Sunday, February 19, 2012

I'm feelin' HOT HOT HOT!!!

Last week, while the rest of the world was busy watching a dog who looks like a mop win Westminster, I was busy competing in the far more interesting Mango Minster, the most prestigious show EVER in the world of blogging, hosted by the One and Only Mango, the Relentlessly Huge.

I entered the Adventure Animal category because, while I'm extremely cute, I work hard as a volunteer therapy dog and entertainer, and I frequently make huge messes by eating and shredding paper products all over the living room, I am, above all, an Adventure Dog.

You can check out my entry here (my Mango Minster 2012 entry) and the post announcing the winners of the Adventure Animal category here (Adventure Animals Winners!).  And here is the final post, announcing the Best in Show winners and all of the winners at the bottom of the post: Best in Show Winners.  If you'd like to read the other entries, go to the Mango Minster blog site and look at the column on the right side of the page.  There were many excellent and very entertaining entries.

Adventures with sea creatures

The results came in last Tuesday, and -- I won I won I won!!! I won THIRD Place in the Adventure Animal category in Mango Minster 2012!  Actually I tied for Third Place with Honey the Great Dane.  Honey's entry was fabulous, and I can think of no greater honor than tying with Honey, a Great Dane who does freestyle(!) and goes on secret missions at the direction of the family cat.

I won a surprise goodie bag that I'm sure will be awesome, but I told my mom that I believe I should get a trophy cup that I can sit in -- just like the mop has.  Mom said that trophies are not traditionally awarded in Mango Minster -- actually the prizes are much nicer things like treats and goodie bags -- but she would see what she could do.

Well, little did I know, my mom has a hidden talent -- trophy making!

Very proud of my Third Place trophy

It's so shiny, it reflects my very good-looking yellow lab head

Okay, enough posing

My trophy sitting on the mantle

And now for my long awaited (it's been five whole days since my win was announced) and highly anticipated acceptance speech:

I would first like to thank Mango and his momma for all the work they put into Mango Minster. It must be an enormous undertaking -- almost as enormous as Mango himself. It was so much fun to participate and to witness all of the behind-the-scenes action and intrigue. We REALLY appreciate it, and we hope it wasn't too taxing on your mentals. And it was awfully nice of Dexter to take over blogging duties while Mango was occupied with Mango Minster.

I would also like to thank the Adventure Animal judges Zim and Dave. They were faced with the very difficult task of selecting three (okay, so they picked four) winners out of 20 winning entries.

I'd like to thank my fellow competitors and their families and IT staff. Your adventures and your entries were very impressive. I had no idea I would be up against bicontinental adventurers and secret agents! I am honored to have competed against Adventure Animals of your caliber. I'm also thrilled to see that so many other dogs -- and cats and horses and frogs and hermit crabs -- are having adventures, in their backyards or in the Swiss Alps.

I'd like to thank all my new blogging friends for enthusiastically welcoming me into the Dogs With Blogs community. And my less new blogging friend Southernmost Moose for introducing me to Mango Minster and DWB to begin with.

Many thanks to all my friends, new and old, who voted for me and supported me in this endeavor.

Of course I have to thank my parents for making all my adventures possible, and my IT staff (AKA mom) and photographer (AKA dad) for assisting me in documenting my adventures.

I would be remiss if I didn't thank the people who have brought adventure to the dogs of Richmond, Virginia: our Dog Scout Troop Leader Jennifer (who founded our local troop, Troop #194), our hiking guide and the founder of Canine Adventure, Josh, and our hiking guide, Brian. Jennifer, Josh, and Brian are rock stars. They have organized and led us on amazing hikes, shown us all the great trails in Richmond, and inspired us to do more and more hiking on our own. They have fearlessly led us through freezing cold rivers and smelly mud, rock-hopping and over dams and bridges and all kinds of scary obstacles. They have helped us build confidence, and they have shown us a great time, over and over again.

I also want to thank my hiking buddies, my Dog Scout friends, my trick dog friends, and my therapy dog friends for sharing my adventures. Since I'm an only child, I truly value my time with other doggies, and adventures are more fun when other pups are along.

And finally, I thank my girlfriend and best friend Willow, for always standing by me, for being extremely loving and supportive of all my pursuits, and for accompanying me on many of my adventures.

Thank you all from the bottom of my big puppy heart!

Last night I was napping on the couch next to mom and I was dreaming, so my paws were moving and I was making little dreamy noises. And all of a sudden mom heard this thump thump thump. I was wagging my tail in my dream! I don't usually remember my dreams, but I know I must have been dreaming about Mango Minster and how I am, at long last, a champion show dog.

Test Post - Zoomies

I'm having problems with photos not showing up in my blog posts.  For example, my post last week on the Pumphouse Loop hike is supposed to include these photos, but doesn't.  So I'm trying once again to post last week's zoomies photos, and trying to figure out what I'm doing wrong in posting photos.

So if you can see these photos, enjoy!

If you can't see the photos, please post a comment letting me know -- it will help me in trouble shooting my photo issues.  Thanks!

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Wednesday, February 15, 2012

I've been tagged! Does that mean I'm IT?!?!

My new friend Mayzie and her brother Ranger have tagged me! So now I have to answer some questions, and then I get to tag someone else!

This is very cool because it's a great way for my readers to get to know me better, since I'm new at this whole blogging thing and a lot of you don't know me very well yet.

1. Describe yourself in seven words.

Muddy (whenever possible)



Don't I look cuddly?




Playing the piano is one of my many talents


Aren't I handsome?

2. What keeps you up at night?

Nothing -- not even my mom's snoring, which my dad has described as sounding like one of those big trucks that empties dumpsters, in the process of lifting and emptying a dumpster, over and over and over again.

3. Who would you like to be?

There's not really anyone I would rather be.  As you can probably tell from reading my blog, it's good to be Garth.

4. What are you wearing right now?

My Margaritaville island-print collar and my gorgeous pale yellow fur!

5. What scares you?

Mom trying to cook.  Since I don't have opposable thumbs, I can't use the fire extinguisher, and unlike my friend Honey the Great Dane, I'm unable to produce enough drool to extinguish a fire.

6. The best and worst of blogging?

The best is definitely the friends I've made.  I even got to meet Southernmost Moose of Southernmost Moose Lodge (one of my inspirations for my blog) and his momma in person/dog when we went to the Florida Keys!  It's also been a great way to learn about dog-friendly places and activities for when we travel to different parts of the country.  Local dogs have the best info!  Southernmost Moose gave me all kinds of great info for visiting the Florida Keys, and I learned about wonderful hiking places in the N.C. mountains from reading The Thundering Herd's posts before we spent a week hiking in that area last spring.  And one of our new blog friends turns out to live only about a mile away from us!

The worst of blogging?  So far we've only had one bad experience with a busy-body/crazy person.  This experience annoyed and upset mom and she became disillusioned with blogging for a good four or five hours.  Very little upsets me, so I found the incident rather humorous.

7. What was the last website you visited?

Why, Mango Minster 2012, of course!  The Relentlessly Huge Mango puts on a great show, and Mango Minster has been non-stop excitement since the show began.  Yesterday I tied with Honey the Great Dane for Third Place in the Adventure Animals category!  I'll need to write another post soon just to brag about that.  Third Place in Mango Minster!  Mom says my big block head is getting even bigger!  I'm even wagging my tail in my dreams these days because I'm so happy.

8. What is the one thing you would change about yourself?

Hmmmm.  I wouldn't change a thing.

Now that I think about it, I'd like to improve my skateboarding skills, but mom says that just takes time and practice.

9. Slankets, yes or no?

Because there are multiple definitions of this word, I'm assuming this question applies to the "a blanket with sleeves" definition.  It would be extremely unlikely to find such an item in my house, since my parents are kind of the old-fashioned sweats-and-comforter types.  However if we did own a slanket, it would be covered with yellow lab fur, and I would likely enjoy lying on top of it, and maybe bunch it up with my paws to make a pillow for my head.  (Am I the only one who can't say the word "slanket" without snickering?)

10. Tell us something about the person (people) who tagged you.

Rudder and Mayzie are brother and sister.

I don't know Rudder very well, but he seems very intelligent and thoughtful.  He is a rescue rat terror and he likes hunting rabbits, eating peanut butter, getting belly rubs, and doing tricks.  He doesn't like plates.

Mayzie is a beautiful brindle mixture of boxer, miniature bull terrier, and wire haired dachshund who was rescued by The Best Family There Ever Was. (If I didn't already have a girlfriend, I would totally ask Mayzie to be my girlfriend.) I was very touched by her rescue story and have enjoyed reading her blog. She likes to chase squirrels and she dislikes water.  She lives in Colorado with a mommy who doesn't like to bake but isn't afraid of getting muddy (sounds kind of like my mom) and a daddy who can fly an airplane.  Check out Mayzie's Dog Blog -- I bet you'll enjoy it too!

Tag 8 friends to play along (and if you don't want to play or if you've already been tagged at some point, and don't want to do it again, that's okay too - we understand).

Moose at Southernmost Moose
Tootsie at Bicontinental Dachshund
River at Down River
Casey from The Legacy Chronicles
Cabana at Ours for a Year
Tucker, Daisy and Leo at Two Goldens and a wannabe
Winston at Winesome Winston
Gus and Teka Toy at Go with Gus

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Failed Valentines and Hiking the Pumphouse Loop

Sunday began with a failed attempt at making paw-print Valentines.

Making Valentines is boring
I'd rather go for a hike

This is what happens when you make Valentines
Dad thought I looked like I had walked through the set of a slasher movie

Even after mom cleaned my paw, it still had a pinkish tinge

See?  Still pink
I can't possibly go out in public with pink paws

Luckily, the day improved significantly.  The humans bundled themselves up, and we went on a family hike.  We hiked the Pumphouse Loop, from Texas Beach to the old Pumphouse, then back along the trail that runs behind Maymont, back to the Texas Beach parking lot.  (See Texas Beach / Pumphouse Loop.)

The trail from Texas Beach heading west is one of our favorite trails in the city because it runs along a beautiful stretch of the river.

See why we like this trail?

Early in the hike, I got a bad case of the zoomies.

Then I stopped to look for creatures in the river

Is it too cold for river creatures?

I decided that a dip in the river would feel good and might help clean my paw

  Yep, 37 degrees F and I still want to go in the river

I'm a river beast

Then we explored the ruins

I wonder what this building used to be

There were good smells on the trail

And we enjoyed the trail along Maymont

We saw several great blue herons fishing in the canal

Looking backwards at the canal running along Maymont

Me and dad

Caught mid-shake

 But when we got home, I had to take a bath

Miserably clean post-bath

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Garth Riley, Fashion Hound . . . I mean, Lab

I'm not the kind of pup who likes to dress up. I don't have any doggie sweaters or jackets or pj's. I have lots of fur so I don't need anything to keep me warm, and I find that pale yellow is appropriate for all occasions.

But I like to look sharp, and I'm all about accessories. Here are a few of my looks.

This is my version of the layered look, with my snazzy new collar
peaking out from under my sharp red Dog Scouts bandana.
Photo by Carla Edwards Lawrence
This is my lovely new beaded collar that Nora gave me

Out of the blue and for no particular reason (or maybe as a subtle hint that my old A Tail You Can Wag Best Friends collar is looking a bit shabby?), Nora and her parents gave me a beautiful beaded collar, handmade by the Masai in Africa.

Isn't this collar beautiful?
It looks very handsome on me!  The colors are perfect for my complexion!  Casual yet classy, this collar allows me to express my sensitive artistic side while still being totally masculine.

This is my favorite collar and I save it for special occasions.

But they were worried that the beaded collar might be too small for me, so they got me a "back up collar" just in case, and they gave me the back up collar too!  It came with its own leash, and it's made from recycled billboards!

I'll be sporting this edgy look at the next Earth Day celebration.

This collar is made from recycled billboards!

Don't I look great in this new collar!
(Note Prius in background)

There is a matching leash, also made of recycled billboards

I want the next Garth-Mobile to be a Prius just like this one

When we were in Key West, mom and dad bought me a collar at Margaritaville.  This is the perfect accessory for the Parrothead Puppy, and you can find me sporting this look at Buffett shows and at Sunset in Mallory Square.

My Margaritaville collar

Yep, I think I'd fit right in

Of course I'm a huge Survivor fan, so I have a collection of buffs.

Watching Survivor with my immunity idol chew toy

I also have a special outfit for my Caring Canine therapy dog visits.  They call it a "cape" but it's not really a cape like batman or superman wear (bummer). 

My Caring Canines "cape"
It's not really a cape

Here are a few of my other looks:

I don't particularly like headbands

Beads are always in style
This is my special cooling jacket that keeps me from getting too hot in the summer sun
(and makes me look like a super-hero!)
It's a bird, it's a plane, it's Super Garth!!!
Sporting the island look at Yappy Hour in Key Largo
The casual, just-got-out-of-the-pool look

Looking sharp in my Dog Scout bandana

My old, faithful A Tail You Can Wag Best Friends collar, my every-day collar
My pirate look

Sometimes I run around the house naked

But I don't like to take my collar off in public