Tag Archives: pets

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!


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.


The Great Chicken Caper

Good morning Everyone!

Welcome to Mystery Investigations – Going to the Dogs, a new reality show that chronicles the investigations performed by our intrepid adventurer who refuses to stop until she has reached the truth.  Today’s episode features “The Mystery of the Missing Chicken.”

I brought home a serving of chicken and rice as takeout one evening, and unfortunately Mark did not like the chicken.  I went ahead and fixed him a can of soup, so while I was doing so, I placed the chicken plate on the kitchen counter and then forgot about it – until I brought the soup bowl back in the kitchen, where I found the following plate awaiting me:

Rice, Chicken dinner, left over food

The Plate With (or Without) the Missing Chicken!

While I am not a trained investigator, it was difficult to miss the fact that the leg and breast quarter that formerly resided on the plate was now missing. Even worse, it was completely missing – there were no left over bones lying on the kitchen floor, no grease anywhere, no chicken skin or spare pieces of chicken.  Not a single speck.

Since Kayla wasn’t home that night, we only had three potential suspects.

1) Our oldest dog, Tyra, an Australian Shepherd mix who is 10 years old.



2) Our middle dog, Mandy a/k/a Bad Dog, who is somewhere around 5, but I never can remember exactly how old she is.

Basset Hound Husky dog

Mandy, Our Husky-Basset Hound Mix

3) Our youngest dog, Darwin a/k/a No-No, who will be 3 on December 15.

Lab, Dog, Darwin


Using the time-honored method of means, motive and opportunity, Tyra was quickly eliminated. Not only is she completely blind, but even on her hind paws she would never be tall enough to reach the top of the counter.

That left me with only two suspects remaining, Darwin and Mandy. Both of them had the means – Darwin is tall, and Mandy is long. Both of them had a sufficient motive – cooked chicken apparently is a far cry better than Kibbles and Bits! Finally, both of them had opportunity, since they both were out of sight for at least some period of time while I was sitting with Mark while he ate his soup. So instead I had to turn to the less reliable and normally inadmissible realm of character evidence.

Dog, eating, counter

Character Evidence, Exhibit A: Mandy Leaving the Counter in our Old House

In court, evidence regarding a person’s character in the past is not admissible to prove guilt for the crime the person is currently accused of. There are exceptions to that rule, and I judicially decreed another exception for dogs who steal chicken off of the counter.

Reviewing the character evidence available to me, it was clear that the culprit was not Darwin, but Mandy.

First, Bad Dog did not earn her name unjustly. She likes to chew, will do so unabashedly and will pluck things off of a table or a counter in a heartbeat, as this video shows:

Second, before Mandy was found and put in the Montgomery Humane Society Shelter for Kayla and I to find her, she survived scavenging in the dumpster at McDonald’s, and probably other places as well.  She has still not forgotten how to scavenge, and isn’t afraid to practice her survival skills at a moment’ s notice.

Third, Mandy was the only dog who looked like this when an inquiry was made about the chicken:

Mandy, dog, husky  basset hound mix

Mandy post-chicken

Even without the post-chicken bone digestive problems the next day, I think I had an air tight case against her, don’t you?

Have a great day everyone!


A Funny Short Short – The Ultimate Consumer Complaint of the Future!

Good morning Everyone!

Today, I am sharing with you a short, short story that I wrote last year.  Enjoy!
Robot from Print Shop Professional 2.0
Customer Service
Interspace Robotic Corporation
800 New England Way
Venusian Colony #5 
Dear Sirs: 
Thank you for accepting the return of your Model 3300 Robotic Clone. I am writing to provide you, as you requested, a more specific description of the problems we encountered with the robot.
 As promised, the Model 3300, whom we named Gertrude, was a hard worker with detailed knowledge of nutrition, household chores, home repair, and yard work, looked human, and contained an additional logic booster chip which allowed her to make decisions in the best interest of our family without constantly being given specific orders. The problem was that Gertrude was incapable of understanding that, on occasion, the less logical choice was better.
For example, while Gertrude was correct that vacuuming at non-peak hours was good for the environment, placing less strain on the electrical grid, no-one in our family got any sleep on Tuesday and Friday nights during her 2:00 a.m. house-cleaning sessions. And while shaving the dogs certainly cut down on the amount of dog hair floating around various rooms, I am not sure the dogs have yet gotten over the trauma of being shaved bald in 2.0 seconds flat.
In addition, although I have often fantasized about placing my children under house arrest when they fail to clean their rooms and do their homework, and the electronic monitoring bracelets Gertrude designed were quite clever, we found that the Department of Human Resources, Child Welfare Division, had problems both with house arrest and the electric shock the bracelets delivered when one of the children would violate the terms of her confinement. 
As another example, the research on nutrition Gertrude performed, and her presentation to the family, was flawless, but after seven days of tofu, fruit and berries for meals, the entire family began to sneak out to stuff ourselves with cheese fries and chocolate sundaes, at least until the location bracelets were placed on the children.
My husband has been threatening for years to place Astroturf instead of grass on our yard, but the Covenant Enforcement Committee objected strongly both to it, and the plastic flowers and bushes in front of the house. The members also were singularly unimpressed with Gertrude’s dissertation on individual liberties under the United States Constitution when they came to discuss the issue. 
The final straw came the day we returned home from a week’s vacation to find that the wooden floors and carpet throughout the house had been replaced with industrial strength concrete and drains strategically located throughout the house so that the floors could simply be hosed down instead of vacuumed or mopped. The floor and carpet installers both admit that Gertrude did an excellent job, as did the locksmith we called in to bypass the lockout system she placed on our air conditioning system to prevent the thermostat from being set below 82 degrees, but we are not looking forward to the payments on the second mortgage we now need to fix everything back the way it should be. 
Accordingly, we returned Gertrude to you. 
Jane Smith
P.S. The Covenant Enforcement Committee has asked me to remind you that the restraining order will stay in effect for 10 years.
Have a great day, everyone!

A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words….

Good morning Everyone!

What’s wrong with this picture?

Have a great day!


Smiling Through Our Tears

Good morning Everyone!

One of my favorite pictures of Tyra ever

Last week, Tyra went completely blind in about two days.  You may remember from earlier posts that she was already blind in one eye due to canine glaucoma.  Last week, the retina in her good eye detached.  The name for this is something like Sudden Retinal Detachment Syndrome, which just means that her retina detached and no-one knows why.

The effect, though, is obvious.  Our sweet, loving, smart, obedient Tyra cannot see.  At all.  And while she does not appear to be grieving or upset, rather instead focusing her energy on learning how to get around, the human contingent of our family is quite sad about it, even while we also work on what we need to do to help Tyra and the other two dogs adjust.

This picture, taken in January, shows you her "bad" eye on the right.

The purpose of this post, though, is not to make you sad, either, but to point out that even in sad times you can find things that, if not funny, at least make you smile.

A pastel I did of Tyra

For example, there was my casual observation that while I wouldn’t want this to happen to any of the dogs, at least it happened to the smartest one of the bunch who is able to figure out ways to cope.  If it had been Mandy, she would have spent all weekend in a standoff with a wall.  She doesn’t move for anything she collides with, but rather expects it to move for her.   Convincing her, with her combination basset hound/husky stubbornness  that she would ultimately have to yield for a wall, would be nigh impossible.

Mandy, studying the treadmill

One of the things we have to do is teach Tyra how to find her water bowl, since water is difficult to smell.  After she refused to drink even when we put plain water in a coffee cup in front of her, I suggested we at first give her a glass of sweet tea.  The sweet tea innovation was very popular.

All of the reading I have done about dog behavior and characteristics finally paid off, too, when I remembered that a dog’s sense of smell is a billion times (or something like that) more acute than ours, so we then took the next coffee cup of water and laced it with just a splash of sweet tea, which also was popular with the blind dog contingent of the household.

Tyra laughing at Callaway Gardens this winter.

It is also nice to finally have a use for all of the coffee cups that come with every set of china that we buy beyond those we reserve for visitors.  We don’t drink coffee, so they get very little use.

Mark had Tyra up on the couch beside him Sunday evening, and he was drinking sweet tea in a large class.  She could smell it and started trying to lick the side of the glass, clearly believing that she is now entitled to sweet tea, too.

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

She found the water bowl by herself Sunday afternoon, and the whole family stood up and cheered. at least metaphorically.

The vet said that steps would be the one thing that she would have a hard time handling, and since the back yard is only accessible through a steep set of stairs down from the porch, we have been walking her on a leash in the front of the house.  She loves it.  The other two dogs were not happy the first time we took her out on a leash, leaving them inside (and folks, I am just not up to the crazed Hittite charioteer routine two or three times a day), but over the next couple of days they seem to have mellowed out about it.

There has been the pride Mark and I feel as parents in Kayla, who has been as sweet and loving to Tyra as anyone could wish.  The only problem is helping her understand that she can’t keep Tyra 100% safe; Tyra has to be allowed to explore her surroundings, which means she does bump into furniture once in a while, and the other dogs have to be allowed around her so they can adjust.  Kayla  also has been a great help with the other two dogs, giving them extra love and attention to help keep them from feeling left out.

Mandy and Darwin confer

Mandy and Darwin haven’t quite figured things out yet.  I think they know something has changed but they’re not sure what.    They do not harass Tyra in any way, although Darwin got a little confused when Tyra didn’t respond to his play bow Monday morning.  Dr. Mitchell said that one of them eventually will take over as sort of a guide dog for Tyra.  No sign of that so far, but then it is early days yet.

Blind or not, Tyra still expects (and gets) elevator service onto our bed at night.  The only difference is that she also gets lifted back down when it is time for her to get off.

Another favorite picture of Tyra

And then there is Tyra herself.  Dogs can mope just as humans can, but there has been no moping in Tyra.  We can’t explain to her what has happened, but she knows that she can’t see and rather than waste time feeling sorry for herself, she is, instead, working on learning what she needs to learn to carry on.  If she looked miserable or sad all the time, we would be hard pressed not to be ourselves, but she wanders around the house happily, then finds somewhere comfortable to lie down, and as soon as she hears our voices starts to thump that tail of hers.  She follows us when we lead her on the leash with absolute trust, and even got a couple of walks around the neighborhood this weekend which she really enjoyed.   We still see her laugh quite a bit.

It is these small blessings that make adjusting to this new phase for all of us  possible, and we are grateful for them.

Have a great day everyone!


Celebration: It’s Been One Year!

Good morning everyone!

This week marks the one year anniversary of this blog so today is the first day of the New Blogging Year.  From my first post, My Unintended Exercise, through my latest post, A Touch of Spring, it has been an exciting journey, and I just can’t tell you how much I appreciate your taking time out of your day over this past year to share this journey with me.

I will start off this New Blogging Year with a conversation Kayla and I had yesterday.  She was sick, and Mark was staying home with her since he also was sick.  Once we decided that she needed to stay home, both of us reinforced the idea that if you stayed home sick, you needed to rest and be quiet, not play and watch TV.  She willingly went back to bed, and when I was ready to leave I went in to her bedroom to tell her good-bye.  She rolled over, gave me a sleepy hug, then said, “Mom, can I ask you a question?”  I said, creatively, “Yes.”  She then asked “Is food included?”  I smothered a laugh, told her yes, food was included in a stay at home day, and then beat a fast track out to the car where I could laugh in safety.

During this past year, we have shared a lot of laughs, traveled together and even learned a few things.  You have been kind enough to read some of my poetry, read my posts about the history of the Ugg Cave Clan and listen to some of my whining thoughts on contemporary technology and other things.

Some of the posts that both you and I agree were pretty funny include my thoughts on The Perils of Absent-Mindedness, my one post that was Freshly Pressed, Rules I Never Thought I’d Need, Cheese Grits:  The Sequel, Please stop Improving My Life, Part I and Part II, Fibber McGee’s Closet and Drunken Puppies.

Together, we have traveled to many places, including Key West, the Smoky Mountains, Destin Florida, Oak Mountain in Birmingham, Pensacola and Callaway Gardens.  We also got to visit two fantastic restaurants, Lambert’s Cafe in Foley, Alabama and Captain Anderson’s in Panama City.

You shared the recently discovered history of the Ugg Clan with me in A Highly Biased History of Washing Machines, A Highly Biased History of Bowling, and A Highly Biased History of Bowling, Part II.  Research into the Ugg Clan continues, and I suspect that more of it will be revealed as time goes on.

Kayla, my daughter, has featured prominently in posts – the title of the blog is Tales from the Mom-Side.  Some of your favorite Kayla stories include Conversations with my Ten-Year-Old, Inappropriate O’Fences, The Art of Gentle Satire and the Vegetarian Veterinarian Veteran .

I had the chance to talk to you about our three extraordinary dogs, Tyra, Mandy and Darwin, aka Bad Dog and No-No, as well as tell you about our first dog, Shadow.

You and I also got to share some of the sweeter aspects of small town life in The 214th Comes Home and Homecoming Parade.

You have thought along with me in a few reflective posts, such as A Day of Thanks and Books:  Adventure of a Thousand Lives, as well as been kind enough to read some of my poetry in the posts A Poem for Memorial Day, A Poem for the Fourth of July, Praise, With Apologies to Samuel Clemens Moore and Christina Rossetti and in a funny remake of a popular Christmas carol, The Twelve Days Pre-Christmas.

A couple of other interesting posts including the history of the Thanksgiving Holiday (not the Pilgrims and Indians, but after that) and a discussion of one of the underappreciated tasks in the modern world: garbage collection – go without it for three weeks, and you will never take it for granted again!

Do I know where I’m going in this next year?  Absolutely not, but then that’s at least half of the fun!

Thank you for sharing these posts along with me, and here’s to a wonderful second year!

Have 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 !


Mandy has a brother?!

Good morning Everyone!

As some of you know from some previous posts, I have long wished that the over 50 people who have searched for variations on the term “husky-basset hound mix” would let me know why they are looking for the information;  I have always thought that Mandy is probably the most unusual dog I will ever come across, both in looks and in personality.  Well, two days ago, I got an e-mail from a woman named Needa in Nashville, who has a dog named Sawyer who is – wait for it – also a husky-basset hound mix.  Pictures were immediately exchanged, and the two do look very much alike, especially when they both have been recently groomed.  Sawyer has a little bit more of the red/brown coloring of a basset hound, while Mandy has picked up more of the silver/white/gray of the husky, but still, the resemblance is amazing.

Guess who is who?

You can see how much alike they look in the two pictures above.  Sawyer’s most obvious difference from Mandy is that he is a male and she a female, but there are other differences.  I think Mandy is a little more solid than Sawyer, although I haven’t yet met Sawyer to have him jump on me with all of his weight concentrated in his front two paws.  Sawyer has two blue eyes, instead of Mandy’s one brown eye with a hint of blue in it and her other completely blue eye.

Sawyer almost in pageant pose

There are a lot of similarities, too.  Sawyer has a “pageant pose” similar to Mandy’s, although Needa and her husband call it the “noble pose,” which makes sense since Sawyer is a boy.  Sawyer likes to chew – Needa says the first day she had him he demolished her digital camera, which made me grateful for Mandy’s preference for light cords – and does so on about the same four-hour schedule that Mandy holds.  Mandy and Sawyer can be trusted alone in the house for about four hours, then they get anxious about their owners being gone and start demolishing something.  At least they have a good reason; Darwin chews sometimes just for the pure joy of it.  To be honest, Mandy chews handkerchiefs for the pure joy of it also, but the more destructive chewing comes after four hours!

Mandy: Caught with a handkerchief

They have somewhat similar nicknames, too.  One of Mandy’s many nicknames, well-earned, is “Bad Dog.”   Sawyer’s nickname, Bitarbriat, was given to him by one of Needa’s uncles.  The word is Persian for “Spoiled Brat.”

Sawyer dives for something

Sawyer does not have to be bossed around by a child of any age, let alone a ten-year old girl – Needa and her husband just got married three weeks ago!  Congratulations to them.  Here is an engagement photo they took with Sawyer in it.

Sawyer's Engagement Photo!

Sawyer was adopted in Huntsville, Alabama at The Ark; someone found him wandering around the roadside there.  Mandy is also an Alabama dog; as you know from a previous post, she was adopted at the Montgomery, Alabama humane shelter, where she had been taken after she had been found digging in the dumpster for McDonald’s.  They both are very independent; I am not sure if that is the basset hound temperament coming out, or if part of that comes from surviving “on the street” for a period of time.

Mandy, awakens from a nap

They both are very loving dogs, too; they just have very high self-esteem.

Sawyer on his dog bed

One day, we hope maybe to get the two of them together, but that won’t happen for a while.  Either way though, welcome to Sawyer as a potential cousin, if not brother of our own Mandy, and thank you to the many friends and relations of Needa who have stopped by this blog in the past two days to look at pictures of Mandy.  I hope you’ve enjoyed your visits!

Sawyer gets ready for the wedding

If anyone out there stumbles by this blog and has a husky-basset hound mix, please let me know.  I’d love to hear about him or her!

Mandy in the kitchen

Have a great day!


Life with a Geriatric Dog

Good morning everyone!

Tyra on the couch

I watched Tyra last night as she was walking up the stairs from the back yard to the porch and realized, as I have realized other times over the last six months, that we are beginning life yet again with a geriatric dog.  It is an inevitable part of the life cycle of the special friendship that you acquire with a dog.  The last years with a geriatric dog have their own joys as well as their special sorrows but I still wouldn’t trade them for anything.  Part of owning a dog is that eventually the dog will die but the joy I get from being with the dog throughout its life far outweighs the sorrows. 

Shadow asleep on the bed when she was 15.

Tyra will be our third geriatric dog.  Those of you who have followed this blog for a while will probably remember that Shadow and J.P. Wooflesnort (Woof for short) were the other two. 

One of my favorite pictures of Woof as an older dog.

At our house, geriatric dogs get special services.  These include elevator service onto beds, couches and any other surface aged hips and paws can’t quite reach any more, (although when it is Mandy’s turn, there will be a lack of elevator service for counters on which she currently likes to graze!), first dibs on any table scraps or snacks that are handed out and help with maintaining the spot of primary dog in the house.  Tyra gets the special perk, because it is a special joy for her, of being taken for a ride periodically in the car while the other two dogs are left in their crates at the house.  The other two don’t mind so very much, but the look on Tyra’s face as she saunters out is priceless – it is very much an “I get to go and they don’t!” look. 

Tyra basking in the sun in the backyard.

Older dogs, at least the three we have had, mellow out a little bit.  Woof was seven years younger than Shadow.  Once Shadow was 12 and beginning to get quite deaf, Woof would often get quite excited about something that Shadow couldn’t hear, and go get Shadow to check it out; Shadow would investigate the situation and come back and tell Woof everything was okay and just to chill.

Shadow in her prime riding in a boat on the local lake

Older dogs do not lose their intelligence as they get older.  I can remember very close to the bitter end, once we knew that Shadow had kidney trouble, being told to feed her a special kind of dog food.  To break her into it, we were told to start by mixing her regular dog food with this (apparently much blander) wet dog food to encourage her to eat it.  Shadow would have nothing of that; we had about a week of her carefully picking out every dry piece of food she could find while shredding through and leaving all of the wet dog food she didn’t like. 

Woof, a few months before she died.

I would like to say that older dogs get sweeter as they age, but I haven’t really noticed that.  Shadow kept that hint of ginger in her temperament that endeared her to us.  She loved us, but had the gumption to get irritated with us if we broke her “rules” about things, like if we were playing with a dog toy and she felt that we weren’t letting her get it often enough, as well as the facial expressions to let us know it.  Woof stayed as sweet as ever.  In fact, I have to say that Woof was probably the most flexible geriatric dog I know of, since she adjusted well to Shadow’s death, Tyra’s adoption, Kayla’s adoption and Mandy’s adoption all in the space of about three years, although she did nearly have a nervous breakdown the time that Kayla, at age 5, pulled Woof into the bathtub with her in a moment when I wasn’t looking.  She never again let herself be alone in the bathroom with Kayla, that was certain!  Tyra’s temperament appears to be holding steady – sweet and sane. 

Tyra Waiting on the Sofa

For our household, Tyra has just arrived on the leading edge of geriatric status (Shadow died when she was 16 and Woof when she was 14) so hopefully, at age 10, Tyra has several years left to enjoy being queen of the household.  But she reminds me, as Tyra and Woof did each day as they aged, that each of our days together is a gift, and one I need to remember to appreciate. 

But then, isn’t that true of all of our relationships?

Have a great day everyone!