Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Puppy Bowl IV

Please don't forget about the big game this Sunday. Of course I mean Puppy Bowl IV on all day on the Animal Planet (check local listings). If you somehow missed Puppy Bowls I-III, I will let our friends at Animal Planet describe it...

From baby beagles to mini dachshunds to mixed breeds — viewers are in for a fantastic lineup that's itching to play in a winning combination of tackles, puppy penalties and fido first downs. The renowned Harry Kalas, voice of NFL Films, returns to call the play-by-plays of this year's game.

They brought up the mini dachshund, not me. If you are anywhere near legalized wagering, bet on Couper's favorite player, Jack, to rip up the most toys, knock over that overrated Shih Tzu, and pee all over the place.

Speaking of which, I am not sure why they don't describe the funnest aspect, whenever a puppy poops or pees, a referee comes out, calls a penalty, and cleans up. Yup, four years of drama school at USC, night after night of improv and community theater, years of waiting tables, and this guy finally gets on TV cleaning up dachshund poop in a referee's outfit. He's this much closer to a non-speaking role on a Law and Order SVU.

Of course the real value of the show is it is an alternative to the Fox Super Bowl Pre-game Show, which this year clocks in at a lean 4 hours. That much Terry Bradshaw could make your head explode. So, enjoy Puppy Bowl IV. Just don't be one of those people at your Puppy Bowl party who say that you only watch the Puppy Bowl for the commercials.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Rebounding is all about positioning, timing, and effort…it has nothing to do with size

We are in the middle of another college basketball season. Living in the state in which I went to college, and sharing the state with other universities having no basketball heritage, I get to see almost all my team’s games on TV. In my younger days, I used to pace the house and regularly yell at the TV. Essentially I was a coach with (fortunately) no power. With age, a few (or more) crushing defeats, a little less beer, and now having other members of the household, I have mellowed a bit. However, a few times a game I will be provoked to yell something at the TV.

I know what you are thinking: Is this blog still about a dog or is this now the worst written sports blog on earth? How does this relate to Couper?

Well, it seems that Couper gets a little freaked out by this…

Big Buddy: {At the television} GET A G*#&@~N REBOUND!!!

Couper: {Suddenly looking at Big Buddy} What’s with Big Buddy? He’s awfully mad. What does he want? A rebound? What’s a rebound? I have a Mr. Hiney. He never calls that a rebound. I better get him a rebound. Whatever that is.

Big Buddy: {Again at the TV} GET THE BALL!!!

Couper: {Stops looking for a rebound, whatever that is, and looks again at Big Buddy} Oh, now my Big Buddy wants me to get a ball. I know what a ball is. But he and my mommy always want me to leave balls outside. I am always told to “drop it” when I try to bring a golf ball or tennis ball into the house. I’m confused. I have a Mr. Hiney. We’re playing with that. How come that isn’t OK anymore? Why am I in trouble??? What did I do???

Big Buddy: {At the TV of course} PLAY SOME DEFENSE!!!

Couper: {Stops thinking about how to go outside to get a ball, and looks once more at Big Buddy} Play? I want to play. What is “play defense”? I know how to play catch, and play “3-43 hut hut hike”, and play “Joe Namath wins the Super Bowl”. I don’t remember play “defense”. I’ll bring him my Mr. Hiney. Maybe he will show me how to play. I’m in enough trouble as it is for not getting the ball. {Brings Big Buddy his Mr. Hiney. Big Buddy tosses it}

Big Buddy: {At the TV once more} WHAT KIND OF SHOT IS THAT?!?

Couper: {Catches the Mr. Hiney. Turns again to Big Buddy} Huh? I think Big Buddy is now insane. What is he asking me? Shots? I hate shots. I’m not even at the vet. I’m going to jump up on the couch and give Big Buddy a hug. He looks like he needs one and I do NOT want a shot. {Jumps up on couch and sits on Big Buddy’s lap, giving him the wide eyed puppy look}.

Big Buddy: {At Couper this time} Sorry, Little Bud. I’m not yelling at you, it’s this game…{Back at the TV} WOULD YOU GET A REBOUND!?!?!

Couper: Rebound again? That’s it. I’m outta here. I’m going under the bed where it’s safe.

So, at least once a game, I have to fetch Couper out from under the bed and apologize to him for about five minutes. I try to work this in at halftime, so I don’t miss any of the game I’m enjoying. If his mommy is home, (“There’s a game today? Uh, I need to get some things at Kohl’s. I think they’re having a sale.”) I will send him over to her and they can watch Tivoed soap operas together (Rarely during those does she scream, “Don’t do that! She’s only after your money!!!” When she does, I wonder if Couper runs under the bed?). If she is gone, we repeat the process in the second half.

No matter how much I tell him, Couper still does not understand that I am not mad at him, I am mad at the game on TV. Luckily this behavior is usually confined to college basketball and a little bit to college football (until about halftime of the first game when I realize they are hopeless again). My pro teams stink too much to care. I think Couper’s favorite televised sport is baseball. We take a nap together on the couch during the middle innings. No running under the bed for that.

Monday, January 14, 2008

This (Little) Bud’s For You

I like beer. To put it in this blog’s terms, it is yummy delicious good. I like it to the point that I get presents like a mini keg refrigerator for Christmas. So instead of having beer in bottles or cans like I usually would, I can pour myself a beer in a nice big plastic cup. Nothing but the finest for me.

That is exactly what I did last Friday night. Couper’s Mommy and I were in the living room putting away the last of the Christmas decorations. I put my cup of beer on the coffee table and we were going about our business. At one point I looked over and Couper was sniffing around the table and the beer cup. Sensing disaster, I moved the cup to higher grounds.

As the evening progressed, I perhaps poured myself another beer, maybe two. I guess I had forgotten about the earlier incident (I have no idea why), and left the cup on the coffee table again. As Couper’s Mommy and I were working on another project, we hear “Slurp slurp slurp”. Couper had his front paws on the coffee table, his nose in my beer cup, and was lapping up my beer. How he didn’t tip over the cup is beyond us. Applying our kindergarten training, we both yelled, “Uh uh!!!” That didn’t work as well as it did in the classroom, so we had to go over and get the cup away from him.

We feared the worst. Kindergarten valedictorian or not, he has at most 18 to 20 brain cells in that little head. If like they told us in high school health, beer kills a million brain cells (who could dispute high school health?), that would leave him with -999,982 brain cells. At most!!! But, in the end, he did not act tipsy (not sure how we would have discerned this from “normal” behavior???) and did not throw up. Before bed, Couper and I shared a bag of Cheetos and everything was fine (before you call ASPCA, I did not give my dog Cheetos. And before you call my physician, I did not have Cheetos either. I don’t really like Cheetos. We don’t even have Cheetos in the house. I don’t have a physician either).

Sadly I posted our best picture of Couper sleeping with his Buddyweiser toy in the previous New Year’s post. I was a week too soon.

This of course was not Couper’s first time brazenly getting into food or food by-products:
  • A couple of times he has lapped up milk from cups that I have left on the coffee table. I am not sure what it is about milk, but it is the one food item that if I am having it on the sofa, he will climb up my entire body trying to get to it; almost as if he were entitled to it. This is fine for milk, but if he starts this with beer, he may become an outside dog. (Again, do not call ASCPA. I am not going to make my Little Buddy an outside dog. We don’t even have an outside. Wait, that’s not true. Just don’t call the ASPCA, OK?).
  • Last year before Christmas, Couper’s Mommy was sitting on the floor taking Christmas ornaments out of a box. I was helping her by lying on the sofa watching basketball. At one point Couper swoops by and hops up on the sofa at my feet. I begin to hear, “Crunch, crunch, crunch”. My first thought was, “Couper is chewing a bone”. My second thought was, “Why does Gonzaga play so much zone?” My third thought was, “Why is Couper’s bone crunching? It doesn’t usually crunch”. I look down the sofa and see Couper eating the right foot of a glazed gingerbread ornament. This was not his first gingerbread offense. The year before, he chewed the foot of a different glazed gingerbread ornament while it was on the tree. (No calling the ASPCA or the Gingerbread Man Society. Gingerbread is perfectly fine for dogs and gingerbread men are meant to be eaten).
  • We grill quite often, and Couper enjoys licking the grill brush. Considering it is basically burnt food on brillo, I am not sure why. It seems a painful way to get food in sand form. So when we grill I usually have a set procedure. When done, I turn the heat up on the grill to burn off the grate and put the grill brush up where he can’t reach it. One night I wasn’t thinking, and just turned the grill off. We were still eating, when Couper wanted to go outside. Generally the procedure is he goes outside, does his business, looks for the grill brush, barks at the neighbors, and gets called in. The whole process takes two minutes tops. This night he was outside for about ten minutes when Couper’s Mommy said to me, “Where’s Couper? He's way too quiet” I went outside to look. The grill brush sat on the side of the grill untouched. However, since I had turned off the grill and it had cooled, there was Couper, front paws on the grill base and his nose buried in the drip pan. When I yelled “Couper, no” (this was before learning of the magical “uh uh”), he raised his head and looked at me like, “Oh, hi Big Buddy, is this wrong???” I got him away from the pan. Three seconds later he threw up. Three seconds after that he threw up again. Then for good measure, he threw up a third time. To top that off, his entire snout was covered with grease (I had not cleaned the drip pan in a while). He must have shaken some of that off at some point because the rest of his body and the patio were sprayed with grease. So his final tally for 5+ minutes of pure cholesterol? Three pukes and one bath. (You’re calling the ASPCA now, aren’t you? Maybe you should).

It could be worse. Couper’s Aunt (my sister) has two labs, at least one of which grabs anything he can off the kitchen counter, kitchen island, and kitchen table. He likes to circle the kitchen almost like a shark; waiting for someone to stop paying attention for a couple of seconds. Better yet, he is allergic to everything, so whatever he gets is bad for him, never mind if he gets something that really is bad for him. After we visit Couper’s cousins Murphy and Grady, we are grateful that Couper is too small to reach much of anything (except the coffee table). Not that he doesn’t try. He does. It is both pathetic and a testament to his tenacity that he tries to jump up and get things off our kitchen island. He just misses by about two feet.

So in the end I may have to go back to drinking beer from the bottle or can. He may be able to sniff those, but he can’t get his big tongue in the little openings. Good thing we only drink wine out of the bottle (and in the paper bag). He likes grapes too. (Before you call the ASPCA for the 1000th time, we stopped giving him grapes the second we found out they were not good for him).