Hobo's blog

Hobo Hudson, business dog, author and farmer, shares his latest news and stories about his life and gives prudent advice to his fellow dogs, cats and other animals—humans included.


Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Defeating phishing

By Hobo Hudson

Dad has been plagued with phone calls for quite a while from nice sounding ladies “from Microsoft” telling him he has a major problem with his computer and Microsoft has hired them to help its users fix the problem. However, they all spoke English with a very heavy Indian accent and were difficult to understand.

At first, Dad would just hang up, but I suggested a better solution would be for Dad to try to melt their telephone wires with some choice words that Dad is so capable of using when he wants to get a point across. This didn’t appear to do any good, and my keen terrier mind soon deduced the callers probably didn’t know enough English to know what Dad’s words meant.

After mulling the problem over, I realized the callers were working on percentages. They knew most Americans would know it was a scam and would just hang up, so they would just shrug and go on to the next call. Sooner or later, they would land a victim who was not aware of the plot.

Dad and I put our heads together and came up with a better solution, which I would encourage all my readers to try.

The phone rang Saturday morning, and when Dad answered, a lady with a pleasant voice told him that she was from Microsoft and that the company was trying to repair a problem with Dad’s computer, She spoke perfect English, but there was a trace of a foreign accent which Dad thinks might have been Ukrainian, and Dad decided this would be the perfect moment to put our new plan into effect. I’ll give you the actual conversation below:

Dad: “Could you hold just a moment? I’ve got someone at the door.”
Caller: “Of course.”
Some 5 minutes later: Dad: “Sorry to keep you waiting. Would you please start all over?”
Caller: “As I said, you have a serious problem and Microsoft wants to help you in repairing it. I need you to go sit in front of your computer and I’ll tell you what to do.”
Dad: “All right but I haven’t turned it on yet. Can you wait a few minutes while it boots up?”
Dad now lays the phone down and goes into the kitchen to pour another cup of coffee. Returning some three minutes later, he picks up the phone and says: “Sorry for the delay. I had to crawl under the desk to plug it in.”
Caller: “No problem.”
Dad: “I just started booting.”
Some 10 minutes later: Dad: “OK, it’s booted up. What should I do now?”
Caller: “Click on the browser line and type in the following ……….”
Dad: “OK.” About a minute later, Dad: “I must have typed something wrong. Give it to me again.”
Caller: “……….”
Dad: “Now I see my problem. About another minute later, Dad again: “That’s odd. I have a message from Windows Defender telling me to read the following to you.”
Caller: “O…K.”
Dad: “Get an honest job and stop trying to scam us.”
Caller: Click.

Mom, Dad and I got a big laugh out of this but, more importantly, we kept the scammer tied up for probably 20 minutes and prevented her from calling other prospective suckers. Interestingly, Dad hasn’t had another suspicious phone call for the past few days. Maybe word gets around?

Remember, Microsoft does not telephone users with offers of help and anyone calling is a fake. If all my readers would follow a similar script and pass it on to their friends, we could make a serious dent in the number of computer scams.








Monday, November 18, 2013

A gift idea for the holidays

By Hobo Hudson

A word from the wise to the wise: If you, my fellow dogs and my kitty friends, want to help your parents find a holiday gift for their human family members or friends who already have everything, suggest they order my book “The Richest Dog In Town” at amazon.com. It makes the perfect gift for pet lovers who will welcome it as a good read to relax and laugh after the hectic time of shopping and preparations for the holidays.

Just have your parents click here to place the order.





Sunday, September 15, 2013

Grand Opening—Hobo’s spa addition


By Hobo Hudson

I’ll be having a grand opening for my spa addition tomorrow at low tide featuring a newly discovered source of mud packs.

I discovered this quite by accident yesterday afternoon when I was inspecting my backyard and saw a small black crab sitting on top of my seawall. I naturally walked over and gave him a friendly sniff, and the ungrateful little critter nipped me on my nose. Lunging at him to give him a nip in return, I lost my footing and, to my surprise, I found myself at the bottom of my seawall up to my tummy with my legs buried in a soft fragrant smelling mud.

The aroma of the mud was indescribable. I can only try to compare it to decomposed fish, dead oysters, decomposed leaves, sea grass and maybe a little salt and iodine thrown in.

Mom knew I couldn’t get out of the muddy canal, so she screamed for Dad, and he came running out. After swiftly accessing the situation, he said I was all right, and he would get a ladder to rescue me. Mom would have none of that and said there was no time to waste. So, Dad told her to sit on the edge of my dock and he would lower her down to rescue me. After getting down, she pulled me out of the mud and placed me on my dock, but now, Mom couldn’t get out and was forced to wait in the mud for Dad to get a ladder.

When she finally climbed out, she took a look at me and told me Dad would have to give me a few baths before she would allow me back into the house. She also seemed unhappy that her favorite pair of white pants had the mud splashed all over them and she couldn’t get it washed out after three washings. The pants look sort of splotchy and remind me of the old tie-dyed garments I’ve seen in old photos. Maybe Mom can start a new fashion fad when she wears them?

Right now, Dad is building a ramp from my dock down to the bottom of my seawall, thinking I can use it to get out if I ever fall into the canal again. Little does he know about the mud pack spa addition I plan to open at low tide tomorrow. I’m sure you will want a bath after absorbing the health benefiting mud pack, and I’ll have Mom do this part. Of course, you may not recognize her since she said she is ordering a gas mask because I still smell awful after three baths.

The grand opening price of the mud pack and bath will be ten kibbles plus one kibble additional if you would like a fur conditioner and blow-dry after the bath. Please make your reservations early because only limited spaces are available.





Monday, September 9, 2013

The white pigeon

By Hobo Hudson

Here’s another stranger that has shown up at my cafeteria. It’s an all white pigeon but not an albino because he has one black feather and his eyes are not pink.

He showed up a few days ago and was a little shy around Dad at first but seems to fit in with all the other pigeons without any animosity because of his color. Dad says he can’t remember seeing a white pigeon before, so I guess this pigeon is another strange cafeteria visitor.






Thursday, September 5, 2013

New critters at my cafeteria

By Hobo Hudson





















When I returned to my house this morning after making my backyard inspection, I noticed two new visitors sitting on my rooftop watching all the squirrels and birds eat breakfast. I barked a friendly welcome, and one of them quacked back at me and asked if I would mind them having breakfast and then taking a quick dip in my pool.

“Of course not,” I barked. “There’s plenty of corn in the upper dining room and lots of birdseed in the lower dining room.”

The two new visitors immediately flew to the upper dining room, but their webbed feet couldn’t grasp the small rail so they flopped onto the lower dining room.

“Gee, Hobo, we’d sure like to enjoy your corn up there, but we just can’t sit up there to eat it.”

“Try some of the spilled corn on the ground,” I barked, “and I’ll tell my servant to put some corn on the fence rail for you from now on.”

About the time they had finished their breakfast, Mom came out to go swimming, and my new visitors were leery about using the pool while she was in it. I assured them that my mom would enjoy the company, so they hopped into the pool and swam alongside her for a few minutes and then flew away, quacking, “Thanks, Hobo. We’ll see you tomorrow.”

Mom was all excited about our visitors because she had never seen any ducks like that before. Their feet, legs and bills were bright red, while their tummies were black and their sides and back were a mottled brown. In addition, they had white circles around their eyes, and their quacks were sort of hissy.

Mom did a quick computer search and found out they were black-bellied whistling ducks which normally live in Latin America, although a few have been sighted in the very southern United States.

I feel very honored that these two ducks selected my humble establishment for their vacation.








Tuesday, July 30, 2013

My book, Mom’s book


By Hobo Hudson

The book about my life and my adventures is now available for sale, and I’m sure it will make the bestseller list. I don’t know if I should call it my book or my mom’s book because we already have a disagreement about it and are trying to settle it without legal counsel. The focal point of our dispute is my share of the profit in steaks.

Not matter what the outcome will be, the book The Richest Dog in Town is waiting for your order at amazon.com. To order, click here. It’s also available on Kindle.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

The peanut man



By Hobo Hudson

It looks like Dad is becoming famous in our neighborhood. I walked out on my sun deck early this morning and saw that Charlene was hosting an early morning get-together for some of the squirrel moms with little ones.

Charlene and the moms were sitting on her table daintily nibbling on peanuts from a large bowl in the center of her table while the baby squirrels were sitting in a circle at their feet. When I listened closely, I could hear them singing the following song:                          

Oh, do you know the peanut man,
The peanut man, the peanut man,
Oh, do you know the peanut man,
That lives in Hobo’s house?
 
Oh, yes, I know the peanut man,
The peanut man, the peanut man,
Oh, yes, I know the peanut man,
That lives in Hobo’s house.

I felt proud at first just knowing that Dad is becoming famous for throwing peanuts to the squirrels but then, I thought, why is Dad getting all the credit? After all, it was my idea to give the squirrels the peanuts in the beginning, and they should be singing about me and not about Dad.

I guess it’s all right though. Dad is a hard worker when I tell him what to do, so I guess it’s OK if he has a little credit now and then.









Monday, June 24, 2013

A Visit from the Missus


By Hobo Hudson

As my readers know, I am quite famous for my great squirrel buffet. The main serving line consists of a mixture of corn and sunflower seeds with a few berries, etc., thrown in for additional flavor. One end of the buffet counter has a wire basket in which I place an ear of corn, and the other end has the same wire basket which I fill with peanuts for dessert.

A short time ago, I began to have trouble with a blue jay who would visit my buffet and steal peanuts. He would peck two or three open and eat them and then grab a big one and take off with it, winging his way to who knows where. He would make several trips each time the cafeteria was open, but I could never apprehend him. I wanted to catch him to demand payment or to hold him until I could call my social network friend, Sheriff Ben, to come and arrest him.


 

I finally got fed up a couple of weeks ago and instructed Dad to select the peanuts with pinched centers and cut them in half for the dessert tray, thinking the blue jay would get tired of doing all the work for such small reward. To my surprise, the guy just started making twice as many trips.

Everything became clear to me this morning when the blue jay landed on my sun deck rail accompanied by another jay.

He chirped at me, “Good morning, Hobo. I’ve got my wife and son with me for the first time today. She’s been stuck in our nest taking care of Junior.”

I looked at the female blue jay next to him and sure enough, a small jay was peeking out from under her wing.

Smiling at me, the blue jay’s wife chirped, “I want to thank you for cutting those peanuts open for me, Hobo. I was wearing my beak to a nub pecking open enough peanuts for me and Junior. Now, stand up and come close so I can reach you.”

I hesitated for a second but then stepped over to her, and she leaned forward and gave me a gentle peck on my cheek.

“There,” she said. “That kiss is to thank you. There aren’t many dogs that would help a bird raise her family.”

I was a little embarrassed about receiving a thank you from the blue jay’s wife for halving the peanuts when I had cut them in half to save kibbles and not to help her, but I kept my barker shut and said, “You’re very welcome. I hope you enjoyed my food as much as I enjoyed serving you.”

I’m still feeling guilty and wonder if I should confess the next time I see her. What do you think?


Monday, June 17, 2013

The call of the wild manatee


By Hobo Hudson

When I trotted out into my backyard to make my inspection early this morning, I noticed a lot of commotion in the water in front of my dock. Fearing a critter had fallen into the water, I naturally loped over to see if it needed any help. I saw a bunch of monsters under Max's, my friend’s, boathouse and barked at Dad to come look, and this is what he saw:




"Is that big one dead?" I asked Dad. He laughed and replied, "No, Hobo, they're mating. The big one is the female and the smaller ones are the male suitors. The lucky one is underwater, and you can just see his flipper out of water and wrapped around the female. Take a good look because you'll probably never be lucky enough to see this again. It's the first time I’ve seen it, and I've been around the manatees all my life."





Monday, June 10, 2013

The death of a dear friend: Foley Monster, July 5, 2000–June 9, 2013

By Hobo Hudson

My dear, dear friend Foley Monster died Sunday from incurable cancer. She went to the Rainbow Bridge long before her time, and like so many of my fellow dogs and also like many cats, it was an unexpected voyage. She didn’t show any signs of having to depart from this world until it was too late for even the most advanced medical treatments to be of any help.

Foley Monster was a great and prodigious girl even though she was small, a tiny Yorkshire terrier. She had a heart of gold and never failed to help others in whatever situation they found themselves. She was thoughtful, brainy and witty, just perfect in every way.

Instead of going on writing about Foley Monster, a friend I got to know and love like a sister even though she was my attorney, without being able to express in words the sorrow I feel by her death, I decided to call people’s attention to how to react toward pet parents who have lost one of their pet family members and how to help console them. I will also address how to ease the pain of family pets who are grieving their lost sibling.


Everybody deals with grief in their own way, and there are many different words and expressions a grieving pet owner will appreciate hearing. But often, people with the best intentions choose the wrong words when expressing their sympathy because they do not know how painful those words are. 

Here are some of those expressions that will upset, if not enrage, a person who had just lost a pet:

Do not tell them you know exactly how they feel because no one can ever experience pain, grief and loss in exactly the same way.

Do not ask, “Have you thought of getting another pet?”

Do not say, “You still have your other pets.”

Do not suggest, “You can always get another pet.”

Do not comment, “He or she is in a better place now.”

Do not say, “He or she was just a pet.”

Do not say, “It’s not as if a child died.”

Do not comment, “Are you really that upset about an animal?”

Do not tell them, “There are so many other animals who need homes.”


To know this is especially important for people who do not own a pet or do not have any connections to a pet. They might not be aware that a pet is a member of the family and treated like a son or daughter.

These are some suggestions on how to react to grieving pet owners:

Tell them, “I am so sorry.”

Tell them and let them know that you care.

Reminisce about the pet who died if you have known him or her and talk about the good times and the fun you shared with their pet.

Tell them that you like to hear stories of their pet.

Listen to what the grieving pet owners have to say about their pet.

Show grieving pet owners empathy, understanding and compassion.

Be there for grieving pet owners and support them even if it is sitting in silence.

Offer help, any kind of help.

Give cards, flowers or donation to a local shelter in their names.


Pet siblings often suffer like humans when their sister or brother leaves for the Rainbow Bridge. The following advice is for pet parents on how to help other pet family members cope with the sudden emptiness:  

Maintain their daily routines.

Keep the usual meal and treat schedules.

Take longer walks.

Increasing exercise.

Add more play time.

Give extra love and affection.

Talk to them.

Provide them with something that still holds the scent of their lost sibling to be comforted by it.


Foley Monster, my dear friend, run along with all the other pups at the Rainbow Bridge and let them take care of you until we meet again.

Your everlasting friend,

Hobo





Thursday, June 6, 2013

Proverbs fit for a dog


 By Hobo Hudson

My life has been so hectic since I published my book “The Richest Dog In Town” that I haven’t even had a chance to dig out my little book of proverbs for some inspiring words of wisdom. I shouldn’t have let it go this long because it always helps me to maintain a clear perspective of the life around me.

This morning, with the wind howling and the rain pounding on the roof as Andrea defied all travel restrictions and raced unhindered from Cuba to Florida, I retreated to reading some muse to calm my nerves. It worked until I read the following quotation by Channing Pollack, an American actor: “No man in the world has more courage than the man who can stop after eating one peanut.”

I became so agitated by this plainly wrong chain of his thoughts that I forgot all about Andrea. What the heck is he talking about? I barked to myself. Does he know anything about squirrels?

Now, I know something about squirrels. I employed them as entertainers, as diggers, as farming specialists and as this and that, and today, I provide them with food from my   one of a kind 24-hour cafeteria. They are some courageous animals.

Who would dare, in their right mind, to walk high above the streets along power lines? Yet, those squirrels do it day in day out. And while many do get electrocuted doing it, they still don’t shy away from it. That’s courage!

Who would dare, in their right mind, to cross the road right in front of a moving car? Yet, those squirrels do it even before daylight. Many don’t time it right to run between the front and back tires underneath the car and get killed, yet they try it anyway. That’s courage!

Who would dare, in their right mind, to risk a jump far beyond their capabilities? The squirrels do it all the time, either just for fun or to escape harm, and not always hit their marks but never give up. That’s courage!

Who would sit, in their right mind, outside during a hurricane and munch on free food while lightning and gusts of wind are on the attack? Squirrels will do it no matter how bad the weather is. That’s courage!
 
But I also know another thing about squirrels and that is they will not, I repeat, not, stop after eating one peanut.

So, to revise the proverb, I say: “No one in the world who has more courage than a squirrel had better not stop after eating one peanut—there might not be another chance.” 






Monday, May 13, 2013

A romantic breakfast


By Hobo Hudson

I was supervising Dad as he prepared my breakfast buffet for the squirrels and the birds on the sun deck when a scrawny squirrel poked his head under the front gate of my backyard and hurried up to me. The fellow looked as though he hadn’t eaten for a week, and his fur was all bedraggled.

“Please Mr. Hobo, could I have one of those big peanuts with three peanuts inside it?” he asked.

I took a hard look at the stranger and then asked how he knew my name and why he had the nerve to ask for a large peanut instead of being grateful and content for what I gave him.

The little fellow hung his head and said, “Mr. Hobo, don’t you know me? I’m Peter XIV, one of Charlene’s great great great …Oh I forget how many generations down the line I am. I used to come over every morning before I got married and never asked for special favors until now, but now I’m desperate.”

“What’s wrong?” I asked

Prompted, Peter began his sad tale.

“I married too young,” he confessed. “My mother enrolled me in an agility class not long after I had my eyes open, and I learned to jump from limb to limb and even jump onto your sun deck. Susan 94th, a rich little girl from two blocks over, was also in my class. One day during training, Susan slipped and I caught her, and love was born.

“Our love really blossomed when we attended peanut begging class together, and we decided to get married. My mother was against it because she thought we should finish all our classes, so we both had some skills and I could support my new wife, but we knew better.

“Susan and I decided to elope and, when we got back home and told our parents the happy news, they all said that if we were old enough to get married, we were old enough to support ourselves, and they cut us off without a single acorn to our names.

“We found a cheap apartment in a low rent tree across the street and were able to keep body and sole alive by working all day, but now, we have three little babies and Susan has to stay home with them. We just can’t survive on what I’ve been able to bring home.

“This morning, I decided to brave crossing the street to see if I can beg a peanut or two from you, Mr. Hobo, to bring over to Susan and then come back and maybe eat some corn to keep myself going.”

When I heard Peter’s sad tale, my heart went out to the little guy, and I told him to wait a minute while I ran into the house. I returned with a small plastic bag and told Dad to put four of the large peanuts into the bag together with a handful of sunflower seeds and a little corn.

I handed the filled bag to Peter and said, “You take this back to your nest, and you can have a nice breakfast with Susan. If you’ll promise to start your classes again and if Susan will promise to start her classes when your babies are old enough to accompany her, I’ll give you a bag like this every morning. Otherwise, you’re on your own.”




I watched Peter drag the bag full of goodies across the road and wondered if the two of them have learned their lesson and are willing to try to better themselves. If they work at it, I’ll try to help them but, if not, I’ll cut them off because I’m not going to support any lazy bums. I guess time will tell.










Thursday, May 9, 2013

Famous author joins the 51 percent club

By Hobo Hudson
Satire

I am proud to announce that I have joined the 51 percent club and have pledged to donate at least 51 percent of my assets to worthy charities.

When followers of the 51 percent club first approached me some time back, I gave them a very fast no because there is no way that I would donate over half my wealth after working so hard to earn the bones. They assured me, however, that I don’t have to donate anything today but only to put down in my will that 51 percent or more would go to charities of my choice. These charities could include any legitimate group, or I could form my own charitable foundation and nominate the dog of my choice to run it.

This information put joining the club into an entirely different light. I could spend any bones I want now and enjoy life to the fullest and only give away a portion of the bones left when I go to the bridge. The great publicity this simple act generates will probably help me sell another million copies of my book, The Richest Dog In Town, so everything seems to be positive with no drawbacks.

I have therefore put my paw print to the pledge and it is effective immediately. My attorney, Ms. Foley Monster, has set up a variety of trusts to accomplish my needs. The trusts are as follows:

1. The Hobo Hudson’s Cat Trust. Since I want to be certain that my old cat employees are able to enjoy a dignified old age, I have set up this trust to insure that adequate funds are available to insure their care in perpetuity. This trust has been funded with one million bones. Since cats can’t be trusted to manage funds, all income will be paid to me during my lifetime and I will be trustee. Upon my death, all income will be paid to Mom and Dad and they will be trustees. Upon the death of the last cat, the trust will be dissolved and the corpus will be transferred to the Hobo Hudson Family Trust.

2. The Hobo Hudson Family Trust has been initially funded with 20 million bones, and I may decide to add more funds at a later date. I am the trustee and all earnings will be paid to me during my lifetime. Upon my death, Mom and Dad will become trustees, and they may take unlimited funds from the trust, including income and corpus as they may require. Upon their deaths, all remaining funds will be transferred to the Hobo Hudson Foundation for distribution.

3. The Hobo Hudson Foundation has been set up as a qualified charity for I.R.S. purposes with an initial funding of 100 bones and myself as sole trustee. Upon my death, Mom and Dad will be trustees. When they leave us, the trust will be dissolved with 40 percent going to C.A.R.E., 40 percent to Southeastern Guide Dogs and the remaining 20 percent to be named by Mom and Dad before their deaths.

After putting my pawprint onto these checks, I received a bark from my banker saying my account was overdrawn by 18 bones, so I borrowed 20 bones from Dad to keep my account solvent until I receive the next royalty payment on my book.

This sounds sort of like some of the hooman members, doesn’t it?
      

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Hobo reviews a book

By Hobo Hudson

Dad had applied for a new library card the other day. While it was still lying unused on the coffee table in the living room, I grabbed it and, with my little red wagon in tow, I dashed off to the library. I wanted to find other kinds of books than Dad and Mom usually read, others than the rough and tough or the mushy ones. I was sure there were some kinds of books around that have more meat to them and were more aimed at the tastes we dogs have.

As I was ambling through the library book aisles, I spotted a picture on a book. OMD, I thought, what a handsome guy. Big and tall, overpowering two people sitting next to him in size, and full of shaggy hair, he seemed to be my kind of dog. I pulled the book out and skimmed through it. There were even more drawings of my new hero inside the book, showing his power and resolve. Without wasting any more time, I checked the book out, tossed it in my little red wagon and hurried back home to read it.

I snuggled with the book in my bed and read it all night, from the beginning to the end. It was just the book I had in mind written for us dogs. Its title is A dog’s Life, and apparently the dog, named Boy, who wrote the book, could not claim authorship—just as it is the case with my book—and had his dad, Peter Mayle, stand in for him.

The book is funny, sophisticated to match the thinking of us dogs and informative as how to live among humans. It’s a terrific story about a dog living in France whose humble upbringing resembles my own—Chapter 1 of my book tells about my early childhood—and who also found a couple who adopted him and allowed him to have a life fit for a king. To find out more about the book A Dog’s Life, click here.




Monday, April 15, 2013

Healthful dog treats, great ideas

By Hobo Hudson

I am always interested in the projects my friends and fellow dogs are doing, and when I get a whiff of it, I check it out. One of my doggy friends, Kolchak, spends his day working on a blog his mom has set up.

Kolchak is a blogger and the supervisor of his mom’s baking. His blog is about food and other topics that make life enjoyable and exciting. Needless to say, I’m intrigued and fascinated by his job. He posts articles about baking treats for us dogs, and the treats are not only scrumptious but also healthful. The recipes are easy to follow and require only a few ingredients. Kolchak also posts pictures of each of the treats on his blog, and just looking at them makes me drool. It would be really hard to decide which one to grab first and run off with before coming back for the next one.

I’m sure before Kolchak posts a recipe for a treat on his blog, he tastes the end product. Whoa, that would be a job for me. But Kolchak’s work doesn’t stop there. He also busies himself helping his mom to create and craft specialty items and to describe how to make everyday items by hand while having fun and saving money. Of course, he always makes sure his mom adds pictures to those products, too.

Kolchak has a lot of great stuff on his blog. Just see for yourself and trot over to Kol’s Notes at: http://www.kolchakpuggle.com/.


Monday, April 8, 2013

No evidence of a look-alike me



By Hobo Hudson

Critter Adoption and Rescue Effort (C.A.R.E.), our local no-kill animal shelter, a place where you want to end up if you ever get lost, was holding an off-leash pet fest in our town’s dog park last weekend. Mom went to it to report on it and to shoot photos, taking with her a notebook, a pen and a camera but not me. I begged her to let me come with her, but she said she wouldn’t be able to work having to keep a steady eye on me. I know I have some issues with big dogs. I always act preemptively toward them, expecting them to attack my mom. You can read all about it in my book The Richest Dog In Town, available at amazon.com.

Anyway, there was no arguing with Mom, and so, she went alone. Of course, without having me at her side, something had to happen to muddle up her mind. It never takes much to confuse Mom, and it didn’t surprise me when she told Dad she was sure she saw me stomping around the pet fest grounds. She said I looked as if I was on a mission, a mission to find her but didn’t recognize her. Then she noticed my tail, which was not my tail, and she became more and more confused. Finally, the dog she thought was me found his or her real mom, and they both took off.  

BOL, my mom can’t distinguish between her only doggy son and some other critter my size and color looking like a terrier mix! I rummaged through the photos Mom took at the pet fest but couldn’t find any dog who resembled me. I guess Mom was so shook-up that she forgot to preserve the evidence. Better for me that I remain one of a kind. 







 
Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Squirrel lollipops


By Hobo Hudson

Mom and Dad were eating supper, each one gnawing on an ear of corn as if it were truffle or caviar in disguise. Their blissful looks didn’t leave much to my imagination, and after I gobbled down the small chunks of ham, Dad had cut for me, I watched them finish biting off the last kernels. Making sure they swallowed them all right and didn’t choke on them, I asked, “Why do you both eat corn on the cob but feed my former squirrels employees plain corn kernels?”

“Well,” Dad said, wiping off his mouth, “it would be too expensive to feed all your employees part of our food. Just imagine how many ears of corn you would have to buy for all of them. Do you even know how many of your former employees come to your free cafeteria nowadays?”

Dad had a point there. I had gotten in the habit of not even looking at the cafeteria any more so that I don’t get tempted to give my former employees some exercise. While it would be good for them to sprint across the backyard and jump on the fence with me on their heels, I have decided to let them eat in peace and quiet.

Anyway, I thought it would be fun for the squirrels to have a whole ear of corn to nibble at, and I was sure they would love sucking on it like on a lollipop. I was also sure stores would sell whole ears of corn just for squirrels. The next time Dad stocked up on bird and squirrel food at the feed supply store, I went with him and sure enough, I found a bag of ears of corn intended for squirrels and bought it.

Dad put an ear of corn in the little compartment at the end of the bird feeder, and the squirrels fought each other to get the first bite. The bag of ears of corn I bought is more expensive than the bag of plain kernels, but it takes much longer for the squirrels to finish a whole ear. The loose kernels are always gone in a flash, but most of the time, the squirrels knock half of them into the grass and nobody, even the birds, wants to pick up the discarded corn.

Once again, I’m making my former employees happy while I’m on the winning side of the game.















Sunday, March 31, 2013

Happy Easter to all my friends

By Hobo Hudson

I hope you all had a happy Easter weekend. Mine turned out pretty good. First, Mom and Dad spent all day Saturday at home, Dad doing a repair job at the house and Mom doing writing jobs at her computer. In other words, they didn’t leave me alone during the day. I hate it if I have to stay home alone, that is, taking care of my kiddy sister Blondie. Usually, she just snoozes without even realizing that our parents took off, but it’s still always a bother to keep an eye on her. You never know what these cats have on their minds.

Anyway, it was even better than just having both my parents at home. Dad had to replace the window he broke on the porch, and since my other kitty siblings made a big fuss about the porch, their living quarters, becoming an ice box with the missing window pane, Dad had to go to Home Depot to buy the necessary parts to repair the window. Of course, I went with him, or he never would have found the aisle where Home Depot stocks the glass panes.  

Back home, I supervised Dad replacing the broken window pane so he would set it in correctly and it would last, and then, Mom and Dad took off to go out to eat dinner. That was a letdown. I’m always hoping they would go to one of the restaurants that allow dogs to eat on the patio and take me with them, but unfortunately, we only have bars but no restaurants around our neighborhood that welcome us pups. That says a lot, doesn’t it?

Luckily, Dad thought about me and brought me some left-over fried chicken he said he couldn’t eat. I know better, though. He had ordered an extra serving of chicken for me so I would let him back into the house. I even don’t bother to tell Mom what to do because she still believes she can train me, and she would just have entered the house through one of the back doors. At the end, I had a delicious pre-Easter supper of chicken and french fries and also a delicious Easter breakfast of chicken and french fries. 

To round the perfect Easter Sunday up, my best friend, Max, came over after lunch—I had just finished my ham Easter dinner and didn’t have to share a bite with him—and we spent the rest of the day playing together and snacking around on cookies and crackers.







Sunday, March 24, 2013

Designer jeans—revealing the secret

By Hobo Hudson

I guess people often ask themselves how clothing manufacturers put those fabulous holes in designer jeans that teenagers and young adults rave about and pay a fortune for. Well, I know the secret because not long ago, I was one of those manufacturers and also a jeans fashion designer.

Although I sold my business to a British company a while back, the new company owners are still producing the same line of jeans which made me a millionaire. My book, The Richest Dog in Town, available at amazon.com, reveals the secret of those designer jeans—and the lurking danger of eschewing them.

If you decide to buy my book, please leave a review of the book at amazon.com after you finished reading it and also, tell your friends about it.


Monday, March 18, 2013

The rabbit chasing club


By Hobo Hudson

I was busily dictating another story to Mom for my next book when Dad came bursting in the office waving a bill. “Hobo,” he yelled, “what’s this bill from something called The Rabbit Chasing Club entitled monthly dues for 500 bones?” “Oh yes, Dad. I’ve been meaning to mention it to you. I joined it last month but had enough bones on hand to pay the initiation fee, and they will be billing me monthly from now on.”

Licking his mouth, Dad asked, “When’s your next meeting? It’s been years since I had a good rabbit supper.” My hair began to bristle, and in horror, I screamed, “Eat a rabbit? Dad! We don’t catch them and eat them. We just chase them. The rabbits are members of the club too.”

Dad was a little non-plussed at this, so I went on to explain to him how our club works. We meet at 4 p.m. the first full moon of each month in the grassland close to the Little Manatee River. We always choose a different spot for each meeting, and one of the members brings two jars with colored balls. All of us dogs draw a ball, and then all the rabbits draw a ball from the other jar, and the dog and rabbit holding the same color ball will form a pair for the chase.

This past month, a jack rabbit named Pete and I made up a pair. Pete had really long legs and, dog, could that guy run. I finally caught up with him and plucked a hair out of his tail just before the knock-off horn blew at 5:30 p.m., and we both collapsed and rested for a while. When we recovered our breath, we walked back to our camp site, and he slunk away to join his chums while I joined my pals and proudly displayed the hair I captured.

All of us dogs who were holding a rabbit hair in their paws took turns recounting the chase and received loud bays of approval while the dogs without a secured  hair just sat with a hang dog look on their faces. When it was my turn, I modestly downplayed my achievement, saying that I had used a 10-second delay by watching Pete’s actions which showed me that he was relying on speed rather than tactics to elude me. I further told my doggy club members that I saw small rocks, knotted roots and deep potholes obstructing Pete’s path in front of him. Knowing Pete would turn to avoid them, all I had to do was to not follow his trail but instead head for the end of the bumpy stone path, and I would be in position to nail him.

Our club president interrupted me at that point and barked that no matter how I had accomplished the feat, I was still the only dog that had ever defeated Pete. Then, he took my rabbit hair and mounted it on a plaque for permanent display. At the same time, chortles erupted, coming from the rabbits’ meeting corner as the winning rabbits described how they had outwitted the “stupid dogs” by dodging and weaving and constantly changing directions. For some reason, Pete was noticeably silent.

While the sun had set and a full moon had arisen shortly before, we dogs took a moment to admire its reflection in the waters of the Little Manatee River, and our choir leader led us in a spirited rendition of “Baying at the Moon.” When we had finished howling our song, the rabbits joined our group and together, we lit a small bon fire for a cookout. Our guest chef this month was a little puggle named Kolchak, who arrived in his chef’s toque and carried trays filled with freshly cubed steak, sliced carrots and other covered-up goodies.  

Kolchak was a master in hosting the perfect cookout. After he placed the trays of food next to the fire, he jumped toward a palmetto plant and quickly chewed of the stems. Offering each of us one of the stems, he told us to spit a bit of steak or carrot onto it and hold it over the bon fire to roast the food. We had a lot of fun, and Kolchak kept an eye on everyone’s skewer to make sure nobody burnt the steak or the carrots.  

By the time we had eaten our fill, a wind had blown up, grabbing Kochak’s toque and hurling it toward the river. We all jumped up to chase it, and Pete redeemed himself by pouncing on it and holding it until Kolchak could scamper over and collect it. When Kolchak had firmly fastened the toque on his head, he unwrapped the other trays, revealing mouthwatering selections of dessert, and passed them around. There were “truffles” for us dogs and carrot cakes for the rabbits. The truffles were sooo delicious, and in just a few minutes, not a crumb was left. If you’d like to try them, just go to Kolchak’s recipe page and make your own.

After hearing about my great evening, Dad allowed as to it being a great investment and boxed up the bones to mail out right away.




Sunday, March 10, 2013

Midair collision over Ruskin


By Hobo Hudson

BREAKING NEWS

A midair collision occurred over Ruskin a few moments ago. Hobo Hudson, reporter, is on the spot to bark a first paw report.

“First, let me reassure everyone there were no fatalities, although one pilot suffered a chipped tooth and the other severely ruffled fur.

“As best I can determine from witness’ accounts, two squirrels, identified as Peter O. Squirrel and Patricia A. Squirrel, were on adjacent fence posts doing their preflight checks when a human appeared on a nearby sun deck and threw a peanut which landed midway between the two posts. Both squirrels took off without checking to see if the airspace was clear and collided midair.

“Peter A. Squirrel, who had taken off from the right fence post, sputtered through a chipped tooth that he had the right of way and the last time he looked just before takeoff, the woman squirrel to his left was busy putting on her makeup. Patricia A. Squirrel immediately clasped her paw over her mouth and replied indignantly that she was doing no such thing. She further said that she often flies with only half her lipstick and finishes when she lands.

“James O. Squirrel, airport manager, issued an official statement saying the entire accident is due to the authorities having removed the controllers due to the sequester.”

More to follow as soon as details are available.





Thursday, February 28, 2013

Whereabouts of squirrel who zapped Tampa’s drinking water supply


By Hobo Hudson

I would like to issue an update on the Tampa squirrel who played havoc with the drinking water in the Tampa Bay area in Florida. As I’ve suspected, the squirrel had no intention of causing harm. It inadvertently entered a pipe that served as a shield to a power line and got stuck. Frantically trying to find a way out of his or her predicament, the squirrel started to chew on the pipe to get unstuck. Unfortunately, his or her sharp teeth set a series of events in motion that ended up in fireworks, explosions and a blackout which led to a dangerous drop in water pressure at the water treatment plant.

Now, from here on, the reports lack clarity. A local newspaper said that the squirrel, or what everyone thought was a squirrel—officials admit it also could have been a rat— gnawed too deep into the pipe and cut into the power line and was electrocuted. I, on the other hand, heard a different story from a fellow dog. I’m in a precarious situation, though, because I have a personal relationship with the source of my news and therefore, I won’t reveal her name. She recently entered the Lassie Ford Clinic under yelps and protest, and I’m not so sure she is reliable and trustworthy in her account.  

The dog in question told me over the phone that she saw a squirrel sneaking into the clinic and trying to get admitted for beef beer addiction. The dog also said that the squirrel looked befuddled, had scorched ears and badly burnt teeth and his fur, covered with ashes, had large patches of hair missing. When the dog approached the squirrel, an orderly shooed her away and chased her back into the treatment room. 



Sunday, February 24, 2013

Drinking water in Tampa compromised by squirrel


By Hobo Hudson

The recent imprudent act of a squirrel in Tampa, Fla., caused people in several parts of the Tampa Bay area to experience what people in less developed countries have to go through every day: they have to disinfect their tap water to make it drinkable.

To set the record straight, it was one single squirrel who did the damage, nibbling on an electric wire and disconnecting the power to the water treatment plant. It would be rash to blame the whole squirrel population for this unfortunate incident. I have only good things to say about squirrels, and I consider myself an expert on their species since I’m employing numerous families of squirrels, and they are all reliable, diligent and nonviolent.

The only explanation I can come up with for the Tampa squirrel’s transgression is that he or she had lapped up too many Folitinis or beef beers. I’m not saying that getting intoxicated is a justification for doing such an appalling act as to chew on a power line, but if the guilty squirrel would come forward, he or she might be able to find help at the Lassie Ford Clinic, that is if they accept squirrels.

I know some of the squirrels do have problems with the lip smacking beef beer, but I sure can’t figure out how or where they find the bottles. I store them inside the house under lock and key so that my kitty sisters don’t get any ideas, and then I saw this the other day

                    
Bozo, one of Charlene’s great-great-grandsons, must have sneaked away with the bottle when I had a drink on the sun deck and fell asleep and forgot about the beef beer after I woke up. I’ve never stumbled upon any bottles in our backyard, and I make my rounds through the backyard at least twice a day. Bozo must have buried the bottle before he dug it up to gulp down the mellow brew. I guess I have to keep a watchful eye on those young squirrels or better yet, on my bottles of beef beer. 



Monday, February 18, 2013

Dog training now and then

By Hobo Hudson

In my book The Richest Dog In Town, I have dedicated the chapter “DFP University” to the superiority and wisdom of us dogs, stressing how ridiculous it is for us to follow mundane orders given by humans. I also hinted several times in other chapters of my book to my fellow dogs that it’s more appropriate we teach stuff to humans than the other way around because we know how to make life easier and more efficient.

If it makes our human parents and care takers happy to teach us a few behavior rules they consider essential and which are important to them, and since we always like to accommodate the humans we love, let’s be good sports and, just for the fun of it, go along with their crazy ideas and read what they want us to do.

My mom just posted an article on examiner.com about teaching a pup social grace and peaceful interaction with our fellow dogs during a walk. How times have changed! The article mentioned that dog trainers today suggest using a soft harness for their pups to practice a non-violent approach toward another dog. I say, using a harness to train a dog will not only support his or her whole body compared to putting undue stress on the neck by using a collar but will also restrain the dog in a much more civilized and less humiliating manner.

Well, I still remember when people used choke collars to teach dogs not to pull on their leashes. The collars would not only cut off the air supply and make the dogs gasp but would also cut into their throats leaving behind tooth marks, and the poor dogs had no way to sniff at something that called them or even say hello to the fellows dogs they met on the road.

At the same time, dogs learning to walk in an orderly fashion and interact with other dogs also had to worry about suffering from whiplashes when the people holding the leashes fastened to collars jerked their dogs away from other dogs over and over again. Today, dog trainers advise distracting dogs with treats as soon as they start to become agitated seeing another dog and also to keep their distance until their dogs have become more at ease with their fellow dogs. 

The most bizarre and outlandish rule of walking with humans, though, came from an anecdote I heard Mom tell Dad. When Mom was a little girl, dogs always had to walk on the left side of a human because it was a sign of respect to walk on the right side of someone. Even if all the bushes and trees containing all the other dogs’ messages were on the other side, dogs had to walk on the left side of any human. It wouldn’t have mattered anyway, because dogs growing up during that era had to walk like puppets and in sync with the person holding the leash instead of having a good time, sniffing, pulling, exploring and just being a dog.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Cleaning the grout

By Hobo Hudson

I came up again with a great idea. This time, it has nothing to do with my fellow dogs or cats but with cleaning. Well, I must correct myself. It has to do with cats because they are the ones who are making the mess on the floor that my mom needs to clean up constantly, and that’s what this post is about: Cleaning the grout between floor tiles.

The grout not only gets dirty from wear and tear, but it easily attracts stains, and they look ugly, especially if the grout is light-colored. When my kitty sisters throw up a hairball, it always lands right between the tiles and the grout turns greenish or brownish right away. I saw Mom scrubbing and scrubbing with whatever detergent she found in the house, but after the grout dried, it looked as if she hadn’t done anything to it.

Since I’m always eager to help Mom out, I racked my brains, and suddenly, the perfect solution popped into my head. I told Mom to use cat litter instead of water and detergent to scrub the grout and see what would happen. She did it, and whoa! Look at the photos of before and after:























Doesn’t it make a difference? It’s relatively easy to do, and Mom spot-cleans the floor every time someone makes a mess. She sprinkles a generous amount of white cat litter on the grout, and with two wadded-up paper towels, she scrubs the litter granules lengthwise across the grout until it looks clean. Then, she sweeps up the litter. That’s all there’s to it. And the best part is the litter makes a safe and nontoxic cleaner that will not harm my kitty sisters who spend a lot of time on the floor.

Plain white cat litter works the best, and the grout has to be dry. The results might depend, though, on the kind of grout used between the tiles. Applying two much elbow grease and also doing it too often might rub off some of the grout, so be careful. I will not be liable for any adverse effects. I’ve already told my attorney, Mrs. Foley Monster, to draw up a release form. On second thought, maybe I should let Mrs. Foley Monster file a patent instead.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Undergoing spay and neuter surgery is necessary and worthwhile

By Hobo Hudson

I know, I know. I can hear all the boos and shouts of displeasure, especially coming from my male fellow dog and tomcat readers. But it needs to be done, just read the headline. And look at our female canine and feline family members and friends how easily they agree to the unspoken surgery without making a big fuss about it. Some of them know about and recount the trouble with all the consequences they can get into if humans do not have them spayed or have forgotten to neuter the male dogs and cats.

Tell the truth, you’re all enjoying your lives after that dreaded surgery and don’t miss the parts that are missing. On the contrary, you are all well-behaved, good-natured, sociable and friendly, a long-term and welcomed side effect of the surgery which also prevents or diminishes certain diseases.

Another great benefit of spaying and neutering is that our natural mothers, sisters, daughters and female friends cannot become pregnant any longer and do not produce any offspring which helps cut down the overpopulation of unwanted dogs and cats.

To read more about spaying and neutering, go to my mom’s article on examiner.com.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Cats are not exterminators of wildlife

By Hobo Hudson

A recent study by some bird lovers who are also researchers claim that the species my siblings belong to are killers of wildlife. According to the bird lovers’ findings, birds and small mammals more often fall prey to street cats than to any other danger. In other word, cats roaming free are on the loose to destroy wildlife.

This is an affront to any cat and especially to all my former cat employees. I know cats can sometimes act weird and unpredictable and differ a lot from me and my fellow dogs in how they see the world and how they assert their independence, but they are not violent savages.  

While I sure had my share of aggravation with cats when they were working for me, they never gave me the impression or raised any suspicion of being killers, running wild to wipe out a part of nature. I knew that Charlene, my former squirrel entertainer—to find out about her, read my book—was concerned about some of my former employees. Without considering the circumstances, a wrongly advised and unsound strike instigated by my cat sister Blondie who is anything else but a street cat, blaming homeless cats for Charlene’s fear would be preposterous.  

In fact, one of my kitty sisters, Rocky, once took care of a baby owl that had lost its mother. At that time, Rocky was a street cat, hanging out around the home she now lives in. She protected the little owl until Dad saw it and brought it to a bird sanctuary. And Thomas, my kitty brother who used to be a street cat, always alerts Mom when there is a lizard on the porch without hurting it.

On the other hand, I heard Dad tell Mom the other day that when he was outside in the backyard working on my vegetable farm, he took a break watching the birds sitting on the rail of the sun deck digesting their feed. Suddenly, he saw a hawk flying overhead, and before he knew what happened, the hawk swung toward the rail and disappeared with a pigeon in its talons. Now, who is the killer of small birds?

I think the bird lovers should go back to the drawing board to do another research and maybe involve cat lovers in it so the results will come out more balanced.



Saturday, January 26, 2013

Calming down cats during a car ride

By Hobo Hudson

I love to take rides in the car. It’s one of my favorite pastimes, and Dad never has to worry about calming me down when I’m his passenger. Even if I end up at the vet’s office for my annual checkup, I’m not upset about the car ride because it’s only a once-a-year inconvenience.

For my kitty siblings, the situation is quite different. They only ride in the car when they have to see the vet who will poke them and stick them with a needle, and they never experience the luxury of riding in the car for fun. It’s no wonder that they get all shook-up and frightful sitting in their carrier inside the moving car.

I know how Blondie, one of my kitty sisters, hates those car rides to the vet because we both always go for our regular checkups at the same time. She meows and meows and even cries from the time we leave the house until we reach the vet’s office, and she repeats her calls of despair on the way back home. Dad said all her cat siblings act exactly in the same fashion while riding in the car.

The last time Dad took Blondie and me to the vet, he had a music disc running in his car, and I noticed that Blondie calmed down a tad listening to it. Wow, I thought, that’s great, but in my opinion, Dad’s choice of music didn’t really seem to appeal to cats. Then, it hits me. Why not play the sounds of birds singing while my cat siblings ride in the car. It would surely catch their attention and distract them from their worries and misery. I had Mom check on the Internet for music discs with nature sounds, and I selected the perfect one for my kitty siblings, and we received it in the mail several weeks ago.

Yesterday, Dad had the opportunity to test my idea on Pogo, another one of my cat sisters, who was due for her annual vet visit. It was a winner, and it turned out just as I thought it would. Dad told me that Pogo instantly calmed down inside the car hearing the birds singing, and listening to them during the ride, she didn’t say a word on the way to and from the vet’s office. 


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My name is Hobo Hudson. I’ve always considered myself a terrier mix, and I’m going to leave it at that. I used to share my mom’s website writing about my life, but Mom’s stories somehow got in my way. So, I deemed it more appropriate to open my own blog, which also allows me to engage my siblings in writing posts if I’m running short on time. After all, I’m a busy dog. My mom helps me with my blog now and then, but I think it’s only to safeguard my good reputation. Her website, newsandtales.com, contains some great stories.
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Bruny Hudson, manager and editor of Newsandtales.com, assists as a consultant with Hobo’s blog.
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