Defeat by Da Feet

At our last exciting episode, Max’s extremities were snugly bandaged in purple socks in the hope and expectation that his inflamed feet would quickly heal.

Well, the treatment did not work.Failure

We took him to the Vet’s office where his paws were carefully unwrapped as we stood by like little kids at a birthday celebration, waiting to see what was inside. Instead of four fresh pink paws, we encountered a quartet of red meaty appendages that were painful to look at and no doubt more painful to own.

The Alpha Japanese Female (AJF) was horrified and I could sense her internal volcano preparing to erupt like Pu’u O’o on a hot August night in Hawaii.

Imagine four tiny filet mignons with claws stuck to the ends of white, hairy sticks. No, forget that image. I took some photos but I’ll spare you the gruesomeness.

I must admit I wasn’t 100% surprised because I had been husbanding some doubts about the wisdom of wrapping his paws so thoroughly that fresh air was excluded. I’m a big fan of the sterilizing capabilities of sunshine and good air circulation.

Think Small

We expected days like this. But not everyday.

We talked Max’s case over with the Vet as my wallet started an anticipatory scream. A new plan was hatched that included new medicines, stronger antibiotics, and a more intensive paw-cleaning and maintenance regimen for the next ten days.

We elected not to re-bundle the Malt’s feet like before since that would be, well, stupid.

Instead, the AJF and I decided to put thin cotton socks on him when he was in the house and to overlay the socks with some kind of waterproof cover when he went outside.

So off we trundled to Target’s Infant and Toddler department where we secured some little white socks, for kids aged 6 months or Maltese aged 10 years. These we planned to secure to the Beast with surgical tape. As for the plastic covers for his treks into the backyard, four Glad sandwich bags and rubber bands sounded like the right apparatus.


“Looking good, Max!”………”Feeling good, Dad!”

The new paw regimen takes about 15 minutes to transact and it must be done every 12 hours. First, we clean his feet, then wash with chlorhexadine, dry with a hair dryer paying special attention between the toes, apply the antibacterial ointment, and finally cover with socks and secure. Then we give Max his oral medicine and, of course, a dog cookie if he is a good boy and he’s always a good boy.

We soon learned that Max hate socks. He became adept at removing the front pair very quickly even when well taped. The back pair was not a problem because dogs’ crooked  hind legs provide a convenient place to anchor the socks. What to do?


Max’s new, integrated sock-shirt outfit.

The creative AJF conjured the solution by sewing a pair of socks to the arms of Max’s football jersey thus creating a sort of dog “onesie”. Maybe just a halfsie since his back end was still open to the breeze.

Football shirt

Officially licensed product. The shirt, not the dog, although he has an official Rancho Cucamonga dog license.

Now, we haven’t decided if the Rams are our team of choice this football season or not – we have another option in the new LA Chargers – but as long as the shirt keeps Max’s socks on, we’ll happily advertise the Rams.

Flat out on floor

Here we see the exhausted Malt with freshly medicated paws in Target baby socks.

That left us with the Vet’s ever-mounting bill. Well, the AJF had a plan for that, too. She bought a lottery ticket for each of us. We have high hopes that one of our tickets will win tonight’s $370 million Powerball drawing!


Max’s very own Powerball ticket. If it wins, it automatically becomes my ticket.

Of course, the odds are a bit long at 1 in 292,201,338 but, hey, if you don’t play you can’t win.

If Max wins, you can expect to see a photo of him in diamond encrusted booties. Or maybe that will be me. Either way, we’ll know the Powerball results tonight and the next assessment at the Vet is in ten days.



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Booty Failure

You’ll remember Max had a paw problem that required medications and wearing booties for a week.

Some have inquired how the Fluff’s feet have been doing.

I believe “abject failure” best describes the outcome of the booty experiment.

So, Max had to return to the Vet today; his paws were worse than ever.

Max w bandages 2

Not happy.

The latest attempt at a cure to the mystery paw problem involves cutting the hair out between his foot pads, shaving the paws, applying medicine and then bandaging all four of them.

The Malt is not pleased even though they gave him some jaunty lavender socks to wear over his bandages.

He must wear the bandages for five days and then we’ll reassess progress.

The Pupper has already perfected his portrayal of a canine martyr. The AJF is buying into his performance and is cooing over him and supplying all sorts of goodies and lovies.

He knows better than to try that on me.

Max w bandages 1.jpg

Look at that face. You know he will be scamming the AJF to maximize the treats.

Having paid the Vet bill, I am looking into “gofundme” options and personal defibrillators.

On the upside, the Vet has now promised to name her first born after me in gratitude.

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Max Visits the Southwest (Part 3)


Our short stay in Durango was fun but we were looking forward to visiting the high country. We made an early start thus validating all those stereotypes you hear about old people on holiday. But we actually used the turn signals on our car.

Starting at just over 6,700 feet elevation, our first stop was at the historic mining and brothel town of Silverton at a more rarefied 9,318 ft (2,836 m) . Mining and, uh,  brotheling were inextricably linked in the Old West and both were enormously profitable in Silverton in the 1800s.

Silverton Mt View

Descending into Silverton from Durango along HIghway 550.

Today, Silverton is another high mountain tourist town chock-a-block with restaurants, bars, off-road vehicle rentals and gift shops. But there is a lot of history still to be found there in the many restored buildings, at the City’s museum and in the nearby hills.

Silverton Main St

In these parts, a Jeep is considered de rigueur.

From Silverton, Highway 550 rises abruptly and magnificently,  topping out after 8% grades at 11,018 ft (3,358 m) at Red Mountain Pass before descending into the self-proclaimed “Switzerland of America,” Ouray Colorado, population 1,100 full-time residents and a half-bazillion summer visitors.


A typical section of Highway 550 as one approaches Ouray.

The ride on Highway 550 is always fun. It is nicknamed the “Million Dollar Highway” and is listed among America’s most dangerous roads although to me that seems a great overstatement.

About that name… Ouray. No, it has nothing at all to do with the service calls of the various branches of America’s military forces. But since we are on that topic, more or less, let’s review those service calls.

Now, let me hear you shout them out, maggot. I CAN’T HEAR YOU!!!

drill sergeant

Show me your war face.

Army: “Hooah.”

Marines:  “Oorah.”

Navy SEALS: “Hooyah.”

Air Force: “Huah.”

That was fun. Anyway, Ouray is actually named after a famous Ute Indian chief and his name means “arrow”. He was quite the remarkable man and you can delve a bit into his story here.

Ouray was our first stop on our tour of the San Juan Skyway, a 236 mile route through some of the most beautiful scenery imaginable. This is what we came to Colorado to enjoy!

Although tiny, Ouray likes to speak of itself in superlatives. The village is set at the narrow head of a valley at 7,792 feet (2,375 m) and surrounded on three sides with 13,000 foot (3,963 m) snow capped peaks.


Glorious in all 4 seasons.

Aside from its self-promotion as a domestic Switzerland (i.e., without the grumpy banksters snuffling in their raclette), Ouray is acknowledged as the winter ice-climbing capital of the U.S. and home of the world’s first ice climbing park.

It once claimed the second largest gold mine in Colorado and still attracts many to amateur prospecting in the steep terrain around its five hot springs.

Mining is no longer a big part of Ouray’s economy which is now nearly 100% dependent on tourism. Summer activities in Ouray center on mountain biking, hiking, exploring the nearby waterfalls and off-roading in four-wheel drive vehicles into the San Juan Mountains.



Ouray Main Street. Note brewery on right. I like this town

We stopped in Ouray for lunch but spent little time there because the weather turned foul shortly after our arrival. We dined on an outdoor patio to accommodate His Royal Furriness and ended up huddled under the market umbrella trying to hold down our Cobb salads and the dog stroller as the wind, and dog, began to howl.

It was getting late, so we moved nine miles up the road to Ridgway, a town best known as the site for the old John Wayne movie “True Grit”. Actually, a number of western movies have been made there; the scenery is perfect for that kind of flick. In other celebrity news: Ralph Lauren owns a 17,000 acre ranch – “The Double RL” – in a jaw-dropping beautiful area just outside the tiny downtown.

Ridgway Park with Dog

Playing in the park at Ridgway. There were many art pieces and statues but Max particularly liked this one.

The following day our goal was Telluride, population 2,325. Telluride is a former silver mining camp founded in 1878. Strangely, the town was named for a type of mineral that was never mined there. Telluride sits in a box canyon surrounded by steep forested mountains and cliffs with Bridal Veil Falls at the head of the canyon.

3 of us Road to Telluride 3

The 3 Musketeers en route to Telluride.

Telluride is the archetype of Colorado’s schizophrenic high mountain tourist towns. On the one hand it is synonymous in pop culture with the lifestyles of the rich and famous and, indeed,  there is wealth that Midas would envy. Real estate ads by the dozens tout homes tagged at $4 – $20 million dollars and more. Movie stars fly into Telluride airport on their private jets and dinner can cost you an arm, leg or gonad.

On the other hand, the town has plenty of hard-core mountain adventurers and superb athletes who care only about the climb, the schuss, the ice canyons and little about cash. These folk happily co-exist with everyday working class, tourists galore and a fair number of characters who ought to be named Smelly McFuzzynuts for reasons left to your imagination. But I digress.

Stir all these together and you get Telluride where the people-watching is exquisite fun and your wallet takes a beating – we paid $17 for two hot dogs with chips and a Coke.

Hot Dog Telluride

Not kidding about the $17 tube steaks. Here’s photographic proof of our elegant repast in Telluride. Bought from a street cart, no less!

One thing for certain: Telluride is staggeringly beautiful in any season and paradise for those who like outdoor mountain activities.

Anecdote: Years back, the AJF darn near divorced me after I took her in my truck up one of the more difficult off-road trails. It was her first experience with negotiating gravel mining tracks and switchbacks only 15 inches or so wider than the truck’s wheelbase with sheer drop offs on one side. Once on the path there is no turning back so she had to endure a couple hours of what she deemed to be sequential near-death experiences.

Imogene Pass.jpg

The “road” that almost got me booted. Not my photo, but the same road and my truck was a larger vehicle.

Arriving safely back at town, she told me if I ever tried anything like that again (with her in the truck) she would walk out and never be seen again. She meant it.

Anyway, after spending time rolling Max around Telluride, we went sightseeing across Lizard Head Pass and around Trout Lake and ultimately ended up back at our lodge.

Trout Lake

Trout Lake near Lizard Head Pass. Nice now, but winters are brutal.

Our time was running out and we knew we had to leave Colorado and head home. Because of other commitments, our return journey was all about covering distance and nothing about sightseeing.

On one day we drove to Cedar City Utah and the next, all the way home. We chalked up the ferocious return trip and resultant monkey butt as the price we had to pay to enjoy the rest of the trip. It was worth it.

Durango Max on Grass.jpg

That was fun! Let’s go on another road trip! 

And that, fellow travelers, is the story of Max’s visit to the Southwest.





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Max Visits the Southwest (Part 2)


After visiting Zion National Park and catching up on the happenings in our former home near St. George, Utah we packed up and headed out for Durango, Colorado.

This was the longest single drive of our road trip: a 414 mile run that took almost seven hours, even with my over-sized right foot heavy on the accelerator of the Mighty Mazda.


This was test of butt endurance: mine, hers and his.

There are many interesting places between St. George and Durango. Canyons, amazing landscapes, historical sites, polygamist towns and Native American places of interest.

Years ago we traveled extensively through this area but this is a tough and unforgiving region with flinty soils, no water, no grass and very high temperatures – wholly unsuitable for a pampered pooch.

After an early departure, we stopped at Lake Powell for a quick picnic lunch, a pee stop for you-know-who (and Max, too). Then, we crossed the Glen Canyon Dam and transited the harsh, seemingly endless Navajo lands of northern Arizona.

This was the monsoon season and late afternoon brought enormous cumulus clouds forming over the desert to heights above 50,000 feet, darkening ominously and then erupting in jagged lightning strikes and furious rain drops the size of small eggs.


Late afternoon monsoon thunderstorm in the Navajo Nation. Look, there’s a DeLorean with a 1.21 gigawatts flux capacitor at the end of the lightning bolt!

The AJF  expressed her appreciation of Nature’s glory with a Japanese accent: “Horry Shit!” I covered Max’s tender ears.

We pulled into Durango about 4:30 and quickly located our humble lodgings. As you can see, the poor Malt was again abused by being forced into accommodations below his usual standard.

St George Hotel

Why are the Malt’s eyes glowing? He was thrilled to get out of the car.

After such a punishing trip, clearly the driver deserved a nice back rub and fine dining, but neither appeared forthcoming from the other  two cold-hearted travelers. Sigh. So we opted for take out pizza and beer.

Next day, we played tourist around the city of Durango.

Durango Max Cutout 2

There is no limit to what we will do to embarrass the dog.

The Denver and Rio Grande Railroad Company formed Durango along the banks of the Animas River in September 1880 to serve miners in Colorado’s San Juan mountains. The word “Durango” originates from the Basque word “Urango” meaning “water town” or “well watered place,” an important element for operating the smelters to pull precious metals out of the ore. The town is a sister city to two other towns of the same name, one in Mexico and one in Spain.

Durango Town

Durango Colorado, southern gateway to the San Juan mountains.

Native Americans had camped along the Animas River for thousands of years. Archaeologists have found evidence that this area experienced a population boom in the latter part of the 8th century. Some think more people lived in Durango then than now. Spanish explorers traipsed about this area in the mid-1700s.

Mining was a big deal in Durango until about 1900 when tourism eclipsed it as the major revenue source. There are about 18,000 full-time residents now. As the prime tourism center in southwest Colorado, the town has all the usual amenities plus a lot of charm, history and micro-breweries. That last one is important.

Durango Cowboy Statue

Two cowboys, two dogs. Guess which two live near LA.

For lunch we went north about 10 miles to the James Ranch. The Ranch describes its offerings as follows:

We offer 100% grass fed and finished beef, whey-fed pork, artisan cheese and raw milk from 100% grass-fed, grazing Jersey cows, eggs produced from pastured hens, a spruce tree nursery, an organic vegetable and flower garden, and a thriving grill and market.

So basically, your common or garden variety of LA eatery but with cows. I felt healthier just reading the menu. I will admit that they make a mean burger with all that natural and organic stuff.

Durango Harvet Grille.jpg

The Harvest Grille at James Ranch. Why they use the extra “l” and “e” is not clear. They also have a small Food Shoppe, er, market.

Max loved the Ranch because it offers large, grassy areas where dogs are welcome. He got to meet some goats, chickens and other critters, gobble some beef and roll around in the meadows.


Durango TM and Max at James farm

After lunch we explored the James Ranch and apologized to the cows for eating their family members.

After lunch it was off for more sightseeing to the surrounding lakes and villages and then back to Durango for aperitifs and, later, a continuation of our carnivorous behavior with a big feed at a restaurant called “Serious Texas BBQ.”

It wasn’t long before our eyes started drooping and we hit the hay as they say in these cowboy towns.

Durango Max on Picnic Table

The well-fed Malt had a hard time staying awake.

Our next destination was the high country of southwest Colorado.

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Max Visits the Southwest (Part 1)


Road trip! The plan was to re-visit some our favorite places in the Southwest. With side trips and sightseeing, we figured it would take a week and some 2,000 miles to cover the route from Rancho Cucamonga to the San Juan mountains of Colorado and back, including stops at Zion National Park, Durango, Telluride, Grand Junction and elsewhere.


Actual miles driven were just over 2,200. The Malt has callouses on his furry little dog butt. So did the AJF but it would be indelicate of me to mention that.

The road trip got off to an inauspicious start. A few days before we left, Max developed a strange affliction on his paws. They became red, swollen and obviously painful; he started to limp.

A visit to the Vet produced inconclusive results. There were no obvious signs of trauma or disease. No fungus among us and his claws were in good shape. The Vet attributed the paw problem to Max’s never-ending series of allergic reactions to nearly everything including oxygen, blue skies and sunlight.

Never one to miss a billing opportunity, she prescribed some paw ointment, some antibiotics (just in case), and apparently just for the hell of it, a new ear wash. Then came strict instructions to procure doggie booties and make Max wear them indoors and out for a week to try and isolate his feet from whatever allergens were causing the problem.


A despondent dog. He’s not shaking his booties.

As we drove away $200 lighter, I swore I heard the Vet call her husband and merrily tell him to get a sitter, they were going out for steaks that night.

The doggie booties plan did not amuse the Malt. The medicines he could tolerate; however, the booties were anathema, an insult to Maltese pride, beyond the pale. His spirit was crushed to the point that only several extra cookies could elevate him from a deep depression.

From the start, we were doubtful about the booties but bought them anyway, Max’s contribution to making Jeff Bezos the richest man on Earth, at least for a little while.

He (Max, not Jeff) wore the booties for about three days after which we all agreed that this particular experiment needed to end. Finally, we were ready for departure!

From the Rancho, we first drove to Southern Utah to visit one of our favorite spots: Zion National Park.  The mostly boring drive is a 6 hour jaunt across the Mojave Desert, through Las Vegas and along the Virgin River canyon.


Recent rains caused the Virgin River to be muddy. We didn’t want a brown Malt so no dog swims were permitted.

As some may remember from earlier posts, we used to live nearby and Max’s roots are in Utah. We acquired him when he was 8 weeks old from a very nice Mormon family, after spotting his picture on a community bulletin board at a supermarket in St. George.

They had named him “Dash” which may have been appropriate then, but not now. At 10+ years, Max doesn’t dash about like he used to.

I’ve heard that getting older can be tough, although I have no personal experience.

Zion Max and Watchman

With this perspective, he looks like the Godzilla version of a Maltese. The dog that ate Zion Park.

Whiles he moves a bit more leisurely, Max has gotten smarter with age and has learned to scam the Alpha Japanese Female (AJF) into spending significant sums to make his life easier.

For example, he now has his own ride which looks suspiciously like a baby stroller but, according to Amazon Prime, is actually a bonafide dog carrier suitable for such a manly Maltese.


Zion Max in Carrier

This is how he rolls. Don’t judge.

As a puppy, he refused to walk over bridges because there were gaps in the footpath and he could see the river below. When we dragged him on to a bridge, he hunkered down and did a Groucho Marx-like squat walk to the other side, his belly never more than 2 inches off the surface. These days he either rides in his carriage or simply waits for his DogMom to carry him across the span.

Zion MC on bridge 2.jpg

The AJF and Max demonstrating the Malt-approved method of crossing bridges.

Of course there were picnics and hikes on the Pah’Rus trail which runs along the valley floor. Some of the hikes actually involved having paws on the ground!

Zion Picnic 3

Zion Pa'Rus 2

Note the enormous tongue. The one on the dog. It was a bit toasty.

And yes, in the interest of full disclosure, I am also to blame for spoiling the gentle little white dog.

Zion Tom and Max on Ra'Rus

Guilty for aiding and abetting the Malt.

Most of the folks we encountered smiled to see Max riding on the trail but some seemed aghast that we would treat a dog better than they treated their own children. When we spotted that reaction, we leaned over to the little kids and whispered that their parents must not love them very much. Just spreading the sunshine.

On the positive side, by bundling Max in a stroller, the AJF and I were able to cover a lot more territory and walked for hours. Without said conveyance, she and I would have had sore necks from looking behind us as a certain pupperoni was dogging it along.


Trudging Behind

“Slow down. My legs are shorter.”



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Unfortunate Names

Max’s adventures in California have exposed the poor pup to some businesses and products whose names are, well, unusual.


I suppose Coldcock Whiskey should be acknowledged for its truth in advertising. For those not familiar with the idiom, to “coldcock” someone means to sneak up and knock them out with a single punch. Perhaps these recipes would do the trick:

CC recipes

One shouldn’t partake on an empty stomach so perhaps some tasty cakes, pies or tarts would be nice.

Crusty T

Yes, indeed, this the Crusty Tart bakery. Famous for its wedding cakes. Seriously. No bridal lunch is complete without a cake from the Crusty Tart. Who made your cake, sweetie? The Crusty Tart.

Not to be confused with the Scabby Hooker Boulangerie.

Crusty tarts can lead to getting cold cocked, ya know.

Antique me

The AJF told me to stand by the sign. I didn’t realize until later that I was being featured as merchandise.

Dog and socks

“You call this a post? I’ve seen better stuff on Reddit.”

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Max and the Search for an Inu Shirt

It was the day before Father’s Day. In anticipation of the celebration, Max and I were productively engaged in the traditional activities of quaffing malt beverages, chomping jerky treats and telling snorf, snorf jokes when the Alpha Japanese Female interrupted and screamed like a harridan that wistfully mentioned that she wished she had a new inu shirt.

As a fearful loving spouse, I immediately recognized that my beer and Max’s treats would be in jeopardy were we to ignore the AJF’s tyrannical demand deceptively casual request.

Furball and I leaped into action. Well, that may be an exaggeration. Neither of us is much into leaping but we did lower the footrest on the LazyBoy and reach for the laptop.

Let’s start with the basics: “inu” is the Japanese word for dog. The word can be written using kanji (a Chinese character) or in hiragana which is one of the phonetic, cursive forms of the written language.

inu 4

Kanji character for “inu” (dog) on left; the hiragana version is on the right. Max says dogs don’t care which one you use. This concludes today’s Japanese language class.

An inu shirt, as mandated suggested by the AJF,  is a tee shirt with a very clever image that incorporates the Japanese hiragana characters for inu with a stylized drawing of a pupper. Makes sense, no?

This design is a great favorite of the AJF; it lets her get all ethnic while walking Max around the neighborhood. Since Max actually understands commands in Japanese as well as English, he is happy with the arrangement.

Let your English Sheepdog wear his Union Jack, let your Poodle wear stinky cheese haute couture, let your Shih Tzu wear dim sum, let your Australian Shepard wear the carcasses of drop bears and other deadly creatures found Down Under. The AJF is turning up, she’s turning down, she’s turning Japanese, I really think so.

The cute tees are made in Hawaii by a small business named idkwhat2wear. This company has a knack for capturing the sentiments, language and attitude of local, as opposed to tourist, Hawaii. Visit their website and see for yourself; consider it an insider secret from me to you. But, I digress.


Typical idkwhat2wear tee shirt humor. Pilfered image from their website but, what the hay, it’s free advertising.

Back to the inu shirt. These are hard to come by. In the past we’d simply mosey up Manoa Valley to one of Max’s favorite stores: Hawaii Doggie Bakery. Not so easy to do when one lives in Rancho Cucamonga, eh?

Max wasn’t worried at all because he knows the folks at HDB are delightful (and tolerant of marauding Maltese) and already have a thriving business shipping their goodies from Hawaii to less fortunate global locations, basically everywhere else on Earth..

Inu Shirt

Our fates are dependent on these boss ladies producing an inu shirt, the one with the red arrow. The cat ears may be unforgivable. Image shamelessly poached from Hawaii Doggie Bakery.

We started at the website but, alas, there was no sign of an inu shirt, so we emailed and were advised they were currently out of stock. But the HDB ladies (it’s a women-owned business) remembered our furry little Malt and promised to alert us when the inu shirts were again available.

Inu 2

Close up of the inu shirt. (The pixel shortage is all my fault.) Image pirated without mercy from HDB site.

Not incidentally, Max reminds me that large bags of poi cookies are also available for order and we could bundle and save shipping costs. Just sayin’, Dad.

So, now the pressure is on. If we can produce the new inu shirt for the AJF we are golden and The Malt and I can continue our lives as carefree rapscallions. Should we fail, our beer and jerky may well be at jeopardy.

I will update faithfully. I am going to tell the Hawaii Doggie Bakery folks about this post to place unbearable pressure on them encourage them to produce the goods. Maybe they will comment on this story. Maybe they will simply remove Max and me from the mailing list.

Chick & Poi

Image stolen without remorse from HDB’s website.

One or both of the regular readers of this silly dog blog may recall a December 2014 post about poi dogs that extolled the sheer wonderfulness of Hawaii Doggie Bakery’s dog cookies made of chicken and poi.

Here’s a link to that story. Full disclosure, I have no connection with either of the businesses named in this story except as a customer but if you’re looking for fun stuff, unusual gifts and tasty dog treats, you may want to check them out.

Max heartily concurs.

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Max and the Raccoon-Dog

Apropos of nothing, let’s talk about raccoon-dogs.

To start, here is a photo of Max sitting on our hearth next to a picture of himself and two statues of the famous Japanese raccoon-dogs known as tanuki.

Max Hearth

How totally dog-whipped are we that we have a picture of The Malt on our hearth alongside the actual Malt?

In Japanese folklore, tanuki nominally belong to a class of spirits known as yōkai which are essentially monster spirits but, unlike most of his contemporaries who have malevolent personalities, the tanuki is a fat and happy soul who is a bit rascally, loves his alcohol and brings good luck to establishments who position his statue at their front doors.


Rac Stat

Let’s just say that if your Aunt Alice had ’em, she’d be your Uncle Victor.

Whilst tanuki statues come in a variety of styles they typically share certain characteristics, the most obvious being an amazingly over-sized pair of testicles.  The other attributes of a quality tanuki representation include:

  • A jug of sake, representing the tanuki’s affection for a good drinking party.
  • Big eyes, to see truth and make good decisions
  • A pawful of unpaid promissory notes which dissonantly conveys his rascally yet trustworthy nature.
  • A bulbous belly (“curvy” in the parlance of the girls at 24 Hour Fitness) which the tanuki pats to make a drum-like sound. That FUPA screams wealth and indulgence!
  • A big tail which serves as the raccoon-dog’s anchor and foundation on the long road to success.
  • A wide, goofy smile which simply represents a wide, goofy smile thereby confirming Dr. Freud’s assertion regarding cigars.

While your common or garden variety of tanuki has more nuts than Mr. Planter, those huge boys have nothing to do with fertility or such.

Nope. Instead, they symbolize wealth and good money management. The story is that the skin of a tanuki is so tough, one could fill the raccoon-dog’s scrotal sac with gold leaf and hammer it so thin it would cover an entire floor.

Jeezum crow, that’s a real leg-crosser of a statement, isn’t it? Hurts just to think about. But I digress.


Say “konnichi-wa” to a real tanuki, a Japanese raccoon-dog. They are about 60 cm long which is about 2 feet.

By now you might be thinking that the tanuki is just a mythical creature. Au contraire, Japanese raccoon-dogs are real animals.

They are often confused with a badger or raccoon but are neither — the tanuki is a most unusual species of dog with distinctive stripes of black fur under its eyes and some very unusual behaviors. For example, it is the only canine that hibernates. Not only that, they hibernate communally.


Whilst appealing to a degree, the raccoon-dogs will probably not oust the Maltese as a family pet. (photo: Shutterstock)

For a creature so well-endowed, the raccoon-dog does not act assertively. It never saunters like a bow-legged cowboy into cheap dive bars. It never man-spreads on commuter trains. Rather than a gruff bark or intimidating growl, it’s vocalization is a thin high-pitched howl more associated with canine castrati.

Raccoon-dogs are generally monogamous and have a good temperament. The male of the species is said to be a compassionate partner and father. Scientists have observed TD’s (Tanuki Dads) bringing food to their pregnant mates, and after their partner gives birth, they take an active, role in the parenting of pups. Shoots, they probably hold their spouse’s purse when shopping at the mall.

In old Japan, tanuki were hunted for their meat and fur. In fact, even up to now the fur of the raccoon-dog is actively traded.

In 2008, the Humane Society of the United States filed claims against a couple dozen U.S. retailers after finding that 70 percent of faux fur garments they analyzed actually contained raccoon dog fur which, in the biz, is known as murmansky.

The raccoon-dog is not endangered but the population of wild tanuki has been decreasing of late.

Of course, all of this begs the question: could a tanuki be a satisfactory household pet, perhaps a suitable substitute for, say, a very picky and pushy Maltese dog? There are advantages and disadvantages to consider.

On the plus side, raccoon-dogs don’t bark, don’t crave for attention, will eat almost anything, sleep most of the day, don’t have to be kept inside and choose a fixed place for potty breaks. They are a bit stand-offish but not aggressive and can be leash-trained. And, just in case tanuki trivia matters to you, their tails can only move up and down, never wagging side to side.

On the other paw, tanuki are not attentive, they’re thoroughly useless as guard-dogs, they don’t learn tricks, they shed explosively every spring, are prone to mange and never become cuddly pets. At best, you can only achieve a medium level of domestication with the raccoon-dog. And, since I know you are wondering…yes, in real life they indeed have very large gonads.

So, after careful consideration, I think we’ll keep our eunuch Maltese after all.


Max would look even better if he had a jug of sake or maybe just a keg of Pilsner Urquell.


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Goon Butts


Seems a little harsh to call the cute kid a goon.

The AJF and I were at our favorite Japanese grocery store. As she spent a large portion of our children’s’ inheritance on products that all seemed to consist of soy sauce, miso, mirin and sugar, I wandered the aisles and discovered this fine product.

Fair to say I am outraged about naming baby diapers Goons. Or maybe naming babies Goons. Anyway, this is clearly disparaging to actual goons like me and must stop.  I think I’ll form a class with other goons and sue for a gazillion and a half dollars.

Goon good

Turns out they sell these on Amazon so I guess a lot of people know about Goons.

They got a 5-star rating although on closer inspection there was only one review. Praise was faint with noted Papua New Guinea customer Kirill Krattli stating Goons were indeed “good.” He probably meant as a polishing cloth.


Meanwhile, there was sale going on for Kuro Butt.

Hard to get good Kuro Butt.


Three bucks off of sliced butt. Hard to resist.

Lots on inferior Butt available. You got your flat Butt, round Butt, Honey Butt (start of my usual excuse and/or apology) and the ever popular Pain-in-the-Butt but Kuro Butt is a rare find; it’s usually behind everything else or on the bottom or cracked. snork, snork

(Explanation: it’s a typo and should read “buta” which means pork or pig. “Kuro” in Japanese means black. Hence the product name is kurobuta which is to pork as Kobe beef is to cow meat; in other words, among the best you can get.)

The more you know…


A kurobuta in pre-bacon condition.

PS: Max is fine. He skipped the shopping trip, preferring to grab a power nap. Here’s a “dog tax” for making a drive by post. It’s Max patiently waiting on his pad at his favorite doggy-friendly restaurant.


“Sheesh, ignored on my own blog.”




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Deceiving Dogs!

Dogs are sly and not just a little manipulative. We all knew this. Now science proves it.

A new study, published in the journal Animal Cognition, has found pet dogs will deliberately deceive humans in order to get something they want.

Here’s the link to the news article:

Canine deception.

As an example of a deceptive dog, I present this photo of Max blending in with the treat selection at Pet Smart in the fervent hope we won’t notice him tearing open the packages of goodies and scarfing the contents.

Deceptive Dog

“This is not the Malt you are looking for.”




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