It had been awhile since I last saw some neat little art with chihuahuas as the main subject and then I stumbled across this sweet collage and instantly fell in love. The repeating chi is adorable and who doesn't like an ancestor with a helium balloon for a head?
Despite my lingering vertigo-type virus, I've managed to finish these two super chunky turtlenecks for my boys just in time for an insanely cold arctic blast due to hit tonight. When it goes into the low minuses for the next few days, the little men will be sitting pretty (and cozy) in their uber-thick but very soft lambswool sweaters. I made Edison's first and discovered when I put it on Bram to see if I could get away with the same size and stitch count, that Brammo's head almost completely disappeared inside the large turtleneck, thus some adjustments were made to the pattern and chubby, shorter-necked Bram got a sweater he could wear without needing a periscope to see up and out the top. I had hoped to put some gorgeous sea green and blue buttons on them to tie the two together subtly in a colorwise way, but was very unhappy with the way they looked sewn on. Love the sweaters, love the buttons, but together? Not so much. But even unadorned, these sweaters still rock and so do my handsome men inside them. Bring on the chill, baby! Bring it on!
Bram has been struggling with intermittent stomach issues for the last few months, the origins of which remain unknown. His blood work is normal, his health is otherwise fine, but his tummy-and god only knows why- feels compelled to rebel in a very unpleasant way for both Bram and his humans. I'm pretty sure it's a new food allergy or intolerance but despite endless elimination and reintroduction diets, I've yet to figure out which ingredient it is. I'm thinking it may be more than one, with one of the culprits most likely corn, a food that is not in any of the dog food he or Edison eats but which I must admit I am guilty of feeding them in tiny amounts when noshing on my own unhealthy human snacks.
I've spoken with my vet about homemade diets, and although I'm willing to take the time and pay the expense of it all, I worry about my men getting the proper nutrition they need to stay healthy for many, many years to come. My vet has seen horror stories played out before her very eyes, and of course she shared every last gory detail with me (thanks, doc!) so I've decided to strike something of a compromise. I will continue to use the holistic kibble and organic wet food I know the little boy can eat without incident, and will also continue to add bits of human meats, veggies and fruits to their meals as well, but I've started to buy some of the better doggie cookbooks to use in creating those yummy, healthy foods to be used as supplements to dog food meal time.
The boys have had their first organic chicken livers; a meat that I really struggled with poaching while suffering from a flu-like virus. I've found that boiling fresh organ meats requires a stomach of steel, at least in my kitchen at any rate. They've enjoyed the recent addition to their diets of grass-fed sauteed buffalo and next we'll be testing the tummy waters with some salmon and possibly a bit of fresh tuna. Veggies are always welcome (except for the much-despised peas) and fruits are being kept to a minimum till Bram's stomach is fully settled.
As someone who was raised by an executive chef and who has an almost obsessive need to keep buying and using new cookbooks, moving into the realm of fine doggie cuisine is not only going to be healthier for my boys, but absolutely hands-down fun-as-hell for me too.
The Healthy Dog Cookbook: 50 Nutritious and Delicious Recipes Your Dog Will Love, Jonna Anne with Mary Strauss and Shawn Messonnier, DVM, Ivy Press Limited, 2008
The Natural Pet Food Cookbook: Healthful Recipes for Dogs and Cats, Wendy Nan Rees with Kevin Schlanger, DVM, Wiley, John & Sons, 2008.
We had a very special little Call Duck who passed away last month after a very long and very blessed life. His previous owner had had many of his most special birds stuffed, thus preserving them for all time, and so we had talked about doing this ourselves for little Pibb when his time came, provided he was to pass while he was in fine feather. Well, he did and he was, so we took him to the man who had worked on so many of Pibb's predecessors.
As someone who doesn't like to see dead animals, or even think about them suffering or being killed in any way, I wasn't sure how I would handle being in the same room with a bunch of them. Oddly though, I generally like taxidermied animals (even the badly done ones), probably because they're a happy combination of a creature looking beautifully alive and acting as a piece of art all at the same time. I surprised myself by not having any trouble maneuvering through a minefield of bloodied and decapitated bodies and heads piled here and there on the floor waiting for their turn to be immortalized. In fact, I was fine with everything: the ugly untreated bits and the gloriously gorgeous creatures in the showroom: everything from the giant moose down to the tiniest birds and everything in between.
The only thing I didn't do so well with was when the man's very young daughter excitedly told me the story of how she had just made her first kill and that daddy was going to stuff her buck for her. Keeping a smile on my face and looking happy for her wasn't the easiest thing I have ever done. Hunting an animal for sport is not something I want to hear about, but a child hunting an animal for sport and being so pleased with herself was almost more than I could bear. But alas, bear it I did for our little Pibb, who I simply can't wait to have back here at home with us, fat little body, bent little wobbly leg and all.
Pibb! When will you be ready for us to come and collect you, little man?
Maia was being a fairly good girl for a change, sitting quietly in her bed, transfixed by a fly that was buzzing around on the light fixture on the ceiling above her head. (I'm not sure how a fly managed to stay alive in the frigid winter temperatures we're currently having, but power to it for making it this far into the season). When I saw how sweet she looked while not tearing up a pillow she isn't supposed to be on while sharpening her claws, rabbit kicking a magazine to shreds with her back feet, venomously swatting at shiny chihuahua eyes, or sundry other rotten cat behaviors she enjoys indulging in, I ran for my camera. Her giving me the cold stare in one of the photos aside, followed rapidly by her realizing that the fly was now a mere inches from her bum in the other photo, she posed rather nicely. For a cat.
Having now managed to get the rare couple of photos of her not in a blurry swirl of whiskers and fur, and given doctor's orders to rest through a nasty virus I'm now suffering from, I plan on sitting quietly for the next few days, wrapped all snuggly in a blanket with the boys, and sketching her up from these pictures, a rare treat from the usual dog portraits.
Until one has loved an animal, a part of one's soul remains unawakened.
The indifference, callousness and contempt that so many people exhibit toward animals is evil first because it results in great suffering in animals, and second because it results in an incalculably great impoverishment of the human spirit.