Monday, June 30, 2014

To Anonymous

Signed anonymous.

We in Blogville are all familiar with the comments, often mean and insulting left by individuals who won't sign their names. The internet is crawling with these trolls who think they're clever and so amusing.

If your comment is so witty, why won't you sign your name to it?

There are lots and lots of blogs on line. Some I don't agree with or find distasteful and so I don't read them. There are plenty of others to choose from. Sometimes the bloggers I like present an opinion I disagree with. I don't feel I have to leave a nasty comment in response. When I do comment, my name appears beneath it.

If you have something of value to say, then have the courage to sign your name and don't hide behind the word anonymous. If not, just slink back to the swamp with the rest of the trolls.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Unhappy Holiday

When I was a kid we lived in a small village in Central New York. On the 4th of July there was a big parade on Main Street and just about everyone in town, who wasn't marching, lined the streets to watch. Then we all had cookouts and get-togethers with friends. At night many of us drove to the lake where there was a public fireworks display. It was great fun and we all looked forward to the holiday.

When I lived in Myrtle Beach I could watch the public fireworks display from a friends apartment balcony as we sipped wine and prepared for the crush of tourists invading our sleepy city. It was fun.

When Rob and I were first married we went to the public fireworks displays, first in Pennsylvania and later in Maryland. I remember lying on the hood of the car and watching the sky. It was fun till one year in Maryland one of the rockets went astray and set the roof of a nearby building on fire. The show was stopped but we were all stuck there as emergency vehicles descended on us. The traffic jam getting out was awful. It really ruined the event for us and we haven't been back to a live fireworks display since. We do watch them on TV out in Boston Harbour.

Now however, the holiday isn't so much fun anymore. In fact, I dread it each year. Around here people shoot off fireworks in their yards and driveways and  the streets and other people's property, wherever they happen to be, with no regard to anyone else. Often the ones playing with the gun powder and fire combo are children, sometimes unsupervised, or adults who have been drinking.

The dangerous and noisy event isn't confined to the 4th, it starts about a week ahead and goes on for a week or two after. Every evening brings loud booms that startle adults, to say nothing of babies or animals.

My dogs are on edge starting with the first booms which started about three days ago around here and even after the fireworks have run out and the nights are quiet once again, it will take weeks and in Mac's case months to relax at night.

Morgan used to be terrified of the noise but with her hearing loss, she isn't quite as bad as previous years. She still picks up on the anxiety of the others and paces and whines.  Noah runs to the door barking at every boom.
Sebastian came to us on the 4th in 2012 and may have been a runaway trying to escape the noise. He runs around barking when the noise begins outside.
Mac is the worst case. She is terrified and doesn't want to go outside once it gets dark. She refuses to eat or even take a treat. She just sits close beside one of us, trembling. During the night she must dream about the scary sky and whimpers in her sleep. Last year it took us about three months to convince her it was safe to go outside after dark, and now here we are again.
I still like fireworks when done in a safe place by people who are trained and know what they're doing, though I know even then things can go wrong. But now the holiday is no longer fun and I can't look forward to it. I'm tired of hearing about your freedom to do stupid things. Why does it trump my freedom to have a safe, peaceful and enjoyable holiday?

Friday, June 27, 2014

What's With The Chickens?

Are you all hooked on the Chicken Fat song? The ads began during the Stanley Cup games and that tune got into my head and won't leave. Now we see the ad several times a day, reinforcing the tune in my mind. The dogs even recognize it now as I sing it to them most evenings on our final outing.
The song is titled "The Youth Fitness Song" and was written for President John F Kennedy's fitness program in public schools. It was written by Meredith Wilson, who wrote The Music Man, and originally sung by Robert Preston. Though I was in public school in the 60's, I don't remember the song.

Now, even though it won't go away, it's much better than most of the commercials on TV these days, so I just sing along.

Speaking of chickens, remember these chicks with sticks?
Recently my best friend celebrated a birthday and I made this pillow for her.
I'm really not that into chickens, but lately they seem to be everywhere. I'm even thinking of stitching another chicken themed piece.

Please, somebody, get me away from all these chickens.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Rough Road To A Happy Ending

Good customer service is one of life's little joys. Bad customer service can truly ruin a day or week or longer. This is a tale of the difference customer service can make.

Several weeks ago I was watching a hockey game on TV and Sebastian was lying next to me on the sofa. I was rubbing his ears and I noticed that his collar looked worn. He likes to roll in the dirt and his collar showed it.
I had my Kindle handy and pulled up my favorite store for everything, Amazon. When I looked at dog collars, one of the first to pop up was a Boston Bruins collar. It seemed appropriate at the time and I scrolled thru the various selections. One of the offerings was a collar, leash and ID tag set. The price was right and so I ordered it. The seller was not Amazon but one of their third party sellers, Yogis Pet Store.

My first clue that something was wrong was when the email from the seller said I could expect the set in a month. I should have cancelled the purchase then and there, but my team had won the hockey game and I was in a good mood.
It didn't take a month to get worse. About ten days after I placed the order, an envelope arrived in the mail. When I opened it I found the Bruins collar, no leash, no tag, no explanation. I immediately emailed the seller and was told they would check into it. Three days later I emailed them again was told they were checking with the warehouse. They stalled me this way for another week.

I finally asked for the  customer service person and asked when I would be getting the leash and tag. She told me that they didn't have the leash and tag. She said they copied the description on Amazon from another source and they couldn't get the leash or tag. I responded that I had ordered the set and if I couldn't get it, I wanted a refund. That's when the customer service person told me that I was aggravating her. That's when I lost it and told her what I thought of her company.

Fortunately Amazon was keeping copies of all these emails back and forth and helped me get my refund. No Bruins collar for Sebastian.

After a while I cooled down but Sebastian still needed a collar. Syd and Mac both needed new collars, too, so I started looking again.

Today our three new collars arrived. I ordered them last Saturday and have received two very nice emails from the seller. The collars are lovely.  Sebastian found us on the Fourth of July, so I chose a patriotic one for him.
I couldn't believe how happy he was when I showed it to him. He sniffed and licked it and when we put it on him, he bounced around the room.
Mac is very hard on her collars. She's on her third and you can see the stitching is torn and the thing is coming apart.
Mac loves treats and steals them whenever possible, so I bought her one with lots of bones on it.
She wasn't too sure about it at first but I'm sure she'll soon adjust to it. It's wider then her puppy collars.
I considered one with crabs on it for Sydney because she's often crabby, but instead I went with pretty stars. Maybe she'll become less crabby. She's out playing today so she'll get hers this evening when she comes inside.
The three collars came from an Etsy shop called DogCollarsEtc and they were wrapped in tissue and tied with a satin ribbon.
The service has been wonderful and I am pleased with my purchase. It's exactly what I ordered.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Syd Has A New Friend

Mac and Syd may be litter mates and may look alike, but they have very different personalities. Mac can get in trouble and she likes to play but she has become a good little inside dog. She follows Rob everywhere and likes to sleep wrapped around his head. She can be trusted in the house when we run out to the store and is only crated at night or when we plan to be gone for an extended time.
Syd, on the other hand, wants to be outside most of the time. She loves to watch for squirrels and tries to coax them to come out of the trees and play. No luck with that so far. She loves to dig and has Rob muttering to himself about all the new holes in the yard each day.
She runs with the other dogs  and she and Tess have a good relationship. They run together and lie down next to each other to chew on sticks. They chase balls together and if Syd gets too excited, Tess will have a talk with her and can calm her.
Sebastian will also play with Syd occasionally, though he seems to prefer playing with Mac. The other dogs don't have much to do with Syd, who can be snappy with them. Norma Jean seems to think Syd is a living bowling pin and runs at her and sends her rolling over whenever she gets the chance. Syd doesn't seem to mind. Syd and Mac don't get along well and have to be closely supervised whenever they're together

Sydney lives a somewhat solitary life. She races outside first thing each morning in good weather. She comes into the garage to eat but wants to go right back out. We bring her in at dusk and she's usually tired and snoozes on the couch till bedtime. 
She sleeps in a chair in the bedroom and is awake at first light, ready to head out again.
She loves to hunt and follows trails around the yard left by the night creatures that visit. One day she actually caught a rabbit. Rob was able to get it from her by exchanging it for some treats. The bunny was alive and Rob put him outside the fence in the wooded area. Most animals stay out of the yard when Syd is on patrol.
Imagine my surprise last night when I went to let Syd in for the evening to find her sitting beside the steps with a friend beside her. It was a toad.
When I opened the door, she came to me, but then ran back. I guess she was inviting the toad to come in with her, but he declined the invitation. She came in but looked back a couple times to see if he had changed his mind. I went back about an hour later and Mr Toad was gone. This morning she looked for him first thing but she'll probably have to wait till later to see him again.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Why We Do It

I know I'm preaching to the choir here, but bear with me. There is a great organization called 'Partners For Healthy Pets'. They offer great advice and you can find them here. They want everyone to know that annual checkups are vitally important for our pets. In fact they say that annual checkups are as essential as food and love. I was contacted by them and they asked me to remind all of you to get your pets checked by your veterinarian.
We take all our dogs to the vet whenever a problem arises, but we also do a regular annual check up even if we don't have a complaint at the time. Morgan and Fudge get checked every six months because of their senior status.

You might wonder why we go for an annual checkup when it seems like we're at the vet's office every week for something, but consider these events.

At our annual checkup which always includes a geriatric blood test for everyone, even those who aren't yet seniors, we discovered that Sebastian had pancreatitis which could be life threatening without treatment.
Last month when everyone saw Dr B, we discovered that Bailey needed treatment for her thyroid.
We found a skin cancer on Fudge that was safely removed and he's now cancer free.
We discovered that Morgan wasn't just fading away from old age, she had an extremely low thyroid level that was causing many problems for her. Now, with treatment, she's alert and active and getting into trouble again. Don't count her out yet.
Without our annual checkups we could have lost these dogs too soon and they could have suffered greatly. Now with appropriate care each of them can live happy, healthy lives.

If your pet hasn't seen the vet recently, make an appointment soon. It could give you many happy healthy years together.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Sweet Dreams

Sorry I've been AWOL lately. We have had a ton of rain over the past three weeks. We've only seen the sun now and then. I'm allergic to a mold spore in rain and my allergies have been having a great time with my system.  I have a very sore throat, lots of sneezing and itchy eyes. To try and regain control I've been downing antihistamines and if I sit still for more than two minutes I fall asleep. Trying to think straight enough to post a blog is almost impossible. Today the sun is out, though the temps are over 90, so I'm trying to catch up.

Yesterday Morgan paid a visit to Dr B. It was time for a recheck on her thyroid. She's been taking Soloxin for about 40 days and we want to see if she needs an adjustment. She's doing well and is much more alert and active than before she started treatment but she's lost several pounds and she really didn't need to, so we'll have to watch her weigh and offer more treats.  Don't you wish your doctor would suggest more treats?
There was one thing I needed to discuss with Dr B. Morgan has started have nightmares. All my dogs dream, I can tell from their movements and little sounds they make when they sleep. A couple have had bad dreams. Pylon was thrown from a car when she was about eight weeks old and never got over the fear. She would hide if she thought we were taking her for a ride and she always needed medication for car sickness. All her life, almost every night, she would have a dream and sounded like a person crying. She slept next to the bed and I'd reach out and pat her till she woke from the dream and thumped her tail to let me know she was OK.
Sebastian has bad dreams fairly often. We don't know what he went thru before he found us, so we don't know what's bothering his sleep. Just speaking to him or touching his shoulder let's him know that he's alright and he goes back to sleep.
Morgan's dreams are different. They started about a week ago. We were watching a hockey game and Morgan was asleep in the living room with us. Suddenly she let out a scream, jumped up and started running blindly around the room. Rob caught her and held her for a minute till she was fully awake. Then she was OK and went back to sleep. It was strange and upset all the other dogs.
A few nights later, the same thing happened. Then Sunday night we were all asleep and around 4AM she screamed and started running. I jumped out of bed and held her for a few minutes. She calmed down and went back to sleep. I wasn't so lucky. I didn't get back to sleep.

At our vet appointment I told him about her dreams. He asked a few questions and was able to rule out mini strokes. The conclusion we came to was that two of her medications are causing her brain to be more active than it was a few months ago. During the daytime that's great. She's alert and can play and move about and even chase a rabbit.
But during the night, her brain is staying more active and maybe that rabbit she chased the other day is chasing her in her dreams.
We've decided to use a pheromone spray at night to turn her dreams into more pleasant adventures. He also warned to keep her to a routine so she doesn't feel stressed at bedtime.
If the nightmares  continue or become worse we can try tweaking her medications a little to give her sweeter dreams.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Dad's Day

Today is Father's Day and guess what? I'm a father. Who knew? All these pesky Porties around here are my kids and I'm their father.
When they were little pups I didn't pay much attention to them because they were all over the place with those sharp teeth. Now they're all grown up and mostly they're my friends. Noah and I have some things to work out but then the relationship between fathers and sons can be tricky sometimes, you know.

But my girls, that's another story. I like my girls. We play together sometimes and are pretty good friends. My girls are tough, too. If I try to push them around or steal their toys, they don't let me get away with it. They'll chase me and nip at my butt.

But guess what I found out today! My kids love me, even though I may not have been the best father. My daughter Gracie sent my picture and some info about me to a national magazine because it's Father's Day. 
The magazine won't be out till next month, but I'll be in it. Can you believe it? My kid wants to see me in a national magazine!
I knew I was meant to be famous!
Your pal, Fudge

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Chewy Hits A Homerun

I'm back with another Chewy review, but this one is a little different. Let me set the stage.
You all know my boy, Noah. Around here he's also known as Mr Mopey. Noah has had tummy problems for a very long time and we've worked with Dr B and the University to try and help him feel better.
Back in February we decided we had to do something different because Noah was losing a lot of weight. We all agreed that he showed distinct signs of colitis, so we decided to address it and see if we could help him. He takes an antibiotic twice a day and I cook all his food. Every three days since February, Rob and I mix a big batch of Noah's food, ground turkey, sweet potatoes, carrots, peas and barley. It cooks and steams for hours. For treats Rob finds the biggest, fattest sweet potatoes, slices them, then bakes them for hours at 300 degrees, till they turn into crunchy chips.
Noah really likes his food and his symptoms have improved. Now he's working hard to gain back all the weight he lost. This new diet is working for him, but it's extremely time consuming. I have to plan my schedule around cooking for him so that he doesn't run out of his food.

A while ago I told Mr Andrew at Chewy about Noah's condition and the food I was fixing for him. Without being asked, Andrew has chosen treats that might work for Noah, but this time he was right on target. He suggested PureVita Sweet Potato treats.
There is only one ingredient, freeze dried sweet potatoes.
PureVita Sweet Potato Freeze-Dried Dog Treats
The makers of NutriSource proudly bring you PureVita Brand Pet Foods. PureVita's select pet formulas are carefully prepared using only the purest, all natural, holistic ingredients to support your pet's overall physical and emotional well-being and to maintain health and longevity. PureVita Sweet Potato Freeze-Dried Treats are a deliciously healthy, nutritious reward with a taste your dog will love!
Key Benefits
  • Made with a single ingredient: sweet potato
  • Great for dogs of all life stages
  • Grain-free, freeze-dried treats
  • Reclosable bag to lock in the freshness
  • Made in the USA!
And does Noah like them? See for yourself. Not only do they taste good, but they come out of a bag, just like the treats the other dogs get. Now he doesn't feel like an outsider.
But there's more! Andrew also pointed me toward some dry dog foods that have limited ingredients. The first one I looked at was turkey, and sweet potatoes, but it used rice rather than barley. Then I saw a couple others that looked like they might work for Noah. The one I chose to try has one protein source, in this case fish rather than turkey, but also has sweet potatoes, peas and barley. I ordered a bag and I'll very, very gradually start switching him to the new food. I'll continue to make the current diet that's working for him and mix them. I also plan to start feeding this combo to Fudge who is also having some tummy problems.

This should free up a lot of our time and help assure me that the boys are getting the nutrients they need. I'm so grateful to Andrew at Chewy for helping me find a possible solution to this situation that should benefit my boys. Noah isn't feeling so mopey now.

Thursday, June 5, 2014


Wow, our apologies to, we're very late with our May review.
When Mr. Andrew sent me a list to choose from, I chose Liv-A-Littles, made by Halo. I chose because they were salmon treats and my pack loves fish. When they arrived, they were chicken instead of salmon. Perhaps Chewy ran out of fishy ones and sent these instead.

I wasn't familiar with Halo dog food and treats and at the "CH" word my antenna went up. In dog products "CH" words can be worrisome. The "CH" words I'm referring to are CHICKEN and CHINA. They often go hand in hand and can be dangerous.

Before letting my dogs sample the treats I had to do some homework. It seems that Halo has been around for 25 years. This is what I found on their website.

For over 25 years, Halo, Purely for Pets® has created holistic pet products of uncompromising quality. Halo believes nutrition is the single most important factor in the quality of a pet’s life. Ellen DeGeneres – a long time Halo customer – became part-owner in 2008. In 2010, Halo donated 1 million meals to shelter pets for the U.S. Postal Service Adopt a Shelter Pet Stamp Program. Halo now donates over 1.5 million meals to shelter pets annually in partnership with, and sponsors the acclaimed PBS series “Shelter Me.” Halo’s natural dog food, natural cat food, treats, supplements and grooming products are available at PETCO, Whole Foods Market, and other fine pet specialty and natural food stores. Learn more

One thing jumped out at me, Halo has never had a recall.

OK, I let my pack test them out and they were a big hit. The treats are small and crumbly and therefore make a perfect topping for their kibble. I'm glad to have discovered them.
If any of you bloggers would like to be Chewy reviewers, let me know and I'll be glad to refer you. My dogs all really enjoy the job.