Me, Myself, and the Voices in My Head

A place to ramble and maybe make some sense about a thing or two.

Archive for the category “Pets”

Last episodes of “American Stuffers”

Yes.  It is with a heavy heart and a hanging head that I admit that today I actually watched the American Stuffers episodes on Animal Planet.

You have to understand, though.  The satellite signals on the movie channels were spotty and there was nothing on network television worth watching.  Plus — and honestly, no disrespect to the Ross Family and their employees — but the show is just like a really bad car wreck.  You know you shouldn’t look but once you do you just can’t turn away from it.

I didn’t watch all of the episodes today.  I watched “The Dog Named Precious,” “The Cat Without a Nose,” “The Hairless Dog,” and “A Tornado Hits Romance.”  I will say that I’m very glad Daniel was able to put the cat’s nose back on before its owner came to pick it up (and no one noticed the problem).  The skin coming off of the Chinese Crested (which the owner proudly stated she’d paid $250 as a puppy) though was a close one.  And her having the dog’s testicles removed to have sperm harvested by a company in Washington just had me rolling on the floor.  Yeah, I’m not a biology major, but I can’t imagine them living in there for very long, much less long enough to ship them to Washington from Texas (where they drove from to get the dog freeze-dried).

The pet chicken being freeze-dried, though, had me baffled.  I know people keep chickens as pets.  I have friends that have had good and bad things come from doing that.  But if the chicken dies on its own, I’d be thinking about disposing of it correctly, not how it’s going to look in the center of the dinner table as a centerpiece.  Okay, the lady with the chicken actually said she was going to decorate her chicken coops with all of her pet chickens after they die and she has them freeze-dried.  And she named all of them after characters from Jersey Shore.  So, take from that what you want.

I can say that I was moved by the lady who had her Yorkie for 14 years and met the crew from Xtreme Taxidermy at the Big Buck Classic Hunters’ Convention (where most of the other attendees were grossed-out by the pets on display).  She’d had a lot of loss in her life and having her dog preserved as a way to help her cope may not be for me but I sure hope it helps her.  Plus, she wants the dog buried with her when she passes away.  Sadly, the dog will look better longer than she will, but at least they’ll be together.

And I also have to admit that the story about the dog that had been skinned by another taxidermist and left the crew of the shop with a puzzle on how to make him look good again was interesting.  Mostly because they were very careful to not tell the lady who brought in the dog how badly butchered the job the previous taxidermist did.  I was glad to see that they were able to take that idiot’s mistakes and fix it so the lady was happy.  Now I just hope she doesn’t watch the episode and see exactly what was done to her dog.

So, yeah, I let the redneck in me have a few laughs and sat agog at some of the things said/done on the show.  There aren’t any future episodes coming (it was cancelled), but Romance, Arkansas isn’t too terribly far from my family’s old stomping grounds.  I’m pretty sure I could find it if I felt the need.

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About what do my dogs dream?

Yes, I noticed that I made sure my title was grammatically correct.  OCD has checked-in for the night!

Anyway, I do wonder what goes through my dogs’ brains when they’re dreaming.  I can look over at the cat who is sound asleep at the moment and she never moves until she wakes up.  However, I can watch either Celeste or Harley and sooner or later they’ll start to run in their sleep, snore loudly, or sometimes even bark as if they’re trying to say something.

Celeste is five years old and has had a lot of experiences with and without me.  She was a show dog and has traveled around the country and also worked as a service dog for a lady in a wheelchair (who sadly didn’t know how to care for her even though she’d had service dogs before).  So, I could see some memories coming back to her mind and perhaps she sees things she remembers.

Harley, on the other hand, has been with us since she was nine months old.  She was abandoned and raised for a month at a farm before they took her to the local Humane Society because they couldn’t afford to keep another abandoned dog.  She’s been on trips with us (vehicle only, no planes yet) and has romped around in the yard or at a dog park.  Most of her time she’s comfortable on the couch and when given the opportunity will watch car races or other dogs running on television.  Harley also lived here with my service dog Cody who passed away in 2010.  She was there when he died.  She also has a lot of his habits and mannerisms because he made sure that he taught her how to act and didn’t let her get too out of control.

Cody would snore loudly and run when sleeping too — but he only came to live with us when he was much older.  He had been a puppy mill breeder dog that had been abandoned on the side of the Interstate when he’d gotten to old to make the owners more money.  We took him in and even though he had no idea how to play or act like a normal dog, he learned commands quickly and was eager to please because he loved being loved by someone instead of just ignored.  And he still had the gumption to put the cat in her place when he came to live with us and she wouldn’t shut up one night.  He just closed her mouth with his and looked at her as if to say, “See?  Quiet is better.”

When Cody would snore loudly and move as if he was running when he was asleep, I could always imagine that he was reliving something that had happened before we had him.  Maybe it was running away from the handlers at the puppy mill.  Maybe it was finally running free when they first got rid of him before he began to struggle to find food and water in the sweltering heat of the summer.  I would always hope that his dreams would include meeting us and enjoying a nice walk or just being cuddled.

I’m watching Harley’s legs move while she’s asleep as if she’s running for her life.  Maybe there’s a rabbit or a squirrel in her dream?  She loves to chase them in the yard, though I don’t think she’d have any idea what to do with one if she caught it.  She’s running and running and you can hear her snorting loudly with every “step” she takes.  Whatever it is, she’s either thoroughly enjoying it or making damned sure that she gets away from whatever she doesn’t like.

I know humans put too much emotion into our pets.  We talk to them as if they’re people and try to read their facial expressions and actions like we do non-verbal communications from other humans.  But I think it would be fun if we could see about what our dogs are dreaming.  Finally catching the ball; scaring a flock of birds; or maybe just laying on the couch getting their tummy rubbed.  Anything could be a fascinating dream for them.

Tired today….

LONG day….  Took Harley to have her yearly “shearing” at the groomer.  She grows so much hair during the winter you could almost make enough wigs/toupees for those little hairless dogs.  Then they wouldn’t get so cold all the time.  We also went to our favorite gaming store and sold them a few items for store credit.  Just some old books that we didn’t like but that their customers will love buying.  And the credit can stay there until the next Warhammer 40K tournament or when we need to buy something for someone’s birthday, etc.

Also started shopping for a new phone since mine is having battery issues.  I first went to a store run by the company with whom I have my service.  They said that they don’t make stupidphones anymore.  I said that I knew he was lying because (1) I’d seen an ad for one and (2) there were some hanging on the wall in the store.  He, of course, wanted to show me every smartphone in the place but I told him I wasn’t going to pay a bunch more per month for the privilege of having a phone that can do a lot of things I can’t afford for it to do nor would I use it for them.  I guess I should have also taken a photo (the one “fancy” thing my stupidphone can do) of all of the basic phones we saw at a large electronics retailer in town as well.  And if I wanted a smartphone I could get it there for even less than the service company was advertising!  But, no, I did not replace my beloved stupidphone.

When Harley’s grooming appointment was over, we went to pick her up and I asked the groomer to grind Celeste’s nails so that I won’t have to clip them for a bit.  Celeste was a show dog before she became a service dog but you would have thought that no one had ever touched her feet before when she started trying to escape from the groomer.  Fortunately, the lady had a great attitude and just chased her around the grooming table, keeping one paw in her hand at all times, and got it done.  Another of the ladies working there asked me if she could know why I have Celeste and when I told her she was thrilled to hear someone else has a service dog for psychiatric issues.  I gave her my name and number and the name and number of Celeste’s breeder/trainer because the lady and her husband are trying to get a service dog for him to use.  I wish them the best of luck because I know that Celeste has helped me more than I could have imagined!

Hopefully tomorrow will be relaxing.  I know Husband can use a nice relaxing day after working hard all week.  And Youngest Son is now home from school so I’ll find plenty of chores/activities for him to complete!

Am I paying for this???

Today I had another therapist appointment.  She began the session by trying to tell me about Jay Leno on the “Tonight Show” last night and how she really liked this “black female comedian who must be new.”  I mentioned the name Wanda Sykes and she said, “Yeah!  That’s her!”  I began to list a number of television shows, movies, and voiceovers she’d done before and my therapist still had no idea who she is but thinks she’s the funniest person she’s heard in a long time.  I agree, Ms. Sykes is funny.  But then my therapist attempted to recount the entire conversation and all of the jokes between Jay and Wanda, but she couldn’t remember all of the bits.

She sat there trying to tell me jokes and repeat what had made her laugh so hard but couldn’t remember all of the punchlines or even some of the stories.  What she did tell me didn’t make any sense at all.

Then she began to tell me the story of how her dachshund had escaped from her house when a friend was dog-sitting and the very intricate details of how turkey hunters and neighbors (she lives in the country, so “neighbor” means “lives within a mile of you”) had seen the dog but weren’t able to catch it.  On and on the story went and she was stunned that the dog had been gone for 15 days and had survived.  The vet says it has tapeworms now because it was probably eating rabbits while it was away.  She couldn’t believe that her dog, a pampered pet, could kill something.

I reminded her that dachshunds were bred for hunting and ratting.  They’re low to the ground and have short legs so they can follow their prey into the burrows.  And, most importantly, that it’s a dog and when hunger sets in it’s not going to debate over whether or not the food comes from a can or hole in the ground.  It will go back to its nature and hunt, especially if it’s a breed originally designed for that.

She kept on-and-on about how shocking it was and could I possibly believe that her dog (which I’ve never met) could do something like that and then, oh by the way, did I know that her pig was getting bigger?  I had to stop for a second and ask her to repeat herself.  She was telling me that the small piglet she’d been bringing into the office because its mother had stepped on it and it had a large wound that needed to be cared for was doing much better and is getting bigger.  She also asked me what she should do with such a large animal.  She’s raised pigs before, so she knows that sows can become VERY large.  I suggested that she make it a banquet centerpiece but she said there was no way she could eat it.  She might consider breeding it but she doesn’t know what to do with such a large animal.

Hey….here’s a fun fact — if you breed a very large animal, its young will also become very large animals!!  If you think you don’t have room for one now, having a bunch of others isn’t going to help your space issues!!

I was about to ask, “Am I paying for this time?” when she finally asked me a question about how I was doing.  I asked if she was telling me these disjointed tales as an example of what it’s like to talk to me and she said that she didn’t realize she’d talked so much.  She then asked me why I’m not writing a novel and wanted to know more details from some of the posts that the voices have been writing and suggested I take them and write a book with them.

Yeah….people really want to read the Great American Novel about a plain kid with a dysfunctional family who’s bat-shit crazy.  Sure, it will be the top of the bestseller list in the category of “Most purchased for use in lighting fires” or “Most purchased as cheaper alternative to toilet paper.”

So, my one-hour session didn’t quite last that long today but at least it gave me subject matter about which to post tonight.  I was too depressed to type much today anyway and still am.  However, the goal of having a post every day is intact.  My OCD is still sated for another 24 hours.

Busy day makes for tired gal

Today’s been busier than I expected.  Woke up at 5 a.m. (as usual) and smelled something awful outside when I let the dogs out to go “walkies.”  Only Celeste came back stinking like she’d rolled on a skunk or something.  Had to give her a bath quickly because she was stinking-up the house in record time.  Husband went outside to look for whatever it was she got the smell from but there wasn’t anything and the smell had left.

So, I crammed her in our small bathtub and tried to get her clean as quickly as I could.  Not as easy as it sounds.  She’s in the process of shedding her winter coat, so there’s lots of hair that liked coating the walls, the tub, the floor, me, and the drains.  I was finally able to get the stink down to a tolerable level (just barely noticeable if you stick your face into her fur).  Then I spent about 30 minutes trying to get all of the hair into the trash and off of everything to which it was sticking.  I still have no idea what caused it but I’ve never wanted to own my own professional dog wash so much as I did this morning!  There’s one self-serve dog wash table in town but they’re not open at 0-Christ-Hundred in the morning.  If I had my own, it would be open when I need it!

Then I went to my therapist appointment today.  I took her the three page list of things I can and can’t do at work and what makes things easier and harder for me to work.  She asked if I’d applied for disability benefits.  I said I hadn’t because I didn’t believe I needed them.  She held up the list and said that if I had that many things I should have applied years ago.  That’s something I’ll wait and see what happens as I continue to look for answers on why I wasn’t rehired from my old job.

Tonight I watched a neat show on PBS called Radioactive Wolves.  It’s about the wildlife that has returned to the area around Pripyat (outside of Chernobyl) and how the radiation has affected them.  Very interesting show.  I know it’s kind of weird but I’ve always wanted to go to Pripyat and see the ruins left behind after the 1986 explosion.  It’s amazing how nature is taking back the area where people lived for so many years and doing so even after all of the damage done.

I then watched a segment on NBC’s Rock Center about how Big Box Marts (like Costco) trick people into overspending on items and buying things they never meant to buy before they went into the store.  And that’s a reason why I don’t have a membership card to any of these places.  The lure of buying something you’ve never seen before but just have to have is too strong at times.  I don’t need 5 pounds of mayonnaise but I guarantee that if the price is right, I know people who will find a reason to make more egg or tuna salad sandwiches than could ever be eaten at one picnic.

Now, I’m tired and I’ve kept to my rule about posting each day, so I’m gonna relax and probably watch more television.  And check the dog.  And maybe think about taking her for another bath tomorrow.  And making sure I’ve got something with me before I let them out in the morning to make sure that if there’s an animal making the stink that it doesn’t anymore.

A little fall of rain

Today’s post is going to be short because it’s finally raining here and I’m taking some time to enjoy watching the birds looking for something to eat in the freshly mown grass.  They were doing that after it was mowed yesterday, but the rain has brought up a lot of treats for them.  And I also just got back from my therapist’s office and still feel in a funk about everything that’s going on at the moment.

She suggested that I go back to school.  “And do what?” I asked her.  I have a bachelor’s degree and most of a master’s, but I can’t afford any more student loans.  There aren’t many grants/scholarships for second bachelor’s (which I’d need to really do what I wanted).  Plus, if I had the money to go back to school I’d have the money to open my own business and that sort of makes the whole conversation moot.

So for now I’m going to sit and watch the birds outside.  It’s quiet and the rain isn’t falling hard, so it makes it cooler outside but not so unpleasant that you’re terrified of going out in it.  Well, I’m not terrified of going out in it but you’d think the dogs — who will romp and roll in anything — believe it’s poisonous.  They keep looking at me when I open the door for them to go “walkies” as if I’ve completely lost my mind.

They may be right.  But they still have to do their business out there.

Good riddance, Petland!!!

I’m feeling much better today, so I don’t think I’ll be ripping my own head off anytime soon as was considered yesterday.  I did take some medication, put ice on my head, and took a long nap until Husband and Youngest Son got home from work and school, respectively.  I was hoping yesterday that today’s weather would be good and I was surprised.  It’s not only good today, it’s awesome!  So nice and just the right temperature with just a hint of a breeze to make you feel like springtime is here.

Today we went and took Harley to the groomers at SetPmart.  She needed a bath and her nails ground again.  I clip them often but it’s much nicer after they’ve ground them down with the Dremel tool because she’s much quieter on the hardwood floors.  I know Cat doesn’t like it because Harley can sneak up on her, but I find it enjoyable.  We decided that since there was still the chance of cold weather in this area for the next few weeks we wouldn’t get her “Spring Shave” done until the weather stays warmer for a while.  Now because she’s part poodle, she’s all fluffy and “poofy” but still has the schnauzer face.  I know it won’t last because she’s not a girly dog and has already attempted to roll in something unpleasant in the backyard already.

One thing I was very glad to see in the town we visited is that another pet store — Petland — has gone out of business.  They’re notorious for selling dogs from puppy mills and even though they’ll tell you they don’t it’s so obvious they do.  I went into that store once when Cody (my previous service dog) was getting older and thought about self-training another sheltie to take-over his job (that’s before the state laws were changed and you could train your own service dog).  I’d been to the shelters and pounds and Humane Society kennels and hadn’t found a sheltie.  I thought, just for giggles, I’d go into Petland and see what they had.  They were stocked with all of the designer dogs and purebred puppies everyone has been trying to get their hands on.  So many kids were sitting in the little “viewing boxes” where they could play with a puppy while their parents sat there and listened to the kid promise and promise to take care of it every day as they were actually trying to decide how to finance the cost of the dog because, being a designer dog, they were very expensive.

I looked around and finally one of the underpaid worker-drones came up and asked if there was something specific for which I was looking.  I said that I was looking for a sheltie because my current service dog was getting ready to retire and I wanted to have another of the same breed so that they would bond and the new one could learn quickly from the old one.  She said that they didn’t have any there that day.  I feigned disappointment (I knew about the company and wasn’t going to buy one of their dogs anyway) and thanked her for her help.  She told me to wait a moment and ran off to the back room.  She quickly came back with a piece of paper that said if I paid $1000 that day I could have a sheltie puppy in a week.

What??  No reputable breeder is going to just happen to have new puppies available johnny-on-the-spot.  The only way you get what you want, when you want is when you use a vending machine — and that’s just what puppy mills are like.  They cram dogs into small wire cages and breed the heck out of them.  Then when they’re no good for breeding or have gotten older, they dump them or, usually, kill them.  Puppy mill dogs are so inbred they have many diseases and deformities that aren’t identified to the new owners who take their lovely/expensive new puppy home and watch it begin to get sicker and sicker, if it doesn’t just up and die first.

Cody was a rescued puppy mill dog.  They used him as a breeder and dumped him when he got older.  You could tell he’d never had human contact.  Food was just pushed into a cage and if it stayed there he could eat and if it spilled that was too bad for him.  He had no idea how to play.  You could roll a ball towards him and he’d either look at it as if it was something amazing or he’d run and hide.  When we got him after he’d been dumped, they’d shaved all of his beautiful long fur off except for his head and tail.  Many puppy mills will do that so they don’t have to worry about the dogs’ coats getting matted or caught in a cage if they’re a profit-making dog.  If they’re just one of the many waiting to be sold, they often don’t care what happens.

I told the Petland clerk that I was not interested in a puppy mill dog and she became quite angry that I would even suggest that their dogs came from puppy mills.  I told her that I’d reconsider my opinion if she would provide me with the name and phone number of the breeder so that I could check him/her out and see what types of reports might have been filed by other puppy owners from their dams and sires.  She said she couldn’t give me the information because I might go to the breeder and just buy the dog myself there instead of through the store.  I asked for just the name of the breeder so I could check with the AKC (American Kennel Club) and the Department of Agriculture (that inspects breeders) to make sure I’d be getting a healthy dog.  The clerk adamantly told me that she could not give me that information and that my puppy would be healthy because they have a vet on-staff (next door) who checks all of the puppies as they come into the store.

Sure, I’m going to trust a veterinarian that I’ve never met; never seen references regarding; and who isn’t always there at that store to check-over an animal that the company plans to make a large profit on and believe that they’re not being pressured to say everything is okey-dokey.  I even went back to the vet’s office and couldn’t get any specific information on the vet, where he/she went to school, their specialties, etc.

After this encounter I saw reports on the news about Petland and how many groups were protesting their sale of puppy mill dogs.  The state where I live is one of the largest puppy mill “sanctuaries” because people don’t report the owners of the puppy mills and, if you did try to report them, they have no problem showing you by force (usually through the end of a firearm) that they don’t want you messing in their business.  There are many veterinarians in and near the town in which I live that I researched before I ever took my pets to one when we moved here that had many, MANY bad references and notices online for dealing with puppy mill dogs and signing health certificates of dogs that were transported across the country to new owners — only to have the puppy become critically ill or die soon after arrival.

I am SO happy that Petland is closed.  Okay, yes, if people want to argue about it, it’s not good that there are workers from the store who now don’t have jobs in this poor economy.  But, I usually do research on any company/organization with whom I’m applying for a job, so if I knew that Petland was marketing in puppy mill dogs, I’d never work there.  I’d rather work somewhere else for less pay than to watch the dogs suffer as they come in, aren’t well, and are handled repeatedly by people who are “just looking” and can’t really give the dog a forever home.  Heck, I’d work part-time for minimum wage at the local pound or shelter before I’d take a full-time higher-paying job at a store like Petland.  What kills me is that the website for this particular store is still up and the parent company is still taking “special orders” and operating out of another town.  They had said they were closed for remodeling.  Guess it was to remodel their way the heck out-of-town.

As I walked into SetPmart to pick up Harley from her beauty appointment, I took a moment and looked at the dogs and cats inside and outside the store that three different shelters had brought in hopes that they would be adopted.  I saw many families looking at the dogs and playing with them.  The puppies were obviously the most popular ones but I saw a few looking at some of the older dogs and even overheard one family saying they wanted to adopt an older dog because it wouldn’t chew-up the house and they wanted to give it the best last years it could have.  I smiled and looked down at Celeste who was staring at me as if to say, “You already have another pest in the house.  You don’t need any more.”  I scratched her ears and smiled at the shelter personnel and the families there.  True, when Celeste’s time comes to retire I’ll have to have another certified service dog and will 99% get one from the breeder/trainer where I got Celeste.  But when Harley’s old and gray and her time here on earth is over, I’ll definitely be back at the shelter.  And whether it’s a puppy or a senior dog, it doesn’t matter.  Shelter animals love you even more because they know that you’ve just saved their life and they’ll do anything to make yours happy and safe.

The mighty fence hath been restored!

And there was much rejoicing….(Yay!)….

Yes, the contractors arrived bright and early this morning and reassembled the panels that had been dislodged from their posts, using the technique I originally suggested — big freakin’ screws instead of puny nails.  The lead contractor told me that they usually nail the panels on so that if someone/something hits a panel at high-speed that only the panel would come down and not the whole fence.  I found that quite laughable and even showed him how laughable it was since nothing had hit the fence (except air, or maybe a leaf….perhaps a squirrel) and yet the panels were all falling down.

He admitted he was quite shocked when he arrived and found my custom-made drive-gate was twisted and warped and there was no good explanation for it.  So, they poured more concrete into the post holes that had settled and leveled them.  They also added more dirt in places that needed it (so glad I saved the huge pile of dirt from the first go-around).  And they went to purchase new panels to reconstruct my gate so that it now operates correctly and doesn’t look as if it will allow half of the wildlife of our neighborhood a way into the yard.

The part of today’s adventure that didn’t thrill me was my “alarm” system to let me know when someone unknown has arrived at the house.  Since my medication makes me incredibly sleepy each morning, I dozed-off on the couch while waiting for the builders to arrive.  Actually, I’d already dozed-off before Youngest Son left for school and he had to wake me to let me know he was leaving so I could watch to make sure he got on the bus.  Then I dozed-off again.

Harley, the Schnoodle which is a cross between a poodle and a schnauzer (a terrier), is usually the first part of the “alarm” system.  She sits on the couch and watches out the windows or lies beside the door in the dining room so that she can see anyone or anything passing by the house.  Her terrier instincts give her the predisposition to growl and grumble at anything walking within her line of sight.  It doesn’t have to be on our property — if she can see it and she doesn’t know who it is or what it wants, she doesn’t want it around.  Many leaves and bunnies and people walking in the park across the street have been given fair warning from her growling (even though they can’t hear her).  It’s her growling that usually alerts Celeste, my trained service dog, to see what the fuss is about and make sure there is no real “threat” to the house or those of us in it, especially me.

Celeste being a Beauceron definitely classifies her as a large dog.  She’s every bit of 85 pounds of muscle and alertness.  And she has the traditional markings, cropped ears, and deep stare of a herding dog that usually sends humans walking the other way if she stares them down.  But when needed, she can bark and it’s a low, powerful bark that can be heard very well.  It’s the combination of Harley, yapping like an idiot and giving an intruder the thought of a small dog that wouldn’t do much harm, and then Celeste’s booming bark, which to someone who’s not heard it would translate to, “I will eat your face off if necessary, and I believe it is,” that makes a wonderful “alarm” system.  And it’s proven itself effective, too.

But this morning, when I was sound asleep on the couch in the comfort of knowing that these two loony dogs would do their job and let me know when the contractors arrived, nothing happened.  They just sat there.  Oh, they may have run to the door and saw the men getting out of the truck with tools and starting to fix the fence — but neither decided to inform me.  The incessant yapping and loud barks never came.  I was finally awakened by Celeste licking me from chin-to-forehead to wake me up because she wanted to go outside.  You can imagine my surprise, as well as the contractors’, when I opened the back door and found their truck parked in my driveway and they found two dogs barreling out the door into the yard to go “walkies.”  The guys had been there long enough to remount all of the panels of the fence and neither dog had bothered to let me know.

Once I was awake, however, they wouldn’t leave me alone.  You’d think I’d been away on safari and they were just thrilled to see me.  When the contractors left to buy more materials, neither dog did anything.  But when they returned, both dogs started their yapping and barking as if to say, “See!  We are good at this and look at them tremble before us!”  There was no trembling — the guys outside had already known to ignore them and went about their work.

Now they’re still sitting and staring at me wondering where their treats are for scaring-away the intruders who simply left on their own after we inspected the fence and made sure the work was done correctly.  If it weren’t for that dopey look they get in their eyes at times like this, I’d probably have to be upset.  And with one dopey-eyed dog on each side of me, that’s a hard emotion to bring up at the moment.

Snow Day!!!

It’s the first snow day of the year, so I’m taking the day off.  Youngest Son is out of school.  Husband listened to the scanners and watched the news this morning and saw all of the accidents occurring on his route to work, so he wisely decided to stay  home.  The dogs have frolicked briefly in the snow and don’t care for the bitter cold.  The cat won’t go near anything that looks like it’s got snow on it.  It’s still snowing and the continued forecast says it’s supposed to start sleeting soon.  We’ve cancelled our play’s rehearsal for the evening, too.

The rest of my schedule is nap, fix dinner, watch the Westminster Dog Show, and possibly nap more before going to bed.  And get this post published.  We still have Internet and electricity, so I’ve got to post something!

The Battle of the Pets: Winter Edition, Day 2

Well, we didn’t get the snow or rain they forecast yesterday.  The weatherpersons in our area have decided that it will be tonight/tomorrow that it shall arrive.  Actually, today is much nicer outside than it was yesterday — that always gives me an awful feeling of wintery foreboding.  I’d blame my knee hurting on the impending snow, as it usually does, but it’s still hurting from the reenactment back in January.  Maybe I should get a professional to look at it sometime.

Anyway, this afternoon after running our errands and fighting the crowds of people in the grocery aisles who believe that any weather forecast for a single snowflake means they should go and stock-up on bread, milk, Pop-Tarts, and beer like it’s the coming apocalypse, we decided to allow the dogs to play in the backyard for a while.  Since it is warmer today they both were much happier frolicking around and chasing the football Youngest Son would throw towards them.  Husband commented that he was stunned at how quickly Celeste could run and what sharp turns she made.  I told him that he’d just never seen her at her playtime enough to get to watch her dig those extra dewclaws Beaucerons have into the ground and make her spin on a dime.  Large divots and ruts began to appear in the moist soil from her high-speed turns as she raced Harley for the ball.  Poor Harley, being a Schnoodle, has Schnauzer-like front legs which gets her really running but is stuck with the stick-like Poodle back legs that don’t give her a lot of balance when turning quickly.  Or the ability to walk on snow well — they just poke right through and her belly freezes.  Celeste is also a massive 85-pound dog designed for herding and running in the mountains of France, so she’ll outrun Harley who’s a lot younger any day — regardless of weather, terrain, or treat waiting at the finish line.

Oh, allow me to digress for a moment.  I’m sure some of you are wondering why I put the Pop-Tarts and beer in the list of things to stock-up on before a storm.  Yes, I know you read it and thought it was there just to be funny or tried to skip-over it but still wonder what it has to do with anything.  I can’t find a copy of the report I read at the moment, but after Hurricane Katrina there was a survey done of the items that sold-out the fastest in the New Orleans area before the hurricane made landfall.  Items number one and two were beer and Pop-Tarts.  No kidding.  You don’t have to cook Pop-Tarts, so I assume that’s why they made the list.  Beer was for all the landfall parties that ended up not going quite the way they planned.  So, there — a little trivia for you.  Now back to our regularly sponsored blog post.

After the dogs ran themselves silly I brought them back inside the house.  I figured they’d each find a place on the recently-mopped hardwood floor or my new area rugs to crash.  Nope.  They’re still wandering around the house, just like little kids who get wound-up on sugar or a good does of fresh air and sunshine.  Celeste is still hunting for Cat but having no luck finding her.  We were gone for a few hours, so Cat got quite the head-start on hiding today.

I will say that I was very impressed at the big box mart when we were shopping over how many people were respectful of Celeste’s job as a service dog.  I heard many more people telling their kids to not pet and trying to keep them out of the way when we were passing through.  No drive-by pettings that I noticed, anyway.  One young man, about age 8 or 9, had his hands full taking milk back to where his parents were.  He walked past Celeste, making sure not to touch her at all, and said, “What a very nice dog you have, ma’am.”  I thanked him and waved at the parents when he got back to them.  I had many other people come up and ask if she was a German Shepherd or a Doberman or both.  I quickly explained that those breeds came from the Beauceron and was met with many “ooohs” and “aaahs” from interested people.  Celeste kept watching everyone and making sure no one snuck up on me.

We were in one aisle and suddenly a lady with a thick German/Eastern European accent came up and started not quite yelling but really raising a fuss about Celeste.  I couldn’t quite understand what she was saying and since she came from behind me, I couldn’t hear her very well. (I have a hearing problem where if I can’t see your lips, I can’t understand you as clearly.)  It sounded something like, “Dog, very scared, danger” or “Dog, scare me, danger.”  Regardless, I have no idea where she came from ’cause we’d not passed her nor were we approaching her.  If she wanted to run across the store to yell at me, she could at least have made sure I heard her.  When I turned to face her, she ran away and we didn’t see her again.  Everyone in the aisle was stunned.  I shrugged, gave Celeste a pat on the head, and everyone went on about their business.

So, that’s the big excitement for the day.  I’m sure they’ll run around outside again later and keep searching for Cat all evening.  Tomorrow night I’m going to watch the Westminster Dog Show — Celeste’s “niece” (for lack of a better term) Chaumette is going to be there.  She was one of the top-five Beaucerons to be invited this year.  Last year, Chaumette (who’s three months younger than Celeste), En Theos (another Beauceron that’s now a service dog), and Elias (also a service dog and specialized as a gluten-sniffing dog) all appeared at Westminster.  Celeste received her championship and Rally Novice titles a few years ago, so she’ll sit with us watching the show on TV.  We’ll be cheering all the Mes Yeux Vigilants dogs!!

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