Friday, September 27, 2013

Ask Toto #46

Dear Toto,

You talk so much about tummy rubs all the time.  What's the deal?  I feel nothing when I rub my own tummy, so why do all dogs go ga ga over it?

Confused in Washington.

Hello Confused!

I gather from your question that you might be human.  If you can rub your own tummy with no problem, you are human.  If you can rub someone else's tummy with no problem, you are human.

You see, dogs can't rub tummies.  Go on, ask your own dog to rub their tummy.  Observe them carefully.  The closest you'll get is a dog scratching underneath their leg pits (we've got four of them!)  Sometimes, dogs can lick a hot spot on their tummy, but our paws are not coordinated enough to rub our own tummies.  It's like trying to use a shovel to ice a cake - clumsy, ill-advised, and messy.

So, when our human rubs our tummy it’s like HEAVEN!  Pure pure heaven!  It’s the human equivalent of a massage at a really expensive spa.  Except less expensive!  Because it’s free!  

If you walked up to someone and immediately turned their back on them, you might be trying to tell them you want a backrub, but they could very well take it as you being strangely rude to them. 

But when a dog flops on their back and goes tummy up, there can be only thing on their minds.

So that’s why do it.  Because it’s AWEEEEEEESSSSSOOOOMMMMEEEEE

Thanks for the question!

Ask Toto A Question runs twice a month until the questions run out.  Don't let that happen!  Send Toto your queries at

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Toto Review – Cats and Dogs

It was once again a lazy Saturday at the farm – the pigs were fighting for shade because the sun was hot, chickens multi-tasking by sleeping as they were laying eggs, the horses were flicking flies with their tails and Dorothy found the movie Cats & Dogs playing on a cable channel on TV.

I first thought that maybe the cat here at the farm had somehow managed to tweak the satellite dish into showing cat movies, but Dorothy said that the dogs were the heroes in this movie, and that I should give it a chance.

So, after carefully locking the cat outside the front door with a random ball of yarn to occupy itself with (Auntie Em’s not gonna miss it!  It’s brown colored yarn!  Nobody misses the boring colors!) I settled on the couch with Dorothy to watch the movie.

The hero of Cats & Dogs is a pretty cute beagle named Lou, who accidentally takes the place of a secret agent puppy and is adopted into the home of an absent-minded scientist working on a cure for dog allergies, his wife, and son.  The dog next door is Butch, another secret agent dog who explains to Lou that unbeknownst to humans, there’s a war between cats and dogs waged practically under humans’ noses.  Lou has to protect the house from the various cat spies that will try to infiltrate the house and tweak the allergy cure so that all humans would be allergic to dogs and cats would become the favorite pets around the world.

The main bad guy is a white Persian cat named Mr. Tinkles, and he’s pretty over the top. I guess that would be my main complaint – that the villain is so broad and cartoony.  The filmmakers didn’t have to make the bad guy be a foppish long haired snooty nosed cat. 

The real truth is that all cats are evil, they don’t have to look evil to be evil.  In fact, it’s usually the ones that look the most normal that are the WORST.  Here’s a picture of the cat who lives here on the farm. 

He’s EVIL!  Just look at him!  He’s the absolute bane of my existence and doesn’t look like he belongs on a can of fancy feast.  Real evil comes in the most normal of packages.

But back to the movie!  The special effects are kinda cheesy, though Dorothy said this movie was made in 2001, so you have to cut it a break.  But going back and forth from CGI dogs to real dogs makes it worse, I think.  Maybe the whole thing would’ve been better as an animated movie.

I liked the plot, and Jeff Goldblum, and Lou.  I thought the pacing was a tad slow, I didn’t really need to see multiple scenes of Sam the Sheepdog thinking he’s so stealthy when he’s not.  

And while I heartily approved of Mr. Tinkles being tortured by Sophie The Maid and her many outfits that she forced Mr. Tinkles to wear, Sophie The Maid herself was just as over the top as Mr. Tinkles, and I thought the TV might explode from overkill.

But I can’t help but like a movie that show dogs winning over cats in a world domination scenario, since that’s how nature intended it to be.  As such, even with all its cheesiness and over the topness, I give Cats & Dogs three stars. 

And maybe I forget to let the cat back inside for like, another two hours.  Heh.