Thursday, January 30, 2014

Oh No, Not The Kid's Table!

I was the first grandchild in my family and my Mom and I lived with her parents. I grew up eating at the dinner table with the adults. I was used to eating whatever they ate and listening to the adult conversations. Then my aunt started a family and suddenly when they visited or on holidays I found myself parked at the 'kid's table' with my cousins. We sometimes ate at a different time than the adults, sometimes ate different food and the conversation was lousy. I hated the kid's table.
For the past year, since Sydney and Mackey have lived with us, Rob feeds the two little girls in the kitchen while I take the older dogs to the garage for their meals. At bedtime Rob gives the little ones their yogurt and again I take the others to the garage. After yogurt the big dogs go into the back yard for their last call and Rob takes the little girls into the front yard on leash.
About six months ago we started keeping Morgan upstairs for last call. By that time at night she was tired and stairs were becoming harder for her to negotiate. Also she was getting lost in the back yard and I'd have to take a flashlight and go looking for her. I didn't enjoy climbing the hill in the dark so letting her eat with the little girls and wander in the front yard seemed like a good solution.
Rob and I were pleased with the situation, but Morgan was NOT. Morgan does not want to be at the kid's table. She feels that she's entitled to gather with the big dogs and doesn't want any part of those noisy little ones. When she saw me start toward the stairs, she'd make a run for them. I'd try to head her off and coax her back to the kitchen, but she was not happy about it. So I let her go to the garage with us  to have her yogurt. Then I leashed her up and wandered around in the dark till she was ready to go back in.
Now, suddenly, Sydney has decided that she doesn't want to eat at the kid's table either. When Rob puts her bowl on her mat, she sits down and stares at it, then walks away. After two days of refusing her meals, I tried feeding her in the garage with the big dogs and she happily cleans her bowl.
So now Mac is eating by herself in the kitchen while Morgan and big girl Syd accompany me to the garage. How long before Mac decides that she's a big dog, too?
Who wants to sit at the kid's table?


Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Hello Kitty

No, not this one.
This is a tale about two very naughty little spotty hound dogs who think they need to rid the neighborhood of squirrels, rabbits and cats. Over the summer Syd and Mac learned to watch for rabbits whenever we took them outside. They liked to pull and try to go meet the rabbits, but since the rabbits usually sat very still and didn't run, they could be convinced to walk in the opposite direction with just glances over their shoulders to watch the bunnies eat.
Then the girls discovered squirrels and everything changed. Squirrels run when they see the girls and the girls give chase screeching their excitement for the world to hear. Sydney has an extraordinarily high pitched voice and the moment she catches sight of a squirrel she uses it. Both dogs try to run after the fleeing squirrels even on leash and our shoulders have suffered from the pulling.
Now things have escalated. For several years there has been a mangy grey cat hanging around the neighborhood often sleeping in our hedge. I'm sure he also lives on birds in the hedge when he's not raiding trash cans. He's a mean old cat with no tail, half an ear missing and only one eye. He's been in plenty of fights over the years. My bigger dogs know enough to leave him alone as he'll hiss and swat at them, but the girls want to get him.
This cold winter he has company in the hedge. There is also a grey tiger cat with white face and paws. He showed up in the late fall and we see him wandering around the yard almost daily. We also hear a lot of yowling and screeching at night.
When the weather turned really cold a couple weeks ago, a black cat showed up. On warmer nights he sleeps on the porch chair and when the temps get low, he also goes into the hedge.
The old grey cat doesn't seem very social and he's taken to sleeping under the porch lately. Problem is that when we take the girls outside, he comes out to watch us. If Syd or Mac sees him, the screeching and pulling starts. So what to do!

This is what we decided to try. The Gentle Leader Head Collar. I bought one last week and tried it on Sydney. It worked immediately. No pulling and much less screeching. Since it worked so well, I bought one today for Mac. It also worked and we can now walk the girls without our arms being wrenched out of the sockets.
These are not muzzles. The dog can pant and drink and eat a cookie. They work by redirecting the dog. It's hard to pull your master down the street when you head is being pulled back toward them. Neither girl  fights the head collar though they obviously aren't crazy about them. These have solved the major problem, but another one remains.

Are all three of these stray cats males? Oh please let them all be males, the last thing I need to deal with is a litter of kittens.

By the way I do like Hello Kitty even if I don't know anything about her except that she's cute.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

The Hardest Month

January has always been a tough month for me. I  suffer  from seasonal depression and though it starts around October, it hits it's peak in January. This year is no different.

First, it's an unlovely time of year around here. A fresh snowfall can be lovely, all soft and sparkly white.
But an old snowfall is plain ugly when it's gray and slushy.
Now that our snow is gone, everything is either brown and ugly when the sun is shining or gray and ugly when it's cloudy. The trees are bare and broken and I try to picture them in bloom, but it isn't easy.

The rush of the holidays is over in January and a long chilly winter stretches ahead. My birthday is coming up fast and though that was an exciting prospect when I was eight years old, it's lost most of it's fun. After 40 birthdays are just an unpleasant reminder of things not accomplished.

Then there are the unhappy dates. My Mom died on January 15, 1998. It's a day that is hard for me because it's also the day I met Rob in 1986. We used to celebrate the day when we were first married but now I have too many mixed memories.

January is a time when I seem to be moving in slow motion. There are things I want to do but don't seem to have the energy to do them. The dogs tend to be underfoot more than usual both because they want to be inside to stay warm and because they sense my mood.
At least January is half over and we're moving toward Spring. If I can manage to push myself along I have lots of fun things to do, so here's to another springtime.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

A Review By Fudge

Mom said I could write a product review so here goes.
Yesterday the big truck man came to our house and handed Mom a box. 
We helped her open it because we know that it came from one of our favorite places.  Chewy sends us food but this time the box was too little to be our food. What could it be?
Look guys, it's a bag of cookies.
Mom said that Chewy wants us to try these cookies and let everyone know what we think about them. OK, I can do that all by myself, but Mom said no, we all had to agree. So, we tested them. Morgan said "they're good".
Noah said, "yeah".

Norma Jean said, "yippee".
Bailey said, "yup".

Sebastian gave his approval.
Tess said, "more please".

Lola said,"right on".

Sydney said, "delish".

Mackey said, "yummy".

I tried them and thought, " salmon and sweet potato cookies with a fine bouquet, what could be better"?

So there you are Chewy, 40 paws up on this one. Thanks for asking us to help you test these wonderful cookies.
Tell your peeps to check them out.
Your pal, Fudge

Friday, January 10, 2014


We faced lots of challenges this week.

It was super cold, the coldest weather we've experienced since living here. Just stepping outside was a challenge.
Keeping ten dogs calm and somewhat happy inside for days on end was a major challenge. They were restless and bored and driving each other and Rob and me both crazy.

Convincing them to make their trips outside quick was a challenge. Sebastian wanted to nap in the wading pool full of ice and snow. Noah and Morgan both had difficulty walking because their feet got so cold. The two little girls didn't like the cold and wanted to pee inside instead of chilling their tootsies.
Today it's been raining hard all day, another challenge.

Perhaps our biggest challenge was what to do about Sydney. As some of you may remember, Sydney has a few problems. She has anxiety attacks where she starts trembling, then she starts to growl and snap at the other dogs. The big dogs seem to ignore her bad behavior, but Mac takes it personally and we've had a couple fights. One of the fights was major and we had to rush Syd to the vet with blood pouring from several bites to her face, neck and legs.
Syd also is not reliably house trained. While Mac comes to tell us if she needs to go outside, Syd will sneak off to find a quiet place to pee in the house if not watched closely. She only occasionally tells us in advance.

While she is mostly a sweet little dog, she needs special care and we considered rehoming her, but instead after several discussions with Dr B, we decided to face the problems head on. About a month ago we started Syd on a drug for anxiety along with the use of a pheremone spray on her collar. Things have calmed down considerably since starting them and the girls can be close to each other without incident in controlled situations.
On Wednesday the vet and I had another talk about Syd's urination habits. She spent last night at the hospital and had tests this morning. We wanted to eliminate any physical problems that might be bothering her. He called me mid morning with his diagnosis. Sydney is "emotionally challenged". She checked out fine physically but doesn't handle stress well and becomes very anxious when stressed.
We don't know what exactly causes her to feel stressed and we may never know. We are going to be sure she knows she has a safe spot that is all hers for when she starts to feel anxious. If her current drug isn't working for her anymore, we have an alternative in mind and we'll continue to work with her on simple obedience. She needs lots of exercise. Hopefully she'll outgrow some of this and learn to deal better with stressful situations.
It's a big challenge for all of us. The other dogs have to learn not to overreact to her. Mac has to learn more self control. Rob and I have to be consistent and be on the same page with her training and Syd has to learn to chill.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Baby, It's Cold Outside

It's too cold!
I actually like winter and I don't mind snow. I grew up with snowy winters. It wasn't unusual to wake up in the morning to a fresh snowfall of three feet or more.  I grew up in Central New York State, both in Syracuse and in Mexico.
Imagine my surprise this morning while sipping my first cup of coffee to see a reporter standing on the street in Mexico, New York discussing the snow and cold.  I think I even glimpsed a shot of my cousin Dorothy's house in the report.
I have a few photos that my cousin Susan took over the past week. She has a cottage on Lake Ontario and that's where some of these are taken.
This one is on the road to the house where I grew up.
Meanwhile back here in Missouri, we're having cold temps as are a lot of you. It's been hard getting the dogs in and out for the last couple days because their feet get so cold they don't want to walk. I can encourage some of them to hurry and come back inside, but Noah and Morgan don't understand. Noah just sits down and cries and Morgan stands still looking pitiful. I've had to wade out and rescue both of them, then rub their feet to warm them up.

 All ten have cabin fever, but the two little girls are driving us all crazy. They want to go out to play and can't seem to find anything to amuse themselves with inside.  I can't wait for the first warm day when I can push them out the door and let them run.

Sunday, January 5, 2014


Wow, has this ever been a crazy week. 

 We had snow, then it got warm and the snow went away. Then it got really cold and windy.
Mom was really working hard trying to keep the little girls quiet and calm inside when it was too cold to go out. She played with them and did some lessons with them and once or twice she locked them in their crates so she could get some other stuff done. Then it got warm again and they could go out to play.

Yesterday was Sebastian's birthday. He's three years old now and we all had cupcakes with red and green frosting and sprinkles. I love sprinkles. When Mom makes cookies she sometimes puts sprinkles on them just for me. Anyway we all got two cupcakes and Sebastian made a birthday wish. Guess what!! His wish came true.
This morning when we went outside there was snow, lots and lots of snow and it's still snowing.
We were all surprised and happy when we got to play. 

Sebastian didn't want to come in. When Mom called him, he did this. Silly boy!
Mom says to enjoy it now because it's going to get too cold for us to play outside pretty soon.  Playing in the snow makes a guy tired, guess I'll go take a nap.
Your pal, Fudge