Mulder’s 4th Birthday

This is a guest post by my husband Marcel who recently posted a gallery of pictures from his trip to Peru and Panama at CosmicAdventure.

Last weekend our dog child Mulder turned 4. We aren’t exactly sure when his birthday is but we estimated it should be sometime in September, so to make things easy we just designated September 19th which is a month before Charlotte’s B-day. It’s hard to believe that time has gone by so fast from the day we got Mulder from the doggie adoption event when he was just 25 pounds and 3-4 months old.

To celebrate his birthday this year we took him downtown to the Sniff Dog Hotel in Nob Hill. It’s a dog boarding facility, but they also have doggie day care and a café. Once your dog passes the dog temperament test (by appointment only) you can bring him in to play for free during happy hour. This is a great deal for all parties involved because your dog gets to play with other dogs in a cool facility while you support the hotel by spending money on beer, coffee, and snacks while watching the doggies play. After playing with a huge Great Dane and many other doggies Mulder walked with us around Nob Hill, one of our favorite neighborhoods in Portland. Finally we got some cow tendons and other goodies at All For Paws for the birthday boy before heading home for dinner and TV time.

The sniff dog hotel, with Mulder in the background playing.

Speaking of that we had our friends Sokbun and Chad over for the football game last weekend and Chad asked me how many words Mulder knew. This is a good question that I never really gave much thought to until that moment. I initially said probably about 20, but after thinking about it is probably more like 40 or 50. Some words he knows so well that we have to spell them out or use abbreviations so he doesn’t get confused. For example if we are talking and accidentally say “walk” he will start jumping in circles and run to the door. So we use code and say “W” or just spell it out. For dog park we say “DP”, and treat we say “T”, unless we are actually going to the dog park or giving him a treat at that moment.

Sometimes Mulder will not recognize certain words if they aren’t said in the right tone, or accompanied by the right physical reaction. This is because dogs tend to respond to our physical behaviors and expressions much more than verbal communications. For example if I get out of my chair very quickly Mulder thinks I’m going somewhere and will also get excited. If I calmly put my keys in my pocket but don’t give him eye contact he won’t get excited, but if I look at him after putting my keys in my pocket his tail will start wagging like crazy. He knows all the queues.

Mulder still surprises us at times like today when I was talking to Charlotte about what we were going to do and I said “where do you want to go?” Mulder, who we thought wasn’t even paying attention to us, suddenly jumped up from his bed and started wagging his tail and circling around. We determined that he recognized the phrase “wanna go” as meaning we were going somewhere, because we usually say to him wanna go to the dog park, or petsmart, or where ever. He is one smart doggie!

Here is a list of words and phrases I could think of off the top of my head that Mulder knows. There are certainly many others that I can’t think of now, and some that he sort of knows like the names of favorite food types such as banana, chicken, or popcorn. If you have any cool doggie words or tricks let us know.

Commands: No, sit, lay down, jump, shake hands, wait, all done, be nice, go play, play ball, stay, come, quiet, off, this way, over here, leave it, drop it, no barking, no biting, sniffy only, get it (used when we hide a treat from him), catch (used when tossing a treat in the air), let’s go, move, watch me.

Common words or phrases he knows: Good boy, sleepytime, human food, human activity, doggie activity, ready, water, doggie (we say when there is another doggie around), wanna go ____

Places: Home, PetSmart, Dog Park, Bethany (local shopping area where we walk sometimes), Home Depot (he is allowed inside so we take him there), office time, TV time, outside, inside.

Favorite words: Treat, Mmmm (used to make his food sound better), walk, ride, dinner, rubby (when we rub his belly or scratch his ears).

Least favorite words: Bath (the mention of this word will send him running), Cat (Mulder does not like cats, squirrels, raccoons, UPS or FedX guys, solicitors, or any other intruders in our yard). However Mulder has determined that birds are a waste of his time so he mostly ignores them.

People he knows: Mommy, daddy, grandma, grandpa. We aren’t sure how well he remembers other names but he definitely remembers their scent.

A recent trip we made to the southern Oregon Coast.

An older picture, but one of my favorites of Charlotte and Mulder.

Another trip we made this summer out to the coast, who says dogs can’t smile?

On that trip we saw a deer at Long Beach in WA. We thought Mulder would think it was a big dog and he did pause for a moment, but he must have smelled venison because after this picture was taken he nearly dislocated my arm when he took off running after it like he tries to do when we see cats. I’m not sure what he thinks he would have done if he had actually caught this deer. The deer was initially frightened and ran, then stopped to look back, and after that arrogantly galloped off at a leisurely pace as if to say “whatever”.

Portland is so dog friendly they even put doggie water fountains with the human ones on some trails.

Mulder says yes I am self aware, and darn I look good too!

I’ll just lay here and look cute until you take me for a walk.

This is my impression of a human sitting on a chair.

I might be biased here, but Mulder is quite simply the coolest dog around! He is always happy to see us and we are always happy to see him. He brings so much joy, laughter, and love to our lives. Happy Birthday Mulder!


This entry was filed under: Foodie, Friends, Mulder the Dog, PDX local, Travel and tagged .


  1. Marie
    Posted September 26, 2011 at 7:21 am | Permalink

    Happy Birthday Mulder!!! I’m normally scared of big dogs but I want to meet you! Handshake! 😀

  2. Francis
    Posted September 26, 2011 at 9:15 am | Permalink

    Lol, Happy Birthday Mulder, so cute i want a dog now too lol

    • Charlotte
      Posted September 26, 2011 at 9:39 am | Permalink

      Mulder: Thank you Tito Francis and Tita Marie. I had a wonderful time!

  3. slammie
    Posted September 27, 2011 at 1:20 pm | Permalink

    Awwww. Happy birthday, Mulder!

  4. Posted October 1, 2011 at 11:56 am | Permalink

    Awesome! I thought we were the only dog-parents that had to spell out words when we didn’t want to alert the canine. And he’s gotten so big! For some reason the pictures I remember of him he is much smaller? Or maybe it is just the perspective of the shot on the beach with Charlotte (which I LOVE). Happy Birthday Mulder!

  5. Posted October 4, 2011 at 11:32 am | Permalink

    Thank you all for the nice comments about Mulder! I did think of a few more commands I left off the list.
    Cross- Used when crossing the street.
    Run- For when we go jogging.
    Go potty, and go poopy- self explanatory.