The Life of My Dog(s) …

Yesterday was a gift. A beautiful day in early March. Spring was in the air.

Seemed a good idea to walk my dogs in the woods. Or so Daughter and I thought…

The Red Dog barreled out of the car ahead of everyone.

The Little Black Dog, Daughter and I headed for the path, but we were quite a few paces behind The Red Dog. He bounced happily up ahead of us, tail wagging, ears flopping in the breeze.

Not five minutes into our walk, The Red Dog took a sharp left–then hauled as# toward…WHAT?

Curious, Daughter and I stretched our necks, tried to see what had him even MORE excited? Because he was already pretty excited to be running around in the woods…

We rounded the corner and there he stood–up to his neck in water.

The Red Dog found a watering hole. A MUDDY watering hole!!

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I called him, but The Red Dog kind of does his thing. He looked at me when he heard his name–but he wasn’t ending his fun on my account.He frolicked in the water, then got OUT when he was ready to move on.

The Little Black Dog? Loves the water and loves to swim. But she avoided the murky, muddy messes. She ran though shallow water and clear streams, but stayed clear of the sludge.

Not The Red Dog.

He continued to amuse himself by locating every wet, muddy area along the path. He swam in them. Drank the water. Even laid down in them.

Me? The Red Dog was already a mess. He was getting a shower when we got home anyway, so I figured he might as well have his fun.

And really, watching The Red Dog frolic with abandon was sort of contagious. Both Daughter and I laughed over and over again at his antics. Neither of us had the heart to stop him. It was a lighthearted (and dirty) walk. But it was fun!

Of course, the swamp water he drank might be like drinking the water in Mexico. We’re hoping he doesn’t barf–or get the runs…

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By evening, all was well. Daughter and I were happy–they dogs were clean and happy. They curled up together like Twinkies, sound asleep in my comfy, King-size bed.

My dogs live a nice life…

Congratulations on the new puppy ~ But a Basset Hound?

My friend Stella just brought home a new bundle of joy. She rescued an adorable female basset hound…

Hail Mary, full of grace! The Lord is with thee; blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus…

How could anybody resist this adorable little thing? Look at her face!!

I get it. I’ve rescued a dog or two myself. (And a cat one time.) But I just might have some willpower in resisting a Basset Hound. Once in this lifetime is enough for me…

Growing up, we had a Basset Hound named Mike—for 10 years. Our family adored him. Even though he was a tad bit stubborn and mostly did what he wanted to do.

For example, Mike LOVED going for walks. But if he tired or decided he was done, Mike flopped down on the sidewalk for a rest. And that was it. His walk was over. The options? Carry him home, or cool our heels until he got it moving again.

I remember an incident when we had company visiting our house. My mother had a plate of chocolate chip cookies on the coffee table. Mike simply put his face in the cookies and ate them. Just helped himself. Even if we could have rescued a cookie, who would have wanted one?

Good times growing up with “Iron Mike” around…

We called him Iron Mike after he chewed up a razor, and then swallowed most of it. Blade and all. And didn’t DIE.

There was the time he stole my fathers false teeth from the night stand. (Thank goodness he didn’t chew them). But the relative who happened upon Mike lounging with a set of teeth between his paws was beside herself. She thought the dogs teeth had somehow fallen out!!

Iron Mike loved my mother. They often relaxed in our sunroom; both of them on the sofa. Mike curled up with half of his body on my mother’s lap—Mom patting his head.

When Iron Mike was bad, my mother would ask him, “Do you want to get the needle?”  (As in Euthanasia…)

But on a good day, she patted his head.

MY FAVORITE BASSET HOUND STORY EVER:

Quite a few years ago, when my kids were in elementary school, we shared a neighborhood with Gus. Many days, Gus napped in the middle of the street. On his side. Short legs stretched out.

The development had narrow roads. When the school bus came through, Gus would NOT move. The bus would stop, honk its horn. No reaction from the dog. Gus continued to count sugar plums.

Whoever was outside: GUS! Come here

Gus opened an eye…some days even lifted his head…then went back to sleep.

Whoever was outside: GUS! Want a treat? Here Gus….GUS!!!   

Same thing. Gus opened an eye, (maybe) lifted his head…then went back to sleep

This went on until somebody dragged him (many times by his collar…and still on his side) out of the road.

With no room to back up, the bus had no choice but to roll down the narrow road Gus occupied and turn around in the cul-de-sac. That was the only way to get back out of the development.  And the street was too narrow for the bus (or even a car) to get around Gus…

Not sure. But I wonder if that is why our kids had a new bus driver each year?

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.

I will pray that Stella has an abundance of patience and keeps her sense of humor. (As well as her sanity…)

Of all people, I understand the need to bring a puppy home. I am weak, when it comes to dogs.

And Lulu (that is her name, so far) is ONE cute puppy.

What is WRONG with this picture?

Something just isn’t RIGHT with my dogs.

I was at my computer working away a couple of days ago. The house was quiet and the dogs were resting. They are excellent at resting. Besides walking, swimming and eating, it is their FAVORITE activity.

But, The Red Dog was resting in the cage?

His cage days are long over. He used a cage as a puppy for about 6 months or so. Yet if there is a cage up, he is IN.

Where was the Little Black Dog who is just over a year old? Curled up on the couch…sound asleep.

Why do we have a cage set up?

Trust me, I wonder this myself. We rarely use it.

We have the cage out for The Little Black Dog. She is a Perfect pet 99% of the time. Every once in a while, she decides to chew up a shoe, a permanent marker, or some such thing. This generally happens when we are unusually busy–such as last weekend when we were at a wrestling tournament most of the weekend.

She might get irritable and chew a shoe. Or she might not.

I like the cage, because it eliminates the element of surprise when I return home.

However, The Red Dog LIKES the cage. When I am trying to get The Little Black Dog in, Big Red hustles in. Then The Black dogs runs away. And I have to drag The Red Dog out (because he is happy and doesn’t WANT to vacate the cage), then find The Black Dog…and it ends up being a circus.

Which makes sense. My LIFE is a three ring circus many days…

Don’t feel too sorry for The Red Dog. He sometimes enjoys a bit of ‘couch time.’

Probably, the dogs BOTH get far more time on the couch than I do. Really, they have it made…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ricky (the rabid?) Raccoon…meets my dogs???

When I pulled into my driveway yesterday and opened the car door, both dogs bolted in the opposite direction of our front door. They NEVER do that. They always trot straight to the front door.

“Grace! Rocky!” I shouted, as I ran around the back of the car. Then, I stopped dead in my tracks. BOTH dogs hovered over Ricky Raccoon, who was in a heap on my front lawn.

That’s when I REALLY went ballistic and yelled for the dogs to get in the house.

For once, the Red Dog was (somewhat) obedient and hurried over to the front door. I quickly let him in the house.

The dog I thought was smart stood over Ricky Raccoon, curious…trying to figure him out.  After a minute, she headed to the front door and relief washed over me.

When the dogs charged Ricky Raccoon, my first thought was that Ricky would attack them. And with $1200 total spent on vet bills this past month, another trip to the vet was out of the question.

The sight of those dogs ready to pounce on Ricky (the rabid?) Raccoon had me in a sweat. My heart raced.

Once the dogs and I were inside, I tried to collect myself. To calm my nerves.

Obviously, Ricky was not feeling well. Generally, raccoons don’t loll around on the ground, with dogs nearby. Periodically, Ricky’s head moved. Or his body shifted. But it was barely noticeable. He mostly looked like a large stuffed animal  tossed in a heap on the front lawn.

I called the Sheriff’s Office, because I have never had a half-dead, or dying raccoon lounging on my front lawn.

Me: I’m not sure what to do. There is barely moving raccoon in my front yard.

Dispatcher: Name? Address? We’ll send a Sheriff over to shoot and bag it. Then the health department will come pick it up in a day or so.

Me: Okay…

Eeeewwwwww. Gross!!

I’m not a fan of guns. Have never even held one in my hand. And the thought of an animal having its guts blown out in my front yard made me nauseous.

Ten minutes earlier, I rode along in my Trusty Honda, headed home to put groceries away and get dinner started. I sang (badly) along with the radio as I pulled into my driveway. All was right in my world…

How do these things always HAPPEN to me?

It wasn’t long before the Sheriff showed up.

Me: He’s over there…

Sheriff: I see him.

We stood on my front steps looking at Ricky out in the yard. There was some idle chitchat while he took my name and address. My cell phone interrupted our conversation.

Me: Yes?

Darling Daughter: Mom, are you cooking dinner?

Me: Yes. Can I call you  back? I’m talking to the Sheriff who is about to shoot the raccoon in our yard

Darling Daughter: What are you making?

Me: Spaghetti, Salad, Garlic Bread. Listen, I need to call you back.

Darling Daughter:  Yummm.

Daughter clearly wasn’t phased by the happenings at home…

The Sheriff at first managed to stifle his chuckles, but then lost the battle. He was openly laughing at me as I got off the phone.

Sheriff: Sorry. But that was a funny conversation to have.

Me:  Yeah. These things happen to me. I don’t know why. My kids are used to it. That conversation wasn’t all that unusual around here…

The Sheriff needed a garbage bag. I really, REALLY wanted to give him a cheap white garbage bag—given I am down to my last two giant, heavy-duty, black bags. The cheap, thin bag seemed a bad idea. Ricky was rather chunky. What if the Sheriff lifted the flimsy, white bag and Ricky busted through, then tumbled onto my driveway?

The offending bagged raccoon would be left at the end of my driveway for  “a day or two” in his plastic coffin, until the health department picked him up. I didn’t want the tail, or a foot to break through the bag. What if I could see the mess inside the cheap white bag when I got my mail, or pulled in and out of my driveway? Worse…what if Ricky eyeballed me with lifeless eyes through the thin white bag? I grudgingly handed over one of my last ‘good’ garbage bags. (And yes—those thoughts did run through my mind. I am being honest.)

Sheriff: Just go inside and don’t come out until you hear the gunshot.

Me: I’m going to HEAR it?

Sheriff: Yes. I need to use my shotgun. If I used my other gun, I’d have to shoot it between the eyes and the health department might not be able to look over the head.

Me: Oh.

Eeeeewwww. Way too much information!

He didn’t need to tell me twice. I hauled  my a#& into the house, then cringed at the loud ‘boom’ noise.

When I pulled out of the driveway to get my son from wrestling practice a few minutes later, I couldn’t miss the black bag.  At least I couldn’t see Ricky. Nor could he eye me up.

I wonder what today will bring?

TWO 16-year-old girls + ONE Honda Civic = ROAD TRIP

A supervised road trip, that is.

My seat partner. A large, furry, golden retriever dog, who panted...and drooled on me the entire trip.

It has been a while since my last post…

Mostly because I am recovering from spending 12 total hours in the backseat of a Honda Civic. Six hours down to Virginia about a week ago. And six hours back home this past weekend…

The driver? My Godchild who isn’t really. She decided I could be her Godmother. Which is fine, because I love her like a daughter. It’s complicated…she is my daughters close friend and I used to date her father.

Riding shotgun? My daughter armed with directions, the Atlas and a portable GPS–or navigation device.

In the backseat? Me.

Hail Mary, full of grace. The lord is with thee…

The girls are both 16. Each has a (rather new) valid Ohio driver’s license. And they badly wanted to drive from Ohio to Leesburg, Virginia to spend a week visiting Aunt Kate and Uncle Joe. Leesburg is just outside the beltway, near Washington D.C.

The girls approached me. Then they approached Mackenzie’s Dad. (AKA my former flame…) We parents talked it over. We agreed that the girls should go and believed they could handle a ‘road trip.’ The solution? A trial run…sort of like a test.

Which is how the menopausal woman (Me) wound up in the backseat, where the air conditioning doesn’t reach. I perspired profusely all the way down to Virginia and all the way back.

The girls tried really hard. They ran the air conditioning. They put on sweatshirts. But my poor ‘Godchild’ had to dial the air conditioning down, when her fingers got numb. The girls couldn’t be ‘human popsicles’ in the name of my comfort.

Gracie...lounging on my lap. All the way down to Virginia.

While we’re on the subject of my comfort, did I mention that both Gracie and Rocky traveled with us? Naturally, they rode in the backseat with me. Like a fur coat, but with loose hair flying about.

Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name…

Not for our safety. Was more praying that I wouldn’t lose my mind back there.

Which might have been a lost cause. My being in the backseat in the first place might have been a sign that my mind was already gone.

The girls did just fine with driving, tolls, handling money, knowing when to get gas, using cruise control–I truly did pass them the reins. They developed little systems for where to put the toll tickets, reading the GPS and other little odds and ends. They figured out these systems on the fly, and executed them as they went along.

My Godchild drove like a champ, even on the narrow Pennsylvania Turnpike with the semi’s and through the inevitable summer road construction—even in dense traffic on the trip back home.  My daughter proved a proficient navigator, “Get in the right line when you can, in two miles we need to veer to the right…that type of thing” It was an impressive display of teamwork.

They were rock solid. Competent. Responsible. Mature. Showed excellent judgment. Never made a wrong turn. (And thank goodness for it, because I couldn’t have tolerated extra time in my traveling sauna–spitting dog hair out of my mouth.)

If they had gone the wrong way, I would have let them—and they would have had to get themselves back on course. No point doing this, if I wasn’t going all the way with it.

I was hot, sweaty and (mostly) silent. Seen but not heard. Honestly, I couldn’t have shouted if I wanted to. I had sinus congestion going on and with it, a touch of laryngitis.

“That is going to be very nice,” commented my loving daughter. Not sure she realized that nobody else volunteered to be the guinea pig in this ‘field trip’ of  learning.

The high points….

The view from our lounge chairs at the (often empty) pool...

Aunt Kate’s cooking…she is truly a culinary genius. Not overstating this. Grilled pork chops, steak, homemade chicken salad, strawberry shortcake, 7-layer cookie bars and much more.

Sliced tomatoes and mozzarella to go along with our juicy steaks...

The low points…

Are words needed? Or does the visual of "huff and puff's" BIG head do the trick?

I love my children, but I enjoy great peace and tranquility when they go away for a day or two. Likely because it is a rare occurrence. Our successful trip might just leave me with some free time now and again…

The best thing to come of this road trip? The girls proved they can be trusted to take another one. Without me…