Tag Archives: dogs

The Best Diet Plan Ever!

Good morning Everyone!

Quite by accident, I have discovered the single greatest diet plan ever – even better than the 1 to 4 ratio imposed on anything that we eat around here that the dogs feel they should get a part of  (one bite me, three bites dogs!).

Clip Art Illustration of a Silhouette of a Woman Holding Her Wai

The Best Diet Plan Ever!
PhotoCredit: http://www.clickartonline.com

You need two ingredients:

1) Food in the house;

2) A 12-year-old girl.

A dill pickle

A Dill Pickle

Kayla started riding the bus to and from school a couple of weeks ago, which leaves her with a short period of time during which she is free to raid cupboards and the refrigerator to her heart’s content.  While Mark had already reconciled himself to the fact that he will never have a pickle he can eat at the house until Kayla goes to college, and I was already checking whether we needed peanut butter at least twice as often as I used to, we didn’t really expect that everything sweet in the house (except for the box of HoneySmacks I have hidden on the top shelf of the pantry behind the bread maker so Mark will have something – shhhh!) would be gone each week by Tuesday.  By Wednesday, fruit, apple sauce, peas, stew and vegetable beef soup have managed to disappear.  I suspect by Friday, we will be down to bread and water.

empty refrigerator

Looking for Something to Eat!
Photo Credit: http://www.clickartonline.com

The start-up costs for this diet were pretty low, since we had all the ingredients to hand, but I suspect that the long-term costs may end up being astronomical.  At least until Kayla graduates college and enters into a profession that will enable her to support Mark and I in the lifestyle to which we desire to become accustomed!

Have a great day!


Da Dogs

Good morning Everyone!

It’s been a while since I devoted a post exclusively to our three dogs, so today’s the day.

Regular readers to this blog will recall that we have three beautiful and unique dogs as pets:  Tyra, who is now 14, Mandy, who is 8 – 9 in August – (which is very hard to believe!) and Darwin, who is 5 (that’s another one that’s hard to understand.)  All three of them are pound puppies; we are forever grateful to the Montgomery Humane Society for Tyra and Mandy and to the Lake Martin Humane Shelter for Darwin.

Tyra is completely blind; we have suspicions that she might be losing some hearing also.  (To get her to hear where you are going/want her to go, you have to stomp like a dinosaur tap dancing – that is known as a clue!)  She is the sweetest dog we have ever had, although she has become a bit demanding when it comes to her nightly snuggle time with Mark.  She has always viewed herself as Mark’s dog, although she loves the rest of us too.  We suspect she is an Australian Shepherd mix.

Australian Shepherd Mix


Mandy is a free and independent basset hound/husky mix with excellent self-esteem.  She loves all of us, and she is particularly my dog (when we first got her, Woof was still alive.  Woof was my kitchen dog, as I called her – she wouldn’t leave me to myself no matter how bad she wanted to be in a room with everyone else.  She trained Mandy for the same position.)  She is the only dog we’ve ever had whose response to being scolded and told “bad dog” is to stare at you thoughtfully, let you know that she feels your point of view is interesting but not particularly upsetting, and then walk away to plot how to continue whatever it was she was trying to do in the first place.  While she is absolutely unique, I have been surprised at how many people are interested in or have basset hound/husky mixes.  Over 400 of them have looked at my post about Mandy as a basset hound/husky  mix, and I’ve had a good 8 to 10 people at least send me messages about the buskeys (a good handy nickname) that they own.

Basset Hound, Husky Mix


Darwin is the biggest dog we have ever owned.  He is either a black german short-haired pointer, in which case he is not recognized as a short-haired pointer in America although he is in Europe, or a Lab/Great Dane mix.  He is incredibly eager to please his people and surprisingly affectionate for a male dog.  He’s not entirely sold on the idea of being Kayla’s dog (he has an application in for the position of Mark’s dog which is never going to be granted while Tyra is alive), but is beginning to reconcile himself to that position now that we allow him to go to bed with her at night, which means he ends up sleeping on her bed with her during the night, a much better deal than he’d get in our room.

Lab/Great Dane Mix


The three dogs care about each other, and their interactions are fun to watch.  Darwin and Mandy play together a lot, which has kept Mandy young.  They like to chase each other around the yard, and while you’d think the larger Darwin would have the advantage, he doesn’t – Mandy is the fastest dog I have ever seen, and can hold her own against him.  Darwin wants to play with Tyra, but she can’t see him “play bow” to know that he is just playing, so things can get a little tense.  I did get to see the two of them figure out how to play one day, and it was ingenious – neither one moved their legs, while they kept moving their heads around playing “tag” with their heads – apparently you somehow scored a point if you touched the other dog with your head.  Tyra doesn’t believe that play is play unless barking is included, so the din was pretty astonishing.

Australian Shepherd Mix Camping

Tyra Camping

Husky Basset Hound mix camping

Mandy Camping

Lab/Great Dane Mix Camping

Darwin Camping

The three dogs like to camping with us in our (gracefully aged) motor home, but they each have different attitudes about it.  Boo is happy to be with us, but her level of happiness is the same as if she was going for a ride in the car or with us for a walk.  Tyra has always loved camping, and the motor home is no exception.  She likes to come to the front while we’re driving, flip up the arm rest on the driver and passenger seats and get her ears rubbed.  Continually.  For the entire duration of the trip, whether it is a five-minute drive to the nearby state park or a six to eight hour drive to the Smoky Mountains.   Darwin is ecstatic to be camping, and shows it with all his might.  Mandy and Darwin both like to sit on the dashboard of the motor home while we are gone and just watch the world go by until we come home.  I have been astonished at how little they bark at anything outside, including other dogs, when they do that.

Two dogs

Boo and Darwin Together Camping

Two Dogs in Motor Home

Tyra and Mandy Together

So there are our three canine family members.  Each well-loved and loving well in return, each unique and each one indispensable to who we are as a family.

Two Dogs on Bed

Tyra and Mandy Share a Bed

I hope your pets are every bit as interesting!  Tell me about them in the comments section if you have time.  I’d love to hear from you!

Have a great day and weekend everyone!


The Warranty, Please

Good morning Everyone!

Since all three of us need them, glasses are important objects in this house and a trip to purchase them a major event.

Our favorite place to purchase glasses is LensCrafters in Montgomery.  It has an independent optometrist’s office on the premises, owned by Dr. Goodman, who has seen to Mark’s and my eye care for more years than I care to count and who added Kayla to his list of patients about three years ago.  Mark and I once went to another company  and optometrist to get our glasses, but we weren’t happy with the results – neither one of us felt like our eyeglasses were working the way they should that time – so the next visit saw us back at LensCrafters.

Tyra never chewed glasses

Photo Credit: Me!
Tyra never chewed glasses in her life; I just felt that she deserved to have her picture in the blog post.

One of the reasons we like LensCrafters is their extended warranty.  The warranty provides coverage for everything that can happen to a pair of glasses except for being lost with only a $25 deductible.  (Even those of us whose mental math abilities are hampered can recognize that $25 is much less then the cost of even one lens.)  And in our family, if it can happen to a pair of glasses, it probably will.

Kayla's first set of glasses before the dogs ate them

Photo Credit: Me!
Kayla’s first set of glasses last year.

Kayla’s glasses lasted under a week before they needed to be replaced – she left them on the coffee table one day rather than wearing them.  (To be fair, she left them in the same spot Mark leaves his when he is not wearing them; the only difference is that he never leaves his unattended.)  When we got home that day, we found that Mandy or Darwin or both had thoughtfully tried to redesign the frames and the lens by chewing them.

Mandy and Darwin rest from their labors

Photo Credit: Me!
Darwin and Mandy rest from their labors.

This had happened to her first ever pair of glasses, too.  One trip to Montgomery, $25 and four hours later, she was back up and running.

Glasses Second Pair 2013

Photo Credit: Me!
Kayla’s Second Pair of Glasses

My glasses lasted through the middle of February until they slipped off my night table at night and hit the floor, lens down.  When I picked them back up again, the floor had scored (pun intended) a fantastic scratch on the right lens.  We went Saturday to get the replacement lens ordered (my prescription needs to be ordered and then shipped; most prescriptions can be made in the store’s own lab), tendered our $25, and in 8 to 10 day business days, my glasses will be blemish free yet again.

Glass scratch for blog

My Scratched Lens

So when next you decide to get glasses, let me humbly suggest that purchasing THIS  extended warranty, unlike so many others, is well worth your money if you have 1) children, 2) dogs or 3) a mysterious wooden floor that shouldn’t scratch glass but did!

Have a great day everyone!


P.S.  I was NOT paid or requested to do this post by anyone.

And Then There Were Three….

Good morning Everyone!

Some variation of the term “husky basset hound mix” has led people to this blog over 400 times since 2011.  I have always found the popularity of that phrase interesting, since, for a long time, I thought our Mandy was absolutely unique.

Mandy and Mark in the Morning

Mandy and Mark in the Morning

Last January, when Sawyer’s owner e-mailed me, having read my post, “A Basset Hound/Siberian Husky Mix“, I learned for that first time that there was at least one other dog out there resembling our precious Mandy.  Just to remind you, here’s a picture of Sawyer.

Sawyer 1

I was delighted!  Sawyer had many of Mandy’s physical characteristics, but not all.  Even more significantly, Sawyer shared Mandy’s joie d’vivre and laissez-faire attitudes.

I am happy to announce that now third basset hound/husky mix has made an appearance, and this owner has gone so far as to provide us with a name for the basset hound/husky cross – the “Busky.”  Somehow it is fitting.

Meet “Bo”  who was adopted by Ms. Hess.

Bo 1 bo 2 bo 3

He is the first busky we have found that is mostly black, with a white splash across his chest, but the body shape is there, and, Ms. Hess reports, so is the temperament!

Now, to me, Mark and Kayla, Bo is even more wondrous because of another resemblance he bears – to one of our two dearly departed dogs, Woof.

Woof, Back Yard, October 1, 2006

Woof, Back Yard, October 1, 2006

Woof, Winter 2008

Can you see the resemblance?

Have a great day!


P.S.  Any other Basset-Husky mix owners, please let me know about your dog, too.  Maybe we can make Busky’s as popular as Labradoodles!

Dog Wars

Good morning Everyone!

Having either fully recovered from my bronchitis, or being perfectly poised for a relapse, I’m not sure which, I am more than overdue in starting my posts back.  It’s good to be back with you!

From Print Shop Professional 3.0
Used under license; protected by copyright

The dogs have entered into a bed war at night.  It really got serious once we started letting Darwin join Mandy and Tyra in the bedroom at night.  We bought a new dog bed so each of them would have one, so now we have a small older bed, a rectangular dog bed with fake fur/fleece on the top and another brand new rectangular dog bed with a flannel top in the bedroom.

Husky Basset Hound Mix, Dog Bed

Boo in the Preferred Dog Bed

Mandy and Tyra have been politely warring over the fake fur bed for quite a while; Tyra in particular keeps trying to go to bed earlier and earlier so that she will have (and keep) possession of the fake fur bed over the other one, forcing Mandy into one of the two other beds.  Last night, I caught Tyra entering the bedroom at 6:30 so she could lay claim to it.  When Mandy misses out on the fake fur bed because she has stayed up later than Tyra, you can tell from the expression on her face that she really is quite miffed, which sends me into hysterical giggles.  (Mandy is so unflappable about most things it really is funny to see her nose out of joint!)

Dog, Dog on bed

Darwin’s Preferred Sleeping Spot – Our Bed!

When Darwin entered the bedroom ranks, we supposed that he would take over the brand new dog bed, but that is not how things worked out.  Darwin infinitely prefers to sleep on our bed, but since we don’t allow that (he’s just too big), he has had to settle for his second choice.  For example, last week, Tyra got the fake fur bed, and Darwin managed to curl all of himself (I still don’t know how he does it) into the small old bed, leaving Mandy with the big, new bed.  She stared at the other two for a while, hoping to stare one of them off of the other two beds, but that didn’t work – especially since the other two dogs had their eyes closed already – so after I turned the light out she started trotting back and forth in the bedroom.

Lab, Great Dane, Small Bed

Darwin in the Small Dog Bed

In the old house, that didn’t matter too much, but in our rental house, where there is only wooden floor and no carpet, there is only so much tap-tapping of a dog’s paws one can take at night.  Eventually it sounds like the entire cast of Riverdance is pacing around the bedroom in taps desperately trying to find the stage entrance.  I got up, frustrated, but then Mark suggested that I bring the second small old dog bed from the den into the bedroom and put the new dog bed in the den.  I did so, expecting that Mandy then would get into that bed and everyone would be still where I could go to sleep.

Tyra, Australian Shepherd, Dog Bed

Tyra in the “New” Round Bed from the Den

I had to go into the other room for just a minute, and when I came back, everyone was settled in nice and comfortably, but not as I expected.  Tyra stayed on the fake fur bed, but Darwin had co-opted the old small dog bed from the den, leaving Mandy with the old, small dog bed that was in the bedroom originally.  I’m not sure what the difference was, but it mattered to Darwin.  Mandy, at least, was mollified.

Last weekend, I decided to move the old, small dog bed from the den back to the den, and to replace it bought a bigger round bed that had more room.  It’s probably not much of a surprise that Darwin co-opted that bed.  Mandy is now beginning to regularly lay claim to the new, rectangular dog bed that she formerly rejected.  She’s managed to get it squished up into just the right shape.

Go figure!

Have a great day everyone!


The Sound….

Good Morning Everyone!

Picture, if you will, the following scene:

I am at the breakfast table, huddling over my breakfast and trying to wake up.  In the rooms in the back, which include my bedroom, I hear the normal tap-tapping, shuffle, shuffle sounds of the dogs playing.  I hear the scuffle, snarl that means that they are playing with some kind of fabric, and then there is silence.   (I should have started worrying then, but I am a slow starter in the a.m.) Suddenly, out of the blue, I hear “CLINK, Clink, clink.”

Only one thing could make that sound – my wedding ring bouncing onto the floor from my bedside table, and, earthquakes being in short supply this morning, there is only one way it could get there – being pulled down by a dog interested in chewing.

(To make matters worse, I have already lost my wedding ring twice in the last five years, and although Mark has been very sweet about it both times, the second time replacement was accompanied with the very reasonable request that I try to hold on to this one for a while!)

Fortunately, I rescued it in time, but it was a close call!   I never thought the day would come when I wanted them to chew socks….

Have a great day!


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!


What I Learned Over Summer Vacation

Good morning Everyone!

Sun, Summer

From ClickArt Online, by Broderbund

My mini-summer vacation and Kayla’s full summer vacation came to an end on Monday, and so I thought I’d share what I learned over my summer vacation.

Morning, wake up

From ClickArt Online, by Broderbund

1) I like not having to get up before 6 a.m.

Multi-tasking, work

From ClickArt Online, by Broderbund

2) Work expands to fill the time available for it.

3)  Planning is essential, even when you’re off.  Otherwise nothing gets done.

Moving Dolly, Moving Boxes

From ClickArt Online, by Broderbund

4) A six-week mini-break definitely helps when you are moving into one house and getting another ready to sell.

Tearing Out Hair

From ClickArt Online, by Broderbund

5) A parent can come up with multiple, innovative ways to discipline a 10-year-old, and the 10-year-old can still come up with multiple, innovative ways to drive the parent over the edge.

6) Kayla works very well with animals; both Darwin and Mandy are much better behaved at the end of this summer than they were at the beginning and it is all due to her training.  Mandy still grazes counters at will and Darwin still likes to chew, though!

Holding Hands

From ClickArt Online, by Broderbund

7) My little girl is growing up way too fast.  I”m glad she’s still willing to hold hands.

Different Rhythms

From ClickArt Online, by Broderbund

8) Stay at home parents work as hard as parents who work outside the home.  It’s just that the rhythms of the jobs are different.

9) Even off work, the temperatures in July and August in Alabama vary between miserable and intolerable. 

Dog Smiling

From ClickArt Online, by Broderbund

10) The dogs like having me home during the day.

11) I don’t mind hanging around with myself, after all.

Siesta, Nap, Snooze

From ClickArt Online, by Broderbund

12) I didn’t take a nap everyday like I thought I would!

From ClickArt Online, by Broderbund

13) Farmville is a lot of fun, but it takes way too much time to play.

14) Picking up is even more important in a small house than in a large house.

From ClickArt Online, by Broderbund

15) Your friends at work are still your friends even when you’re off work.

From ClickArt Online, by Broderbund

16)  Cooking is not my calling.

Have a great day everyone!


A Heart Aches…

Good morning Everyone!

I have that rarest of opportunities in a working mom’s life to enjoy a little bit of a summer vacation.  Thanks to some very kind people at my firm, I have been granted a few weeks leave of absence to refresh my spirit and just rest. At one week into it, I wonder, given the time it takes to do the running around I need to do to get caught up while I am off of work, how I ever accomplished it while I was at work!

I had an appointment to go to yesterday in a nearby city where Mark’s Mom lives, so I took Kayla with me to visit with her while I took care of my business.  For no particular reason, I decided that we would drive a different way than usual to see if it was any shorter.  When we were in the very heart of (as Kayla would say) the middle of nowhere on our way to somewhere, I noticed a woman walking down the road carrying an object on my left.  In that split second that you have to observe things at 55 – 60 mph, it seemed to me that the women was very upset and sobbing, so I did the only thing I could do, which was turn the car around to see if there was something we could to do help.

What Kayla and I discovered was one of the saddest sights either of us has ever seen.  The woman was carrying her dog, which had obviously been hit by a car and just as obviously had just been discovered by her.  She was in those first awful throes of unrestrained grief, when try as you might, you can’t contain your feelings.  I pulled up to the side of the road, hoping against hope that the dog was still alive where we could help her get it to the vet in time, but there was nothing that could be done – the dog was already dead.

After asking the woman if we could at least drive her home (aside to family members – no I do NOT normally offer strangers rides in my car but this woman was genuine and I bet any of you would have done exactly the same thing) – she said no, her house was just steps away – Kayla and I drove off both feeling very sad, impotent to help and carrying a heavy, sad feeling in our chests.  I told Kayla that the feeling we had was exactly the feeling that is meant by the words, “my heart aches.”

I didn’t know this woman and know nothing about her, but I do know what it is like to have your dog die, and I can empathize further how awful it would be to discover the dog hit on the roadway.  So could Kayla.

The rest of the ride in to the city was very quiet.

This story is very different from most of the things that I share with you, but I do have a point to it.  Kayla, who currently would like to be a vet when she grows up, announced afterwards that when she had her own vet office, she was going to hand out flyers to every customer asking them to be sure to keep their dogs safe, and out of the road, and with this post, I guess I am asking those of you who don’t already to do the same.  Some accidents just can’t be avoided – for example, we had Mandy escape from us once when we first had her, and she proceeded to venture quickly forth on a mile and a half joy run, part of which involved running across a very busy road (we heard the brakes squeal as some kind person threw his or her brakes on hard to keep from hitting her), and there would have been nothing we could have done about that.  But I see a lot of dogs out running loose on the road, and not all of those can be escapees.  And, if you did let your dog out loose and it got hit, I certainly am NOT saying that you or the dog deserved what happened to you.  I am saying that your dog will  be a lot safer if kept properly in a fenced yard, large or small, and walked outside of the house on a leash when possible.

Let’s try to keep those heart aches down to a minimum!

And, on that sad note, have a good day everyone!  I will find something more lively to talk about tomorrow.


Mandy’s Turn

husky basset hound mix



I asked the people puppy what our  Mom is doing when she sits in front of the big black rectangle and moves her fingers while I eat breakfast.  My people puppy told me that Mom was writing, and showed me some of the posts about me in the blog our Mom writes.  I think she was a little confused when she wrote them.  She’s not really a morning person, you know – I have to work really hard to wake her up at the proper time.  Sometimes I have to circle the bed from 4 a.m. until almost 7!  I used to be able to walk on her hair to wake her up, but for some strange reason she cut most of it off, and now it is too short for me to do that.  It’s a shame, because she made some really neat noises when I would do it.

Newfound Gap

My people puppy

Any way, to help her out and make sure you don’t get the wrong idea, I thought I’d give you the real scoop on things.

Australian shepherd mix, dog in back yard, dog in sun

My sister, Tyra

It may surprise you to learn that I am adopted.  In fact, all of my siblings – my people puppy and Darwin and Tyra – are adopted as well.  It doesn’t matter, though, because Mom and Dad love all of us lots.  I do think it is a little unfair that the people puppy gets to go everywhere with them, and I don’t, but I try hard not to mind because I know that Mom and Dad love me best – why, they call me “Bad Dog” (that’s one of my nicknames) more than any of my siblings, which means that I am very special.  (My sister, Tyra, rolls her eyes when I say that like I am wrong, but I know that she’s just a little jealous about it.)

Black lab, crazy Dog

My brother Darwin – he’s a little crazy!

Although I would like to travel with Mom and Dad more, my life here is pretty good.  Darwin, my younger brother, and I play together a lot, although I am still having to teach him about proper food etiquette – I don’t like it when he tries to hang around my food bowl.  My sister Tyra is very sweet, but has a hard time moving around the house now without someone to help her.  Mom and Dad do a really good job helping her.  That’s a good thing, because if they didn’t do it, I’d probably have to!

Mom and Dad are a little odd about some things, though.  I’m always very polite and wait until they’re done, but if they’re finished with their food, why can’t I go ahead and help myself to it?  It’s not like they want it anymore!  The same is true with stuff in the trash can – does it really matter what happens to it once they are through with it?  Any reasonable person would know that such things are fair game once they hit the trash, but not Mom and Dad!  I guess every set of parents have their eccentricities.

Family picture

Mom and Dad, in 2008, during yet another trip I wasn’t allowed to go on!

They also spend part of their nights watching this square frame in the living room that makes sounds and shows pictures.  I watch it sometimes, but it,s not really that interesting – nothing on it is real.  You can see and hear the pictures, but there’s no smells attached to them.  Every thing that’s real has a specific smell.

Oh, and I need to set the record straight about the day I came home.  Mom wrote that I ran away twice, but I really didn’t.  I was just so happy that I had a chance to stretch my legs that I took a couple of joy laps.  The look on her face was really funny, too, each time that I did it!  The best part was when she picked me up in the pet store and the people puppy introduced me and told my story to every one we saw.  It really made my day!

Christmas, 2007

Mom in the morning – this was Christmas, 2007 and she was more awake than she usually is in the morning. Still, she wasn’t exactly bright eyed and bushy tailed, even then!

Uh-oh – I can hear Mom emerging from her lair now to get ready for work, so I better sign off.  Just remember what I said, keep the story straight and forgive Mom for her inaccuracies.  Poor thing, she doesn’t understand how to get up in the morning!