Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Why do we bother?

A few months ago a neighbor kid asked me to help in her quest for a puppy. The girl is about 11 and her parents are immigrants. Wonderful people, from a culture not known for keeping pet dogs.
I thought I'd done a pretty good job educating and encouraging. I gave her all the right websites too look at, lists of books to read, rescue organizations to contact, training resources, etc. I answered all of her questions, helped however I could.
I did manage to convince her that a Great Dane probably wasn't the best choice for a tiny girl who'd never had a dog before. And that the internet site with the adorable puppies for sale was a very slick front for a horrid puppy mill. I emphasized the right way to get a dog - avoid the puppy mill outlets, the backyard breeders, etc. I truly thought we were on the right track, that we'd find the perfect dog to fulfill the family's puppy lust.
In all honesty, I thought my efforts were probably a waste of time - I didn't think her parents would ever let her get a dog.
Last Friday they bought a 9-week old Husky from a local pet store - a very slick-looking vendor of puppy-mill products.
What can I say? You shouldn't have? Didn't I tell you not to? Woulda, coulda, shoulda. Sigh.
Bookmark and Share

Friday, July 25, 2008

Make the Most of Every Day

Professor Randy Pausch lost his battle with pancreatic cancer today. We learned about him too late, with his Last Lecture, and have been trying to take his message to heart. Make the most of every day. Smile through the pain, and do what you need to do. Go places you've had a secret hankering to visit. Learn things you never thought you could. Be a little braver than you think you can be, and try new things. Play games and be goofy. Write real letters to friends and relatives. And kiss your husband, your wife, your kids, and most of all, your dogs.
Bookmark and Share

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Dax's next victim

Last night when I took the dogs out before bed - there was this little guy sleeping on the shelves on our patio. It's a juvenile robin, just learning to fly. He'd been sitting on the fence earlier in the evening, smart enough to pretend he was a statue when the dogs were out.
I despair of his/her life expectancy. This is the second little robin that's been loitering around our backyard, tottering through the air on unsteady wings. I suspect that their parents were stupid enough to raise them in one of the two backyards in the entire neighborhood that's populated by dogs.
Its sibling didn't survive stumbling into Dax. She just wanted to play - but little birds can't take the enthusiasm of a French Bulldog. I think it pretty much died of fright.

I hope this one gets better on his wings - fast.
Bookmark and Share

Friday, July 18, 2008

Dealing with Pain

I haven't talked much about it, but for the last three months I've been dealing with some significant pain. It all started back in April when I fell over a step that I've known about for more years than I care to remember - getting used to new glasses. I didn't go to the doctor right away because I thought things would get better. Turns out I tore cartilage in my knee (maybe both, but one is definitely worse and got the MRI) and the fall triggered bursitis in both hips. Bursitis may have a funny name, but the pain involved is not. As a relatively active person who exercises regularly, practices yoga and (attempts to) run agility with my insane Ceilidh, not being able to get out of bed was no laughing matter. Sitting hurt, standing hurt, getting in or out of the car brought new adventures in pain and bending over was practically impossible.

I saw two orthopedic doctors - one's sending me to Physical Therapy for the knees, the other gave me cortisone shots in both hips. The hip pain is practically gone! Although, by the end of our Agility class last night I felt that I had overdone. I'm on the road to recovery! What a relief. Ceilidh will be so happy that I'll be able to run around with her!
Bookmark and Share

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Her place in the sun

A patch of sunshine is the only thing that would ever, ever, ever convince Ceilidh to share a bed. Fran's "special" girl usually doesn't like being touched. By anyone. Ever.

Bookmark and Share

Monday, July 14, 2008

Maybe he really belongs to Richard Simmons....

A couple of months ago the vet told me that my dogs, Dax (French Bulldog) and Roc (Brussels Griffon) were a mite chubby. I used that as justification for buying a treadmill, figuring that all three of us could use it.
The dogs' motivation is twofold: tiny bits of "nuked"-dry hotdog and the harness snugly encircling them keeping them centered on the belt.
Roc's done a wonderful job slimming down - aided in part by his insistence on dashing from backyard to frontyard whenever he goes outside. We can count on Roc to let us know everything that's happening in the entire neighborhood.
Dax, on the other hand, despite diet modification and exercise, is slower to lose the excess avoirdupois. Whenever she goes out she finds a nice, sunny spot and lies down.
So I decided Roc will be excused from treadmill work, at least for the summer.
This morning Dax finished up her workout and I reached for my book, ready for my own. I turned around and there was Roc, sitting dead center of the belt, ready to go. Volunteering to exercise. Now I know for sure he's adopted.
Bookmark and Share

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Look twice!

I got fooled the other day. I was driving to work when I saw a man walking with his two little boys and their dog. (Notice I'm assuming all kinds of relationships here.) Since I was at a stop sign, I had the opportunity to take a pretty good look. The quartet was walking away from me. Being who I am, I was looking at the dog. And was delighted! Another Frenchie! The dog was white, with that adorable butt, little tiny tail, and big pointy ears!
Again, being who I am, I had to go meet these people with such incredible good taste in dogs. As I drove up beside them, the dog turned to look at me. Oops! It was a Mini Bull Terrier! Same butt, very, very different face! I don't know what happened to its tail - but I swear it didn't have one.
I kept on driving. A very cute dog, but not one I'm willing to make a fool of myself to meet. Which I would have, had it been a Frenchie!
Bookmark and Share

Friday, July 11, 2008

Scared of Storms

We've been having some interesting weather around here lately. Severe Thunderstorm Watches are practically a daily occurence and we hardly think anything of them. The Warnings, though, are more serious. And the only one in our household that really cares is me. Last night driving home from Agility Class there were numerous huge lightning flashes at a little distance. I jumped at each one. Hope said, "How pretty!" Yeah, sure. The dogs don't care. They don't like the rain but the light and sound shows don't bother them. I try to hide my anxiety, but sometimes I do a better job than others. I know it's irrational and I practice my yoga breathing, but I was still really glad to be home, in my cozy little house with all the lights on.
Bookmark and Share

Monday, July 07, 2008

Killer Frenchie

I had a feeling it would happen. I didn't know when, or who the victim would be, but I knew that sooner or later Dax would claim her first victim.
I thought it was going to be Saturday. When I took the dogs out after work, Dax was the only one that noticed the bunny in our next-door-neighbor's backyard. It took off for the front of the house, Dax matched it for speed all the way. Fortunately for the bunny, there was a chain-link fence between them. Unfortunately for Dax, the fence ends at the front of our house. She had fence-prints on her nose for a bit.
Yesterday Dax was a sniffing around the yard, minding her own business. The other dogs had already gone inside - it was a bit hot for them, but Dax loves it. I know Frenchies aren't supposed to, but I let her bake for a few minutes. My own French Roast.
She was meandering around, sniffing, deciding whether she was "in the mood" to do some business, when a juvenile robin careened into the yard. I saw it heading for disaster, but I couldn't cross the yard fast enough to do anything about it. It flew right into Dax's face. I actually saw the delight in her eyes at the wonderful new toy! She didn't understand when I told her to "leave it," but she did. (Good Girl!) The robin didn't make it. In this case, I do think there's some truth to "too stupid to live."
Bookmark and Share

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Routine is good

Saturday when I got home from work I didn't even notice that our power was out. The temperature was comfy and it's time of year when daylight lasts well into the evening. Of course I'd noticed the major thunder/wind storm on my way home - but it'd already passed and I just wanted to take the dogs out and relax.
When I got out with the dogs, I did notice that all of our neighbors on our side of the street and across the alley were standing around outside. I couldn't help but notice, since Roc is an adherent of the "little yappy dog" theory of guard dogsmanship. I herded the kids back inside and went out to find out what the fuss was about.

A huge branch from a tree across the alley landed directly on the power lines. The live wires were sitting on a neighbor's garage, the alley was blocked with tree bits, and the fire department was on its way. I missed all the excitement - apparently sparks flew, literally.

I called Fran to let her know the situation - and asked her to pick up a bag of ice on her way home. Crises are easier to deal with when you have anything-on-the-rocks in your hand. I brought up our cooler, the battery-powered fan (standard equipment for French Bulldog owners), opened the windows wide and dusted off the battery-operated radio. No, the weather alert system is not an addiction. The Cubs are.

We did just fine for a while. We had a nice meal while it was still light and Fran had her usual 15-minute intense fetch session with Ceilidh. Then - there was nothing to do. Every one of our usual pastimes requires power. Reading, watching tv, working, all of it. We had a couple of candles for light.

Ceilidh really, really hated it. Her normal routine was interrupted and she just couldn't deal. We sometimes forget how much of a "special needs" dog Ceilidh is. She wasn't happy; didn't eat, couldn't settle, didn't like it one little bit. You could almost see the waves of stress radiating from her little body. Of course we felt badly for her - but there was nothing we could do to help.

We never thought we'd be happy to hear the sounds of heavy machinery and chain saws at 11:00 on a Saturday night. Power was restored shortly after midnight. All was once again right in Ceilidh's world.
Bookmark and Share