Monday, September 10, 2012

Busy

I have been so busy lately.  I started a new job and am always behind.  I figure I won't get caught up until the semester ends.  I haven't been this flustered since I was hired the day before school started at my first teaching job.

Elle and Chance only get walks every other day right now.  I work too many hours and walk a whole lot during the day.  I will say Elle is a quick learner.  My cherry tomato finally started producing ripe fruit and I picked a few and popped them in my mouth.  Warm from the sun, sweet as can be.  Elle watched me do it.

"You want to try a tomato?" I asked her.  I bit one in half and gave it to her.  She loved it.  She observed and studied me picking and eating.  Then she tried it all by herself.  She picked her own little tomato.  I couldn't stop laughing.  Silly dog.  Except now, a few days later, it isn't quite as funny.  There are never any ripe tomatoes.  Elle picks them before I can get to them.  Grrrrrrr.  Damned smart dog.  Soon I'll have to start spelling in front of her.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Changes

I haven't blogged in a while.  Maybe that's the beauty of blogging, you do it only when you want.  There have been so many changes this summer.  I applied for a new position at the university and got it, something that historically I only do every 12 years.  I miss seeing some of the people I worked with every single day.  Yet I am on stable money now, not at the mercy of grant funding.  The new job, well it's perfect for me.  It's going to be a rough semester, but the first time through always is.  I now coordinate the undergraduate biology labs at the university.  I'm going to love it.  The position comes with a real office with a real window and  my own phone number in a beautiful new building.   

To complicate matters, one week into the job I pulled jury duty.  Luckily I drew the new short trial format. After a 10 hour day, my duty and the trial were both done.  Whew.  

The poor dogs though.  The funky hours trying to learn the new job before the incumbent retires in two weeks has taken its toll.  Some 6am days, the super hot weather and smoke from forest fires has messed with our morning walks.  I think the dogs feel neglected and I'm all out of whack. I get my best thinking done on those walks.

The dry spring has had an unusual effect on my plum tree.  Without the dampness that fosters aphids or the late blossom killing frost, the plum tree, for the first time in its life, is having plums.  They are beautiful and bountiful.  It seems the dogs have found a new past time: eating all of the fallen plums.  It took me an entire week to figure out the massive diarrhea belonging to otherwise happy dogs.  The pits laying all over the back yard gave them away.  The little piglets ate and ate without restraint.  I spent two nights this week picking all of the plums off of the tree.  Diarrhea, gone.  

My little fur family and I are laying low until the heat breaks.  There isn't a one of us that isn't looking forward to that first chill in the air signalling fall.  Elle and Chance often sleep outside together on the cool grass guarding the veggie garden from rabbits  and listening for the sound plums make as they hit the ground.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Fourth of July

The 4th of July this year was a day to relax.  The night before I had gone over to a neighbor's house for dinner.  It was just a couple of us girls and Elle, Chance and Chopper the boxer.  Chopper is two years old and extremely friendly and playful.  The three dogs played with each other until exhausted.  Elle is unused to seeing anyone sit down to eat at a table, which is the perfect height for her to rest her head,  as I typically eat standing up at over the kitchen seat.  The smell of pizza right at snout level was intoxicating to the poor girl.  We were all eating outside on the patio, yet the pizza was inside the house on the dining room table.  Finally we closed the slider to keep the temptation at a minimum. 

Much to our amusement, Elle, the giant wolfhound dog, crazed by the smell of pizza, wrangled herself through a medium sized doggy door; she was heading straight for the pizza on the inside table.  We were doubled over with laughter.  Her mouth full of pizza, I went after her causing her to panic, her pizza hit the ground.  Right on cue, Chopper targeted the pizza, swooping in and bounding back through the dog door.  Chance was on him, yet Chopper managed to get down almost half of the piece of pizza before it again dropped and Chance finished the deed.

The dogs ended up playing for a couple of hours.  I have no idea how Chopper fared on the 4th of July.  My two animals slept all day.  I bet those silly dogs had sore muscles from too much play.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

A Puddle of Toys

Elle has been extra chipper the last two days.  She has been silly, smiling and playful compared to the weekend.  Elle and Chance had a busy Sunday.  We took our 3 mile walk and went down the street and played a few hours with the neighbor's boxer.  Josh came over to cut the grass and brought his pup Ripley.  Usually Chance and Elle run Ripley's legs off.  Not this Sunday though.  Elle wasn't up to par and both dogs were annoyed by the pup.  I think they were just over tired; no dog napping happens when we have a busy day.

Come to think of it Elle was particularly impatient with the pup.  I think her stomach may have been upset.  Early that day during the walk I had found an injured bird that likely had been hit by a car.  Poor thing was hardly moving and I was going to have to come back and put it out of its misery after I got the dogs home.  Then it moved a whole wing.  Elle saw the movement.  In one giant leap she pounced on that bird and kept walking like nothing was in her mouth.  "Drop!" I  cried several times, then "Leave it!" I called, still she held her mouth shut tight and pretended nothing was inside that didn't belong there.  I tried parting her jaws with my hands and she clamped them tighter.  "Elle!"  She ignored me, turned her head out of my vision range and began chewing.  Crunch, crunch, crunch.  All I could tell myself was that she was now on the "raw" diet and that she would be alright.  Then, as I saw long feathers sticking out from her mouth, much to my surprise, she spewed it out.

"Thank you, Elle."  I told her, first for spitting and second for doing the job of killing the injured bird for me.    I do think the bird juice upset her stomach a bit though and I'm glad she is feeling better.

Today I brought home two very large dog beds.  I intended to sew each dog one and decided that since I hadn't done it yet that I should just purchase some and reclaim the two comforters the dogs have been using as bed substitutes.   Both dogs were down right elated.  They danced around on  their beds, Elle being more playful with me than she has ever been before.  My glasses are now fogged with dog slobber and as I type this  Elle is happily chewing away on an elk antler having surrounded herself in a puddle of dog toys, herself lying on a dog bed looking like a princess.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Separation Anxiety

Tomorrow I am heading out a couple of days of fly fishing.  I have conflicting emotions ripping a whole in my stomach.  I have never left these dogs before.  Not just these dogs, I seldom left the dogs before this pair.  Like a nervous parent I've set out the Beano for bloat, Neosporin for injuries, cortisone for hot spots.  I've got the emergency instructions and vet numbers taped to the refrigerator door as well as those of neighbors.  Benadryl, baby aspirin, Milkbones, leashes, brushes;  you would think I was leaving newborn children.  

My friend Gena is going to be staying at the house with Elle and Chance.  They know her and she has owned big dogs; it's a good fit.  I have tried to think of everything, every scenario, every problem that might come up.  It's a good thing I will only be two hours away.  I can be back in town quickly if there were an emergency.  

In two weeks I am flying out to Chicago for four days. The dogs, they are fine.  Me, I am having a giant bout of separation anxiety just thinking about it.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Growing

Growing, my how Elle is growing.  Finally she has found her voice.  A single bark here, double bark there.  It grew into Elle barking at Chance to come outside and play with her.  Elle barks at the new, very poorly mannered puppy next door.  She also speaks in a series of broken whines when she is hungry, impatient, wanting attention, wanting me out of bed.  There are endless bouts of running a race track in the back yard and in the house.  Neither dogs stop playing now when they catch me watching.  Today I witnessed their first game of tug-o-war.   Elle won't play directly with me, yet. I think that's coming though.

We didn't walk today and I've noticed that they two are extremely playful when they haven't been walked.  Too much excess energy makes for feisty dogs.  Speaking of feisty, Elle is  pushing her boundaries and trying to tell me "no".  It's pretty funny.  If I wait long enough she usually decided to give in with the exception of getting in the bath tub.  Chance even jumped in with the special "Old Roy" treats.  Elle, poor Elle ended up in the back yard with a hose.  She just down right refused to get in.  I'm now on the prowl for one of those dog wash places although I haven't given up the idea of training her with some dry runs and see if that won't help.  


Overall, my Elle is growing comfortable.  I think that is a good thing.












Sunday, May 6, 2012

Yoga with Elle

In a solid effort to get into some sort of shape, I have been attempting yoga.  It isn't really full on yoga, it is more like pre-yoga, something that you would to before actually taking a beginning yoga class.  

Elle and Chance were sleeping.  We had been on our three mile walk and they had been fed.  It was a good time to slip in the yoga DVD without being bothered.  The DVD started off slowly, a stretch here, a pose there.  The next thing I knew Elle had come up behind me, her head filling a window my bent elbow had made doing some pose and she was making noises.  I stopped, pet her, told her she was a good girl and to go lie down.  I began to stretch the other side making the same window with the opposite elbow.  In stealth mode  Elle came in from the front, stuck her head in the window my elbow was making, then did her famous flip onto her back, belly exposed and four legs in the air.  She had landed, or rather most of her had landed, squarely in my lap.  I swear if a dog could giggle, she would have been.  We stayed there a while,  Elle contently curled up in my lap.  

Monday, April 30, 2012

Playing in a Cool Breeze

As quick as the heat came on the last few weeks, it has let up an been a nice couple of days.  Elle and Chance are blowing out their undercoats; there is fur absolutely everywhere.  Today was my attempt to get a grip on the fur with lots and lots of brushing.  I swear the two of them basked in the attention. 

Both dogs are so itchy.  No fleas, no mange.  Chance has a "hot spot", something with which I have no experience.  I did the natural thing, cutting all the hair away, applying Neosporin, and watching it.  The internet confirms I did alright.  His poor paws are red as well.  I cut down some of his fur, yet not too far, I want him to have a barrier just in case this is all grass related.

Elle is itchy too but hasn't any hot spots.  I have only been giving her Benadryl at night which really seems to help.  Both dogs may be on Benadryl until this spring has passed.  Turning on the water system has kept the dead grass down and the green is beginning to show through.  

They now get an egg every morning over their food.  It's something Elle's foster Mom did for her as she had chickens.  I figure Elle didn't itch when she came to me so  I started including an egg a day.  Flax seed oil, they both get flax seed oil on their food too.  I'm due to buy food soon and I may be taking that up a grade this time just in case the food is bothering them.

Elle is a great dog.  She is less, uhm, spasmodic;  I think she is getting used to human petting and hugging.  While she has always let me hug her, she often would spaz out after a few seconds, lift her head forcefully, and knock me under my chin.  Not only has my brain been rattled by this action, but my cheek and tongue are missing sizable chucks.

In the coolness of twilight those two dogs play chase.  They eat right when I get home and typically it is too hot to play outside.  Hours later as the cool air settles in, the chase game begins.  A lot of noises, a lot of  running, some barking, and a lot of smiling. Happy.  That's what I want for them, as well as myself, simply to be happy.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

A Quick Walk

It's been a hectic two weeks.  Too much working leaving me too tired to blog.  This week I am making a concerted effort to stop doing three things at one time.  So far that is working much better for me. 

The wind is back in force today which altered the dog walking schedule.  The unseasonable heat had forced us all to walk in the morning.  Today it had to be quick before the wind kicked in.  I popped out of bed tossed on clothes and away we went. 

Typically we walk through the fields first and the dogs do their "business".  Yet today we were rushed. Chance decided to do his business on someone's lawn and I was not prepared with a bag for poop duty.  My attitude is, oh well. Things happen.  It is only a poop, not a big deal. 

To the neighbor of the offended lawn it was the straw that broke the camel's back.  He pulled in his driveway as we were leaving the scene of the poop. 

He screamed at the top of his lungs, "Hey!  You aren't going to just leave that there are you?"

"I don't have a bag today", was my reply.

"You are a horrible person for leaving that.  It's horrible people like you who ruin it for the rest of us!"

He was screaming even louder.  We were already three houses down.  Two minutes later he drove up to us in his car, window down, still screaming at the top of his lungs.  It was obscene.  He threatened to bring his dog over to poop on my yard. That made me laugh as his poor dog never gets a walk so I knew that would never happen.  I smiled, mentioned that he might be over reacting as he was still following us in his car; he was driving on the wrong side of the road. 

He was beginning to scare me as he was demanding to know where I lived (I had already walked past my house there was no way I wanted this bulbous nosed man with a ginormous anger management problem to know where I lived.   I asked if he had been drinking and he turned the car around.  He had been so loud that neighbors from all around were coming out of their houses asking him what was wrong.  Of course he told them, still screaming.  I, the offender waived at them and kept walking.

It was a relief that the people had come out of their homes to see what the commotion was about because I felt safer with them there were to witnesses to his insane behavior.  That's when I let down my guard and tears began to roll down my cheeks.  Eventually he drove home and I walked back to mine. 

I'm not proud of being a poop polluter, maybe pooper for short.  It is not my finest moment.  Had he offered me a bag I would have gladly picked the thing up.  Had he asked politely I would have driven back with a bag after I dropped the dogs off at home.  My initial reaction was to bag the thing and drop it off at his doorstep.  Vindictive, I know.  Frankly, what was a grown man doing home at 7:00 in the morning, un-showered, drinking and driving and obsessing about a poop on his neighbor's lawn?
 
I figure this man's  life must be awful and I shouldn't intentionally add to it.  I resigned the following: I will never walk the dogs without my cell,  I'll start to carry mace again, and I may, or may not remember a poop bag.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Week Four: Family

It has been a week of visitors.   My friend Gena, Don the handyman, my sister Denise, all came by the house this week.  Chance, who loves and adores all people, constantly barks with happiness as new people enter.  Elle is more reserved.  She sniffs the person while weighted on her back legs so she can put herself into an instant reverse.  Eventually she gives the lick of approval and rolls onto her back for a belly rub.   I noticed by the time my sister came by, the third new person to come into the house, Elle was more curious than timid and was quick to give the tongue slap of approval.  It is good to see her growing.

Today we will take our longest walk yet as the weather is mild and there is no time line.  Elle and Chance have come to work things out on the walk.  Elle no longer walks in an "s" shaped pattern pushing either Chance or I off of the sidewalk.  She seems more in tune with us; when I call her name during the walk she makes eye contact now and when we meet the neighborhood children she doesn't shy from them. 

You never do know just what you are getting yourself into when you invite an animal to be part of your life.   It makes no difference if it is a puppy or a dog; all animals come with their own personalities and quirks much of which is not ours to choose. While we can anticipate that certain breeds will likely come with particular behaviors, there is no "rule" about these things.  

Chance, my Rough Collie, is a quiet dog with the exception that he barks.  I know Collies are alarm dogs and that they have a tendency to bark.  I get that it is his way of communicating, but he is really talkative. Lucky for me he had been previously debarked.  While I'm not sure debarking is an option with which I agree as I would prefer to train the dog to bark more selectively,  I am confident the neighbors are relieved Chance was debarked. 

Elle is my noisy dog.  I know where she is and what she is doing by the sounds.  Chomp, chomp, chomp.  Elle chewing an elk antler.  Lap, lap, lap.  Elle gulping water.  The alarm clock has become obsolete as the sound from Elle's giant yawn each morning has taken it's place.  Back to the water issue, I have never seen any dog lap up so much water and swallow so little.  It doesn't just drip from her beard, it pours from her mouth.  I have resigned that  I will never have dry socks again. 

It is also the first spring I have had with this crew.  Both dogs love to roll upside down in the grass and it is quite cute until they pop through the dog door, fur laden with dead grass, and shake it off inside the house.  Today is Easter Sunday, a time when many families gather together.  As I sip my second cup of coffee this morning with two dogs sleeping happily at my feet, I realized that we are a family.  We play, eat, and sleep together.  We have disagreements.  We accept each others quirky behaviors.  We genuinely care for and about each other.  We are family. 

Monday, April 2, 2012

Week Three: Spring

A bit of nice weather has come our way.  The air smells green as little shoots unfold from plants shaking off their dormancy.   As always around this time of year, rabbits too come out of hiding and can be seen everywhere.  While many are hopping,  many are scattered on the roadside having met cars. 

I arrived home to find Chance and Elle basking in the sun.  As they greeted me I saw Elle had dirt on her nose.  I wondered where she had been digging.  I grabbed their leashes for our walk. All the rabbits I had seen lately had me a bit gun shy about the first episode of Elle meeting a rabbit on our walks.  She's a 115 pound sight hound.  We tested those waters today with a cat.  Cat, rabbit, both are small fuzzy mammals.  

Elle and Chance both were entirely too interested in the cat when we came across her.  Yet my arm remains in my socket and they did keep walking, albeit slowly, and with their necks twisted backward so they could view the cat.  Personally, I thought it was a success. After today I realized that the rabbit encounter may go better than I think. 

When we returned home I began tackling the chore of picking up the poops.  The first poop I came across looked odd.  I put on my glasses.  Was it a dead bird?  I couldn't find a beak.  I poked around with a stick flipping it over.  Was that fur? The fur had been carefully licked so that it was sticky and standing straight up. Four legs and a tail, a baby, headless, bunny. Not all rabbits will lose their hop due to cars this spring.  If I had to guess, I believe the head is likely buried in one of the two freshly dug holes in the garden area.  I asked the dogs and they aren't talking.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

About Two Weeks: Lessons from Elle

This past weekend I came down with a bad case of new parent syndrome.  Elle and I had gone to the vet Saturday and picked up heartworm preventative for her.  We had Elle's most recent medical history but none of her history prior to being rescued and the vet wanted her covered for Parvo so she had a vaccination.

Sunday morning was particularly quiet.  I hadn't been woken by Elle's tail thumping on the wall or her loud yawning.  She didn't have her head in my face reminding me that it was morning and she needed food.  In fact, where was Elle?  I popped out of bed and she was still sleeping, curled in a ball.  As I woke her up she made a whimpering sound that wrapped itself around my heartstrings and yanked.  I panicked. 

I reasoned that if she ate food she might be alright and survive whatever ailed her.  She passed the food test.  Still, no tail wagging, no following me around the house.  Only yesterday she was in perfect health.  How could she suddenly be so ill she whined?  I felt her nose.  Hot and dry.  She had a temperature.  More panic.  Why was I panicking?  I have had dogs my entire life?  Why couldn't I remember what to do?

I checked her entire body for signs of injury.  No swelling, no redness, all the limbs bent at the right places. Lord how could I have managed to kill off this giant dog in a week? Was this going to be my first trip to the emergency vet?  Finally it came to me: aspirin.  I Googled it.  Yep.  You can give dogs aspirin; I had Shasta and Aiden both on baby aspirin at one time.  I opened her giant mouth, popped in some baby aspirin, gave her a Milk Bone chaser and waited.  An hour later the old Elle was coming back and I began breathing again.   It had probably been a reaction to the vaccine from the day before. 

In two weeks I've learned a great deal.  Elle is a good communicator.  She is going to tell you when she needs or wants something.  My job is to figure out what she is saying.  She is a bit leery of new sights and sounds, yet her curiosity frequently gets the better of her and she investigates despite her misgivings.  She didn't love going on walks at first but she tolerated them.  Now she happily holds her head up so I can attach the lead.  She truly struggled with the concept of the dog door being more than a window.  No longer.  It is now both a window and a door.  Elle has let go of her past and embraces today.  I think I will be learning a great deal from Elle.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Over A Week:

It has been over a week since the Irish Wolfhound Ellie (aka Elle) entered my life.  Right now I would summarize her as the largest puppy I've ever had.  While she is definitely adult in size, on the inside she is still a pup.  Everything is new to her and she is curious about absolutely everything.  She is quite content following me from room to room.  Often she gets herself into spaces too small to turn around so she has had to learn to go backwards.  I just realized I should capitalize on that and teach her the command "back". 

She no longer views our walks as punishment and when I rattle the leashes she starts to get excited.  I admit we all could use more walking.  This wind has been problematic.  Yesterday it was blowing down trash cans as we were walking which was spooking Elle.  Then it tossed sand in my face.  We turned tail and went back home.

The dog door is a work in progress.  It took Chance a while to really master the dog door in the wall.  Elle should catch on soon.  It has only been a week.  She is very proud herself that she can can "sit" which I find adorable.  She is so willing to try new and strange things. I should have that attitude.

 We have a vet appointment tomorrow to establish her as a patient.  It will be her first car ride since the long trip from California.  She is still holding back "playing", maybe just waiting to see if the other shoe is going to drop.  When I came home for lunch the two dogs were sleeping peacefully together in the shade on the patio with the wind rustling through their fur.   

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Day Seven: Settling

I was greeted by two dogs inside the house at lunch today.  Chance definitely taught Elle how to get through the dog door.  Sadly she only thinks it goes one direction, inside.   My job now is to get her to go out of the thing.  
  
Elle is showing me just how much of the wolfhound personality Aiden had in her.  (My Aiden was part Irish Wolfhound and part terrier which made her possibly both a sight and a scent oriented dog.)  Aiden had the strongest jaws I have ever seen.  Before I knew better, I used to give my dogs beef rib bones.  It had never been a problem as I had never had a dog make even a dent in the bone.  Aiden literally pulverized rib bones into bone meal.  I figured that was the wolfhound part of her as they were bred to fight bears and wolves.  Now I meet Elle.  She too is a "heavy" chewer.  I bought her a heavy duty Nylabone on the way home.  I also was sent a web site for elk antlers via her foster Mom's friends who own some of Elle's relatives.  Now  I've just got to get her one of those!  I wish I had known about these for Aiden. 

Today Elle's Break Away collar arrived and I expect her name tag any day.   It's been a week and we are all beginning to settle.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Day Six: A New Trick?

Today I felt better as I've been recovering from this flu that has plagued me.  When I came home for lunch the dogs and I took a two mile walk.   I'm not up to the usual three miles yet even if they are.  Elle did great.  We met two neighbors with new pup and they wanted to know if they could introduce the puppy to my dogs so the pup would get used to new dogs and situations.  It went smooth.  While Elle lacked  interest in the pup, Chance and the pup were instantly play mates.  When we arrived at home I put both dogs in the back yard and shuttled back  to work.  

When I came home I was greeted with a big sloppy kiss. That in itself would not be unusual except that I had left both dogs outside and the dog that greeted me was Elle; she doesn't know how to use the dog door yet, or does she?  What is Chance teaching her when I am gone?  I have the urge to get a nanny cam. 

Monday, March 19, 2012

Day Five: The View from Up Side Down

Elle has been in my life five days.  She has learned "sit" and will stick her head in through the doggy door.  It's all she knows and that's a start.  She also gets up at the crack of dawn which is something we are going to need to work out.  

My plan for today was to leave Elle outside, Chance inside, come home at lunch and walk them, and repeat.  The weather forecast messed up Plan A.  It was forecast to be 9F outside at 8AM and I could not lock a dog outside in that kind of cold.  So Plan B was invented.  Elle has never been indoors until the last month at her foster Mom's house.  She had a reputation for seeking items out and chewing them up a bit.  So I spent last night doggy proofing my house.  As I left this morning I said a prayer to God to protect little Elle from chewing or swallowing anything that would harm her.  

Success!  I came home for lunch and no damage was done.  I would like to think I am lucky, but the more likely explanation is that Elle is not quite herself yet and I dodged a bullet.  Yet she is more comfortable than when she first arrived (as seen below).  So comfortable now that there is a small chunk of fabric missing out of her dog blanket as she nibbled it away after dinner.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Day Three: Wag of the Tail

I woke up to the sound of a tail thumping against the wall.  Without opening my eyes I knew it was Ellie. It was her first tail wagging since she had come home. It was 5:30 AM and we had avoided the cleaning up of pee.  I could hear the scurry of toenails outside on the patio, Chance was giving her play bow again.  Maybe today would be the day she would play.

Day Two: Already Attached

I hadn't brought a new dog into my home with another dog already resident for eight years and I suddenly realized that I didn't have a clue as to what I was doing no matter what I thought before.  It was a restless night and all of us were up and down every hour.  Ellie had sipped down a lot of water and giant dogs piddle giant puddles.  I had been trying to avoid a major clean up.  I was not successful.  Eek gads.....she may need potty training as well.  

As I was up most of the night, I read about training dogs as opposed to puppies.  There is a difference.  Something changes in a dog's mindset when it reaches adolescence. So far I had never had a dog who didn't know any commands.  Initially I had wanted to change her name, not that I didn't like Ellie, simply that I wanted a name that reflected meaning for me.  Yet she comes when called by her name.  That's all she's got on the training level and I don't have the heart to mess with it.  Ellie had been slated by a breeder for "breeding purposes only" thereby negating the need to train her at all.  She came from a malnourished, under stimulated environment covered in feces and filth.  

She is two and would have been bred in her next heat.  My understanding is, that of the three Irish Wolfhounds Ellie's foster Mom took in, only two made it.  One is so afraid that she shivers when she sees new people.  She had a benign tumor removed and a  large sliver of wood pulled from her gums between her teeth.  One died as she had a cloth item trapped in her stomach and the surrounding organs necrosed.   After the one died, the two remaining girls were found outside baying together mournfully one night.  The voice of a wolfhound  will move your soul. 

Rumor has it that the Irish Wolfhound community may be a bit closed minded.  Through the years I have found that many purists can be over the top with self righteous indignation no matter the topic.  The wolfhound community had strongly voiced their opinion that the eleven dogs rescued should be distributed only within the Irish Wolfhound community.  These dogs were breeding stock after all.  

The maintenance and necessity of  pure blood lines has value and purpose.  Yet it is not the only reason for breeding and adopting dogs. Certainly it is not a more noble cause than the rescuing of dogs out of inhumane situations and putting the dog's best interest first.  Being at at the top of the food chain means we can afford to demonstrate benevolent behavior and put the best interest of individual dogs above our own desires occasionally.  Sometimes it isn't about what they can do for us, but what we can do for them.  (This is coming from a woman who buys "free range" eggs as the thought of even a chicken unable to walk around as nature intended is offensive.)

I hadn't expected Ellie to stir emotion in me.  Last June 16 I lost my Aiden, an Irish Wolfhound/Terrier mix, to old age.  She was ten.  We had eight lovely years together.  The last three had been just the two of us as her soul mate Shasta, a very large German Wirehaired Pointer had died.  Never having adopted the same breed  twice, Ellie has taken me back.  She has some of Aiden's antics and the same beautiful, naturally black line that surrounded Aiden's eyes.  
 
Chance, my Rough Collie rescue, has made play bow at Ellie a couple of times.  She has yet to buy into his games but she did slap him with a big wet tongue.  Chance is smiling that silly smile again.  It was his smile in his picture that had prompted me to adopt him.  The three of us napped off an on all day after our short walk.  As the sun set, the wind began screeching outside and the freezing rain pelted the windows.  I closed the bedroom door and when I climbed into bed I could see the outlines of Chance and Ellie sleeping; their rear paws were just touching.  We have to make this work as I am becoming attached already.

Day One: All Tuckered Out


We made it home safe and sound. As a rule I NEVER go over the hill in the winter when the weather is dicey.  Yet I knew this dog was supposed to be mine.  At least I thought I knew.  When Michelle asked me if I had chains or snow tires I was stunned.  I'd never thought of it.

 Ellie is a curious Irish Wolfhound girl collecting all the smells, both inside and outside, that she can.  We took a short 15 minute walk together, the three of us, so Chance and Ellie can begin to pull together as a pack.  The walk went quite well.  We met another dog and two neighbor children and Ellie was a champ.  Chance finally relaxed and played a little ball and raced around in the back yard.  Later Ellie flipped upsided down on the grass and wanted a belly rub.  Chance came over and licked her once.  Later she did finally settle in the living room and was going to sleep.  Chance did something that unsettled her and she gave him a growl;  I think he was trying to get her to play by waking her up.  He didn't flinch.  I gave them the "no" noise.  It stopped.  It happened once again.  I did the same.   They are just now both finally settled into the bedroom on their beds and I think there will be lots of sleep had by all tonight.  She does give some big, sloppy kisses, I will say that for her :)
I tried to get Ellie to "sit" for her dinner without success.  She did understand "waiting" after I placed her food bowl until I gave her the "okay", but that was by body language, not by a command.  Not having been a pet, she doesn't have basic commands.  I just figured that out.   It isn't a bad thing, just a place for us to start learning.  I'm very grateful her foster Mom taught her to get in and out of the car.......that is so useful!  On a similar note, she hasn't used a doggy door ever.  I started to get her used to the flap tonight and she is a bit gun shy about it.   She seemed confused tonight as to where to settle down and sleep.  Her foster Mom emailed that she had never slept inside the house. 

Right now Ellie is dream "running" in her sleep.