Dog Language

We all know that dogs can’t talk, but instead have their ways to show us how they are feeling. Using posture, tail movements, and occasionally barking. We can often manage to translate a lot of that into understanding their moods or desires.

I found these three graphics on Pinterest, and they all seem to agree on what our best friends are trying to ‘say’. I recognise so much of this from Ollie, and if you have a pet dog, or have ever owned one, I am sure you will find it familiar too.

A week off

I just gave myself a week off. I haven’t posted on the blog since 30th April. (OK, I know nobody noticed)

Save for one post on my ‘other’ blog last week, I have been deliberately abstaining from blog writing. I did this mainly because I feel that I often saturate my blog with posts, and they become so frequent, that they overwhelm regular readers, and induce alienation in others. I was additionally interested in what else I would do, with the hours that I usually spend writing this blog.

So, what did I do?

I read other blogs. Those that I follow, I refreshed myself on, and commented on recent posts. I read some new ones, and even followed one. I wrote one post on the other blog, as I have mentioned; a ‘worthy’ piece, requiring some research and careful editing. That took a little while. I did some routine housework, and some jobs outside, aided by the improvement in the weather. As it was a Bank Holiday here, we also visited relatives in Hertfordshire, and Julie and I had a day out at the beach with Ollie. I managed to clean all my windows, using my wonderful Karcher Window Vac. (No, they are not paying me.) Then of course, there was the usual 2-3 hours a day walking Ollie over the meadows, and Hoe Rough. Not very exciting, admittedly. To be honest, I did not really feel that I had a lot of extra time. This is strange, considering I normally spend anything up to 10-14 hours a week, writing or preparing blog posts. It is a bit like the situation with money. If you stop spending something on a regular basis, like a magazine subscription, or a membership to something, you never seem to find that money has accumulated anywhere later.

Reading the other blogs was interesting. I went over many who had liked a post, or followed my blog, and read them in some detail. As well as the usual ‘buy my book’ efforts, so many are depressingly religious. Every other line is ‘God this’, or Jesus that’, banging on about how they feel that they speak to ‘The Lord’. I will state here, for the record. Please do not send me religious posts, or contacts to religious blogs. I am really not interested.

Now I have got that off my chest, what about the other ones, those that are not primarily religious? Photos, Graphics, Pictures. That is what they all mostly contain. Nothing wrong with that. I know that I don’t add pictures (deliberately) but they often spruce up a post, and on occasion, can be better than the words. I noted how many blogs revolve around failed relationships, and how they are blogging to recover. I hope it works for them. Then there are the travellers. It is all a bit ‘look at me, see where I have been, and how well-travelled I am. Oh, and here is a photo of me in that fantastic place, just to make sure you know I was there’. Some sour grapes from me perhaps, but I often read on, only to discover that they are actually selling holidays, travel experiences, or empowerment plans. Selling again. The Blog as Commerce.

I checked out a lot of political comment blogs, and found some to be amazingly well-informed, meticulously researched and credited, and actually entertaining to read. That was a nice surprise. Then there are the deliberately controversial, and downright offensive blogs. I found many amusing, some relevant, others pointless. The problem with all of them, is that they are a one-trick pony, going on and on about a subject every time they post, apparently seeking to find someone to offend. It gets tiring after a while. I looked into cartoon blogs, amusing ones especially. Many are of such quality, it is frankly baffling that they have not found a regular outlet in the mainstream.

After all this, I came to much the same conclusions as before. Too many are selling. A few are patently mad. Graphics and photos get an audience. Liking and following thousands of other blogs gets you huge viewing figures, and (presumably) potential income. Some people must blog for at least eight hours a day, on a full-time basis, to produce such huge outputs. I do not fit into any of those categories.

In the ‘pond’ that is Blogging, I am merely frog spawn amid the minnows, toads, and huge goldfish. I am happy enough though.

The dreaded Gravatar

For some time now, I have considered using a picture, to replace the randomly generated coloured pattern that is used by WordPress to denote ‘me’, for some reason. I wasn’t going to bother, but ‘savedindrafts’ mentioned that it would be easier to recognise my posts, if I had a distinctive photo, or graphic, alongside them.

I have long been jealous of the tumescent mushroom deployed by Eddy Winko, but I couldn’t copy that idea. I thought of using an Ambulance Service image, but didn’t like those UK ones that I could easily find. Besides, ‘youngemt95’ had started using American ambulance pictures and symbols, and I didn’t want to be a copycat. My good friend ‘drafts’ had a very nice bundle of romantic letters, tied as keepsakes, so a writing theme was out. A personal photo? This was a popular choice, and favoured by many. ‘rebecca2000’ has a particularly attractive photo, in which she is looking lovely, and exhibiting a beautiful warm smile. I couldn’t hope to compete with that, not in this life. ‘stilllearningtobe’ has a photo where she is wide-mouthed, could be afraid, shouting, or mid-laugh, and you can almost see her tonsils; just plain brave. A photo of me would simply be off-putting, and it would also explode any myth, and create prejudice in readers, whether they thought about it, or not. ‘strawberryquciksand’, from Australia, displays a nice image of her playing a violin, but I have no instrumental talents, so cannot follow suit. Others seek to convey the overall feel of the blog; ‘thedreamjournaltoday’ has a hazy, dream-like image, of a young girl walking in woodland. It may not be the blogger, then again, it might. ‘jessielandsel’ has an ancient Greek plate design, showing male love, fairly stating his preferences and purpose, well done him. Jim Medway uses one of his superb cat drawings, and makes a good political point at the same time. Sadly, my talent for drawing is almost non-existent, so no luck there, either.

Nothing seemed to suit me, or convey the slightest thing about my blog, or any of the categories. I decided to go with a photo of my dog, Ollie. He features a lot in the posts, and as I take him out a lot, he accompanies me as I muse and wander aimlessly. So, you will now see a small photo of a medium sized brown dog next to any comments from me. Ollie also looks a lot like me, despite his youth. He has pronounced jowls, wrinkly chops, and a few spare rolls of skin around his body. Wish I had his curly tail though…