My dog Susie says

California Canines

As I've mentioned in previous barks, I've met quite a few dogs of celebrities during the time I've spent here. I was pleased to find out that while many are expensive high-brow breeds, many are rescue dogs like me. Even Uggie who won a special Oscar for his "Silent Movie" movie in 2011 was a rescue mutt. To me they're all "Stardogs."

One thing I learned is that while there are hundreds of different breeds of dogs living here in the Golden State, there are lots of different languages they respond to. Gee..English is hard enough for me without having to understand, Spanish, Italian, French, Chinese or Cockney.

One of the first and definitely the biggest dogs I met, was George a Great Dane owned by Jim Carrey. Jim had dated a girlfriend of Big Mommy's years ago. He's really funny but George is so big he scares me a little. Mr. Carrey also made some funny movies like "Pet Detective" and "The Mask" which stared a really talented doggy. In Beverly Hills, I met Lucy a Boxer owned by Jodie Foster. She was really nice.

Some singer named Clay Aiken owns a Border Collie mix named Raleigh. Ashley Judd who's from the south like me, owns a couple of Cockapoo's named Shug and Buttermilk. We saw Pamela Anderson in Malibu and she had a Golden Retriever named Star. Charlize Theron, who's really talented and beautiful, owns numerous dogs: all mutts.

In Bel-Air where Mommy lived, a neighbor of theirs, Nancy Reagan owns a Sheepdog named Lucky. Great name for a wonderful President. Steve Martin has a beautiful Yellow Lab named Roger. Oprah Winfrey, who we saw in Santa Monica, has a couple of Cocker Spaniels named Solomon and Sophie. Oprah's original home isn't too far from mine there in the Georgia mountains and forests. Speaking of trees and such, I discovered that in downtown Los Angeles something wonderful was happening.

There's an organization called "TreePeople" who, for years, have been planting trees and shrubs all over L. A. They believe that by helping nature recreate small robust natural forests, they are helping the city to heal itself. This group has enabled downtown parks to be reborn making the urban environment safer, healthier, and more fun and enjoyable for humans...and dogs. The people behind this aren't celebrities but just ordinary people with extraordinary ideas. Good for them!

At one of the TreePeople supported parks, Coldwater Canyon Park, sitting on top of the Santa Monica Mountains, we met Clara Bo, a Pomeranian owned by Kate Hudson. My big Mommy has seen Goldie Hahn numerous times. They' both seem really sweet. We also met a French Bulldog named Coco Chanel, who was a famous French women who invented perfume or something. Sacre Bleu! Her owner is Reese Witherspoon, who is originally from nearby Tennessee. She is really perky and a wonderful person. So is Coco! The most interesting Stardog was Rufus a poodle owned by Leonardo DiCaprio, who daddy met at a party at the Playboy Mansion. It seems that Rufus liked the water so much at the grotto, which was an underground pool in a cave, that he decided to relieve himself there at every opportunity ONLY when the partying guests weren't looking. I wonder if anyone noticed? Maybe Rufus doesn't like movie stars and their antics so much either. Well, gotta go, because we're getting ready to sail over to Catalina Island.

Catch you later,

Susie & Sandy Steele

P.S. On Sunday we were all walking by a local church in Westwood and saw a Minister talking to a group of young boys. The boys had circled around a stray dog and the Minister asked what they were doing. The boys said, "This dog is homeless, so we're having a competition to see who gets to take the dog home. Whoever tells the biggest lie wins! "

The Minister who was disappointed said, "Boys, it's very wrong to tell lies. When I was your age, I never told lies!"
The boys all looked at each other and said, "O.K. You win. The dog is yours!"

To read more "My dog Susie says" go to http://sandy-steele.blogspot.com
For more info on Sandy Steele go to: http://sandysteele.com


Living on the Left Coast

My dog Susie says
"Good Vibrations"

Ahh.. to be running along the ocean watching dolphins and whales jump high into the air. I feel like I'm watching a National Geographic show on TV. I love my green forests and lakes in the mountains of North Georgia, but the sand and surf here in L.A. is wonderful too. Especially if you're a dog!

My Big Mommy and Daddy have lived here for over 20 years and I wondered what they enjoyed the most about this area in Southern California. I heard Mommy once on the phone explaining what Los Angeles is all about. She said that when they first moved here, they learned that the city stretches from east to west. Most cities go south to north. Starting in downtown Los Angeles, you go west to Hollywood, then Beverly Hills, Bel-Air, Santa Monica and finally ending at Marina Del Rey on the shore. The greater L.A. Area is really composed of small villages linked together. Thus, reason #1 for living here is that Los Angeles is really like living in much smaller unique villages, instead of just one large metropolitan area. That's kinda neat.

They've lived in Beverly Hills, Bel-Air and Santa Monica leaving only Marina Del Rey as their final destination in the "Golden State." Getting back to why they love it here so much, these are my observations on what I've been able to ascertain. First: the weather is perfect with very little rainy days. Daddy said that when a friend of his moved from New York City to L. A. in the early eighties, he bought a convertible Mercedes and immediately put the top down. He didn't put it up for 18 months. He also said that when it rains it usually rains at night. So the weather is the #2 reason.

Number 3 reason for living here is the natural beauty found in the mountains and valleys and the magnificent beaches located all over the area. Once, in the winter, mommy and daddy were sun bathing on the beach and looked up at all the mountains which surround L.A. They were unbelievably covered with snow. I must admit that sitting on the Santa Monica beach watching surfers, dolphins, whales, seals and sometimes sharks all frolicking together seems totally unreal. Because I'm a Border Collie and a herding dog, I sure love jumping in the water and running back and forth chasing all these California critters.

The fourth and final main reason for mommy and daddy living here are the interesting people. Los Angels is the major destination for different types of humans from all over the world. Young and old, smart and not-so smart, pretty and homely looking, rich and poor are all welcomed here with open arms. Nobody cares what you do or think as long as it doesn't hurt anyone. There is an air of optimism here that mommy and daddy say they've never seen anywhere else in the world. And at the end of the day, everyone gets to enjoy a beautiful orange sunset over the Pacific Ocean...for free!

On my previous trips to the City of Angels, I met quite a few dogs of celebrities. Renee Zellweger has a beautiful Golden Retriever named Dylan and Drew Barrymore owns a rescue dog named Flossie. Years ago mommy and daddy looked at the Barrymore home which was for sale, that Drew had lived in, and almost bought it. Hey, I thought Drew was a guy's name. Anyway, I'll mention the other interesting dogs owned by other stars on my next "bark."

Catch you later,

Susie and Sandy

P.S. Daddy told me a story about when he and mommy were recently married newlyweds:

Daddy came home early from work and Sandy, my mom, had been cooking all day fixing a big dinner. Mommy, a totally inexperienced cook, was crying and blubbered, "I worked so hard preparing this special meal, but our new doggie just ate it."

Daddy gently said while hugging and kissing her, "Don't worry honey. We'll get another new doggie right away!"

For more barks from Susie: http://sandy-steele.blogspot.com
Info on Sandy Steele: http://sandysteele.com



Cavemen, Cavewomen and Cavedogs.

My dog Susie says

Did dogs actually domesticate humans??

My Big Mommy informed me that the history of dogs and humans living in harmony has been linked for tens of thousands of years. It seems that all dogs were evolved from wolves eons ago. As man evolved and got better at hunting and killing his food something incredible happened: wolves became more comfortable with cavemen and cavewomen, because wolves were cleaning up the leftover meat scraps discarded by the untidy human hunter-grunters. Wolves had already become a social pack society since the beginning of time. Thus began the robust relationship between humans and dogs.

According to my Big Mommy about 15,000 years ago...and that's 105 THOUSAND in dog years...humans started walking out of Africa and fanning out across the middle East towards Asia. Eventually they got pretty tired of wandering year after year just to forage and kill any food they could locate. So when these primitive people observed the wild wolf animals hanging around closer and closer after cleaning up the leftovers, they also noticed the wolves were actually protecting the campgrounds from dangerous animals like huge killer cats, giant bears, and the like.

When the homo sapiens eventually got tired of walking mile after mile, year after year, they decided to stay in one place. Along with their friendly wolves they adopted some gentler animals who could provide them with clothing, meat, and milk...namely goats. Wolves to the rescue again! They were really quick to learn how to keep them in a cluster by herding the stragglers and were even better at fighting off any mean prey animals trying to score a goat meal. As long as the humans were in one place to stay, they decided to plant food like grains and vegetables and grapes. By now my ancestors were sort of wolf/dogs and becoming a permanent part of the human family. They were eager to help out by hauling heavy bags of grain and assisting in hunting other animal game like deer and wild fowl. BONUS: our new doggie friends would also run, search and retrieve for the humans, what had just been hunted for that nights dinner. Kinda like an early caveman Domino's delivery system!

As thousands of years rolled by, humans spread all over the planet with completely different terrains and climates. More and more types of jobs were required...jobs only a DOG could readily handle which helped humans to grow into healthier, smarter people. Who kept the rodent population under control while humans continued their messy ways? Small dogs. Who pulled sleds of hides and supplies across the snowy, icy miles of Asia and North America? Big furry dogs. Who alerted humans when their precious horses and cattle were in danger from thieves or mountain lions? Big dogs. Who traveled with Roman soldiers and Vikings to conquer empires? Real big dogs with big powerful jaws.

I could brag on and on, but it's not my style and besides, you have the Internet any way so you can learn a lot more on your own. But the simple truth is that if ancient wolves hadn't taken a liking to the poor, suffering cave people and helped them on their way to cultivating food, spreading-out around the entire world, and building permanent camps, I'd probably be sleeping in some dark dingy cave on the cold ground alone and without Big Mommy right now. That would really suck!

But the last 15,000 years have been a marriage made in heaven because the only reward we dogs ever got or still want from you guys is a scratch behind the ears, a hug, and a little tummy rub on special days.

Catch you later,

Sandy & Susie

P.S. A young woman was recently sitting with her Border Collie, Buttermilk, in a movie theater in Hollywood.
The dog was loudly cheering for the hero, laughing hysterically, and in general having a wonderful time, when a movie usher approached."That's strange. Your dog is really enjoying this movie," the usher said."I know," the woman replied. "I can't figure it out either. Buttermilk really hated the book."
For more barks from Susie: http://sandy-steele.blogspot.com
Info on Sandy and her books: http:sandysteele.com



A Bicoastal Border Collie

My dog Susie says

Leaving on a jet plane...

Our family, including moi of course, is getting ready to fly out west for an extended stay. I love the beaches of Southern California and all the cool dogs and some cats I meet out there. The only thing I hate about the trip is the flying. I'm too big for a seat and must be caged down in the "hold" of the big beast. It really sucks, but this year my Big Mommy Sandy is going to try something new. She's going to give me a natural pill with something called melatonin in it to make me sleep. I Googled melatonin and discovered that it's found in foods like turkey which makes you sleepy after eating it. Hey, why not just stuff me with turkey?

Being a Border Collie and one of the smartest breeds of dogs, if I do say so myself, allows me to try and figure out all sorts of things I hear and see. It's been proven that Border Collies understand at least 200 words, but Mommy thinks I understand at least 2,000 including cuss words. Boy, if I could only talk.

Arriving in L.A. It seems the pill worked. I don't remember anything except weird dreams about apes taking over the world in the future. I've been watching too much SciFi channel. Speaking of science, did you know that while we dogs hear really great, we don't see colors so well. In fact, we don't see red, orange or green hardly at all. Red looks like brown to us and green looks like yellow-gray. So why are most pet toys colored red, orange or green? Throw a red ball into a lush green grassy yard and it's hard for us to see it. We operate by smell. Also, we don't see as far as humans do. But we do recognize movement up to 3,000 feet. I'm sure glad squirrels are gray.

On our way to the beach, Mommy decides to drag Daddy and me to some kind of spa in Beverly Hills that offers therapies for pets. I didn't realize that I needed to go to a shrink, but she says this is a kind of day-spa for dogs. All-righty then. After filling out some forms a pretty lady shows my Big Mommy what is available for pets. First, is something called acupuncture which uses needles to sooth pain. That seems crazy to me, because my paws have met with sharp thing before. I'm going to pass on this!

This place also offers homeopathy medicines if you're sick. Well I'm not sick, at least not in my body, maybe my dog head. I think I'll skip this too. Next is something called aromatherapy using oils and scents to ward off fleas and sooth nerves. The only thing I'm nervous about is this place, so nyet to this crazy stuff. The last therapy available is hydrotherapy which is basically warm water in a pool with jets spraying you all over. Mommy now insists that I do this whether I'm crazy about it or not. I reluctantly agree to allow myself to become a wet dog and be totally cleaned and massaged all over with pressurized water. However, as soon as we get to the beach, what do you think I'm going to do in all of that warm sand? Can you spell, "buried in sand up to my long neck?" Now that's what I call really relaxing!

Catch you later,

Susie & Sandy

P.S. If you can be cheerful even though you may be in pain, eat basically the same food every day without complaining, conquer tension and anxiety without drugs, smile when you're blamed unjustly, never lie or cheat, then you are definitely the family dog.

To see more barks from Susie go to: http://sandy-steele.blogspot.com

For info on Sandy Steele : http://sandysteele.com


"Has TV gone to the dogs?"

My dog Susie says

"Springtime in the South"

My Daddy and Big Mommy love the springtime in Georgia. There are all kinds of beautiful flowering bushes and trees everywhere. Pink azaleas, white dogwoods, tulips of every color, honeysuckle bushes in bright orange, purple irises, blue hydrangea, yellow daffodils, violet geraniums, pink petunias, lavender daises, golden sunflowers, red roses, and more than fifty other species of flowering plants. They say that the reason for so many types of beautiful plants is the climate and the special soil found here. The smells and aromas I can't even describe to a human, except to say... this place is like a garden of Eden especially for a scent-loving canine.

Now Mom, Dad and I spend half the year in California and the other half in the mountains of North Georgia. Dad especially likes the springtime in Georgia because that means he gets to attend the Masters Golf Tournament held each April. The very first time he went, he was awestruck at the natural beauty of the course. He discovered that the Master's creator Bobby Jones had actually built the golf course on an old plant nursery. Daddy considers it the most beautiful man-made course in America. His favorite golf site for natural beauty is Pebble Beach in Northern California, which he considers one of the most beautiful places in all of the world. And speaking of California...

While we were back in Los Angeles a few months ago, my Big Mommy found a neat television program to help working parents who have animals at home. And... let's not debate who works harder, stay at home or working moms...please. Anyway, some smart people in San Diego came up with a brilliant idea for entertaining home-alone pets: DogTV. It's TV programing shot from the "low" viewpoint of us dogs. Also, the colors are altered so animals can more easily recognize them and the sound effects and music are written especially for dogs.

You see, a dog's eyes see mostly in blue and yellow colors, but not much red or green (bet you didn't know that). The programming won't have loud noises, commercials or high pitched sounds either, which really annoy us. And if you're wondering what we dogs can see on these new high definition TV's, we can see everything especially other dogs and their different breeds. In fact, studies have shown that puppies who watch video images of other dogs are more "socialized" than those that don't. Individual programming segments show "stimulation" with dogs running, playing and even surfing, and end with "relaxation" themes of sleeping dogs in natural settings accompanied with doggy lullabies.

For all the 46 million homeowners with dogs, you don't have to feel guilty anymore about leaving us alone while you're gone. For just a few bucks a month on cable, DogTV will entertain and educate us without any commercials, explosions or sirens to frighten us. And that's a very good thing! What do you think?

Catch you later,

Susie and Sandy

P.S. How many dogs or cats does it take to change a light bulb?

GOLDEN RETRIEVER: The sun is out, and the day is young. We've got our whole lives ahead of us. Who cares about a silly light bulb?
JACK RUSSELL TERRIER: I'll just pop one in while I bounce off the walls and ceiling.
GREYHOUND: It doesn't move. So who cares?
BLACK LAB: Please let me change it..please, please.
BOXER: Who cares? I like playing with my toys in the dark.
BORDER COLLIE: Just one. And I'll replace the wiring if it's not perfect.
CAT: You're kidding..right?

To read more "Susie says" barks: http://sandy-steele.blogspot.com
For more info on Sandy Steele: http://sandysteele.com
For information of DogTV go to http:www.dogtv.com