Monday, August 31, 2009

The End Of August

This summer has flown by. Here it is the last day of August and I'm looking ahead to what we need to accomplish in the fall.

We've had some nice sunrises, although if Tess decided to sleep in one morning, I really wouldn't complain about not watching the sun come up.

Before I move on to upcoming events, I need to say Happy Birthday to my baby brother, Dan. Today is his birthday and his card is still sitting on my desk. Sorry, I've been so bad lately about getting things out on a timely basis. I need to get more organized.

This is my baby brother with his baby. The baby in white is Dan's first child and my nephew, Eddie. The baby in red is my cousin's first son, Ian. The boys are about a month apart. Dan is the same guy who told me he didn't need to hang around the house to meet my friends new baby. "If you've seen one, you've seen them all" was what he told me as he ran outside to play with his buddies. Fortunately, his ideas changed and matured. He's a great dad and not a bad brother.

The white dove that landed on our deck Saturday has decided to stay. She spends the days on the deck eating or on the roof watching the area. At night she flies off into the trees. We're a little puzzled, but pleased to have her.

Today we had an early morning appointment with Dr B. Morgan had to have her senior exam. They took blood and we'll have an extensive report back tomorrow that will show any changes since the last time. Dr B checked a couple of bumps, but doesn't think they're anything to worry about. We'll watch them for any changes.

Morgan has been chewing on one of her front feet, so he took a look and all four feet are red. He thinks it's most likely an allergic reaction to some grasses or weeds. I'll soak her feet and put some lotion on them. If they're not better by next Monday we'll put her on antibiotics for a week.

Dr B was very pleased with her overall condition. Her weight is perfect and she seems alert and active. A very good report and one that started my day off well.

We went home to play in the yard with the rest of the gang. They're busy helping Rob with the fish pond and getting lots of exercise. They're also a very dirty group.

My knee is healed and this weekend I was able to fit my foot into a shoe for the first time in three weeks. I'm wearing a velcro wrap thingie on the foot and ankle and am able to walk without the crutches. It still swells during the day and the pain grows as the day goes on, but it's much improved.

The dogs wish I still needed to soak it. Rob filled a bucket with cold water and threw in some ice cubes. While I soaked my foot and ankle the dogs all had to come drink out of the bucket and Samba and a couple others stole the ice cubes. Nothing's easy in a household with ten dogs.

Last year I made this pillow and the dog sweater below for the local agility club to auction at their trial. I guess they liked them because they've asked if I'd make something this year. I've just started thinking about what I'll make. Any suggestions out there?

While we were driving this weekend we saw some interesting cloud formations. For a change I had my camera with me and caught a couple.

We've been hoping for rain early in the week because we're taking Lola and Bailey to the lake to swim on Friday. Morgan is going, too. We're hoping she shows the girls how to do it.

Rob even washed the car yesterday trying to bring on some rain.

Our big upcoming event is the Rally trial in October at the fairground. As you know Fudge did well two out of three tries last year, then really messed up on the third day. Well, we're going to try again.

I'm giving my foot one more week to rest, then Fudge and I will start working on our home course in the garage. He remembers it pretty well, but we have to sharpen up on some of the moves. I'm giving him two shots at it this year. Do you think he can manage to use some self control long enough to get that title for us?

Finally, over on Lexis and Bentley's blog, there's a contest for the most earristible ears.

I went thru some pictures last night and this is the one I decided to enter.

My next post will be #300. For someone who didn't have anything to say, I can't seem to shut up. See you then.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

War and Peace

We had a strange morning. While I was getting breakfast this morning Sky found a little doggy toy that had somehow escaped their notice until now. It was a small orange teddy bear that I bought when the pups were little. Because of the size, the pups were able to carry it around and would fall asleep on it and I had put it somewhere safe until today.

Sky declared war on this poor little bear and after pulling most of the stuffing out of it, (it's always amazing to me how much stuffing the Chinese can cram into one of these toys) he proudly presented it to me in this condition. Oh well, it was a dog toy after all.

Our dining room looks out on our porch and side deck and we enjoy watching the birds at the feeders in the morning as we have breakfast. We get a lot of Goldfinches and Cardinals and our regular cleanup crew of Mourning Doves who pick up the seed the other birds drop.

This morning as we enjoyed our second cups of coffee, we were both startled to see a very large white dove strut along the deck railing and look in the window at us.

She was almost twice the size of the Mourning Doves and pure white. I have never seen one in the wild before. The only white doves I've seen were domestic birds kept as pets.

She spent quite a bit of time on the deck, then flew off, but returned so that I could take pictures. While she was gone Rob put some seed out for her and when she returned she seemed pleased to have some lunch.

We don't know where she came from or if we'll ever see her again, but she was a very pleasant visitor this morning.

One of the first pieces of art that Rob and I bought after we were married was a stained glass dove.

This is a large piece that hung in our living room in Maryland and will probably wind up in the new library in this house.

I gave this cloth sculpture dove to Rob for Christmas one year and it will hang in the guest room soon. White doves are special to us and seeing a live one at our own home today brightened the whole day for us.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Dad's Little Helpers

I have my helpers in the kitchen, specifically Samba and Sky who are true chow hounds, but Rob also has helpers, even though he doesn't always value their help the way he should.

Take this week for example. A couple days ago the lawn was getting a little shaggy from all the rain we've had recently, so Rob got out the mower to get the weeds back under control.

The inspection team had to make sure the mower was in good working order before Dad risked life and limb on it. Here the team is starting the check list.

While Sky inspects the controls, Bailey stretches underneath to be sure the undercarriage is in order.

Next, are the tires properly inflated?

Finally a quick check of the seat and steering. The mower passed inspection and the team was able to come inside while Rob mowed. Another good team effort to help Dad in his chores.

Remember this hole? Bailey started this a long time ago and each of the PWDs has taken a turn digging. It's one impressive hole. We thought it was a good idea to let them have this one spot to dig in and perhaps save the rest of the yard from being dug up.

The night before last after the dogs were bedded down, Rob poured a couple bags of top soil into the hole and smoothed it out. Goodbye hole.

Yesterday morning at 5:30 I let the dogs out. The first thing they noticed was that during the night someone had filled in the hole. Knowing that Rob would be devastated by this turn of events, they worked diligently to reopen the hole.

There you have it. The hole has been reopened and the pack was happy that when Dad came out, he wouldn't be upset about that stranger closing the hole. Well, they were partly right, Rob was surprised. I hope he realizes now that the hole is here to stay.

There probably would have been more shared chores but the sky started looking like this and I decided that everyone should come inside.

We got lots of rain so the next time the gang went outside they got to play in the mud again. I give up, let them have dirty feet for a while.

Don't you wish you had such a helpful pack of dogs to give you a hand with your chores?

Thursday, August 27, 2009

The Toy Did It

When we were first married we had a part Lab pup named Pylon who was a terror. She ate half our furniture, stripped the wallpaper off the kitchen wall, regularly raided Rob's gym bag to eat goggles and soap and loved to eat the insides out of shoes and gloves.

Pylon was very difficult to housebreak. She would hide her accidents in dark corners or behind furniture. Rob was very adept at finding these little offerings with his bare feet, which he didn't really enjoy and the more he yelled, the better Py became at hiding her poops.

One morning as I was coming down the stairs to fix breakfast, I passed Py's toy frog on the stairs. I walked by it, then stopped and went back for a second look. Something didn't seem right. I started laughing and called Rob to come take a look. Py had pooped on the stairs and set her toy frog on top of the pile of poop. How could we yell at her when obviously the frog had done it. She got away with that one.

This morning as I was walking thru the garage I noticed that this doggy toy was sitting in a puddle and had obviously had an accident. Since there were no dogs around I didn't know who was at fault, I just laughed and removed the toy. As it turned out Rob was present when this incident took place and the puddle is just water spilled from the drinking bucket, not what it appears to be. One of the dogs did place the toy there, so who says these dogs don't have a sense of humor?

Speaking of toys, aren't these cute? They're the Beanie version of BoObama. I think however, they look just like Gracie, our pup that went to live with J and Splash. We saw these the other day when we were out and about and Rob bought one for me and one for J.

This is the real Gracie. Notice a resemblance to a famous political dog?

As long as I'm on the topic of politics, even though I try to stay clear of politics on this blog, I must mention the death of Ted Kennedy. No matter where you land on the political spectrum or how you feel about the Kennedys, you must admit that Ted Kennedy loved his dogs.

He took them to work with him most days and was often seen on the mall throwing tennis balls for them to chase. He took them sailing and walking on the beach. Believe me, that is a great life for a PWD.

Senator and Mrs. Kennedy were fellow members of the Portuguese Water Dog Club of America and they did much to promote this special breed that I love so much. We in the PWD community will miss Ted for the loving attention he brought to our breed.

A couple years ago Senator Kennedy wrote a book from his dog Splash's point of view. Shortly after it's publication, my Samba began an e-mail correspondence with Splash and I will treasure those emails.

Don't these two look a lot alike? These are Norma Jean and Noah. One postscript to yesterday's blog about names. I like the name Noah, but if you plan to name your dog that, be aware that there is a problem.

When young creatures, human or canine begin to learn the language and how to live with others, one of the first words they must learn is the word 'no'. Without this word there could be all sorts of problems. If a dog or for that matter a child is named Noah, you find yourself saying "No, no, Noah" rather frequently. I discovered that my puppy just thought I spoke with a stutter and had a harder time than his siblings learning the meaning of the word no. It's just something to think about.

Norma Jean loves to give big wet sloppy kisses.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

The Name Game

I've become aware of how most of my dogs manage to grow into their names. Coming up with names for the whole litter was a challenge that I took very seriously. On the blog of our Siberian friends Phantom and Thunder they played the name game and I decided to do the same. It's easy to play along. Tell how you came up with the name of your pet and give any nicknames you call him or her.

When Morgan came to live with us, she had no socialization with people. She had grown up with her litter mates in an outside doghouse and only saw people when they threw down some food for the pups. She didn't like us very well. She was sort of mysterious and looked owlish with a dark mask on her face. I had a very hard time coming up with an appropriate name for her.

At lunch one day Rob and I were making lists of possible names when Rob mentioned that she had a witchy quality and suggested Hazel. I didn't like that but then I thought of Morgan La Fey, the sorceress from the legend of King Arthur. It seemed to fit. We started calling her Morgan. As time went on her occasional clownishness caused us to call her Magoo.

Soon she was Morgan Magoo. The two seem so opposite of each other and yet feel right for this sweet little girl who surprises us over and over again with her strength and determination.

Her nicknames are Magoo and Missy Morgan.

Tsar was originally going to be Gustav, but that just didn't fit at all. This big boy has always had an aloof, above it all attitude. He will only be handled when he chooses and doesn't believe that commands apply to him. He quickly became Tsar because of his Siberian ancestry. He has definitely lived up to his name. Tsar lives life on his own terms.

His only nickname is Tsar Boy.

I spent hours pouring over records of Portuguese Water Dogs trying to find a name for Samba. I knew I would pay tribute to my first PWD, Bentley (Boo), but I needed something that would showcase her energy and enthusiasm for life. When I met her for the first time in the airport in Kansas City, there was no doubt left. After an eight hour flight in a small carrier, she exploded out the door into my arms and was ready to run and play and dance.

She instantly became Boo's Legacy Samba Dancer.

Her nicknames include Dancer, Mamma Samba, Samba Ramba and Samba La Bamba.

With Fudge there was a matter of space. His name had to include his breeder's kennel name, Deerpark and my kennel name Legacy. The AKC at that time only allowed 26 letters in a name so I had to find something short that fit between the two. The fact that he was brown while my other two PWDs were black solved part of the problem. Chocolate fit nicely. He became Deerpark's Chocolate Legacy.

Now, what to call him? I thought of Cocoa, Hershey, Kahlua, Snickers and many others, but none were right for him. Rob asked me what my favorite chocolate was and I immediately answered fudge. That was it. We had our own living, breathing, jumping Fudge.

His nicknames include Fudgie Wudgie, Fudgeroo, Fudgerooney, Spinner and Dufus Dog.

Then the pups were born and I had to come up with eight names. I wanted them to have some connection to Portugal or to water and I succeeded in some cases. Others just named themselves.

Tess was the firstborn. Her name is Legacy's Let Me Count The Ways. It's a line from Sonnets From The Portuguese by Elizabeth Barrett Browning. She has grown into her name.

I think of the name Tess as a delicate creature and even though my Tess is a big strong dog, she seems fragile. She tends to be shy and needs lots of encouragement. She is somewhat silly and scatter-brained. She also has deformities in her legs that cause her to have a comical gait when she walks. She is very sweet and thrives on attention and petting.

Her nicknames are Tessie, Tessa and Tessie Lou.

My grandmother had a lot of little sayings and poems. One was Red sky at night, sailors delight.
Red sky in the morning, sailors take warning. What could be more perfect for a water dog than a name about the sea and sailors. Puppy #2 became Legacy's Red Sky At Night. We called him Sky.
He has become the largest of our dogs, even outweighing Tsar. He's calm and steady and a wonderful family pet. What better traits for a sailor?

His nicknames include Skyber, Sky Boy and Big Foot.

Lola didn't get a Portuguese or a water name. She got a name right out of a Broadway play, Damn Yankees. Her name is Legacy's Whatever Lola Wants. Here are the lyrics.

Whatever Lola wants
Lola gets,
And little man, little Lola wants you.
Make up your mind to have no regrets
Recline yourself, resign yourself, you're through.
I always get what I aim for
And your heart and soul is what I came for.

Whatever Lola wants
Lola gets,
Take off your coat
Don't you know you can't win?
You're no exception to the rule,
I'm irresistible, you fool, give in!

Rob immediately fell under her spell. From the time she was born he would hold her and tell me she was the most beautiful puppy ever born. I guess she was well named.

She is almost always called Lola, although I once in a while call her Curly Girlie.

Bailey became my immediate favorite when she was born. She was almost completely black like her mother and my first PWD. Ebony came to mind at once and Rob suggested Bay to go with it and get back to our water theme. She is Legacy's Ebony Bay. Bailey is our adventurer. She was trying to climb out of the whelping box before her eyes were open and succeeded as soon as they did open. She climbed out of any pen we put her in and can climb a ladder with no trouble. She hunts and follows trails and digs not holes, but trenches in the yard.

She's sometimes called Bay, Hunter or Digger.

Noah isn't the youngest but he's the smallest. He was much smaller than any of the other puppies and still seems more puppyish. He likes to cuddle and he's just so darn cute. He was meant to go live with my best friend, though that didn't work out and I'm glad he's still here. My friend collects Noah's Ark stuff. She has all sorts of Noah's ark things around her home and I've helped her gather her collection over the years.

Shortly before the pups were born she sent me a children's book she had found called Blue and Green Ark by Brian Patten. It's about saving the earth (the blue and green ark adrift in the dark) and the illustrations are beautiful. I chose to name this boy Legacy's Adrift In The Dark and call him Noah. My friend was thrilled with the choice.

Noah is also known as Peanut, Puppy Boy, and Panda Man.

Last but by no means least is Norma Jean. From the time I was three years old and saw one on the street, I wanted an Afghan Hound. I was going to name her Norma Jean in honor of Marilyn Monroe. I never got my Afghan.

When my pups were born, the last one, the big one with the huge white face was a standout. She wanted to be with me constantly and still does. She was dramatic to look at and in her actions, a real actress. I couldn't come up with a name for her. Finally Rob suggested I give her the name I'd been saving for years and I suddenly realized that it fit her perfectly. She even has a little black spot on her face, just like MM. She was Norma Jean.

What about a registered name? Rob solved that one, too. What's everyone's favorite MM movie? She became Legacy's Some Like It Hot. This dog certainly named herself and has lived up to her name. She's bigger than life, funny, sweet and silly.

Her nicknames include NJ, Jumping Bean and Beauty Queen. I don't have to call her at all. If she sees me, she runs to my side and doesn't leave. I also call her My Girl.

My dogs have grown into their names and I'm pleased with all of them. Naming someone is a big responsibility and I think we did pretty well.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009


Even though summer still has several weeks left on the calendar, it's beginning to feel like fall. The days are still hot, but the evenings are cooling down. The trees, while not exactly changing color yet, are beginning to appear a different shade of green.

This is always a difficult time of year for me. I tend to feel my own personal cloud hanging over me as I go about my day. I know it's coming and do my best to fight it, but my seasonal depression starts moving in about now.

I've been thinking about change lately. It's common to hear people say " No one likes change". But, that's not really true, is it? Those of us who aren't making the change or are having a change forced on us don't like it, but the person making the change often does.

When I was younger and single I believed in shaking my life up by making a change. Once I changed my hair drastically. It had been down well below my shoulders and I had it cut so short that it was about 3/4" long. It did cause some change in my life and I loved it, but some of my family and friends didn't like it at all.

At one point in my life I suddenly gave up a good job that I had been at for a long time, broke the lease on my comfortable apartment and moved out of state away from family and friends. I enjoyed the planning, the excitement and the new experiences, but I left behind a lot of people who weren't so pleased. They came around eventually.

At another point in my life I started to travel a lot and see new places and ways of life. Then I met Rob and in a very short time we decided to join our lives and again there were those who didn't accept the change well. I remember being very disappointed in one of my best friends, who when I told her I was getting married and moving away, instead of being happy for me, asked " What about us?".

Now I'm in one of those change periods not of my own making. The country at large seems to be going thru changes that are making a lot of people nervous and in my own life there are several people who I've grown accustomed to seeing regularly that are moving on to different experiences.

It makes me sad to say goodbye and see them leave. It makes me worry about who will be there to fill in for them and how will I feel about that person? It makes me worry about what effect it may have on my life or that of my family. It leaves me with an uneasy feeling about the future.

I'm trying to remind myself that those who are making the changes are probably feeling excited and looking forward to the changes in their lives. I'm trying to remember to be positive when I talk with them and not to push my own feelings onto them. I'm trying to remember that I met them thru similar changes and it worked out well for me then and it can do so again.

In this difficult time of year when everything is changing, it's not always easy to accept what's going on around us. I am going to concentrate on getting Fudge ready for his Rally trial and try to get Sky ready for CGC. I am going to get to work on some of the projects I've been putting off and perhaps now would be a good time to start learning something new to keep myself busy. How do you deal with unwelcome change?