Charlee’s Hydration Reminder on #NationalHeatAwareness Day

Mom said I could remind all dog owners to make sure their best friends have plenty of hydration in the heat. Starbucks and others are really great to give an extra cup of water in the drive-thru for the cause.

“An Extra Water for Charlee, Please”



Charlee Survives Finals Week

Thanksgiving 2014: Selfie with Mom and Cousin Morgan

Thanksgiving 2014: Selfie with Mom & Cousin Morgan

First of all, I extend sincerest apologies to family, friends, and blog followers for my hiatus during fall semester. My workload has been grueling. Despite that, finals are over, and I survived! And, I should even make the Dean’s Honor Roll (although I am a little concerned because the professor in my “Javelinas: Danger! Danger!” class put test questions on the final pertaining to things we never even discussed in class and which could not be found in our textbook). Whatever. Right? Anyway … my classes were as follows:

“Lizards of Arizona”

“Poisonous Snakes Indigenous to the Southwest”

“How Arizona Heat Can Heal and Kill”

“Javelinas: Danger! Danger!”

“Advanced Communications: Barking vs. Public Speaking”

As you can see, I had a full load. But, my mom made sure I had plenty of good food, treats, walks, baths, adventures, air-conditioned quarters, and a clean bed. (Dad made sure I had plenty of TV time.)

Anyway, just wanted to thank everyone for not giving up on me. I hope to be graduating soon and able to write more often after that.

Happy Holidays!



Charlee’s “Pack-a-Day” Addiction

Just a quick update for those wondering about Charlee’s recent three months in rehab. Charlee’s addiction continues and, in fact, has increased to over a pack a day. While she has attempted to overcome the desire, those chicken-covered rawhide treats from Trader Joe’s have consumed her.

I Need Another Rawhide Now

I Need Another Rawhide Now

Fortunately, we have seen some slight improvement during the past week with the official start of lizard season. Chasing lizards at high noon seems to be the only diversion from the delectable chicken rawhide treat addiction.
Gonna Catch a Lizard

Gonna Catch a Lizard

An Unsuspecting Lizard

An Unsuspecting Lizard

Charlee thanks all of her fans for their continued support during her struggle.

Charlee at the Vet – A Dog Poem

To the vet this week I went with Mom for my annual check-up.
Initially, my tail-wagging thought was: “Hooray! An adventure with Mom!”
But, unfortunately, once inside did I recognize sans aplomb
The scent of needles and sound of desperate dogs’ “yups.”

“Oh no!” I whined as I turned (tail uncurled) towards the door.
“Get me out. I want out. Out, out, out – out and now.”
My mom tried to soothe me, but I wondered, “How
Could she love me and to this place me lure?”

"Get me out. I want out."

“Get me out. I want out.”

“I can handle this,” I coached myself. “I really am a smart dog.
I write poetry, right? I can do math, too. I even have my own blog.”
So, how does a smart dog survive at the vet? Just think of a way to hide!
Outside, outside, outside, of course, but an option is not outside.
Do the Polka Dots Hide My Spots?

Do the Polka Dots Hide My Spots?

Beneath two polka-dotted chairs I hid – convinced my spots would blend.
In walked the vet, something in hand, and with a mesmerizing tone,
Coaxed me from my hiding place with a large box of milk bones.
Then came that dreaded booster shot, shattering my state of Zen!

Lured by a box of milk bones? Yes, and impetuously, I did not even read,
If they were organic and gluten-free, as my mom always does for me.

The irony of my imperfect rhyme is that while I am a smart canine,
I ate humble pie, thinking it was a treat, while I got a shot in my behind.

“Still, Sparkling, or Tub?”

The Water Cup

The Solo Water Cup

When Charlee was a puppy, she became fascinated with the bathtub faucet and its seemingly magical power to provide water. In fact, she would sit beside the bathtub and bark until someone (yes, I) came running to quench her thirst with the bathtub faucet water.

One day her dog sitter, not yet speaking “Charlee,” left a note: “I think Charlee wants a bath. She sat beside the bathtub all afternoon, barking at me.”

I finally bought red plastic Solo Cups, filled them with bathtub faucet water, and placed them beside each bathtub. “Et voilà!” I thought with satisfaction. (Admittedly, after filling Solo Cups for nearly 10 years now, I often think that was one of my less brilliant problem-solving initiatives.)

Why do I share this anyway? Well, having the privilege of wearing golden handcuffs during much of my career, I have eaten at some notable restaurants over the years. While I appreciate fine food, the Muleshoe, Texas girl in me cannot help but take note of the disdain with which many fine dining establishments sometimes offer water. Yes, water.

“Still, sparkling, or tap?” the server asks, often with an exotic accent and slight grimace before offering the “tap” option to ensure you feel uncivilized (despite being clad in haute couture) should you be pondering “tap” as your choice. Next time I encounter hauteur for not choosing the $12 water, I may just pay a bit of homage to my quirky Charlee and ask, “Got tub?”

Exclusive Media Interview: Charlee, Celebrity Dog with a Blog

Reporter: What’s it like being a celebrity dog?

Charlee: I am photographed a lot more than most dogs.

Reporter: You mean you dislike that? You’re so photogenic!

Charlee: Thanks. It means my mom weighs me a lot. Remember, I lost eight pounds two years ago and have to keep it off. That’s hard when you are a foodie like I am.

Reporter: I see. Well, you have beautiful brown eyes, although I understand they were green recently. Can you explain?

Charlee: Sure. That would be Mac-too, my grandparents’ new Westie puppy. I wasn’t exactly thrilled about him … maybe somewhat jealous, according to the blog post. We’re okay now though. He understands I am still the favorite.

Reading about My Green Eyes

Reading “Charlee’s Green Eyes”

Reporter: Speaking of favorites, I understand from your most recent and quite impressive sonnet that your mother takes you on an adventure everyday. What is your favorite adventure and why?

Charlee: Well, Petco sells ferrets. They live in big glass houses. I love the ferrets, but they get sold quickly. So, a long-term relationship is not possible.

The guinea pigs at both PETsMART and Petco are fun. I get photographed with them a lot. They have glass houses, too.

Guinea Pigs in Glass Houses

Guinea Pigs in Glass Houses

So do the fish.
Fish in Glass Houses

Fish in Glass Houses

I think PETsMART is my favorite adventure overall because I get a complimentary treat when I leave.
Treat from PETsMART

Complimentary Treat from PETsMART

Reporter: How do you respond to people calling you a spoiled princess?

Charlee: I just matter-of-factly point out their inaccuracy, and explain how I would characterize myself as a “well-behaved” princess. Yes, my mom treats me very well. It’s true. However, she does have rules. I follow the rules.

Reporter: Give me some examples of the rules.

Charlee: That’s easy. I am not allowed to nap on the sofa unless I am on my blanket. I am not allowed junk food of any kind. I have to get my teeth brushed regularly.

Reporter: What’s your sign?

Charlee: My favorite sign is PETsMART. Remember … the complimentary treat?

Reporter, chuckling: No, what’s your Zodiac sign?

Charlee: I don’t know what you mean.

Reporter: Rumor has it that you have a great disposition. Is there anything that irritates you?

Charlee: Chihuahuas.

Reporter: What or where is the famous “magic window” we have heard about?

Not the "Magic Window"

Not the “Magic Window”

Charlee: It’s at In-N-Out Burger. Once a week, my mom drives there to sit in a long line so she can talk to a black box. Once it talks back to her, she drives forward behind other cars until she gets to the first of two windows. She pays at the first window. Then, we sit with other cars and watch people prepare delicious food behind a huge glass window. Finally, we pull up to the second window. That’s the magic window. The teenager at the magic window hands mom a protein-style double meat, and my mouth waters. My mom always laughs and says, “Pavlov,” as she gives me a bite. It’s magical.
At the "Magic Window"

At the “Magic Window”

Reporter: How did you prepare for this interview?

Charlee: My mom prepped me. She does this for a living and is very good at it. She gave me a bath.

Reporter: What made you consent to an interview on M&A Monday?

Charlee: From what I hear, the M&A scene has been pretty slow this summer. So, I was not concerned about the timing.

Reporter: Well, I’m so glad you took the time today. Thank you for sharing what it’s like to be a dog celebrity. I wish you the best in your blogging.

Charlee: Thank you. It has been my pleasure. I appreciate your interest and that of my readers. I wouldn’t be a celebrity without their support. Until the next blog post …

Dog Haiku

Belly rub at dawn,
Breakfast, potty, walk and play …
Nap until bedtime.

Lizard, quail, bunny —
Chase them all morning and day.
What if I catch one?

Teeth again
Treats: chicken, lamb, beef,
Salmon, peanut butter, beets –-
Toothbrush and diet.

Bark at dogs walking
Past my bedroom window. Bark!
My workday is done.

Charlee’s Boarding Pass Diet

Charlee's Boarding Pass

Charlee’s Boarding Pass

Charlee is a foodie. She loves food, lots of food. One day, Charlee woke up about eight pounds too heavy. With an upcoming airplane trip on the calendar, we had to diet aggressively. The vet recommended some expensive diet food. Charlee did not like the expensive diet food, however. In fact, Charlee would not eat the expensive diet food.
Poster Dog for "Diet Drama"

Poster Dog for “Diet Drama”

Fortunately, a colleague told me about canned green beans. Her dog had lost 40 pounds eating canned green beans. So, I substituted unsalted green beans for the expensive diet food, cut her kibble in half and supplemented the “hungries” with roasted beets, red quinoa and baked sweet potatoes (including the skins, but sans butter and other toppings). Voila! The weight peeled off in two weeks.

Today, “diet” is no longer in Charlee’s vocabulary. There is no need. She enjoys delicious, nutritious food (plenty of beets and green beans) and maintains a healthy and “airline-friendly” weight. Charlee, of course, could care less about a healthy weight as long as she gets to eat good food and fly.

Passengers Traveling with Pets DO NOT BOARD FIRST

Charlee loves to travel via air. Here she is pictured underneath the seat in front of me on Southwest Airlines in her Sherpa pet carrier, which I highly recommend. Sherpa offers what the company calls “Guaranteed On-Board” for peace of mind. (See their website at for details.)

Charlee was a bit skeptical about being wheeled around in a confined bag at first. I trained her by putting a salmon jerky treat inside; saying, “Let’s go on the airplane!”; and zipping her inside the Sherpa bag to eat her treat while wheeling her around our home. After a few days, she would get excited whenever she heard me get her Sherpa from the closet. (Pavlov was a genius.)

Despite “fitting” in the Sherpa bag, Charlee was 7 pounds overweight (and over the maximum airline-approved pet weight) when I made the purchase. We had dieted to no avail. By chance, a colleague mentioned her dog had lost a lot of weight eating green beans. That night for dinner, I introduced Charlee to unsalted green beans with 1/4 of what kibble she normally ate. Within 8 days, she had slimmed down to a healthier (and airline-approved) weight. (I later discovered how much more pleasant this made the ticketing/boarding process, as the airlines DO NOT APPRECIATE if you try to sneak an over-the-weight-limit dog or cat aboard.)

Charlee and I do attract a lot of attention when we travel together. Being a very social and loving dog, Charlee has soothed crying children, evoked dog stories from fellow pet lovers and even offered solace on several occasions to those who have lost pets. Despite all of the smiles she has brought, never once have we gotten to board first. But, after sitting on the tarmac a few times in sweltering cabin temperatures, I think not boarding first has been quite the blessing, too.