We all wish you a wonderful day today and the rest of the year!!!






Oh boy, an email from Grandpaw D!

Esteemed quadrapeds:  Vis-a-vis your issue of anointing a number one fan. The problem with being a dog is that you are not a cat, to whom this is no issue at all. Cats just naturally assume that everyone is their number one fan.

Also, they could care less.

And there’s the rub, caring.  Doggies of your stripe have extreme difficulty not caring.

So, here’s a compromise. Utilize two other feline traits, the ability to dissemble, and a very short memory. Whoever is being good to you at any given moment is your BFF. Keep quiet and let the next moment take care of itself. It will.

Regards to the Mamas, let them know I’m using the MyHike app most every day and my usual elevation gain is 650 ft.

Also, mention I have time in my day to play words with friends, should they choose to chime in.





Dear Journal,

We had a 4.0 earthquake early yesterday morning. We were all still completely asleep when it happened. Of course I immediately took shelter in Mama L’s arms just in case something should fall on our heads. It didn’t last very long — only a few seconds — but I was still scared. At first Mama held me tight and said “Oh, it’s ok Madeleine, don’t worry it will be over soon”…and then when it was finally over, she said “Boy, some dog you are! You’re supposed to protect me!” Jeeez, come on now, it was an earthquake, not a mountain lion! If it had teeth and claws I would have protected her!

Since we live in California, I suppose I should get used to it. Mama said that these little ones – less than magnitude 5 on the Richter scale – happen a lot in the Bay Area. Oakland is located closest to the Hayward fault, but there are others nearby like the San Andreas and the Calaveras. Our last big earthquake that made headlines was the Loma Prieta in 1989 during the World Series. It was only a 6.9, but it killed a bunch of people and brought down a segment of the Bay Bridge.

So apparently we are due for another big one, because all the seismic experts predict that for our location we should be getting a major quake every 30 years or so. The Mamas have been preparing by stocking up on food and water and other necessary items. Mama L. bought two ginormous ALICE bags as her BOBs. I love these names, so I asked who they were named after, and she said they are not really names but acronyms. ALICE stands for All-purpose Lightweight Individual Carrying Equipment, and BOB means Bug Out Bag. I think they should have a MADDIE bag as well, but Mama L couldn’t think of anything creative. Well, howabout Mayhem Adversion Doggy Duffle of Individual Essentials?

Anyway, the way I see it, the Mamas should be able to pack plenty of dog food for us in their ALICE bags. The general advice is to have enough food and water for at least three days, although some web sites recommend seven days. I am going to try to figure out how much dog food that is while I wait for Miss Abby to respond to my dilemma.

Dear Abby,

I am in a quandary, and I need your advice. Two years ago I got my No. One Fan (let’s call her “Miss K”), who loved and adored me and even named her cat after me. I would write to her every now and then on my blog, telling her all about my adventures and letting her know what was going on in my neighborhood. Occasionally she would return nice comments for me, and it would always make me happy to hear from her. Although it was irregular, I could always expect a nice note from Miss K every so often. Well, this stopped about six months ago, and I haven’t heard from Miss K since then. I know that people have things going on in their lives, and Miss K probably just got busy. I didn’t mind it so much, but I figured Miss K had already forgotten about me and moved on.

So, a couple of days ago, I asked Miss S on my blog if she would like to be my new No. One Fan, to which I was so happy to hear “yes”! It is such a good feeling to have a No. One Fan! I was looking forward to this new relationship, when lo and behold, Miss K resurfaced! She apologized for being missing in action, but she had been very busy.

So now I don’t know what to do. Should I rescind my offer to Miss S? Should I have two No. One Fans? Any thoughts you can provide would be greatly appreciated!

Quandarified in Oakland

P.S.  Mama L. said it’s unlikely that you would respond to a dog, but she pointed out that my chances would be improved if I tell you that it’s a similar analogy to having a Maid-of-Honor who backed out and then came back.

BTW, my name is Madeleine. I am pretty sure that no other dog in Oakland has the same quandary.




Editor’s Notes on recent Possum Posting

Due to several protests over our recent icky opossum posting, the Editor has decided to issue the following clarifications. Specifically, we wish to address the concerns of a friend who shall remained nameless. Our friend, who shall remained nameless, had apparently laid down some new sod in her back yard. She then had to do battle with not one, but SEVEN, opossums who had the misfortune of wanting some fresh grub, i.e., snails and slugs, and had peeled back the sod to get to the grub underneath. To her credit, our friend, who shall remained nameless, relocated these seven unfortunate possums seven different times to seven different locations far far away from her sod.

While we are not advocating adopting an opossum as a household pet (see #1 below), trapping and relocating them is really not very necessary.

1) Opossums are wild animals. Wild animals belong out in the wild. Opossums are also solitary animals. Cuddling is not a top priority for them. There have been many accounts of people rescuing and adopting them as household pets. However, please note that they are not dogs or cats, and generally do not make good “pets”. They are also nocturnal, and unless you keep vampirish hours, it is unlikely that you will be awake enough to enjoy their presence.

2) An opossum is a gardener’s best friend. Possums’ favorite delicacies are snails and slugs, which could easily devour all your vegetables in one night. They also eat insects, cockroaches!!!!, roof rats, and even snakes. They will also clear out carrion and any over-ripe fruit that you haven’t gotten to yet.

3) When trapped or threatened, they may emit a foul-smelling odor. This is part of their defense mechanism. This may or may not accompany the “playing possum” to get you to leave it alone. The foul-smelling odor is mild compared to, say, a skunk. Most people think skunks are cute. This is probably due to the Pepé Le Pew cartoon series in which a French skunk foolishly chased after a poor terrified house cat. Several opossum cartoon characters (Pogo, Banjo, Pistol Packin’) had been in circulation, however, none had ever made it “big” to stardom as Pepé the skunk.

4) Opossums have poor hearing and eyesight, and rely mostly on their keen sense of smell. As most other mammals, they are also lazy. They would much prefer a bowl of kitty krunchies to having to dig for slugs. (Actually, they don’t really dig.) If you prefer that they leave your garden alone, a small bowl of cat/dog food placed near your preferred exit would attract them and send them on their way after feasting.

5) They are not territorial, but they do have a territory. If you decide to vacate opossums elsewhere, keep in mind that other predators will move in. These include raccoons, skunks, and rats…

The National Opossum Society has a great website that has more information on these fascinating animals. The Opossum Society of the United States is also a great website. Note that the “Virginia” opossum isn’t really about possums in Virginia…that’s just what the American opossum is called.