Monday, August 30, 2010

The Countdown Begins

The night crew left us another gift. When Rob took the dogs out in the morning, Bailey and Lola raced to the side of the yard near the fence and were inspecting something closely. Rob walked over and found a bleached animal skull. he disposed of it before I could get a photo, but said it was bigger than a squirrel, more the size of a raccoon.

This is a stock photo of a raccoon skull. When he said there was a skull, I immediately thought of the squirrel Bailey caught and was sure it was coming back to haunt us. Instead, one of our night visitors must have brought this into the yard with him, then left it behind. The dogs were quite excited. We have woods behind the house, so I'm sure there are plenty of animal bones to be found.

We had pretty nice weather over the weekend. It did pop back into the 90s yesterday and today the humidity is high again. Saturday, however, it was pleasant and the pooches enjoyed running around.

They spent more time outside than they have in weeks and explored all their favorite spots.

Sometimes they all run in different directions.

Check out the flying ear action in this shot.

Everyone got into motion, including Tsar.

Here they must be checking for scents from the night crew.

I called this 'the countdown' because it's post number 496. I've decided to have a giveaway for the 500th post. I haven't completely decided what I'm including in the giveaway, but there will be something for the human and the pet.

Everyone who leaves a comment from now thru the 500th post will get a number. If you leave more than one post, you'll get more than one number. After the 500th post, we'll select the winning number and tell you what the surprise package includes. Have fun!!

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Dream Big !!

During the night a dead branch fell out of the oak tree in the back yard. Of course, everyone had to immediately check it out this morning as if it was some special present left by the night crew that prowls the yard after we're tucked in our beds.

Samba wanted to bring it to me, but her jaw isn't strong enough to drag that much weight up the hill.

Instead, she settled down to enjoy a good chew right where she was.

Morgan, our smallest dog, wasn't willing to leave the branch halfway down the hill and she dragged it up to the top where she could enjoy it in comfort.

She had another smaller stick that she had already started, so she positioned herself on top of the branch so no one else could steal it, and continued chewing her smaller stick. Now she has a good supply of chewing matter for the next few days.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

This and That

I have a rather disjointed post today because we all got a wonderful surprise this morning. I opened the back door to let the pups out and it was cool. Not just not hot, but actually cool. It felt great. It's warmed up a bit, it's now 79 and heading toward 82, but after the weeks of hot, hot, humid days, this feels fabulous.

The dogs have been racing back and forth across the yard all morning using up some of that energy that built up over the days when it was too hot to move. When I came in to post, they all found spots around the room to stretch out and nap.

I want to congratulate my young friend Henry. He set out to collect 40 blankets in 4 weeks for the homeless animals at the shelter. Here he is with the car loaded with blankets and toys for the shelter.

The four weeks are almost over and Henry collected 55 blankets plus bags of toys for the animals. Here's one of the recipients enjoying a comfy warm blanket to nest in. Well done, Henry, you did a really good thing and you should feel proud.

I walked around the yard this morning to see what survived and what couldn't handle the heat. It looks like we may lose a couple of young trees. Even though we gave them extra water, the hot sun burned them badly. We'll have to wait and see if they can come back. The Crepe Myrtle did well despite the heat. This pink one is in the side yard.

The white one, though not as showy as the other, actually grew higher and had more flowers. They both showed some signs of stress, but they'll be OK.

The dark butterfly bush didn't do well, but the lighter one, shown here, has had a lot of visitors all summer. This afternoon it was loaded with butterflies and moths.

From the things knocked over on the deck this morning, I guess we had visitors last night, probably the giant raccoon that prowls the neighborhood after dark. He goes searching for food and we all make sure the trash containers are shut tightly. He's been know to rip open bags looking for treats and he's not very good about cleaning up after himself.

While wandering around I found this feather on the ground. I was attracted by the spot. Isn't it interesting how active the yard becomes at night when we're all safely tucked in? There's a whole community of animals that come out to play. Besides the raccoon, we have an opossum, lots of frogs and toads, deer and probably lots of other creatures, too. Don't forget the skunk!!

Last week Carol showed a display of designer dog houses on her blog. They were part of a fund raiser for a shelter. This one caught my eye and she helped me find someone to send the plans. It looks like a similar doghouse could be in the future for the Porties. I know Tess would love it.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Is Fall Almost Here?

We're in our sixth week of temperatures over ninety degrees, often well over 90, sometimes over 100. In that time we had one cool day of only 88, but the following day shot back up again.

We're all getting tired of the heat and we're getting cross and impatient with everything. That goes for humans and canines alike.

Yesterday, mid day we decided that the dogs needed a special treat. We bought a watermelon. It was a great melon, meaty and very sweet without a single seed. We both tasted it and it was good.

We took their bowls of melon outside. Note the brown crispy grass. Everyone was pretty excited to see what was in the bowls.

There was a lot of barking and jumping and general rowdiness.

Before he could distribute the treats, Rob had to get some order back into the pack.

They started to calm down and sit in anticipation.

He gave them a little talk about manners. I'm sure they were impressed.

When things were relatively calm, he distributed the bowls of watermelon.

It was very cold and sweet and and things got very quiet as everyone got busy enjoying the melon.

Tsar was the only one who wasn't eating. He looked at his and walked away. He just doesn't seem to like melon, but we always give him the option, in case he changes his mind.

Samba, of course, was the first one finished. I swear that dog inhales her food.

Rob still had Tsar's bowl and was handing out pieces to those who were finished.

A line was forming for extras.

They were sitting nicely awaiting their turns.

There weren't going to be any leftovers with this group.

Look how patient they are.

Last piece.

Noah can't believe it's all gone.

They decided to check the bowls again, just in case someone missed a piece.

They finally realized the snack was finished and they headed for the door to get back inside the air conditioning.

Sky thought is was a great snack for a hot day.

Fudge agreed that it was cool and refreshing and he thinks we should do it again soon.

Saturday, August 21, 2010


OK, I have something to say. I didn't post yesterday because I was in a foul mood and it would surely have shown in anything I wrote. If you received an e-mail from me yesterday, I apologize if my mood came thru.

I was doing better today until I read something that set me off again and I'm going to write about it now, get it out of my system and hopefully get back to being my usual cheery, non-controversial self.

I have opinions, as do we all, and I have biases, as do we all. However, I do my homework and lots of research. I don't make outrageous statements based on unfounded rumors. I don't lie and I don't try to frighten someone into agreeing with me.

Why do some people feel it necessary when trying to make a point and convince others to see their point, to make unfounded statements or actual deliberate lies, or to frighten us? I don't like this behavior whether it applies to politics or dog food.

Today it applies to dog food. I know some people swear by feeding their dogs a raw diet. If it works for them, fine. It doesn't work for me and I've heard all the stories about why it's the only healthy way to feed an animal and how I'm killing my dogs by feeding them all sorts of scary things that the dog food companies scrape up off the streets to put in their products.

Now I'm not stupid. I know all dog foods aren't created equal. I know what's in the food I feed my dogs and I know what supplements I give them. So here is what I feed my dogs.

Seven of my dogs eat Science Diet products. The type may differ according to the individual's needs

Three of my dogs eat Blue Buffalo products.

Once a week my dogs each get a Brazil nut shaved on their food. Brazil nuts are the best natural source of selenium.

At least once a week my dogs get fish, usually sardines added to their food.

Their fish source may also be tilapia. They also each get one or two fish oil capsules daily.

Occasionally they get shrimp.

In season they get blueberries daily. If not in season, they get blueberry capsules.

They enjoy snacks of fruit, including apples and melon. Also oranges, strawberries or bananas.

They also snack on veggies rich in beta-carotene such as carrots and sweet potatoes and pumpkin. They also get green beans or peas, especially the dogs on weight control.

I make them a stew of turkey, rice or barley, carrots, green beans, and sweet potatoes. This is spooned over their kibble about once a week.

I am not a veterinarian or a canine dietitian. I discuss my dogs diets and supplements with their veterinarian several times a year. He's the one who suggested the Brazil nuts and blueberries. I read up on canine nutrition and I try to use common sense.

It is my opinion that the raw diet is dangerous. Raw food carries bacteria. A young healthy dog may handle it well, but what if your dog has an immune problem that you might not be aware of. This is especially important to me lately because of Samba's compromised immune system. Consuming certain bacteria, for example salmonella, could make her very sick, or perhaps worse.

Recently The Delta Society, one of the largest organizations of therapy dogs, has stated they will no longer let dogs fed a raw diet work as therapy dogs around hospitals and nursing homes due to cross contamination from the muzzle of the dog to a person with compromised immunity.

There are many articles written by veterinarians available on this subject. Always check with your veterinarian before making a drastic change in your animal's diet.

I see the results in my wave of happy, healthy, active dogs. If you feel you must convince me to change my opinion on feeding my animals, use facts, not nonsense.