Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Hot Diggity Dog

Every dog deserves its day, including the hot dog, one of America's favorite sandwich. Today and every July 23 is National Hot Dog Day. Forget about your cholesterol and blood pressure! Why not throw a pack or two of franks on the grill and celebrate? 

Not your average Ballpark franks

According to the National Hot Dog Council, Americans eat about 7 billion hot dogs between Memorial Day and Labor Day, and about 700 million packages every year. That's a lot of processed pig lips. Hot diggity dog!

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Toadzilla invades Brushtown

Some of you might remember a couple of years ago when I blogged about Tuffzilla trying to inhabit Brushtown. That was, of course, before he tried to take up residence at 1167 Centerville Road and encountered two fearless, snub-nosed beasts.

Well it seems that one of his distant cousins, Toadzilla who is almost the size of Roger, has decided to squat on our property lately. He is particularly fond of the new rock garden that Dad added this year. Perhaps Toadzilla isn't old enough to remember how we took down Tuffzilla, but if he doesn't decide to move on, he's going to find out. Visit Tuffzilla vs. Snub-nosed Beasts to see video of the last gargantuan invader being taken down. View discretion is advised.

In an attempt to drive him out of the area peacefully, I have been singing "Go go, Toadzilla," a take off of Blue Oyster Cult's legendary "Godzilla." For Toadzilla's sake, I pray it works so that we don't have to take more drastic measures.


Lyrics to "Go go Toadzilla"
With a purposeful grimace and a smirk on his face
He lurks among the flowers and rocks at our place.
Helpless Bullies in their own backyard
Scream, bug-eyed, as he stares at them hard.
He picks up a bus and he throws it back down
As he hops through to the center of Brushtown
Oh, no, they say he's got to go
Go go Toadzilla
Oh, no, that was one low blow
Go go Toadzilla (repeat 3 times)
History shows again and again how nature points up the folly of man
Toadzilla! (repeat 4 times)

Blue Oyster Cult - Godzilla

Friday, July 19, 2013

An alluring sport, of course!

I really do hate to bore my readers with drivel like history, but Mom said if I want to blog about my favorite new sport, that I couldn't just show pictures. I had to research and write a little about the history of lure coursing. So here we go.

What is lure coursing? 

A sport that causes otherwise rational dogs to chase a plastic baggie running at full speed around a course for anywhere from 45 seconds to 3 minutes. Lure coursing is based on the ancient sport of live game coursing, or the pursuit of game by dogs that hunt by sight rather than scent. Coursing is one of the oldest of the hunting dog sports. In the Middle Ages, coursing was a sport reserved for royalty; for some time in England, commoners could not own a Greyhound.

Lure Coursing in America

In the United States, the spread of farming to the great grasslands of the West was accompanied by the coursing of jack rabbits and coyotes. Some of the earliest AKC-registered Borzoi were located in Kansas. In the late 1800s, coursing changed from hunting events to competitive coursing events using live game where sighthounds were chased live game in an enclosed area called "closed park coursing." It is no longer practiced in the United States by any organized sports groups.

In the 1920s, a mechanical system that ran along a racetrack rail replaced most live-game track coursing in the U.S., Great Britain and Europe. While that system provides a great test of speed, the tracks eliminate the spectacular turns executed by a hound in pursuit of live game.

Photos by CWP Photography from my first lure coursing to break up the history lesson:

As you will note in the photos, I am wearing both my collar and a harness. Not a wise decision because either of them could have easily gotten caught in the line that the lure "runs" on. I learned that very helpful bit of information during the Dog Scout Lecture "Lure Coursing 101: Orientation and Safety" taught by none other that the Founder of DSA, Lonnie Olson. We were very fortunate to have Lonnie the Lure Meister travel all the way from St. Helen, Michigan to Swanton, Maryland to participate in Troop 161's Second Annual Blue Ridge Mini Camp.

Back to the history lesson on lure coursing in America

In the early 1970s, Lyle Gillette, a California breeder of Borzoi and Salukis, envisioned a coursing system that would be portable, could be set up in a five- to seven-acre open area and was not dependent on the availability of live prey. After much trial and error, he designed and perfected the mechanical lure, where the "prey" is a plastic bag or piece of artificial fur. Run by a lure operator, the mechanical lure consists of a string run through a set of pullies planted in a field to form a course of 600 to 1,000 yards. The arrangement of the pullies allows the path of the plastic lure to simulate the running and turning actions of live prey.

Hounds are brought by their owners to the starting line wearing coursing blankets (bright pink, yellow or blue) and slip leads (quick-release collars). The lure is started and, at the huntmaster's cry of "Tally-Ho!," the hounds are released and the chase begins. By 1973, Gillette and other California sighthound enthusiasts had organized lure coursing under the American Sighthound Field Association (ASFA), but he hoped the AKC would eventually recognize this testing method and institute coursing events, complete with AKC certificates and titles. In July 1991, his vision became a reality when the AKC Board of Directors voted to approve lure coursing regulations and sanction the sport. Note: Much of my research material came from the American Kennel Club's website.

Photos of Roger's Run compliments of Chris Pinney

And finally. Photos of the a natural born killer in action. Roger was absolutely obsessed about catching that plastic bag. He couldn't understand how a plastic bag without legs could outrun him. He threw an absolute first class temper tantrum when Mom dragged him off the course so that the other kids could play. I must admit that watching him "scream" and flail his little legs was a bit embarrassing. Also note that Roger ran the much safer way -- in the buff!

Thursday, July 18, 2013

The Birthday Bully

 The Birthday Bully

Four years ago today, a big-eared, bouncing baby bully came into this world. As all new parents do, M&D went back and forth about what her name should be. Roger and I were included in the naming game until he suggested calling her Dumbo because of the size of her "sails." That comment went over like a lead balloon and he was sent directly to bed without any chow.

Would you like those ears super sized?

While it was a little crude to be making fun of our new sister, Roger did have a point. Seriously, with all her excess skin, she could have served as her own wrapping paper topped off nicely with a matching bow fashioned out of her own ears.

Even though M&D settled on Thelma, meaning wish or willful, Roger still contends that Dumbo would have been more appropriate. Granted she's not the brightest crayon in the box, but seeing how Mom had been wishing for a baby girl since the loss of Beulah Ruth, Thelma seemed perfect. And she is!

Happy 4th Birthday, Thelma Lou! We don't know what we'd do without you!

Friday, July 12, 2013

Gee whiskers

"Gee whiskers!" If you're looking for something cool to do on one of these hot dog days of summer, consider checking out the musical "Annie" playing now until August 11 at Allenberry Playhouse located in beautiful Boiling Springs, Pennsylvania.

My fellow Dog Scout, Cooper Wagner, is starring in the role of Little Orphan Annie's dog, Sandy. This multi–Tony award winning musical will have you grinning from ear to ear. This is Cooper's second time on stage playing Sandy. Go Cooper! Or should I say Sandy?

For more information including showtimes, visit the Allenberry Playhouse website.

Annie and "Sandy" aka Cooper

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Off the Grid

I must apologize for being so lax in my postings. I promise that I will try to keep you better apprised of my activities. I have been one "howl" of a busy boxer dog as of late.

Roger and I looking handsome for the camera

Last week, Mom, Roger and I were literally "off the grid" while at our Second Annual Dog Scout Blue Ridge Mini Camp. No Wifi or even regular old cell phone reception. Honestly, it was kind of nice. Camp was held at the 4H Camp in Swanton, Maryland again. Roger started to get a little scared when we pulled in to find out that the Maryland Extension Staff had a live bear trap set no more than 20 feet from our cabin. I told him not to worry that I'd take care of business if Smokey the Bear showed up.

Bear Trap set by Maryland Extension Staff

Mom and I are on the planning and execution committee so that takes up a howl of a lot of our spare time throughout the year. But seeing everyone have so much fun with their dogs, hanging with Mom, and doing cool things for a week makes every minute of the planning worth it. The best part of the week was when Roger earned his official Dog Scout title. Mom was especially proud of the Little Man. He also earned his lure coursing, backpacking, and dog grooming and maintenance merit badges. She was most proud of his heeling and "leave it" performances -- two of the hardest parts of the test to pass.

Roger's official Dog Scout Photo

I earned my lure coursing merit badge and took some musical lessons to learn to play the piano. I can play a few notes but haven't been able to master putting a full song together yet. My Aunt Noelle overheard me practicing and said it sounded like I should be playing at a funeral. Quite frankly, I'm surprised that her 6-month old son, Gilbert the Golden Boy, isn't playing Mozart already. BOL! I think that she already has him enrolled art, music, and band lessons. He might also be trying out for the summer soccer team. He's so busy that I can't keep track of all his activities.

Gilbert with his Dad learning the theory behind E=mc2

Well, that's it for now. I plan to post several new photos from camp each day so please be sure to stop back. 

Dog tired after camp