Friday, December 30, 2011

Momma has Exceeded her Dork Quotient

I know, I know, you haven't been receiving as many of my insightful comments of late. Let's just say we are all very busy here at the Mango estate, but especially me, so sit tight and be patient with us, OK?

Once a quarter, Grandma and Grandpa come and take momma shopping. Since she hates shopping, this is a big deal. This time she declared success, but I'm not so sure...

Here is her new Elmer Fudd hat which she is now wearing everywhere. Even to the library and dog store and stuff. Oh the horror.

Check out her googly eyes. She looks like a labradoink eyeballing a tennis ball.

Meanwhile, I am confounded by PeeWee's persistence about using MY beds when he has an entire couch for his labraself. He doesn't even sleep in them. He just stares with that same look that momma gets in her Elmer Fudd hat. Then if I try to get in, he growls at me which is kind of freaky. Like what kind of head case would challenge the Mango?

I can usually resolve things by howling and moaning until momma can't stand it and tells the black devil to "git."

OK, gotta go, lot's do to. Busy, busy, busy.

Mango Man! Oh yeah!

P.S. Please keep K in your thoughts as she is having her surgery today to try and remove the evil bone cancer. And I also want to thank you for all your good wishes for my Auntie who is still in the ICU, but finally had her breathing tube removed last night and is awake but kind of dorked out.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

POTP for Miss Maggie and Little Toby and Farewell to Bjorn

Beautiful Maggie is 13 1/2 years old and her rugged dale body is wearing down.
I'm sure you all know her as Maggie and her brother Mitch are two of the most supportive, commenting doggies in all of blogland.
Her mom and dad are keeping her happy and comfortable but I am sure they would appreciate your good thoughts and kind words.

Visit her here.

My little friend, Toby, all the way in Alaska suffered an injury when he dashed through the doggie door with a bit too much vigor and he had to go to the emergency room. He is home and taking medication now and hoping that it is "just" soft tissue damage. Visit him here.

I was also sad to read that little ferret, Bjorn made his final journey. He was one nutty character for sure. Don't believe me? Just watch this movie of him with his siblings causing mayhem.

One can only imagine what must be happening right now over that Rainbow Bridge. No wonder we had thunder and lightening and a power outage last night.

Monday, December 26, 2011

A Lab Obsessed

Ever wonder what it is with labradoinks and tennis balls?

Sure, I can appreciate the thrill of the occasional retrieve, but I don't go mental fits vibrating bug eyed doofus head like some dogs.

Fool! He tries to get through the door before it is even open and it is all scratched up from his surprisingly sharp labraclaws.

So now momma is all like, "from now on the door only opens if you two are clear of it."

No problem for me. I am a very obedient doggie.

Sadly, others among us seem to totally lose it.

You know what he is staring at? The doorknob. Totally. Like he can make it turn all on its own.

Sheesh. Way to kill a good time, midget.

Mango Man! Oh yeah!

P.S. My Auntie was declared "out of the woods" yesterday which made my momma very happy, but kind of confused me to be sure. I thought she was in the hospital, not the woods. Whatever. Momma says she is still in the intensives caring unit, but my Uncle says that today or tomorrow they will take out the breathing tube and move her to a normal room. I just know all your good thoughts are helping.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

A Holiday Surprise!

Yesterday, momma, master, PeeWee, and I were all kind of relaxing and getting ready to watch the football game when all of a sudden there was a knock, knock, knock right on our front door.

Guess who it was?

Close. Nordork was outside in his ride.

But at the door was none other than Tula and Norwood's moms. Come all the way to my estate just to see ME!

Stupid PeeWee thought they wanted to see him too. As if!

Outta the way! Clearly they are here for the Mango!

Hey! How come Tula mom has her light on?

You know what else? There were pressies too! That's right, a bag for each of us from Nordork chock full of noms and goodies and stuff. Plus special doggie specific ornaments.

And.... SURPRISE! Norwood's mom had painted faces on our ornaments. Look! It's Pea!

And ME! Totally!

I LOVE THEM! I especially love MINE!

I wanted to put them right up on our happy little tree.

But, sadly, our tree has suffered a sorrow in it's lower quadrant and is not doing so well right now, so I told momma, "let's just tuck those away for our next year tree, OK?" In fact I think the little tree might be retired early, like today.

Just to get you in the holiday mood, here is a nice photo from some other year which is not now as we (thankfully) do not have any snow.

Now, we turned off comments because we are hoping that none of our friends, human or otherwise, have to work today which means even if you don't celebrate Christmas, you should relax and enjoy the day.

So everybody stay safe and snug and hug your humans!

Mango Man! Oh yeah!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

POTP Needed for my Auntie and K

Friends, please take a moment to send your good thoughts to momma's sissy, my Auntie Wendy. She is staying at what you call the intensive cares unit at the hospital where she lives because she has bad sickies.

The doctors gave her the sleepy medicines so that she would rest, but my Uncle Michael told us that she has woken up a few times and is feeling feisty which is a good sign and they think she will be in the normal hospital by Monday.

They live all the way out in South Dakota which is a wild and untamed land somewhere west of Rt. 495. Momma says there are no train stations in South Dakota and the only airplanes that go there are like totally crop dusters that just strap a parachute onto their passengers and toss them out somewhere near Rapid City. I think she exaggerates.

Please also keep the beautiful K in your thoughts. She has very bad bone cancer and cannot get her surgery until Wednesday due to the holidays. Every day for her right now is precious and her mom is trying to keep her calm because her leg could break from the bad tumor. You can visit her here.

Just to leave you with a happy thought, this is our holiday photo from last year, complete with my usual festive touch. Hehehe.

Mango Man! Oh yeah!

Friday, December 23, 2011

The Optimistic Lab

Oh Mr. Chicken. Where are you?
My black leathery lips are ready for chomp time.

I can wait...

Dexter done!

P.S. A gentle reminder of the chip in activities to support the Houston Pittie Pack who lost five of their pack members and their entire estate to a horrible fire. The generosity of the dog blog community has been overwhelming and I know it means a lot to them. You can donate by clicking here.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Monday, December 19, 2011

Bouncing Mango on Monday - Video Edition

I know, I know, this is exactly the kind of funballs good times bouncing I am not supposed to be doing. You should have heard momma, "oh Mango! take it easy!"

But seriously, sometimes one just has to bounce!

Dammit! Will somebody please make momma clean that camera lens already?

Mango Man! Oh yeah!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Physical Therapy gets Weird

Thank you so much, my friends, for all your wonderful holiday cards. I always put them on the mirror where I can see them from my comfy bed. You know what else? Every year when we put away our holiday decorations, I put my cards in the box and that way I can enjoy them again when we get to the decorating activities. Woo hoo!

Dear readers, I was most enthused to see that I had another trip to the physical therapy to see nice Dr. Starr this morning.

Same as last week I got into that weird Harry Houdini type box and in comes the water and I am just kind of hanging and enjoying all the warm goodness and noms when suddenly, I kid you not, MY LEGS STARTED MOVING ALL BY THEMSELVES!

Seriously! I am all like "Hey, Dr. Starr, WTF? Do you see this? Why are my legs moving?" And momma is all laughing at me like oh yeah, big joke because I can see that HER legs are quite stationary.

In order to stabilize my large and not wanting to move much at all self, I found a place to put my back legs that was safe. But damned if my front legs didn't keep moving all bunching me up towards my hindquarters. I had to make totally fake walking motions just to keep from jack knifing.

No fool I, noting that Dr. Starr's legs were not moving I sussed out that if I could put my foot close to hers, then at least one leg would not move. Sadly, my other three continued to roll along downhill and once again I was on the road to nowhere.

Finally I just gave up and moved my entire self in what felt like a pointless waste of energy. It seemed like my legs weighed a ton and I surely would have expired on the spot from the horrible exertion required if not for helper lady and her bowl of cheerios strategically located near my jaws of doom (note, readers, this photo is my bottom, not my jaws of doom - need to work on coordinating my narrative with my photographer).

After about 87 minutes (well, momma says actually after 6 minutes) the world stopped moving, the water drained out, and I was brought back to a state of serenity through Dr. Starr's wonderful massage technique.

You wanna see the movie? Of course you do. Just click here or watch below.

Mango Man! Oh yeah!

P.S. Hey! You know momma's all scientific examinations of our exercise program? Well, I have news for you. This week she did EXACTLY THE SAME amount of exercises as before. I kid you not. So much for all those empty promises of longer walks and more funballs action good times. Boo hoo. Momma says I should be happy that she is in such a rut because it means while I might not get more exercise, I likely won't get less either. Whatever.

Friday, December 16, 2011

An Unimaginable Loss

There are no words that seem adequate.

Last night, the home of the Houston Pittie Pack was completely destroyed by fire.

Brinks and Bella, along with their humans were able to escape.

Shelby, Guero, Coco Chanel, Lucky, and Tiger were not able to get out and have crossed over the Rainbow Bridge.

You can leave comments on their blog here.

The DWB community has setup a fund to collect money to help the Pittie Pack family through this difficult time. You can find the details here.

Please keep them in your thoughts.

Mango Momma

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Run Free, El'bow - Updated

Dear readers, the Mango is beside himself with a broken heart to learn that my good buddy and fellow mastiff, El'bow, has crossed over the Rainbow Bridge.

While I am sad to see any of my doggie pals make their final journey, it is extra heartbreaking for me and especially for momma when one of our few mastiff friends leaves us.

I wanted to include this movie which is one of my favorites of him ever.
It is El'bow doing mastiff dog dancing and is a very happy making video.
Watch it here.

El'bow has not been blogging much lately, but I think if you leave a comment on his blog that his momma will get it.

Oh El'bow. Run free you big, wonderful, slobbery, handsome guy. I miss you so much.


Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Somewhat Terse Tuesday - Photos from Pals and POTP

You know how one is supposed to exercise caution when opening peemails with the attachments? Well, this can be especially good advice when the return address is....

Nevertheless, given that my extra super duper Apple computer protects the Mango from all sorts of viruses and whatnot, I cautiously clicked on said enclosure and discovered.... THIS!

Can you imagine? Beastie thinks that it would be good exercise for my large and not a draft animal self to haul her gigantic bottom around in a cart.

In your dreams, Beastie!

On a more jolly note, Grammy OC has been practicing her artistic skills again and fashioned this holiday card featuring.... ME! What do you think?

Oh, and please spare some good thoughts for my buddy, Reilly.

He has a bad lump on his leggie that requires the surgery this very day. Be strong, little buddy, the Mango has your back.

And my friend, Ginger Jasper has very bad sickies.

He is home with his family now, but his wee little self is barely hanging on and he could use your wishes for sure.

Mango Man! Oh yeah!

P.S. We ran out of holiday cards last night. Foolish witch lady used up some of MY cards to send to humans, many of whom don't even have doggies living with them. Seriously? Wonder if I can doctor up my leftovers from last year and use some of those...

Saturday, December 10, 2011

My Big Day at the Physical Therapies!

I am going to tell you about what has to have been one of the biggest adventures of my entire mastiff life.

Momma took me to this place for physical therapies!

The Mango was unsure what to expect, but, hey, I am always up for funballs, right?

Well, when we got there, the very first thing that happened was this nice lady called Dr. Starr sat down and had a long chat with me all about my most favorite topic ever..... ME!

At first I thought maybe I was getting the mentals therapies, if you know what I mean, because for our interview she had me lay on a soft couch. But she only wanted to know about my sore bottom and digestions and whatnot.

Then she said, "OK, Mango, why don't you just wander around and get the feel of the place."

And so I explored with great vigor every nook and cranny in her offices.

Then, I discovered a room with a big purple box in it. "What is this?" says I.

Dr. Starr came over and said, "Mango, I will give you some noms if you put your large and totally adorable self inside that box. Yuh, I will for sure."

What would you do?

Given how starved I am due to my D-I-E-T, I went for those noms with reckless abandon and before I knew it I was like totally INSIDE the box!

Then I got out of the box.

We did that for a while. No problem.

Mango in the box. Mango out of the box.

Dr. Starr takes off for a while and when she comes back she has on short pants and nekked feet like it was suddenly summer or something. Wow! How weird is that?

Then she gets right in the box with me and I'm all like, "Hey! Dr. Starr! It is kind of crowded in here, don't you think?"

Now things got a bit confusing for the Mango at this point, because one minute I am just kind of hanging out and getting noms and putting the love on and the next thing I know I am underwater! Seriously!

And Dr. Starr is trying to make me play tennis ball as if I were some idiot labradoink or something.

Check this out.

So I kind of hung out there for a while. I figured, "why not?" There was a steady flow of cheerios and livers and other good stuff and the water felt kind of good.

I turned around a few times and momma is all "he is exercising just turning around!"

Not sure what she meant by that, but I will admit that moving my leggies in all that water was a bit of an effort.

Then the water just disappeared into thin air and helper lady says, "Time for your rub down."

Oh yeah, I am so there.

But my adventure was not over yet.

That Dr. Starr lady told me that now that I was all warmed up I should show her my exercises.

She made me get on a little stool just like momma does only Dr. Starr told me I was cheating and not putting my weight on my large yet curiously fragile bottom. So she picked up one of my front leggies and it did make me feel a bit tipsy, but I persevered.

Oh ladies! Are you not feeling breathless from the sight of my large and already looking more muscular southern regions?

To top it all off, I got a nice massage. This is the life. I didn't want to ever leave!

I made a movie of my encounter with the big purple box. You can watch it below or here.

Momma said that I have to wait a whole week before I go back again. I will be counting the days.

Mango Man! Oh yeah!

P.S. From Momma
I was so happy to see how calmly Mango got into the box and how he was totally relaxed even when it filled with water. Dr. Starr and I are both anxious to find out if the treadmill will accommodate his stride. Next week we will try turning it on and hope for the best. A very positive experience for both of us.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

A Scholarly Examination of Exercise by Mango Momma

This post contains many words and NO pictures (OK, maybe one or two at the end from the archives).

Mango's latest diagnosis of arthritis and partial ACL tears has made getting him proper exercise paramount. Subsequently, I embarked on a mission of tracking his activities with great care with an eye to finding ways to improve his regime.

This post is an analysis of the collected data along with some goal setting. Read it or not.

PART I - The Data

First step was to obtain a baseline of data to understand what a "normal" week entailed. I did my best to carry on as usual and not "show off" for my spreadsheet.

I only kept track of deliberate activities so I did not include our daily snuggle sessions, wrestling (i.e. floor fun) with Dexter, or the frequent free yard time activities with the Master. Sadly, Mango is no longer prone to full out bitey face funballs with Dexter, but does engage in recumbent bitey face or occasional "high speed" chases of Dexter with a stuffie.

Brief plea for sympathy - the only activity that I can do with the dogs together is tennis ball. Walking them together is out of the question until such time as I sprout three additional arms as well as an ability to pivot my head 360 degrees.

Here are the baseline week results;


8 walks (3 off property and 5 yard walks - more about that later) totaling 2.85 miles (0.57 mi/walk average)

5 tennis ball sessions totaling 35 retrieves

1 passive stretching session

1 therapy disk session (approx. 10 minutes)

0 massage


6 walks totaling 8.5 miles (1.4 mi/walk average)

5 tennis ball sessions totaling 102 retrieves

1 daycare day

1 therapy peanut session (approx. 10 minutes)

Part II - The Analysis

My initial overall impression was that despite feeling as if I am always doing stuff with the dogs, I am actually doing less than I thought. Thus the beauty of using numerical analysis. So let's see...


What are Yard Walks? Those are loops on leash around our sizable back yard. Think of it like doggie treadmill. It is much easier to get steady, constant motion this way since off property walks can be fraught with peemail stops, pull overs to avoid oncoming traffic, and other distractions.

Mango's typical retrieves are about 20-30 feet. I do try and throw up hill whenever possible to force him to use his back end. He usually executes all but the first couple at a trot (not a gallop) and can take an alarming amount of time to savor the intermittent reward he gets for a job well done.

Given that Mango is not supposed to be spinning, dog dance practice is out for the time being. He gets very excited during dancing and will spin as a default behavior.

I knew I wasn't doing his stretches enough, but realized I am almost not doing them at all. Mango does get grouchy when I try to stretch him so I need to confirm I am doing it properly. And NO MASSAGE! Terrible.


Drat! I was sure I was walking him more frequently and further.

Dexter is fairly easy to tire out. Unlike Mango, his retrieves are at a full speed run across the length of the yard. He attacks his therapy peanut sessions with alarming vigor. So while there is room for improvement, he is getting flat lab worn out on most days (and daycare really does him in).

Note that Dexter does get some bonus exercise during Mango's Yard Walks. Since there are treats involved, Dex tends to run mental fits cracker dog around the yard while Mango is plodding along.

Part III - Goals

My personal rules for goal setting;

  1. Keep it small, keep it simple, do no harm. Sure, I have a list of things I should be doing to improve my life and that of the dogs; exercise, eat right, more training, etc. but for me, I need to find small, incremental changes in one area and do no harm in everything else.
  2. Be honest. I could say "I am going to get in the mastiff mobile every morning and drive someplace to walk Mango." But I won't and the stress of gearing up to do that will likely cause rule #1 of do no harm to be violated (besides, every clear field I have tried always winds up sporting loose off leash cracker dogs sooner or later).
  3. Use visualization to make dog activities positive - nobody benefits when I force myself to do a dog activity when my brain is consumed with "woe is me." I have more success if I take a few minutes to visualize myself doing the activity, enjoying it, and having a positive outcome. This is particularly true of off property walks with Mango which require me to be on full alert at all times.
With that in mind, I have only ONE goal for the upcoming week...


And here is how I can do that....

For Dexter, just walk faster. If I walk fast enough to keep the leash loose with Dexter trotting, we can cover 2 miles in about 40 minutes. This allows for brisk walking, with a few potty and sniff breaks. For any math impaired folks, that would be an average walking speed of 4 miles / hr. when in motion (yes, I timed our potty / sniff breaks). I did a test run yesterday with great success (I used visualization to see myself walking the entire route rather than just setting off randomly).

For Mango, more off property walks which tend to be longer. I am also interspersing short jogs into his yard walks which means we can do more loops in the same amount of time. I will continue to wait for daylight for off property walks (remember, avoid additional stress) and carry as many hot dogs as it takes to keep him focused (working on walks, not some noble goal of better leash manners).

Note to self - any walk is greater than NO walk! This is particularly important for me to remember with Mango. Five minutes is more than zero. One yard loop is more than none.

Part IV - The Challenge

The number one challenge for me is getting Mango moving in meaningful ways. 10 minutes on the exercise peanut leaves Dexter all curly tongue panting worn out, but Mango is like me in that he would prefer not to move at all. Indoor activities for him are additionally limited by his gigantic size and clumsy nature making it hard to find enough space for him to move without taking a tumble and / or knocking over furniture.

Walking Mango off property in the dark is out of the question. He is a spooky bastard and having joggers and whatnot bear down upon us out of the darkness would send him over the edge. That combined, with the encroaching winter is really making me scratch my head for after work exercise for him.

Want to play along? My challenge to YOU, dear readers, is to keep a log for yourself for a week and determine what incremental changes you can make to improve the quality of life for your dogs and, no doubt, for yourself as well.

Remember the first week is to measure your default behavior. Be honest because that is the regime you will fall back in to if things get too ambitious or overwhelming.

I determined a short list of deliberate activities and a measurement system. I plotted the distance of Dexter's walks using this site. For Mango, I did a couple of measured walks and then estimated yard loops based on duration (Mango averages the glacial speed of about 2.5 mi / hr).

If your dogs wrestle or bitey face, lucky you. Count that as exercise for them. Just time a few sessions and then see how tired they are afterwards.

I will be back next week with a progress report. Mango goes to PT on Saturday and I am hoping to pick up some pointers on how to keep him moving.

Part V - Gratuitous Cute Dog Photos

If you're still with me, here's your reward for your patience.


Mango Momma

P.S. As an added bonus, I AM working harder on Dexter's propensity to be a bitey shark when taking his cookies. It has been challenging. If he does a behavior and I click / treat, I want him to get his reward and if I pause to make him be less shark-like then I have missed the mark on the behavior. Sigh. So I'm trying to practice "the gentleman lab" independently.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Occupy the Couch for Mr. Pip!

The abuse that is rampant in the dog community is astounding. Now it appears that the hapless Mr. Pip has had his beloved couch moved to the basement leaving him with nothing but a hard wooded floor upon which to lay his weary self.

Well, this cannot be tolerated and he has organized an Occupy the Couch protest. For sure.

Naturally, Pea and I are totally there in doggie solidarity.

That's right, little black buddy, get your labraself onto the couch. It's for Mr. Pip!

Momma was all like "Oh Dexter, I need to clean the couch, please stay off of it for a bit." But he was totally, "No, way, crazy witch lady, I am needing to stay on my labracouch until justice is served."

Makes my heart proud to see him all perched there on the cushions.

And what of the Mango? Being unable to actually place my large and wishing couches did not have legs self on top of the furnitures, I am making due with occupation of momma's favorite comfy chair by my large and not going anywhere soon noggin.

Take that!

Click here to visit Mr. Pip and join in.

Do it for Mr. Pip! Do it for all dogs everywhere.

Justice will be served!

Mango Man! Oh yeah!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Dexter the Wonder Dog - A Holiday Curiosity

Well, it's that time of year again when momma makes about 87 trips up and down the basement stairs to bring out our holiday decorations. Of course one of the most important items is the Dogtivity (which, by the way, is always placed in a position of honor over my labracouch).

But this year, dear readers, something troubled yours truly about this particular seasonal tableau.

I offer the following...

Here, is the momma dog from the Dogtivity. A lovely blond gal.

And here is the proud papa dog. What a handsome chap. Reminds me of, well, let's be honest... ME!

No worries, right? Wrong. Because here is the baby dog.

Are you wondering what I'm wondering?

Momma lab

Papa lab

Baby... terrier?

What, I queried myself, is going on here? I took it upon myself to examine the participants more closely and sussed out this suspicious looking chap.

Now, what is that little black terrier dog up to and why would he show up in disguise?

One worries that there is more than meets the eye in this otherwise peaceful scene. I think that Papa dog better break out the pupternity test kit before he starts saving up for agility school.

Just my opinion.

Dexter done!

P.S. Because we get many inquiries as to the source of the Dogtivity each year, I must regretfully share with you that this appears to no longer be an item available for new purchase. Industrious readers who desire to add a Dogtivity to their holiday decor might be able to find one on eBay.