Dec 27, 2009

Forty Winks

There's nothing quite like a belly full of holiday goodies and a comfy snooze, as evidenced by Bram and David getting sleepy in a chair together after a nosh on some yummy treats.

Dec 15, 2009

Wrapping the Gifts

My boys and Maia Louise like to help with just about everything I am doing and wrapping Christmas gifts is no exception. I like to do it on the floor where I can spread out and have enough room for all the gifts and everything needed to turn them into beautiful presents, but that just gives the little ones an open invitation to get overly involved in every aspect of the job. Edison is a very good boy who steps gingerly around the packages and over the papers and bows, watching from a few feet away and occasionally getting into my lap to sniff something that has caught his eye. Bram and Maia Louise, however, stomp on and through everything, climbing into bags and boxes, crunching the wrapping paper, eating the bows and then tearing off the lower branches of the tree and eating those for dessert.

This year I had to rewrap several gifts before they had even made it under the tree, courtesy of those two. This is our first Christmas with Brammy-doodle but given his penchant for nonstop nonsense (since his first moment here with us) I expected him to be somewhat out of control come the holidays, but I didn't think he would open the gifts as soon as I wrapped them. He simply can't wait for Christmas morning, and he doesn't seem to care who the gift is actually for, he just wants to see what's inside the paper and after tearing one open and getting a good look at what lay within, will move immediately on to the next. Maia, who was also a terror in her youth, seems to have had her wild ways revived by Brammo's maniacal behavior and is once again, despite her advancing age, tearing into everyone's gifts.

When I finally managed to get far enough ahead of the destruction and finished wrapping all the presents that had been bought to date, Bram decided to eat the gift tags on many of them, some of which were found under the couch, some licked clean and sporting tears and itty bitty tooth holes but still attached to their gifts. And if there had been any doubt as to who had done this, Bram was the only one in the house whose tiny mouth was covered in pretty light-catching glitter.

So now there is no admittance into the living room without human supervision. We have French doors on two sides of the room, so even with it closed up we can still (sort of) see our lovely tree and if we want to visit it, a close eye needs to be kept on two certain small animals with a penchant for good-natured destruction. It's going to be a very merry Christmas if I can keep Bram and Maia Louise away from the tree for just a little bit longer.

Dec 13, 2009

Christmas Tree Shopping

Two boys in the car on the way to fun and excitement.

Bram serenely checks out the selection of trees.

The drizzle starts and Edison's hood goes up to keep him warm and dry.

We all went Christmas tree shopping last weekend and the boys were very well-behaved, as always. It was a super chilly day and while we were walking about the tree lot a very cold drizzle started to fall of which Edison and Bram were none too happy about, but they pulled their tiny fur-lined hoods up over their little heads and braved the inclement winter weather like wee soldiers until the perfect tree was found.

We used to always cut a live tree at a tree farm, but now with two small dogs who prefer to go in the opposite direction of each other despite being leashed, it's become easier to go to a lot for a pre-cut tree rather than herding the wee ones into the woods, however cultivated those woods might be.

As much as the boys enjoy being out in the world, and as much as they also love the concept of a Christmas tree (after all, what dog doesn't love having a real, live tree indoors to chew on and dig at?), my boys were very happy to get back into their warm home and a bowl full of food. A quick snack and a long nap and they were ready to help with the decorating.

Dec 8, 2009

Hand Injury

I have given myself a fairly significant (and incredibly stupid) accidental injury to one of my hands and as such, am forced to type with only a couple of fingers which is rather time consuming. As a result, I'll be taking a few days more off from this blog until I am no longer sporting a giant mitt and can once again get back down to business here in a more efficient manner.

I will talk with you all soon and will share the sweet photos we took of the boys helping to pick the Christmas tree this past weekend. Until then, take care everyone.

Dec 3, 2009

Second Anniversary

Today marks the second year without our beloved Cordelia. It was two years ago today that she left us and we all still carry the sadness in our hearts in a now-permanent void that her life with us filled so beautifully. I've spent some time today reminiscing about her and her quirks and thinking again about how wonderful it was to have had a message from her come through on that awful, awful day to let us know she was happy and healthy again and it was all going to be alright. She was an amazing dog and no matter how many years pass, she will always be missed with all our hearts. Sixteen years and change was just not enough time.

Cordelia you are thought of often, still loved to pieces every single day and I look forward to the day when we can again go walkies together and play the piggy toe game once more. Good girl!

Nov 30, 2009

Vintage Chihuahua Manual

Man, oh man, do I want a copy of this exact book. If the photos inside are even remotely as goofy as the cover picture, then this beats the hell out of any contemporary chihuahua care guides by a landslide. Who cares if the information within is right or wrong, it's got to be a page-turner! Look at the poor little retarded fellow on the right and tell me that you wouldn't snap him up immediately if you saw him up for sale anywhere. Life couldn't possibly get more fun than it would be with him in your life.

Photo courtesy of Painter Girl on flickr.

Nov 21, 2009

It Can't Be Helped!

A cute little dog sitting happily on your lap with his tail wagging to beat the band is just begging to have that tiny tail gently pulled, teased and played with. It's sort of like that big red button everyone just has to push despite the warning beneath it that reads, "Do Not Push Red Button." It can't be helped. Some tails just have to be pulled no matter what.

Nov 19, 2009

Natural Ear Remedy

Some poor doggies are the same as their human counterparts and suffer from repeated, painful ear infections despite repeated courses of antibiotics. And given that being overmedicated is a very bad thing, having a treatment that is a safe and effective alternative to all those pills is a very good thing. I have some friends who swear by this recipe for their dogs who have recurring ear issues. Please note that I have been lucky, or I should say my dogs have been lucky, to never need any ear treatments and so I personally have never used this.

Natural Ear Treatment for Dogs

16 oz bottle Isopropyl Alcohol (70% solution)
4 tablespoons boric acid powder
16 drops gentian violet (1% solution)*

Mix all ingredients in the alcohol bottle, shaking well. You will need to shake this before each use to reintegrate the boric acid powder within the solution. Transfer a small amount into a clean small, flexible plastic bottle with a pointed end such as a hair coloring bottle that can be purchased at a drug store. Fill the ear canal with a small amount of the solution, leave for one minute and then wipe out with a clean tissue. Repeat two times a day for one week, then once a day until the infection is gone. A maintenance dose to prevent future infections in dogs that are prone can be used once a month.

* Gentian Violet is a natural bacteriacide and antifungal agent. It can be found in natural food stores in their health departments as well as occasionally in standard drugstores. Please note that this will permanently stain surfaces it comes in contact with so be careful where you use it!

Nov 12, 2009

An Angel Under My Roof

I know that his dad and I raised Griffin to be a loving and compassionate soul, but it was really hammered home this past weekend that we had done a fairly decent job teaching him the proper values everyone should possess in life.

He was out with his girlfriend, her brother and sister when they happened upon a cat that had been hit by a car and left for dead with a broken leg and some seriously deep cuts. It had survived the initial accident but then had plainly been unable to get back home for some time as it was deathly thin with every last rib clearly showing. They brought the cat back to Griffin's girlfriend's house and fed it with her own cat's food and gave it water. Then they filled a cat carrier with a blanket and gently put the cat inside. As it had on a collar with current rabies tags, they called the vet who had vaccinated the cat only to get a rather surly answering service flunky who refused to contact anyone associated with the vet's office. They took the cat around the neighborhood where they had found it, knocking on door after door, hoping to find anyone who recognized the cat or could point them in the direction of a possible owner, again to no avail. A call to our local Animal Control resulted in being told the office was closed for the weekend and any emergencies should be directed to the local police department who would then page the Animal Control officer on call, but who in turn upon talking with the oh-so-helpful dispatch officer, told my son that they would not under any circumstances page Animal Control as this was not their responsibility. With no other options and after making one last phone call to them, Griffin, his girlfriend and her two siblings drove several towns away to the closest emergency veterinary hospital with the poor cat, who was immediately whisked away by a vet tech who was waiting for the cat's arrival. Griffin was told that they would try to stabilize the cat and would hand the cat over to their local Animal Control the following morning, but beyond that they couldn't make any promises as to the cat's survival or what would happen to it if it did survive. Griffin spent a long worried night wondering what this poor cat's fate would be.

The next afternoon Griffin called the animal hospital and had decided that if the cat was going to make it and an owner couldn't be located that he would give the kitty a permanent home. But alas, this story has a very happy ending thanks to my son and his companions: with the proper medical attention it had received that previous night the cat was going to survive its injuries, it had come back from the brink of starvation and from its tags his owner had been located and was happily coming to bring him back home.

My kid kicks ass. He really does.

Red, Red Kitty Head courtesy of Eric Hew on flickr.

Nov 5, 2009

Good People

It's heartening to know that there are still some very kind and selfless people in this world.

I know a lady who lives in a rural state and who has very little money, but who has a heart the size of the universe. She lives on a country road where sadly it's the norm for people who no longer want their pets to dump them on an empty stretch of that road near her home. A big red hound with a happy smile perpetually planted on his doggie face is one such pet. He found his way to her backyard one morning this past spring, alarmingly skinny and very curious, so she took to feeding him outside whenever she fed her pet dogs inside and soon he was gaining weight and his coat was glossy again. Throughout the summer months, he'd come for a free meal a couple of times a day but then be off again doing whatever it was he did the rest of the time. As the weather turned cooler this fall, she'd let him sleep in her heated garage as she feared if she let him into her house he would hurt her chihuahuas, not because he was a mean dog, but because he was young and rambunctious and unaware of the enormous size difference between him and them. She even paid for him to be neutered to help curb the unwanted pet population.

And then he suddenly stopped coming around. She worried about him for several days until her son found him behind an outbuilding, laying in the mud and clearly not well. Together they hauled him back to their house where he was given the once-over. His foot appeared to be infected, so this lovely woman who often hasn't enough money for her family, once again took the dog to her vet. He was bathed and given routine shots and it was discovered that his foot was indeed infected because he had been shot. Now I know this is a rural area and farmers feel the need to protect their crops and livestock, but to shoot a dog? Or perhaps it was some kid or kids who thought it a fun game to shoot at him. Either way, it's a horrifying thing to consider: that there are people who think nothing of picking up a gun and firing at a helpless animal that may or may not be someone's beloved pet.

This woman has continued to care for this lovely animal as he heals and recuperates. She fears for the day he will finally go his way again as he is no longer a dog that likes to be kept indoors, having now spent so much time wandering wild and free, but she is prepared to feed him and keep him for as long as he will stay.

And she was talking with another woman who lives in her area. Both were discussing how horrible it is to see so many dogs and cats dead in the miles of empty road between their homes, hit by cars as they try to survive on their own for the first time in their lives. Dogs and cats that at one time were someone's pets until those people thought nothing of ditching them on the side of the road, left to fend for themselves. This second lady has brought many of them into her home and cares for them until the local shelters can find them homes. She won't actually bring them to those shelters, for if no one adopts these poor animals they'll be euthanized, and she can't bear to think of that happening. So she too feeds them, vets them and hangs on to them until they are lucky enough to find a new family to love them. All at her own expense.

In a world full of rotten people who treat animals like objects who have no feelings, who don't fear or suffer or feel pain, there are still angels who respect animals enough to go without for themselves in order to save the unwanted and unloved. Both of these ladies are very good people. It's too bad there aren't more of them in this world.

Photo courtesy of Malarkey and Mayhem on flickr.

Oct 30, 2009

Happy Halloween

Edison Jack as Merlin

Bram Ebenezer as Robin Hood

The boys are all ready for the doorbell to start ringing tomorrow night as they love to greet the trick or treaters who come calling for candy. Edison decided to go as Merlin for Halloween because he likes the idea of having all that power, especially over Bram. He has a chihuahua-sized magic wand (that isn't visible in the photo) and a little drawstring pouch on his back that contains a vast amount of royal blue and black "magic dust" which will enable him to cast all the spells his tiny heart desires. Bram wanted to go as Robin Hood because he has loads of energy and loves everyone and everything. His little drawstring pouch contains 15 "gold" coins that jingle when he walks and that will give him enough money to buy, in the various villages he passes through, all the essentials he'll need for his journey.

Both boys want to wish everyone a very happy and safe (and a teensy bit spooky too) Halloween!

Oct 25, 2009

Bram's First Birthday: Part Two

They may have been completely insane with the excitement of the presents and cake (they also like to "sing" when the cake comes out and all their humans sing too, by the way), but they were perfect little gentlemen when it came to wearing their birthday hats. Considering that they both tried on numerous occasions to eat the feathers out of them as I was making and fitting them to their tiny heads this past week, I have to say I was very pleased that they were considerate of one another's heads during cake. And that, of course, is the only reason why they weren't ripping the hats off of each other and eating them: there was a glowing cake sitting just inches from their faces and they weren't going to do anything to risk missing out on cake. They may be insane, but they aren't stupid.


Bram's First Birthday: Part One

Today is Brammy-doodle's first birthday and we had a little party for him. Of the 62 photos that were taken during the opening of (and playing with) his presents, not one of them is usable, which has to be a first. Every last one was a blurry mess. I really shouldn't be surprised, given the fact that Bram is a very hyper little man and when he gets excited he's even more manic and then that gets the normally calm and quiet Edison worked up into a lather as well. With both dogs going mental and racing about, there wasn't a chance in hell of getting any shots that weren't a mass of barely discernible chihuahua-shaped swirls.

We still had the cake cutting photo op though, and mercifully we got a few shots from that, though that didn't last very long, for as soon as they got their (tiny, trust me) sugar fix, they were off and running once again.

At one point I turned to David and said, "Just think what Christmas morning will be like this year." To which he replied, "Hmmm. I think I'm going to ask for little chihuahua-sized sedatives in my stocking." Touche.

Oct 23, 2009

Farewell, George

July 17, 2002 - October 17, 2009

Fresh on the heels of losing little Suky Mae last August, we've now had to say goodbye to our beloved George. She was one of our first four chicks ever, and as we thought she was a boy Griffin named her George. Much to our surprise she turned out to be a little girl (so much for our chick sexing skills back then!) and feeling bad that such a sweet girl was saddled with a rather ugly name, we tacked the uber-feminine first name of Emmaline onto it, but by then George had stuck and George she remained. She loved to sun on the lawn with Griffin in the summer, often laying on his chest with her tummy and legs in the air catching the summer warmth (see "Georgie Girl" August 18, 2006), she adored cheetos and french vanilla ice cream and she was everybody's friend. No one escaped her charm and she never failed to rush right over to any human she saw as she assumed they all had something they were simply dying to feed her, and if it was something very un-chicken-like and not particularly healthy, all the better to her!

While we're sad that she's gone from our lives, it's heartening to know she lived a very long life for a chicken who had to endure some pretty harsh winters here in New England and which take their toll on the smaller creatures, like bantam poultry. She was loved beyond words and she was lucky enough to go peacefully in her sleep as she was alive and kicking at bedtime, but was found the following morning curled in her nest, exactly as she slept.

She was buried in our beautiful field garden that she loved to forage in, beneath the bright red bee balm, and facing towards the west. She will always be with us, both in our hearts and in our minds. Rest in peace Georgie Girl and one day we'll meet again in the great beyond. Save a place for the rest of us yet to come, will you?

Oct 19, 2009

Vintage Chihuahua

In mid-century living color.

This little chi is from a circa late 1950s postcard. His little white blaze is adorable, as is his very chic rhinestone studded collar, but it bothers me that it looks just a little bit too tight. Maybe that's why he looks so serious and there's just a slight look of concern in his big, dark eyes!

Oct 16, 2009

Pet Snapshot 3

I was in the bathroom yesterday blow drying my hair when I looked down to see Bram, as usual, into something he shouldn't be. In this case it was the toilet brush and plunger on the floor beside the toilet and he was licking them with gusto. I immediately said "leave it!" in the firmest dog owner voice I could muster and glared at him with what I felt was the sternest of countenances. I then picked him up to remove him from those nasty things. As I was giving him a very serious face to face scolding, he quickly leaned in to my face and gave me a very big wet kiss on both my lips and my tongue inside my open- and talking- mouth. So much for him thinking I was all business! It may have been ages since we used that plunger and I didn't even want to think about the brush that we use weekly, but my mind went into instant toilet-germs-in-my-mouth-panic overdrive, so I quickly set Bram down and dove for the sink, some hot water and some mouth disinfectant. Dog kisses are one thing, but toilet flavored dog kisses are quite another. Thank you, Bram!

Oct 15, 2009

Two Sweet Boys

There's nothing cuter than a chihuahua and more than one is double the fun. I adore my boys and would love to add a third little one to our family except my lap simply wouldn't be big enough to hold them all (it's barely big enough to hold these two) and since I'd rather not start eating myself larger simply to accommodate more little dogs, nor would it be fair to make one dog the odd man out when it comes to lap cuddling, with two I shall stay. For now.

Oct 10, 2009

Today's Feel Good Story

An eight year old Rhodesian Ridgeback named Katjinga and living on a 20-acre farm in Hoerstel, Germany has saved the life of a little unwanted piglet. The couple who own the farm have a breeding pair of Vietnamese pigs who wander free on the farm, and the mother pig had given birth to five little piglets but apparently rejected the tiniest one. The farmer found the little thing alone and freezing cold in the woods on his property one evening and fearing a fox would eat the baby before morning, brought it back to the main house. Katjinga had had a litter of puppies ten months earlier and he hoped she was still feeling maternal enough to care for the abandoned baby. That she did, right away, and within a couple of days she also began lactating again and now she not only cuddles the baby, but feeds it as well. The little piglet has been named Paulinchen, and both mother and adopted baby are doing just fine.

Photos courtesy of Animal Press/Barcroft Media.

Oct 6, 2009

Scuba Suit

And to think Edison Jack is afraid of having a bath in just a couple inches of water! Honestly, where do I sign up for a chihuahua who likes to scuba dive? I am utterly in love with the skinny little chihuahua legs that end in those tiny little flippers.

Oct 1, 2009

Dressed Alike

I know in the past I've said that before I got a little dog I would never have thought about putting a dog in clothes, but then I got a little dog and suddenly I was dressing him up all the time. For a very long time though, I told everyone I knew that if I ever got a second little dog, there was no way that I would put them into identical outfits. And everyone I know who owns more than one little dog told me, with a knowing smile, that it was going to happen. Maybe not right away, but it absolutely was inevitable, just wait and see. And up until just a few short weeks ago, I was still holding firmly to the idea that little dogs dressed alike would not only be unfair to the dogs, but really, really sad as well.

And then it happened. I don't know how it did, but it did. A couple of weeks ago the boys went antique shopping one chilly Sunday morning wearing- you guessed it! Identical red and white stripey sweaters! And then yesterday I went shopping for birthday gifts as Bram's first birthday is just a few short weeks away, and lo and behold, I came home with matching bubble vests with fur lined hoods for the cold weather to come. I'm still amazed at myself, but also not-so-secretly thrilled at how cute the two of them look when they're dressed alike. And I'm already thinking ahead to Christmas outfits.

Looking at the bright side of my friends all being right and me being so horribly wrong about this, I guess it's a good thing there were no wagers placed. After all, if I had lost as much as I would have been willing to bet that I'd never do anything as silly as this, I'd have no money left to buy all these darling matching outfits.

Sep 30, 2009

A Mother's Fears

When Griffin was a little boy I often would have bad dreams that he had been abducted or had gone missing and would wake shaken and frantic. I'm sure every mother has those dreams, but I find that every now and then I have them about my dogs. And when I read a post on the local town forum about a dog that is missing or has been stolen my heart skips many beats, like yesterdays plea to help find a missing nine month old chihuahua puppy. Now that Griffin is all grown up, my boys are now my children. I don't know what I'd do if anything were to happen to them. And if I were to think too hard on this, I'd be up all night too upset to sleep.

Sep 29, 2009

A Squirrel and a Goat From My Past

The other day I was out driving and the car in front of me narrowly avoided hitting a squirrel. As I watched the poor little thing stop on the side of road to catch its breath and probably wait for the tiny heart attack it surely thought it was going to have, I was instantly brought back to David's and my honeymoon long, long ago in 1987.

While we were out and about one afternoon in our rental car, David hit a squirrel though he had tried mighty hard to avoid it. Looking in the rear view mirror, he said the squirrel hadn't been killed but appeared to have run into the woods and he thought the little guy was going to be okay. I became very upset and insisted that David stop the car so I could get out and see if the poor thing really was okay, and wanting to please his new bride, he did just that. In fact, he got out with me and together we both found the squirrel: me in the bushes and him on the car. My half of the squirrel was alive and well, though now bob-tailed and shell-shocked and David's half of the squirrel consisted of the entire length of a bushy gray tail caught up in the wheel well. The squirrel was barely bleeding and quite feisty after it recovered from the initial surprise of having his entire back end torn off and so we figured he'd be just fine. We got back into the car and were back on our way once again.

A few days later we decided to go horseback riding at a farm we were told was near to our hotel. The horse farm turned out to be, in reality, much farther away and after a very long ride through the woods and up a mountain, we arrived to find the place inexplicably closed. No signs, no notices. Just closed when they should have been open for business. While David was searching for some signs of life, I wandered down to the barn, eager to see the horses. When I was about half way between our car and the barn, a teeny tiny little pygmy goat came rushing out of the stables and straight over to me. He jumped up and down on my legs and insisted on being petted and picked up just like a little puppy, which of course of I was more than happy to do. David came to tell me that he hadn't found a soul and suggested we find something else to do, so I said goodbye to my new friend and set him down and headed back to the car with David. When I opened my car door, the little goat jumped into the front seat and sat down, ready to leave with us. David removed him but he kept leaping back in, over and over again. I wanted to take the goat with us, but David said 'no way' and after several attempts, managed to get us both into the car while keeping the little goat out. As we drove away, I looked back to see the little goat all alone watching us leave. He was my favorite topic of conversation for days on end.

And now that I think about it, in the 22 years since, David really shouldn't ever be surprised when I talk about rescuing an animal or buying a new dog from a breeder or even donating money to an animal charity, yet he always is. He should know better, given the fact that within the first three days of our married life together, I crawled through the brush after an injured squirrel and contemplated stealing a goat from an unattended farm. Now, honestly, what the hell else did he expect from a life with me?

Photo courtesy of WV Fan on Flickr.

Sep 25, 2009

Painted Kitties

I wish I had the time and the inclination to do this to Maia Louise, but since I doubt I'll ever have enough free time to invest in a project of this scope that involves my cat (and anyways, I'd be lucky to have a face after she went claw-happy on me if I tried this), I'll have to be satisfied with gawking at other people's painted cats. My personal favorite is the topmost picture. Who wouldn't love to have a cat with a full color portrait of Charlie Chaplin painted on its ass?

Sep 18, 2009

Pet Snapshot 2

When she was much younger, Maia Louise used to love to go for walks and she figured out very quickly that if she wanted to go walkies with Cordelia, she needed to learn to walk nicely on a leash and so that's exactly what she did. And as a result, she frequently stopped traffic when she was jigging along down the sidewalk on her own little harness and leash next to a big black dog.

She also, just like a dog, loved to go for car rides. After all, if Cordelia got to go, then why shouldn't she? We'd all pile into the car and Maia would be right there standing on her hind legs looking out the windows. She was always moving about, from one side to the other, to be sure to not miss a thing we passed.

One evening we went to the train station to pick up David and naturally, along with a very young Griffin, Maia and Cordelia came too. On the way home, as I was heading towards a busy intersection and a red light, I horrifyingly discovered that we had no brakes. I was pumping the pedal and nothing was happening. Instant panic descended on me and I yelled to David that the brake pedal was stuck and I couldn't even slow down, let alone stop. He bent forward, looked down and yelled back at me, "The fucking cat is under it!" As we rushed towards the intersection, he leaned over, grabbed the cat by her tail and ripped her out from beneath the brakes, just in time. With adrenaline coursing through everyone in the car: human, dog and cat, David loudly announced, "Don't you ever bring that damn cat for a ride in the car again!"

And ten years later, she has never gone for even a single joy ride. And trust me, it's been great.

Sep 16, 2009

Top Secret Livestock

For the last few weeks, while lazing in bed in the morning, I have been hearing what I thought was our next door neighbor's baby making cooing sounds over in their back yard. It's periodically gotten my boys to barking and getting themselves all worked up, running up and down our bed in a doggie frenzy. Then last weekend, while David and I were out in our own yard, we both heard it. I looked at David and said very loudly, "That's no human baby- that's a lamb!" He said that that was what he had been thinking, as he had heard it repeatedly throughout the afternoon while he worked outside. But considering we aren't zoned for livestock in our neighborhood, which of our neighbors has one (or more as I now think I'm hearing multiple baby baa-baas)?

I think I've narrowed it down to who it is, and that the lamb(s) are being housed behind a small outbuilding and a fenced garden that was planted last season. The trouble is, every time I go over there to catch a glimpse of the tiny babies, they appear to be whisked away to some place where they won't be seen or heard by the authorities. Despite the fact that I was upset that this same person had a small flock of ducks two summers ago that were left out in an unprotected pen and either flew off to greener pastures or were rich duck dinners for one of the many predators who inhabit our neck of the woods, I wouldn't turn him in.

For several years I owned a rooster, in spite of them being illegal in our town. He was a special needs little guy and I didn't have the heart to not keep him here with us and give him the best life he could have, knowing that he'd be culled anyplace else. As a result, when the town came out for their annual health inspection of my property, he would be scooped up and snuck into my house where he would hang out in the kitchen until the coast was clear. Due to his health issues he seldom crowed, but that didn't stop me from holding my breath until the inspectors were well away from my property.

So, my neighbor has baby sheep and I am dying to see them, pet them and feed them, but he is obviously as savvy as I was in hiding what he isn't supposed to have. Besides my wish to finally have the chance to enjoy the contraband little ones, I have only two other wishes: that they're pets and not for eating (I could never eat a baby lamb!) and that he takes far better care of them than he did his ducks.

Photo courtesy of (I wish I had a photo of the new neighborhood lambs!)

Sep 7, 2009

One Dead Cat!

Maia Louise is damn lucky to be alive tonight after David got up this morning to find she had in the night smashed a valuable Rookwood vase that's more than a century old. Maia never gets up onto the top of the tall bookcase in the living room where she obviously felt compelled to go at some point during the wee hours while the humans (and their two tiny chihuahuas) blissfully slept on in the big bed together while carnage ensued below. When I got up, David told me in a very sad voice that I needed to come and see something downstairs and when I followed him, he came to me holding the remnants of one of our beautiful art pottery vases in his palms. How she even got up to that height is a mystery as she is getting up there in years and even very low jumps are proving more difficult for her (and often the simple act of climbing the stairs is tricky as well), but that is neither here nor there. Get up there she did somehow, and then clearly pushed and pushed until the lovely vase took a long, long fall to the floor, which now has a nasty crater in the hardwood. The bookcase was covered in cat fur, should anyone think poor innocent Maia has been framed for an act she had no part of. I am still so sad and angry that I have been keeping my distance from that damn cat all day long. Better to ignore her than be mean to her for something she clearly has no memory of doing.

Even though the vase is now worth absolutely nothing, David has been gluing the pieces back together throughout the day so I will at least still have my vase, even if it does have giant ugly Frankenstein scars all around it. It's going to take longer though to get over my anger with Maia than the time it will take him to cobble my vase back together.

Sep 4, 2009

The High and Low Notes of Dog Ass

If our dogs have such a refined palate and are this good at detecting the more subtle notes of a fine wine (or in this case, another dog's ass, at any rate) then why can't we train them to pick out a really good bottle of shiraz to go with the filet mignon we're serving at our dinner party Saturday night? It seems like such a waste if you ask me.

Artwork courtesy of Clayboys, 2008.

Sep 2, 2009

A Very Bad Man

The other day I was asked what I thought of Michael Vick being able to play football again and I had to pause before I answered because I'm really not sure how I feel. No, that's not entirely true. I know how I feel, I'm just not sure what I feel is fair and putting it all into words is difficult, especially without sounding like a monster myself.

What that man did to all those beautiful dogs is beyond reprehensible. It's unspeakable, he deserved to be punished and he was. The man served his time for his crime and that should be the end of it, right? So why is there a niggling part of me that keeps saying eighteen months wasn't nearly enough for all those lives, for all that pain? If he were an accountant or a house painter and he did what he did, when he was freed from jail and went back to making a living with a pencil or a paintbrush, would I be as upset? Yes, I would. But the man has a right to earn a wage, no matter what his job is and this is where I'm not being fair because I don't want him to have it so easy. I don't want him to be adored by fans again because in my opinion he's a very horrible person. But that isn't for me to decide, is it?

My heart frequently speaks too loudly when it comes to defenseless animals, but only slightly less loudly when it comes to humans who should certainly know better. I'm trying to have some compassion for Michael Vick, not for what he did and whether he has any remorse for his heinous actions (because that deserves no compassion and having remorse doesn't make it all go away), but for the fact that he has a right to live his life as best as he can now. I just can't help thinking about all those dogs whose lives were destroyed by him.

So do I think it's right that he's back playing football? Yes. No. Maybe. I just don't know.

Aug 31, 2009

Snakes Today, Mice Back Then

The discussion of snakes came up recently when a friend who lives down south was saying how she had woken up one morning a week or so back to find a very large snake in her house trying to figure out a way to get up to her caged birds for a free breakfast. She freaked (as most normal people would) and called for her husband who promptly came and killed the snake. Disaster averted.

I was of two minds when she told me this. First, that while not afraid of snakes per se, I would be startled and upset to see one in my house trying to eat my pets so I was sympathetic to her plight, but I also felt really bad for the snake and I told her so. I said that I don't think I would have reacted so hastily when it came to killing it and suggested that perhaps next time she might consider sparing the snake's life and relocating it far enough away from her home to ensure it wouldn't come back at mealtime. Her response to this was that as she and her family live where there is a plethora of highly poisonous snakes and other reptiles, many of which look just like non-poisonous snakes and reptiles, they don't bother to wait and see if Mr. Snake is going to turn out to be a good guy or a bad guy. They shoot and ask questions later. And while I do understand the need to protect yourself and your loved ones, I still feel bad for the snake. And this story reminded me of my own indoor critter issue.

Many, many moons ago, back in the mid-80s when David and I were living in our first apartment, we had a bit of a mouse problem. We lived in a small but sweet apartment on the top floor of a big old Victorian house directly above an elderly lady (who also lived directly above another old lady) both of who kept their heat jacked to the max all winter. This was nice because we never had to turn our own heat on at all, which was great for our budget, but bad because we ended up with bloody noses that lasted for months due to our scorchingly dry home atop all those ancient heat-seekers and we tended to draw in all the rodents who in the deep freeze of winter were looking for a place to thaw their itsy bitsy bones for a spell. Our bedroom rug, positioned in front of the radiator, was the favorite haunt for countless chilly little field mice. There would be many mice there, laying before the warmth day and night, and fearing our cats would kill them we spent a great deal of time removing the little cuties from our home and carrying them off to safety.

I have to admit that whenever we had to catch a new batch of mice to relocate them, I would often let them go again, just to see them scamper off and up a curtain or to zip off down the hallway. But catch them we did and on the colder nights David would bring the mice down to the river, a good mile or so from our place, and there he would let them go. He was always very careful to be sure they were well covered with leaves and within the low bushes to help fend off the chill, and I always grilled him to death when he'd come back to be sure he was as careful as possible to help them survive in the bitter cold. And then the next day, there would be more mice paying our almost too cozy home a visit. The other tenants thought us insane to not just put mouse traps down as our landlord had done all over that antique house, but instead we kept bringing the little ones out to a place they could safey call home, but far away from our own house. And as we came and went, we'd also trip the traps left by the landlord and then throw them away in our trash before any mice were killed in them.

So if I lived where my friend lives and I found a snake in my house I'm not sure what I'd do, given the chance that it could be something deadly, but as I live where a garter snake is about the most dangerous cold-blooded thing in my yard, I'm pretty sure I'd be bagging it up and taking it back outside where it belongs. And I probably wouldn't let it go again for a laugh just to see it slithering cutely down my hallway before I did that.

Aug 27, 2009

Pet Snapshot 1

I was told that raw beef bones and marrow bones were good for dogs and so the next time I was buying some cut meat, I asked the butcher for some good-sized bones for a good-sized dog. I went home with several large hunks of bone with all sorts of bloody muscle, bits of drippy meat and other nasty things that dogs go berserk over and sure enough, Cordelia went batshit on the spot. I froze a few of them for later and gave her a few to get started on. She took off with them and for awhile I saw her working on them in various places in the house. I tried to get her to stay in one spot (and on a towel as well), but she was having none of that as clearly for her a big part of the thrill was in dining on them here, there and everywhere. Some time went by and I saw Cordelia lazing about without her bones and I went looking for them but couldn't find them anywhere, and then having gotten busy with my own life, forgot all about the bones until I went upstairs later that night to open the bed for David and I. And there were Cordelia's bones, stuffed underneath David's pillows. She adored David, so it was a toss-up as to whether she was offering them as a gift to him or had chosen to hide them there because she trusted him to protect them for her and not eat them himself, but either way we had a bed full of bloody, stringy sinew and smelly, sucked-on bones. With a gift like that at the end of a long day, it's a good thing we loved her just as much as she did us.

Aug 22, 2009

Chihuahua Card

My birthday was last week and this was the best card I got. Nothing but nothing is cuter than a little girl chi in pink rhinestones.

Aug 20, 2009

Marketing Pet Food By Mail

Have pet food manufacturer's seen such a dip in their sales that they feel the need to bombard pet owners with pamphlets and even food samples through the mail? Lately I seem to be getting one or more a day, for both dogs and cats.

Yesterday I got two pieces of literature trying to entice me to buy a certain dog food brand which shall remain nameless as I do not care for the food very much and am not going to give the company any free advertising. I will say that is a high end food that can only be bought in specialty stores, not supermarkets nor chain pet supply stores, and my boys only ate it as Bram was being fed that when I got him and I didn't want to change his diet suddenly as he has quite the delicate little constitution. He loves the stuff and so does Edison (who never eats anything), which doesn't surprise me as it isn't good for them at all, despite its high falutin' name and price tag. After all, who would pass up a bag of potato chips and a cheeseburger for a plate of carrot slices and some lean chicken?

I did read the little booklet though and found an interesting bit of information that I felt compelled to pass on to Bram. It said, and I quote, "the chihuahua produces only a small amount of waste..." Excuse me? I have never had a dog of any size who shits as much as Bram does in a single day. It's staggering what comes out of his tiny body. I showed him the booklet, I read him the data and do you think he cared? Not a whit. And still I have the shittingest chi in the east.

Today I got a small package from Fancy Feast. I say their name because this is the brand Maia eats (and I use the term "eat" in only the loosest sense of the word). She sniffs it, she might lick it, but then she walks away in disgust. At least she'll eventually eat this stuff, albeit grudgingly, because there isn't another food on the planet she'll even consider, no matter the quality or price, and believe me I've tried them all. But I digress.

Apparently Fancy Feast is now making cat appetizers. Little plastic containers with shredded meats in broth and nothing else added. The food sample came in a fancy box, complete with pop open windows and catchy feel-good phrases printed all over it such as "in a delicate broth" and "simply for anytime" (the italics is Fancy Feast's choice and not mine). This last one floors me. If my cat won't eat the main dish, what makes them think she's going to be interested in an appetizer? And what's next? A wine list?
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