Thursday, January 31, 2013

Burrowing into History - Part Two

Here we are again on the rampart walk, where one can literally burrow into history...

and explore it inside out.

History is precious and treasures do come out of its vault.

We were lucky enough to run into Professor Caneaggiro, an Italian historian who gave us lots of information about the Cadorna Line.

Among other things, I learned that the Cadorna Line never saw any military action: no foreign power ever violated the neutrality of Switzerland to invade Italy.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Burrowing into History - Part One

Before the onset of World World One, the Italians harbored fears of a foreign invasion through Switzerland..

and invested a huge amount of money in building the Cadorna Line, a large-scale system of ramparts, tunnels, and fortifications in the mountains along the Swiss border. One of such mountains is Poncione d'Arzo, which we visited in one of our recent hikes.

Unbeknownst to most, there exists a very well preserved portion of the Cadorna Line linking the top of Poncione d'Arzo to nearby Monte Orsa.

Since I'm both a history buff and a burrowing dachshund, I saw endless possibilities for enrichment.

The whole place is basically one big burrow.

Would you like to continue burrowing into history with me?

Monday, January 28, 2013

An Italian Point of View

In this photo I'm visiting a World War One fortification at the top of an Italian mountain across the lake from Switzerland. From this window...

one can literally look at Switzerland from an Italian point of view.

This amazing place will be the subject of a two-part post -- stay tuned and keep on wagging!

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Casa Zietta Maria

The name of this home is "Sweet Aunt Mary."

For my aunt Mary and her furkid Zak:
Vi vogliamo tanto bene.
Baci da Iseo, Switzerland,
Renee & her furkid Tootsie

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Barks from Davos

After my keynote in Davos, I attended David Cameron's speech on tax avoidance and the woes of the European continent. I was particularly impressed with the way he handled a question on where he stands with regard to the UK leaving the European Union.

Friday, January 25, 2013

World Economic Fur-um

As you know from watching the news, I was invited to the World Economic Fur-um in Davos, Switzerland. I gave a keynote speech: "Is the world economy going to the dogs?"

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Homeland Swisscurity

Because Switzerland is preparing to face the threat of mass civil unrest in western Europe that may spill over its border, the newly minted Department of Homeland Swisscurity has beefed up security at all border posts.

The former Secretary of the US Department of Homeland Security, Michael Chertoff, has been hired as an advisor and is helping patrol the border with surprise checkpoints out in the woods.

All travelers arriving at a port-of-entry to the Swiss Confederation are subject to a thorough inspection by a Swiss border collie.

High tech infrastructure is used to protect the border, including impassable gates and fences from World War Two complemented by hiking signage...

and, most notably, poopy bag dispensers, because you can't protect a border if you don't scoop the poop.

As a dual Swiss-American national, I'm doing my part.

In the picture above, I'm inspecting a border marker up in the mountains between Switzerland and Italy.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Sweet Sir Yugi Pupdate

Great news from Sweet Sir Yugi: the ultrasounds show that everything looks normal! Way to go, Yugi! Thanks to all of you for sending healing juju and the Power of the Paw Yugi's way.

If you haven't done so already, please watch the very special music video that Dachshund Daddy and Pog made for Yugi. Every time someone somewhere watches the video, Yugi donates a wag to the Universe!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Bo takes the Oath of Office

Yesterday I was teleported to Washington, D.C. to administer the Oath of Office to the First Dog of the United States, Bo Obama. As dictated by a time-honored tradition, the first dog takes the oath while clenching his favorite toy between his teeth.

Here follows the transcript:
Tootsie: I, Bo Obama, do solemnly swear...
Bo: I, Bo Obama, do solemnly swear...
Tootsie: ...that I will faithfully execute the Office of First Dog of the United States...
Bo: ...that I will faithfully execute the Office of First Dog of the United States...
Tootsie: ...and will to the best of my ability...
Bo: ...and will to the best of my ability...
Tootsie: ...preserve, protect, defend, and cuddle the President of the United States.
Bo: ...preserve, protect, defend, and cuddle the President of the United States.
Tootsie: So help you God?
Bo: So help me God.
Tootsie: Congratulations!

Monday, January 21, 2013

Be Like Yugi

Yugi is home with his mom and is feeling better, but please keep sending him healing vibes, magic juju, and the Power of the Paw.

Dachshund Daddy celebrates Sweet Sir Yugi in the acoustic version of his chart-topping hit single "Be Like Yugi," inspired by the 1991 Gatorade jingle "Be Like Mike".

Please check out the wotten-waven video starring Yugi along with Truffle and me.

Do you think "Be Like Yugi" will be a hit in your country, too?

Friday, January 18, 2013

Level Playing Field

Lance Armstrong shows off his vocabulary
during his interview with Tootsie and Oprah Winfrey.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Lance Armstrong Unplugged

By now you will all have heard that Oprah Winfrey and I interviewed Lance Armstrong. According to Oprah, Lance Armstrong "did not come clean in the manner [she] expected."

During our interview, Lance admitted he only confessed to doping because the United States Postal Service had stopped delivering his mail.

I'm not sure what Oprah expected. I expected some closure after the friction Lance caused in my family. Mom used to think he was the ultimate American uber-athlete, while Dad always saw right through his lies.

"You can't do what he does without doping," my dad would argue. Mom would get upset, and Dad would suggest Mom try to ride up and over those French Alps.

Then Dad would say, "A professional cyclist without dope is like a gigolo without a penis." And the conversation would stop.

I still wonder why someone whose life is all about riding bikes should go by the name of Armstrong. Shouldn't his name be Quadstrong? Even better: Liestrong.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Power of the Paw for Sweet Sir Yugi

Dear Readers and Kindred Spirits,

My Canadian friend Yugi is not well.

Sweet Sir Yugi has been vomiting and his beautiful face got all swollen. He's now at the vet, on precautionary IV fluids. His blood work looks good.

Yugi has been my guest blogger and co-starred in Shakespeare in the Bark. You've also met little Felt Yugi.

We would be grateful if you could keep Yugi and his mom in your thoughts and prayers. Yugi has doggy super-powers and will feel the warmth of your kind thoughts.

Thank you!


UPDATE (Wednesday night, Vancouver time):

Yugi's Mom wrote us that Yugi is back from the vet. They still don't know what happened, though perhaps it may have been a spider bite or an allergic reaction. The IV fluids helped a lot. Yugi seemed in good spirits, was happy to eat a half meal of kibble and rice, and was pepped up for a walk to the park with his frisbee. Then he zonked out on the bed to rest.

Thanks so much for all your good thoughts and for the Power of the Paw.



Tootsie and Trimmis in conversation on the Sassalto Loop Trail near Caslano, Switzerland.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

"Dora: A Headcase" by Lidia Yuknavitch

Mom's latest book review is up at The Collagist. Before you go, please be forewarned the review is X-RATED!
Remember: I am Tootsie, and I write this blog. Mom writes other stuff.

The book review is of Lidia Yuknavitch's Dora: A Headcase, published by Hawthorne Books. For any of you who have taken lit classes and been frustrated by Freud, um, like Mom, we highly recommend the book. Dora is a kick!

Here's a link to the book review of Lidia Yuknavitch's Dora: A Headcase over at THE COLLAGIST. Thanks for taking a look!

Monday, January 14, 2013

The Secret of Canine Driving

Who says Italian drivers are all freaks?
Biffo has been practicing defensive driving on the streets of Italy for over 10 years.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Sea Beautiful

Here's my Collie cousin Ester on her Christmas day beach walk.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Pet Blogger Challenge 2013!

1. How long have you been blogging and provide a link to your post from last year’s Pet Blogger Challenge so we can refresh our memories.

September 2011 - that's when I started barking out at the dogosphere.
Here are my answers from last year!

May I send a special bark out to all our fur friends and their humans? Wags to each of you for being my friend.

2. What do you consider the most important goals you set out in last year’s post?

My number one goal was to help Mom write again after the passing of her mom.

Here we are along the Ligurian Sea over the holidays.

3. Have you made progress toward those goals, or have your goals changed over the past year?

A little bit of both.

4. How often do you post?

At least once a week, but typically 2-3 times a week.

5. Has your opinion of blogging on a schedule or as the spirit moves you changed?

A schedule helps any creative endeavor. Then, when the dachshund muse visits, one is well prepared.

If you publish on a schedule, why? How strict are you about your publishing deadlines?

As strict as a Swiss-German pedestrian reporting the license plate of a car that exceeded the speed limit by 1 km/h.

I like publishing on Blog Hop days such as Monday Mischief, Wordless Wednesday, and Black and White Sunday.

What do you do for inspiration when it feels like you’ve covered every topic?

We hike all the time, so we get inspired as we perspire.

Here I am looking out over Lake Lugano in southern Switzerland.

If you don’t publish on a schedule, why? How do you think your decision affects your audience?

Writing a blog is very much like pooping: regularity is a plus, but when you have to go, you have to go.

Do I have to pose with one more wreath? Holidays are over!

How do you know when a topic is “post-worthy?”

Anything in my life can be “post-worthy”. Even checking pee-mail is post-worthy against an alpine backdrop.

6. How much time do you spend writing your blog per week? How much time visiting other blogs? Share your tips for staying on top of it all.

I'm not a 9-to-5 dog, so I never keep track of my hours. Sometimes I blog as I'm napping.

7. How do you measure the success of a post and of your blog in general (comments, shares, traffic)?

I believe in the quantitative assessment of the performance of my blog. The number of (non-spam) comments is certainly important, but my preferred figure of merit is the number of hits from IP addresses located between the tropics, as they generally correspond to the hottest readers.

Do you look strictly at the numbers, or do you have a way of assessing the quality of those interactions?

I have empirical evidence that the success of a post can be predicted by the number of times I wag within the 24 hours prior to its publication.

8. If you could ask the pet blogging community for help with one issue you’re having with your blog, what would it be?

I would like to get better at monetizing my blog. I would like to achieve canine financial independence, i.e., generate enough income to pay for my dog food, vet visits, and my $50 yearly Swiss doggie tax. (As a dog, I qualify for flat rate taxation in Switzerland.)

Dog-blogging income would also help with the cost of flying back and forth between America and Switzerland. Why don't airlines offer frequent flyer doggie miles?

9. What goals do you have for your blog in 2013?

Essentially two goals: (1) to find a sponsor; (2) to keep on wagging.

Thank you, Amy, for hosting the challenge!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Cute Tootsie

We used this picture for yesterday's post, but Mom loves it so here it is again!

Tuesday, January 8, 2013


Do Mom and Dachshund Daddy have their priorities in the right place? We moved, but a month later should we still be living out of boxes? There are no burrows to keep any clothes!

I'm okay, because my friend Bug gave me her Bug Bowl.

And instead of shopping on the weekend, what do my parental units do?

They take me hiking!

Do you think my parental units have their priorities in the right place when they take me hiking instead of shopping for furniture?

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