Grumpy Toby

I was sitting on my beanbag chair (OK, pile of dirty laundry) when Toby barged into the bedroom and started harrumphing. Snort this, stomp that. “Mom, get off of the laundry.” Whatever. I moved aside so my obviously upset puppy could go to bed.

A few minutes later I walked out of the room and was greeted by this:

Evidently Toby had wanted to go outside to play. He got discouraged when I didn’t notice him trying to bring me my boot and his leash, so he threw himself in the laundry.

Cairn terrier fast asleep in the dirty laundry.

If you’re not going to pay attention to me, I’m going to bed.

That's great, sweetie. You're so helpful. Now we just haveto work on your timing.

This wasn’t the first time the boot/leash things happened.

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Join Bitey and Toby in more puppy fun in Dream Our World. Inside, the boys discover the world of art from a canine perspective and enjoy a day of unsupervised fun.

Dream Our World

Dream Our World is available from my shop at L Bowman Studios.

Belated Happy Barkday, Toby

Toby’s barkday was at the end of last month, but thanks to me getting sick and then the car breaking, I wasn’t able to get him any presents. This week, G & G took pity on my little boy and brought him a fresh bag of tennis balls. The down side is that now he wants to play all day every day. The up side is he he is working off some of those holiday pounds.

Get that camera out of my face and throw the ball already!

Puppy dressed as ferocious hockey player.
Wow, you're pretty good at blocking thos tennis balls. When I grow up, I want to bMario Lemieux!
Bu Mario Lemieux isn't a goalie. Then I wanna be Wayne Gretzky!
Gretzky isn't a goalie either. Geez, where have you been learning about hockey? Mommy!!

To Toby, the game is to either catch the ball or touch it with his mouth. Then it is considered out of play.

Tennis balls with fuzz handles that a puppy has chewed from their covers.

The first thing Toby does when he gets a new ball is chew a fuzz handle into it.

Like most places, it is snowy and barely in the teens here. Toby doesn’t mind going out because he has a nice pet human to warm his paws when they get cold. If the pet human tries to thaw her paws on a warm puppy tummy, though, all heck breaks loose. Toby’s pet human is grateful for the tennis ball game so they don’t have to freeze as much.

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Care to find out what Bitey and Toby have been up to? Then check out Dream Our World! Inside, the boys view the world of art from a canine perspective and enjoy a day of unsupervised fun.

Dream Our World

Dream Our World is available at my shop at L Bowman Studios.

What Happened to Toby?

What happened? She's been drawing cats.

No, I didn’t trade Toby in on a green-sweater-clad feline, but I did think about it.

Toby had a grooming session at the beginning of the month. Afterward, he could no longer hide the fact that Gma had been slipping him goodies over the holidays. Now he is on a diet, and he just howls and howls for food.

Toby, pre-furcut.

Toby, post-furcut.

Toby howling for food.

Evidently Toby didn’t do much better on his second visit to the groomer than he did on his first. The woman working with him said that he hates the blow dryer so much that he fought and fought her about it. By the time she was done drying him he was thoroughly exhausted and fell asleep. She had to put him in a sling in order to reach to trim his paws and tummy. Who would guess that such a sweet-faced little guy could cause so much trouble?

While Toby’s year started off with grooming and a diet, mommy’s started with two broken teeth, a broken car and a pair of broken glasses. Yay 2022.

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If you haven’t had a chance yet, you can still pick up copies of Dream Our World. Inside, Bitey and Toby have a fantastic adventure as they visit the museum of their dreams and view the world of art from a canine perspective.

Dream Our World

Dream Our World is available from my shop at L Bowman Studios.

The “C” Word or The Winter of Our Death

No, not that C word.* Not even Christmas. I am afraid I have the other C word – covid. I haven’t had a test to make sure, but from my symptoms it would appear I have omicron. I guess from now on I will have to post using a Ouija Board or spirit box. My biggest disappointment so far is that the Other Side looks much like where I came from. I was hoping for more clouds.

This is the first time I have been sick in a while. The last time was shortly after Geordie died. (Remember those Fever Dreams?) I don’t know if Toby were still grieving or if he were too young to process my being sick, but this puppy will NOT let me out of his sight now. He insists we play ball or share food or hang out together at all times. He is fascinated and amused as my voice comes and goes. He acts as he’s never seen anyone cough before. It is hilarious. Also, I can get nothing done with him glued to my side.

Hey Mom, can we do something? Can we play ball? Wanna share a snack? I would really like to go for a walk. What do you say?

I have been curious if psoriasis might behave any differently if I were sick. People with autoimmune disorders are thought to have very robust immune systems that just get turned around and attack the body instead of invaders. I have wondered if my immune system had something constructive to do if it might stop attacking me. So far that seems to be happening. I no longer look as much like a burn patient, and my joints only hurt about half as much. Hey, I’ll take it.

If anyone has sent us Christmas cards, unfortunately we won’t be able to pick them up until after Christmas ’cause we’re not allowed out in public. We will still appreciate them, though!

Christmas card torn up by a naughty Cairn terrier puppy.

I like eatin’ ’em! – Toby

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It may be too late to shop for Christmas (and I can’t go to the PO to ship anyway. See above), but this would be a great way to spend that holiday loot that you know you’re going to get!

Cover of the book Dream Our World

Dream Our World follows Bitey and Toby as they visit the museum of their dreams. If you haven’t read it yet, it is fun for all ages. (And Toby says it tastes delicious as well. I don’t know; I’ll just have to take his word for it.)

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*I do have a cousin who started chemo on Friday. If you have any room in your prayers for him, they would be much appreciated.

Happy Toby

Things are so much better with my little Toby that I had to draw some pictures of us. It’s like I have my sweet little puppy back again. We have been doing so many fun thing lately that it makes my heart hurt. I can see in his face that he feels he is finally breaking through with training me.

When we go for walks, he will stop at random places and ask for hugs. (Eeee!) He does tricks nearly as well as Geordie. (Toby is more food oriented, so a good training session to him is when he can steal at least one treat.) My folks have been teaching him to say “Ruh-ro” like Scooby Doo and swear that he has said it on at least two occasions. In the evenings, we sit on the floor while he chews on hooves. A few times he has draped his head over my leg and gone to sleep after he was done.

I am so happy to have my happy boy back with me.

Toby gets a tiny treat whenever he goes into his kennel. He insists that his toys also get a treat (which Toby kindly eats for them).

Smile, Toby. You are one loved little guy!

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Still looking for that perfect holiday gift? Than look no more! Bitey Dog and Toby are here to share their latest adventure in Dream Our World. Inside, the boy visit the museum of their dreams and enjoy a day of unsupervised fun.

Dream Our World

Ghost Rider

Great googly-moogly, what happened to you?  Oh come on, it's just psoriasis.  I've had it for a while.  Mommy is Ghost Rider?
So h ow come you haven't drawn yourself like this so far?  Are you kidding?  I get enough grief over my weird eyes and my wonky knees.  I can just imagine what folks would say about this.  Mom!  Mom!  Here's a list of them who done me wrong so you can exact revenge on 'em!
Dogs offer commentary on their mom's condition.
Lemme guess.  Does it involve me wearing a paper bag?  Maybe...?  Where's your motorcycle?  Outside?

You would think that masks would have been my friends this past year, hiding my appearance from inquiring eyes. On the contrary. If you’ve ever wondered what that stuff feels like, it is like one of those horribly painful sunburns where even the softest silk feels like sandpaper against your skin – where simply moving is agony – where you absolutely positively do not want some smart aleck little brother to come along and slap you for the sheer enjoyment of your misery. Trying to wear a raspy mask over psoriasis is actually quite painful.

No, that is too good.  Pull some fibers on this part so Americans' noses itch.  Then they'll  have to scratch and will give themselves the flu.  Mwahaha!

Despite how much this looks exactly like one of my drawings, it is actually borrowed from the internet.

Americans are very polite about something like this. Nobody pointed at me and shouted, “Eww, that’s grody to the max!” In fact, they said nothing. If I brought up my appearance, though, they would jump in with tons of questions and healthy curiosity. Speaking as the resident weirdo, insults aren’t nice, but saying “Hey, what happened?” is perfectly fine. It’s OK to ask questions. The elephant in the room knows it’s there.

Getting to wear my unique gift from God on my face has made things harder when it comes to business. It is difficult to approach people with confidence and try to introduce them to my work. It is also more difficult to get a service sector job where you are the face of a business. While no one will admit that “fugly” is the reason for not hiring you, you will simply find that someone else always gets the job.

Have I tried medical care for dealing with this condition? Yes. The doctor charged me $300 for a 5 min consultation. Her advice? Hydrocortisone. Mmm hmm…Yup, I am definitely in the wrong line of work.

At least Real Life Toby doesn’t care about how I look.

Mom, mostly I look at you from this angle, and all I see is up your broken nose.

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Royal Purple Velvet Pillows are now back in stock! These 10″ pillows would make a wonderful gift for the whimsical child in your life – or the whimsical child inside yourself! Each pillow is trimmed with gold braid and has a silky tassel at each corner. The center is secured by two matching fabric buttons which give the pillow a pleasingly plump look.

These pillows and other fine gifts are available from my shop at L Bowman Studios. All items are made in America and ready to ship.

Caught in the Act

Toby was so pleased with himself chewing off the pumpkin’s stem…until when he wanted to pick it up and carry it around. Then he had no way to grasp it. Did he learn? I’m sure he didn’t.

After Toby had his fun with the pumpkin, I washed it off, cut it up into pieces and froze it for him to eat later. Now the humble decorative pumpkin can help to keep my boy regular for weeks to come.

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Country Fresh
Orchid Bread Cloth

Fixing a fancy pumpkin for your terrier? Perhaps a decorative bread cloth might make the even more festive. If your pup is like mine, he or she will greatly enjoy running around the house while shaking this new treasure.

These decorative bread cloths and many other fine gifts can be found in my shop at L Bowman Studios.

All products are handmade and here in the US ready to ship.

Where Oh Where

Where, oh where

has my little dog gone?

Oh where, oh where

can he be?

He’s back at home

hiding under the bed.

You silly,

silly puppy!

Roar!

In the few seconds that I was distracted, a certain furry someone sneaked under the bed and fell asleep. As I cluelessly walked past, I found a grouchy terrier affixed to my slipper.

Since Toby has been sleeping in his kennel, we have barely had any run ins like this one, and things are much better between us. I doubt Toby realizes why, but he is a happier, less stressed out pup.

(And yes, I do need my name on the slippers so I can tell mine from Toby’s.)

Don’t make me angry. You wouldn’t like me when I’m angry.

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Looking for a beautiful yet practical gift to give this holiday season? Consider giving a handmade quilt or afghan. Not only would you be giving a loving gift to someone you care about, but you would be supporting a cottage, American-based industry as well.

These and other fine gifts can be found in my shop at L Bowman Studios.

Touch

So, everyone has been practicing doing tricks and training with their pups this weekend, not just eating turkey and pumpkin pie, right?

Geordie at about the age when we did Agility.

Back when Geordie was a tiny puppy, I took him to an Agility class to try to find a way to wear him out. (You can stop laughing now.) For it to count when a dog comes down the incline, he/she has to touch the yellow bar at the bottom with a paw. Most dogs like to jump over that spot, so we were told to hold our hands down and teach the pup to touch our hands as they went past. That would slow them enough to get them to touch the yellow line.

See the source image

Not my image.

All the other dogs realized that they were supposed to bump their human’s hand with their noses as they went past. Geordie, on the other paw, was very literal. If I held out my hand, he would stop and touch it with his hand. That slowed him too much, and he would end up with a lousy time.

For my boy I had to teach him “paw touch” and “nose touch”. Later I applied the commands to a number of different things. If your dog is good at paw touch, a nifty way to use the skill is to have them press down on the ribbon as you tie a bow on Christmas presents. Just for fun, I would let Geordie choose which paper I used on which gift. That was another paw touch moment. He had fun doing that.

Probably the easiest ways to teach Touch is by example. I would sit down on the floor with Geordie and touch a ball and say, “Mommy touch ball, now Geordie touch ball”. When he was first learning, I might prompt him by pointing at his paw then the ball. As soon as he touched it, I would cheer and give him a treat. As the pup gains confidence, you can have him touch things that aren’t immediately in front of him. Have him walk several steps to touch something. Eventually he can go across a room to do Touch. Most dogs will touch things with their paws. The goal here is to associate the word with the action so that you have a command.

As I worked with Geordie, I taught him the names for his body parts. He knew ear, eye, nose, front paw, back paw, fur, back, tummy and tail. After I taught him his body parts, I would ask him “Where is mommy’s paw?” or tell him “Touch mommy’s ear”, and he would have to touch the right body part. The one that made both Geordie and Toby laugh was “Nose touch mommy’s nose”.

If you were looking for ways to teach your pup Touch, these are some fun ways to incorporate the command into everyday life.

Everyday life? Do I look like an everyday dog to you?!

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Dream Our World

Looking for stocking stuffers for the holidays? Then look no more! Dream Our World is here in the country and available for immediate purchase. Loved by old and young, Bitey and Toby’s adventures in Dream Our World are sure to make everyone smile!

I Sit

I sit…

with my hand clutching the blue marbled slab,

cramped so badly I fear it will never unfurl,

ears straining in vain to hear the words to release

me from this prison.

I sit…

My back aches.

My bladder screams.

My eyes no longer see this world

but view strange vistas from another.

I sit…

and my once vibrant puppy dog

so full of life!

now motionless on the floor.
His anguished cries of hunger finally at an end.*

I sit…

as the sun runs away

the stars sleep

the mountains lie down

and the oceans no longer cry tears.

It’s dark, and still I sit…

waiting…

on hold…

with the IRS.

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Can you guess what I spent my day doing? Yes, sitting on hold with the IRS.

On the plus side, the agent I dealt with was very professional and courteous. He was helpful and was able to handle my question quickly. On the down side, the IRS doesn’t have a call back system. You’ve just got to wait on hold until your turn comes up (multiple hours), and they have awful, awful hold music. We once had a discussion here about ”insipid”. That would be a good word to describe their eternally-looping music.

My advice before calling the IRS:

  • Make sure your phone is fully charged.
  • Have a light snack.
  • Be sure to use the facilities first.
  • Walk and feed your dog! ( – Toby)

Mom, this is soooo boring. Come playchasewith me instead.

*In case you were worried, Toby stopped complaining because he fell asleep. He didn’t die of hunger.