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Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Having rescue dogs

  Is stressful and tiring and wonderful.

  It is 1:21 in the morning. Spud has a cold, as do the rest of us. When he napped I collapsed next to him, and Handsome, no doubt thinking he was being kind - and could have the computer all to himself for TV watching - let us both sleep till we woke up naturally, at 7:30 pm. 
  So Spud will sleep again never. But at least he gets relatively happy and mellow after midnight, letting me surf the internet and contemplate life as he plays in what is apparently the Very Best Thing Momma Ever Bought Just For Him; Katie's new crate. It has a door that opens and shuts and he can go in and go out and Momma made it all nice with a sheet over the top and a soft towel inside and it is The Bestest.
  Katie likes it too.
  She had her supper in it even, but is now about ready to rejoin Smiley on Punkin's bed.
  Which brings me back to dogs.

  My own dogs are currently outside, lounging around the front yard, ready to chase off errant raccoons and Things That Go Bump and having a blast being night guards. They love when I stay up. Smiley and Katie, after having been the Things That Go Bump and have now landed someplace cushy, were both cuddling with Punkin on her bed, where they all three crashed after nightly reading.
  Punkin loves this arrangement. Scooter cuddles in a very uncomfortable fashion. He gets right up next to you and lies down, then presses his feet into you, and preferably braces his back against something else, assumes rigor mortis, sighs in contentment and drifts off to sleep. Deacon is a very satisfactory, if wiggly, cuddler, but divides his time between us, with myself getting the majority of his attention.
  I was distracted from reading my new favorite blog by the unfamiliar sound of dog tags jingling in Punkin's room and simultaneously the distinctive voices of my 2 dogs in the front yard.
  And I wondered if I had fed the dogs. Crud. Perhaps I just didn't remember through the fog of weird sleep, cranky kids and cold medicine, or perhaps I actually hadn't. So to be on the safe side I decided on pork neckbones all around. So I went into the bedroom and was greeted by sleepy wiggles and Katie coming out from under the covers and Smiley all Norman Rockwellesque at the foot of the bed. I had one of those warm fuzzy moments. I got down on the bed and snuggled them and then they followed me out and I fed them raw meat from my hands, which from the start they have taken very politely and eaten nicely. Well, Katie tends to bolt it just a little. Then I went to the front door where my two were already waiting and they got to eat theirs outside.
  I do separate at meal times. There's no reason not to when it just makes it less stress for everyone, as dogs are like children in that food can be a major power issue for them. Katie is actually a rare dog in that her food issues are about food, as in, she's not sure that there will ever be more and it makes her a little nervous. I am very sympathetic to that and feed her small meals and snacks several times throughout the day and one of those meals is one that she gets to really fill her stomach for not only that not empty feeling but all the way to the full and sleepy stage. Which is a good idea anyway as she is very small and very pregnant.
  I am less sympathetic about the food-as-a-control-issue, with both dogs and children actually. Deacon is very easy going about food (lol, now, when he came he was a little shark) but Scooter can be a dink. He doesn't want the other dog's food, he just doesn't want them to have it. Even in a crate he will do his best to Evil-Eye the other dog and ignore his own food to snarl until I say Ahem and then he says What? Me? I was just.. uh .. clearing my throat and polishes his halo for a week or month until he thinks I might not be looking. > An interesting thing, should the other dog actually be nervous about food itself, like Katie, he will leave them alone. He doesn't want a Leave my food alone reaction, he's looking for You said WHAT?? He doesn't want food or even dominance most of the time, just devilment.
  He tried it on Smiley at the water dish from across the room, and Smiley came across the room and chest slammed him and they said vile things to each other for a minute and then Smiley went and had his drink and grumbled under his breath. Scooter sat back up and looked around the room to see if anyone else had seen that and then went and pretended he'd been sleeping the whole time.
  Smiley is a little uneasy because he's not sure if dishes are supposed to belong to him. He's pretty sure that if they do then others shouldn't be using them. The only part he's certain of is that upstart beagles aren't allowed to say rude things to him from across the room, and I concur. But he is learning that dishes don't belong to him, only me and I put nice things in them regularly, so that's ok. From the first he's been wonderful with people and food. But he does think it's pretty low class that I let cats drink out of the same water bowl and whines and worries about it.

  It's so fascinating and just great to see all these little facets of their personalities come to light. He's started doing this little bouncy dance when he's happy which I MUST get a video of (and I know I promised a new picture, I can only plead snotty congested children on that) because it is seriously make-you-smile kind of awesome.

There is someone interested in Smiley. Which makes me happy and sad and excited and nervous all at the same time. There's more talking to do before I can decide if it is a good fit for everyone, but I'm hopeful.
  It's a little nerve-wracking because you can have a Very Nice Person and a Very Nice Dog and still have them be not right for each other, just like there are plenty of perfectly lovely people you couldn't marry and be happy.
  I'll be keeping my fingers crossed for a good fit, and I'll let you all know how it turns out.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

It is Official

  Smiley is all vetted up and ready for a new home. He is very handsome in his new leather collar and I promise more pictures of him when I am not totally wasted from the fair. Ah, the county fair, landmark of the year of 4H mothers everywhere.
  As in, "If I live through this year's fair I'll ..."

  Spud decided to not sleep last night.
  Which meant that I could not sleep last night.
  This was after a delightful day yesterday of loading 2 out of 4 pigs - and not just any two, not the first 2 in there, no, two specific pigs - into a horse trailer. Guess which two loved the trailer and jumped right in, and which two thought it was a Place of Great Evil and, upon finally entering, leapt back out the little window in the rear door?
  I was impressed, it was a good 3 1/2 feet. But it did not make the day go more smoothly.

  And also chasing chickens, most of whom were easy enough to catch, we scattered food and picked them up. One rooster went renegade, and I was not leaving without him.Finally after an hour a good, long-suffering friend and I walked him down. Lucky for him as I was ready to catch him with the .22. This rooster is exceptionally handsome but has always been the wild child of the bunch, roosting in trees and encouraging others in bad habits. As beautiful as he is, the farm will run more smoothly without him.

  That was my day yesterday, and today, after a long night of not sleeping, Spud is refusing to nap. Being overtired like this makes him clingy. Like 21 pounds of upset octopus. And I really, really need him to nap. In ONE hour, I have to be ready to leave, to pick Handsome up at work and meet Punkin at the fair, where she is helping a friend show goats. And I can't find her show shirt or one boot, I haven't showered in Oh-God-it-can't-really-have-been-that-long, having a baked ziti ready to just re-heat for dinner doesn't look like it's happening and I KNOW there is something else important that I am not remembering because I am a sleep-deprived zombie and this has turned into one of those long endless rambling blog posts when it was supposed to be a quick blip about Smiley.
  Who I'll get new pictures of.

  In the meantime, enjoy this book reading by Samuel L. Jackson. I love his voice.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Goodbye boys.

  Is what Smiley is saying today, because tomorrow his "boys" are leaving.

  The vet is seeing us first thing in the morning, and Smiley gets to spend the day and be made eligible to go on petfinder. Katie is getting a check-up and shots and we may take an xray to get a guess on how many puppies are in there and we're going to have a nice long talk about care of her from now till The Big Day, and just how The Big Day should go.
  We'll probably try to schedule a c-section with me ready to take her temperature constantly to see if I need to rush her in before the appt.

  I'm really excited for Smiley. This is a big step towards getting him placed. I can not emphasize enough what a good dog he is. I'm not looking to place him so fast because I don't like him - because I like him a LOT. But bringing an older, larger, intact male into the home of 2 other intact males, while not impossible, does have it's tense moments. Smiley is an amazing dog and there have been no real issues, which is a testament to what a cool guy he is.
  But it makes Handsome and Punkin tense. They are not entirely settled to the idea that sometimes dogs have loud conversations just like people can, but dogs converse with their bodies and it can be dramatic to watch. Not that there's been any fighting, just some loud voices and hip checks and posturing. But I have to throw the people out of the room so the dogs get a chance to finish their conversation.
  Because the worst thing you can do is interrupt them. If there's no blood (and besides body checks no one even touched) let them have it out. For the non-doggy people, imagine it like this, you're minding your own, and someone comes and does something rude or inconsiderate. Like say cutting in line.
 You get as far as "Hey nimrod! I'm standing here, what are you cutting in line for?!" when someone grabs you and drags you off, or worse, grabs both of you and makes you sit down next to each other and "be friends" and punishes you for speaking.
  Next time you see that person, the first thing you're going to think is "That's the JERK who cut in line and then got me in trouble!"

  You never got to get to the part of the conversation that follows;  "Hey nimrod! I'm standing here, what are you cutting in line for?!"
  "Easy buddy, I didn't see you there, ease up a little, will you"
  "I really hate when people cut me"
  "Well just go ahead, it's no big deal, ok."
  When you get to finish the conversation, you may not be all buddy-buddy with the person, but you're not going to want to punch him in the nose.

  Currently, I need to explain this to the humans of the household 3 times a day, minimum, and they get all tense when all the dogs are together, making the dogs get tense and wonder what's up. Or keep the dogs separate. Getting a crate for the humans is sadly not a viable option.

It's a lot for me to deal with, on top of the fact that Katie is going to be here for so long and there's going to be some unexpected re-arranging of the household around her. So getting Smiley some people is top priority.

And Smiley really deserves a kid or three of his very own.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Someone called

The dogs have been here 3 days now, and I put up non-descriptive ads saying "Call to Describe" and today someone did.

  They are not her dogs.
  But, even though I didn't describe these except to say, no, one is a male and the female is black, she said that she thinks she knows who's dogs they are based on where they were. Apparently there is a fellow who leaves his dogs all over town and picks them back up should the find his car.
  When she said she'd give the fellow my number, but didn't think he'd call, I told her to not worry, if he didn't call (and from the sounds of it I'm hoping he wont) that they were being well cared for here, had a vet appt already made and I'd keep them until they found good homes.
  She sounded very relieved.
  Should a fellow call with the kind of attitude she describes, I'll tell him that he can pick them up at the vet and the bill is his along with the dogs.

  Not that I'd try to keep them from their rightful owners, but the rescue network DID get me a vet appt for next week, which I DO have to pay for (and thanks SO MUCH for the donations) and if a vet bill is enough to make the owner re-dump I'm fine with that. I don't want these guys back where they'll be in danger and the little one - I think we've settled on calling her Katie - is going to be an expensive dog in the near future.

I'll keep you posted.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

This blog has gone to the dogs!

And so has my house and for a while, my life.
Because I found THIS;
Notice how dark she is? This picture doesn't show how tiny she is. I almost hit her with my car. After parking, I went to go explain to her that wandering in the middle of the road at night is a bad idea, especially for one of her stature and complexion. I got down on one knee and out of the bushes came THIS;

That is some kind of smile right there. Notice the tail is a total blur.
This isn't actually as big as that first smile. The first one was a big old Koolaid grin that showed every tooth in his head.

  A lot of people see that and think that the dog is snarling or showing teeth - showing aggression. Actually, nothing can be further from the truth. Only the sweetest of dogs will try to give you a human-type smile

But anyway, whenever I try to catch a picture of that huge Koolaid smile, it is accompanied by a rush and full body wiggle. So I either get a total blur on the camera or else this;

That's a happy dog.
We're calling him Smiley while he's here. He is going to make some family very happy, and it is my job to find that family for him.
He seems about 3 - 4 years old, he walks nicely on a leash, is good with cats, chickens goats and ADORES children. He is very slow and careful around little Spud and is delighted when Spud wants to hold his leash. Smiley sidles gently up next to him and holds very still for a hug. This is a sweet dog.
  I hope to find him a home soon, so spread the word that a Very Good Dog needs to find his people.

  The little one, who is as-yet unnamed (I usually call her "What a good girl!" because it spontaneously bursts from my mouth every time I look at her), will be staying here for a while. Long enough to have her puppies.
Yes, I said puppies.
I am mildly terrified at the prospect.
I've raised babies of many kinds, but I've never cared for a pre-natal dog before. And she is so little. With not knowing who the father is, and a good chance he's bigger then her, maybe by a lot, and maybe even Smiley, she is going to need a C-section. I've got a lead on a vet experienced with small dog c-sections and we'll be interviewing vets on Monday. I'd have done it sooner but the weekends here the streets roll up.

  Anyway, see the puppy bulge?
You can see it better here, and her sweet face

   And then, a WONDERFUL person suggested setting up a paypal account for donations to help cover the vet bills for these guys. AND this Very, Very good person made a donation.
If you would like to make a donation too, the paypal address is
This was set up just for these dogs and everything will go directly to them. Which is beyond wonderful, because caring for these guys means not installing plumbing.

But look at these sweet dogs, now safe and happy. Way better then a kitchen sink any day.

If you think you'll be a good home for Smiley, please get in touch with me.
He will be neutered, wormed, Frontlined and have his shots. He'll come with a leash and collar and rabies tag. He is very well mannered and we'll be working on basic obedience until he has a new home, and then I'll pass on a (very used) copy of my favorite dog training book.
There will be a small-as-possible adoption fee to help pay for his vetting. And I will expect you to ALWAYS call me first about ANY issue with him, even at midnight, or on a holiday, or if you're embarrassed about it - just call, I'm a nice person -  and if ever you can't keep him, he has a home here.

The kittens Now

Couldn't you just die of the cute?
They are actually way cuter then this. But all I have is an El Cheapo, Kmart special camera, no photo editing software, and sadly, not as much skill as I would like.

But they still call for another picture
 This one says,
But I am the cutest
She is very firmly of this opinion

Back from Hiatus

Summer here, kills me. I lie down and die, only to resurrect after we've had several days where it ONLY reaches the high 80s. I am not meant for heat.

  Also, Handsome and I were having one of those rough patches. Every marriage has them. Ours goes like this; Handsome is lazy, and more and more of everything devolves onto me. I, for screwed up reasons of my own that make me feel responsible for everything and guilty about the man washing his own underwear, LET everything devolve onto me, instead of just pointing it out when it starts.
  This goes on until I am drowning under a sea of everything and explode like Screaming Banshee from Hades and Handsome awakens from Blissful Oblivion and realizes there is no Clean Underwear Fairy who waves a magic wand and makes it appear all nice and folded.
  I have another fit to get the point across that just wearing the same ones till they fall off is NOT the answer, and that there are also no Cooked Dinner, Clean Children, Washed Dishes, Car Fixing, or Floor Mopping Fairies either, Handsome starts to take up the slack, and I can breathe again.

  We are working hard at not having this cycle renew.
But I didn't want to blog about it, and couldn't think of anything else to talk about.

  But, in the words of the wise; This too, shall pass.
  The weather breaks, the husband gets therapy, the wife introspects and finally, I start writing again. First long awaited return emails, then on my book and some essays, and finally, the blog.

During the Hiatus, plenty happened. I don't think it rained between my last post and a week ago. I know that we got 6 solid weeks of temps between 98 and 112 with barely a sprinkle. Despite watering, my comfrey and the young apple tree died.
  But not all news is bad news! From one month ago this week - the week in pictures;



He's so cute he needs another picture


And these weren't born on Friday, but that's when they made their appearance

It was a heck of a week. Babies EVERYWHERE. The excitement wore off on Friday night when I realized there were no more critters that could conceivably pop out a baby. No more critters. I twitched a little every time the phone rang on Saturday, but apparently the tidal wave of babies had reached it's end.