Adventures with Ollie is a new blog by Times Colonist writer Adrian Chamberlain. For most guys, middle-aged crazy means a Porsche Boxster or a Vegas road-trip. For Adrian, it was buying a puppy.
They are meant to be a comedy in the life of a pug and his Pug Friends!
Posted Nov 24 2008, 04:57 PM by adrianman
Humans should have pug dog tails.
I've notice that when Ollie the Pug is happy which seems to be 99.9 per cent of the time his wee tail is curly, like the tail of a little pig. When he's really happy, his pig-tail wags, of course.
And when he is unhappy or really tired, his tail goes flat.
What a distinctive trait. Wouldn't it be great if we humans had tails that behaved in such a manner? I think that would be really terrific.
For instance, you come into the office on a Monday morning and take immediate note of a colleague's posterior.
"Tail's flat, I see. Dead flat. Flatter than a board. Wanna talk about it?"
"Well... the wife left, finally. I mean, we tried to work it out. But, it's a no-go, apparently."
You see? You cut right to the chase. Flat tail = some sort of calamity. Much better than hearing two weeks later that poor old Barney's wife has ditched him. This way, you can offer sympathy and general chumminess right away.
Or say you're on a date. You take your date to a professional wrestling match. And you're having a terrific time, because Bosco the Human Toe-Crusher (your favourite wrestler) is absolutely crushing Harry the Human Sledgehammer. But, upon carefully examing your date's bottom, you notice something. Flat tail.
"Hey, what's up? You don't look happy."
"Really. Oh the tail. Well... I'm not really enjoying this, to be honest. Wrestling matches are not really my thing."
"How amazing! Didn't you like it when the Toe Crusher crushes the Sledgehammer's toe?"
"Uh. Well, no. It was kind of awful. All that blood."
At which point you take her to the opera or a karaoke bar.
Otherwise, you must "read" your date's mind. You must be "sensitive" or "alert to her needs". Is she (or he) happy? Is she having a good time? Is she on the level when you say, "Are you having fun," and she says, "Oh, sure," but her eyes rolling upwards like a slot-machine seem to suggest otherwise?
I may be going out on a limb here, but I think if your date had a curly pug tail, none of this would be a problem.
Posted Nov 19 2008, 10:10 AM by adrianman
Be nice to my super friendly dog... or I won't like you
Be nice to my super-friendly dog, or I won't like you.
Yes, that's the kind of immature smurf Ollie the Pug has turned me into. You see, I've noticed I now resent it when people don't react well to Ollie dashing up to them and licking their faces or whatever other bit of their bodies he can reach with his tongue.
My motto, to restate: Be nice to my super-friendly dog, or I won't like you.
Some people, unbelievably, don't seem to like dogs. Or maybe it's just Ollie. Whatever. Upon being approached by crazily friendly Ollie the Pug, they'll try to push him away, with a "Get that friggin' thing off of me!" or equivalent. When this happens, my rating of this person goes from whatever it was to zero. Especially if you call him a "thing". Or say "friggin" (if you're going to swear, swear damn it!).
I realize this manner of behaving mine, not Ollie's is, well... sort of stupid. People are, after all, entitled to like or dislike the over-the-top overtures of Ollie the Pug and other super-friendly dogs.
And it's entirely possible that some people are, you know... cat lovers.
Cat lovers. For me, this is the dividing line within the human race. Dog lovers are mostly cool, friendly, straight-forward, taxes-paying, hard-working, attractive people. Whereas cat lovers (and I mean those who prefer the company of cats over dogs) are introverted, vegan, fussy, unfriendly nerds who sip green tea from nasty eggshell-thin cups, water spider-plants in macrame baskets and..... do yoga
In other words, they are evil folk from the dark side.
Declare youself a cat lover, and I will fling you roughly down my front steps, laughing like a maniac and making rude unambiguous gestures with both hands. What's more, my laugh will be a horror-movie villain laugh: "Boo-ha-ha-ha-ha!" I will also box your ears. I will refuse to say happy birthday to you on your birthday. And, as a special bonus, I will dance on you grave, using steps cleverly pilfered from watching Dancing with the Stars.
What's that, you say? This is boorish, vulgar behavior? Yes, it is. I make no apologies. Ollie the Pug is like one of my kids now. I admit it. I've turned into one of those dog owners.
Again, at the risk of becoming tiresome, let me restate my motto: Be nice to my super-friendly dog. Or else I will throw you roughly down my front steps. No. I mean..... or else I won't like you.
Posted Nov 15 2008, 07:22 PM by adrianman
Wife goes bonkers for Ollie's B-Day
Ollie will have a birthday on Dec. 5. He will be one year old.
Naturally, in anticipation of this, the Chamberlain household is a hive of bustling activity. Well, mostly my wife is. We must have a party for Ollie, she says. We must make elaborate preparations.
Am I jealous? Of course not. It's just that I had my own birthday back in September. It was a milestone birthday. And the preparations? Not so elaborate.
"Big birthday coming up," I said the week before. "For yours truly."
"Really?" said my wife.
"Yup. Big one. Really, really..... you know ... big."
"Hmmm," said my wife. She was leafing through a magazine.
My birthday came and went. It was OK. Nice, of course. But a pretty mild celebration, overall. No dancing girls or surprise trips to Belize.
Then, Ollie the Pug's birthday comes on the horizon.
"We must start our preparations," said my wife some weeks ago.
"What?" I said.
"For Ollie's birthday. He will be one," she said. "The preparations must be made."
Her eyes seemed sort of... wild.
"Hmmm," I said.
"It's a very significant birthday for a dog," she said. "We must go for it. The gusto, I mean. Go for the gusto."
She did a few tentative dance steps. I wondered if she had become slightly unhinged, and imagined calling the authorities.
Last weekend, my wife went out to buy Ollie's gifts. A special bubble-blowing kit for dogs, with peach flavoured bubbles. Dog cupcakes, dog peanut butter cups. And his big gift: a toy tree with toy squirrels in it.
"Regarding Ollie 's birthday party," said my wife. "Whom should we invite?"
Whom indeed? Gosh.
"I know," she said. "Braxton. He likes Braxton."
Braxton is a very nice dog. A beagle/pug cross, I believe. A peagle, or maybe a bug. He is owned by the daughter of our friends, Suzan and Eric. So my wife sends Suzan and Eric an email.
"Ollie would like Braxton to come to his birthday party," said the email.
Braxton accepted his invitation, via Eric. I then wrote back to Eric: "Great you can come to the party. I must make it clear, however, that although we look forward to your company. I did not send out the invitation. I am much too manly to be sending out doggie birthday invitations."
"Thanks for the gay dog invitation," wrote Eric.
Posted Nov 10 2008, 12:40 PM by adrianman
Ollie the Pug befouls guest bed!
We had overnight guests on the weekend. They slept upstairs in what we call the "futon room." Because it, um, has a futon bed in it.
On Sunday morning, following an evening of mild revelry, we sat around the kitchen table devouring chicken sausages and French toast. Afterwards, our friends went upstairs to get packed, prior to departure.
Pam quickly returned to the kitchen. She had a funny look on her face. And then she made a starting announcement: "Ollie took a dump on the futon!"
A dump! ! This announcement was not music to my ears, as the discovery of Ollie's turd was no doubt not music to their eyes. (Bad metaphor. I mean, it was not a welcome sight. Turds on a futon so rarely are.)
Quite aside from the months we're spend trying to train Ollie to our the backyard as a restroom, this latest development was especially distressing. I mean, when you have people over, you try to make things as nice as possible for them. You know, good wine, superior crackers (the expensive type with nuts and fruit in them), fancy cheeses (gruyere de comté, bleu d'Auvergne) grapes (organic, seedless). You put out clean guest towels and cute little soaps in the shape of pandas or famous literary figures and so on.
Turd-studded beds should never, ever be part of the picture.
In fact, it's on page 407 of Emily Post's Etiquette: "When having a guests for an overnight stay, please ensure that your pets do not deposit their feces in areas where said guests may tread, sit or sleep. Should such an unfortunate thing occur, the best thing to do is say, 'Gosh. Is that where I left it!' and scoop it up with a lavender-scented hankerchief."
Overall, it was quite the weekend for bad Ollie behavior. Yesterday, I took him for a walk around Panama Flats. Once we got to the field, I let Ollie off his leash, which he loves. He goes absolutely mental licking leaves and rolling in tall grass. Call of the wild, I guess. Anyway, once we got near the street after crossing the field, I said to Ollie: "Come here!" It was leash time.
But Ollie, instead of coming, mischievously bowed down on his front paws, which means "play time!" Then he dashed onto the street. I called again, pulling out a packet of treats.Ollie was having none of it. He started his pug run, sprinting around and around in demented circles on the road. A purple truck stopped. Then another vehicle coming the other way came to a halt.
"Come here, you silly pug!" I cried. Nope. Nothing. I made a helpless shrugging gesture at the guy in the purple truck, who grinned.
Somehow, the traffic jam dispersed. I then lured Ollie back on the field, and finally leashed him.
We've really got to teach this dog to come when we call. I mean, he knows how to roll over. But that's not going to help when he makes a beeline for the traffic. If anyone has suggestions/ tips in this regard (training a stubborn pug to come) please let me know.
Posted Nov 06 2008, 10:14 AM by adrianman
Ollie's owner still a bad dog... um, person!
The good thing about owning Ollie the Pug is that I've become a better human being. I think it's caring about an animal that does it. Although we all take turns, I often serve Ollie's food, take him for walks, give him five-minute belly rubs and tell him he's a "good boy" about 50 times a day.
Well, you say, of course you do! What dog owner doesn't? You have to realize, though, that I'm not really that nice of a guy. So this "doing stuff for others" is a bit of a reach for me. A novel concept. Tough to wrap ones mind around.
Yet while I'm nominally nicer thanks to the positive Ollie the Pug influence, there's still stuff to work on. For instance, little things that wouldn't annoy anyone else bug me. Here's a few examples:
(1) People waiting for buses. Have you ever walked down a sidewalk and encountered a group of people waiting for a bus? It's like walking into a mini-convention of zombies. Do they stand aside to make way for you? No. Instead, their necks are craned as they attempt to spy that object of their desire: a stupid bus. If one's coming, they'll even step in front of you or jostle you aside. They all seem to be in a daze, as though one must take some sort of doze-inducing drug to be able to wait for a bus. Hate the people waiting for buses.
Before Ollie I would perhaps elbow a few of those bus zombies. But now, I just amble around them, albeit cursing them in my mind.
(2) People in a certain discount department store. Have you ever noticed the sort of people who patronize a certain discount department store? (I'm hesitant to name it for fear of being sued or something.) It's like wandering into the backwoods of Kentucky or something. Shelby Lee Adams (shelby-lee-adams.blogspot.com) would have a field day. Great big fat guys toting cases of beef jerky or motor oil. Great big moms pushing a pram with one sweaty hand and a grocery cart full of substandard children's clothing in the other. And of course, they're all getting in the way of yours truly, the misanthrope. I hate the people in a certain discount department store. I'm going to start buying my Armor-All elsewhere.
Before Ollie I would glare at any discount store patron who seemed especially like a hillbilly. But now, I avoid glaring, although secretly they bug me a lot and I question their purchases.
(3) Restaurants who goof up on your reservation. On Sunday, we made a reservation as a certain Saanich restaurant (I'm hesitant to name it for fear of being sued or something.) Anyway, we walk into the lobby, and there's tons of customers milling around. This irritates me, naturally. We finally get to the front of the line, and the hostess tells us we don't have a reservation.
My wife, quite correctly, says she did make one. The hostess asks when. In the afternoon, says my wife. Oh, that explains it, says the hostess. It was likely taken by some dude who didn't bother to actually take the reservation and write it down in the reservation book. This reminded me of that episode of Seinfield, in which Jerry makes a reservation at a car rental agency, only to be told they don't have a record of it. He suggests they don't know how to take a reservation, but the clerk says they do. So he says: " I don't think you do. If you did, I'd have a car. See, you know how to
take the reservation, you just don't know how to hold the reservation. And that's really the most important part of the reservation - the holding."
That's cool. I want to reenact this scene for the restaurant hostess, but my wife whispers that it's not a very good idea. And so we go to some expensive place across the road that costs $100 for two people. And I get particles of duck so tiny they could practically serve as... well, as the keys to my car. That is, if they were the correct shape and made of a harder material.
Before Ollie I would have complained loudly to the hostess, so that everyone in the restaurant could hear. But this time, thanks to Ollie's positive influence, I just complained all night to my wife. Which I think shows a lot of progress on my part.
Posted Nov 02 2008, 01:46 PM by adrianman
Ollie develops gigantic wart!
Scientific diagram of Ollie's wart
About a week ago, my daughter noticed Ollie the pug had a wart-like thingy on the underside of his right lip.
"Look Dad," she said. "Look at this funny warty thing."
I looked. You could see it if you pulled back his lip flap. It was absolutely bizarre. Whitish, and resembling a sort of closed flower. Quite large, too.
"Oh my God!" I exclaimed. And then, wanting to appear fatherly and in control, I added: "Yep. Dogs get these all the time. It's actually a feather in his cap. His dog cap."
"Dog cap?" she said.
"Yep, " I said.
Deep down, I was worried. This thing was absolutely horrible. I got my wife to look. She agreed. Nasty. Not only that, it appeared to be getting larger on a daily basis. We made an appointment with our vet. The earliest we could get was a week away. But after a day or two, I could stand it no longer. What if it was some kind of tumour? Cancer. Could be spreading to his vital pug organs. Although Ollie did seem very healthy -- biting my ear a lot and so forth. Sniffing my bottom when I bent over. The usual.
At work, I shared my fears with fellow T-C writer Mike Devlin.
"It'd be good if they had a pet walk-in clinic," I said. "You know. Like for humans. Only for pets."
"They most assuredly do," said Mike. He said it was on Roderick, close to the Mayfair Mall.
I phoned them right after work
"I have an emergency," I said. "My pug dog has a wart."
"I see," said the receptionist.
"We already have an appointment to see our regular vet. But I'd like to take him right in. Because of the wart."
"OK," said the receptionist.
I turned to my wife.
"All set," I said. "Let's go. Now. Make haste. This is an emergency."
We tore out of the driveway. I drove as quickly as I a could, cursing all drivers in my way. Sort of like that car chase in the French Connection. Only in 1990 Volvo stationwagon... and much slower.
The clinic is called the Central Victoria Veterinary Hospital. Upon arrival, I tried to impress upon the receptionist that this was a pug dog emergency. Because of the fast-growing wart. But she seemed unimpressed. It would take about 20 minutes to see a vet, she said.
There was a huge boxer there, which appeared to have a nasty open wound on its head. Ollie liked this huge boxer, and tried to lick his face. I attempted to discourage this, but in a way that would not give offence to the owners. Mainly, the thing is avoid saying was, "Ollie. Stay away from that dog with a revolting open wound on its head."
Finally we got to the vet. A hyperactive fellow with a round head.
"No problem," he said. "It's an oral papillomatosis. You see them sometimes."
"Not cancerous or anything?" I said.
"Nope," he said. "You may want to squeeze it once a day. That helps reduce them, sometimes. Also, some people put green tea on them."
I imagined myself squeezing Ollie's giant wart on a daily basis, then applying spoonfuls of green tea.
"You'd better take care of that," I advised my wife. "You're better at that sort of thing."
The bill was $97.13. For three minutes. Almost $2,000 an hour. I've love to see that vet's car. I bet it's nicer than mine.
Yesterday I visited my mum and told her about Ollie's wart. She suggested putting on a human wart-removing medication. She had some in her bathroom cabinet. I applied it with a Q-tip. But Ollie just ate the medication, as he eats everything. So I don't know if it helped or not.
Anyway, I'm terribly relieved. Ollie has enough problems (he has way fewer teeth than most dogs) without cancerous tumours growing in his mouth. Ollie is happy; our family is happy. And I'm happy to keep Victoria's veterinarians living in the style to which they are obviously accustomed.
Posted Oct 29 2008, 04:49 PM by adrianman
Ollie the Pug's Hallowe'en costume!
What with the looming economic crisis and the United States on the eve of a momentous presidential election, my wife approached me the kitchen, intent on discussing an important topic.
"I need to speak to you," she said, looking all serious-like.
My hand froze, coffee cup half-way to my lips. Usually, such an utterance means (1) a large, mysterious credit-card charge, (2) time for the annual, much-detested basement clean-up, or (3) I have left a large, potentially damaging water puddle on the wood floor in the bathroom. Again.
"It's about Ollie," she said.
God. What could it be? Had she discovered a cancerous growth? Was he lost? Had Ollie swallowed yet another chicken bone?
"We need to decide on what his Hallowe'en costume will be."
"Oh. Great. Well, you can decide. I'm sure you will make a tasteful decision in this regard." I was relieved, and took a rejuvenating swig from my mug. (One of those cool mugs designed to look like a Penguin paperback from 1961.) I was reading Pearls Before Swine my favourite comic, and was happy to return to this.
It was not to be. My imput was required. Meanwhile, sad-eyed polar bears were floating around on melting icebergs. Go figure.
Would Ollie look good in a bikini, my wife asked, like the one below?
Um, no, I said. How about a banana? Everyone likes bananas, said my wife.
Nah, I said. Too fruity.
Darth Vader? That would be something, said my wife.
Why not Superman? I said. That'd boast his confidence with the ladies.
There was much discussion, and we talked long into the night. The conversation was similar to the movie My Dinner With Andre. Only we were in our kitchen, not in an upscale restaurant. And instead of pondering deep philosophical questions, we were discussing the pros and cons of dressing up our pug dog.
Finally, we decided Ollie should wear his favourite clothing item: a skull and cross bones sweater. Here it it. Don't be scared of his demonic blue eyes, it's just how the photo turned out.
And folks, if you see Ollie the Pug at your door on Friday night, please, throw him a bone. Not a real one, though. Just one of the bone-shaped dog cookies. We're still waiting for that two-week-old chicken bone to emerge, for God's sake.
Posted Oct 24 2008, 12:42 PM by adrianman
Ollie the Pug - Fat or just "cobby"?
Fat pug (not Ollie)
Being overweight. We're all kind of obsessed with the issue. Am I fat? Sort of fat? Fattish? Fat, but in a cool, kick-ass way like Jack Black or John Belushi?
There is occasional debate within the Chamberlain household as to whether Ollie the Pug is fat. Certainly, for a pug, he's pretty big. I think he weighs about 18 pounds. Supposedly, in Pug-land, this is the high end of healthy.
"Cobby," I think, is the technical term for dogs like Ollie. He's compact and stubby, therefore, cobby. What a useful word! I think we should adapt it for human discourse. For instance, rather than say, "Man, am I ever friggin' fat!," you could say, "Gadzooks, I am on the cobby side!" How good does that sound? Or, "Gosh, it appears that Oprah is once again entering the land of cobby! Too many double cheese-burgers!"
It's mostly our daughter who thinks Ollie is too chubby. She doesn't like it when my wife or I give Ollie his favourite treat, a dab of peanut butter on a Tupperware lid. It is the Ollie version of crack cocaine. If Ollie is doing anything bad say tearing apart sweaters or my T4 forms one need only say, "Ollie! Peanut butter!" and he will stop and stare at you in delighted amazement.
This, too would be a great tool in human life. For instance, when Sarah Palin starts yammering about Joe Six Pack or MacCain goes on about Joe the Plumber, their handlers could loudly whisper: "Sarah (or John)! Peanut butter!" And then they'd, um, start eating peanut butter I mean Sarah and John. Not their handlers.
Anyway. I read an article that says that pugs will keep on eating almost until they die. "Pugs would like to weigh 500 pounds if given the chance," said one authority.
Yet this article in Pugs magazine (motto: "All About America's Favourite Dogs") also gave me hope. For one thing, one expert says it's OK for pugs to weigh up to 24 pounds, as they're bred to be bigger these days. Also, it says if your pug has a "visible waist" he's probably OK. And Ollie has a visible waist.
The expert also says: "If your pug looks like a basketball with legs and a head, that's obese." Sage words, and also easy to remember. Dog = basketball = bad.
Still, I know we must be careful. If I eat, say, a red Twizzler licorice, I sometimes toss Ollie a piece. This is a no-no. Chocolate? I already know that's poison for dogs, so no problems there.
Pumpkin seeds? Probably healthy. Jury's out on that one.
Ollie loves 'em.
Cobby little guy.
Posted Oct 19 2008, 12:10 PM by adrianman
Squeaky tennis ball makes Ollie go bonkers !
A week ago today Ollie the Pug swallowed a chicken bone. A little one. And for one week, we've all been waiting not for Godot, but for that stupid bird bone to re-emerge.
So far, nothing. Maybe it has been digested, perhaps broken down by powerful pug-dog stomach acids. Or perhaps it is permanently lodged, to show up for years in future X-rays.I imagine a little cartoon-shaped bone. Years from now, vets will point to me an accusatory manner, saying: "Did you feed you dog a chicken bone?"
Oh, the guilt.
Still, as each day passes, our worries diminish somewhat. Ollie is still himself - prancing, barking, occasionally defecating in the house (even though we're had him about nine months and he's supposed to be house-trained by now.) In other words, same ol' Ollie.
Well, not quite the same. Ollie has a new toy that makes him go crazy. Ga-ga. Gonzo. Goony. It is a day-glo green tennis ball that squeaks when he bites it.
Here's the deal. Ollie lies down with his day-glo green tennis ball. Starting biting. After 30 seconds or so, he starts making an unholy wail. It's quite scary. Imagine an opera singer, being tortured with a sharp-spiked device, or an unbalanced coon hound on a moonlit Alabama night. That's Ollie and his tennis ball.
What can he be thinking, to create such a commotion? Is he frustrated over attempts to "kill" the ball, a task that seemingly does not succeed, based on the fact the ball keeps squeaking no matter how many times Ollie sinks his mini-choppers into it? Or does the song of the ball remind Ollie of his brothers and sisters, whom he has not seen since we acquired him?
Well, at least he seems to be happy, overall. Ollie moans, the day-glo green tennis ball squeaks. And we wait ... and wait.
Posted Oct 17 2008, 04:39 PM by adrianman
Trying to intrepet a dog's bark!
If you're like me, you probably wonder what your dog is thinking. For instance, sometimes Ollie the Pug barks for no apparent reason. Is he angry, frustrated, hungry, sad, itchy, struck with existential self doubt? Darned if I know.
"What I need," I'd think to myself, "is some kind of translator device. Preferably Japanese made."
Imagine my surprise and delight upon finding, after an Internet search, a device called the Bowlingual. It is a canine bark translator developed by Dr. Matsumi Suzuki. (Dr. Suzuki is also semi-legendary for trying to simulate the voice of Mona Lisa by analysing the bone structure of her face, as depicted in the famous painting.)
By analyzing doggie barks, he was able to divide them into six emotions: sad, frustrated, alert to danger, needy, happy, self-assertive. There's 200 breeds on the Bowlingual. You simply pick your breed, attack a microphone to your dog's collar and read its barks via a LCD display.
Of course, whenever I find something this helpful, it proves to be illusive. Sure enough, the Bowlingual site is shut down. And I can't find anyone who sells these gizmos.
So I guess I'm back to the guessing game. Ah, life is mysterious indeed.
Posted Oct 15 2008, 10:33 AM by adrianman
Ollie Swallows a Chicken Bone!
On Tuesday night, the Chamberlain household, like the rest of Canada, was waiting. We were standing on guard, in a state of keen attention, holding our breaths for the big result.
Only it wasn't so much the election. It was Ollie. He swallowed a chicken bone a few nights ago. We were waiting for it to re-emerge. Still are, in fact.
It happened Sunday evening. That was our big Thanksgiving dinner, when all Victoria-based Chamberlains came by for the Big Feed. For some reason, the turkey we bought was unusually enormous - sufficient to feed two dozen people. This meant sticking it in the oven in early the morning to ensure total cook-age.
Anyone who's overseen one realizes what a massive chore Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners can be. It is, essentially, a day or a day and a half of work: buying, preparing, fiddling, diddling, returning to the store to purchase stuff you forgot, etc. etc.
The troops were supposed to arrive at six. Dinner was to be at seven. At 5:45 p.m., after a day of slaving, my wife (who had done 99 per cent of the work) joined me on the couch. I put on Willie Nelson's classic Stardust album (buy it if you don't own it), brought her a glass of red wine and we relaxed. That's when the power went out.
"Oh no!" we both said.
"Arf!" said Ollie cheerfully.
Everyone arrived 6 p.m. The house was dark. Everyone commiserated. We lit candles. After almost a hour, my wife looking distinctly unhappy suggested we'd have to order take-out food. You see, our feast was not fully cooked.
"No, no," said the guests. "We don't mind waiting. Come. Sit. Relax."
Some of us were drinking scotch and sodas.
Nonetheless, after another five minutes, I was instructed to order take-out. I phoned up a Chinese joint and requested "dinner for eight."
And then, ten minutes later, the lights went on.
"Yea!" exclaimed everyone, lifting their glasses.
"Cancel that Chinese food order!" ordered my mother.
I phoned, and the restaurant was nice enough to cancel with no penalty.
Meanwhile, my brother was letting Ollie the Pug lick a chicken wing. He loved this (Ollie, not my brother). Naturally, repeating a life-long pattern, I had to follow what by older brother did. I let Ollie lick my chicken bone.
Only this time Ollie, by now tremendously excited, gulped down the entire thing. A two inch bone. I tried to retrieve it, but could only feel briefly one end before it disappeared down his gullet.
The good news was that the bone was smooth edged. The bad news was that chicken bones and dogs do not mix. Especially pug dogs, who are small. It would be like you or me swallowing a bone the size of a small zucchini.
Guilty. Yes, I felt guilty all right.
That night, we watched Ollie like hawks, looking for signs of distress. He seemed quite happy, prancing about as usual. The next morning, Monday, I phoned the vet.
"What happens if a dog swallows a chicken bone?" I asked.
"Oh, that's not a good idea. Don't let that happen," said the vet.
"Too late," I said.
The vet said it was a waiting game. Watch for that bone. Make sure the dog is moving its bowels without distress. If the dog seems ill, bring him right it. With any luck, the bone will be eliminated in a natural manner.
"And in the future," said the vet. "Do not feed the dog chicken bones."
It is now Wednesday morning. The bone has yet to emerge. As far as I can tell. A doctor (people, not animal) told my wife the acid in Ollie's stomach may well soften the bone - even disintegrate it in time. Oh Lord, let this be true! In the meantime, Ollie and I will make our usual morning journey to the back yard. Only this time I'm carrying a kitchen fork. A fork that will never, ever be used by humans again.
Posted Oct 06 2008, 04:49 PM by adrianman
Ollie meets Elvis!
Ollie (left) with cool new pal
When a reader invites you to meet Elvis, it's hard to say no.
Last week a local fellow, Ole Jorgensen, send me a note. He wanted to know if Ollie the Pug wanted to meet Elvis.
"Guess what? Mr. Jorgensen wants to us to bring Ollie to meet Elvis," I said to my wife.
"Elvis? What's wrong with you? Are you having a stroke? Can you smell burning toast?" she said.
"No no. I don't mean the real Elvis. Elvis is Mr Jorgensen's pug. Ole thinks the two pugs would hit it off like fire and gasoline.
"Besides," I added, "Elvis Presley is dead. Everyone knows that. Except people who hang out in front of 7-Elevens late at night consuming Big Gulps and smoking cigarettes."
Ole Jorgensen asked us to meet him at his store, which he was stocking last weekend . It's a new pet store in Langford, part of the Bark & Fitz chain. Opening this week, the store specializes in health food store for dogs.
As per usual, Ollie moaned and wailed all the way to Elvis-ville as he rode in the back of the Volvo.
Turned out the store is more than doggie health food. Bark & Fitz also has costumes. Dog costumes. Dog costumes make my wife go ga-ga. Crazy. Koo-koo, even (is that how you spell koo-koo?).
"Do you have any pumpkin costumes? Or pig costumes?" my wife asked.
Mr. Jorgensen said there were no pumpkin or pig dog costumes in stock at the moment.
"Oh, look at these ladybug costumes!" said my wife, no doubt sounding like Howard Carter at the exact moment he discovered King Tut.
Sadly, they did not have Ollie's exact size. The good news was Bark & Fitz does carry a very attractive doggie biker sweater. It's a brown jumper with a skull embossed on the back. Ollie looks very tough and cool in it. Come Hallowe'en, he'll be the toughest dog trick-o'-treater on the block. What more could one want for one's pet?
Of course, Ollie didn't really care too much about brown skull sweater personally. In fact, I'm not sure he even knew he had it on. Mostly, he liked licking Elvis's face. And chasing Elvis. And running in circles around Elvis.
On the way home, instead of the usual moaning in the back of the Volvo, Ollie slept like a log. In his sweater, he looked like an enormous brown sausage. You know, the kind with skulls on them. Judging from the snores, it had been a pretty good day all told.
Posted Oct 02 2008, 04:49 PM by adrianman
Ollie sports bold new scent!
Performed pug takes five
Ollie the Pug has come up smelling not like roses... but lavender.
These isn't as wonderful as it sounds. You see, it's a terrifically strong lavender scent. Mix that with natural pug dog pong, and the combo is kind of, well, rather peculiar.
How does a Ollie come to be smelling of lavender, you ask? Have you been rubbing him vigorously with sachets from the handkerchief drawer? No. Here's what happened.
One day, while grocery shopping, I noticed one of those little thingys you plug into the wall. You know, those plastic things that heat up oil, They give off a floral scent. I always love gimmicks, so I bought one and plugged it into our bathroom socket.
I imagined spending blissful hours in that smallest of rooms, inhaling an intoxicating fragrance. Perhaps I would enjoy hour-long long baths, surrounded by lit candles, sipping white wine. Naturally, the line would be drawn at reading Bridget Jones' Diary or Confessions of a Shopaholic.
Anyway after I plugged in the gizmo, my wife gave Ollie the Pug his bath. For some reason, Ollie always goes absolutely bonkers after this. He likes to run around in a gleeful manner. I guess he's excited because his fur is damp or something.
During his crazed apres-bath pug run, he knocked into the scent device. Ollie sniffed. He seemed perplexed, perhaps sizing up his options. A decision was made. He started rubbing his face violently on the oil-filled bottle. And then, he starting rubbing his entire body on it. Bottom line: Ollie doused himself in sufficent lavender oil to choke a donkey.
I returned home to find this entire house smelling of lavender. "Damn," I thought. "That cheapo scent machine has malfunctioned. Now the it smells like we live in a Thai brothel."
Thankfully, after a week, the odour is starting to wear off. Now Ollie smells more like an old lady's handbag than a bombed-out perfume factory.
My only worry is that his flowery scent may be rubbing off on me. I keep thinking of that scene in Withnail and I, when the guy who spilled cologne on his shoe encounters a great big tough lout, who yells at him: "Perfumed ponce!"
Maybe I'll start wearing a leather Harley Davidson jacket to counteract the effect. And leather chaps. No. Forget the chaps. Just the jacket.
Posted Sep 28 2008, 10:39 AM by adrianman
Ollie the Pug Immortalized in Song
Do you ever sing songs about your pet? I do.
I'm one of the guys who likes to make up annoying little songs, then sing them over and over ad nauseam. I especially like to do this when driving.
For instance, I'll spot a barn, and then sing: "Oh the lonely barn, sitting in the lonely field. What a sad and lonely life you must lead! But don't despair, lonely barn, for one day you will be torn down by meaty workmen with large hammers." This will be sung over and over with semi-autistic zeal. For hours. It's torture for anyone else in the car.
Still, my muse will not be stopped.
Sometimes I'll sing old radio commercials I remember from being a kid. A good one is Union Jacks and Jeans, which used to be a Vancouver clothing store in the early '70s, I believe. It goes: "I'm Jack! I'm Jean! We're Union Jacks and Jeans!" That's it. You sing it over and over. Very invigorating.
When we got Ollie the Pug, I immediately felt like belting out a few rousing dog songs. I thought of one my brother used to sing about our cocker spaniel, Sally. It went "Bad dog Sally, bad dog Sally, chasing Santa Claus on the Australian run." It was set to Rolf Harris's Six White Boomers. But I didn't feel like reprising such a negative ditty. And besiders the chasing Santa Claus bit doesn't make much sense if you really think about it.
So I came up with Puppy Playtime. It came to me in an inspired flash, after Ollie partook in the monthly Pug meetup in which pugs and other small dogs run around a park in Langford. It is set to the tune of Winter Wonderland. It goes: "Puppy Playtime. Puppy Playtime. A wonderful time, a wonderful time, for all the puppys to play." The last word, "play," is really drawn out. You know, for dramatic and artistic effect.
"Stop singing that song," said my wife, as we drove home from the pug meetup.
I sang it again. Only with more gusto.
"I mean it," she said. "Stop it."
"Why," I said. "It's a good song. Ollie likes it. Look, he's smiling."
"It's like a dentist drill in my brain," said my wife.
So I stopped. Often, I find, the efforts of the artist go unappreciated. But I still sing Puppy Playtime to myself all the time. And to Ollie, of course. I think he likes it.
Posted Sep 25 2008, 04:57 PM by adrianman
Ollie's Water Obsession (Part II)
Ollie relaxes in his man-servant's towel
Bad enough that Ollie the Pug is enthusiastically licking my legs every time I emerge from the shower. Now he's started taking baths with me.
This is a fairly distressing turn of events. Ordinarily, I'm a pretty private person who allows no one but me in the bathtub. At least, when I'm in it.
Here's the story. Last night, in the interests of personal hygiene, I drew a warm bath and slipped in. Ollie followed me in into the bathroom (Ollie follows me everywhere in the house.) I guess he'd never seen anyone in a bathtub before. Ollie became highly agitated, putting his paws on the bathtub rim and sort of dancing about, as though he was watching an exciting action movie or something.
"Hey, Ollie. Go away. I'm taking a bath," I said.
My wife came in.
"Oh, look. How cute. He want to take a bath with you."
"Not going to happen. Too bad."
"Come on. He loves it when I give him a bath."
And with that, my wife plops Ollie the Pug into the bathtub. Without my permission! Once in the water, Ollie just stands there. Then he starts drinking the bathwater, like it's a jumbo vat of Earl Grey.
"What about my privacy?" I said.
"Oh Ollie, look how nice and clean you are," said my wife. "What a good boy."
After a minute or two, she scoops him up and rubs him with a towel. My towel. Then Ollie does what he aways does after having a bath. He starts running around the house like a madman.
I noticed that, after dried myself off, there were Ollie hairs on the towel. Quite a few, in fact. And this was a fresh, clean towel not the one he used.
This bathing with the dog is a practice I'm going to have to nip in the bud. I mean, I'm willing to go along with the "man's best friend" thing and all. But there is a limit.
Posted Sep 23 2008, 05:36 PM by adrianman
Ollie the Pug's Mysterious Water Fixation!
Ollie contemplates daily shower session
Although ordinarily highly intolerant, when it comes to Ollie the Pug, I'm willing to overlook a great deal.
Take the daily Ollie lick. Here's how it works. Each morning, I take a shower. While I'm in the shower, Ollie the Pug watches me through the clear plastic panels. Despite the daily repetition, it must be very engrossing viewing, as he never misses a session. Then, when I get out, he carefully licks the water off the lower parts of my legs, extending as high as the knee area.
It's terribly refreshing.
Why does Ollie the Pug do this? I have no idea. Aside from the Big Bang and Stonehenge, this is perhaps one of life's great mysteries After all, he has plenty of water in his water dishes. Perhaps Ollie has some kind of morbid water fixation. After all, whenever he goes out on the lawn in the morning, he finds it necessary to lick almost all the blades of grass.
Whatever the reason, if it gives the little guy a thrill, I'm willing to comply. Perhaps I am becoming a more tolerant person.
I have suggested to my wife that the Ollie Lick could become an alternative therapy in typical West Coast-style, up there with rolfing and ear coning and other invigorating activities. Perhaps it would help with circulation or something. She seemed unthrilled by this suggestion, however, even though I assured her the Ollie Lick business would be absolutely above board.
I had even dreamed up a rousing slogan, "An Ollie Lick Will Certainly Do the Trick!" I imagine this logo being advertised on the side of our Volvo stationwagon. But again, she seemed less than interested. Yes, life is indeed mysterious.