Category Archives: photo

Corgi Photo Shoot

Last month, my good friend Voula Trip came over to kindly take photos of the corgis (and of me). As might be imagined, taking pictures of two crazy corgis presents quite the challenge. We wanted to get a picture of me and the corgis along with the two corgi Squishables. Sounds easy enough, right?

Challenge #1: Squirmy Leia

It took six years for me to get her to sit still enough to brush her teeth, and even now, it depends on the day, her mood, the angle of the sun… Note that her squirming was also accompanied by high-pitched squeals, disturbing enough to make Yoda leave the area (butt pictured).

Squirmy Leia being... squirmy.

Squirmy Leia being… squirmy.

Challenge #2: Yoda is in Love with the Photographer

Yep, he’s obsessed. Makes it difficult to take pictures when he’s sitting at your feet howling up at you lovingly.

Yoda: I love you! Sooooo much!

Yoda: “I love you! Sooooo much!”

Challenge #3: Make it Look Like You’re Not Choking Leia

When Leia finally calmed down a bit, we were able to have the corgis take their “places.” But Leia wouldn’t stay still. It was suggested that I “hold her gently” in place. The first attempt looked something like a toned-down version of Homer Simpson strangling Bart. Notice Yoda gazing longingly toward the photographer:

"Why you little!" ("Leia, just sit still for two seconds, please!)

“Why you little!” (“Leia, just sit still for two seconds, please!”)

The Payoff

And finally… after my hands gradually moved away from Leia’s neck in each subsequent shot, we ended up with something that looks halfway decent. If you don’t look carefully enough, you won’t notice Leia’s leg is in “spring” mode, ready to pounce away as soon as my arm is lifted. I put an arm around Yoda, too, so people might think the arms were a sign of affection instead of a near-death-grip on Squirmy Leia. Notice Yoda is still gazing longingly toward the photographer 🙂

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Their Reward

Not that Yoda needed a reward. The ability to bask in the warm presence of his new Love was enough… but Leia was still a little wound up. When it was all over, the corgis were thrilled when Voula asked them to sit on the couch for a “private” photo shoot. With such a privilege, Leia sat still for shot after shot.

Headshots-145Happy Monday, and Corgi On!

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Corgi Snow-Surfing Part III: Fun in the Sun

This week’s spring warm-up has brought us out of the dreaded “Arctic blast” of the last few weeks. It’s a relief not to have to keep those pipes dripping anymore. I thought I’d wish winter good-bye with one more set of corgi snow pictures. I always love the days after a snow storm, when the sun arrives to create a great contrast between the deep blue sky and the stark white ground. And, of course, the corgis keep it lively as ever. Enjoy!

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Yes, that’s NEGATIVE 8. Even though it looks warm, the morning after the storm was quite chilly!

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But the corgis don’t seem to mind the cold at all.

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I love this shot of Yoda. He looks like he’s swimming through the snow.

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Here, he reminds me of an Olympic athlete.

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A dog next door interrupts the photo shoot.

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This is Yoda’s tree. He loves to sit under it in all four seasons.

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Leia is trying to engage her brother in a game of chase. Leia has never sat still long enough to have a favorite tree.

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My favorite shot of Leia.

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The corgis prefer to use “corgi paths” when they aren’t running maniacally through the snow.

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The best part about corgi paths is there’s lots of places to eat choice bits of snow.

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But, of course, running through the snow is much more fun.

 

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Unlike her brother, Leia has a limited tolerance for low temperatures. This is the “look” she gives me when it’s time to go inside.

Hope you’ve enjoyed these pictures. Next up on the blog? Corgis + melting snow!

Corgi Snow-Surfing Part II: The Race

On Friday, I posted pictures of Leia chasing Yoda through the snow storm.

Today, I wanted to share more. Turns out, Yoda got his revenge when the corgis had a “race to the human.” Yoda won! Of course, everyone who knows the corgis knows that Leia is the faster runner, simply because she is driven by insanity. So when they started running, I fully expected her to win.

“Hey, Yoda, want to race to our human over there?”

IMG_5409“You know I’d rather just sit here and th–hey!”

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IMG_5411“It’s no use, Yoda. I’m cuter AND faster.”

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“Not to mention crazier.” IMG_5413“You got that right.”

IMG_5414“But crazy dogs get easily distracted.”

IMG_5416“What? Never!”

IMG_5421“Wait, this particular piece of snow tastes really good. Let me just stop for a minute and–“

“Yep, thought so.”

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“Getting to the human first is much better than eating that particular piece of snow.”IMG_5426“No. It was delicious. And totally worth it, Goody-Two-Paws.”

IMG_5427“Beats being crazy.”

Until next time, Corgi on!

Corgi Snow-Surfing Part 1: The Pursuit

The best part about snow for me is watching the corgis run through it. As a neighbor once commented, they look kind of like dolphins jumping waves as they navigate snow drifts that are deeper than they are tall (you can view a video at www.corgicapers.com/fun). To send winter off with a fond farewell (and yes, I mean farewell–we’re ready for spring!), I thought I’d share some pictures of… corgis running through snow.

This first series I took during our last snow storm in which Leia chased Yoda through the drifts. Leia loves to chase him around even though his favorite thing to do is sit calmly under a tree.

Yoda: She’s coming after me, isn’t she?

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Yes, Yoda. I’m afraid she is. Brace yourself.

"Oh no!"

“Oh no!”

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“Why can’t I just sit out and enjoy the storm like any other dog?”

 

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Like a shark, Leia sets her jaws for the attack.

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But the attack costs her time, and Yoda manages to pull away.

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I call this shot the “double-corgi.” You know: like a double rainbow.

 

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Run, Yoda, run!

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“Is she still behind me?”

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Yes, Yoda. Just keep running!

Eventually, Leia got distracted, and Yoda was able to do what he loves best: sit in the snow and watch the storm.

 

IMG_5466Love pictures of dogs running through snow? Stay tuned!

A Word from Leia the “Poop Monster”

My person called me a “poop monster” recently. The indignity, right?

See, last Friday night, my person and her person were having pizza. A corgi loves pizza. It’s food, isn’t it?

Demonstrating perfect begging form.

Demonstrating perfect begging form.

My silly person couldn’t finish all the pizza, and she left it there on the table. As if I didn’t know it was there. So what I did was, I jumped up and down like a kang-aroooo, and I kept doing that, and adding pathetic squeals, until my person said, “Okay, already. You can have a piece.”

So she took all the cheese off (how dare she!) and gave me some of the crust. It was so good that I kang-aroooed again, and she gave me some more. Before she knew it, she had gaved me almost all the pizza slice (except that my stupid brother got some, too).

I was so content that I curled up on her lap to take a nap until bedtime.

But before bedtime, my person woke me up and said, “Leia, you stink! Do you need to go out?”

Cold, dark, and snowy: the perfect time to play!

Cold, dark, and snowy: the perfect time to play!

It was not the Time to Go Out, but I will never say no to a romp around the yard, so I went out with her. But she didn’t want to play. She crossed her arms like I was supposed to be doing my business. But my person knows I already did my business for the day. How dare she!

What do you mean "time to do my business"?

What do you mean “time to do my business”?

She stayed out so long until she finally said, “Okay, I’m freezing.” And then we went to bed.

The next day, she came down and saw that I had made a mess in my crate. She (how dare she) said she had to get rubber cleaning gloves because I “slept in it,” and she had to carry me outside. She then complained about how cold it was out, and how the hose wasn’t hooked up and that she’d have to carry me back inside for a b-b-bath! The nerve of her! And she didn’t even feed me, either. Instead, she cleaned me with some stinky shampoo.

The indignities of bath-time.

The indignities of bath-time.

She even made me go to the vet when the poop wouldn’t stop coming. The vet said I didn’t have any parasites (of course I didn’t!) and that it just had to “run its course.” Whatever that means. I like to run, so whatever!

Here I am hiding at the vet's office. I figure, if I hide behind this chair, that pesky vet won't be able to find me.

Here I am hiding at the vet’s office. I figure, if I hide behind this chair, that pesky vet won’t be able to find me.

Turns out, “run its course” has nothing to do with running. Instead, it means being crated for like 20 hours a day! What’s a gal supposed to do being crated so long? Even being let out every three hours… the nerve!

All I had to do while in that crate was stare at my brother. He had to be in his crate, too “because of me.” Here are two funny stories about him.

First: my person had to cut my “butt fluff” the other day. She said she was tired of me squealing when she had to wash my butt fluff in the sink. I tried to tell her she didn’t have to wash my butt fluff—she could just leave it. But she insisted. So she took me outside with scissors and cut a little bit at a time. I squealed each time those scary scissors sliced together. I don’t like the noise they make.

So here’s the stupid part. My dumb brother always has to copy me (because I’m so amazing). So as soon as my person finished cutting my butt fluff, Yoda came running over and presented his rump for cutting! Can you believe the stupidity of that dog? So my person just shook her head and said, “Yoda, you don’t need a haircut. You aren’t sick.” You’d think Yoda would trot away, but instead, he just howled at my person.

So what she said was, she was going to pretend to cut Yoda’s butt fluff so that he wouldn’t feel left out. But here’s what happened: she opened the scissors up, and they made that scary slicing sound, and Yoda got so scared—with the scissors like a foot away from his butt—that he ran across the yard squealing.

He’s such a scared-y dog, and a goody-two-paws, too. Here’s why. After I stopped being sick, my person was still skeptical of my “poop situation” (the indignity!). So when I barked at 5:15 in the morning, she came right down to let me out. I wasn’t sick or anything, and she gave me some petting and food and then said she was “going back to bed.”

The nerve.

She put these baby gates at the bottom of the stairs and told us to “stay.”

As if.

I stayed for a little bit. In the past, I barreled through the gate, and the noise woke my person, and then I got yelled at and crated.

The time after that, I moved the gate ever so slowly, so my person didn’t even notice. When she woke up, I was sleeping in the hallway just outside her bedroom. She didn’t even know!

Sneaking-in-action.

Sneaking-in-action.

This time I was just as sneaky. Stealth-like, I moved the gate millimeter by millimeter until there was just enough of an opening for me to squeak by. I was being so quiet, not even jingling my collar. I made it to the upstairs hallway and then…

My pesky brother.

He loves to howl. He’s got about five hundred different kind of howls. There’s an excitement-howl, a fear-howl, a startled-howl, and greeting-howl, and worst of all, there’s a tattle-tale-howl. The tattle-tale-howl has been used time and time again to

Ruin

My

Day.

Which is what he was trying to do. He tattle-howled me, and my person got up right away. Without even looking, she knew it was a tattle-tale-howl. She called, “Leia, what have you done this time?”

She was onto me.

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And there I was standing in the hallway. What could I do? I ran down the stairway, but it was too late. She saw that I was still on the wrong side of the baby gate. And so I was in trouble.

I thought for sure it was the crate for me, but things worked out okay in the end.

My person said I was “too cute for my own good,” and she said she would stay downstairs with us so we could cuddle with her on the couch.

And that’s just what we did.

Me. Her. And even my pesky brother.

The best kind of cuddling is cuddling that prevents our person from being productive!

The best kind of cuddling is cuddling that prevents our person from being productive!

From the warmth of the couch, this is Leia the Poop Monster, signing off!

Chloe the Book Critic

Today I’m featuring a guest canine on my blog. She’s best known in the literary world as Chloe the Book Critic, and let me tell you: she’s the toughest critic I’ve ever met. She likes to try as many types of literature as possible, but writers beware: she eats what she doesn’t like.

And I haven’t met a book she likes yet!

She started out her early months as a critic of newspapers. It looks like perhaps she’s a fan of shopping because she left a few of the store circulars intact:

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Here we see her brother Buster, who is not a book critic, wondering how she could be so critical, even of the sports and weather section:

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It’s even been rumored that she devoured (quite literally, I’m sorry to say) a copy of Corgi Capers. In her most recent endeavors, she decided to critique a book her person had borrowed from a friend. Chloe only made it a few pages in before deciding the book was worthy of her harshest criticism:

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But who could stay mad at that face?

IMAG0442Chloe is a rescue; she used to be a racing greyhound, but at only three years old, she broke her toe, making her eligible for rescue status. She has a sweet personality and is even friends with the corgis. Since her rescue, she has healed, gained weight, learned how to play, and adjusted to life with her beloved brother Buster. She is well-loved by her human.

If you have written a book that you’d like reviewed or critiqued… don’t send it to Chloe!


I sometimes feature guest dogs on this dog blog. If you’re interested in featuring your pup, let’s chat: send me an email!

Leia: A Corgi (in verse)

Leia: A Corgi

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A princess in every sense:

I demand service in its appropriate time—

A time for petting,

For feeding,

For waking,

For walking.

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A time for going outside,

For bathing (yes, I demand even that),

For cuddling,

For chewing.

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And if the appropriate service is not provided

At the appropriate time,

I bark sharply

And stare

And nudge

And whine

Until you obey.

(And you will obey.)

My person was "cleaning," so I thought I'd help sit on laundry that needed to be folded!

My person was “cleaning,” so I thought I’d help sit on laundry that needed to be folded!

I cry at the fast food window

Until the smell of goodies fills the car.

I growl at my brother,

Or the cavachon,

Or the poodle,

Or the squirrel or bird or mouse,

Or even the boxer that outweighs me by four.

I'm not allowed to sit on the stairs, so I hide behind the Christmas tree so no one can catch me doing it!

I’m not allowed to sit on the stairs, so I hide behind the Christmas tree so no one can catch me doing it!

I do bad things

And then make my face look so sad,

My stance so cuddly,

That no one can stay mad at me,

Not even for a second.

The person on the couch doesn't let me sleep on there. I snuck up while *he* was sleeping, and my eyes bulged every time he moved because I thought he was gonna yell at me!

The person on the couch doesn’t let me sleep on there. I snuck up while *he* was sleeping, and my eyes bulged every time he moved because I thought he was gonna yell at me! It was *so* worth it!

Through this behavior,

I make people smile.

And that is worth

Every pesky little quirk.

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Leia the Corgi is the inspiration behind the character “Sapphie” in the Corgi Capers kidlit mystery series.

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Book 3: Curtain Calls and Fire Halls has recently been released. Check it out to read up on the corgis’ latest adventures. You can also find a discount on the three-book set directly from the publisher!

Corgi Capers 3 front cover

To Denby

I was touched to learn of the passing of Denby Dog yesterday. He is now running free across the rainbow bridge. (For those not in the know, I have blogged about him before—here.)

I say “touched” instead of “saddened” because although I am terribly sad and thought about Denby throughout the day, I can’t help but think of the joy he brought his family during all the years he lived against the odds, not to mention all the happiness they brought him. I can’t help but think about all the two- and four-legged friends Denby brought together over the years—friends on Facebook who never met in person but who shared joy and comfort in each other’s company, and will continue to do so, all because of a spirited little dog.

Every dog touches the hearts of his owners—his family. But Denby reached beyond his “mommy’s” heart and touched the lives of more people than he could count. And so when I remember Denby, I do not dwell on the sorrow of losing him—but rather, I celebrate the joy of having known him and having been part of the community he inspired. As they say—corgi on!

Though I am a prose writer, I do sometimes write poetry, and Denby inspired me to write something for him. So here goes:

 

To Denby, on Earning Your Wings

 

You earned your wings some time ago, though they could not be seen:

Your spirit soared, with soul aglow, through each computer screen.

 

A Super-Dog, you showed us how to find the “super” within,

To “corgi on” and be “Denby Strong,” your wink an inspiring grin.

 

You taught us all to enjoy each day of peace and joy and love.

And corgi nation’s members, they now feel your spirit above.

 

For years, you crossed impossible bounds, transcending nations and states.

Bringing together a world of hounds and people; you’re one of the greats.

 

You’ve let us fly, with your invisible wings, for many inspiring years;

Now’s your time to soar like angels and kings. There is joy for you, in my tears.

 

For now you sleep on a bed of stars and wink at the moon “goodnight.”

And spend your days in the rainbow world, in happy, frappy flight.

 

We’ll see you again, brave Super-Dog, but until that day,

Be with our pets that have gone before—and enjoy your time to play.

 

-Val Muller

 

During an auction to raise money for Denby earlier this year, I auctioned the opportunity to name a character in the upcoming Corgi Capers: Curtain Calls and Fire Halls. Miss Kat generously won that opportunity, and she chose to name the character Denby, after the inspirational corgi whose stamina and spirit greatly inspired all of corgi nation. In the upcoming book, I created a character that captures Denby’s spirit—spreading joy, enjoying life, and bringing people together. I hope I have done justice to his memory and legacy.

Yoda and Leia, wearing red for Denby. Yoda's cape is a tribute to the Super-Dog.

Yoda and Leia, wearing red for Denby. Yoda’s cape is a tribute to the Super-Dog.

Happy Star Wars Day!

Today is May Fourth, as in “May the Fourth be with you,” as in, “Happy Star Wars Day!”

May the Fourth be with you!

May the Fourth be with you!

Understandably, Star Wars Day is a special day for Leia and Yoda Corgi. When we first brought the corgis home, we thought about what to name them. As a writer and English teacher, I had already told myself that when I got a dog, I would name him after an author or a famous literary character. Chaucer was at the top of my list.

But when we saw our little corgi pup, his ears were so large (they were already sticking straight up when we got him) that he reminded us of Yoda from Star Wars. The name stuck immediately.

Yoda, a Pembroke

Yoda on his “gotcha day,” a tiny pup with huge ears.

Since we adopted a sister and brother, we decided we needed a female name for Yoda’s sister. I thought about Princess Leia’s famous hairdo, the one with two braids wrapped at the sides of her head. The puppy had also been acting like a princess from the moment we got her, so Princess Leia sounded perfect (though to prevent her from having a superiority complex, we just call her “Leia” for short).

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Leia dressed up like Yoda for Halloween (Yoda was afraid of the Yoda costume and decided to go as himself!).

When I wrote Corgi Capers, I wanted to name the corgis in a similar fashion, after famous characters that my protagonist, Adam Hollinger, was fond of. Because of both my desire to avoid copyright issues and to “make it my own,” I decided to create a fictional famous outer-space comic book series that Adam could draw from to name his pups.

In Corgi Capers, the pups are named Zeph and Princess Sapphie (but just “Sapphie” for short—Sapphie doesn’t need a superiority complex, either). Zeph is loyal and intelligent just like his namesake. Logan Zephyr is a fearless space commander who leads his crew, the Stellar Squadron, around the universe in search of adventure. Though Zeph the puppy is often fearful, he tries hard to live up to the bravery of his namesake, displaying courage even when he’s trembling inside.

A sketch of Logan Zephyr, one of Adam's favorite comic book characters in Corgi Capers.

A sketch of Logan Zephyr, one of Adam’s favorite comic book characters in Corgi Capers.

During one of his adventures, explorer Logan Zephyr comes upon a strange planet covered in quicksand. Underneath the quicksand is the beautiful Sapphire Kingdom inhabited by a princess named Princess Sapphire. Instead of being forthcoming about the fact that she is lonely and trapped on her isolated planet, she uses deceit and flattery to lure the explorers to her, and she uses treachery to try to trap them. Though she is beautiful and kind, she has a dark side. Adam decided this would be a perfect name for Zeph’s rambunctious sister, who is sweet when she wants to be but likes to dominate any situation and prefers using tricks than brains simply because it’s more fun.

A sketch of Princess Sapphire, the princess Logan encounters during one of his adventures.

A sketch of Princess Sapphire, the princess Logan encounters during one of his adventures.

Each May the Fourth, I’m reminded of the corgis’ “gotcha day” and the fun we had in naming them and introducing them to their new home. Since then, each day has been a new adventure, and I’m glad the corgis are along for the ride.

Tomorrow, we have a special guest post about naming dogs from awesome author C. Hope Clark. Stay tuned!

Howl-o-what?

Leia and Yoda here. We are kind of scared, so we decided to write this blog post together.

You see, our person has been…acting weird. And who ya calling scared, brother?

Let me tell it, Leia.

Hmph!

See, our person has been acting weird. She brought home these things. They smelled like corgi toys, but they weren’t to be played with.

They were, were, were! I was about to chew on the–

No, Leia, they weren’t. They were to be… worn.

You see, Yoda doesn’t like to wear anything. Whenever I wear a Doritos bag on top of my head, he runs away and hides. Or when I wear a mud scarf around my neck and then get to wear shampoo and water… Anyway, as soon as I saw what our person brought, I knew I wanted to wear it right away. I growled at Yoda so he’d know I was claiming it: I wanted to wear the green costume.

Yes, she did. But our person told us that the green costume was for me. But it was too…scary!

Yoda, you’re not very smart. That costume is called a Yoda Costume. That’s why you were supposed to wear it.

But…but…it covered my…ears.

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We couldn’t even try to get the coat on you. You were too scared. But not me. I thought it was fun, fun, fun!

There’s nothing scarier than my ears being covered.

What about foil?

W-what?

Or knocking on a door?

W-what!

Your reflection in a window?

Leia, stop!

Or crinkly dog toys?

No!

That costume was NOT the scariest thing of all. See how pretty I look in it?

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Glad you liked it, then. I thought it was pretty scary.

But you were jealous, too. You were jealous when our person started taking pictures of me. You wanted to join in the fun. See, here’s a picture of you trying to sneak into MY photo session!

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That’s true.

But she said if you were gonna be in the picture, you had to be wearing a costume.

I know.

So then she put the cowgirl hat on you.

CowBOY hat, you mean.

Ha! No. Cow. GIRL. Hat. It was pink. See?

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So?

Everything i have is pink. My pink skull collar. My leash.

So? 

So, that hat was supposed to be for me.

But…

It’s okay. I know that hat is mine just like the Yoda costume is mine, and both our dishes are mine, and all our toys are mine.

What?

After all, you were scared of the hat, too.

Was not. 

Don’t lie, Yoda. I can see in this picture how you can barely hold your head up. 

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That’s because, um, that hat is, um… heavy. 

Heavy, my left paw! 

It was!

I don’t think so. Your head was drooping like that because you were scared, scared, scared!

Well…

And then our person started laughing and felt sorry for you. She took off that hat and put that stupid pumpkin shirt on you. At least your ears stood up for the picture, but I know you were scared. 

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How do you know? 

When our person told you to sit up on the stairs for the picture, you wouldn’t move.

What do you mean? 

You just sat there frozen, like you couldn’t move in that shirt. 

I couldn’t! My muscles froze solid. That shirt is haunted. 

It’s not, Yoda. You’re just a scaredy dog. I can’t believe our person had to LIFT you up onto the stairs while you were wearing that shirt.

Well, at least this Howl-o-ween thing is over. 

Hate to tell you, brother, but it’s not over yet. And after that there are the holidays. You remember, when our people put up the–

Don’t say it!

The TREE. 

No!

And they tear open wrapped gifts. 

No!

And give you all kinds of new toys that you’re terrified of. 

No! We have enough of those. 

Maybe YOU have enough, but I can never get enough of those squeaky–

No!

bouncy–

No!

crinkly–

No!

toys!

Yoda? Yoda, where did you go?

Oh, I see. At the mention of “toys,” Yoda has fled the scene. He’s probably hiding in his little house. Ha! While he’s away, here is a picture of him last holiday season. Our people were putting a tree inside our house, and he was watching from a far distance.

Yoda: This is as close as I get! (Yoda watches from afar as the Christmas Tree is put together and decorated. All season, he gave the tree a wide berth.)

Fraidy-dog Yoda hiding from the tree, of all things!

I was so close, they kept stepping on me. I can’t think of anything more fun, fun, fun! And speaking of scaredy dogs, here is a picture of a corgi-lantern our person made. It’s based on the most cowardly corgi in the universe, aka my brother.

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Well, until next time, Leia Corgi signing out. Oh, and remember to send me those peanut butter treats!

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