dog fiction - meal time

Negotiating with Cookies #12 – Meal Time

I’m sitting at my desk filling out next week’s dog training schedule when Fleegle comes in from outside, sits next to me and stares.

I glance at the wall clock. “It’s not time for your dinner yet. It’s only 3:30.”

“But I’m hungry, Raud, really hungry. I think I might be starving. I bet it doesn’t take long to starve. I might waste away in a matter of minutes. Are you sure you want to take that kind of risk? It’s got to be time to eat. Just looking at your shoes makes me salivate.”

“It’s not time.”

“But my stomach tells me it’s time to eat and I trust my stomach over any dumb clock on the wall. I bet that clock runs on batteries.”

“It does.” I glance at it, then look a little closer. The second hand has stopped moving. “Oops.”

“Oops is right. You can make up for it by giving me an extra scoop of kibble.”


Previous: #11  – John Wayne

Start at the Beginning: #1 – Stinky Butt


dog fiction john wayne 1

Negotiating with Cookies #11 – John Wayne

dog fiction john wayne 2While in the car waiting for a red light to change, Fleegle, riding shotgun, lets out a very loud bark that makes me cover my ears.

“Ouch. What are you barking at?”

He stares ahead intently. “That man.”

I look where he’s looking, but see no one. “What man?”

“That man in the big hat.”

I look again. There’s a man in a cowboy hat far away in the next block. “He’s like a zillion miles away.”

“He’ll be close soon enough. You watch.”dog fiction john wayne

“Why bark, why not wag? What’s so scary about him?”

“He leans to the left when he walks. No one walks like that. He’s up to something. I’m sure of it.”

The light turns green, we pass the man and we’ll never know what he was up to.


Previous: Negotiating with Cookies #10 – Breakfast

Start at the beginning: #1 – Stinky Butt

dog fiction eggs

Negotiating with Cookies #10 – Breakfast

I’m in the kitchen cooking my breakfast when Fleegle trots in from the yard. “Feeling better, I see.”


“I bet that’s the last time you’ll be eating duck treats.”

“I’m not so sure that’s what made me sick. They were pretty tasty. It might’ve been something else,” he says, hopefully.

“What else did you eat?”dog fiction running with eggs


“That’s never made your stomach upset before.”

He sniffs the air by the stove where I’m cooking. “Bacon and eggs have never upset your stomach before, maybe I should have some of them.”


Next: #11 – John Wayne

Previous: #9 – Feeling Green

Start at the  Beginning: #1 – Stinky Butt

dog fiction - feeling green

Negotiaitng with Cookies #9 – Feeling Green

Fleegle is curled up on the den couch. “I don’t feel so good.”

“For a chocolate dog, you look mighty green. Is that grass stuck in your front teeth?” I pull it out for him. “So much for your duck treats, eh? Did you throw up?”

He nods. “By the back gate near the garbage cans.”

“Poor dog.”

“And in the flower beds.”

“Poor flowers.”

“And in your shoes by the bed.”

“Poor Raud.”


Next: #10 – Breakfast

Previous:  #8 – Ducks and Geese

Start at the beginning:  #1 – Stinky Butt

dog fiction - stork and puppy - Copy

Negotiating with Cookies #8 – Ducks and Geese

“Look, Raud, a stork with a baby,” Fleegle shouts from his seat on the couch overlooking the backyard through the den window.

A seagull with a Subway sandwich wrapper in its beak flies by.

“Not big enough,” I say.

A little while later, he asks, “What about them? They’re huge.”

Ducks and geese land in the yard, well fed and plump from a mild winter.

“Nope, they’re not storks. Go chase them away before they poop all over the patio.”

He remains seated on the couch. “Are you sure they’re not storks? Maybe they’re in disguise.”

“Storks won’t land if ducks are in the yard.”

“Oh,” he says, then bolts through the double flaps of the dog door into the yard. “Woof, woof.”

A little later Fleegle comes inside through his dog door, a green smear on his snout.

I ask, “What’s that on your nose?”

His tongue darts out and swipes both sides of his mouth, slicking back his whiskers and getting rid of the evidence. “Nothing.”

“What’s that sheepish expression on your face for then?”

“You told me to chase the ducks and geese away, but you didn’t tell me they made such yummy treats.”

“You didn’t?”

He licks his lips again. “I did.”


Next:  #9 – Feeling Green

Previous:  #7 – Om

Start at the beginning:  #1 – Stinky Butt

dog-centric review of honda element

Dog-centric Review of the Honda Element

When you Google “best car for dogs” the Honda Element is almost always on the list. I bought mine with about 100,000 miles on it and have put another 30,000 on it trouble free, though I need to swap in new brake pads in the rear this afternoon.

I like that it has no carpets for dog fur to work its way in so deep no amount of vacuuming can get it all out. Instead it has a thick vinyl that you can use a mop on. I put in aftermarket rubber mats cut to fit perfectly in the front and back. There isn’t a lot of sound insulation, so road noise can be a problem if the blacktop is chewed up by studded tires, but the extra mats help. The noise bothered me at first, but I’ve acclimated to it and don’t notice it much anymore. I drive a 2006 model, and from what I understand the earlier versions were even louder.

I like the tailgate door in the rear because I can open the upper window section to get something out and still have a barrier there so the dogs don’t get their hopes up too much about getting out, though we all know that anytime we stop the car our dogs get their hopes up.

The backseats fold up and out of the way easily, or can be taken out completely without any fuss. Once they’re out, there’s lots of room, including headroom. In cars with less headroom, dog fur gets imbedded even in the headliner. This isn’t a problem with the Element.

Gas mileage is what you’d expect from pushing a large box around town, maybe 20mpg, and better on the freeway. Speed-wise, it gets the job done. I have the 2WD version, which I bought because it gets slightly better gas mileage than the 4WD version. Don’t know about the AWD version. When first starting out, the front wheels tend to spin, especially if the roads are wet. I’m in Portland, Oregon, so they’re wet a lot. This is a common complaint about the 2WD version, and not caused by worn tires. This is my main performance complaint because it has raised my adrenaline a few times while entering traffic.

The Element has an optional dog package that contains the dog behind the rear seats. I don’t have it, I’ve only seen photos of it. I prefer a crate if I need to contain a dog. Less to chew on. My dog, Fleegle, likes to ride shotgun, until he gets tired, then he stretches out in back and naps. He often goes front to back and back to front since his water bowl is in back. I bring this up because the three cup holders are on the floor between the front seats, exactly in the way of any dog getting in the front or going in the back, which makes them useless for anything but holding tennis balls.

So an aftermarket cup holder is a must. And you’ll need to get more of them than you need because they seem to break pretty easily, as if spilled coffee somehow weakens plastic.

The suicide doors are a compromise. The rear side doors can’t be opened without opening the front door first. If you transport more than one dog in the car at a time, you definitely need to work on your Place-stays because with both doors open, it’s a wide space to body block. Then again, I wouldn’t have been interested in the Element in the first place if it had sliding doors. And with all the doors open, it makes for easy access.

All and all, I’m quite satisfied with the Element. If I did it again, I think I would go with the AWD version which would remedy my main complaint about front tire spin on wet roads.

Dog fiction, photos and more.


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