Category Archives: Pets

Things that make me go hmmm….

Good morning Everyone!

Here are a few things that make me go  “hmmmm….” :

1)   “Mom, where is the screwdriver?”

Dog, eating, counter

2) Plates clinking mysteriously in the kitchen when Mark, Kayla and I are together in the den.

3)  Squirrels hopping aimlessly in the center of the road after I screech my car to a full stop to keep from hitting them.

4) My dogs playing the “barking” game every time I pick up the phone.

5)  The following dialogue:

From the other room:  Bang, squeak, Bang, BANG!  
Me:  What are you doing? 
Kayla:  Nothing! 

6) Watching the Gecko, Flo and the Allstate mayhem guy and wondering exactly how far can each insurance company spin the campaign out?

7) The AFLAC Duck’s mysterious absence from the airwaves.

8)  For the past three months, the cashier announcing at the drive-thru at the local Burger King that the frozen coke machine is broken.  (I don’t know if I am more bemused by the fact that the thing has been broken for three months now and they are not fixing it or the fact that I am stupid enough to keep asking about it after three months.)

8) A local fast food burger joint running out of hamburger!

9) An Auburn University football season starting at 0-2.

10)  The chewed, now toeless sock sitting in the middle of the living room floor when I know for certain I safely locked all the socks away from the dogs only thirty minutes ago.

11) Political commercials.   Any of them.

12) Political commentary.  All of it.

13) The fact that I can’t make a comment about the Chick-Fil-A cows good or bad without the possibility that it will be construed as a political statement, good or bad.

14) The mysterious return of my soft pastels (a chalk-like type of painting substance) to my bedroom when they are supposed to be safely in the craft-room unused.

Have a great day!


A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words….

Good morning Everyone!

What’s wrong with this picture?

Have a great day!


Super Bowl, Dog Delivery, and Helping the Local Humane Shelter

Hi Everyone!

I hope each of you had a chance to enjoy the Super Bowl Sunday night; it was one of the great ones – down to the wire, with plenty of excitement and great plays.  Some of the commercials were pretty funny, too.

Given my affinity for Volkswagen Beetles, it will not surprise you that the Volkswagen commercial where the golden retriever decided he needed to lose weight so he could chase the Beetle driving down the street was one of my favorites.  The E-trade Baby came through with his usual panache, too.  And for those of us who grew up with “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off,” the Honda CR-V commercial with Matthew Broderick was pretty funny too.  I’d love to know if any of you had favorite commercials from the game.

In other news, Darwin was falsely accused of chewing last night.  He walked into the den with a piece of paper in his mouth, and Mark was about to scold him for chewing, when Kayla called out from her bedroom that Darwin had been given a note and been bidden to take it to Mark.  Now, I am curious to know if Darwin actually knew to bring it to Mark, or if it was just an accident that the next place he went from Kayla’s room was to Mark.  I may never know, since I am not inclined to tempt Darwin with another such piece of paper.

I got a chance to go back by one of my favorite animal shelters the other day and walk a dog at lunch.  This is a really fun way to help out your local shelter and exercise at the same time.  The dogs that are in the runs waiting to be adopted love the chance to get to stretch their legs, and also the extra attention and petting they get (at least from me) as their walker, and the walker gets exercise while feeling that for that one day he or she has made a difference, at least for that one dog.  It also may help to make more energetic dogs more adoptable by allowing them a chance to burn off a little energy so that they are not quite as hyper when people come to choose a dog from the shelter.  Yesterday, I walked a dog named Blackjack, who answers to the name of Jack.  Jack was the biggest dog I have ever walked, and from the owner of Darwin, who often resembles a small horse, that is saying something.  Jack was not nearly as tall as Darwin, but imagine a cross between a lab and a Newfoundland, and you might begin to get an idea of his size.  Jack was solid muscle, which could have been a problem but wasn’t because he had obedience training and walked like a dream, never pulling on the leash and always listening to me when I told him to come or to keep up.  Quite unlike the twins, Darwin and Mandy, in my house, who make me feel like a crazed Hittite charioteer whenever I have them on the leash and try to exit the house.  Jack hasn’t been there long, though, so it was hard to get him to wag his tail, but he finally started to once I was taking him back to his pen.  I hope to be able to go back tomorrow (Wednesday) and then I will walk someone else.

Well, that’s about all for now.  I hope each of you has a great day!


Heeeerrrrreee’s Tyra!

Good morning Everyone!

Tyra, on January 20, 2012

Today’s post is about our oldest dog Tyra.  Tyra, whose nicknames include Tyra Belle, Big Dog and occasionally The Saint (refer to the many posts about Mandy and Darwin to understand why), does not exactly receive equal time in this blog so today I wanted to focus on her. 

Tyra, looking up from the love seat

The main reason Tyra doesn’t receive more time on this blog is not that we love her any less than the other two dogs, but simply because she is the best behaved of the three dogs so she often gives me the least to write about.  To be honest, she is the best behaved of all five dogs we have ever owned, and that is saying something!  Tyra’s main goal in life appears to be to please us, while Mandy’s goal in life is to be happy and maintain her excellent self-esteem, and Darwin’s centers somewhere between playing and getting really good back scratches whenever possible.

Tyra, October 1, 2006 in the back yard

Tyra, 10 years old now, is an Australian Shepherd mix, we think, and came to live with us on February 14, 2004, about 10 1/2 months before Kayla came.  She was three when we selected her from the Humane Shelter.  The sign on the run she was sharing with another dog said that she was a Rottweiler mix, but I have lived with this dog for almost eight years now, and there is no Rottweiler in her anywhere.  We weren’t sure what she was until one day when we saw a picture of an Australian Shepherd, which was spot on to what Tyra looks like when we let her hair grow out.

Second Picture, Tyra backyard, October 1, 2006

Tyra was taken to the Humane Shelter by the first family that adopted her and left, the reason being that they had a baby and “didn’t have time to care for her anymore.”  I always have thought that to be incredibly sad for Tyra,even if incredibly lucky for us; I don’t know how you could do that to a dog as loving as she is.  She still has nightmares occasionally, when she will start to moan in her sleep – whether it is about that experience or something else, I don’t know – but a soft touch and just a whisper that everything’s okay and she’s safe with us at home soothes her, even if she doesn’t wake up. 

Woof, Back Yard, October 1, 2006

When we got Tyra, our first dog, Shadow, had been dead for over a year, and I was starting to worry about our second dog, Woof, and how lonely she seemed to be getting.  Mark and I went to the shelter that day to select a dog, and as we were looking over the runs, we came across a pair of medium-sized dogs kenneled together .  One of the signs on the run said, “My name is Tyra, and I can sit!”  Mark said, “Sit,” Tyra sat, and the rest is history.  I haven’t seen her sit on command too many times since then, but bless her heart, the one time in her life it counted, she pulled it off! 

Tyra and Woof Camping in the Travel Trailer

Woof and Tyra had a cordial, not necessarily close relationship.  Or at least that’s what I thought until the day we went camping and I was walking both of them, and Tyra thought another dog was about to attack Woof.  Tyra immediately went into defense mode, and there is no doubt in my mind whatsoever that Tyra would have done anything possible to defend Woof. 

Kayla and Tyra, 12 days after Kayla came to live with us

Tyra and Kayla have a sweet bond.  Kayla took to Tyra almost as soon as Kayla moved in with us.  When Kayla learned that Tyra had only been with us since February, (remember, Kayla came December 1, 2004), something clicked and the two of them have for the most part had a rapport ever since.  Kayla does not boss Tyra around like she does the other two dogs, but is always sweet and gentle with her.  When she plays school, using the dogs to populate her pretend school world, Tyra is never a student.  Once, Tyra was the school nurse; another time, when I was unavailable, Tyra was the principal. 

Kayla's First Visit Ever To Our House With Mark, Tyra and Woof in the Picture

We learned quite by accident that Tyra also is prepared to do whatever it takes to protect Kayla.  One day when Kayla was four, Mark was grilling outside in the back yard and Kayla was with him.  Kayla heard the door bell ring, but Mark didn’t, so she went to open the door.  (That was a whole separate conversation.)  When she opened the door, there was a teenage boy there that she didn’t know, and Kayla got scared and screamed.  Tyra flew from the back yard down the hall to the front door, pushed Kayla to the side, and chased the teenage boy and his three friends (all of whom, bless their souls, were only asking for directions) onto the hood of their car in the 10 seconds it took Mark to realize something had happened and get out there as well. 

Our Family, Early in 2005

Tyra is not, however, without her quirks.  After all, she is only human canine!  She absolutely loves camping, and bananas.  All the dogs like going for a ride, but when we had our travel trailer, she would absolutely lose her mind as soon as she realized that we were going on an expedition.  She would laugh from the time we got in the car until we returned home.  I had never seen anything like it.  As far as bananas go, they appear to be a miracle cure for her for everything from arthritic hips to fatigue.  The mere sight or smell of a banana will start her prancing like a three-year old dog again. 

Why Won't They Give Me My Spot?

Tyra’s evening routine requires that she be given a seat on the couch beside Mark.  We got this picture of her on the sofa recently, when I was on one side, and Kayla was on the other side of Mark.  She does not look happy!

About time!

All was well, though, once she was placed in her favorite spot.

It's all good!

Tyra also gets extra privileges now that she has attained the status of the official geriatric dog in the household.  See, Life with a Geriatric Dog.  These include elevator service onto our bed every night and occasional joy rides in the car with Mark, Kayla and I while the other two dogs are left at home.  She also is indisputably the leader of the three dogs, although they all three of them ultimately defer to Mark.  She is a benevolent leader, fortunately, and we have been amazed at the restraint she has shown towards both Mandy and Darwin.  They really have to work at it to hack her off.

You will notice in some of these pictures that one of Tyra’s eyes is much larger than the other.  That is due to a condition called canine glaucoma.  There is no cure, and both we and our vet believe she can’t see out of that eye any more, but it doesn’t seem to have slowed her down one bit.  I watch her when she play wrestles with Darwin (they have their own version of mouth wrestling; I have yet to figure out any of the rules besides the cardinal rule, which is that Tyra wins.  Always.  No matter what.) and she just seems to look at him out of her other eye with a twinkle that says, “I can still beat you, even with one eye tied behind my back – but I won’t take advantage of you, even so.”

That’s my dog.

Have a great day !


Odds and Ends

Good morning everyone!

I just have a little bit of this and a little bit of that to share this morning, so we will be jumping around some.

  • How do you know if you’re absent-minded?

I was, unfortunately, presented with two unmistakable signs this morning that I am, indeed, prone to be absent-minded.  The first was when, after trying on her own for about five minutes, Kayla came to me for help in finding the peanut butter.  After checking behind her on the counter and in the pantry, I suggested that she try the refrigerator, since every once in a while when I am not paying attention to what I am doing, I put the peanut butter in there.  See, Peanut Butter in the Refrigerator.  Sure enough, there it was, on the top shelf.

The second was when I couldn’t find my glasses.  After roaming our bedroom and bathroom and the great room looking everywhere I could think of, I suddenly put my hands up to my face just to be sure I wasn’t looking for my glasses with them already on my face.  (I have done that before.)  To my immense relief, they weren’t there, but the fact that I had to check is very telling.

  •    Free Slushies

Kayla announced at the dinner table the other night that she would be excited when she got to middle school, where “they” have “free slushies for 75 cents.”  She offered to bring one home for each of us, too.


  • Mandy

Mandy is still eating interminably slow.  While this is great for blogging in the mornings, it presents many other problems in terms of morning preparations, since she won’t eat unless I am sitting here at the table beside her and she is extremely prone to be distracted.  When Kayla comes out for breakfast, she stops eating.  If Kayla leans down to pet her, she stops eating.  If Tyra wanders by, she stops eating.  If she hears any noise in the kitchen, she stops eating.  I bet a butterfly landing on a branch on the other side of the world would be enough for her to stop eating.  The only saving grace is Darwin; if he is anywhere in the vicinity of her and her food, she will eat faster – apparently Tyra is allowed to take her food away if she chooses (it’s been a while since Tyra has done that), but Darwin, as the junior member of the pack, is decidedly not.  Since he’s asleep and snoring in the den right now, I don’t think she has anything to worry about.

Mandy and Darwin, but not while Mandy is eating!

Have a great day!


Shadow’s Spread

Good morning everyone!

This Summer's Bedspread

Usually, Mark and I keep the same bedspread on our bed year round, only changing it out periodically to get it cleaned, but this summer, we decided to switch the regular comforter out for a lighter bedspread.  The bedspread  is  lighter and more comfortable than the regular comforter for summer, but there is another reason I like the bedspread, aged though it is.


Quilting that remains on bedspread

Shadow loved this bedspread.  It was originally quilted.  Stitch by careful stitch, night after night, without messing up one single square of fabric or alerting us to what she was doing, over the course of her 16 years, Shadow managed to pull out every one of the quilting threads in the bedspread, leaving only a few on the side.

Before and After

We have been without Shadow for over nine years now, but I still won’t get rid of her bedspread.  20 years from now, in whatever condition it is, I still will be carrying it around.  I can’t touch Shadow any more, but I can touch the bed spread she worked so hard on, and smile at the memory.

Shadow and I at Calloway Gardens

Have a great day everyone!



Good morning everyone!

Regular followers of this blog will remember that Mandy and Darwin’s favorite pastime, after playing tug of war with one of my elastic headbands, is to snatch a handkerchief from wherever they can find one and chew it. 

 They are beginning to be quite gifted in this regard, and have now been caught snatching handkerchiefs from bedside tables, under pillows, bureau and sofa tops, and just about anywhere except the pocket of someone carrying one (and that’s only because they haven’t figured out how to be pickpockets yet.)

Not unexpectedly, this activity of theirs has taken a severe toll on the number of handkerchiefs available for Mark’s use.  We have decided, as a general rule, that if the washed handkerchief resembles a Rorschach blot more than a square, it should be thrown out.  This rule means that Mark is almost out of handkerchiefs, so we have been keeping an eye out for some but with no luck. 

From Print Shop Professional 2.0

On those rare occasions when he goes out of town overnight, Mark usually stops on his way home and buys something for Kayla and I.  On his last trip a few days ago, though, I knew he wouldn’t have time to stop, so I told Kayla that it was our turn to buy  him something, and we set out towards the nearest city to hunt for handkerchiefs. 

 I lucked out and found some at Target, so bought the store out of their entire five box stock.  Kayla asked if we should leave some for somebody else, and I told her no, they would have to do without for now since we had been looking so long! 


When we got home with our treasure, Mark called.  He had just reached his hotel room.  I let him talk to Kayla first, and she told him that we had bought him something.  He apparently asked what, because she held the phone out from her head, without covering the receiver, and asked me, “Can I tell him about the handkerchiefs?”  I told her she already had.

Have a great day everyone!


Bird Watching, Twinkle and Dog Rules, the Sequel

Good morning everyone!

  • Bird Watching

    From Print Shop Professional 2.0

I am writing this post today with a copy of Bird Watcher’s magazine sitting next to me. Why have I subscribed to Bird Watcher’s magazine when my experience with bird watching is limited to the birds I see at zoos, the birds that sit on my fence, and the birds that sit on lamp posts, electrical wires, and the huge flocks of sparrows that wheel through this area in the fall?  Am I eagerly starting a new hobby that would require me to tramp through wilderness at the crack of dawn armed with a binocular and the ability to sit still and silent long enough to see something worthwhile? 

No.  The truth is that I just don’t believe Publisher’s Clearing House when they say that a purchase is not necessary to win their grand prize of $5000 a week for life, and Bird Watcher’s Magazine was one of the best choices available to me. 

  • Twinkle

    From Wikimedia Commons, by the European Southern Observatory

We went and saw Cowboys and Aliens Friday night, and riding home Kayla got kind of sleepy.  Mark felt like singing, so, joking around, he started to sing “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star.”  That woke Kayla up enough for her to say, “The stars are beautiful, but they don’t really twinkle, do they?”  Score again for the 9-year-old!

  • Dog Rules, the Sequel

    Mandy's close-up

A while ago, I wrote a post about the hierarchy my dogs use, Dog Rules.  While I retain the sobriquet of She-Who-Feeds-Us-Every-Morning, Mandy has also awarded me with the title of She-Whom-I-Must-Ask-To-Let-Me-Out-Immediately-After-She-Settles-Down-On-The-Couch-For-The-Evening.  Her timing is always impeccable.  No matter how late it is, (The term late is relative; I need to be on the couch by 8 to start settling down for bed at 9, so I am referring to whether I sit down at 8, 8:30 or 8:45), and how long Mark and Kayla have been on the couch already, the minute I sit down and pull out my cross-stitch, she comes up to me to tell me that she needs to go out.  Darwin, never wishing to be left behind, joins in.  Tyra usually skips this mid-evening excursion, because she has already staked out her spot on the sofa so she can sit by Mark. 

Tyra on the couch

Mark thinks it’s funny.

Have a great day everyone!


Bananas for Bananas!

Good morning everyone!


My sweet and gentle Tyra called me a name yesterday.  It was the kind of look she usually reserves for those times when, after three days of rain, we are forced to throw her out into a downpour whether she likes it or not so she can take care of essentials.  My crime? 

I failed to share a banana with her. 

Unlike humans, dogs have a limited sense of taste, but one of the flavors they can taste is sweet.  Apparently, a banana hits Tyra’s taste buds in just the right way, because I have never met a dog that is as crazy for them as she is. 

In spite of the slight dulling of some senses that comes as dogs age, (Tyra is 10 now), she still is super-sensitive to bananas.  For example, I will be asleep in one room, with the door closed and Tyra and Mandy asleep with me. Mark, in the other room, will tip-toe into the kitchen, grab a lone banana from the fruit bowl and tip-toe back to the den to get ready to eat it.  Before he even begins to peel it,  Tyra is awake, prancing by my bedside, and sending Mandy up on the bed to walk on my hair to wake me up so that Tyra can go claim her share.  (Darwin is a non-factor because he usually sleeps in the den anyhow.)

Whenever Tyra is about to get a piece of banana, she does a little tap/river dance as the banana piece is broken off and handed to her.  Therefore the maximum entertainment value in providing Tyra with a piece of banana is obtained when you give it to her while she is standing on the wooden floor. 

The Rule of Three

Darwin and Mandy are not as wild about bananas, but they do expect the Rule of Three (one for Tyra, one for Mandy, one for Darwin) to be followed, so normally in our family when someone wants a banana, they have to get two – one for themselves, and one to share with the dogs.  Kayla, never having known anything else, finds that to be quite normal, but Mark and I are still bemused by it.  My mother, when she visits, loves to buy bananas simply to have some to give to Tyra.

Fortunately, Tyra doesn’t hold a grudge, so shortly after I finished the banana she forgave me.  However, a trip to the store will soon be in order, as we are now down to three bananas, and I’m not sure if she’ll be willing to forgive me a second time!

Have a great day everyone!


Drunken Puppies

Good morning Everyone!



Every once in a while, you run across a headline that makes you go “hmmmmmm…..”  Today I ran across the following gem:  “Pet Store Bans Drunken Puppy Buying.”  After I looked twice to be sure I read it correctly, the thought crossed my mind that the headline makes a lot of sense.  After all, how can a puppy make a good owner choice if it is drunk?  And if drinking and driving is bad (and it is), how can you condone drinking and selecting an owner? 

Coordination is an issue too.  Puppies have a hard enough time walking and navigating around a room to begin; imagine the effects if alcohol is added to the mix!  I knew a puppy (Shadow) who used to love to run through tunnels she had made under the bed between storage boxes at night at full speed – until the night she made a wrong turn and slammed head first into the bedroom wall.  (We didn’t see it, but we heard it.)  How much worse would it have been if she had been drunk!

Shadow and Woof - Never Drunk but Always Crazy!

We all know that alcohol impairs judgment and a puppy’s judgment is questionable at best to begin with; I suspect it would be nonexistent with alcohol added.  The first week we had him, Darwin decided to tear out all of our porch screens in three days. If he had had one or two daiquiris beforehand, not only screen replacement, but also a vet visit would have been in order, since his lack of balance would have precipitated him over the 15 foot drop between the porch and the ground.  (Vets are much more expensive than screens, for those of you keeping score.)

The Terminator! (Of Screens)

And let’s think a minute people – is it really a good idea to give a mind-altering substance to an animal that loses its mind when it experiences its first car ride with the windows down or its first potato chip?   For that matter, how exactly do you give a puppy a breathalyzer test and what is the legal limit for puppies?  The enforcement issues are mind-blowing!

So, kudos to the pet store for the courage to take a stand and here’s hope for the rehabilitation of all those drunken puppies! 

Have a great day!