dogs, funny stories, technology

Healthy habits spurred on by butt sniffers and smartwatches…

I have a couple of issues to address today. They aren’t really related, but I don’t feel like composing two posts. I hope you’ll bear with me, anyway.

Our dog, Noyzi, who came to us from Kosovo last fall, has really been turning into quite a charming beast. When we first got him, he was pretty terrified of most things. He was used to living outside with many other dogs, so he’d never encountered glass before. He bumped his head several times on the glass door before he learned that he couldn’t go through it. Now, he knows how to deal with the door and the mesh fly screen we put up earlier in the spring, although that scared him at first, too.

When Noyzi first joined us, he didn’t really know how to walk on a leash. I gave him a few lessons in the backyard before we took him out for his first walk around the neighborhood. He now walks on the leash like a champ and, in fact, even seems more secure when he’s on a leash than when he’s not. He’s become very civilized in that regard, willingly walking behind or beside me. He never pulls or barks, although sometimes if he’s excited or scared, he will freak out a little bit and backpedal. But those incidents are becoming fewer and further between.

Noyzi is a perfect gentleman when anyone rings the doorbell. Almost all of our other dogs, save for C.C. the beagle/husky mix, have barked like crazy when someone comes to the door. Now, Arran barks as usual, but Noyzi stays quiet. He doesn’t rush to the door, trying to get out or greet the stranger. In fact, he really doesn’t bark much at all, except for when the next door neighbor’s Labrador, Tommi, is outside. I have rarely heard him utter more than a few high pitched yips, which I feel pretty sure aren’t the extent of his full on barking capabilities.

I have yet to see Noyzi be food aggressive or aggressive, in general, at all. He patiently tolerates Arran’s figurative rolling pin waving antics. Arran bitches Noyzi out regularly, trying desperately to cling to top dog status, which he never really had when we had Zane. Arran could really only dominate Zane when Zane wasn’t feeling well. But Noyzi, who is several times Arran’s size, puts up with Arran’s bossiness like a champ. I have noticed a little eye rolling, now and again, and Noyzi will sometimes sneak upstairs even though Arran often bitches at him when he tries to invade. But, for the most part, Noyzi quietly and patiently respects his place in the hierarchy and doesn’t make waves.

I couldn’t have asked for a more naturally obedient and intelligent pet. Noyzi doesn’t counter surf, and his begging for food is minimal and endearing. Noyzi didn’t even need to be house trained, which was a hugely pleasant surprise! It was like he was born to be an indoor dog, despite his size. He even enjoys being bathed!

The one thing Noyzi does do, however, is something that is taking a little bit to get used to. You see, Noyzi is the tallest dog we’ve ever had. He’s almost as tall as my hip. That puts his head at just the right place for sticking his nose right in my ass. He doesn’t do this every day… it’s mainly when he’s wanting to take a walk or be fed. Noyzi, like most of the dogs we’ve ever had, now knows how to tell time, more or less. He knows when he usually gets fed or walked.

Noyzi enjoys part of our longer walking route, thanks to the other monitor in my life… Our local Rewe does its part to encourage the bees to do their jobs.

Usually, Arran will come and tell me when it’s time for either of those activities, if I haven’t already gotten started. But now, I’ve noticed that when I go and get dressed for a walk, Noyzi will come upstairs and wait. Then Arran will lead the way downstairs, stopping and pausing on the way to make sure I’m following. Noyzi will station himself behind me and stick his nose where the sun don’t shine. He does it to Bill, too, though not as often as he does it to me. Sometimes, he also gooses me in the ass when I’m putting on my shoes. It’s like he sees my butt as a target… a funny smelling target… and sticks his nose there to light a fire under my ass, so to speak. It’s kind of like a G rated canine version of the “Shocker”. If you don’t know what the Shocker is, Urban Dictionary is your friend.

I probably shouldn’t allow or encourage this behavior, but honestly, I find it kind of funny. Like I said, in the past, we’ve always had medium sized beagle mixes who have been too short to engage in such antics. This is the first time we’ve had a dog large enough to be a legitimate “ball sniffer” or in Noyzi’s case, “butt sniffer”. George Carlin had a hilarious comedy routine about such dogs… Behold:

Noyzi doesn’t do circumcisions… yet.

I guess as long as Noyzi doesn’t push me as I walk downstairs, I’m alright with being spurred on to success. I did manage to get a cute animation from my new Apple Watch the last couple of days. I’m not sure I’ve dished much about my latest toy, and I originally didn’t realize Noyzi and Arran had anything in common with the watch. But now that I think about it, it occurs to me that the watch and the dogs do have something in common. Both the dogs and the watch are spurring me on to take better care of myself. I don’t think either of the dogs do it for my sake. They spur me on for their sakes. But my taking the dogs for a walk is a mutually beneficial and healthy activity for all of us.

So anyway, a couple of weeks ago, when I was sitting here at home alone, I decided to order an Apple Watch. I don’t really even need a regular watch, let alone a “smart” one. I don’t have anywhere to be, so I don’t need to know what time it is. Besides, I usually have my phone or iPad with me, or I’m sitting at the computer. Still, I’d been reading about all the nifty stuff on the Apple Watch and decided to order one as a TDY consolation prize/early birthday present. Since we haven’t been traveling, I had the money mostly saved.

The new Apple Watch does indeed have a lot of nannyism health gimmicks that remind users to take care of themselves. For instance, this watch is capable of checking my blood oxygen levels. It prompts me to take a moment to breathe deeply and will pause the exercise if I’m not focused, still, and breathing properly, and encourages me to try again. It reminds me when to go to bed and get up, not that I need any help with that, being married to a man whose brain goes down with the sun (seriously, Bill is practically comatose by 9:00pm, and he’s always up by 5:00am… consequently, so am I). Today, I got a chastising message when I neglected to wash my hands for a full twenty seconds. The watch wanted to know why I hadn’t scrubbed for the right amount of time– was it just a rinse?

Your Grace! Isn’t it nice to be addressed respectfully? I’ll probably subscribe to Apple Fitness+ once my three months are up.

When I take walks and forget to tell the watch I’m “working out”, it will buzz my wrist and ask me if I want it to record my walk. It’s already been recording, mind you. If I answer affirmatively, it will show the time of the walk already in progress, so I don’t miss those precious early minutes before I asked the watch to count the walk as exercise. The new watch comes with three free months of Apple Fitness+. There are three wellness ring goals that it encourages me to meet every day: exercise, standing, and moving (which seems kind of strange, since I mostly stand and move when I exercise). As I get closer to meeting the goals, each ring– light blue for standing, maroon for moving, and light green for exercise– get closer to closing in perfection. I get a cute animation as I meet each goal and a really exciting animation when I reach all three. And if the day is closing and I haven’t moved, stood, or exercised enough, the watch will send me an encouraging message, reminding me to get up off my ass.

Aww… thanks for caring, Apple Watch. Maybe it’s time I named you.

I also get a warning if my heart rate is dangerously high, or the noise in an area is too loud and could damage my hearing. I got a message yesterday asking me if my period has started yet, since it’s overdue… but I am getting old and will soon turn 49, so I expect that my once Swiss watch regular cycles will go horribly awry soon. I read yesterday that the next incarnation of the Apple Watch will even be capable of checking blood sugar.

Of course, I could disable some of these features. I think if I had real life things to attend to, like a job or a child, the constant reminders for every little thing might get very annoying in a hurry. It’s bad enough that the watch reminds me when it’s time for me to play Words With Friends or sends me notices when some strange creep on Facebook wants to “connect” with me. I probably will start to shut down some of the “services” as I get to know the watch better. I probably will keep the exercise reminders, though, because it’s encouraging to keep track of how much I move… and it’s good to be reminded to move.

I’m sure Arran and Noyzi also appreciate that the Apple Watch gives me a reason to take them for a slightly longer route, since the weather is better. I wish I’d had this watch when we lived in Jettingen, where our walks were twice as long, because we were next to a huge forest. I would have definitely had no problem meeting and exceeding the exercise goals there.

Anyway… I appreciate the help and concern from my dogs and Apple Watch for helping me maintain my physical health, especially since I haven’t seen a doctor in about ten years. But I might need one if Noyzi pushes too hard as he herds me toward the door for his daily walk or victuals. I might fall down and bust my ass or break my face. At that point, since this watch is also capable of sending and receiving phone calls (once I connect it to my cellphone plan and pay the fees), it might automatically call 112 for me (Germany’s equivalent to 911 for an ambulance).

Not that I expect anyone to click the link before buying an Apple Watch, or even to buy one from Amazon, but that would sure make a nice birthday gift in sales commissions from Amazon. 😉 As an Amazon Associate, I earn a small commission from Amazon on anything purchased through my site… and my birthday is on the 20th!

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silliness

“I’m getting in the plane… let the daredevils get ON!”

I had a silly thought as I was walking Arran today. Arran, by the way, is feeling pretty good this morning. He actually came to me while I was practicing guitar and asked for a walk. No, it wasn’t because my guitar playing still sucks… I was working on “Mary Had a Little Lamb” today. Yes, I need more practice, but it was actually recognizable, even if it’s not quite in the key Stevie Ray Vaughan did it.

Anyway, when I walk Arran, I typically clear my head. Sometimes I have thoughts that are serious. Sometimes, my thoughts are decidedly silly. Today, was a silly day. I was thinking about an old George Carlin routine in which he tackles idiosyncrasies of the English language. He was talking about people saying things like “I’m getting ON the plane.”

We all know what it means to get ON the plane. But George, who was so clever when it came to language, said, “Fuck you! I’m getting IN the plane. Let the daredevils get ON!”

Not quite the same routine, but he mentions getting “ON” the plane, rather than “IN”.

Yes… a silly thought indeed. I’m not sure why it crept into my head as I was enjoying the cooler temperatures that always seem to appear in Germany at this time of year, as if by magic. In fact, I remember thirteen years ago, Bill and I lived in Virginia and were preparing to move to Germany the first time. One of my friends, an experienced fellow Army wife, said to me, “Better be sure you bring a jacket.” Sure enough, she was right. I wasn’t in Germany a week that first time before I was buying the jacket I neglected to have available.

My friend, whose husband is now a general, has never lived in Germany. I think, thanks to what her husband does, she’s spent most of his career in Virginia. But she’s known enough people who have moved to Germany to know that September in Germany is NOT like September in Virginia. Even if it’s blazing hot in August in Germany, somehow September always seems to usher in refreshing temperatures, glorious late summer days, and some rain. We had a lot of rain yesterday, and Arran still seemed a little “off”, so we stayed in and I watched old episodes of The Brady Bunch. Watching that show always seems to comfort me, somehow.

I happened to catch an episode called “The Private Ear”. In the opening scene, the character Jan Brady, played by Eve Plumb, is in her bedroom, wearing a very short dress. As she does a scene with sister Marcia (Maureen McCormick), she sits on the bed, almost hiking up that super short dress more than it already was. For the first time ever, even though I’ve seen that show repeatedly since about 1978, I noticed that I could plainly see Eve Plumb’s underwear.

Jeez… everybody was always so dressed up on The Brady Bunch. They dressed up for EVERYTHING. Nowadays, I mostly wear my nightgown when I’m not walking the dog or otherwise out in public. Anyway, I see London, I see France, Jan…

I think maybe Arran was picking up on our sadness yesterday, as we were missing Zane. He probably also picked up on the anxiety that comes from realizing that Arran is also mortal and we will someday lose him, too. Today, he’s acting like his old self.

One thing I did notice today on my walk is that I was thinking of music and silly things. I was actually in a pretty good mood. I think it helped that today’s guitar session was relatively productive. I still suck at guitar, but I suck a lot less than I did a couple of months ago. I’m beginning to think I’ll eventually get the hang of playing and maybe even sound good someday.

And I also had a good singing day yesterday… I may have another one today, since Bill went in to work. He’ll work from home tomorrow, since Arran is going to go to the vet to get some shots and have his back checked out. He seems perfectly normal today, but we want to make sure no trouble is brewing. Besides, he’s due for a checkup…

Speaking of checkups, I’m due for one, too. I definitely could use a medical checkup, since I haven’t seen a doctor since 2010. But I need a dental cleaning, too. It’s been too long. Maybe we should find a Wiesbaden dentist. COVID-19 has made travel so much more complicated. It’s not so easy to pop down to Stuttgart to see our dentist there.

This post is really about a lot of nothing. Sorry about that. I’m still working on reading my latest book and hope to finish it soon, so I can at least post a fresh book review instead of a repost. But at least I’m in a pretty good mood for once. I gotta grab for the stars when I can, right?

I’m really not always cranky. It just seems that way most of the time.

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