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Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Shiela in Memorium

I don't know why it didn't hit me that this is my last weekend with Shiela until today when I looked out the window to the back yard and saw the maple seed pods dropping from the maples in the breeze that has come up this afternoon as the thunderstorms try to move into the area. I don't know if it was that scene, or the book I am currently listening too as I continue to pack away our belongings into their proper places in the new house, or the simple fact that I have to keep stepping over her carefully so not to disturb her last days as I go about these tasks.

Whatever the trigger, I find that I'm thankful that I do know that these are my last days with her. That I was able to make this choice for her and pamper her for one last weekend and that I find some strange comfort that it should be over Memorial Day weekend that her last days span. It's appropriate in some way, and the fact that she came into my life on a sunny May weekend and is leaving my life on the same. It's been a hell of a 17 years Sweet Mama.

You have been with me for my entire adult life. I went to the pound to get you on my lunch break when I found out that another rescue association took you on the news that morning despite the Aussie Rescue Association's tag on you since they were holding you for me to get off work the next morning. I had to put you in the back of my truck when I got back to work in which you promptly tore out the screen from the rear bed and jumped. But I found you again... Thanks for sticking by me from there on out.

You were there for me through so many changes and phases of my life. I know that your absence is going to be a hole I feel for ages. Hell, I still talk to you when it's just me and the dogs around though I know your deaf as a door nail and have been for over a year. Now that your eyes have been failing for sometime it's that nose that guides you around.

Now it's your liver that appears to be going, and that isn't something we can chalk up to old age and live with is it? No, you're barely eating anything other than extra special treats like the hot dogs off the new grill we the Guy bought on Saturday and yesterdays ice cream treat after our outing to the Flat River. You're losing weight drastically, and have a hard time moving around and though we have upped your pain meds I know you're hurting and can't let this keep going.

I'm going to miss you so much. The way you always had to check on me, and even now have tried to stagger upstairs to confirm my whereabouts. You've slept most of the day away while I sorted and shuffled and kept coming to check on you but as soon as I sat down at the computer and was gone for more than a few minutes you had to do as you always do and make sure you know where I am. Just like these last three pictures where it was you looking to check on where I was or make sure I was part of the attention getting process. At least you've passed this trait onto Sullivan.

And boy, no house will be home without your wily ways and doing things you know you shouldn't. I have never had a dog outsmart me as much as you have over the years and your brothers will never have your happy little evil streak. I still laugh thinking about some of your exploits.

Like knocking Kelly and Jon's little Chocolate Lab pup who had been harassing you and chewing on your ears into the creek as soon as you figured out he was scared of water. Or taking that little kids ice cream scoop right off his cone as you walked by in the crowd during parade day. You must have been 14 or 15 and were still faster and smarter than your boys ever would be.

Mind you, it didn't stop you from teaching them plenty of bad behaviors, but also a lot of good ones. You showed each one the ropes and I firmly believe you made life much easier introducing each new dog to our little pack family, and all the fosters to our home for their stint with us.

Despite your flair for life, you were almost always a good dog. You made me laugh, and now your absence is making me cry, yet you always seemed to know how far you could go and never did anything that crossed that line. Hell, you were such a good dog I never really took training seriously until the day you found Emmitt left out to freeze to death.

I will never forget that you not only touched my life and made it so much better by your presence in it; even in the worse of times, but also those of many others. Not only people but other canines. Had you not been the easy going (we won't mention the few dogs that you opened the can of whoop ass for they deserved it), and attentive to show your boys how to behave, we would never have been able to foster dogs as easily as we have. You were always confident with out being a bossy bitch and knew your place in our world, therefore let other dogs know their own. In your way you always had an elegance, poise, and grace to you.

Okay, so maybe that's pushing it, but you always had character. Always.

Love you Baby Girl.

This Post was written on Monday the 26th. I am posting it today as I prepare to take her to the vet for our last appointment. I have known all weekend that Shiela was ill and had made the decision and appointment to put her to sleep last Wednesday after speaking to the vet when her blood work came back. She had quit eating last week, which for those of you who knew her, know that this is not the Shiela way of thinking about life. It seems after years of Rimadyl for old bones her liver was finally giving way. Who would have known she would have made it 17 years in my care? Since she was already an adult when I got her and had no puppy behaviors or physical characteristics at the time I had the joy of adopting her, this means she is at the very least 18 years old now. Even for a proud old bitch, this is ancient and I had to make this decision since she is obviously not going to go quietly in her sleep. Why did I think this cantankerous old bird would? She's always been stubborn and I knew better in my heart. However; I couldn't say much to anyone about this decision because it breaks my heart each time I think about it, so I've just been loving on her and make sure she knew she was loved for one last weekend. I wrote this today because I'm afraid that tomorrow I won't be able to. I will hurt too much. So please when you read this don't call or try to see me because I will just blubber my way through  any conversation as I am doing so right now. Instead I will spend the day as I should. Walking the boys, spending time with them and remembering my girl in all her glory.

This is the worst part of having a "pet" in one's life, yet I wish we could make such decision for our human loved ones. Who wants to hurt in the end? It's a responsibility and honor to make these decisions and though I hate doing it, I understand the gift she's given me to make this one for her.

Friday, May 23, 2014

We're back online

But, it ends there pretty much. We took possession late Monday night so we got to walk through and kind of figure out where we were at. And where were we? A disgustingly filthy house that bore little resemblance of the house we originally walked through.

So, a full day of cleaning, three days of moving and unpacking and we're a bit beat, but in a kind of good way. Well, I bet The Guy wouldn't say it is good as his back is killing him. 
Nor would Tucker. He's done with this crap too. 

So, it's late, I'm done putting pieces and parts together and slotting things into places and am heading to bed. It's going to be wonderful tomorrow. Have a great night everyone and a wonderful holiday weekend. May the sun be warm on your face. 

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

A Few Things Learned Today

1st: I need to teach The Guy how to properly re-light a pilot light.

2nd: That "We'll clean before we leave" means something entirely different to us than to the previous owners of the house. In fact, a lot of how we see life in general, I think is much different than how they see it all.

3rd: No matter what the little brochure says and the fact that you have secured all the clasps and locks, the carpet shampooer will unfold, come apart into it's multiple components (including ones you were not familiar with) and tumble down the stairs you were trying to take it down.

4th: And now that said stairs are damp, you too shall tumble down them.

5th: Yes, it really does take that long to drive between the new house and the apartment.

6th: Michigan's roads are full of... None of the adjectives I can come up with at this time are polite.

7th: Quite possibly Michigan's drivers take cues from the roads department. Simple directions such as speed limit signs after major intersections and properly pre-marked traffic patterns so that ahead of time you can make appropriate motions in your car could possibly cut down on much of the "creative" driving we see here. Including some of my own today on a detour with only one sign that I found before using some more creative language and possibly breaking a few laws of driving and possibly physics.

So, with all that said, I truly am going to have to say good bye for just a few short days here. Tomorrow, we empty the apartment. That includes this computer. We won't be getting internet until Friday. So, Saturday at best, and I doubt that.

But on a high note, I give you this...

That's right, it's better than pictures, no? Well, I have those too, but I'm saving those for a before and after montage this fall after we have gotten some work done. Because regardless of the work we put in today to scrub and deodorize, the house still has an odor... That it didn't have previously when we were in it. Seriously, what have your two done to the house in the lat 3-4 weeks? Locked the dogs in it and refused to let them out for days on end? I was just glad that this evening none of the three boys lifted their legs in the house, because I was expecting it.

As for the crappy video, sorry, it was spur of the moment. While you are slaving away at work, think of us slaving away here scrubbing our fingers down the bones.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Let Us Discuss Dogs

Before we get started, let me just preface this posting with saying that it may be my last post for a bit. Why? Because we don't know what we will be doing about internet as we move over to the real house and ours gets turned off here at the apartment this week. So, there may be a touch of radio silence for a few days here as we get things going.

Now, back on track. Dogs. Well, and Cats, because I have been asked several times this week if I've seen this video:

And when they know I have they want my opinion. First response. Wow, awesome cat.

Now let's go a bit deeper shall we? Is that therapist enough sounding for you yet? Kidding, but in all seriousness, this is just my opinion. All I have seen is this video and read several interviews regarding this incident. I wasn't there, and I haven't spoke to anyone directly involved, but let's discuss what we are seeing.

This footage was taken from this families security camera's that they installed because they have had some issues in the neighborhood with trespassing and break ins. You see from their drive way their oldest son playing on his bike as mom waters some plants. A neighbors dog that got out of it's yard when the owner was pulling their car into their fenced lot see's the child, attacks and is then chased off by the young boys family cat. Mom of the boy is then seen coming to check on her son, when she looks around sees the dog still present on the other side of the car and leaves the frame to chase the dog back to it's own house. As reported by the Bakersfield paper, she too was then bit but less seriously before taking her child to get medical attention.

Now the thing I think is cool. Not only does the cat chase off the dog, but as it first gets the dog off the child it appears to turn to make sure the child is okay, sees mom approaching and continues to chase the dog off. When Mom goes after the dog the cat returns and at the end as the child is up and moving  stays between the child and the direction it chased the dog.

Now, what people really keep asking me since they know my animal background a bit, is what was up with the dog? To me, the dog was on the hunt. In no way did this child provoke this attack. By all appearances the child didn't even know the dog was present. The dog spotted the child from the other side of the car, went around back, moved in with an assertive head, ears, and tail up manner and grabbed the child, shaking to stun him and dragging him back the way he came before the cat made contact. In my opinion, that dog was going for the kill, and the proper response that occurred to end the attack was the cat's. I'm sorry, but Mom having seen the dog's aggression should have kept her distance but I'm sure she was going a bit Mama Bear at the moment and I can't say I blame her.

My concern here is that dogs don't normally prey upon people of any age. Why did this dog behave in this manner and what other encounters has this dog already had with people in this neighborhood? Why do I ask these questions? Because normally an attack of this magnitude was not the first sign that this dog has an aggression issue. He has been displaying warning signs for some time that I think have been ignored, or God forbid, allowed and intensified.

Why do I fear this may be the issue? The family that was injured has a security camera system. The paper said this animal escaped from a yard that was fenced but the gate was opened to allow a car to be parked. To me, the assumption is that they the dog owners have had some crime issues and the car was being placed inside a fence with an aggressive dog. If I were to hazard a guess, this dog is a "Guard Dog" and has been trained or encouraged to be aggressive. The problem with that kind of behavior modification, is stopping it when it is no longer "deemed appropriate" such as when the dog is no longer within it's property or situation such as this. This dog presents to me as aggressive and on the attack because of it's body language as it moved in on this child. In no way did this dog look to be scared or in fear of this child. He looked like he wanted to eat it.

The good news is that this dog was surrendered willingly and promptly to the authorities which have stated that the dogs is in their custody for 10 days of observation before euthanasia. Great, glad to hear it, but what's with the observation? It's a known attacker, which explains the euthanasia, but if we are afraid of it having rabies, the most reliable and quick form of diagnosis is brain tissue samples during the necropsy. Why not euthanize and do the samples so that this family can be put to ease about the contagion fear? I understand there is some policy somewhere that probably states there is a 10 day waiting period but I say screw the policy. There is no need to keep this animal alive for observation giving it 10 more days to harm an employee of the shelter in the standard day to day business.

That response may alarm some people that know I'm a dog lover. I am a dog lover but to me this aggressive outright predatory dog's life doesn't come above that of this four year olds, nor the mental well being of his already scared family. Just like some people, some dogs are broken. Their wiring is off, and I'm afraid this dog is one of them. Why? Probably due to a person. Seriously, SOMEBODY broke this dog. Whether on purpose or in an effort to make their own family feel safe, it's broken and not safe for people to be around. I hope that if what my instinct tells me happened did in fact occur, does this family that owned this dog sees the error of their ways and won't repeat this mistake. Do I think that will occur? No, I have more faith that the next dog will be a giant sweet heart that they can't break, than I do that they will see their part in this attack.

Like I said, this is just my opinion, and I don't know any of those directly involved. No matter how it all happened, like many of the people that have called me for canine assistance, I am sure they are nice people with their own talents, and down falls, they are just misguided, or ill-informed and we probably won't see eye on a dogs role in the household. I have never understood those people that say they have a dog that is stuck in a kennel or yard outside 24/7 that state it's for "Home Protection". I always ask them when they say this, "Really? And how is the dog able to protect your home when they're locked outside and the intruder is inside?" Just a thought. Okay, enough of this.

But, let's talk more dogs. Remember this idiot?
Yeah, that's Tucker. And I'm showing you his butt for a reason here. Tucker has tape worms. Tucker has tape worms really badly. I've never seen tape worms this bad. They have been in his poop for days and now they are stuck all over the fur on his butt. That was a real joy to brush out when I found those. Poor guy. He's now been medicated and we're trying to keep him cleaned up, but I still feel kind of bad for him.

On a high note though, because we're still at the apartment, we go out with them and clean up every poop so hopefully we don't infect any of the other dogs around including our own, and he's got them out of his system before this amazing yard is all his.
That's right, that is their new yard. And that blue speck down there? That's the Guy. Perfect frisbee yard for the Emmitt Dog, no? Oh Joy!
This was from the back corner of the lot down towards the front. You can't see the front lawn which is twice as long as the back, but it isn't fenced. And that gravel and sand plot right there in the middle? That is where the previous owners had the play set for their little girls, and you know what, I really don't feel like hauling pea gravel and sand, so I think this is the perfect spot for a little chicken coop and yard, no? I only want a couple for fresh eggs,and they will be behind two fences and have a "dog moat" to protect them from foxes, skunks, raccoons and opossums. That's right, we're in marsupial rat country here folks(I actually think they are kind of cool, I just don't want them in my chicken coop).

More pictures will come later, I promise. We went to take a look at some chairs and a table and were south towards the new house so we swung by. We've been hoping to connect with the previous owners before they're gone just for a general walk though but no luck. They were not there and they look mostly moved out. So since technically it's our yard, we decided to walk about a bit.
On the way there we passed through Alaska Michigan. I still wish we could have found a place here. I think it would have been neat to live in Alaska, and it's a pretty little village. And hey, it has a pretty cemetery there in the background, no?

As you can see we are sunny here today, but it's been cooler the last few days. In fact we got a light frost Thursday night just to scare all those people who got a little stir crazy and planted. It was light enough though it seems everything fared well despite the low temps.
That chilly morning I was taking the dogs out and as I pulled up to the ski trails we use, this blue bird was fluffing itself all up to stay warm as the sun started to break through. Sorry, crappy cell phone pic, it was all I had with me. I didn't even have it yesterday when I was running the boys out at Luton Park on the mountain biking trails when we saw the years first Scarlet Tanagers. Wow, are those birds beautiful.
I lifted this image since I don't have one to show you from I shrunk this image so if you want a wallpaper from this site you have to pay them. Sorry, I'm all about supporting businesses with proper internet ethics.

While the boys and I were running back there at Luton I had to keep telling myself not to stop to look at all the plants. It's been a couple weeks since we've gone back there. I know, you don't need to guilt my fat bum about not getting out there to run them more, but my goodness has it greened up fast. It was still pretty brown when we were last there. Now not only are the trees coming out but the ground covers are popping out and everything has flowers! Just gorgeous. I may have to sneak out Monday before work and get some shots.

Okay, now enough about the down sides of dogs, whether it be the occasional vicious one or the nasty things they introduce to us. Let us review some images from an email the Guy sent me this week about the best babysitter some kids can ask for.

That's right, teach her young how to make a dog heel!

I think this one is my favorite of these shots. You gotta love Goldies.

Of these last two, which one's truly the baby sitter and who's the baby being sat?

Who needs a fancy recliner?

Hey, a little privacy here please?!?

Kids, they have no respect for their elders these days...

Life Guard on Duty

Some cat has these two well trained. They're out catching dinner while the cats sleeping
All right you all. Have a great weekend. I will get back on here when I can. Just think, we'll have a place all our own in a few days. With a yard! We won't have to listen to that little monster upstairs ever again. Seriously, who think before bed baths happen at 11pm? That's all right, we're just raising the next guests for the Dr Phil Show and Jerry Springer here at the Pine Ridge Apartments. Someone has to keep them in business.


Wednesday, May 14, 2014

It's Creeping Closer

The Moving date that is. Next week in fact. We're getting excited! So, you ever have one of those days where you're just kind of blah? That's the day I'm having. That little exclamation point above is in fact the only time I've felt excited today. And no, it's not the rain. I've been enjoying the rain. Even my walks in it have been enjoyable. I've only done three of them today so I better have enjoyed them.
So, I am going to keep this post kind of short and sweet today. Mostly pics, like this one from our walk yesterday as the rain swept towards us.
Look at all those leaves coming out.
And the catkins.
I took the large camera with the big zoom out to try and get shots of the birds. That is why the images are a bit dark looking. The rain had kept things a bit dark but the huge lens didn't help make it look any brighter.
By the way, birds can be hard to get pictures of... Like these dang Bank Swallows. They keep insisting on flying.
Then there was this little bugger. I thought he was a Shrike but now I'n not so sure.
I got him here, but it was a bit far off and fuzzy.
But I got a cousin of his later. And was able to identify him as an Eastern Kingbird. Who knew?
And this little guy just insisted on playing in the branches. These guys showed up about a week and a half ago and I assumed they were some kind of grosbeak.
And I was right. It's a Rose Breasted Grosbeak. They have a very pretty call.
I snapped a quick picture of this bird thinking it was just a common house sparrow. They are spread across the contiguous states and we saw a lot of them in Wyoming. They are an invasive species that was imported from Europe but they have a pleasing voice in the early morning. When I see them here though from a distance some of the birds always have a reddish or purple haze look to them, and while trying to identify the previous two birds I found a Purple Finch that I rather think these guys are. The song is more like what we hear here as well.
Then there's the voracious worm eaters themselves.
And I only ended up with one decent picture of the birds I was actually trying to get a picture of. The Eastern Blue Birds. Oh well. These guys do not let you get very close.
I also snagged a quick shot of one of these little gold ones. No idea what it is since this was the best shot I was able to get. If any of you bird lovers can tell me I would appreciate it greatly.
Now that we no longer have a cat and don't plan on any more we will probably start the bird feeders up again when we get moved in. What's a yard and garden without birds, bees and butterflies?
Speaking of bees. The bumblebees are huge here! I've seen more of them than honey bees to be honest. I liked this shot because you could see his antenna and full pollen sacks.

Just a couple of shots I liked of the ones I snapped.
Oh, let's not forget the moles. They've made an appearance in the absence of the snow. the dogs love eating the muck these guys push out of their holes. I am sure it's full of mole poop. They get in trouble for it...
Thistle and Shamrock anyone? (There's always room for NPR references on this Blog) I guess it's more Thistle among the Clover, but it's as close as I have to shamrock here.
And while trying to get the picture of the thistle and clover, I found some more of these. I think this is a mink frog. It's not big enough to be a leopard frog and it's markings and color are not quite right. These guys are quite the little masters of disguise. When they're not hopping to not be stepped on they are very difficult to see.

The trees are still in bloom despite the storms of the last few days. We actually had some really good thunderstorms here, that have yanked all the blossoms off that Magnolia I was keeping and eye on. 
This was what my morning looked like on Monday. The pouring rain and my knitting and pups waiting for some time. Which I happily obliged them with. When it sounded like the storm had moved off and we hadn't heard any thunder in a bit I took them out to potty. And I was wrong. A blast of lightening came down in the apartment complex somewhere and I got knocked on my butt as I tried to get the dogs back to me to go back inside. Luckily, our dogs are well worked and knew to come back, even the old obstinate girl. Probably helped that the lightning itself was close enough she heard not only it but felt the thunder as well. It left me a little jittery. I love a good storm but after that every time the lightening would start I would pack the dogs back up and head home. The last two days have been simply rain, no real storming.
This was just a kind of cool looking leaf structure I had to take a shot of. There were tornados in the Eastern part of the state but none of that here.

Sunday was very pretty and while I was having my morning tea and knit time I heard the blue jays making their little piping calls back and forth.

The first time I head this I thought these guys were mimicking another bird. Since then I have heard several of them do it and looked them up to find they do have a piping call of their own.  I find it very pretty. It makes me think of wooden pan pipes. You can hear it several times in the background there. Sorry, someday I'll unpack the real video camera.

Yes that is a pool there in the back area of our building. It is an unheated pool that they let collect snow melt and then a mallard hatched her ducklings and was using it as their private pond. Now that the weather got rainy and cooled down they are working on getting it cleaned up and going (Mama duck headed out to bigger and better digs with her kiddos a few days back while Sullivan kept an eye out for her).
This is the last picture of our walk. I just like some of the neat intricate designs mother nature comes up with.
Of course I don't have near as nice thoughts about them when they're stuck in this one's fur.