Thursday, April 28, 2011

Self Trickery

A friend of mine brought me a box of marshmallow Peeps today. I was their third home, as my friend got them from someone else who also didn't want to eat them. I hadn't eaten a Peep in years, so I unwrapped them and pulled one away from its squishy, hot pink siblings. It was awful. It tasted vaguely like chalk rolled in sugar. Thoroughly disgusted, I tossed the box of Peeps in my desk drawer.

A bit later in the day I decided to try eating another Peep. 'Perhaps they are an acquired taste,' I thought as I bit off its head. Nope. No such luck. The second one was every bit as nasty as the first one. I was now torn - I didn't want to throw it away because that would be wasteful, but at the same time I really wasn't looking forward to three more bites of marshmallow torture. So I did what I've done several times in the past...

... I invented a daydream.

Whenever faced with an unpleasant task, I commonly make a game out of it to make it seem more bearable. I either A.) pretend I'm saving the world, B.) pretend I'm being paid to do it, and/or C.) pretend I'm doing something impressive.

"I am being held hostage in a terrorist camp, and I overheard them talking about dropping a nuclear bomb on the Midwest United States. There is a reverse launch key inside this Peep. If I can bring myself to eat the Peep, I will be able to get the key and save America!"

"I am on Fear Factor, and they will give me one million dollars if I eat this Peep while being dragged behind a bus going 90 mph. I must eat the Peep in ten seconds so I can pay off my student loans!"

"This Peep is actually a naturally occurring, deadly poisonous plant bulb. However, I have spent my entire life becoming immune to Peeps, and I must demonstrate my amazing ability to my peers! Nom nom nom!"

This coping mechanism also applies itself very well to less-than-pleasant dog related tasks. For instance, scooping poop in the backyard becomes a search for pieces of valuable uranium in a post-apocalyptic zombie world, bathing a filthy dog becomes a magical ritual that will turn a Wild Beast into a loyal companion, and walking the dogs in a rainstorm becomes a heroic search for.... well, someone important.

I still don't like Peeps.

Monday, April 25, 2011

52 Weeks of Dogs: 17/52, Action

"I chase you!"

This week I decided to do an triptych. Two panels of anticipation, one panel of action. Stalking.... stalking.... dart away!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Shameless Plug Sunday: AlliePets

Whoops, I haven't done one of these for awhile! I might as well start up again with a really good one... AlliePets!

I met the talent behind AlliePets several years ago on a dog forum. Allie has done three portraits for me, including a fantasy piece of Revy as a dragon.

Allie works with her clients to get the perfect portrait - she works from several photos and works very hard to capture the animal's personality and spirit. I love her work, especially her fantasy stuff - many artists can do a simple portrait but it takes real talent and originality to take a little Welsh dog...

.... and transform her into something this awesome.

If you're interested in seeing more of Allie's work, check out her website by clicking the banner:

Friday, April 22, 2011

Everyone Poops.

I think the basement dwellers found my copy of Everyone Poops today while I was at work. Because, my dear readers, they really took it to heart.

I came home from a 9.5 hour workday to the lovely aroma of poop. It was so strong, I thought Ronin had pooped in his expen. Nope. 'Oh god,' I thought, 'the smell must be wafting up from the basement!'

And wafting up from the basement it was. Riley had squishy-pooed all over her crate. Cursing the pouring rain, I let her out of her smelly prison and escorted her outside. To keep her out of trouble, I kicked Jayne out there too. I scrubbed the crate clean and tossed the soiled blankets in the wash, then brought Riley inside and gave her a bath. 'What the hell,' I thought, 'I'll bathe Ronin and Jayne too!'

So I did. I moved the now-clean Riley blankets over to the dryer and started a load of dog-wash towels. 'Might as well wash Jayne's blankets too,' I thought, 'since a clean boy should have clean bedding!'

It was then that I realized why the poo smell hadn't dissipated. It was then that I realized that yes, Jayne too had left me a lovely present in the back of his crate. A stinky, smelly, squishy present that I really, really was not ready to accept at that point in time. 'I'm going to murder that gigantic red dog,' I thought, 'this time he's really done it.... killin' time!'

But I didn't. I managed to quell my desire for Doberblood somehow. Unfortunately while cleaning his crate, I somehow managed to get poo in my hair. And my eye. Yes, my eye. It was probably the most disgusting thing that has ever happened to me. And by that time, there was no more hot water (due to all the laundry I'd been doing) so I had to take a cold shower.

So it's 2am, and I'm still working on the laundry from the poo explosion.

Please, please, please let tomorrow be a day without poo.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

52 Weeks of Dogs: 16/52, Easter

"Hating you makes me feel all warm inside."

Jayne did not like the bunny ears... so I went with it.

In fact, he actually started getting a little angry towards the end. I think I need to get him this sticker for his crate:

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Ronin isn't invincible anymore.

Ronin has been acting "off" for weeks now. We thought it was just old age, then we thought it was related to the cold spell we've been having. Then I went online and scared myself into thinking it was osteosarcoma.

To alleviate my anxiety, I took him to the vet for a bunch of tests. The good news is.... it isn't cancer.

The bad news is... it's Grade 1, Type II Intervertebral Disk Disease (IVD.) I know it sounds bad, but it's actually not a huge deal. He'll have to be on crate rest for the next month, he'll have to go on some supplements and he won't be able to wear collars anymore.

He's in an expen instead of a crate - he spins in crates so he's much calmer and quieter in an expen. We're putting him back on Duralactin and adding an omega fatty acid supplement. If needed, we'll also add a glucosamine/chondroitin and MSM supplement.

He's not allowed to do a lot of stairs. He can wear collars but he shouldn't, since it's second nature for people to grab a collar to restrain/direct a dog and we can't have any of that going on.

So for now, we're in a holding pattern. His supplements should show up in a few days, and the poor boy has enough tramadol to ensure smooth sailing for awhile.

Still, he looks pretty good for an 8.5 year old dog with IVD.

...and I'm just happy it's not cancer.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Our love for him now ain't hard to explain...

... the Hero of Canton, the Dog we call JAYNE!

Yep, you guessed it - a Jayne update!

We've had Jayne for just over two months, and he's completely stolen our hearts. He's such a great dog - he's smart, biddable, sweet and very pretty! We've worked through most of his issues quickly, mostly by just letting him be a dog and not micromanaging him. He still has a hard time making his own decisions, but he's getting better.

He's great with the fosters - he loves Riley and he put up with Alli's alligator impersonations. He doesn't seem to have a mean bone in his body, and has been great with Ronin so far. The corgis don't like him, but I think that's just because he's so much bigger than any other dog they've ever interacted with... and that makes him scary by default.

Jayne will make his show debut in Amana, IA next month. I'll be showing him as an Altered Dog, hopefully there are enough other Altered entries that he'll get his ALCH title. I've never had him in the ring before, so I've got my fingers crossed that he behaves and can pull himself together long enough to get some big pink and purple rosettes!

All in all, Jayne's a great dog and I don't regret saving him for an instant. We couldn't ask for a more special red boy... he's a keeper!

Monday, April 18, 2011

The Unofficial Naming of the Crayons

This weekend I drove to Rock Falls, Illinois to pick up our newest foster. Fortunately for me, Kaylee and her puppies are a mere 10 minutes south of Rock Falls! They are three weeks old, eyes are open and their personalities are beginning to show.

Yellow Girl is a tough one! The instant she saw me, she let out a cute little Grrrr. Once she realized Kaylee liked me, she decided to stop growling at me and proceeded to growl at her littermates! She actually was really sweet once she stopped the Stranger Danger thing. There are lots of great yellow crayons out there, but I think Lemon Lime Zing fits her the best!

Purple Girl is a fairly middle-of-the-road puppy. She's sweet but not terribly bold. She'll be a great girl when she grows up, which is why I'm really hoping she ends up being called Sugar Plum or I'm Mauvelous!

Red Girl is hilarious! She's active, she's goofy, she loves to be the center of attention. If you aren't paying attention to her, she's doing something to get you to focus on her. She seems to really like her littermates, and I didn't see her ever try to pick on them. I've been calling her Atomic Tangerine since she was born!

Red Boy is a lovebug! He's probably my favorite boy in the litter, cute as a button and so, so sweet. He's a momma's boy and spent most of his time cuddling with Kaylee. Tentatively hoping his name will be Yosemite Campfire.

Green Boy is sleepy, sleepy dude! I was there from 8:30am to 4:30pm, and all this boy did was sleep, sleep, sleep. Wake up, poke sister, go back to sleep. He must be growing! Since I know his co-breeder will veto the name Alien Armpit, I'm going to push for Magic Mint or Wintergreen Dream for this boy.

Blue Boy is a big bruiser, and he knows it! He likes to chomp on his littermates' heads, and he teams up with Yellow to bully the others. He is an active, energetic adventurer and can almost climb out of the whelping box already, which is why I want to name him after the color Wild Blue Yonder.

And how is Kaylee, you ask? She's doing great! I was able to dremel her nails pretty far back (which should alleviate my recurring nightmares about getting her back with talons!) and she's being a very good mom. She loves her puppies, but she still loves me more... which made me feel pretty darn special. For Kaylee to choose me over these cuties gave my ego a much-needed boost! And the feeling is mutual - as adorable and sweet as these puppies are, I still love my Kaylee most of all.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Miffed! At the Obedience Trial

My friend Aryn and I spent last weekend at the ICDOC obedience trial in Amana, Iowa. First I must officially congratulate Aryn and her Siberian Husky Ruby on their new CD and RN titles - way to go, ladies!

Now that that's out of the way, I'd like to share something that happened on Sunday that had both of us completely confused and a tiny bit offended. I was watching Aryn and Ruby in Novice A Obedience when I was approached by a woman I didn't know. The conversation went like this:

Strange Woman: "I saw you wearing a Doberman shirt yesterday."
Me: "Um... yep!"
Strange Woman: "And why aren't you showing them this weekend?"
Me: "Oh... because they're not trial-ready."
Strange Woman: "So we should expect to see you showing them soon?"
Me: "Sure, maybe in a few months... but it'll probably be my friend actually showing them." (I pointed at Aryn in the ring doing a fantastic job with Ruby)
Strange Woman: (suddenly angry) "WELL, we'll just leave it at that then!" (she stormed away)
Me: ..... O.o

Okay, yes. I'll admit it. Aryn is going to be training and titling Kaylee for me, but it's not because I'm a slacker. We have several reasons for doing this - Aryn would like to train and title other dogs for experience, and competitive obedience is not my forte. I feel at home in the conformation ring, but ask me to do a heeling pattern at an actual trial and I'd probably vomit on the judge... and that would not be good for anyone!

What had me confused (and a bit offended) was that I was made to feel bad about my decisions concerning my dogs' obedience careers. Who knows - maybe I could have had some sort of medical problem that made me unable to show my own dog. Maybe my dog does better with someone other than me handling her. The point is, there are countless reasons why someone may elect to have someone else title their dog, and those reasons don't have to be explained to everyone. And that woman I met at the obedience trial would have had no way of knowing my motivations for not getting out there with my own dogs.

Okay, I promise I won't whine in my next entry! I just had to get that off my chest!

52 Weeks of Dogs: 15/52, Derp Dogs

"Just Cape"

This is a hard one - mostly because my dogs try very hard to avoid derp moments. Catching one of those moments with the camera can be difficult. I will continue trying for that perfect derp photo this week, but I'll let derpy Cape be a placeholder for now.

Cape is another IDR+ foster that is up in Ames, IA right now. We got him from a neglect situation so he's still a bit skinny. I don't think there's a more darling boy this side of the Mississippi - Cape is absolutely wonderful!

Friday, April 8, 2011

Trade Ins

A good friend of mine is about to become a Mom. She and her husband also have three dogs and a cat. Everyone acquainted with her knows she is passionate about animals and totally devoted to her pets. You would assume that anyone with half a brain wouldn't even thing about telling her to get rid of her pets, but truth be told she's been constantly harassed by family and friends about "getting rid of those animals" ever since she announced the pregnancy. And as an overprotective friend, I'm sick of it and not afraid to say so.

Becoming a parent does not mean you have to get rid of your pets.

We've all heard the warnings... the cat will give you toxoplasmosis and smother the baby! The dog will attack the baby! The dog will make the house unsanitary and the baby will get sick! You won't have time for the dogs once the baby arrives! You won't care about your pets once you have a "real" baby! If your baby drops a pacifier, there will be dog hair stuck to it - yucky!

There are easy solutions for every one of these warnings. Worried about toxo? Have your husband clean the litterbox. Worried about the pets hurting the baby? Supervise and separate. Worried about your baby getting sick because of whatever dirt your dog adds to the house? Clean the house and wash the dog... which is what you should be doing anyway, baby or not! Worried about not having time for your pets? Being ignored for awhile at home is better than being ignored most of the time in a cold, lonely cage at the shelter.

And if you won't care about your pets once you have a human baby, do everyone a favor and don't get a pet at all.

It has been my observation that one of the major reasons why "trade ins" are so common is because many people don't understand animal behavior anymore. People expect pets to miraculously know how to behave around children, and it's the animal's fault when they don't fit their owners' behavioral expectations. Dogs are expected to "know better" than to lick the baby, or to jump on the stroller, or to act territorial when a child's friend shows up for a sleepover. Cats are expected to "know better" than to knock over the bottle or to get in the crib with the baby. These are animals, not people - if you want them to "know better," you have to be responsible and teach them.

On a side note, it's expected that pets "know" to leave their owners alone and behave themselves when the baby comes home. Look at the situation from their perspective - they've been the center of attention for a long time and suddenly there is a new, funny-smelling, odd-sounding new pet in the house that seems to be getting all the attention that used to be reserved for them. Wouldn't you be confused too?

There are parents (and soon-to-be parents) out there that understand that having both kids and pets can be a struggle, but are unwilling to take the easy way out and dump their animals once the baby arrives. These are people that are worthy of much praise and admiration. If you know any of these wonderful souls, stop trying to convince them to get rid of the family members that were there first! Better yet, don't even start the "get rid of the pets" tirade. Support them in their decision to be responsible for all the lives under their roof, and their decision to keep the promise they made to their pets when they brought them into their lives.

"You become responsible, forever, for what you have tamed."
- The Little Prince

(photo courtesy of Dana Montero)

PS - if you ever decide to sabotage someone's relationship with their pet by abusing that animal, then expecting the owner to get rid of the pet because of the emotional trauma and subsequent behavior problems your actions caused... there is a special place in Hell reserved for you. Barring that, I'd be happy to introduce you to my Dobermans in a dark alley. They love the taste of scumbags by moonlight.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

52 Weeks of Dogs: 14/52, Ears

"Alli's Ears"

Homage to the Natural Ear, courtesy of Alli. For floppies, hers were absolutely divine.

A Good Weekend, Part III: Crayons

Some of you already know about this, but I might as well officially spill the beans....

My Kaylee had six beautiful puppies on March 25th.

It was an easy whelping and so far she's being a great mom. She had one red girl, two black girls and three black boys. The sire of this litter is "Gunner" - Ch Bruda Everybody Likes Gunner UDX OM1 VER. Gunner finished at 8 months of age in limited showing and was once as high as #6 in the DPCA Obedience Top Twenty, but he has since dropped in the rankings due to not being trialed as much. This is the litter I've wanted to breed ever since I brought Kaylee home.

These puppies will be named after Crayola Crayon colors. I'm not-so-secretly hoping the red girl ends up being called Atomic Tangerine!

(pictured at 10 days old)

A Good Weekend, Part II: Miracle

Remember Miracle, the horribly emaciated Doberman found dumped in an Indiana alleyway? The dog that some people thought was beyond saving? The Doberman that IDR+ stepped up for and nursed back to health? I first blogged about him here.

I got to meet him on Sunday.

He's such a beautiful soul - he's got a great temperament and a wonderful personality. He was the celebrity of the day, even though most people didn't even realize who he was. Aryn got the coveted job of holding his leash for most of the day, which made her a mini-celebrity as well! His new adoptive dad is lucky to have such a great dog.

(Click the photos to see them full-size.... Blogspot doesn't do them justice!)

A Good Weekend, Part I: Adopted

I almost can't believe it took me three days to write about last weekend. Almost. I don't think I've ever had a busier weekend - more than 900 miles driven, less than 12 hours slept, but it was all worth it. I actually accomplished so much that I'm going to have to split it up into multiple blog entries, but I'll start with the best news...

Alli and Ned were adopted on Sunday.

Both of my fosters went to previous IDR+ adopters. Ned has a brother named Lex, and Alli gets to be the "only child" on a dead-end country road with lots of squirrels to chase. It was easy letting Ned go, as he'd only been with me for three weeks... but it was hard saying goodbye to my Alli-gator.

I will share any updates I get. For now though, a fond farewell to two great Dobermans.

Aside from saying goodbye to my redheads within an hour of arriving at the adoptathon, I got to introduce my friend Aryn to the wonderful world of Doberman Rescue volunteerism. I think she had a great time, even though she had to wake up at 2am to get there. Thanks Aryn, I really appreciate your company on those long drives, and I think you need to start house-hunting. Hint hint!

Friday, April 1, 2011

Hi there, Buffaloo!

With the changing of the seasons comes the return of one of my favorite pastimes here in Iowa... driving the Buffalo Road and visiting the herd. Sometimes they're around, sometimes they aren't - so it's about as close to gambling as I'll ever get.

Buffalo are wild and unpredictable creatures. At least, that's what the sign says.

I decided to bring Jayne. This may have not been the smartest move I've ever made, but luckily he was a very good boy and didn't bark at the 60-70 buffalo that crossed the road in front of us. There were a lot of young ones, and it was fun watching them chase each other and butt heads. Jayne was very interested, he sat up and watched them as they lumbered on past.

If you click the photos, they'll open larger and the little brown blobs will actually look like buffalo.... as opposed to, you know, little brown blobs.

What, you thought I was joking? We have friggin' buffalo, people! Each weighing in at 1600-2000lbs, and standing nearly 6ft tall. These guys are huge! And wild. And unpredictable. Or so the sign says.

On the way home, I made Jayne sit on the traintracks while I made Snidley Whiplash jokes. I don't think he was amused.

At that was the end of a wonderful Friday. Bring on the weekend!