Ted Talks: Building Buddies

Welcome back to another rousing edition of Ted Talks, where friend of the blog and bon vivant Ted Andes tackles topics that are near and dear to his heart.  Without further ado, take it away Ted!


“Do any of you have non-human building companion(s) that are always with you when you are building?” 

Way back during the speederbike contest (you know the one), halfbeak posted the picture below of his dog Saffie.  That got me wondering how many other FOLs build with their dogs, or other kinds of pets …excluding those hairless monkeys some of you call children…


halfbeak – Saffie helping build the speederbike chase

 Our dachshund Pepper was my “building buddy”, and “playing Legos*” was our thing to do together.  She was by my side anytime I went down to the basement to build, and she would get upset if I went down there without her.  I’d just say the word “Legos*”, and Pepper would run to the basement door and paw at it, eager to get downstairs.

Her enjoyment was all about chasing the light reflections that occurred when I opened/closed my storage bins.  Sometimes I’d get so focused on building and forget she was down there under my feet.  But then I’d open a part drawer, and she’d start barking and pawing at the reflections (she was crazy about chasing laser pointers too, and the word “Legos*” sounded a lot like “laser” to her)… As for our other two dogs, well they couldn’t have cared less.

Eventually, I had to place cardboard along the basement wall, because Pepper would get “happy tail” injuries.  She was so excited to chase reflections that she’d wag her tail hard against the coarse concrete wall (and dachshunds wag their tails a lot to begin with).   The end of her tail would get rubbed raw, and then little blood dots would be splattered all over the place.  At first, I thought it was some dirty/rusty water somehow being sprayed out from our nearby sump-pump.  That “red spot mystery” took us few weeks to figure out.


Cardboard vs. butcher paper

Unfortunately, we had to put her down in June 2015 due to an inoperable cancer tumor.  Seeing the photo that halfbeak posted above reminded me of the huge void that Pepper’s passing left in my building area.   After she passed, it took me some time to want to go down into the basement and build again.  I lost a true friend, and I still I keep that cardboard along the wall as a tribute to her.  I’m not sure if there was ever a bigger “Pet-FOL” than her, but I’d love to hear your stories too.  Plead your cases down in the comments below.


Pepper – Note: She was also as smart as heck, feisty, and an avid hunter.  In this shot, she caught the scent of a mole and was probing the snow for it with her snout.  If I recall correctly, her kill list included 17 garter snakes, 3 moles, 1 vole, 3 chipmunks, a couple birds, and a baby rabbit (ooh, that was a rough day, but at least she’d be considered a friend to Elvis)…she never caught a squirrel though, despite numerous attempts.

The other “FOL + Pet” tag teams that I’m aware of…

– Of course we have to start this list right with the person who the Manifesto is all about…


– I remember rowntRee mentioning his dog(s) name in the Manifesto comments somewhere.  Here’s a photo of Coda in his “Matt Cave”.


– A local Louisville builder I know, Charley Harper, builds/sorts with his pet rabbit “Commander Carrot” by his side.


Millie McKenzie’s cat actually did bomb her photos.  Of course, we all know cats can’t resist slapping around toys on a string.

when pets attack

Lia Chan has a least two cats to help her out with her builds too


Shannon Young and the greatest threat to the city of Shannonia.2905651363_75db68a70b_o.jpg

-The building of cathedrals is serious business for  Stefan Johannes Kubin and his cat.


– And I don’t know who “LovinLego” is, but they’ve got a sizable Legoratory… and a cat running the show.


Adam Dodge and his SHIPtember collaborator.


John Patrick measures his SHIP attempts in dog lengths…


Marcos Bessa felt inspired by the pug in his life, and decided to build one all for himself…except without all of their trademark wheezing and snorting.


Joel Baker was inspired by his pup Zoe, and he made her a brick buddy too.  Dachshund pups, FTW!  He said that “she is good around LEGO now, but she used to try to pick up bricks and move them around the room”


– You can count Dunechaser in the both the dachshund and pug camps…


– And of courseLino would have a pet dachshund.  Since Lulu  has no interest in the Lego (or at least no interest in destroying his MOC’s) I wasn’t going to count him at first.  However, I then saw this picture of them being a luchador tag-team, and that earns major bonus points.


Final thoughts…

There are couple things that I noticed when I was trying to research other builders and dig up these photos:

1) There are a lot of people who have named their dogs “Lego”.  When they call for them outdoors, I wonder how many people yell back “…my Eggo!”

2) There are quite a few other builders that have dachshunds too.  Way to represent, fellow wiener lovers!… Umm , wait.  That didn’t come out right…

3) Finally, I’ll end with this Public Service Announcement. – No pet in the world is impressed with photos of minifigs posed in real world environments (or Duplo), so leave your pets out of it.  That concept is lame, and you should feel lame.  You already put them through enough embarrassment by dressing them in your silly costumes.  Enough is enough.  End the abuse!

Sarah McLachlan – “In the Arms of the Angles”

(full disclosure: despite the levity of me linking this video, we actually donate to our local Humane Society, and have adopted a rescue too. Such a great dog)

So who else?

We need stories.

We need pictures.

We need videos.

*…and I don’t want to hear any crap about “It’s Lego, not Legos”, so “lighten up, Francis”.  I didn’t get it correct in all my other articles just to forget that now.  That’s a phrase I’m quoting, and me saying it to my dog was not going to erode TLG’s intellectual property by her ever repeating it. “Bark, bark.”

11 thoughts on “Ted Talks: Building Buddies

  1. Our dog’s actual name is Malacoda, Coda for short, it means “evil tail.” Figured it was the appropriate name when we rescued her and that damn whip wouldn’t stop. Thankfully she’s not tall enough for her ass to target anything on the desk. Needless to say, we have no coffee table. But we axed that with our previous dog, Zoe, whose passing was four years ago this last Wednesday. That’s always a tough one.

    Both Zoe and Coda join me down in the matt cave, albeit one in spirit but she’s always with me. Actually, I often find a squiggly, “lightly buttered toast” colored Zoe hair in my bins; so, I guess she’s still physically there as well. Coda is adding to that particularly annoying collection, hers are straight even though they’re close in color. Zoe would mostly lay on the couch and just watch me, it was kinda creepy until her eyebrows would perk up when I talked to her. Then she’d stroll over and plop her head on my lap and her tail would wag her entire body. Coda has taken an uncanny ability to somehow know exactly where I’m going and block my path. Ah well, she’s cute. She mostly sleeps making delightfully funny noises. The best part is looking over and seeing her sound asleep curled around on her back with her head hanging off the end of the couch with her legs in various angles in the air. Snoring. Loud. And then like a switch, she bolts up the stairs, out the abused dog door like some villain in a western kicking open the saloon, to bark at a Subaru. Then she returns, faithfully protecting the yard from wayward Outbacks, wanders over for a reassuring pat on the head where her perked up ears fold away like bomb bay doors, tail swinging like a reaper mowing, then she collapses in her dent on the couch after a turn or five, and promptly resumes her snoring. Yeah, you told that car, didn’t you?!

    Nice one, Ted. The non-humans in our lives deserve more of a spotlight as their time with us is always way too short. Such an impact they have on us, I guess it’s true that the star that burns twice as bright lasts half as long.


    1. Good read, Matt. Thanks for rounding out the story behind the photo… And if I ever drive my Subaru Outback through your neck-of-the-desert, I can’t say I haven’t been forewarned. 🙂

      “…the star that burns twice as bright lasts half as long.”… Ain’t that the truth. Our other dachshund, Ginger, died a little over a month ago now. You don’t realize how many of your daily habits/routines are based around them until they are gone too. Now just have our rescue dog Maddie, and she’s a quiet ninja. We hope to get a new pup next weekend, who should bring back some needed incessant barking into the home.


      1. Yeah, I remember seeing your post on FB about Ginger. Always hurts. It took me three years to get the strength to let another mutt into my life after Zoe. Goddamned dogs. I think I finally did it to shut everyone the fuck up that told me “you just need to get another dog and it’ll be fine.” Fuck off. The wifey and I don’t have children and that was our baby, JUST replacing her like some worn tire wasn’t JUST going to fucking happen. That was my best friend that I dug a grave for in solid granite, I’d dig to China for that damn furball. Don’t tell me to JUST get another one when it no longer exists.

        Cheers to every mutt, feline, and non-human past, present, and future!


  2. Thanks a lot Ted you really made my day…both of those cats are dead. Way to re-open the wound, Dr. Andes. What an uplifting article…what the hell is wrong with you? Wasn’t it enough to shamelessly post “In the Arms of the Angels?”. I don’t know if I can ever forgive you Ted, this might be the end of Ted Talks, there has to be another AFOL named Ted I can contact to keep the series going.

    Cats and Legos are a blessing and a curse. Both of those cats were buried with a sprinkling of the pieces they so loved to mangle, palm fronds and whip antennas. R.I.P. Pickle and Oliphant.


    1. Hey now. Not everyone out here can be Jed Clampett, able to shoot up some bubblin’ crude and head to Beverly… Hills that is. Just laying out an alternative for midwesterners on a budget … Anyway, I guess I’ll just go retire to rowntRee status now, not ever actually submitting articles, but writing them in the comments instead…


      1. “not ever actually submitting articles, but writing them in the comments instead”

        Yes! Mock the pen that stands still! The Artsy quill that writes not! The comment article guy! Mock him! Shame him!


  3. Also,
    Great idea for an article man! Simple and easy to gather lots of pics for. By far and away though… Lino with the luchador mask and his hound… an unexpected thunderclap of sensorial stimulus! Is it a vision? A dream? At the very least, a dream like image of a visionary! Plus… Luchador!

    I will now attempt to post a picture of the cat who habitually destroys my WIPS. His name is Abraham Lincoln, after the president who preserved the union, and unlike his name sake, he is … a total dick. Lets not get lost in the magical bond between a builder and his or her animal familiar. This fat bastard is not my muse. Not my silent companion (he yowls constantly). Not my advocate or spirit guardian. He is a fat needy bastard who keeps trying to rub his face against my dam MOCs… often pushing them over in the process. When shit falls off my table, he doesn’t even run or freak out. He just turns his ponderous fat head towards me and smiles. He is a black hearted servant of the dark one! Also, when your asleep… this creepy fuck tip toes up to you silently and puts his paw on your chin, and you wake up to his idiotic crooked one fanged face staring intently into your own. Who does that? It’s like he has a brain tumor! Fucker is going to give me PTSD! He’s a harry fat a-hole!

    and the link:

    Project Demeter: Day 6.0


    1. Cat’s are A-holes….you know how many palm fronds I have that are all bent and riddled with teeth marks? I find parts everywhere that they’ve batted into some unexpected nook and or cranny in the house. Savages. I’ll never forget when Pickle knocked down that facade you built for Omicron, in retrospect that really changed the look of the diorama. The bastards just don’t care.


  4. Nice read Ted. Sorry, I don’t think I have any pictures. We have a black cat, Armani, that likes to hide behind under my LEGO desk and often decides to puke right down there too. Bren, our dog, is mostly relegated to the downstairs but has snuck up into the LEGO room a couple times. Mostly it is the hairless monkeys knocking my stuff around and chewing up my pieces though.


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