Wednesday, February 18, 2015

The Dreaded Flip Flop

Dear Ryker is the sweetest dog.  He is so quiet and spends hours simply observing.  The weather here has been balmy and today I donned flip flops.  Flip.  Flop.  Flip.  Flop.  It triggered something in Ryker that I had not seen. 

First, you have to get the sound of his bark in you mind.  He sounds like Dino from the Flintstones cartoon.  Funny at first, but long bouts of it could make your ears bleed.  Ryker was emotional upset.  He barked and barked a loud, shrill warning.  Chance, my other collie, was frantically looking inside and outside the house attempting to discern what Ryker's alarm was all about.

It took me a while to narrow the problem down the sound of my flip flops.  He doesn't like it, he cannot tolerate it.  So in my mind I figure whoever bothered to feed the poor Tomball Collies might have worn flip flops.  It is warm a great deal down there in Texas and flip flops would be appropriate. 

The question becomes two fold:  will I ever figure out how to desensitize Ryker to the sound of my flip flops and/or am I really going to have to change my summer shoe style in order to have a peaceful household?  Meanwhile, I am opting for hot feet.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

The Magic of the Thundershirt

Ryker has given me the best Holiday Surprise of all; he now uses the dog door.   We put the patio dog door back in over the Holidays.  It's a little easier to use than the dog door in the wall.  Add in a Thundershirt, taping up the flap and then some cold weather.  Suddenly Ryker uses the dog door.  A week later I had forgotten to tape up the flap and he used it with the flap down, a significant event for a dog who is nervous about being touched even if it is by a flap.

The dog door is his new toy.  While the constant  sound of his going in, then out, in, then out can be annoying, it has eliminated potty accidents altogether.  It is amazing to watch him grow and make choices, opportunities his old life never provided.

I started doing Yoga over the holidays which the dogs find very entertaining.  Chance serenades me with barking during the entire activity.  When I'm lying on my back on the floor looking a lot like an overturned turtle, Ryker circles me continuously tail wagging furiously and occasionally dropping a stuffed animal on me or playing with my hands.  I wasn't sure this dog would ever reach a place and be truly happy yet me on the floor trying to exercise seems to do the trick.  Go figure.

Ryker jumped on the couch to be with me last night.  He's never done that.  I left him there when I went to bed and he was still up there in the morning.  Although it isn't a behavior I want to encourage as the volume of dog hair alone is remarkable, I've never had to correct him at all for anything and have no idea how this is going to work. 

The Thundershirt gives him the boost of confidence he needs to try new things.  It's now on my list of "must haves" for rescue dogs.  Next project: getting Ryker to stop hating the sound of the leash and running from it. 

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Ordering a Thundershirt

Well poor Ryker has been almost impossible to train to use the doggie door.  He is so afraid of coming to people and is inconsistent at even taking treats out of your hand.  Many things no longer send him into the "circle of frenzy", yet when I least expect it, something unpredictable will induce the circling.  Taking the advise from my friend Susan who has a rescued, over reactive Vizsla she has successfully calmed with this product , I am ordering a Thundershirt.

Ironically I have purchased them as gifts for people with sketchy dogs.  The work wonderfully leaving the dog feeling secure and calm.  The weather being colder and Ryker coming from a warmer climate I'm not adverse to keeping it on him during the day.

The order has been placed; fingers crossed.  If it works then we are moving on to doggie door training.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Growth Spurt

Ryker is growing on the inside.  Today he approached me to pet him and we were NOT in the kitchen.  Last night I walked directly to his dog bed and he didn't jump off of it and run away.  He seems to have stopped lurching when he is touched and shows some type excitement over feeding time and when I come home from work.  His compulsive circling before settling has decreased from six circles to sometimes as few as three.  He will go outside straight from his dog bed instead of circling around the kitchen and then out.  He makes eye contact and looks at me when I say his name.  All of these things seem to suddenly come together this week.  It was a really good week.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Slow As Christmas

It's Thanksgiving weekend and I have some time off to be at home with the dogs.  Soon the semester will be out and I'll be home a lot more; I'm really looking forward to it.  I had anticipated this time off to be full of dog walks, exercising, house cleaning and general upkeep.  What I didn't include was howling wind, a lot of rain, me catching a cold.  It's a cloudy overcast day with intermittent rain, the perfect kind of day for reading books and napping. 

Ryker and Chance seem to get along.  Occasionally Ryker is extra sketchy with extra pacing and extra cowering and  a great deal of darting around.  When he is like this I think Chance finds Ryker an irritant.  I find it exhausting watching Ryker pace and dart; he is completely unable to settle and I feel helpless about how to get him back to a better mental state.  At theses times I have seen Chance show Ryker a snarly lip exposing one fang all the way to a snarky snarl.  It has happened twice.  It must be a dog body language thing as I don't see it coming with the exception of Ryker pacing endlessly.  Afterward Ryker retreats and the pacing stops. 

Chance is an exceptionally wise dog.  I've seen him snarl a warning at rogue puppies that were completely out of control of themselves and after many warnings alpha roll those pups who ignore him and continued to use his as a chew toy yet he never put a tooth mark on them.  I've seen him charged by unfriendly, dog aggressive, mastiff type dogs and never alter his calm, cool demeanor, which warded off the dog's attack.  I've yet to figure out what is triggering Chance to warn Ryker; perhaps it is as simple as the highly neurotic behavior.

Still, Chance chooses to nap near Ryker and there are times they do chase each other around the yard (when they don't think I'm looking) and Ryker's tail is up and there is a bit of a wag to it.  When Chance barks, Ryker is there investigating right along with him.  I've yet to teach Ryker anything besides "leave it".  He is so people shy it is difficult to train him.  Most of the time he will take food or treats from my hand and he circles me multiple times if he wants me to get on the floor, stop him from circling and pet him.  He is still is erratic on the midnight potty training.  It may have to do with Bruce getting up at 4am to be at work.  I'll have to investigate that pattern.  Whether Ryker knows it or not he has found his home and only Ryker can decide all that might become for him. 

Monday, November 24, 2014

The Patter of Paws

Just having walked in the door, I was sitting down momentarily at the computer catching up on what was happening in the word.  It was a nicer day and I opened the patio door to let some fresh air in and two dogs out. 

Quite content reading the news, out of my direct vision I could see a blurr of bodies of fur running around the back yard.  The patter of paws, it's a soothing sound to me.  I stopped in my tracks.  The sound of dogs playing?  For a moment I thought of Elle, I hadn't heard this noise since she died.  Wait, Elle is gone and Ryker doesn't play.  Yet, it was indeed Ryker and Chance playing chase.  Chance tired out and just barked at Ryker as he ran by him.  Ryker had gone wild running race tracks all over the back yard. 

I couldn't happier. 

Friday, November 21, 2014


Ryker has been living with us three weeks.  Just when I begin to wonder how far along  he really was going to progress he goes and shows me that he is doing better than I give him credit.  I have wondered if he would ever feel safe outside the area of his dog bed.  He clings to that bed as if it is the only thing holding him together.  This week I caught him laying in other rooms. 

Herding him outside and inside has become such a breeze.  He still has the occasional potty accident, always at night.  I figure he might be his most relaxed at night when all the scary people are asleep.  Ryker has decided that eating food in a bowl is not such a bad idea and he has expressed a real preference for having his dry food lightly coated in canned pumpkin.  In fact, if I don't stir the pumpkin into the dry food, he will eat the all of the pumpkin, ignore the dry food, and wait until I realized he needs more pumpkin in order to consume the dry stuff.    

Tonight we had our first training session.   I was standing in the kitchen and Ryker kept walking through sometimes stopping and watching me.  If I looked at him he would run away.  So I grabbed a box of treats and sat in the kitchen floor intentionally not looking at him.  He came up to me and stopped.  It was the first time I had been able to pet him while he was standing up.

He sat down, Chance came in and we all had a training session.  Chance would "shake" for a treat, Ryker would follow the treat to my eyes and make eye contact or "look" for a treat.  Chance would lay "down", treat, Ryker would "look", treat.   Chance would "shake", Ryker let me touch his paw for "shake".  Ryker seems to inherently know "leave it".  He's one smart dog. 

Both dogs are now snoring on the kitchen floor.  I tip toed into the kitchen and Ryker stood up. I had anticipated him bolting; for the first time he did not.  He stood up, let me approach him and give him a giant hug with lots of fur scratching. Silly me forgetting that he is healing on the inside and I won't always see the progress on the outside.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Reeling Ryker In

There is an old trick used when reeling in a substantial sized fish so that you don't break off your line.  It's called playing the fish.  When the fish takes off like a bullet you give it line and let it run.  When the fish swims towards you, you take up all of the slack as fast as possible.  This fish eventually tires making it easier to get to shore without snapping off your line.  This last week with Ryker (his new name) is much akin to playing a fish.

 It may be that I do an amazing imitation of a herding dog and have Ryker heading in and out the patio door with the greatest of ease, although I suspect Ryker is pretty observant and maybe catching on to the pattern.   Having somewhat established a routine is easing our communication.  I pretty much can figure out that when we get up in the morning he is going to need to go out and potty.  He has pretty much figured out that after I have a cup of coffee I am going to feed him.   Then it's back outside to go potty.  If you open the sliding door and herd him the right direction, he now heads that direction and strolls through the patio door.   It works for herding him back inside as well.

Gone are the days of cornering him (which requires two people), and leading  him where you need him to go.  I won't miss those days although I do have flashbacks when I try to gather him up to put the leash on him.  The trick is to catch him lying down, slowly approach without words or eye contact and pet him nicely behind the ears.  Then you go for the collar.  being a smart dog he has already learned the sound of the leash coming off the coat rack so you cannot touch the coat rack.  You cannot put on your coat or your sunglasses either or he goes into alert.  There is no catching him when he switches to alert. 

Tonight Bruce, Chance and I were in the kitchen talking after dinner  (Chance was not talking yet he was doing the arf arf arf thing).  Ryker peered around the corner.  We were all smart enough to ignore him.  No eye contact, nothing.  We just kept talking.  After several attempts he settled right in the kitchen floor.  We all joined him on the floor and broke out the dog treats.  It was a good family moment. 

Whether Ryker realizes it or not, we are playing him like a fish.  He darts away and we let him have all the distance he wants.  When he comes in close, we take up the slack with treats and ear scratches.  Back and forth we go, day after day all the time unaware that he is slowly tiring.  He doesn't bolt as often or as far and we are reeling him in.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Three Steps Forward, Two Steps Back

Wednesday brought some nice weather and huge amounts of success with Rhett.  I was sitting outside sipping coffee and the two dogs were outside with me.  Rhett was running around the back yard and for the very first time I saw a white tip on his tail; his tail wasn't completely tucked.  Chance serenaded with the bark of happiness.  Both offered play bow to each other yet before they could really play Chance tripped on the long line attached to Rhett which ended the play.  Rhett had even played a little with a stuffed bear we have.

I have been considering what to name Rhett.  As more of his personality comes I keep changing his name.  Then Thursday came along.  No longer does Rhett cower on his bed when I approach with a leash, he now bolts off the bed and darts around the house. "Bolt" or "Dart"  have now become name options.  He bolts into the the house, he darts past me like lighting.  I took his harness and the long line off of him after it tripped up Chance but now I've got a sketchy dog to chase around and catch.  I am beginning to feel like a herding dog rounding up livestock and am impressed by my own creativity.  Did you know a open refrigerator door can act as a dog block?  Ever used a step ladder to block off access to the maze of options a sketchy dog might try to run? 

Yesterday I was a bit discouraged.  Rhett has done a lot of pacing and very little settling.  I think the less he shuts completely down the more the nervousness appears.  Eventually I believe it too will run its course.  There has been no more play bow.  The two dogs basically ignore each other completely. The poor guy still hates the leash with a passion; it's obvious punishment in his mind.  I do remember Elle hating it as well.  I keep telling myself that it has only been a week.  One week to undo 4 years. 

For now Rhett has set up camp in the living room on one of the dog beds.  Chance and I sometimes visit Rhett on the dog bed.  He doesn't cower, likes to be pet and doesn't bolt away.  At this moment I'm working on gathering the stamina for a round up so I can take both dogs on a walk.


Monday, November 3, 2014

24 Hours

It was this little squeaky sound that I was hearing from the kitchen last night that I couldn't place.  Suddenly, I knew what it was, Rhett's little squeaker toy.  This is my first real clue that he is probably in the right place for him.

Rhett set up camp in the kitchen floor so I moved a dog bed in there for him and covered it with the blanket his Foster Family had sent.  I can guess the approximate size of the pen in which he was kept as when he is nervous he circles the same distance and the same direction.  During this morning's walk I learned he only circles when we stop walking.  Solution (to keep from becoming wrapped up by the leash like a mummy), keep on walking.

Rhett comes from a hoarding situation in Texas where 150 dogs were seized.  They were underfed, overcrowded, never socialized with people and many had health issues.  He is learning to live with people inside a house and this is a huge adjustment for him.

When I let him into the back yard I attach a long lead to him.  I haven't taught him to come when called yet (it's only been a day) and I do realize he may never be able to bring himself to "come" to people.  The back up plan is to get him to stop, or stay, or sit, something which negates me chasing him all around the back yard just to bring him inside.

When I arrived home today, (I had kept Rhett inside and Chance outside), the inside of house was fine (lucky for me). I attached a long lead and out we went.  This afternoon I swear he almost smiled.  He trotted around the back yard, back and forth, back and forth coming closer and closer to me with each passing yet speeding up at the same time he was getting closer; it almost appeared as if it was a kind of game to him.  It's getting colder earlier now so I came in leaving the back door open and went into the back of the house.  Much to my shock, as I returned to the kitchen, Rhett was there having entered the house without me shooing him inside.

Baby steps.  Small, tiny, precious baby steps.  He just squeaked his toy again. 

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Pre-Adoption Butterflies

It's a blustery day. November 1st and the weather has just turned.  Tonight Bruce, Chance and I will be staying in Tonopah, NV on our way to Beatty, NV where a volunteer  committed to dog rescue, Loretta, having driven two days in a row, will meet us with the newest member of the family.  Recently  I've been looking for another member since I lost Elle in January.  She was so young and her death was sudden.  Losing Elle was shattering.

I was inspired by one the graduate students  who had two rescue Shelties.  She encouraged me to contact the local Collie Rescue Representative.  DeAnne was informative and knowledgeable.  She encouraged me to send my application into Southwest Collie Rescue which covers Arizona, New Mexico and parts of Texas.  There had been a recent hoarding situation in Tomball, Texas and this organization was to care for and place 11 collies.

It seems odd to have to go so far to find a collie and remain dedicated to rescue.  Collies are as rare as hen's teeth in this part of the US and for the life of me I have no idea why.  They are the most amazing dogs yet seem to be in greater numbers on the East Coast and the South.  The California Collie Rescue organizations refuse to adopt to Nevada (not a clue on this one) citing there must be a home check.  DeAnne performed the home check for Southwest Collie Rescue without issue.

Rhett's picture on the Southwest Collie Rescue Website.
In summary, I have been granted the privilege of having Rhett come to live with me.  Cindy, Rhett's foster Mom, is an amazing woman.  She lives in Arizona and has been introducing Rhett to the world of people.  She has five dogs in her home currently, Rhett made number six which is a lot of dog.   Rhett is dog socialized but not people socialized.  He just hasn't had much contact with people so he is shy.  He had never been in a house, was undernourished and had worms.  My understanding is that most of the Tomball Collies were not in great shape.  Cindy has Rhett learning to trust people.  He may have a ways to go, yet she laid the foundation of trust.

Tomorrow Loretta, having driven from Las Vegas, not quite to Phoenix, then back and housing Rhett at her home overnight, will drive from Las Vegas to Beatty to deliver Rhett.  Many people have given a great deal to make this happen for which I am grateful. 

Monday, September 10, 2012


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


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, 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.