Smile…it’s Friday

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Whatever you do this weekend, Sam and I hope that your barking is loads of fun. Any special plans?

Live, love, bark! <3

Friday Realization


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Sam and I have adventures at the hospital this weekend. How do you plan to spend the weekend?

Live, love, bark! <3

 

Do Dogs Mourn?

The whole hee-haw gang, Sam, Puck, Eliot
The whole hee-haw gang, Sam, Puck, Eliot

There was a story in a local paper several months ago about a dog who was hiking in the backcountry when his master was injured in a terrible freak fall and died. When the hiker didn’t show up, people went out looking for him and found the loyal dog lying next to the body refusing to leave. Was the dog mourning the loss of his master? Some people thought so.

I thought about that story as I realized that 4 years ago today, Puck crossed the Rainbow Bridge. Sam was the third dog to join my merry little band. Back then I already had two Old English Sheepdogs as different as night and day. Eliot was the consummate worry wart while Puck was a strong-willed pill of a dog, hell-bent on torturing her big brother (and the rest of us, too!) at every opportunity. She tormented him in all sorts of ways and he always fell for her antics and head games. She’d engage him in all sorts of devious ways and he’d fall for it every single time without fail. I swore I once heard her bark “sucker!” when she got him in a particularly clever way. As often happens in multiple-dog households, there were times when the fur would fly and despite sibling rivalry, they were completely bonded to each other.

Sam joined our little circus as a young whippersnapper doofus 7 years ago and true to her bad little self, Puck continued her puckish ways on the naive little brother when Eliot wasn’t available by tricking him into giving up toys and favorite napping spots when she engaged him with her noisy barking etc., yet Sam fell in completely in love with her despite her devious-ness and food stealing. Like most brothers rationalize, that was his big sister and he loved her deeply despite her being so wretched to him and Eliot.

Sadly our fur babies don’t live forever. First Eliot passed away, then a couple of years later, Puck joined him. Both had been rescued from the Denver Dumb Friends and while their exact ages were uncertain, they lived with me over 11 years making them somewhere around 13-15 when they crossed the Rainbow Bridge. What was most unexpected was Sam’s reaction to each of their passing and especially with Puck. Though not close to him, he was mostly confused when Eliot died, he’d look for him throughout the house for some time but he had an even more dramatic reaction when Puck left us. He clearly was distressed and even depressed. He paced from room to room looking for the friend he adored. He moped around, refused to eat and did loads of heavy sighing when he realized he couldn’t find her. I tried to give him more attention, extra long walks and lots of ear scratches. It took nearly 6 weeks before he was his old goofy self again. One day on a long walk, he spied a OES walking across the street. I thought Sam was going to bounce right out of his skin trying to get to it. He was so excited at the thought of seeing his old friend again I guess and to this day he still looks long and hard at all sheepdogs. Who ever said dogs don’t have memories must not have ever had a dog.🐾

Have you ever had a dog mourn the loss of a beloved family pet? How did you handle it? How did your pooch deal with it?

Live, love, bark! <3

A helping paw anyone?

Of course we all know Sam is a therapy dog, who despite being somewhat dim is pretty good at it. He comforts patients at the hospital like nobody’s business. His role as the canine concierge welcoming everyone on our block is without parallel. But I think he’s taken all this helping out stuff to a whole new level where I’m concerned. I think he secretly thinks he owns me, not the other way around. Why do I say that? He simply cannot leave me alone for a single minute.

It always been pretty ineffective to go into any room in the house and close the door since Sam arrived on the scene. If there isn’t major scratching, then there’s major whining or snuffling noises coming from that long schnoz of his from under the door. The ruckus was too much so now I just leave doors open which pretty much makes personal hygiene issues interesting. Since my accident, I’ve opted for baths rather than showers, but this view is starting to unnerve me. For a long time, I thought he was just mimicking his sheepdog siblings who probably taught him all his annoying habits. If you know anything about OES’s, you’ll understand.

If he isn’t draped across my lap, he’s leaning against me. Or just standing there, watching every move I make (sheesh, wild animals just spray!). This is the view I see when I try to take a bath.

Need any help?
Need a little help there?

At those [ahem] more delicate moments (like when using the “throne”) a fluffy red head will either lay patiently across my lap with two soft amber eyes looking up at me as if asking, “need some help?” or I’ll get that snuggle head on top of my knee. It’s ironic since I tease Sam out loud about not having a thumb which just seems to tickle his fancy and he’ll snuggle up closer. Maybe he pesters me because I give him the attention he wants (personally I kind of enjoy making fun of him so maybe I’m reaping what I sow). Who knows what goes on in that simple little brain? Mostly I just chuckle and think nothing else of it. But lately, I’m starting to think he actually does believe he OWNS me, not the other way around.

When the sheepies were still with us, they used to do the same thing and I always expected that kind of behavior from them since they were after all, ‘herders.’ Didn’t realize Sam took such good notes! But for crying out loud, he is a Standard Poodle and there’s nothing herding about that breed. I just don’t get the “I can’t possibly be away from you for even a nano-second” mentality?

Lately he’s taken to sitting in front of me as I watch TV or if I’m working on the laptop, he’ll get as close as possible and then lays his head across my knee. Then there’s that plaintive look and then…slowly. ever. so. slowly. he’ll put one foot on the thigh, then the other and then Poof! he’s straddling me like I’m some sort of chattel. Heaven forbid I say anything out loud because that’s the signal for the tail to start waving back and forth like a flag on July 4th and he becomes quite animated. At just shy of 60 lbs., that animation across the lap can get a bit uncomfortable when an elbow is digging into the quad. Maybe it’s because it’s colder now and he’d rather share body heat though I’ve never seen anything that indicates Standard Poodles have a drop of Eskimo DNA in them.

What’s an independent dog mommy supposed to do? Sure I can banish him to his nice cushy warm bed near the radiator (and when I can’t stand the heat or being burritoed any longer, I do), which just leaves me feeling like one of Cinderella’s wicked step sisters. But I swear, this is becoming a daily routine. Sometimes, he’s worse than a clingy boyfriend and anyone who knows me, knows that “Homey don’t dig that shizzle nonsense!”

It makes me wonder if he’s trying to subliminally tell me something, either about him or about me. Either way it (mostly) makes me smile and when it doesn’t he gets the “be off with you, knave” treatment. The theatrics following said banishment are pretty entertaining and the heavy puppy sighs and flops on the floor are beyond priceless. Those antics usually make me take a time out and get down and play with him. That’s probably the problem with his being so damn cute and so damn manipulative!

Does your dog own you or is it just me? 🙂 How do you handle being owned? <3

Never Forget

Never forget
Never forget

Today we honor all the first responders and those lost that fateful day.  We will never forget you.

Release the Hounds

Release the Hounds!
Release the Hounds!

I WANT that doorbell!  Not because it’s adorable beyond all get-out and really describes answering the door at the ‘Ranch.’  And not because I don’t have more than one ‘hound’ currently, but because I need the ‘hounds of creativity’ to be released.  I’m stuck.  I got nothing…bupkis.  My brain is on overload and while there are a few drafts in the works, it seems no amount of editing or resource checking has made a difference to magically transform them into something fit for public view.  So what does a part-time blogger do when she suffers from writer’s block?  Come on all you creative types, please dish and share your secret!  Puleez?

My first thought was to binge watch Breaking Bad (what can I say, I L-O-V-E that show), The Walking Dead (meh, not in the mood for Zombies right now but just wait till the season premiers though) or GoT (Game of Thrones).  Yeah, not so much.  Westeros will have to continue looting and pillaging without me.

This past weekend I spent a few days visiting my parents and celebrating my Dad’s birthday.  It was the perfect trip–we laughed, played games and cards, talked politics, watched the most amazing sunset, enjoyed cool evenings under a sky full of twinkling stars with tasty drinks and ate-boy did we eat…only the best kind of relaxing stuff and exactly what I needed after experiencing several rather stress-filled weeks at work.  When I drove home on Labor Day, I hoped the relaxed vibe I experienced at my parents’ house would translate into some fantastic inspiration for a couple posts.  Instead, I slipped back into overload running around trying to get laundry, housecleaning, and yard work done before having to hop back onto the hamster wheel at work.  I didn’t even realize it right away until I noticed Sam gave me that “hey, how come all of a sudden you’re not doting on me sigh” that only he can give following our Monday evening walk and just before plopping down on his dog bed while giving me the evil stink eye.  Personally I think he got a little spoiled with my parents, and particularly missed my Mom’s hugs and treats (I mean who wouldn’t, but get used to it dude, we all have to soldier on—it’s called Reality 101!).

But you know as I look back at the terrific time we spent together, it occurred to me that even though I didn’t get the writing boost I had hoped for, my inner need for family time was well met and far more important.  And right now, I’m good with that. ❤️ Thanks again, Mom and Dad.  Love you!

So until the blog spirits revisit me and release the ‘creative’ hounds, I’ll smile and relish the ‘pawsome’ weekend spent with the people who know me the best and who still love and accept me for it.  Then I’m going on line and ordering that doorbell!

Hope Labor Day fueled your soul (or your creative juices).

Dog Rules

We’ve all seen these rules posted on Pinterest, Facebook, etc., we’ve all uttered them, but mostly we’ve all wished “they’d” just live by them.  And yet, look what I came home to recently.  It was quite surprising that I didn’t even disturb ‘His Highness.”  Usually he comes bouncing toward the door like a pogo stick.  You think he’s comfortable?  I suppose I should be grateful; he hasn’t had any loud drunken parties with the neighborhood dogs yet…that I’m aware.

Lounge Lizard
Lounge Lizard

DOG RULES [with my thoughts]

1.  The dog is not allowed in the house.  [Ha, Sam is in the house ALL day long except when we’re on our walks or at the hospital]

2.  Ok, the dog is allowed in the house but only in certain rooms.  [As if that can ever be enforced]

3.  The dog is allowed in all rooms but has to stay off the furniture. [um, yeah…see photo]

4.  The dog can get up on the old furniture only.

5.  Fine, the dog is allowed on all furniture, but is not allowed to sleep with humans on the bed.  [I’ve had to resort to closing the bedroom door during the day lest Sam make himself comfy in the middle of the bed-I’ve seen the ‘nest’ as proof]

6.  Ok, the dog is allowed in the bed but only by invitation. [or open door]

7.  The dog can sleep on the bed whenever he wants but not under the covers. [thankfully I haven’t had this problem-though he is the biggest bed hog I’ve ever seen and ‘burritos’ me in when he does sleep on the bed-usually only on bath day-and that bugs the dickens out of me because I can’t stand being basically tied up in bed covers by the dead weight of a sleeping dog notwithstanding him smelling awesome]

8.  The dog can sleep under the covers by invitation only.

9.  The dog can sleep under the covers anytime.

10.  Humans must ask permission to sleep under the covers with the dog.  [I’m surprised we don’t have to ask for permission to sleep in the bed…period!]

Henceforth this shall be known as Dogs Rule, not Dog Rules.  😄

Hot Dog!!

Hot Dog Safety Tip
Hot Dog Safety Tip

No, I’m not talking about the common ballpark food, I’m talking about dogs left in cars, a recent phenomena which seems to have risen in epic numbers judging from social media reports.   This latest story however, proves I can no longer be silent about this terrible trend.  WHAT THE &#@% IS WRONG WITH PEOPLE???????

Sheesh, it’s bad enough when I see people taking dogs with them out to dinner in my neighborhood only to (a) leave the dog tied up to a parking meter or worse, (b) leave the dog in the car while they nosh and yuck it up over drinks and a meal in one of the many trendy restaurants in our ‘hood with their equally clueless friends…their poor pet languishing on hot sidewalks at the mercy of strollers rolling over paws and tails or getting tangled up with people walking the area.  Not to mention those dogs who act aggressively toward their manacled brethren (or vice versa) or the ones suffering alone in a car that is anywhere from 20-40 degrees hotter than the outside ambient temperature with no water or ability to control the heat.  This is animal cruelty people, plain and simple!

Then there are those who just can’t seem to help themselves by taking Fido shopping with them.  I mean who in their right mind takes a dog shopping???  I love Sam dearly and want him with me whenever possible, but I have the good sense to leave him at home when I go shopping.  It seems ridiculous to take him to the grocery store, yet I can’t tell you how many times I’ll dash off for some milk and see dogs sitting on the back riser baking in the sun or hanging their heads out of a partially cracked window desperately seeking relief.  Which prompts a terse visit with the store manager for an announcement over the PA for the owner to come forward.  I’ve left notes on windshields using not so lady-like language to those cretins and been seconds from calling the police when the idiot owner arrives and gives me the what-for about minding my own business.  Talk about doubling down on bad behavior.  Yikes!

Is it that people just don’t realize the consequences and exactly how hot it gets in a parked car?  On a 78-degree day, the temperature inside a vehicle can easily reach 100-120 degrees in mere minutes.  On a 90-degree day, it can reach 160 degrees in less than 10 minutes!  Dogs do not have the ability to cool themselves down as easily as us uprights and once overheated, can suffer organ damage, heatstroke, even death in as little as 15 minutes.

So the next time you’re out and about, please leave your pup at home. It’s more than a bad idea, it’s cruel and can be a chargeable offense. You might as well just put your pooch in a hot oven and bake cookies. It’s better to leave them at home when you have shopping and errands to run, unless you can always bring him inside with you.

What if you see a dog in a locked car and cannot find the owner?  The ASPCA recommends calling animal control or 911.  Maybe a few more broken windows will wake people up.  I know it seems ridiculous to have to say this, but spread the word and sign the Hot Car Pledge.  Surely the only reason people that do this is because just don’t realize the dangers associated with leaving dogs in cars.  And if your municipality doesn’t have laws prohibiting pets from being left unattended in parked cars, start lobbying for one.

Whew, I know I got really worked up over this issue, but when I see it happen or read yet another story about it, it’s hard for me not to get worked up about it.  Okay, now I’ll climb off my soapbox and enjoy a nice hot dog (but a vegetarian version :)) that is the quintessential summertime food and try to stay cool during the Dog Days of August. Just don’t get me started about runners with dogs on hot pavement!

It’s National Mutt Day

While Sam is a purebred, he’ll always be my special “mutt.”  Special in that he’s not too bright but also special in the way he interacts with people and other pets. Today on our morning run we stopped to visit one of his neighborhood friends, a chocolate Lab, named Moxie. She is very sweet and when she saw us, she began racing back and forth along the fence line trying to get Sam engaged. He was so excited by her running back and forth but just stood there, tail wagging furiously like a flag.  Moxie was showing off to her buddy and Sam loved the show!

What did you do with your ‘mutt’ this morning?  Here’s wishing you and yours a Happy National Mutt Day.

Who's a mutt?
Who’s a mutt?