Sunday, November 30, 2008

Snow Day

We had our first snow today. We've had flurries in the air a couple of times, but today we had snow that stuck to the ground. It was only a covering, but for the dogs that was enough. Samba, Fudge and the pups raced around like crazy dogs and licked the snow from every flat surface they could find. They chased each other and even rolled in it.

Morgan strolled around licking the white stuff up now and then. Tsar lives for days like this. He did not want to come inside. He ran and tossed a stick in the air and chased the pups and the only way we could get him in was to offer him a ride in the car.

Then there was Monty. Monty hates rain and snow. His first winter when he was almost a year old, he decided that he would not walk in snow, he would just hold it till the snow was gone. We had a pretty heavy snowfall that year and Monty refused to go outside for two days. Finally, he was so uncomfortable that Rob shoveled a patch on the front lawn so that Monty didn't have to get his feet wet. What a relief !!

We have since that time come to a compromise. Monty goes out first thing in the morning just long enough to take care of his needs, then he stays inside, warm and dry until just before bed, when he runs outside again.

Here is how Monty spent the day. No cold, wet feet for this boy.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

We're Thankful

Happy Thanksgiving Day. At out house we're all thankful for many things.

Monty is thankful that he has a soft bed to nap on and a closet to hide in during thunder storms.

Morgan is thankful that her people take her everywhere with them and make sure she's safe from the monsters that live in her head, for chew toys and cookies.

Tsar is thankful for his big back yard where he can hunt moles and mice, and for the cool basement where he can sleep all through the hot summer.

Samba is thankful for all the food she gets served or can steal, and that she doesn't ever have to have any more puppies.

Fudge is thankful that he gets to act goofy at dog shows and doesn't get punished for it, and for his private dog house in the bedroom that he sleeps in each night.

Tess is thankful that her people rub her tummy any time she asks and that she can run around the yard barking and nobody gets mad.

Sky is thankful for his two best friends, his dad Fudge, and his brother Noah, and that he gets to sleep in the bedroom with the big dogs.

Bailey (left) is thankful for the rock pile in the yard where she spends all her time hunting. Lola (right) is thankful she doesn't have to go to obedience class anymore. That was hard work.

Noah is thankful that he's so cute that everyone makes a fuss over him and that he has big brother Sky to protect him.

Norma Jean is thankful that she's my dog and I play with her all the time.

I'm thankful that I have eleven happy, healthy dogs and a big, safe yard for them to play in.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Running Late

I should have finished this little blanket on Saturday, but my injured finger slowed me down. The main problem was the yarn kept getting caught on the velcro fasteners of the splint. I'd have to put everything down and unsnag it, then start again. But it's done.

I'm going to make four more, then deliver them to C.A.R.E. It's a good way to use up little bits of yarn left over from other projects. I can never just throw them out, so there are all these tiny little balls of yarn waiting for the right use to come along.

We visited with some friends who used to live across the street from us. Morgan went along, as usual, and enjoyed visiting with their dog, Callie. The girls are both shy and at first just sat and watched each other, but then they shared some chew toys and seemed to hit it off.

I have received this award from Soulbrush. It says my blog is fun and refreshing, like a cool glass of lemonade. Thank you, Joss.

I'm looking into making a blog book. Have any of you done this? I thought it would be fun to have the books made up at the end of each year. Then it really would be like a journal. If anyone has done it and has suggestions, please e-mail me.

This is my 100th posting. When Nicki suggested I start blogging I resisted for a long time. I couldn't imagine that anyone would be interested in what I had to say. Actually, I still can't, but I am enjoying my blogging activity. I've met some amazingly talented and generous women and feel much less lonely. Thank you to everyone who has taken the time to read my silly posts and a special thanks to those who have left comments. You've been very supportive and I appreciate it greatly.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Hazardous Duty

Having a tribe of Portuguese Water Dogs can be hazardous to your health. I spent most of the afternoon in the doctor's office. It seems I sprained my ankle leading the pack to the door. I was looking over my shoulder to make sure they were all heading in the right direction and twisted the ankle.I did this at the time of the obedience trial and didn't seek medical help until now.

This is just an ace bandage that I'll need to wear when I'm on my feet a lot, such as dog walking.

For the next injury I must give credit to Norma Jean. She loves me. When I walk into the yard where she's playing with the other dogs, she leaves them and comes racing toward me. About four feet away she becomes airborne, aiming directly at me at chest height. Someone told me to walk toward her to throw her off balance. Try throwing Norma Jean off balance when she's in the air coming at you like a missile.

I did the worst thing. I put my hand out to protect myself and she hit my pinkie finger. It's now swollen, painful and leaning at a strange angle. It's broken.

I learned that they don't do much of anything if you break your pinkie finger except put it in a splint. I can still knit, sew, blog and wrap Christmas gifts, just slower than usual and with a bit more pain.

This is Norma Jean. Doesn't she look repentant? Don't believe it for a minute. I'm sure tomorrow she'll fly through the air again. I'll turn my back next time. Maybe I can get her to hit my finger again from the other side and knock it back into position.

We Interrupt This Project

Gaylen has issued a challenge. She has been making dog beds for shelter dogs and has posted a tutorial for the rest of us. Chan has joined in.

For those without a sewing machine or whose sewing skills are rusty, shelter dogs and cats also enjoy knit or crochet blankets that they can nest in.

Here is a dog blanket that I started last night. I usually use seed stitch to give them some extra body and softness. Use any color, a good way to use up those skeins that looked good at the time, but turned out to be ghastly when you got them home. Make any size blanket, dogs come in all sizes. This one is 88 stitches.

Everyone has a shelter somewhere nearby. Pick up a bag of biscuits and drop them off with your finished beds or blankets. It will make the season merry for some animals that have a bleak life.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

The Enforcer

Monty is our 'Enforcer'. He's a big boy at 85 pounds and can be frightening if he's barking at the front door, but he's actually a pussycat. Monty was terribly abused as a young puppy and still lives with the scars, both physical and emotional. He has nerve damage in his face from the severe beatings he endured and his refusal to chew makes me think his jaw was injured, too.

Monty is afraid of people, especially men, and tries to keep them at bay by acting tough. It works. Most people are afraid of him and it takes a very special individual to have the patience to make friends with him.

Monty lives by a very strict set of rules and thinks everyone else should, too. He tells the other dogs what not to do, where to lie down, when to drink. He doesn't like any of them, except Morgan, to invade his space and tells them so with a low growl.

Puppies are another story. Monty loves puppies. He lies on the floor and lets them climb all over him. They can tug his ears and chew his feet and he never gets rough with them. He has played gently with each of the pups we've brought into the house, but when he met Samba's babies, he just knew they must be his.

He spent hours sitting by their pen in the kitchen, watching them. He wouldn't let any of the other dogs, except Samba, near them. He was in heaven when we let them out of the pen to run around. Anyone who doesn't know Monty would be amazed at how gentle he can be.

Monty guards everything. Being a Chow/Doberman mix, his instincts are to guard. He guards toys and objects, but he also guards the other dogs. When Lucy was alive, Monty was very jealous of her and tried to push her away if she was getting petted, but if one of the other dogs got too close to Lucy or was too rough with her, Monty got between them.

At night Monty sleeps on the floor next to my side of the bed. He is guarding me, and the other dogs have to get past him to bother me.

I hate to see the gray in his muzzle and think about Monty being ten years old on his next birthday. I wish that he could relax and enjoy life a little more without always being on duty, but he takes his job very seriously.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Baby, It's Cold Outside

I have been very busy knitting. I have some problems with my hands and can only knit for a while before they start to bother me, so I make the most of it while they're feeling OK. I've had surgery for carpal tunnel on both wrists, and surgery for tendinitis on my right hand. I have broken my left wrist twice, most recently two years ago, and now have tendinitis in that wrist. I know when they start to ache and swell that it's time to put the needles away and begin a different type of project, but for now they're working and so I'm knitting as fast as I can.

This is a wrap around sweater jacket that I made for myself. I need to find a nice suede belt to wear with it. Rob isn't home to take a photo of it on, so the chair is modeling it.

A number of years ago, when I was living in Central New York, I left my apartment one Sunday afternoon to go to a hockey game. It was a frigid, windy day with ice on the ground and snow in the air. I wouldn't have left the warmth of home that day for anything but hockey.

I took a bus across town and about two blocks from the arena, a little boy boarded the bus. He was about nine years old, thin and messy looking. He wore shoes that were too big, jeans and a tee shirt and an adult's suit jacket with the sleeves cut down. He was carrying a shoeshine box and had been working on the street corner all morning. He didn't have the correct change for the bus, so I paid his fare.

I enjoyed the game, which our team won, but I couldn't get that little boy out of my mind. I still can't. I went home afterwards and got out my knitting needles. I started making hats and mittens and when I had a pile, I donated them to charity. Every year since then I've made hats, mittens, baby blankets etc. for charity.

Here is some of my recent work waiting to be delivered.

A stack of baby blankets.

If I have enough yarn, I'll make hats, bootees and sweaters to match.

Here are some of the hats I've made this year. Rob will be taking them in the next couple weeks to the center that gives them out.

I try to make them for kids of all sizes, from babies to teens.

For the bigger kids I make each hat different and try to use colors and trims that will appeal to kids, while still making them warm.

Hats are fun to make, because they go together so fast. I can make one or sometimes two in an evening.

I like to use beads and bells. I try to think what I would like when I was a kid.

I feel that all kids should have warm winter clothes, no matter how poor the family. And all new babies should have something new, a blanket or sweater. I can't help all the cold, hungry kids, but I can do something and that's better than nothing.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Let's Get It Over With

Last week I started my spring cleaning. I realize it's not spring, but I'm a little behind on my housework. I figure this is 'Spring Housecleaning 2004'. I could continue to put it off until sarcastic little comments began to emerge in my spouse's conversation, but I decided to beat him to it. I started last week while he was out of town.

The dogs, with the exception of Tsar, find this activity fascinating. They follow me from room to room, poking their noses into whatever I am carrying and like to offer their help at times.

Morgan likes to help with windows. After spending way too much time and effort scraping dog spit off the windows and rubbing them till they're spotless, I see Morgan following behind me licking the clean windows. Thanks, Morgan.

All the dogs enjoy watching me lie down on my stomach to reach under the bed and retrieve the toys they've lost under there. As each ball or bone comes out, they act like it's a party, being reunited with their old favorite toy they thought was lost forever.

When I've had enough doggy assistance for a while, I plug in the vacuum cleaner. Samba and Morgan don't mind it and hang around with me, but the others all find hiding places.

I'm trying to do a complete cleanup this time, moving sofas and cleaning dressers and closets. I want the results to last as long as possible.

I know I've mentioned in the past how I hate housework, but I really do hate housework. It's boring and it doesn't last. As soon as I'm finished, possibly even before I'm finished, it all needs to be done again.

One of the saddest parts is when Rob gets home, he won't mention what I've done, but he's sure to point out something I've missed.

There are much nicer ways to spend time, such as blogging or reading or knitting.

Certainly sharing a pot of tea with a friend would be nicer.

Friday, November 14, 2008

More Birthdays

We have two more birthdays to celebrate today. That fancy box of cookies I bought over the weekend will be our special treat.

Tsar is seven years old today. He started out as such a terror, we didn't know if we could handle him, but he's turned into a sweet, calm dog that makes few demands. He's totally trustworthy and mostly quiet.

He loves the cool weather, doesn't mind rain and lives for snow. He begs to ride in the car and is very well behaved while traveling.

Tsar has so much hair that he really feels the heat. He chooses to sleep in the hallway near the front door. The floor is tiled there and cooler for him. In warm weather he only wants to go outside in the early morning, after dinner, and before bed. The rest of the time he sleeps in the basement where he feels cool. He soundlessly appears for cookies now and then.

If Tsar wakes me at night, which has happened only a handful of times, it means it's an emergency and I'd better get him out quickly.

Morgan is nine years old today. She's the sweetest little dog anyone could want. She is very shy and afraid of loud noises, but she wants to go everywhere we go, and if the conditions are right, we take her.

Morgan has several medical problems and we are trying to adapt to them to make her life easier. As I've mentioned before, she has obsessive-compulsive disorder. She has liver disease and starting last spring she has some mental disorder that we're still trying to figure out.

By trial and error we've learned how to live with Morgan's various problems. She's worth it. It would be hard to find a more loving animal.

Morgan has learned to like riding in the car and is well behaved while riding. She used to be a tireless retriever before her most recent illness. She enjoys playing in the water, but her favorite activity is curling up next to her human for a nap.

Morgan and Tsar are both 'throwaway' dogs. The people who owned their mothers, didn't care enough to prevent an unwanted litter. Once the pups arrived, in Morgan's case the humans paid no attention to them until they decided to drop them at the shelter. Tsar and his litter mates were well fed and clean, but also turned over to a shelter. The humans didn't care enough to remember their actual birthdays.We counted backwards and came to this date for them.

There are way too many 'throwaway' dogs. Though humans think of ourselves as superior, until we begin to care about and care for the other animals we share the planet with, we have no right to use the term.

Here are my 'throwaway' dogs when we took them in. How can anyone abuse or neglect these babies?

Happy Birthday Morgan and Tsar. You are much loved.