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Fishermen's Journal

Back by semi popular demand...This is over a decade old at this time, darg is still with me. Just spent $50 for shots, so she'd better hang onto life for another couple years time...beast is 13 and counting!

Dasher the Wonder Darg
Tales From an Adoptive Parent

Well, we all do illogical things once in a while. I acted on an impulse and picked up a pound-pup on Tuesday, June 10th.1997. It wasn't really an impulse, I went back and visited the pooch three times at the humane society's lockup facility here in Huntington Beach. She was so very sweet. I mean this dog stuck her nose out the bars and tried to lick you, she squirmed, she looked so excited to get a little attention. I'd been considering having a dog since my cat croaked. I had hoped for an inexpensive, non-complaining companion, a fishing partner. How could this obviously loved thing now be held in such sad conditions awaiting a cruel final fate. Who could have given up on this this delightfully smart and personable seven month old Australian Heeler? Well, the folks at the pound said her owner suffered a stroke and couldn't care for the dog any more. That's their version of why the dog was turned over. Perhaps...

This, Dasher's first home page offers some initial getting acquainted experiences and a running financial log.


The following is a log of critical happenings in the life of Dasher The Wonder Dog, and of course expenses.

6/5,6,7/97 - Introduced to Sasha (now known as Dasher) at the Huntington Beach Humane Society. Sweet dog, all the others seem vicious and big, too big for my place. Short hair, good breed, bright, affectionate, same color as my old cat that had to be put down after 18 years last fall... This will prove convenient since the new pet hair will match all my old cat hair ridden clothing and furniture. Seems like a good addition to my existence. Dog not too good on a leash, she seems to keep her nose to the ground sniffing and her belly on the ground scraping the tundra. She'll need some work. But, she is kind of cute and companionable. Yep, and she doesn't bark. I guess that's common with the breed, I don't know.  They said something about being part dingo...

6/7/97 - $86.33 - Humane Society - spaying

6/9 - $73.89 - Stopped by Super Pets...Dog food and a couple of toys, leash, collar, pigs ears, stainless steel dog bowls...

6/10 - - Dog is a bit groggy but so appreciative of being with a person and away from jail. Creature has a tendency to try to lick people's ears. At least she stays away from your mouth and eyes and stuff. Dog knows not to take a dump in the house it seems. She takes care of dumpage in a small grass area by my neighbors house. She does seem to try to make good decisions... Oh, she still is really quiet. Not even a bit of a bark.

6/12 - $69 - Super Pets, dog door (patio to garage) and a couple of more dog toys.

6/14 - $38 - Super Pets, another leash and chain for training. She can bark. She barked when the newspaper guy tossed the paper to my door. She barks like a raving maniac. This happens at 4 AM.

6/15 - - Folks, sister and niece came out to visit. Dog got too excited and took a piss on the carpet. While my 80 year old dear mother sits in my chair, Dasher takes a great running leap and lands - lands 35 pounds of densely packed muscle and bone - on my mom's lap. Then Dasher the Wonder Dog begins licking the make-up off my well manicured mother's face. She was a sport about the critters behavior. It was then that I discovered one reason people have kids. My sixth grade niece was getting in my hair so I brilliantly struck upon the idea of killing two birds with one stone. Yep, I asked Jessica to take the bothersome carpet pissing creature for a walk. It worked! A few moments of peace with my parents in my meager abode. Actually, Jessica is never a pest and couldn't possibly get in my hair (not enough to go around).

6/17 - - Dog dung on carpet in bedroom. Eh, probably my fault for feeding her late and not walking her over to my neighbor's place to take care of business. She's shaping my behavior. Barked like a maniac this morning at 4AM.

6/18 - $72 - Super Pets, another dog door (kitchen to patio) and dog food. We took a nice long run/walk this evening. The dog's a chick magnet, well at least we got lots of smiles. It was either the critter or the sight of me being pulled around polls, yards, people, other animals and deposits made by other pets. This dog stuff is pretty good exercise and socializing strategy, but it's somewhat humiliating when you have to pick up dog dung and carry it around with you where ever you go. Barked like a maniac this morning at 4AM.

6/19 - - She actually was too lazy to go downstairs and outside to take a dump last night. Again, dumpage in the bedroom. She seems apologetic, but gawd what a smell. At least she didn't do it anyplace where I have much company. After some time spent chasing the dawg outside and locking her out with my fancy $60 dog door, I settled back to some TV instead of going to bed. Okay, so it was probably my fault, and the dog was crying (while scratching off the paint from my newly painted door...), so I let her back in. She acted like she was so sorry for what happened, and so happy to see my angered face. How can I say pissed? Oh, she barked like a maniac this morning at 4AM.

6/20 - $83 - Big 5, new tennis shoes - Dasher the Wonder Dog ate one of my shoes last night and another this evening. Oh, she barked like a maniac this morning at 4AM.

6/21 - $68 - Super Pets, dog food, toys, chewing rawhide stuff... Also, had dog's stitches removed today. Somehow when I wasn't looking the darg sucked down my chocolate hi-protean shake, she also got into some cornbread I had planned on eating today. Oh, she barked like a maniac this morning at 4AM.

6/22 - - No dumpage or damage last night that I can determine. She did do some barking though. Gladly, my other neighbor was out last night so the darg didn't bug him but perhaps a few of the others may have been annoyed. Eh, I've put up with some of their squealing kids, cats, dogs, parties...

I spoke too soon. After I fed Dasher the Wonder Dog this morning she developed the running shits. I had cleaned up the garage yesterday, spraying off piss and shit (she uses the garage, under the boat as a dumping ground when I can't take her out). Around noon I noticed that Dasher wasn't too active. When I went into the garage I was overwhelmed by the pungent odor. (Now I see why my neighbor was looking at my garage strangely). The poor thing either couldn't take my food from last night or else all the rawhide is causing problems. The poor creature also took one of those splatter dumps on my living room carpet. As soon as she saw me, after the dastardly act, she hugged the ground and groveled at my feet. How could I act too upset? The poor thing was just a might bit under-the-weather. Not much morning barking.

6/25 - $24.72 - Darg doing well except... Dasher the Incontinent Darg again got a little excited with company yesterday... Made a minor urine mess. Dog was apologetic as could be. How could I be too upset?... She also discovered my bathroom floor mat. She dragged the thing downstairs and out into the garage. She must be trying to tell me something about her sleeping quarters when I have to lock her outside. Forget about the barking in the morning, just figure it happens 4 out of 7 nights/mornings.

6/28 - $90.21 - Purchased for Dasher the Insomniac Dog a doggie bed, also a whole bunch of chewing toys. I don't know what keeps on happening to the chewing rawhide stuff I've been buying this creature. First she has 'em then I notice her walking around obliviously irritated. When I follow her she turns around and starts nosing around in the other direction. After I lose interest she escapes my eye. Then the dog makes a triumphant entrance, without the five dollar item... The cute little animal makes me feel nervous when she looks longingly at my new tennis shoes.

7/2 - $ 42.78 - Dasher the Scratcher Dog has been scratching herself a bit lately. I put the flea buster stuff all over the carpet prior to bringing the doggie home but this little critter goes to some pretty high risk areas to take care of business... So, I purchased Advantage. It's supposed to be better than the Program. Seems this stuff kills the fleas rather than sterilizing them. You're supposed to squeeze a tube of liquid between the critters shoulder blades (that way the darg won't lick it off). Well, the instructions say to avoid contact with your skin. But it also says to rub it in. I'm puzzled. It's hazardous to touch, but you're supposed to rub it into a puny pups skin. Seems to me you're putting two critters at risk just for following the instructions. Oh, I also picked up another dog frizbee. I don't know what happened to the last one. I know I put the slobbery, mucus encrusted thing on top of the kitchen counter last night. But, I can't find it for the life of me today. Each weekday morning and late evening Dasher and I sneak onto the tennis courts and play a game of retrieve. Yes, I throw the frizbee, the dog gets it and quite often returns the thing to me. Well, this works for a while. Then the dog grows bored and either plays keep away from me or just takes it to the furthest corner of the courts and drops the damn thing. Of course, now I have to go get the slobbery disc. It's about this time that the mutt charges me growling and snapping, literally jumping on the frizbee to prevent me from getting it and tossing it again. This is getting frustrating, but if I don't do something to keep this dog a little tired she's a real pain in the butt at night. Hyper as hell.

7/21 -$??? - I haven't been keeping up on this. It's just too darn depressing. While I really enjoy many aspects of this dog - I have to be honest - she's got some problems. This dog has difficulty maintaining appropriate relations with her peers. She's okay with people (well a little hyper) and kids (licks 'em to death). But, with other dogs she goes nuts. She gets squirmy as sin. At first I thought she was just being demure. Now I see her responses quite differently. A friend mentioned that a dog psychologist might be a good idea. So, I'll check into this and give a report later.

As far as recent destructive acts, Dasher the Destroyer got another pair of shoes. She also brutally chomped my new barbecue's starter mechanism. Now I've got to use matches. This isn't too bad. But the first time I realized what the pup did and proceeded with using a match to light the grill I burned all the hair off my arm. Let's see, last week when I didn't take the dog fishing she destroyed my garage. There was all sorts of crap I didn't know I owned scattered all over the place. Later that night Dasher the Unforgiving chomped on the electrical wires on my boat's trailer. Who knows how much time/money this will run. The lights are now totally useless. Oh, she also somehow pealed the registration sticker off my trailer. Well, at least she's left the motorcycle alone. Have I spent money lately? You bet! Am I keeping track anymore? No way! Enough is enough. Hell, I've got no job, boat and truck payments, and now I've taken on this ingrate, this bottomless pit of financial ruin. Jeez, I thought boats were like holes in the ocean where you dump money. A dog is like financial hole, or better yet a kind of Golden Goose in reverse. You know you constantly have to fill 'em up with $$$ and then they produce an output of endless amounts of crap.

On a more positive note, Dasher the Hunter demonstrated a new trick. She collects snails. Yep, she gathers the critters from my garden and gently deposits them on the door mat. This morning I found four. There might have been more but they move around a bit. She also is great with the newspaper in the morning. She jumps out the door, grabs the newspaper, shaking vigorously, and rips off the tie-string before I can get at it. She leaves the paper a mess but returns self impressed with the paper's tie-string. This she proudly prances around with in her chompers daring me to try to take it away from her. Of course if I don't she'll stick the slobbery thing in my lap while I'm attempting to organize and read what's left of the paper.

Gadz, there's so much more I wanted to say but the dawg just came up stairs with an empty bag of potato chips. That wouldn't be so bad but I just bought those things. They were full, and sitting on a counter in my kitchen. This is really great. Yah, and she looks so apologetic ... I'm sure.

7/27 - $? - I'm missing my watch. I know where I put it, but it's gone. Dasher...

8/1 - $2.00+watch band- Well I finally found my watch. It was hiding under my bed. Now, I shouldn't blame poor Dasher, but the watch band had encrusted saliva all over it and was thoroughly chewed up. I matched the tooth marks to those on my ankles (the dog is aptly described as a heeler) and they matched quite will. While I didn't actually see the dog with the watch, I think the circumstantial evidence is at least as good as they had in the O.J. Simpson case. He's guilty as hell, and so is Dasher the Timeless pup. Also, last night this cute little girl dog was upset with me. I wasn't paying enough attention to her (screwing around with the computer again). I had purchased some crickets for a snake I inherited while teaching school a few years ago. Thirty plus bugs were in a bag. Anyway, I heard some noises downstairs. When I went down to investigate there was little Dasher the Entomologist Darg looking guilty as hell. She had the right idea. There, scattered all over the kitchen floor was the carnage left by my canine. Squashed crickets on the floor, crawling all over the place as well. Seems Dasher must have been missing a little ruffage in her diet. So, at about 9pm it was back to Super Pets for more bugs and a few more things for Dasher to chew on. Oh, I almost forgot, the tennis shoes Dasher has been chewing on have been reduced to their component parts. That is, they are totally unrecognizable as foot coverings. She is a wonderful dog though. So entertaining, and one's never bored.

8/8 - ?-don't know, or care anymore- She's a great little dog. She's helped introduce me to some attractive ladies in the neighborhood. She's been great company. She's good for cardiovascular exercise - walkies - on a daily basis. She barks well at strangers, too. So, she's a good watch darg. Having said all that, Dasher the Revengeful Darg got back at me for not taking her fishing this week - and for not giving her the attention she deserves. First, last night I returned from watching the Ray Jones, Jr. fight at a friend's apt. to find my barbecue knocked over. I left the critter with plenty of food and water, but that wasn't enough. I stuck a big tail from a 20 pound yellowtail up on the side of my place (I thought it added a bit of flavor to my abode). Dasher being a glutton for yellowtail didn't let the 6 foot height stop her from trying to get at it. She really did a number on the new bbq. Pieces were scattered all over the patio. Oh, sure she was apologetic...

Total Dog Costs for three months: $645.93 (It's CONSIDERABLY more now, I'm just no longer paying attention).

Today, while updated the fishing report, and responding to some e-mail, Dasher the Bored Pup reeked havoc with my carpet. Now, the carpet was the pits to begin with, so I can't really put all the charges against her account. But, my gawd what a mess. There was foam padding everywhere. The carpet was pulled up for miles. She even chewed the wood that anchors the carpet into hundreds of small chunks. Again, she was apologetic as could be. She spent about ten minutes in the garage while I cleaned and camouflaged the living room. Then, I remembered that there's some stuff in there that was at risk, too. So, I brought the remorseful pup back inside the house. What's going to happen once I go back to work? One can only imagine...

8/18 - a bunch - I don't want to dwell on the negative. There are surely many positives to pet owning but jeez.... Okay, I've been spending some time messing around with the computer. Darg's felt lonesome. I noticed she was outside my office, in a patio with my bench-press-bench. She came in looking really apologetic. I've learned by now what that means, she's done something and is going through post-hyper-manic-depression. She totally mauled my bench-press-bench. Again, foam padding everywhere.

I also just set up a marine radio in my office and wired an outdoor antenna that can be extended an obnoxious height. It didn't take Dasher the Wired pup to neatly slice through thirty bucks worth of coax in about a dozen different places.

And, as if all this wasn't enough, over the weekend Dasher the Canine Community Standards Committee decided that my Christmas Lights (er, ah, decorative illumination?) needed to be stripped from my property. Again, probably about thirty bucks worth of lighting. But, she is really getting better at retrieving her frizbee and playing catch and fetch with her many, many balls (she collects them from the tennis court).

So, we've been seeing a Dog Psychologist. She says we'll usually go together, but sometimes the Psyc. will just want to see one of us. I was really getting concerned with all the damage and it was suggested by another pet owner that a Psyc. would help a whole lot. You know, we've only been to talk to the lady once, but I'm already beginning to realize that Dasher the Hyper pup has a lot of issues she's working out. That's where I learned about "post-hyper-manic-depression" and stuff like that.

8/29 - LOTS - Dasher the Sociopath? Well, I've been on the computer a lot lately. And, while up working I've noticed that sweet little Dasher would come upstairs, seek attention, and even hop up in my lap. Such a sweet pup. Well, on my lap, overflowing the chair, the sneaky little thing would try to swipe my ink pen, a dandy red pilot pen with lots of permenent ink. Well, as I was taking a shower the other morning, in a hurry to get down to San Diego, Dasher apparently took advantage of the situation. I noticed as I was going out to my truck that the girl had red stuff all over her paw and mouth. I was really worried until I noticed that it was ink not blood. Then I became more worried about the effects of the ink. Yep, she's ruined a new comforter, and the worst part, she really did a number on the carpet - which of course I made worse by trying to clean it up - ink spread everywhere. I already gave up on the carpet downstairs, but the upstairs was really okay. Maybe she likes hardwood floors more?

The next morning I made a similar mistake. This time it was my package of Oreo cookies. I had just bought the bag, had 'em on my desk. When I left my office to take a shower, sure enough she made off with the cookies. Ah, she does have a heart though. When I discovered what had happened, by way of seeing the scattered and torn wrapper downstairs, good old Dasher acted so apologetic. She grovelled and everything. Shucks, it was probably just indigestion. She ate all the cookies except for one, which she was kind enough to leave for me. Kind hearted or full stomach? I just don't know.

(9/2) Okay, enough is enough. I went to the market last night, taking Dasher the Shopaholic Darg along. I'm sure folks weren't impressed with a darg in the supermarket, but no one said anything. How else would I know what to buy for her if I don't take her along? Sadly, my local Hughes no longer provides their butchers with much to do. What? Well, they get their meat pre-cut. As a result there's no bones for the darg at this market. Sometimes we go to a local independent cow cutter and get some tasty prime rib bones. Anyway, they had a sale on big, beef ribs. They were cheap so I bought $10 worth. I'm not too big on beef ribs - much prefer those baby back ribs from little pigs. But, a deal's a deal, right. And, I figured that these were better to share with the pup anyway. So I barbecued all of 'em. They were overflowing the grill. I ate three out of about 20 ribs last night putting the rest away for today and tomorrow. Being the kind darg owner that I've become, I shared the bones w/Dasher, and I left a good deal of meat on those ribs, too.

Okay, now it's a day later and I'm upstairs trying to get some imaginary business taken care of. I'm about two hours into what I'm doing, and up comes Dasher the Greasy, Pot Bellied Pooch with two of these giant ribs hanging from her mouth. I'm somewhat aghast since my stomach has been growling for the last hour, and I've been playing the delayed gratification game of waiting "just a little while longer" before stuffing my face. When I went downstairs it looked like the darg had unearthed some deceased person. There were fifteen, that's 15 assorted rib bones scattered on my tattered carpet. Usually, she does a great job cleaning tissue and sinew off bones. But this time it appears she was in a bit of a hurry. Yep, greasy smudges, burnt bone flakes, bones, all over the place. She was kind enough to leave me with two ribs on the plate back in the refrigerator. The darg is smart. Hell, she's smart enough to figure out how to open the fridge. Now, nothing's safe. I guess I'll have to figure out some way to lock the thing up (fridge not darg).

Dasher as the future Korean BBQ party animal? Well, I spent time in Korea while working for a Korean firm several years ago. I also ate some darg (unbeknownst to me at the time-boy some of those Korean guys can sure be funny...@#$&^%). Of course dogs taste a lot like chicken, you know. If this mangy little cur goes after my BBQ once more she's going to be grilled herself.

So, I took this up with the darg psyc. (I know you've all been waiting for an update). I called the lady asking what she thought I should do. We've been going once a week now for almost a month now. (I sure wish insurance would cover this expense). I probably blew it, because I expressed my anger to her (though not to Dasher - I wouldn't want to hurt her feelings). Big mistake. Several hours later I was visited by a lady from Child Protective Services who said she received an anonymous tip that I was mistreating a child. I assured her that the only child was my damn darg. She couldn't understand my anger, she didn't even try. Well, the social worker went back to her car and left. Perhaps I was a bit rude. I stayed home and cleaned up after my portly pooch. At nine-o'clock I had a knock at the door. Two cops, looking a bit peeved asked if they could come in. I, of course, said, "not without a warrant." Big mistake. They said they too had received a call (probably from Protective Services) regarding mistreatment of a youthful pup, and they just came right inside. I just don't see how this whole thing's any of their business. I mean, what would the cops do if their darg took away their donuts? To finish up, they took Dasher away. The police guys said it was for our own good, just until we cool down. So, now Dasher is staying at Orangewood, and I'm only allowed to see her if one of their social workers is present while we straighten this stuff out.

(9/20/97) Well, Dasher, the emotionally troubled youth, is back home again this weekend. It's been a difficult couple of weeks without her around. The snail population exploded when she was gone, as well I've been at a loss to deal with the leftover food that Dasher always finds a way to clean up. We've had to go through some family counseling. At first I was reluctant to go to the counseling sessions since the Dog Psychologist whom I dispised was going to be involved. I blamed her for all our troubles. But now I kind of like the woman. She is finally beginning to see things my way, and she's really putting some responsibility on Dasher to grow up. She's even encouraging us to seek out some appropriate education services for the little darg. The darg psyc. now feels that Dasher is well above average in intelligence, and should pursue some educational opportunities. She even thinks that some of the darg's behaviors that were beginning to get on my nerves are simply manifestations of her high intelligence and frustration in dealing with others who don't communicate on her level. So, Dasher and I have a plan for the future.

06/05/01 - Okay, it's been a few years of happy pet ownership here.  We've come to some agreements about our relationship.  But, that hasn't stopped some little unforeseen problems cropping up.  About six months ago, while taking Dasher out for her evening frizbee tossing we had a bit of an accident.  She's really excited about such play, and we run down to the local school playground to impress the locals with her catching ability.  Well this one evening she was pulling me to the school at a jogging pace.  She was pulling pretty darn good, I hit a crack in the sidewalk and went down arms extended (of course she was pulling me all the way).  I was bruised and battered, went down hard.  Well, a couple months later my shoulder was hurting an awful lot.  I'd see stars when I moved it the wrong way.  Well, I went to the vet, adhesive encapsulation was the diagnosis, frozen shoulder.  I've been having physical therapy now for several months trying to avoid surgery.  If it wasn't for the good looks of the gals manipulating my arm I'd be downright pissed off.  As it stands the darg has now cost me a shoulder, as well as a lot of unplanned $.  Life is good.  Dargs are expensive propositions.

Mark Smith, a happy pet owner.

Thank you for visiting!

One of these days I'll do an update. But, it seems we've made sort of an arrangement. I toss Dasher the Wonder Darg the frizbee for a half hour each day, and she doesn't eat any more shoes, cut electrical lines, or crap in the house (at least anywhere I can see)...
Better than a seal bomb...

1997/1998.../01 Mark Smith, CharkBait!/IDS


Had a little glitch with the computer server, had to redo the navigation structure of my website, and came across this old page - a tribute to Dasher. It's now December 2012, a few years have passed, and CharkBait is a bit further along. Many of our old friends from 1997/8 are still with us, and this little experimental business is still plugging along. I finally got married in 2006, had a son in 2008, and in 2010 we had to put Dasher down. I have to say, the darg grew on me, and my wife and sons too. She maintained some strange behaviors until the end, but underlying all the bad behavior there really was a nice creature struggling against all inherited odds to get out and make her true presence known.

We moved from the old condo in 2007, but even with the move to a larger house and yard, we still had more than one visit from the animal control folks and some nuisance letters from neighbors who couldn't understand why dogs bark...for no apparent reason. Ah, Dasher, she's missed, but not forgotten.

Upon her passing, I had her stuffed. (okay, not exactly stuffed, it's a plastic mold of her carcass painted up to look just like her. You know, like they do with fish mounts these days. You don't actually use the dead fish, you make a cast and then paint it). Okay, this is an exaggeration - shucks I almost never do that.... What I actually did was find a coyote decoy. Darn thing looks a lot like Dasher did. I told my wife I was going to get the dog stuffed. She wasn't too impressed with the idea. Well when Christmas time rolled around I presented her with a nice big box. Wifeski was so excited, and then she began opening up the box from the tail side first. My gawd you should have seen the look on her face when things clicked in her head and she realized I'd presented her with a "stuffed" Dasher. Looks darn realistic in the right light.  Well, after a couple nights my wife allowed me back in bed at night instead of sleeping out in the backyard with the plastic version of my old darg. Old Dasher (replica) still sits next to her dog house in the back yard. Looks about the same, but barks much less. Probably should have had it done it a decade ago... I'd have saved considerable darg food bills, vet bills, licensing fees, neighbor complaints, damaged property, insurance for having a known bitter in the back yard... Can't see replacing this wonderful part of the family quite yet with another darg.


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