Tuesday, December 28, 2021

Remembering

 A year ago today I said goodbye to my special girl, Norma Jean.

She was the happiest dog I've ever met. Nothing got her down and she usually had a big smile on her face.
She chose me as her person when she was only days old and her feelings never changed. We were a team.
Norma Jean got along with all the other dogs and with every person she ever met. She was happy and friendly and knew that everyone else liked her, too.
It broke my heart when she got sick and I knew I couldn't fix her. She gave me all her love every day of her life and I miss her.

Friday, December 24, 2021

On Watch

 I'm watching for Santa. I know he's coming because I've been very good and so has Syd.

Merry Christmas, everybody.

Mackey

Thursday, December 23, 2021

For The Rest Of Us

 May your feats of strength be mighty,

May your grievances be few.
A safe and happy Festivus...

                                             

 
Is our special wish for you.
 


                                       

Wednesday, December 22, 2021

Winter Holidays

 No matter what winter holidays you celebrate, we wish you joy and peace and good health.


Syd and Mackey also wish you lots of treats and warm naps.

Tuesday, December 21, 2021

The Solstice

Today is my big day, the Solstice. 

It's the day we all wait for each year when the days start getting longer and thoughts of Spring pop into our minds.

Today this seemed appropriate.

"When the night has been too lonely and the road has been too long,

And you think that love is only for the lucky and the strong,

Just remember in the winter far beneath the bitter snow

Lies the seed that with the sun's love, in the spring becomes the rose."

From our home to your, have a happy, peaceful and safe Solstice.

Thursday, December 16, 2021

Oh Christmas Tree

Last month I shared some memories of Thanksgiving adventures featuring stolen turkeys. Well, that's not the only time that pets get in the holiday mood. We've had some special Christmas experiences, too. I'll share a few. This could be long, so grab a cup of tea or glass of wine and be prepared to laugh.

The first Christmas mishap was back when I was living and working in Syracuse, long before I met Rob. I used to take a couple of days off at Christmas and go home to my Mom's house for the holiday. My brother still lived at home with Mom and my sister would also take some time off. That year I had my dog and my sister came home with her parrot. I don't remember the parrot's name but it was a truly stupid bird. All it did was squawk, very loudly and repeatedly. I babysat it for about a month while my sister was away and tried my best to teach it to swear but it could only squawk.

We had a big cut tree in the living room, nicely decorated. Some time on Christmas Eve afternoon the parrot escaped from it's cage and headed directly for the tree where it  perched among the ornaments. We all tried to grab the bird but it bit anyone who's hand got close to it. After several hours of trying to remove the bird from the tree, we gave up and figured it would come out overnight.

Next morning the parrot was still happily perched in the tree. My sister tried to lure it out with food but it refused to move. Then my brother tried to shove it out with a stick but the bird squawked and moved higher into the tree above our heads. It sat there all Christmas day and was still there the next day when I left to go home to my apartment. I don't know who got the bird out of the tree or how but I'm sure it required long work gloves and maybe a net.

A few years later it was Christmas again and my dog Libby and I went to my Mom's house. My brother was still living there and my sister came without the parrot. My sister and I had coordinated our giftwraps that year. I used polka dots and bright red ribbon on all my packages. My sister used shiny white paper with striped ribbon. She had attached candy canes to all her bows and everything looked very festive.

Even though we were all adults, my Mom still filled stockings for us. She put an orange in the toe, then filled the big knit stockings with little wrapped gifts, a roll of lifesavers and two Hershey bars each. We didn't have a fireplace so she set the filled stockings on the couch. We'd open them first while we waited for the coffee to brew.
We all went to bed and Libby settled on the rug next to my bed. My sister was always awake way too early on Christmas and that year she got us all up about 5AM. We staggered downstairs to the kitchen while Mom started the coffee, then we went into the living room to get our stockings. My sister let out a scream and we all ran to her. The stockings were on the floor, empty. There were  torn candy wrappers and pieces of orange peel all over the floor. The wrapped gifts were scattered around. I looked for Libby and she was nowhere to be seen. She had run back upstairs and was on my bed. My Mom gathered up the little gifts and I picked up soggy candy wrappers and orange peel. We managed to get my sister calmed down with a cup of coffee and her somewhat messy stocking.
On to opening our gifts. My sister was the self appointed gift distributor. She usually handed us the gifts from her first. She reached for one for my brother,  let out another scream and dropped the package. She touched another one and said some un-holiday like words. It seems that during her sugar binge, Libby had licked all the candy canes on my sister's packages. The tops of the packages were all covered with a sugary, dog drool slime. We had to stop the proceedings to calm my sister again and try to convince her to see the humor in the situation. I don't think we succeeded.

A few hours later we convinced Libby to come downstairs but my sister ignored her all day. They finally made up but after that we always made sure Libby was closed in the bedroom at night if there were snacks available. Libby did have a case of diarrhea for a couple days after her indiscretion but she thought it was worth it. We still can't mention that Christmas to my sister. She still does not see the humor.

Our next Christmas tale was after Rob and I were married. We were living in Maryland and had two dogs, Pylon and Bentley. Bentley, my first Portuguese Water Dog, was a packrat. He loved shiny objects and couldn't resist picking them up. He had a special place in the corner of the upstairs windowseat where he kept his treasures. One day Rob couldn't find his tietack. I told hm to check Bentley's treasure trove. Sure enough it was there along with an earring of mine and 72 cents in change that he'd picked up outside on walks.

At Christmas Bentley loved to sit and look at the tree. Rob and I started a tradition of going out for lunch on Christmas Eve. That year we had a lovely lunch at our favorite restaurant. When we got home the dogs greeted us at the door. I went to plug in the tree and saw a broken glass ornament on the floor. I assumed one of the dogs had brushed against it and broken it. No big deal. I started upstairs to change my clothes and saw pieces of broken glass on the stairs. Another broken ornament was halfway up the stairs. I realized what had happened and went to Bentley's special place where I found two unbroken glass ornaments. He  was collecting the shiny glass balls and while carrying them upstairs had broken a couple.  That's when I learned an important lesson. When you have dogs, you always put the sturdy, safer ornaments toward the bottom of the tree and the fragile one higher, out of reach.
Now we skip to Christmas 2002. We were living in Missouri and had five dogs, Lucy, Monty, Morgan, Tsar and Samba. At Christmas  Samba was nine months old and Tsar was thirteen months old.  Because they were so close in age they were great friends. Tsar had lots of neat ideas and Samba was his eager accomplice. That year after decorating the tree I found a thick lush gold and silver tinsel garland that I wrapped around the tree. It was sparkly and really caught the light.

After telling the dogs to be good Rob and I went out for our Christmas Eve lunch. We had a very nice time and when we got home were looking forward to a quiet evening with out sweet puppies. We drove into the garage and when I opened the door to the house no dogs were there to greet me. I knew I wasn't going to like what I found upstairs but I wasn't prepared for the disaster.
The tree was  lying on the floor halfway across the room from where it had been standing. Ornaments had fallen off and the pretty tinsel garland was stretched across the room and in pieces. Lucy was hiding in the laundry room, Monty was upstairs in the closet and the other three were lying quietly in the corner of the livingroom. None of them would look at me, but I knew exactly what had happened. Tsar and Samba had grabbed the sparkly garland and pulled. The tree had spun across the room until it bumped into something and fell over. How did I know who had done it? Easy. There were pieces of silver and gold tinsel in the fur around their faces. I'm sure it was great fun spinning that tree around. Actually it must have been pretty funny to see. Our quiet evening was spent retrimming the tree and picking pieces of tinsel out of the carpet and the dogs coats.

Finally, the year was 2005. It was Fudge's first Christmas. He was ten months old and full of himself. We had six dogs, Lucy, Monty, Morgan, Tsar, Samba and Fudge.With two older males in the house Fudge thought he had something to prove. I had caught him once lifting his leg on my desk and had purchased a bellyband to correct the behavior. To those unfamiliar with the item, a bellyband is just a strip of fabric that wraps around the dog and closes with velcro. It holds his penis against his belly and keeps him from marking inside the house. Fudge hated the thing.

Monty liked to spend his day snoozing beside the Christmas tree. I think he was guarding it from the rowdy youngsters. Fudge felt the need to impress Monty with his virility and lifted his leg on the tree branch closest to Monty's place. I caught him in the act and yelled. Then I put the dreaded bellyband on him and gave him a lecture on manners. Poor Fudge had to wear that hated piece of cloth for two days but the lesson was learned. He never tried marking in the house again.
So you see, Christmas with pets came be a real experience. They are always full of festive ideas to make the holiday cheery. Merry Christmas to all.

Wednesday, December 15, 2021

Deck The Tree

 Deck the tree with pups and kittens.....



Fa la la la la...la la la la
Add Shepherds and some Border Collies.....
Fa la la la la....la la la la
Spaniels, Bulldogs and Dalmatians....

                            

Fa la la la la... la la la...la la la

Bunnies, Frogs and Raccoons welcome...
Fa la la...la la la...la la la
Kitties in assorted colors....


Fa la la la la... la la la ...done.


Sunday, December 5, 2021

National Cookie Day

When I opened my mail this morning there was something about it being National Cookie Day. Upon further checking I discovered that it was yesterday and I missed it.

 Well, we can't let National Cookie Day go by without cookies, so we 're declaring today National Cookie Day, Part Two.  I've always liked cookies and I haven't made any in a long time, so I headed for the kitchen along with my cookie day ambassador, Miss Mackey. She found a good place out of my way to wait for the cookie making process to run it's course.
Fudge used to be my cookie ambassador and he was very good at it. Fudge loved chocolate chip cookies. The minute anyone opened the cookie jar Fudge appeared and told them exactly how much he loved chocolate chip cookies. 
Now before you all tell me that chocolate is bad for dogs, let me explain. When I made the cookies I separated some of the batter before adding the chocolate chips. The plain batter got baked along with the chocolate batter but the chipless cookies were for Fudge. And he knew it !!
Mackey is a bit on the plump side so she gets the tiny puppy sized Milkbone cookies and that's perfectly fine with her.  She knows that she must sit nicely for a cookie. It's the only time she sits on command. Mackey isn't big on obedience and when you give her a command she often gives you "the look" and walks away.
Anyway, happy National Cookie Day. 
Go grab a cookie and enjoy!


Friday, November 26, 2021

Leftovers

 Sometimes I leave things hanging in my posts and today I feel the need to clean up a few of those leftovers and post the endings. 

First was a recent post that upset several people and I'll admit that Rob and I were concerned about it at the time. Do you remember Uggo? He was the bald headed Cardinal that was hanging around our feeder. He and his mate Mrs. Uggo had no feathers on their heads. We were told that it was probably an abnormal molt and should resolve itself in time.

Well, you will be happy to know that both Uggo and the Mrs have beautiful red feathers all over their bodies, including their heads. When they first came in they had a bluish tint, but now they look perfectly normal. Mr and Mrs Uggo visit us a couple times a day to check out the feeders and we're very happy for them.

Next we go back a few years. After our terrible experience with crypto Noah was left with colitis. The poor boy had a terrible time and we tried everything to help with his touchy tummy. He took probiotics, which helped a lot, and we made his dogfood for years. We were also told that kefir, a fermented milk, might help. I was willing to try anything that would make Noah feel better, so we searched for a dairy goat farmer in the area and found one a few miles from us.

The farmer was a very nice lady who loved animals and kept her goats in top condition. Once a week we'd drive to her farm to pick up fresh milk for Noah. Here I am on one of our trips being greeted by my favorite goat, Chocolate Cherry. Cherry was very social and loved to come meet us whenever we showed up.
I soon got the knack of making kefir and all the dogs loved it. Rob liked it too on cereal. My goat farmer has moved out of state and we no longer have the need of the milk, but I'm glad we met and that we were able to help Noah.

Next is Mackey. Since she was about three years old Mackey has been experiencing seizures. Her's are abnormal seizures as they last 12 to 15 minutes each. She is conscious during them but can't stand. Her legs paddle, her body stiffens, and she moans and whimpers. She is obviously terrified during them and all we can do is stroke her and talk to her. Afterwards she is tired and wants to sleep in a dark room. Fortunately, her seizures are infrequent I've come to recognize the signs that one is coming on. She gets restless and nervous. A couple times I've managed to ward one off by giving her some valium when I see the early signals.

Now for the good news. Mackey's last seizure was in December 2020. It's been almost a year seizure free. This time last year Norma Jean was having some health problems and I was trying various things to help her. Someone in our Portuguese Water Dog group suggested CBD oil. I was running out of ideas, so I decided to try it. As long as I was giving it to Norma Jean, why not give it to Mackey, too. I think it helped Norma Jean feel better and be more active and I'm pretty sure it's helped with Mackey's seizures.

The next item on my list is Sydney. This dog has been a problem all her life. Even as a young puppy she showed unexpected bursts of aggression, usually toward Mackey. As she got older the surprise attacks came toward the other dogs. She zeroed in on any dog that was old or sick. Either Rob or I were there to grab her and rescue the other dog but she did injure several of them and I have bites on my legs from trying to stop the fights.

Dr B and I have had several long serious conversations about Syd and what was the best way to protect everyone. He did an exam to make sure there was nothing physical causing her outbursts. Combining her behavior with Mackey's history of seizures, Dr B feels pretty sure that their mother had distemper while carrying the pups. Though it didn't kill them, as it often does unborn puppies, it probably caused brain damage in the litter. Syd's comes thru as bursts of unprovoked aggression.

Syd takes Prozac daily and has been confined to the yard and the garage because of her attacks. She has a big pen in the garage with a dog house, pillows and blankets. In nice weather she has the run of the yard as well. When the big dogs were all gone, we thought maybe Syd could come upstairs and live with us and that she and Mackey could get along. It worked well for about a week, then suddenly one evening as we were watching tv, Syd walked over to a sleeping Mackey and attacked her. I grabbed Syd by her back legs and Rob moved Mackey to the porch to examine her. She had a couple of small cuts that we cleaned up. Since then Syd has gone back to the garage to live.

Syd seems perfectly happy in her solitary life. She rearranges her pillows and blankets almost weekly and has a nice collection of dog biscuits that she hides in the blankets. On cold nights she comes into the den to sleep in her crate. I'd prefer to have a dog that interacted more with us, but it is what it is.

Finally, Norma Jean. It's been almost a year since my special girl died and I've been unable to post about it till now. NJ had a few things going on. She had arthritic changes expected in a fourteen year old dog, but there were some bad things going on too. For several years we'd been aware of a neurological problem that was affecting her face. It didn't seem to cause her any stress, so we just watched it and gave her some supplements to keep her feeling well.

Early in 2020 NJ developed a cough and we did some chest xrays. Her lungs showed some thready growths that we treated and they seemed to be responding slowly to treatment. Then her bloodwork came back and the diagnosis was leukemia. I knew she was slowing down and that our time was coming to an end but she was happy and silly and I was determined to keep my girl as long as possible.

Then on Christmas day last year as I was getting her settled for bed, I thought I noticed a slight difference in the sound of her breathing. I listened for it all the next day and although it wasn't constant, it was there.  She was definitely having some breathing problems. For awhile she would breath normally, then she would gasp. As the day went by the gasping became more frequent. I knew it was time. When I called the vet, he said to bring her in immediately. The walk from the car to the exam room had her gasping and we all knew what it meant. Rob and Dr B and I all held her as she took her last breaths. We all felt the urge to reminisce about her life and her sweet silliness. I miss that girl more than I can express.

So there's my year end wrap-up.