Wednesday, May 28, 2008

The Best Part of the Day (Human View)

The obvious is to say the best part of the day is when they're all asleep. I almost said that. Then I started really giving it some thought and there are so many best parts of the day, that I'll mention a few.

This pathetic creature is 'Pink Pig- Bunny'. The Chinese assembly line must have run amok the day he was created, but Monty loves him. He was Monty's Christmas present a few years ago and Monty carries him around with him all the time. One of my favorite times is when we're heading outside and Monty has Pig-Bunny in his mouth. He knows he can't take it outside so he lets me put it up high where Fudge won't get it. When he comes in, he runs to the spot where Pig-Bunny is waiting and sits and stares at it until Rob or I hand it to him. He looks so happy to be reunited with his toy.

The best part of the day is when I release the pups from their crates in the morning and we have a jumping, spinning stampede to the door. They are so excited to start a new day. How can that enthusiasm not be a best part?

If I go to the mailbox I get a great happy greeting when I return. It doesn't matter if I've been gone five minutes or five hours. They are all so very excited to see me and they bring me toys and treats to show how much they missed me.

When Lucy has a good day. When she's feeling well enough to run around the yard barking like a puppy. That's a best part.

When Norma Jean wraps her front legs around my arm to get a good lick at my face. When Tess leans against me and lifts her leg so I can rub her belly. When Noah faces a new experience and comes to sit beside me for reassurance. When Sky brings his glow-ball to me at last call so we can have just one more game before bed.

The best part of the day is when I come home from anywhere and Samba nibbles my fingers very gently to tell me she's glad I'm home. Bentley used to do that and now four of the pups also do it.

If I get out of bed at night, I come back to find Samba on my pillow waiting for me. She moves to the foot of the bed as soon as I'm back.

When I'm reading or knitting if I look up I'll often catch Tsar watching me. If I smile at him, he'll swish his tail in acknowledgment. That's a best.

Morgan likes to go out to breakfast with us. She races to the car, jumps in the back seat and waits patiently in the driver's seat for us to return. She knows she'll get a piece of bacon or a potato.

All my Portuguese Water Dogs spin, but Fudge has taken it to a new level. He spins so fast that he can't stop without crashing into something. Although this can sometimes be annoying, his sheer happiness is a best part.

Watching my pack of dogs playing together, whether it's running through the grass, splashing in the pool, wrestling in the house, chasing snowballs, it's the best part of the day to see them getting along and enjoying each other's company.

I love when they all line up in the morning to get their pills. Some need pills for various medical conditions. The others get fish oil pills to learn how to take pills easily. It's a lesson that can save their lives some day.

They also line up at certain times to get a treat.

Dogs have a sense of humor. Tsar has a great one. Tsar is very black. At night, in the back yard he is invisible. Only his two red eyes show up. Tsar does not like to come when called. We have a game that he invented. I call him to come in, he doesn't come. I continue to call him and he circles around, comes up behind me and gives me a nudge. I tell him how surprised I am and I can almost see him laughing. We do this almost every night. It's a best part of the day.

Napping with your best friend is the best part of the day.

Then, of course, when the pups are nestled all snug in their crates and big dogs start heading for their sleep spots, that's a best part, too.

All my PWDs sleep on their backs.

Lucy has pillows and baskets in every room of the house.

Fudge rushes to get in his house to get his last cookie of the day.

As Fudge turns over, so does his house.

Sometimes the best part of the day doesn't involve dogs at all. Sometimes it's taking a walk with your human best friend.

Monday, May 26, 2008

The Best Part of the Day (Canine View)


At our house dogs get breakfast around 7 AM and dinner between 4 and 5 PM. Breakfast (also called dinner) is a smaller meal than dinner and it's plain dog food, no toppings. Dinner is the main meal. It is also dog food, but can have a yummy topping, depending on the day and my schedule.

If someone is sick, they all have turkey and rice. On Wednesdays they have fish. The older dogs get sardines and the younger ones get whitefish fillets. On Friday they get Brazil nuts shaved on top of their food. They might get some leftovers or I might make some 'Boo's Stew'.

Boo's Stew is named in honor of Bentley because I started making it for him when he became old and didn't want to eat. I put two cans of chicken broth in the slow cooker and add 6-8 cups of water. I add turkey or chicken pieces cut up or ground beef or turkey, whatever I have on hand. Add cut up sweet potatoes either fresh or canned and green beans, fresh or canned. Add carrots and cook for a couple hours. Then add rice and or barley and continue to cook for several hours. It can be like soup or thick like stew depending on how much water and rice I use. Spoon it over kibble and all my dogs love it.

Lucy has always had food issues. She used to steal food and got very fat. Now that she is sick, she has trouble maintaining her weight. I feed her four to six small meals a day and that seems to be easier for her to handle. I also let her choose what she wants to eat, sometimes kibble, sometimes canned.

Morgan is a good eater. She's wearing the collar because of a tail injury.

Monty is a good eater, too. He's a very neat dog and never makes a mess with his food.

Tsar is my problem eater. He only eats three or four days a week. The rest of the time he absolutely refuses food. I used to worry about him and dragged him to the Vet many times about his eating habits. Finally, we put him on a kibble designed for high energy, working dogs. It's higher in calories and I know he's getting the nutrients he needs when he does eat. I've stopped worrying and he has maintained his weight and is in good health.

Tsar eats very slowly. He waits till all the others are finished eating. Then he sets a few pieces (8 to 10) on the floor near his dish, then he eats the pieces in the dish. He picks up one piece and chews it for quite a while, then picks up another. It takes him forever to finish the bowlfull. Then he eats the pile of pieces he left on the floor. In the meantime all the other dogs are sitting around waiting to go out. I guess he just likes an audience.

Fudge eats very fast.

Samba really gets down to business. She lies down with her bowl between her legs, puts her head in and doesn't come up for air till the food is gone. I put her bowl down last and she is always the first finished.

Norma Jean is a good eater. Tess is distracted. While chewing, she wanders off to look at something and forgets to eat. I have to remind her several times to eat.

Noah is a good eater, but Sky inhales his food. I've started giving him a few pieces at a time to try to slow him down.

Lola and Bailey are also good eaters.

During the day there are treats. These can be biscuits, called cookies, dog treats of some sort, or fruit or veggies. All the dogs except Monty like fruit and veggies. Monty likes dog food , turkey, corn bread and ice cream. It's almost impossible to get him to try anything new. He does get some veggies in the Boo Stew and he likes those.

At bedtime everyone gets yogurt. Bentley was my yogurt expert and he decided that strawberry was the best flavor, so that's what we still use. I buy the thicker children's style because it's less messy. Everyone gets in line and we feed each a spoonful until it's gone. Everyone is good about waiting their turn. It only takes a newcomer a couple days to learn the system.

The pups are ready.

The last one gets to lick out the cup.

Then it's the big dog's turn.

After yogurt they all go outside for 'last call'. Then everyone gets a cookie and it's lights out.

Mom and Dad = Samba and Fudge

Friday, May 23, 2008

Family and Friends

I love frogs and toads. I have a huge collection of frogs and toads in glass, ceramic, wood, wax, metal, fabric, etc. Every Christmas and birthday I receive frogs and toads. We even have live frogs and toads living in the yard. When we had a pond, we stocked it with bullfrog tadpoles each year and a few of them stayed. We're building a pond here and hope to hear more frog music in the evenings.

We have lots of animal friends that should be introduced, so here are some of them.

This lovely lady is Grace, one of our pups that now is the little sister of Splash. They live near a lake and Grace has recently started swimming. She is a true water dog.

Here are Splash and Grace. Obviously, Splash is quite bored with the photo session.

I love this picture. These are my Sister-In-Law, Michele's, dogs. The tall one is Bo and the short one is Mya. They're waiting for dinner to be served.

This is the front of Bo. He's a ten year old German Shepherd/ Golden Retriever mix and is a wonderful gentle dog. He's named Bo because my brother's favorite baseball team is Boston.

This is Bo's baby picture. The cat is Cali, who is no longer with us.

This is the front of Mya. She's a one year old Miniature Pinscher.

Here are Elmo and Emma. They belong to my niece, Ann Marie.

This is Elmo as a baby.

Here are Winston and Rusty on vacation in Myrtle Beach. That sea air really tires a dog out. Winston is the dog we fostered. These two dynamos live with my Aunt here in Missouri.

Before Winston came into their lives, my Aunt and Uncle had this fellow, Looker. This picture was taken shortly before his death. He had a long and happy life.

This pretty little girl was a drop off. Rob and I found her and I called her Spot. We wanted to keep her, but we were at our three dog limit, so my cousin adopted her and called her Cookie. She is a Pit Bull and also one of the most loving, cuddly dogs you'll ever meet. She loves to sit next to a person and rest her head in their lap. There just can't be enough petting to satisfy her.

This is Maxine, my Uncle's dog. She lives in the country in Central New York and spends her winters in Myrtle Beach.

Here are Ellie and Dylan. Dylan has died since this picture was taken, but Ellie still lives with my friend Sue.

This is Ali. He also lived with Sue, but has died since this photo.

These two are Brody and Callie. Their human Mom is the friend that helped deliver our pups. She used to live across the street, but has since moved to another town. Callie was a rescue from a puppy mill and is terribly shy. She is a truly sweet girl. Brody is currently attending obedience school and we are going to his graduation, tomorrow.

Spooky is a Japanese Chin. He lives directly across the street from us and is a fierce defender of his property. He and Lucy have an interesting relationship. They seem to be attracted to each other because they're the same size, but they are each very territorial.

This is Ashes. She lives with Spooky. Ashes is getting quite old and likes to just relax on the deck.

This is Gabriele. She lives with an old friend of Rob's in Long Island.

Not all our friends are dogs and cats.

This is Lizzie. She is an Alpine Goat and is a Champion many times over. My Aunt raises dairy goats and shows them around the State. Lizzie is very smart and very sneaky. She can open almost any pen and let herself out.

These are some of the kids. I'm not really sure which ones these are. Little goats are so cute. I love to bottle feed the babies.

I don't know this fellow's name. I liked his beard and he was very friendly. He really liked having his head scratched and his neck stroked.

This is Oscar. He used to visit my Sister every day and beg for food. My Sister isn't really an animal person, but she couldn't resist Oscar and started feeding him. That only caused Oscar to come around more often.

This is a picture of Cheep Cheep, the robin we raised. His story is in the post on our feathered friends.

This little guy was raiding the bird feeder when it started to rain, so he took refuge under the bird bath on the deck. We have a number of squirrels living in the nearby trees. They provide the dogs with endless entertainment.

These are a couple of our backyard toads.

Senator Ted Kennedy has been in the news recently. We don't know him personally, but he has a couple of Portuguese Water Dogs, Splash and Sunny. A couple years ago the Senator wrote a book featuring his dog Splash. My Samba sent Splash an e-mail congratulating him on the publication of the book and received a very nice e-mail in return. The Senator donated the proceeds from the book to the Portuguese Water Dog Foundation which does research on the health issues of the PWD. We thank him for his generosity. The Foundation has greatly improved the lives of our breed.

Our thoughts and good wishes go out to Senator Kennedy in his battle against cancer.

One of our garden frogs.