Dog Diary Thirty – Parents

I’m concerned. My parents started exhibiting strange behavior shortly after they began binge-watching a certain television show.

My mother talked me into viewing the first few episodes which I admit I liked because of the husky puppies. When the puppies became full-grown huskies or wolves I lost interest. I preferred staring out the sliding glass door and fantasizing that the neighbor’s cat might walk through the backyard. My parents’ conversation interrupted my concentration.

“Do you think the huskies were real or computerized?” my mother asked.

“Both,” my father said although I don’t know how he knew.

Almost every night before my bedtime, I had to listen to their analysis like one of them was in an Intro to Film class.

“Why are the zombies dressed in fur coats for warmth?” my father asked. “The zombies are already dead.”

My mother didn’t have an answer and neither did I.

“Why do most of the fighters use swords instead of bows and arrows?” my father asked.

“Bows and arrows are better for close-up.”

“What I want to know..,” he said. “How do they feed all the soldiers in the army?”

My ears perked up. Mealtime is a definite subject of interest.

“The soldiers are digitalized so they don’t need to eat,” she said.

“Could be, but when Khaleesi forces the soldiers to march through the desert in the middle of nowhere where do they get the food?”



“That’s a lot of rabbits.”

In my dreams.

Then, they had to discuss their favorite characters and name those whom had been killed off. This took ten minutes by my calculations.

I thought they had shut up and I could go to sleep when my mother asked my father,

“Do I refer to you as Your Grace or My Lord?”


I was relieved their behavior was back to normal when they returned to discussing politics, sports and the moles in the backyard. Except I was mistaken.

One afternoon my mother stood at the top of the stairs, and paused. I gave her the “hurry up, it’s time to eat” eye from the kitchen.

She returned my look with a “stop looking at me like a meal ticket” before she spoke.

“I am Wendy Kraemer of Mill Valley and San Francisco. I am the wife of Jim, mother of Nikki and Ben, and mother and pet guardian of all Siberian huskies that have resided in the house of Coblentz/Lowy.”

All I wanted was dinner. No more Game of Thrones.


Dog Diary Twenty Nine – Lessons

Over the years my human parents and siblings have taken lessons in golf, tennis, swimming and kayaking. While I have no interest in any of these activities, I need a lesson in gopher hunting.

My former husky brother, Jake, excelled in gophers.  I heard he’d dig them up on the bike path, bring them home in his mouth and refuse to drop the deceased.  My mother had to swap out the rigor mortis rodent for a slice of my human brother’s Oscar Meyer bologna—which Jake considered an even exchange.

I’ve never eaten bologna.

My mother tells me I’m better at squirrel watching.  In all my seven years I’ve only caught a gopher once which I promptly swallowed. There have been numerous opportunities, and my set up is excellent. First, I see the mound of dirt moving up and down.  I crouch down as low as I can and inch forward, eyes fixated on what might be a snack. I pause and freeze, holding one leg in the air like a canine tripod.  I glare at the exact spot. Then, I pounce—and nothing.  My timing’s off for the closure.

“All gone,” my mother says.

I’d like to improve my skills, and wish my mother would run an ad on Craigslist. It could read something like: Experienced gopher-hunting instructor wanted. References required.

Ponzi friend


Dog Diary Twenty Eight – Wine Tasting

I had just settled in for a long morning nap after a four mile walk and three-squirrel sighting when I heard my father’s voice speak the magic words.

“We’re going for a ride.”

My ears shot up like antennae. Then, a canine cacophony of hyena wails, hawk screeches, seal barks, and other animal-kingdom sounds flew out of my mouth. I threw in a howl or two like the good husky I am.

“Here come the Zoomies,” my mother said as she went into the bathroom.

“What?” my father asked.


She was right. I raced around the room, jumped on the bed, ran in circles and finally collapsed panting. And, I still didn’t know where we were going.

My mother finally exited from the bathroom. “Which winery are we stopping at first?”

My father has talked about visits to wine clubs, but I never understand what that meant. I know it’s not like the Pet Club, because he only comes home with bottles and glasses—unlike the Pet Club where there are treats and toys.

Still, I’m always ready for a new experience.

We drove up 101 which I am quite familiar with smell-wise, because it usually means I’m headed to the Country Inn—except we kept going. Shortly thereafter, my father opened both back windows.

“New smells for Ponzi,” he said.

“Do you mean because we’re passing the K9 Activity Lodge and Inn?” my mother asked.

I’m going there?

“There’s lots of dog action in the yard,” she said.

I didn’t see because my nose was in the air.

When we arrived at the winery, my father went into the tasting room. Since my mother and I only drink water, we walked around and checked out the surroundings. I peed on a shrub and sampled the crab grass by the vineyards. When I tried to nibble a grape off the vine, my mother yanked me away.

Were we boycotting grapes in support of the farm workers like my mother’s family did in the mid-‘60s.

I know about these things because I’ve been raised in a very progressive household. Over the years many political discussions—past and present issues—have taken place around our dining room table. I’m usually dozing underneath, but always listening.

This time her remark wasn’t political.

“Grapes are toxic to dogs.”


After one more smell around the property, we waited for my father who exited the building with one of those mysterious boxes. We got in the car and stopped at one more winery where I was welcomed inside.

On the way home I slept as if in a drunken stupor. Must have been the water. I’m ready to go wine tasting again.


Ponzi rest

Dog Diary Twenty Seven – Chef de Cuisine

I serve on K9 KP duty. My culinary experience has expanded over time from simple observation to (almost) active involvement.

My skills were recently called upon when I saw my mother applying some powdery stuff over a chicken. Although the rub smelled like the flea and tick repellent which I used to get on my coat once a month, I knew that I had to monitor the situation. I crammed my 62 lb self between her legs and the counter.

“Ponzi, move.”

No way. Six months earlier a piece of pulled pork catapulted over the counter into my mouth. One never knows when a drumstick might escape and fall on the floor. After I oversaw the prep work, I escorted the poultry from the kitchen to the smoker on the deck.

I’ve assisted with the preparation of baby back ribs, deboning pin bones from salmon, and peeling and deveining shrimp. Once I was lucky enough to actually eat a shrimp vein that had slithered down the drawer. It tasted like a worm in the back yard.

I helped my mother cook collard greens which I would never eat in a million years even if they were dumped in my bowl. However, it was necessary that I supervise the bacon and ham hock as they were dumped in the pot.

Over the years halibut cheeks, monkfish, flank steak and duck have floated by my nose for inspection.

Fortunately, there are no vegetarians in my house. My job as chef de cuisine is secure.

Ponzi rest

Dog Diary Twenty Six – Questions and Answers

My parents were having one of their nostalgia-type conversations.

I gathered that as kids they subscribed to something called MAD magazine. One feature was “Snappy Answers to Stupid Questions.” Not that anybody asked, but I could offer some future potential submissions.

“Are you a smart dog?”

I know when it’s time to eat without a watch.

“What happened to the toilet paper?”

If it’s off the roll it’s fair game.

“Do you need to go out?”

I’m standing by the door trying to catch a fly.

“Do you want to watch TV?”

Anything but the PBS documentary on cancer.

“What are you eating?”

The twenty dollar bill you left on your desk.

“Are you a good boy?”

Do you really need to ask?