Saturday, September 4, 2010

new puppy?

Well, since my friend Darlie adoped Atticus, I have to admit, I've had a little "puppy fever". I love the smell of puppies, I love that milky breath. That goes back to my childhood when our dachshound, Vickie, had a little of little plump sausages that are dachshound pups.

I've been pining about it. So, when Michaela, who helps Vernon, stepped out of her truck with a little black and white Aussie/Border Collie pup (black and white, like mine) who needed a home, my heart skipped a beat. She would be very like what Doc and Zoe might have had, had they been able to reproduce.

I scooped her up and took her in the house. She zoomed into the kitchen and, upon spying her own reflection in the trash compactor, screeched to a halt and went back to see just who was looking at her. Smart pup, thought I.

Having satisfied herself with the layout of the kitchen, she charged into the TV room and stood and watched the screen. Way smart pup, thought I.

She didn't seem to concern herself with Zoe's concern, which was great. Nor was she bothered by Doc's whining. Her response was to grab his toys and charge around the house. She jumped up and bit my face, then she tried to bite the toes of my shoes....hmmmmm.

Now, Doc and Zoe have seen a few pups in the last few days. Their reaction to this one was, in a word, alarm. This raging bundle of alpha-ness, really had them worried.

As I tried to comfort them, a slow vision formed in my mind. Chewed table legs. My lovely sofa with the stuffing out. My shoes, in the trash. I knew that this one would be our Hurricane Katrina.

This much intelligence and energy needed a home but not this home. She needs to herd cattle and hang out in barns. She needs to ride in a truck with someone like our trainer, Keith. Riding off to work. This one couldn't possibly be happy in a house like this, with people like us. When Michaela collected her and walked out the door, I swear Doc and Zoe thanked me, really thanked me. The relief washed over them. Phew, is what they seemed to say, thank heaven that's over.

Nope, Vernon doesn't have to worry about a new pup...yet.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

a new friend

Friday was a great day! Darlie brought her new adopted companion, Atticus (Italian Greyhound) and the dogs all got along just fine. Zoe was a bit jealous but she was when we got Doc, too. It's her nature but she gets over that pretty quickly.

Atticus was most interested in Ditto Cat - those ears shot up whenever he wandered through. Dogs, all dogs, love that cat. It's those mighty pheromones.

What a great little guy that Atticus is. He doesn't exhibit the shyness that a lot of sighthounds do - especially the little ones and he's about the tiniest (7 pounds, maybe) I've ever seen. He fell into lockstep with the big guys and even draped his little self across Vernon for a nap.

More and more, I am feeling the need to get a greyhound - Atticus has made that urge a lot stronger. Might just be time to adopt another off the track - they're such wonderful and dear companions. Doc might just have to share some of those toys.

Thursday, August 12, 2010


I love Ditto's paws. I love the way he stretches out his legs and just lightly touches me or Doc or Vernon - he just wants a little contact. Zoe, he never touches - she doesn't like it. Ditto is like a dog, call him and here he comes.

We put up a barn and got a cat. He adopted us. And, he is just about the sweetest cat (tied with Amos) we've ever had. No biting, no scratching, no destroying the house.

He's got one problem - he's the neighborhood serial killer. The John Wayne Gacy of Brittany Drive. This year, we've saved 2 baby bunnies from his clutches.

I've thought of ways to make him fat - that'd slow him down a bit but he's got a great metabolism - he doesn't even have the kitty fat flaps that cats his age (we estimate he's about 10 - 11) always get. Not Ditto, he also seems to be the Jack LaLanne of felines.

Friday, August 6, 2010

beautiful zoe

We got Zoe as a 2 year old - never did see our girl as a puppy but I think she must have been adorable. She was living with a very nice family with one problem - their 2 year old daughter had decided Zoe didn't need eyes (she was trying to literally poke them out), that her legs would look better if they stuck straight out from her body (she was trying to pull them out of their sockets). Zoe, spent most of her time trying to hide from her "sister". I sure hope that kid has grown out of whatever it was at the root of that behavior.

To the credit of her owners, they decided to find her (Zoe, not the kid) another home so they put an ad in a local paper. It specifically stated that she would not be given to any family with children and we qualified.

We had been dog-less for about a year. Our sweet and wonderful greyhound, Tiger, had passed away at the ripe old age of 14. It took us a while to open the house and our hearts to another dog - Tiger was very special. But, the time had come and so we began our search. Greyhounds are sight hounds and cannot be off leash. We had moved to Colorado from Chicago and decided not to get another sighthound unless we had an enclosure for doggie business. At the time, we didn't.

Back to Zoe. We met in a parking lot in Green Mountain Falls. These folks were going to make sure that Zoe found a good family - with no kids. We fell in love with this beautiful, energetic black and white Border Collie with the big, soft brown eyes - cheerfully donning the red neckerchief. Having passed their test, we went and collected her belongings - her crate, brush and toys. It was sad, clearly they were heartbroken about letting her go but they loved her enough not to keep her.

Once home, Zoe fell right in to our schedules and our lives. Border Collies are reputed to be the smartest of all dog breeds and she's typical - blazing smart. We can't watch Animal Planet and certain action movies (with or without animals) drive her to distraction. Intense, dramatic music worries her and, God forbid, there's a fight on the screen. She cannot tolerate that bad behavior.

Most mornings she rises, does her business, eats a light breakfast and goes back upstairs, by herself, to bed. By 11:00 she's up, comes downstairs and joins the family. Smart dog, she decides what she wants to do, regardless of what we are doing. Unlike Doc, she takes little interest in toys (good thing) - the tv (we think she thinks it's the most interesting window in the house) is her primary means of personal entertainment.

She has few needs but she does need to accessorize. When we got her, she wore that red neckerchief. Silly me, I thought that she might be happier without and took it off. Years later, I decided to dress her up with some of my old scarves - in my family, we often dressed our animals up. Boy, did she get excited. That head of hers shot through that scarf. At one point, she wore 4 - at once. She's back down to 1 at a time, these days it's chili peppers from Aunty Peg. Poor Zoe, I'd denied her something quite important and I didn't even know it.

Your typical Border Collie needs a job - in the absence of herding geese or sheep, they make up their own. Typically, this job is dis-assembling the sofa or another piece of furniture. Thankfully, Zoe is not your typical Border Collie - her job is watching tv and keeping Doc in line and occasionally molesting Ditto, our cat (more on that later). As long as she has her scarves, tv and us, she's a very happy girl.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

how does he know?

My Doc is all about the Toys. We've never had a dog for whom they are quite so important to his total happiness. Consequently, as we wish to keep him happy, he has quite a selection of squeaky, plastic, plush and bits of what were once whole toys. His once plump California raisin now lies limp, robbed of its stuffing - sort of like a deflated furry purple balloon - with eyes. But, he does not love and respect this toy any less than the others.

Each morning he rises - ready for the day. "Doc, get a toy!" and off he charges to his toy box to make his first selection. "Daddy's going to get you!" and off he charges into the dining room. He lopes a lazy U turn there (under the dining room table) and charges back into the tv room, where we are, runs to Daddy, makes a sharp u turn and plops down on his striped pillow (Costco, about 20 bucks). This is his version of Keep Away (from Daddy).

The rest of the day is a wonderful ritual of selecting another toy from his box, charging around and dropping it anywhere, everywhere, in the house and outside in his enclosure. From the dining room window, I count about 10 outside. What a wonderful life he lives - toys, treats, hugs and "good boy!".

What I really can't figure out is how he knows which are his toys and which are ours (socks, shoes) because he has never, ever chewed on anything that doesn't belong to him. How does he know? He is a very good boy, indeed.

The picture above is baby Doc vigorously chewing on Bill Clinton - he stole this gift from Grandma to our now departed, dear cat, Amos (it has catnip inside). In this house there is only one King of the Toys and that is, of course, Doc. The images above that are of a very typical scene in our house, charging Doc and his "wealth". I count 9 toys he has gathered for his personal enjoyment.

let sleeping docs lie

It's hard to believe he was so small - he's a real bull now! He'd play so hard, he'd literally collapse into a black and white heap and we could not wake him up. My boy.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

dedicated to the happiest dog in the world

Welcome to Doc's world! Every day is a good day in the world of this black and white Australian Shepherd, aka "Grandma's boy". He gets up happy, spends the day happy and beds down happy.

Being an Aussie, he has no tail, just a round knob that looks like a pompom sitting on his rear end. It is in perpetual motion so, it's really a good thing he doesn't have a tail. Swoosh, there goes my diet coke, swoosh, there goes everything on the coffee table. Just one day, I'd like to be as happy as my sunshine boy, just one day.