The Story of a man who had never seen a dog

It’s always great fun when Smokey visits.  Smokey is my daughter’s seven year old Morkie:  half Maltese and half Yorkshire Terrier.  He weighs 11 pounds.

Smokey met Kloe the first time after we moved to the mountains.  Kloe was just a few months old but already four or five times the size of Smokey.  Upon introduction Kloe became instantly enamored with Smokey.  With puppy-pose in full force Kloe invited Smokey to run, play, wrestle and good old fashioned tug-o-war.  Smokey played it cool, gave Kloe a sniff, and sauntered over to some bushes to leave some pee-mail.

Throughout that weekend Kloe would follow Smokey wherever he went.  Kloe would initiate play, Smokey would give her some sniffs and a lick on the face, and then move along his way.  When Smokey would jump on the couch to settle in for a nap Kloe would lay on the floor and stare at him. When Smokey went outside to do his business Kloe would follow in his tracks. Occasionally Smokey grew weary of Kloe’s attention and gave a snarl telling Kloe to back off.  Kloe respected that and gave him his space.  It was good that Smokey, this little miniature Ewok, established some ground rules for Kloe who is always eager and totally unaware of the size difference.

Fast forward a couple of years and things haven’t changed much.  Kloe remains enamored with Smokey who is still just 11 pounds and still holds his own navigating in and around Kloe’s 80 pounds of energy and constant motion.  Upon arriving for a visit the two of them greet one another with enthusiasm, some “kissy face” and both seem to enjoy the familiarity with one another

The Story of a man who had never seen a dog

A man had never seen a dog before arrived at our house a couple of weekends ago when  Smokey was up for a visit   This man thought Kloe and Smokey were two different species.  The man said, “which one is the dog? And if one is a dog what is that other creature?”   When I told him they were both dogs the man responded, “That can’t be true!  One is barely 10 pounds, not much bigger than a squirrel, and looks like a fur ball in the wind. The other is 10 times that size, looks like a pony, and runs swiftly like a  gazelle.  No this can’t be so. They cannot both be dogs.” The man was puzzled and interested in understanding how these two creatures could both be dogs.

I explained how dogs come in many different sizes, have varied physical attributes, and come from many different walks of life.   I told him that dogs have a wide variety of backgrounds, experiences, and qualities.   I explained that although some dogs have been bred for specific purposes like hunting, or herding, or mousing they are all still dogs.  I went on to say that in spite of these different qualities and experiences, and having come from all around the world, they are still all just dogs.  Dogs who recognize each other as dogs.  Not as a different breed.  Not as a lesser or more superior beast. But as equals with a set of universal codes of communication, respect, and an natural ability to get along and co-exist in peace.

The man seemed less puzzled now and began to understand what I was saying.  The man said, “So what you’ve told me is a lesson for dogs?”.

I said no, “What I told you is a lesson for men”.


Smokey arriving for a visit





Kloe and Smokey

Kloe was infatuated with Smokey from the first day she met him.  Smokey on the other hand was nonchalant and only mildly interested with Kloe who, even as a very young pup, was much larger than Smokey.  Smokey played it cool and if Kloe became a nuisance he let her know with a growl and snap from his tiny snout.  Kloe would acquiesce to Smoky’s body language and back off but only by inches, still so very interested in this smaller yet more mature and dominant being staring intently and seemingly willingly him to “play”.

Smokey is my daughters pup, an 11 pound half Maltese Terrier half Yorkshire Terrier – a Morkie!  When Kloe first met “the Smokster” as a young pup, she was not much bigger than him.  Now at 80 pounds Kloe is almost eight times Smokey’s size both in weight and stature yet the infatuation continues.

My daughter and Smokey paid a visit to The Golden K recently.   Kloe of course was all about Smokey.  It was nice to see that more often than not, maybe because Kloe is maturing and slightly calmer, Smokey seems to enjoy hanging with his step sister that I call Kloe Bowie Sugerlips.

Kloe and Smokey


200 Pounds Of Dog For Christmas

There will be a large group at The Golden K this Christmas!  The breakdown of attendees goes like this:  three humans, five canines, and one cow.  Well, only part of a cow; a prime rib to be more specific.

Meet the humans:  Michael, Holly, and Jessica (our daughter).

Meet the Canines:  Kali, Kloe, Smokey, Sadie, and Jaynee.  Kali and Kloe you already know and Smokey some of you have “met” in past posts.  Smokey is an eleven pound Morky (Maltese / Yorkshire mix)  of pure cute.  Sadie and Jaynee belong to our friends who live nearby and who will be traveling for a few days.  Sadie and Jayne will be with us for three days over Christmas.  I’m not sure what breeds Sadie is but she is about 45 pounds, 11 years old, fuzzy, and very sweet.  Jayne is an Australian Shepard mix about 35 pounds and lighting fast.  She and Kloe have become good friends over the past several months.  Kloe and Jayne run, chase, and wrestle while Kali and Sadie lay and watch them or sleep in the sun.  It’s a good mix and lots of fun to watch.

Meet the Cow:  just kidding.  I meant eat the cow (sorry PETA advocates but I really love beef…

So this long Christmas weekend will be interesting and fun to say the least.   It could be a howl!  Smokey arrives tomorrow (Friday) with my daughter, Sadie and Jayne arrive Saturday.  They will all leave on Monday.  So we’ll have three days with twenty paws running around the… well, probably running around the house because it’s supposed rain and/or snow most of that time.

I sure hope Santa is quiet coming down our chimney Christmas Eve otherwise he’ll be sharing his milk and cookies with 200 pounds of dog!

With a little Mother Nature luck the nine of us (yes, I’m including the cow) may wake up to this on Christmas morning as we did over Thanksgiving weekend.  Just enough to look pretty but not so much to have to shovel  🙂


A Long Smokey Weekend

Fire in the hills…  Wait, that’s not the smoke I’m referring to….

The familiarity was evident. Kali walked down the driveway and Smokey immediately ran up to her and smelled her face.  The normal dog greeting is usually on the opposite end but Smokey has always enjoyed “Kissy Face” with Kali often time placing his two front paws on her snout to balance while smelling the top of her head.  Kali smiled and I did too because it was great to see Kali and Smokey back to together for a few days.

When we moved to the mountains my daughter Jessi, who is Smokey’s mom, moved into an  apartment in the Bay Area.  So after living together for almost two years Smokey and Kali would not be seeing each other very often.  Jessi’s move proceeded ours by about a month and Smokey had two brief meetings with new puppy Kloe when Jessi came back home a couple of times.  During their first meeting Smokey made it clear that he didn’t approve of Kloe’s presence in his old house.  Kloe who was 10 weeks old at the time, but twice as big as Smokey,  approached Smokey who growled and went off to sleep in his crate with a big old “Who in the heck is that?!?” thought bubble over his head.  Kloe’s thought bubble was something like “But I just wanted a hug”. But the message was delivered and Kloe kept her distance Smokey’s visit and also the next one.

I was in the Bay Area for work on Thursday and picked Smokey up from my daughter on my way back to our home in Tuolumne.  Because of the dynamic with Smokey and Kloe during their two brief encounters we thought it best to be a little strategic in how we re-introduced them.  When I arrived home Holly brought Kali out first to greet Smokey.  After he had time for a little Kissy Face and to sniff around the front of the house Holly went to get Kloe.

When Kloe came down she was full of enthusiasm which goes without saying.  I think Smokey was more interested in Kloe than vice-versa.  They did a few butt sniffs and went about their own business.   As good as Kloe’s training has been going I expected some fireworks between Smokey and her.  She’s just four months old and sometimes her enthusiasm gets the best of her and that wouldn’t play well with Smokey. I knew that if Kloe tried to rough house with Smokey like she does with Kali it would be a problem.  But they’ve mostly stayed clear of one another and as much as I would love to see them interact Smokey is only 10 pounds and Kloe is too young to know to take it easy on him (like Kali takes it easy on Kloe [but not for long]…).

Smokey will be with us until Monday morning when Holly will take him back home to Jessi.  So until then we’re enjoying a long Smokey weekend with the trio in the photo below.




The Merry Old Land Of Oz

Did Kali and I mention that Smokey was back?  We may not have even mentioned that he ever left.   He was gone for about three months while his mom (my daughter) was living somewhere else.  Smokey decided he missed Kali too much so he moved back in and brought my daughter with him.  Yes parents of adult children, you know how that one goes….  😉

Upon his arrival he gave Kali the once over and decided she was a mess and needed a little grooming which he would do himself.   It looked a bit like the scene in the Wizard of Oz when Dorothy, Scarecrow, Tin Man, and the cowardly lion finally make it to the Emerald City.  Upon entering the city and stating their desire to meet with the great Wizard the residents decide Dorothy and crew first need to be spiffied up a bit.  They proceed to clean then up in grand fashion while singing,

Rub, rub here, Rub, rub there whether you’re tin or brass
That’s how we keep you in repair, In the Merry Old Land of Oz

– From The Merry Old Land Of Oz 

And this is pretty much what Smokey did when he re-entered his merry old land of Kali.

“Sniff sniff here, lick lick there, I’ll give the softest nibble
That’s how I keep you looking good and ready for your dinner kibble”

– From Smokey’s thought bubble

(Yes, very corny!  But don’t blame me; Smokey’s responsible for the contents of his thought bubbles.)


There was a Broadway musical in the sixties, and later revived in the late nineties, called “You’re A Good Man, Charlie Brown”. Based on the characters created by the late Charles M. Schulz from his comic strip “Peanuts” the show has a small cast and each character stands out through funny bits and great songs.  Of course one of those stand outs is Snoopy, Charlie Brown’s gregarious and fun-loving Beagle.

Sally and Snoopy from the 1998 revival of You're A Good Man, Charlie Brown

Sally and Snoopy from the 1998 Broadway revival of You’re A Good Man, Charlie Brown

A highlight of the show is when Snoopy sings Suppertime.  The bit starts out with Snoopy day dreaming about dinner and lamenting about how long it’s been since he eaten last.

“My stomach clock just went off. It’s suppertime, and Charlie Brown has forgotten to feed me. Here I lie, a withering hollow shell of a dog and there sits my supper dish … EMPTY!”

Charlie brown eventually shows up with Snoopy’s food dish and all of a sudden it’s SHOWTIME. Snoopy breaks into a vaudeville song and dance routine that always brings down the house.  The bit ends with Charlie Brown, who has been off to the side screaming, “NOW CUT THAT OUT!!!! Why can’t you eat your meal quietly and calmly like any other normal dog?” Snoopy responds dryly, “So what’s wrong with making mealtime a joyous occasion?”

And this is Kali at mealtime. The dish comes out and it is Showtime. You’d think she hadn’t eaten in days or that there was filet mignon in her bowl. Her nose goes up in the air, her toes tap on the tile of the kitchen floor, and her butt is swinging from side to side. She follows me to tub with her food and once it’s in her bowl she begins hopping up and down and heads straight to the spot where she eats. I put the bowl down and Kali sits in front of it looking directly into my eyes. Waiting. Waiting for my signal. I pause for a few seconds and then point to the dish.

I’ve thought about trying to change Kali’s behavior when  preparing her meals, but hey, what’s wrong with making mealtime a joyous occasion, right? And after all Kali does show great deference as the bowl hits the ground waiting for the OK to begin eating; as if waiting for all the other guests to sit down.

Suppertime is usually around 6:00 pm. That means that Kali begins staring at me around 5:15 and wondering if, like Charlie Brown, I’ve forgotten to feed her.  I sit, watching the evening news and Kali sits watching me watch the news.  Eventually she gives up and lies down with a sigh to wait it out.  As it get’s closer to 6:00 I get up and Showtime begins. Last night, for fun, I got up without giving any clear signal that it “was time”. Kali was lying with her head on the ground and her eyes followed me as I headed to the kitchen to get her dish. But my movement deceived her and I slyly hid her dish from view as I headed to the pantry where we store her the food . All of a sudden Kali realizes that “it’s game on”. She seemed to jump straight up from a lying position and momentarily hover in the air, eyes wide, with a thought bubble over her head that says, “Suppertime?”  And so it was.


Smokey and Kali almost always eat at the same time and usually side by side. Smokey is the antithesis of Kali at mealtime. When Smokey realizes its time to eat he calmly walks over to his mat, sits,  and quietly waits.  He seems to know it’s coming and is very willing to wait it out, however long it may take. Smokey also waits for “the signal” but even once he gets the green light he saunters over to his dish, stretches out his neck from a few feet away, takes a sniff, looks at Kali, and then slowly begins to eat. No big deal. No major production. No song and dance.

When the weather is mild Kali and Smokey will eat outside. If the weather is warm enough Kali likes to sniff around after dinner and will usually lie down on the patio taking in the smells of the mild evening.  Last night was a warm night.  I placed the food bowls on the ground and gave the signals. As always, Kali was off to the races. A bomb could drop in the yard and she would not deter from the job at hand.  Smokey, not so much.

Last night as the bowls were placed on the ground and the signals were given the neighbor’s dog presented himself on the other side of the fence. Smokey hears the dog and makes a bee-line for the fence leaving his full dish of food behind. Next to Kali. Unattended. Vulnerable… Kali is usually very respectful of Smokey’s food but a hungry girl can only have so much will-power.  There have been a couple of occasions when she attempted to “sample” a treat or meal of Smokey’s and Smokey has made it very clear this is not OK.

So Smokey heads to the fence line barking and I walk out after him to tell him this is not alright.  He agrees and as we head back to the patio where the food bowls are I see Kali’s big face in Smokey’s little bowl. All the food is gone. She takes a lap around the bowl with her tongue and then goes back to her bowl which was still about half full. It struck me as interesting that Kali wouldn’t have finished her bowl before going to Smokey’s unattended bowl. Her head is usually buried so deep in her bowl that it surprised me that she even noticed Smokey was gone. But she did and must have quickly realized that Smokey would be back soon and that she had only a small window of opportunity.

Smokey and I are now standing at his empty bowl.  He looks at the bowl and then up at me with his head cocked to one side as if to say, “what the…?” Kali’s head remains buried in her bowl but I see her eyes briefly glancing at me as if to say, “What?” I pick up Smokey’s bowl and go into the house to re-fill it. As I put Smokey’s bowl on the ground – inside the house – I had to admit that I was a little proud of Kali for her strategic thinking. Or, maybe it was instinct.

Or maybe she was just giving her little brother a lesson in priorities.


Forecast: Buzzed and Warm

What a transformation. In a matter of about an hour he went from “Tough Guy” to “Lamb Pie”.

Kali’s little bro’, Smokey got a LONG OVERDUE grooming this week.  Smokey had not had a grooming for quite some time and he needs one at least every 8 to 12 weeks.  Otherwise he quickly turns into one of those fuzzy slippers that my sister used to wear back in the sixties.  It’s an amazing transformation and this time it was even more striking.  Because we waited so long he had a lot of matting in his fur.   So this grooming turned out to be a more of a doggie buzz-cut.


Tough Guy Smokey

Tough Guy Smokey


Lamb Pie Smokey

Lamb Pie Smokey

It could be that I’m projecting my perceptions but Smokey seems a lot calmer and mild-mannered when he looks like a little lamb. Less barking and overall less small-dog syndrome.  Although the bleating does become rather annoying (sorry!)…

Another interesting dynamic is how Kali has related to Smokey after his grooming.  Smokey is usually the one who initiates play taunting Kali to chase him using tactics like nipping at her tail and running in circles under her nose.  But this time when Smokey came home from the grooming Kali seemed intrigued.  They always greet each other when one of them comes home but this time seemed different.  Kali approached Smokey with lots of sniffing and pushed her head against his little 11 pound body.  Then, like a unbridled pony her front legs went up in the air, her tail was wagging furiously, and with a big smile on her face she seemed to say, “Hey you’re cute and you smell really good; wanna play chase?”  And of course Smokey complied running in between furniture and under tables to get away only to re-emerge and launch his signature counter attack. It’s a good thing Kali is not a border collie or Smokey would be in for a long Spring.

And talk about transformation and Spring, we went from torrential downpours in the Bay Area causing flooding in many areas to sunny and warm Spring-like weather.  We’ll have temps in the low to mid-seventies throughout the weekend and into next week.  If only I could teach Kali how to caddy could multitask with a long walk while I also play golf.


There’s a pond along our walking trail with a lots of ducks, geese, and a variety of water fowl.  We’ve even seen a couple of blue heron’s.  Kali loves watching the birds and becomes especially animated when they land in the water as a flock or take back to the skies after we’ve come too close or Kali has let out a hearty woof.  Kali is a great walker and rarely tugs at the leash staying close to my side.  But as we get close to the duck pond she begins pulling and fully extends the slack in the leash while looking back at me as if to say, “Aren’t you coming?  There are birds over there in the water.  I’m a retriever; I’ve got a job to do”.

I think I’m supposed to go out there and “retrieve” one of those ducks, right?

It had been a long time since Kali and I had walked in warm weather.  Me in shorts and Kali in, well she still had two coats on but she didn’t seem to mind.  So on this Winter afternoon that felt a lot more like Spring we took an extra long route, visited the duck pond (did I have a choice?),  passed by the dog park without drama, and stopped to “smell the (figurative) roses”.  With no reason to rush home we took in the sights and smells and were very mindful our blessings on this glorious afternoon.

Sit Kali.  Sure why not.

Sit Kali. Sure why not.


Lie Down.  OK, glad to oblige.

Lie Down. OK, glad to oblige.


The first meeting between Smokey and Kali took place the morning after Kali arrived in America.   It didn’t go too well.  There was lots of barking by both dogs, some enthusiastic teeth gnashing and growling from Smokey, and a lot of nervous panting and confusion from Kali.   In retrospect I didn’t prepare for or handle the first meeting very well and I would (will?) do it different the next time around.  In spite of my clumsiness in handling the introduction by the end of the day Smokey and Kali were co-habitating very nicely and after just a few days they were eating side by side and laying in the sun together.

Smokey was about eight weeks old when my daughter brought him home almost three years ago.  Less than three  pounds he looked like a miniature Ewok.


Smokey the Mini-Ewok tipping the scales at a robust 2 lbs. 12 oz.  


Even before Kali arrived Smokey never had problems making friends

Half Yorkshire Terrier and Half Maltese – a Morkie – Smokey is a cute little lamb-pie and tough guy all wrapped into one very intelligent dog.   Loyal protector of the pack Smokey sounds the alarm – much to my chagrin – at any sign of danger or threat.  Unfortunately his “small dog syndrome” causes him to perceive the UPS truck, any moving creature in front or in back of the house,  and any knocks on the front door threatening.  When we let him out to do his business first thing in the morning he immediately bolts to the back fence and runs the perimeter patrolling and using his nose to gather “intelligence” about what may have gone on during the night.   But for all his Napoleon Syndrome traits his enthusiastic, unbridled, and unconditional  love more than make up for it.

If someone arrives home from being out Smokey greets them with his entire body wagging.  This is not separation anxiety.   He does this regardless of whether he was home alone or home with other family members.  When one arrives home he runs up to greet you and wags his body all the while smelling your feet and legs to see where you’ve been.   One cannot have low self-esteem when around Smokey because he let’s you know how important you are to him.  He does the same thing with Kali showering her with kisses when she arrives back from her walk with me.  For Smokey, in ways different from Kali, it’s all about the pack.

Now, full-grown at 10 and a half pounds Smokey is not much bigger than Kali’s head; which he often lovingly jumps onto with his front paws when Kali is laying down.   Smokey sleeps with my daughter but on the rare times she’s not home he sleeps with my wife and I.  How is it that a ten pound dog can commandeer a queen size bed?   Smokey does have a few fetishes. He loves to nibble on toes of barefoot visitors during the summer.  He uses his incisors to chew on the hairs on my arm and face like a monkey grooming his mate ridding them of mites and parasites.

I’m not sure if this is a small dog thing or a Smokey thing but he doesn’t lift his leg to pee.  Ever.  He’ll stand there like a pointer looking off to the distance with his tail in the air and snout facing in the direction of “the hunter’s prey”.  “Ahhh…” he seems to say as he jogs back to the door taking one last glance at the perimeter of the yard.

The Smokster, Smokadoo, and “hey da Smoke” is the smallest member of the pack but I am sure has the biggest heart.

IMG_0384Tough Guy Smokey

And then the transformation…..

IMG_1673Lamb Pie Smokey right after getting groomed 


Smokey and Panda


Sharing some sun with KaliIMG_1381Kissy-Face with Sissy Kali