Salty Dog: Oh, Brother! (by Karma)


While humans scanned the skies for the path of Irma

I weathered my own crisis here on terra firma.

A whirling dervish who bites, chews, and pees

His name is Koda, a little Cuban Havanese.

A mini me, but don’t assume I’m his mother

My humans informed me:  he’s my new “brother.”

I thought at first he was a storm victim, a guest,

But he’s here to stay, the shark-like pest.


He hangs from my tail, and eats from my bowl,

Over elimination, he has no control.

He squeals like a pig when he’s left alone

And smells like urine eau de cologne.





But he’s willing to play and likes tug-of-war

My place is the sofa, he likes the floor.

And the boy’s got style when he copies me.

So he’s my Wingman, Dawg, BFF, Homie.




But wait…what is this fresh hell?

Says his name’s Sir Charles of Taywater Dell!

Not another young pup to guide all lifelong!

Whew! Not ours, but belongs to Cat Armstrong.

Salty Dog: Happy Halloween by Miss Squito (aka Karma)

I am a proud Tibetan Terrier with the soul of a wolf living in Florida.

For Halloween, I wanted to be scary, powerful, awe-inspiring.

I wanted humans to take one look at me and scream and run in fear.

So, what do my humans dress me up as?

See below…..



Miss Squito

A zika carrying mosquito, Ae. aegypti to be precise.


Not at all what I had in mind.

Someone help me. Please.


Salty Dog: SRQ Airport Rocks! (by Karma)

Yep. It’s me. Karma the Tibetan Terrier

Hey there canine friends (and human companions), did you know that SRQ Airport is a place where you can go?!?


I mean, of course, “go” as in “go potty.”


Not only are there two areas to walk outside the airport, (one near ticketing and one near the taxis by the baggage exit) but there is a place inside by Gate B2 where service animals and pets can use “the facilities.”


Just take a look…there’s the men’s room, the women’s room, and then our relief area. (By the way, why do humans call their relief areas “bathrooms” or “restrooms” or even “rooms” at all? I just don’t get it.)



Here’s what it looks like inside the service dog/pet relief area:


Pretty neat, huh? My only quibble is with the size of the fire hydrant…really?


Sure, Yorkies will love it, but a German Shepherd will really need to have good aim. Good thing there is a hose for humans to clean up the turf (or elsewhere) after you “go.”

But it’s clean, it’s inside, it has a view, it’s climate controlled, and it’s for us.

So a big AAARRRFFF shout-out to the humans at SRQ (and the consultants from Southeastern Guide Dogs) who remembered that whether you’re human or canine,  when you gotta go, you gotta go.

Now if only I could afford a ticket to Tibet…


Salty Dog: Sarasota Thunderstorms and Dogs (by Karma with reporting from Griffin, Dexter, JoJo, Gabby, Lily, Misty, and Bella)

12 image composite of Sarasota during 8 minutes on 9-25-16 by Val Vasilescu

One of the worst places in the entire world for dogs with thunderstorm-a-phobia would be here in Sarasota. Tampa actually holds the record for most frequent lightning strikes, but hey, we are wolfish creatures with highly evolved senses who can feel the electrical charges coursing through our DNA even miles away. Danger is coming.

But you humans are so clueless. You wait until you see dark clouds above you, or jump at the thunder claps, or run from the sheets of rain. Until then, there you remain on the tennis courts, golf courses, beaches, walking paths and parking lots, completely oblivious to the fact that your environment is in flux. Danger is coming.

Some of you think you are in control by counting the seconds between thunder and lightening strikes to calculate how close the storm is. So sad. We canines have you beat by at least 10 miles in discerning changes in the barometric pressure, and yet you ignore our early warning system comprised of shaking, whimpering, or drooling. If we had opposable thumbs we’d send you a text but most likely you would still fixate on what is wrong with us!

So pay attention! We are trying to tell you before your human brain can even register it: Trouble is afoot! The air is full of electrical charges! Run for shelter! Get under something and stay there! Instead, you pat us on our heads and talk to us in baby talk : awww, poor ting. Is something scare-wing you?

P1030107Yes, dear clueless human companion. Something is scaring us: your nonchalance.

Colossal bolts of electrical charges are headed this way with no rhyme or reason for where they will hit, and still you are putting on your sneakers to go for a walk! For 30 minutes we have tried to alert you that disaster is looming and there you are firing up the patio barbecue. We are hugging the toilet bowl or sitting in a puddle of drool or buried beneath the bed (there are no basements here!) and you are floating in the pool with a vodka and tonic. And then you wonder why we freak out when storms approach. You are unreachable! You are unteachable!

So maybe, just maybe, it is you and not the storms that cause us distress. So take that dog-hugging storm vest that you bought online and return it;  don’t even try to wipe us down with anti-static dryer sheets; you swallow that sedative the vet gave you;  stop playing Mozart in the hope that it will soothe us; and get your money back now for that canine desensitization course–you are apparently a graduate yourself!

All you need to do is listen:

Danger is coming.


The Salty Dog: Why Carpets Rule over Tiles (by Karma)

img_1966On an evening dark and queasy

I crawl upon my doggy kneesies

beyond a vast expanse of tile

to the tiny oasis of soft beige pile.


It’s there upon my beloved carpet

my stomach heaves and then I barf it

across six feet of woolen lawn;

Now relieved, I relax and yawn.


When suddenly my humans begin to shriek

“Get off the rug, you [bleepidty bleep!]”

They descend with sprays and thirsty towels;

Their distress causes loosening of my bowels.


Now I’m up in the air and out the door

To the doghouse; but why, I’m not really sure.

The Salty Dog: A Labor Day Weekend Salute to Service Dogs (by Karma)

I wear this stylish red mesh  vest when my humans take me for a walk. But I am not a service animal.

Screenshot 2016-09-03 11.51.16

But for a mere $69, I could be.


With a charge card and going to the right online site, I could obtain a service dog certificate and an ID. And for another $30, I could replace my ordinary (although fetching) vest with one marked with the designation “Service Dog.”


Some Service Dogs wear these vests, but they don’t have to. And so online sites that push their sale are a bit suspicious. Service Dogs do not have to show anyone documentation. Because of the privacy provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Act, only two questions can be asked regarding the person and their service dog: Is the animal required because of a disability? What task has the animal been trained to perform related to that disability (e.g., leading a blind person; pulling a wheelchair; alerting about on oncoming seizure.) No certificate or doctor’s letter can be demanded as proof.

A service dog is in fact not a pet but a working partner that is thoroughly trained to provide a service directly related to a person’s disability. Here in Sarasota (and their Palmetto campus), Southeastern Guide Dogs are a great example of an organization that breeds, trains, and matches service dogs to humans with disabilities. It is important work.


But if my humans wanted to scam the system, they easily could. They could buy me a Service Dog vest, and then lie if they are challenged about me. But then they could take me anywhere they wanted and the place would have to admit me.

Think about how damaging this could be to real Service Dogs and their humans. As a fake and untrained Service Dog I would likely misstep and ruin the reputation and the real need for humans who rely on these dogs.

Also for sale is the designation: Emotional Support Animal. This is an untrained animal of almost any species that provides solace to someone with a disability, such as anxiety or depression. To become an ESA, a human needs a letter from a licensed mental health professional that verifies his/her emotional or mental need for the animal. Under The Fair Housing Act and Air Carriers Act, ESAs are allowed to be housed in apartments and hotels where most animals would be denied, and on airlines to fly for free. In this case, proof as in the form of the letter can be required.

Again, the offering of emotional support can be a legitimate need that an animal can meet.

But scammers have figured this one out too. A human can “buy” such a letter at online sites for $140. Along with a credit card number, a human submits an application and then will be interviewed by a Mental Health Professional over the phone. With or without the letter, a certificate is available for $29, and a mesh vest that states “Support Animal” for the pet costs $44.95 (currently on sale for $39).

And the scammers are out there. Just ask anyone in Sarasota who works a front desk at a restaurant, hotel, library, or lobby entrance. Although the ADA currently recognizes only dogs as potential service animals (and some states expand this to include miniature horses, pigs, and capuchin monkeys), humans present all types of animals with certification tags.

A favorite example involved a human entering a library with an alleged service “baby racoon.” This one was almost too easy:  Could a baby animal have had training? An undomesticated animal like a racoon? And exactly what service was being provided while it whipped around like a Tasmanian Devil in its crate?

Others are harder to spot. Can a llama be a comfort animal? An iguana? A deadly viper? Can a tiny terrier be a service animal? It depends…

So, a big Bow Wow shout-out this Labor Day weekend to dogs and other animals who serve.

A big Grrrrrrr to humans who undermine these animals and their owners by cheating the system.

To read more about this issue:

“Pets Allowed: Why are so many animals now in places where they shouldn’t be?” By Patricia Marx; The New Yorker, October 20, 2014.


Karma Sings–again; but in a hurricane

To the tune of “Singin in the Rain” (this is the second verse; worse than the first):




I am walking in the rain

Correction. A hurricane

Thunder crashing ’round me

Outdoor potty is my bane

Summer I’d like to forget

Please send me back to Tibet

Sarasota is insane

I’m still walkin’

Walkin’ in the rain


Salty Dog Singin’ in the Rain



I’m walking in the rain

Yes walking in the rain

What an uncomfortable feelin’

I’m soggy again

My humans ignore those clouds

So dark up above

I wish it was snow

August I do not love





Let the stormy clouds chase

Every 4pm in this place

“Come on” and they leash me

With a smile on their face

I walk down the lane

Water circling the drain

Just singin’

Singin’ in the rain

Dee-ah dee-ah dee-grrrrrrr.



The Salty Dog: Good Karma in Sarasota


I am a Tibetan Terrier (TT), an ancient breed. I am fierce. I was bred by the Tibetans to sit for hours on top of snowy mountain peaks and to use my keen eyes and sharp bark to warn my humans about invaders. I am a watch dog.

In Tibet, the members of my breed are referred to as “Little People” and as the “Holy Dogs of Tibet.” We were never bought or sold but given to guests as good luck charms. We were gifts; we were treasured.

We are not in fact terriers; the English named us and made a mistake. There’s no terrier in our bloodline. Our Tibetan name is Tsang Apso, or bearded one from Tsang. Our hair grows thick and long. The Dalai Lama named his own TT “Senge” which means Little Lion.  We are fierce.

The move to Sarasota, although good for my sun-loving human companions, has not been as good for me. Look at me now.



My coat has been shorn, not because I’m a shedder (because we TTs don’t shed), but because it’s so darn hot here. Really hot. All summer long. From June to September I walk around nearly naked. With this hair cut, I look like a goat. Put a clanging bell around my neck, and you’d never know I am a  TT. [This may be why some Tibetans called us “Rapso” meaning goat-haired.] But I don’t bleat. Grrrr. Even shorn, I am fierce.


Instead of sitting atop a mountain, these days I guard the pool from my cabana.

Life is tough.

TTs are tougher.

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