)

So how was everypups Christmas? Ours was crappy with a capital “C”. Santa didn’t leave ANYTHING for us this year. What’s up with that? We were pawsomely good all year and everything. Shelly thinks that our presents must have slipped in between the seats of Santa’s sleigh and that he’ll bring them to us as soon as he finds them. I sure hope she’s right. Since we didn’t have any gifts under the tree this year, Shelly plopped a bow on her head and tried to pass herself off as a pressie. But that didn’t fool anydoggie!

all I got for Christmas was a stinkin bow

all I got for Christmas was a stinkin bow

So to make matters worse, today we had to get a fur-cut. We were supposed to get cuts earlier in the month, but they were too “busy” to take us and we were getting pretty wooly. Shelly was really puffy :-) So she got her usual furcut except Mom loved her baby duck whispy fur on her head so much they asked if she could keep it. She looks great, but she seems to be having a slight problem with static electricity.

I need some static guard

I need some static guard

I on the other hand, am sporting the classic “dutch boy” look. Pop has been teasing me all afternoon saying I look like a pretty little girl but Mom loves it and that’s all that matters. Thanks Mom!

Tommy with his new short ears

Tommy with his new short ears

Tommy the dutch boy

Tommy the dutch boy

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!

Last year at this time, me and my new Pop were traveling home through the snow covered mountains of wild and wonderful West Virginia. It was our first day together and I pretty much spend it in my little kennel in the back of the car listening to Pop sing as he drove us home. Here are a couple of pics to refresh your memory.

tommy on his way home

tommy on his way home

snowy road

on our way home through West Virginia

I’ve really come a long way in this first year. I started out as a super scaredy cat – not wanting to even leave my little perch on the sofa. But as time passed, I watched my new sis, Shelly and how she freely wandered around the house and it made me want to investigate too. I finally worked up the courage one evening to jump off the sofa all by myself and I worked my way around the living room. And you know what happened? Nothing! No boogey men came from around the corner to snatch me up or anything. From then on, I’ve became more and more brave. So much so, that this past weekend, Mom and Pop took me and Shelly to Petsmart to pick out toys for my Gotcha Day!

It was my first trip to Petsmart and do you know what they have there? EVERYTHING! There were big and little dogs walking down the aisles, toys and bags of food everywhere and we even saw a couple of pups getting their fur cut. So since it was my special day, I even got to pick out my very own toy. There were so many to choose from, but I finally settled for a stuffed turtle. Shelly on the other hand knew exactly what she wanted. She sniffed and climbed in all the bins until she found a purple bunny. She grabbed it off the wall and carried it around the store until we left.

As soon as we made it home, the bunny was thoroughly de-stuffed by Shelly. Then she turned her eye on my turtle but at the coaxing of Mom, she left it for me with all it’s stuffing intact. Phew!

As a public service announcement, I’d like to encourage any pup-parent to make a donation on my behalf to the English Toy Spaniel Rescue (where I came from). They still owe more that $8500 for vet bills after rescuing me and 34 other ET’s from the Parkersburg puppy mill and as of now, have 5 more pups that need a furever home. Now that would make a great Christmas present!

tommy and his turtle toy

tommy and his turtle toy

shelly and her bunny

shelly and her bunny

tommy on his first gotcha day

tommy on his first gotcha day

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