September 29, 2009

I could have used this...


I remember being so terrified in the beginning of junior high because we only had FIFTEEN! minutes to get between classes. How was I ever going to find all my rooms and get to class on time with just FIFTEEN! minutes? I needed a bloodhound....

September 22, 2009


Love this pic:

Obama and Bo.jpg

September 21, 2009

Attention seeking

Rhymes_with_Orange 92109.gif

September 14, 2009

Remy's alter-ego

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This is Remy. Whenever food is at stake, she transforms into her alter-ego "Flash Golden."

May 21, 2009

It's my Remy!

or mom's Mariah...

Sandusky 5/20/09

Dogs on Thursday: Piles of Pups from Mochimochi Land

I don't have any pics of my pups, or even of my mom's girls (who were just here visiting), but fortunately, Anna in Mochimochi Land saved the day with her "Piles of Pups" announcement. Click on the link to be taken to the store. You better believe I've already bought the pattern. :-) I've purchased her patterns before, and can say that they are well designed and easy to follow.


April 30, 2009

Walk for Animals -- There's Still Time

The Walk for Animals is this Saturday, May 2. There's still time to donate if you can.

We recently had to take our Great Dane, Payton, to the U Vet Hospital for a collapsing episode (I blogged about it here). While we were talking to the doctors, the staff, and even other people, I was so thankful to know that I'm in a position to take care of my "kids." Many people aren't, and choose to either surrender or euthanize (or even simply abandon) their pets when the animals get "too expensive."

Please consider supporting me by making a donation so that this shelter and others can continue to help lost and lonely pets. You can make your donation online by simply clicking the link at the bottom of this message. If you prefer to support a different shelter, let me know, and I will make a matching donation to the Walk in your name.

Thank you!
Click here to visit my personal page.
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April 24, 2009

Another day at the doggy hospital

Update: The test results came back negative for Addison's. That's good, right? But what it means overall is that we have no idea what caused his episode, when it might happen again, or if there's anything we can do to prevent it. What I do know is that I really don't want to have to carry 100 lbs of scared, collapsed Great Dane to the car again. /update

My poor puppy-boy, Payton, spent another day at the U Vet hospital yesterday. Everything seems more or less fine now, but we may be looking at atypical Addison's disease, which is not something I've spent a lot of time thinking about. I just thank Dog that we have the financial means to perform the tests required and follow through with treatment. So many dogs are surrendered or euthanized because their owners, not necessarily through any fault of their own, can't afford testing and treatment for different and unknown problems.

It started around 6:30. I was in the shower, and the hubby was feeding and outing the kids as normal. He said that when the dogs started to come inside, he noticed Payton's hindquarters veering to the right, almost like he was coming in sideways. Hubby had to help him up the 3 or so stairs leading into the kitchen, and then Payton collapsed; he lost motor control of his rear end.

When I got downstairs, Payton was lying on the 2.5 x 4 (-ish) rug we have at the base of the stairs. I could move his right leg (he was laying on his left haunch, so I couldn't access that leg), and he didn't seem to particularly be in pain, but he was definitely stressed. He was alert, and upset that he couldn't join us when we were both upstairs getting dressed (I literally got out of the shower, threw on a towel, and went downstairs). Trust me...when your dog collapses, alert is still a very good thing.

As I was talking to the emergency clinic, Payton attempted to join me in the dining room...I think he was heading toward one of the futons in the couch where he likes to relax. He struggled over to the rug, moving his front feet fine, but his hind end was very droopy and uncontrolled. When he could get both rear legs underhim, it was like he had no strength to raise his hips or really stand. He also had a lot of tremors; hubby says he was spasming all down his back initially, but I saw most of the tremors in his haunches. We had to carry him to the car, but the clinic fortunately had a cart to bring him in with.

The first diagnosis was Fibrous Cartilage Embolism (FCE), where a piece of cartilage gets into the blood stream and acts as a blood clot. Here's where the real $$ comes, because the best/only way to really determine this is through an MRI. So, we left him at the hospital again, where he was transfered to the neurology unit (Wobbler's was another possibility, but since a) this was a sudden episode and b) his symptoms in the initial exam were more localized on the right side, they ruled this out). Which meant that now the waiting started.

We finally got to bring him home around 3pm. He had actually mostly recovered by the time the neurologist saw him (in the initial exam, he recognized when his left rear foot was set the wrong way, but not the right rear foot), and was walking around, had good spatial sense, and no signs of pain. So the neurologist recommended having him sent to the cardiologist. There they determined that everything really looked pretty good, but that his heart was smaller than it should have been, which means that not enough blood was circulating which led them down the Addison's direction. Now that I've done more reading, I'm pretty comfortable with this diagnosis. If the tests come back negative for Addison's, though, we're more or less at a lack of explanations.

But, everything else considered, we're happy that he's more or less healthy, that we got a good chunk of our initial estimate downpayment back (MRIs ain't cheap and the hospital requires a deposit of 75% of the high estimate before they'll continue), and that we have the time and money to take care of our kids.

April 10, 2009

Singing pooch accompanies himself

I've seen and had dogs who sing. Payton will occasionally sing to sirens or bagpipes. But I haven't seen many that accompany themselves with their singing:

April 7, 2009

Walk for Animals--and Contest

For the past 4 (5?) years, the kids and I have participated in the Animal Humane Society's Walk for Animals. I generally participate in two charity events each year, the Walk and the MS Allianz 30/60 bike tour. While I will probably still do the ride, I am only actively soliciting donations for the Walk, the event that is closest to my heart.

I am asking for your help to support my fundraising efforts. I read stories every day of the animals that have been found abandoned because their owners don't think they can afford to keep them. Too often people forget that pets are lifetime responsibilities; this type of fund-raising event is one way that I can help give animals a voice in our society. The pets in our lives give us a lot. Help me help to give back.

If you feel like you have anything you can even, even $5 or $10, the animals and I will deeply appreciate it. Click to link to my personal page.
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I'm gonna run another little contest with this one. If you support me, let me know, and I'll add your name to a drawing for goodies! I'll add more prize options with more donations, so the more people who donate, the better your opportunity to win gets!

Playing Dead

Our friend Lucy will play dead. Point your "finger gun" at her and say "Bang," and she'll go into elaborate death throes before collapsing.

Here is a different take on "play dead" from Letterman's stupid pet tricks segment:

April 6, 2009

New Artwork

I haven't shown any of my artwork recently, but I have done some. Click the thumbnails below for a much larger image. I had to use the scanner at work, which isn't the best of scanners, so there are some flaws that are simply a result of the scanner.

When I first saw Bill of the Birds' tri-colored heron picture, I knew that was one I wanted to paint. I'm no Julie Zickefoose when it comes to watercolor, but I'm pretty happy with how this one turned out.


I had a similar thought with Birdchick's wood duck picture. I wish I could make my water colors mimic that irridescence the feathers really have, but again, I'm pretty happy with this one overall.

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Finally, this is just a very quick, and not-completed pencil sketch of Kaya, a Dane from Australia whose blog I've been following. I was surprisingly devastated to learn that her people had to let her go after a very sudden illness. I don't plan to do any more work on this one, but I do love how her face came out for just a quick sketch.

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Dog stealing blanket from cat

Such a cute video:

Check out the big, contented sigh at the end. :-)

April 2, 2009

Dogs on Thursday: Toshiba on 4/1

I loved Toshiba's April Fool's entry this year (or maybe every year...I don't keep up with these things):

(click the image to go to the full webpage, though I don't know how long it will be there)

Toshiba-PetBook-K9-2.gif Toshiba-PetBook-K9-3.gif

The Petbook includes delicious rawhide casings and bark2txt options.

March 9, 2009

Go, go speed racer!

Wow. Check out the speed on some of these pups!

February 19, 2009

Crazy Goose

You know I love dogs. You know I hate to see critters hurt. But I did get a few chuckles out of this nutso goose who kept going after this man's dog. And kudos to the man for not wringing it's darn neck like I would've been tempted to do.

Perhaps the funniest part? He's videoing the whole thing while he's acting; truly a "first person" perspective here...

Dogs on Thursday: Doggy Fashion

I went to the 2009 Knit and Crochet Out at the Mall from Hell...oops, Mall of America, this weekend. I've read lots of reviews about how glorious it was, with the fiber-feeling, and classes, and knitters/crocheters, oh my. But honestly, I didn't enjoy it. But, that's for another post...this is Dogs on Thursday.

The part that I did enjoy was the fashion show, especially the dog fashion show. The pups were all therapy dogs, and handled the crowds and outfit changes with grace and aplomb. Please see my Flickr set for more pictures, but here are some of my faves. (I apologize for the poor quality...I didn't realize it was so dark, and there was one woman I just couldn't get around to take decent shots.) As always, click the picture for a larger image.


The Briard in skull and crossbones:


The Sheltie in a skunk outfit:


And the Samoyed as a devil (she was also a diva earlier on...):


I probably wouldn't ever make any of these for my dogs (I knit Payton a sweater once, but that will probably never happen again, especially since he doesn't seem to need it anyway), but they were definitely fun to watch and a highlight of the day.

February 12, 2009

Dogs on Thursday: My kind of humor

Sorry, still no pics of my kids (though I have some cute ones once I get them uploaded). But this recent Dog Eat Doug strip sure is my kind of humor:


(Click to see it larger)

February 7, 2009

Great Dane Agility

As frustrated as her mom probably was, Dakota's agility run is just too fun not to share:

In the first take, notice how she gets the zoomies (the technical term Dane owners use for mindless racing). Problem spots aside, it's wonderful to see a Dane enjoying agility so much. Mine would be scared out of his little mind at the tunnel and chute, and I doubt I could get him to do the A-frame and catwalk....

February 6, 2009


Yes, we know you can step over it, but fortunately, you really don't know that.

funny pictures of dogs with captions
see more puppies

I seriously think that my kids don't actually realize that they can escape. A friend's pup is very good at knocking down gates, but I don't think it ever even crosses P&R's minds that they could.

Sad without pups

There was an interesting contrast in today's comics "Red and Rover" and "Marmaduke." (Click to see larger versions.)



I saw "Red and Rover" first, to which my reaction was, "that's how I feel every day, too." I'm lucky enough to be able to bring the kids in on occasion, but we have one person with allergies, and one person who really isn't a "pet person," so I try not to abuse the privilege (plus, other pups also come in, so it's not just my dogs all the time).

Then, when I saw Marmaduke, my reaction was, "I wish my kids could go shopping with me." I actually saw a service dog at the grocery store last night. Not a seeing-eye dog, because the owner was actually reading things. But he was carrying something in his mouth and was so cute. A BIG golden. Tall, like our Marley was, but solid (not overweight at all) too. Beautiful friend.

I do wish America could get over this "dogs are dirty" mentality we seem to have. Rather than moving closer to a European model, I've seen at least 3 examples in the last week of more crack-downs. The most disheartening one personally was the one reported by OhMiDog! where Sunday dog days had to end at a sports bar because other bars were calling the Dept of Health to see how they could do something similar.

I'd be more than happy to patronize any business that is pet allowable. I go to Home Despot because I can bring my kids (I don't usually, but by choice, not by policy). Can't we allow restaraunts to be designated pet friendly, and if someone objects, they are free to eat elsewhere? Probably not, but it's a nice dream.

February 5, 2009

Dog Park Movie?

Playing around with the video function of my camera. Now trying to upload a video....

Seems to work okay through Flickr. This little video was taken last Saturday, January 31, when the temperature was so nice. You can see Remy getting some prime loving from the little girl in the blue coat. The barking dog near her (the dog that Remy plays with after leaving the little girl) reminded me of my mother's Shilo. There's also a 6-month old Irish terrier who was the cutest little thing, and so very coppery. The big black & white husky at the beginning is Yukon, the widely acknowledged "king of the park." Except that my little Remy told him what's what when he started getting fresh with her one time. Payton, however, sucks up to him all the time.

January 22, 2009

Doggy CPR

This entire post is taken with permission from Ohmidog! (thanks, John)

How to save your dog’s life

As promised, here’s a quick lesson on doggie CPR — a four-minute investment of your time that, while we hope you never have to use it, might pay off someday.

In the video above, Elaine Acker, CEO of Pets America, demonstrates the proper technique for performing CPR on pets.

Here, in a nutshell, is the drill:

If your dog is not breathing, use a finger to clear any mucus or other objects from the mouth. Tilt the head back to straighten the airway passage. Hold the mouth shut with one hand, and place your mouth over the dog’s nose and mouth, making sure the seal is tight.

Blow into the nose while watching to see if the chest expands.

If the chest does not expand, check and clear the dog’s mouth again, and start the procedure over.

If the chest does expand, release your dog’s mouth, allowing it to exhale.

Repeat the breathing procedure once every five seconds until your dog is breathing normally.

If your dog is not breathing and has no detectable heartbeat, and no other forms of help are available, cardiac resuscitation can be attempted.

To do this, put your dog on its right side and place the heel of your hand on the ribcage just behind the elbow. Put your other hand on top of the first hand. Firmly press on the ribcage in quick, smooth movements three to four times, using both hands. The compression should last no longer than half a second. The smaller the dog the fewer inches of compression and less force are needed. At all times take care not to damage the ribcage.

Repeat this procedure a total of 10 times. Then, if your DOG is not breathing, perform mouth-to-snout resuscitation again, alternating between 10 chest compressions and one breath into the dog’s nose.

Thanks to Pets America for the information.

Top Dogs: Minneapolis

Does doing it twice make a habit? When I saw this year's stats, I had a vague memory of posting the list last year--I just didn't remember when. Turns out, it was almost exactly the same time. That entry was Jan. 23, 2008--today is Jan. 22, 2009.

Here is this year's AKC entry:

1. Labrador Retriever
2. Golden Retriever
3. Boxer
4. German Shepherd Dog
5. English Springer Spaniel
6. Yorkshire Terrier
7. Poodle
8. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
9. Rottweiler
10. Brittany

* Registration data pulled from Minneapolis zip codes as specified by U.S. Postal Service

"While Minneapolis-St. Paul keeps the nation’s two most popular Sporting dogs in the top positions, it also added the Brittany and English Springer Spaniel – which are an unusual pair to see on any urban city’s Top 10 list," said AKC Spokesperson Lisa Peterson. "Plus, with the Rottweiler and Cavalier King Charles Spaniel also quite popular, there is no room for national favorites like the Beagle, Dachshund, Bulldog or Shih Tzu."

Again, the AKC commentator draws attention to the Brittany and English Springer Spaniel, not to mention the Cavalier King Charles. Not surprisingly, this year's list is very similar to last year's. The German Shepherd Dog (GSD) and Boxer have changed places for this year, as have the poodle and yorkie (I'm kind of surprised they aren't distinguishing between the different poodles; my guess is that this is really the miniature poodle, but do you suppose they would have thrown all poodles into one listing?). Cavaliers have dropped slightly. The only real change, though, is that Rottweiler has been added while Dachshunds have dropped off. Interesting.

Dogs on Thursday: Toenails

No pics of my kids today, but I did think that many of us dog people could sympatize with today's re-run For Better or For Worse:


Relatively speaking, Remy is a little angel about getting her nails cut. But she did pull back at a crucial time a couple weeks ago, and the quick got nipped. Thank goodness for QuickStop and booties. Payton, on the other hand, acts like you're cutting off an entire toe. Both Danes we've had have been really funny about toenail clipping...they actually fold their toes under them and hide. It's too cute, if you're the one observing and not trying to do the clipping...

January 12, 2009

Dogs in Conversations

NPR's A Way With Words' newsletter pointed to a website that compiles the myriad of ways we reference dogs in conversation: Metaphor Dogs. From the few examples I've looked at, it appears to be pretty well researched. (The link is to the actual contents; if you want the full site experience, with graphics and baying hounds, start on the main page.)

January 8, 2009

Dogs on Thursday: Remy cuteness

I didn't think I had any pictures handy for today's DoT. But when I loaded my pictures (for my next post), viola! There were some pictures of Remy being cute (and a little bit of Payton, too).

These were all taken about the same time...she didn't move between shots. If you look closely at the one with Payton, you'll see just the faintest bit of pink belly. Remy was sitting up on her haunches, then sort of flopped over onto the edge of the couch. Silly puppy.




January 1, 2009

happy christmas dogs

I know it's after Christmas, but I just saw this video on cute's the best!

December 18, 2008

Dogs on Thursday: Couches


What? Doesn't everyone sleep on the floor so their dogs can have the couch?

We just have a separate couch for the kids. And we so rarely have company, that when people do come over, we struggle to convince the kids that people are allowed to be on the couch without K9 company....

See what I mean? (Please excuse the disaster of the house...Remy had just disemboweled a few softies, not to mention the lingering fluff from a few other dead toys.)


December 4, 2008

Dogs on Thursday: Light Games

Earlier this fall, I was sitting outside with the dogs, enjoying some late afternoon weekend sun. Payton was being cling-boy like usual, so I got some pictures of "me and my shadow" (har de har har).



Then, inside, Remy was being very cute in the lamplight, so I had to get some shots of her (these are without flash).



November 11, 2008

You know you need a break...

How about streaming puppies?

October 12, 2008


A video of a soldier's return home after 14 months in Iraq:

No matter what your opinions on the war are, this is a sweet, sweet video.

September 18, 2008

Dogs on Thursday: How Remy Gets Her Grrr Back

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As she's been getting older, Remy has become more vocal when she lays down. The other night, she emitted a particularly long groaning sigh, which made the husband comment that her grrr was completely deflated. Well, we couldn't have that! Imagine having a pupper without it's grrr.


So, we had to crank the grr back into action. First, she has to be on her back. Then, just slide your feet under her rear end and raise your toes ever so slightly.


After just a few little bumps with your feet, she picks up and gets her grrr going again.




This procedure is the best way to get Remy's grrr back when it's been deflated. The flailing limbs act as a motor crank, and the grrr just comes flowing back in as though it had never been gone.

September 11, 2008

Dogs on Thursday: One for Each

Tuesday offered a comic for each of my kids.


Red and Rover by Bryan Basset 9/9/08

Remy takes walks with a mission. The mission is the walk. The only things she allows to distract her from the mission are squirrels. She even remembers trees where she saw squirrels once, and will vigorously investigate it if we pass that tree again.


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Dog Eat Doug by Brian Anderson 9/9/08

Payton is the biggest chicken. Unfortunately, he still thinks he gets to be boss at the dogpark, but at home, he is afraid of his own shadow. Sarcasm may have led to the bed incident....

September 5, 2008

Awarding Myself

Since I don't have a very large readership, and I have only seen this on one other blog, I'm going to award it to myself. I really just love the picture.


And just for fun, to keep the party rolling, I'm also going to award it to Janice and Stacey and Yvonne . I'd also like to gift my occasional commenter at Happydoghouse, but I can't remember who belongs to that email address! (If you know/remember or if it's you, please send me a reminder so I can link properly!)

September 4, 2008

Difference between a hockey mom and a pitbull?

Pit bulls don't deserve the bad rap.

Can we please, please, please move beyond the demonization of certain breeds? John Woestendiek gives us several famous examples of rhetoric that simply must go.

I only caught a bit of Palin's speech before I couldn't take any more. I'm the eternal pessimist, and I hope to Dog I'm wrong, but I'm afraid McCain's choice was a brilliant move. How can anyone not support her? She's a working mother who fired the Alaska governor's house chef so she could prepare her own meals, she's a special-needs-children's advocate, she's against waste and corruption, she's for ethics, and heck, as an Alaska governor she's well-versed in international politics, particularly with Canada and Russia. And that list doesn't even cover all of her redeeming qualities for a VP option. I'd even be willing to bet she'll do better in debates against Biden than many are willing to credit her.

I mean, how bad can it really be to fire people who don't agree with you or do what you tell them? Don't they serve at the pleasure of the mayor/governor anyway? And a pregnant 17-year old? Well, she's "chosen" (like there was actually a choice in her case) to keep the baby and is going to marry the father. "Yes, we have dirty laundry," Palin is saying, "but we are acting within a family values framework given the circumstances."

August 28, 2008

Dogs on Thursday: the Squeaky Toy

I loved this strip:


As with many pups, Remy is a destuffer/desqueaker. But she loves it nonetheless. And even when a toy is technically "dead," she still plays with the raggedy, empty shell. When she first gets a new squeaky toy, it has a specific name: "Go get the hedgie!" or "Go get the elephant!" But once it's dead, it turns into a generic "thing": "Go get a thing!"

And she always knows what to bring us!

August 14, 2008

Dogs on Thursday: "Not my Dog"

Today's edition of DoT features other dogs we run into at the park. These pics are from the past two trips we've had to the river park.



This guy fishes for minnows. He spends minutes at a time watching for them and sticking his nose in. I don't know how successful he is, but he's sure cute to watch.



I just loved her markings. She's a younger pup, and wanted to play with everyone. Here she was playing with a person who was skipping rocks. It doesn't matter that the rock-skipper was skipping rocks for her pup...this little charmer wanted to play.



These two are siblings. The younger little golden has really bonded to her older sister. The lab kept chasing the ball, and the golden just needed to be with her. See the real dogpaddle in the first picture? The golden was a failed foster from RAGOM, the same rescue group Remy came from. She was apparently a puppy mill rescue, and is super-shy around people. Her foster mom decided just to adopt her rather than traumatize her with going to yet another home. Her foster mom also asked me what it was like having two big dogs...I told her my philosophy of always having at least 2 dogs so I'll never be dogless, but that I don't like 3. Having 2 is fine, and any number over 3 is fine. But with three dogs, someone always gets left out, no matter what the activity is.



Size is everything to some kids. The stickless lab in the first shot just wanted to play too, but the stick-owner would have none of it. My kids, in picture 2, just wonder what the heck he's doing with a stick that big.


I only got one shot of this one, because he left the water as I was gearing up for a second shot. He had been laying down, and was so clearly enjoying just...being.

August 8, 2008

Dogs on Thurs...Friday: Remy update

I took a vacation day yesterday, and the kids and I went to the river park. This is Remy's favorite place in the whole world (well, any body of water is....). Two and three weeks ago, she barely made it down and back (there's a 1/2 mile hike down to the river, then a 1/2 mile hike back up to the car, plus another 1/2 mile or so along the beach down and back). That was before the meds.

I am still very worried about her being on Deramax because of liver and kidney issues, but man, is it ever working for her. She's a whole new dog. She was running and laughing and leaping and playing yesterday like I haven't seen her do for a while. It just filled my heart to see her so happy again.

In this shot (I don't have Adobe Lightroom accessible at this very moment, so I apologize for the crappy photo), you can see her taking off for the last leg to the river; Payton is just ahead to the left, partially obscured by a tree. This is pretty much the point they abandon me and just get to the water as fast as possible. This is the first time she raced to the water, which is one of the ways I knew something was not quite right.


A guy who passed me soon after the kids raced by him commented that I'd never be able to get them back up the hill at the rate they were going. :-)

The river had been pretty high fairly late in the summer, so we took a while before going down there this year. Now, though, it's actually pretty low; it seems like we maybe had a total of 4 inches of rain all July (that's probably grossly inaccurate, but just saying how it feels). Remy had to go pretty far out at some points to actually be able to swim rather than just wade.


As I mentioned, water is just about Remy's favorite thing. She'd have a very difficult choice if she had to choose between people or water.... On our way back up the beach, she decided to do some swimming while Payton and I walked. She swam with us for about 50 yards. I call her my little river otter (thanks Kristi!).


And of course, once she gets out of the water, she has to give a good shake. I'm going to try to get a little animation going, but for now, this was my favorite "shake, shake, shake" shot. She never chooses anyplace convenient...if there are people around, she usually finds someone to shake on or snuggle up against. In this case, I was hoping to get some fun rainbow/spray in sunlight shots, but of course, she had to shake in the shade.


Nonetheless, both kids had a great time, and my little Remy girl was still able to move yesterday afternoon/evening. We'll definitely be looking into holistic medicine as time goes on, and I want to drop her down to a more "as needed" dosage of meds, but just seeing her enjoying herself like that again was so wonderful.

remypaws.gif paytonpaw.gif

(The kids wanted to sign off on this post...I'll let you figure out which print belongs to which pup.)

August 1, 2008



This woman was at the vet when I was there with Remy. She had one of her cats with her. We were chatting about the three super-cute little black kittens available for adoption when she mentioned that she had a litter at home...babies having babies was the essence of her chatter.

At the same time, there was a young man (mid-late twenties) with an adorable yellow lab puppy. The pup had been going through diarrhea and vomiting phases, which isn't atypical for pups...but it appeared that this young man was a first time puppy owner, so was concerned. This wasn't the problem; the problem was the pup is 7 weeks, and he'd had him for about a week, meaning weaned at 6 weeks. And he got him from "a guy over in ..... " Um, can you say backyard breeder?

July 28, 2008

Remy's hips

I just had Remy in to the vet this afternoon to discuss arthritis and long-term pain management. Too bad it isn't arthritis; my little Remy-girl appears to have fairly severe hip dysplaysia.

I probably should have had her examined many years ago...she has always had a slightly stiff-legged walk, but she has always been so healthy and happy, that it didn't really appear to be an issue. Recently, though, any extended exercise (as in, "around the block" extended) has wiped her out afterward. She's been "talking" more when she lays down, and we can definitely see a struggle when she gets up from a sitting or lying position.

For now, we're going to try pain-management for the next month. If that works, we'll probably just stay with that; she's around 8-9, and finances aside, I really would hate to put her through a surgery. The best surgical option is the total hip replacement, but we'd be looking at about $3500 per hip. After that, the next best option appears to be femoral head excision, but they usually recommend that for smaller dogs. Once we get her weight down a little (all of the training classes and treats have added pounds to her), she will be only slightly over the general recommended maximum weight for that, so it may be a viable option (we didn't discuss $ for anything else).

She's on 50mg of Deramaxx per day, which is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory pain killer in the same family as Rimadyl. The problems associated with NSAIDs, though, can be loss of liver functions, so we will need to keep a close eye on that. We've also started her on a regimine of glucosamine/chondroitin, but it usually takes around 6 weeks to get into the system. While I can't be 100% certain, I do think I've seen a difference even since I gave her the medication this afternoon.

I'm including a link to a fairly good article I found this evening that discussed hip dysplaysia and options in more detail. The only REAL experience I've had was with Baron when I was much younger, and he was much younger. I've never really had to treat an older dog before, so I'm sure I'll be doing a lot more research in the next few days/weeks/years.

July 25, 2008

Coolest Cake Ever!

July 22, 2008

The end of a puppy mill

After the depression induced by the information in my previous post about ANWR, I was gratified to read about a Wisconsin puppy-mill owner who has retired, and surrendered all of his dogs to the Wisconsin Humane Society. Here's the link to the article on the WHS website.

July 15, 2008

Presidential Pooches

The word on the street is that Barack Obama has promised his family a dog after the election, whether they will be living in the White House or not. The AKC immediately jumped in with potential suggestions. I'm going to encourage everyone to join with Best Friends to sign a petition recommending that the Obama family adopt a shelter or rescue dog. As one comment I read put it, "if he is truly dedicated to making a change, why not start with the family dog?"

I generally do not believe in internet petitions, and I'm not necessarily claiming that I believe in this one. But I believe in Best Friends, and I believe in rescue and shelter adoptions, so I signed.

June 6, 2008

"Pet Partners Acceptance Letter"

I completely forgot to brag about something! The title of this post is the subject line of an email I just received this week saying that Remy's therapy dog application to the Delta Society has been accepted. This means that Remy and I are officially a therapy animal team! We'll get our official badges in about 6 weeks, but we have temporary ID until then.

Payton's Wagger

I've mentioned before that Payton never stops wagging his tail. We routinely have a steady thumping, or if he's standing, a metronomic fan. So today's "Marmaduke" makes perfect sense to us...though we usually try telling Payton to just stop wagging.


June 4, 2008

Dog Photographer = Shutterwoofer

[Unfortunately, I'm not clever enough to have come up with the term "shutterwoofer"--that is solely the genius of Scott Rose, author of the article I link to below; click on the word "featured" for the article.]

Blogger and photographer Erin Vey was featured in the most recent Pampered Puppy newsletter. The writer does a great job of highlighting Erin's personality as a dog lover and owner in addition to her wonderful work behind the camera. I've been following Erin for a few months now (she has a Great Dane, Gracie, so how can I not?), and continue to be envious of her artistic sense and camera skills. But not only does she show us her work, but she also discusses it, including tips and tricks she has picked up along the way.

May 8, 2008

Dogs on Thursday: Walk for Animals


(Click for a larger view)

Saturday, May 3, was the Animal Humane Society's annual Walk for Animals. We were all geared up to walk in nasty, cold weather. Friday it rained all day, and the forecast for Saturday was more of same. But Saturday dawned clear and cool. Windy, a little chilly, but SUNNY. Yay sun!

I was actually pretty bad about photographing the events. I caught a picture of two Canada geese and a picture of a new sparrow for me to ID, but really didn't get any pictures of the event itself except the three below. That's too bad, because there were actually a lot of things to take pictures of: the pony, the goat, the alligators, the ferrets, the cats, the birds, and the dogs dogs dogs dogs who were participating. (The pony made me realize that I am actually pretty accurate when I correct people who say Payton is a horse...I tell them he's just a pony cause he's only a "Mediocre Dane.")

One of the pictures is of the pot bellied pig we saw, and Remy deciding to take a break in the wading pool. At first she was happy to just drink. But with only a little encouragement, she waded, then lay down. I was actually half expecting her to roll completely over, but she managed to wet her back even without that extreme. Remy's pool antics earned her nearly as much attention as Payton gets on a regular basis. She elicited quite a few chuckles and "oh, I just have to get a picture of this" comments. Payton and I just stood and waited until she decided she was ready to continue.




May 7, 2008

Clever dog feeder

Okay, I'm pretty impressed with this one. Click the picture to go to the catalog site.


The husband keeps talking about moving the kids' feeding stations upstairs, but I've been somewhat opposed to all of the paraphanalia that would add there. This might be an acceptable alternative. Though I must admit that I think I pretty much talked him out of it when I reminded him that would also mean carrying the food bags upstairs...not as exciting when you think about the 44+ lb bags we buy. :-)

May 1, 2008

Dogs on Thursday: Leashes

One of my daily comic strip reads is Dog Eat Doug. Several syndicates require a two-week lag to allow cartoonists to publish online, and this happens to be one of them. Even though I read this strip on Tuesday this week, it's original date was 4/15. (Click for a larger view.)


Leashes inspire the utmost excitement for my kids. Leashes mean GOING SOMEWHERE, or that SOMETHING IS HAPPENING. Both of the kids go completely nuts, and no peace will be had until the SOMETHING happens.

Once the leashes are on, however, the tables turn. Now, leashes are the restraint, that which is preventing the kids from enjoying the world the WAY IT WAS MEANT TO BE ENJOYED. Payton has been known to completely forget what "come" means when he doesn't want to leave the dog park and he sees me adjust the leashes for leaving. "Oh, you meant stop having fun and be restrained again. I thought you meant let's keep playing for a while."

Is there any analog in the human world for what leashes mean to dogs? Is there anything we get completely crazy excited about only to feel restrained and oppressed by later? The only thing that comes to my mind is the depression that some people feel right after the craziness of Christmas morning has passed.

[Philosophical pondering aside, I love Sophie's question in this strip. Instead of the "My dog is smarter than your honor student" bumper sticker, I want one that reads "My dogs are better behaved than your children."]

April 24, 2008

Dogs on Thursday: Entry Redux

I confess, I'm a slacker. I don't have anything new for DoT. However, since I just saw on the interwebs/tubes/thingy that today is "Take Your Child to Work" Day, I thought it might be appropriate to refer back to this post: "Take your dog-ter to work."

I still work at the same place, and still have this wonderful option. Just yesterday, my boss brought her dog, Sophie, to work. After their lunchtime walk, she told me about all of the smiles Sophie elicited. Similarly, I just gave a blogger soliciting random advice to go to a dogpark or someplace where dogs are playing and happy whenever you feel depressed. I've also noticed the smiles dogs bring to people's faces, particularly when I walk them here on the U campus. Along the same lines, Sophie and my boss participated in a therapy-dog event at the Law School last spring--they brought dogs in for the law students who were studying hard for finals.

And, once more, don't forget about the contest I'm running for people sponsoring me in the Walk for Animals and MS 30/60 Bike Tour.

April 17, 2008

One for the boys...

funny dog pictures
see more cute dogs and puppies

Dogs on Thursday: The Tail (har de har har) of Woe

That's my boy....


Whether it's typical of all Great Danes, or just Marmaduke and Payton, I don't know. But Payton definitely needs someone to tell his troubles to, and it's usually me (momma's boy that he is...)

Since I don't have any pictures of my own kids today, I'll send you over to photographer Erin Vey's blog, where her Great Dane, Gracie, also needs someone to tell her problems to.

And, just because it seems to fit the theme, here's today's "Red and Rover":


Plus, don't forget my little contest....

April 14, 2008

Etsy for Animals


I just found a new charity site, Etsy for Animals. Crafters can donate merchandise for sale on Etsy, and the proceeds go to the group's chosen charity, a different one each month.

I found the site because this month's animal sanctuary is one of my favorites, the Rolling Dog Ranch, in Ovando, MT. One of the things that makes Rolling Dog particularly special is that they focus on animals with disabilities, the ones that most shelters would euthanize as unadoptable. They've had a particularly rough year so far in 2008 with animal losses, both due to age and illness.

Etsy for Animals is brilliant because it acts not only as a donation, but individuals actually receive something for their donations. Everyone wins.

April 10, 2008

Let's make a contest out of it

ORIGINAL ENTRY I know I don't have a lot of regular readers, so everyone has a good chance of winning. I'm interested to see how much I can raise for the MS Society and the Animal Humane Society through posting on my blog. I'm going to try following the same contest rules I'm seeing on other sites. I will leave the contest open through midnight on May 9, though the Walk for Animals is actually on May 3. Click on the "original entry" link above to find the donation website.

If you submit a donation, you will receive one ticket for a random drawing. If you have a blog, please be sure to leave the address in comments, so I can spend some time there and personalize your gift. If you are blog-less/free, please tell me something about yourself and/or your interests.

I will give you two tickets for posting about my contest on your blog (if you are blogless, CC me on an email to at least one other person, and I will consider that as "advertising" also); be sure to leave me that comment also so that I can get those two more tickets.

I will give you three tickets for every person who donates who reaches me through your blog/email; be sure to leave directions that people reference you so I can add you up appropriately.

So, one donation, one blog mention, and one referral can earn you 6 tickets. Given that I have about 5 regular readers, chances of getting your name drawn are pretty dang good. :-)

Finally, I will send a special little something for the person who donates the most (I'll combine totals if you donate to both causes). And anyone who would like to help sponsor me with possible awards is more than welcome to send me an email at dtisinger [at] gmail [dot] com. Thanks for any help you can give.

Depending on the day....

I just changed a couple of variables (there were some answers that stayed the same no matter what). I really had a hard time deciding between two choices on the "dream car" question, and none of the Saturday morning options were quite right. I feel like I identify with the German Shepherd Dog description more than the Golden, but I don't necessarily mind being a little Remy-girl....

What dog breed are you? I'm a Golden Retriever! Find out at
"Golden Retriever
The Charmer

Laid-back, sociable and well-groomed, you've got your own hip little pack of groupies who just love to be around you. You have a brain inside that adorable little head of yours, though you use it mostly to organize your hectic social calendar. You never poop out at parties, and since you're popular with ladies and men, as well as children and adults, you dish out your wit, charm and luck to whomever is close enough to bask in it. The top dog likes you and wants to be your best friend, despite the fact that he doesn't really know what the heck you do. No one does, in fact, but everyone loves you all the same. A true foodie, you’ve got your keen ears fine-tuned to make sure you don't miss out on the opening of a trendy new place to nosh. But your youthful days of being able to wolf down food 24-7 are wagging behind you, meaning you've got to watch what you eat so you don’t pull a Brando and outgrow your coats."


What dog breed are you? I'm a German Shepherd! Find out at
"German Shepherd
The Perfectionist

Doggedly dedicated to getting the job done, you don't let silly little distractions get in the way of putting in a full day's work. And after you come home, chowing down on a little grub and taking a little catnap is all it takes to get you up and at 'em for round two, whatever that may entail. Your dogma emphasizes the importance of hard work, and you swim laps around your dog-paddling, time-wasting co-workers. Your cleverness leads to you often being entrusted with some pretty important tasks, which you are always more than happy to sink your canines into. You really dig being outdoors and love a bit of exercise, but you draw the line at the ridiculous stuff, choosing a game of beach volleyball over Pilates in the park any day."

Continue reading "Depending on the day...." »

Dogs on Thursday: Squeaky Crackle Frog

These are just some quick shots of Remy from this morning. Every morning she has a little spaz-fest, grabbing a toy and tearing around the house with it while I feint and pretend to catch her.

Remy's current favorite toy is Squeaky Crackle Frog. This is a Ty beanie for dogs, stuffed with a squeaker and crackly paper inside. This is the one toy, knock on wood, that she hasn't attempted to de-stuff. The best part about it is that she actually looks like she's carrying around a dead frog; it made the husband slightly squeamish the first few days due to how realistic it actually looks.


Do you see the mischief in these eyes?

And then it's over; the frog is done for, the game is done....

P.S. Just as a reminder, if anyone is interested in donating to my MS Bike tour or Walk for Animals, here is the original entry.

April 4, 2008

Walking for Animals, Riding for MS

Once again it is time for the annual fund-raising events that I've participated in for the last 4 years. On Saturday, May 3rd, Remy, Payton, and I will be joining the Animal Humane Society's Walk for Animals. The following Saturday, May 10, I will be riding my bike in the MS Allianz 30/60 Tour. I hope to ride the 60 mile route, but since my normal biking partner will be unavailable that weekend, we'll see how long I feel like going on my own. :-)

I thank you sincerely for anything you choose to donate, and even if you opt not to, I still appreciate your support. Here are the links for easy on-line donations, but I am happy to accept other forms of payment on the organizations' account as well.

Click on the title for the event description, and the link for my participant page.
Walk for Animals

MS Bike Ride

April 3, 2008

Coolest picture ever

I recently discovered the photography of Erin Vey. She's a pet photographer. Even better...she is owned by a Great Dane.

Check out this photo of Gracie's new tag, the picture on the left with the shadow. I want to be able to take pictures like this.

Puppy Mills on Oprah

Apparently tomorrow's Oprah will be worth watching. She'll be doing a show on puppy mills, and why buying from a pet store is problematic. I'm hoping that she has a lot of fanatic viewers who will tell their friends not to buy a puppy from a pet store because they heard about it on Oprah. While I don't always like the idea of one person having that much influence over the mass of society, if she can make an impact on the puppy mill business, the more power to her.

Here is what the Best Friends Sanctuary recommends:

Let’s help the Oprah show have the biggest impact possible!
Actions to take before the show
Get as many potential puppy buyers as possible to tune in to Oprah’s show—target people who may not know about puppy mills, and/or may be shopping for a puppy.

Take advantage of free classifieds by placing as many ads as possible. Post notices on, local news boards, freecycle,—anywhere that people might go to look for a pet to buy. Below is a sample ad (be sure to put in the correct time):

Are you in the market for a puppy? Watch the Oprah Winfrey show on
Friday, April 4th! (insert correct time here). Friday’s episode is all about buying puppies and dogs!

Actions to take after the show
1.) Post more information in the SAME free online publications. Give people more information on how they can help, how they can avoid puppy mills, and how they can get involved with Best Friends’ campaign. Below is a sample ad:

Did you see Oprah Winfrey’s April 4th show about puppy mills?
Go to to learn how to make sure your dog doesn’t come from a puppy mill

2.) Post the above comment on Oprah’s web community here:

Dogs on Thursday: Namaste Weekend*

Over the vernal equinox weekend, we went up north the a cabin on Lake Superior. We rented the house with a bunch of friends (5 couples in all), and our kids got to join us. These are two pictures that E, our friend and organizer, took. There are more in the series, but I don't have them scanned in...these are just poor photos of the developed prints. Her photos are simply gorgeous, and these images do not reflect the beauty of the actual pictures.

Click these to view them larger (and E really did have the exposure right...the darkness is my "picture of a picture" attempt"). I chose these two because I love the action shot of Remy and the tongue on Payton.



* The house was called Namaste. I didn't realize that until we got up there and saw the sign--every time E had sent out messages about "Namaste weekend," I thought she was just referring to relaxing. :-) I've got my pictures of the weekend up on my Flickr account; the other dog in the pictures is Baker, E and J's pup. The ones of Baker curled up on his daddy's lap are some of the cutest things we saw the whole weekend.

March 27, 2008

Dogs on Thursday: Here, yet Not Here

I'm finally remembering to post for DoT, but I can't do the post I want to! Argh. I actually do have pix of the kids. Action pix, even. But they are at home and, alas, I am not. I may update this today, but if I don't, I'll save them for next week.

In the meantime, here is a comic strip for you (click it for a larger version):

couch dog.gif

This seems par for the course for great danes. Our little Remy girl (golden retriver) will curl into a ball, will sleep on the floor, will fit all of herself onto my lap. Payton, on the other hand, wants his couch room. He usually lays on his side with his four paws hanging off the edge of the couch. Photographer Erin Vey has a lovely picture of her great dane's "bouqet of limbs" hanging off the couch. (Check out the rest of her site for some great canine shots....) The most fun part about the legs hanging off is when he dreams...the legs start running. I call them "twitchy toes."

March 19, 2008

Dog Years

Given how I am with all things related to Dog, there are definitely nits I can pick with this video. But I still pretty much find it hilarious....

March 18, 2008

Finally! A Good Use for Viagra

Turns out it can save a dog's life by increasing blood flow to the heart! From today's Mutts entry, a blog by John Woestendiek of The Baltimore Sun.

Ball Chaser

Got a puppy with a tennis ball fascination? Here's the answer...

February 19, 2008

No, no, no, no!!! Bad "breeders"!

We all know my position on designer dogs...mixed-breeds with fancy names and high prices. Maybe shelters are taking the wrong approach. Instead of saying they have lab-mixes who need good homes, they should go out and market Labraweilers or Rottradors. How about German Sheprador Retrievers? Lab- and -(r)ador seem to go with a lot of different names.

For the smaller set, you could have the Puget Hound or the Jack Russell Cock-a-poo. Or the Pootzu? Dogs would fly out of shelters if the staff could figure out the right combination to advertise the dogs.

Okay, so why am I ranting right now? I'm reading Susan Conant's Gaits of Heaven: A Dog Lover's Mystery and was laughing at what I thought was her over-the-top deslgner dog breed called a "Golden Aussie Huskapoo." Surely designer dogs haven't gone that far yet, have they?

Until I saw today's Daily Puppy: a Standard English Goldendoodle. Hence the title of this post: NO, NO, NO, NO! I assume the "standard" goes with the "oodle", and "golden" is fairly obvious. But "English?" There is no "English Poodle" or "English Golden Retriever" that I know of. (Yes, the puppy is cute, adorable, and I'm sure very sweet, and, of course, he must be smart. But he's still an over-priced mixed breed.)

A mutt with any other name is just as sweet. Adopt a shelter dog if you absolutely must have a mixed breed.

January 31, 2008

DoT: Dogs on Beds

The dogs are loving the house remodel. Because we're sleeping downstairs, they have full access to us and the bed. Our usual bed upstairs is quite a bit higher off the ground (probably close to 3.5 feet to the top of the mattress), and the kids are not allowed on the bed. But since we're sleeping on the futon in the living room, two things have happened to the kids' advantage: 1) they are closer to us, so poking mommy in the ribs or licking her face just means a slight lift of the head from the laying-down position, and 2) they get to sleep on the bed when we're not there.

Here are some pictures of both of them enjoying their domain:

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Not to be outdone, Remy also wanted to show off her sleeping talents on one of the many dog beds they have scattered around the living room:


January 23, 2008

Top Dogs: Minneapolis

Here are the top ten dogs in Mpls, according to the AKC profile:


1. Labrador Retriever
2. Golden Retriever
3. German Shepherd
4. Boxer
5. English Springer Spaniel
6. Poodle
7. Yorkshire Terrier
8. Dachshund
9. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
10. Brittany

Local Statistical Snapshot

Two sporting dogs – the English Springer Spaniel and the Brittany – make an unusual appearance on Minneapolis-St. Paul’s Top 10 list. These breeds rank 27th and 29th nationally. Twin cities residents also placed a trendy breed in their Top 10. The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel has had the most gains of any AKC registered breed in the past decade (up 406%) yet it ranks 25th nationally. This energetic toy breed is compatible with city or country life.
The nationally popular Beagle, Shih Tzu and Bulldog failed to make it on the Twin Cities Top 10 list. The Bulldog, while making it into the 10th spot nationally, is in 13th place in Minneapolis-St. Paul. The Shih Tzu and Beagle placed 17th and 23rd, respectively.

“With two of the Twin Cities’ Top 10 being hunting dogs, I’d say that this is a city that identifies strongly with the sporting life,? says AKC spokesperson Lisa Peterson. “Minneapolis-St. Paul is one of the only large cities in America to rank the Brittany and English Springer Spaniel so high – it’s a very unique list.?

click to see more cities at the AKC website

In some ways, it's not surprising, but I am disappointed to see the number of little dogs on the list. I suppose, though, that's probably as much a product of living in the city as anything. There is still the pervasive myth that large/giant breeds aren't good city/house/apartment dogs because they need a lot of space to run. To some extent, yes, they need space. But the majority of the giant breeds are couch potatoes for whom running is a pleasant exercise, if they must, but really, can't we just lay on the couch and watch TV? Rather than assuming size is the factor, people need to start looking at the breed's purpose and tendancies. Sporting dog? yes, needs to get out. Our friends' English Cocker Spaniel is one of the wildest children (good wild, but crazy nonetheless), and he probably weighs less than Payton's head and neck combined.

December 20, 2007

Dogs on Thursday -- the Dinner Campaign

"Red and Rover" by Brian Basset 12/18/07

This week's "Red and Rover" strips are a perfect reflection of my kids, though they usually start campaigning 3-4 hours ahead of dinner time.

See, we have a pretty regular schedule during the week: they get breakfast around 6 and dinner around 4:30 when we get home from work. Basically the same routine every week day.

Weekends, on the other hand, may be an entirely different matter. Breakfast on weekends may come anywhere between 6 and 8 in the morning, depending on how late the husband wants to sleep in (he gets breakfast duty and I have supper duty). Generally speaking, dinner is served between 3:30-5, depending upon how persistent they get.

"Red and Rover" by Brian Basset 12/19/07

The dinner campaign usually begins around noon. It may start with a Remy-spaz-n-poke (a burst of rolling around on the floor while kicking up her feet followed by poking mom in the arm or whatever happens to be available).

(Yes, it looks like she's lying there innocently playing with her toys; what still photos don't show is the wagging tail that indicates a spaz is about to begin)

When we check water dishes, yes, they're full. Do they need out? Why, yes, that seems to be the issue. However, the backdoor is on the way to the food, so as we're heading to the back door, they get the bright idea that we're actually heading to dinner. "While we're in the area," they tell me, "we think it's dinner time." "It's not time yet. You are waaayyyy too early for dinner," I reply. They go out, come back in, and we all go back to whatever we were doing earlier.


This little game continues through the afternoon, with the spaz-n-pokes getting closer and closer together. Even Payton starts to join in as it gets closer to 3:30. But what may be the most amusing part of this whole routine is that we usually don't figure out the campaign has begun until we're well into it. Inevitably between 1 and 2 or so, either the hubby or I will suddenly exclaim, "You guys must be campaigning. That's why you're being so goofy."


And the kids just look at each other and say, "Duh."

"Red and Rover" by Brian Basset 12/20/07


December 18, 2007

My gchat status puppy...

For those of you who might have been wondering about said puppy this time (as in, why am I still/again trying to convince the husband that we need a great dane puppy), here are some pictures of the as-yet-unnamed wee one. Even though the baby girl didn't come home with me (even though I offered to double what my co-worker paid), my co-worker did end up adopting her for her mother. These were taken on 12/14 here in my office (click for larger pictures):

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Yes, her eyes really are that beautiful grey color in the first picture. She was napping under a chair in my office when I took that one; so much excitement with so many new people can make a puppy-girl sleepy. Her eyes will probably change to a brown later on, but they are so beautiful right now. And I particularly like the last picture here, where her ears make her look like she's flying.

Agghhh! Me wants a puppy! The husband mentions things like space and remodelling and traveling and practical stuff like that, but how could anyone not want one of these? :-)

December 13, 2007

Dogs on Thursday -- the Rant Edition

Today's official Dogs on Thursday is out sick (get well soon, Paula!), so I thought I'd take this opportunity to return to 3, 4, 5 (?!) of my favorite rants.

I was part of a conversation this morning that took about 30 seconds before my head was about to explode. We were talking about a Great Dane puppy that a co-worker is going to take for her mother. The pup needs a new home because her family can't give the time she needs. Why is that? The pup is 6 weeks old (Yikes 1)! She was purchased at 4 weeks, from a backyard breeder (Yikes 2) (the litter was originally 11 pups) whose bitch wasn't able to take care of the pups because she was bleeding excessively (Yikes 3)! The new owner had been looking for a dog for their 16 year old son who is missing his grandfather who recently passed away; when they found the ad for the pups in the paper (Yikes 4), they checked in, and the woman said that she had to purchase a pup because she couldn't leave them there (Yikes 5?). I was already familiar with the situation (co-worker and I had discussed it earlier), so we got through that part of the conversation in 15-20 seconds.

From there the conversation turned to a beagle that my co-worker is looking at for themselves; they were planning to go to a local humane society that just took in 3 beagle pups. Co-worker 2 mentioned that her daughter purchased a beagle from a local pet store (Yikes 6). Finally, the conversation ended with co-worker 1 talking about a cute pug-beagle mix she had seen (I'm not going to grace that with it's "cute" "breed" name--a mutt is a mutt) (Yikes 7).

So in the space of about 30 seconds, the conversation touched on: backyard breeding (potentially puppy milling on a small scale), neglect/abuse, improper weaning which has led to pup needing a new home, pet-store animal purchases, newspaper breeder advertising, and designer dogs. So, my head exploded.

December 11, 2007

Today's Mallard Fillmore

I don't usually read "Mallard Fillmore," for a variety of reasons, but my mom pointed out today's strip:


While I still question the message of pets making good presents, particularly around Christmas, at least they got the source for finding good pets right by referring people to shelters and

December 6, 2007

Dogs on Thursday 12-6-07

Another quick post of pictures. These pictures are after a romp at the dog park with several inches of new (first) snow. They don't usually cuddle like this, though I think that is more Remy's decision than Payton's. As you see here, she's pretty okay with being his pillow at this point.

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(Um, those yellow-ish foam bits...those are remnants of a bed's stuffing. I'll let you decide who was responsible there....)

November 29, 2007

Dogs on Thursday 11-29-07

I missed Thanksgiving DoT. Today is going to kick my butt at work, so I'm just going to give a few pix here without much commentary.

One of the nice things about my building is that most people don't really care what goes on here, so dogs are not unusual in the offices. Here are a couple visitors just from this week.

First up is Lilo, a 3-4 month old Yorkie who lives with a woman who works for the Army (she is actually not military, though her husband is). I'm not a small dog fan, but this one is pretty darn cute. She reminds me of an ewok from Star Wars.

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Then we have Sophie, my boss's dog, just after a hard hour's work on a couch from a therapy workshop for the law school students.

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I'm thinking about bringing my kids in on Friday.

November 27, 2007



My boss just sent me the R.E.A.D. website link. She does therapy dog work with her girl, Sophie. This is the very program I want to get into with Remy. The acronym stands for Reading Education Assistance Dogs. Click either the link or the picture to go to the website itself.

I've always been a big reader. When I was in 4th grade, my mother and a friend's mother went to the obligatory parent night, where the teachers were providing tips and tricks for getting kids to read. My mother and my friend's mother both wanted to know how to get their kids to stop reading. I read all the time (don't seem to have as much time now, though). I always had a book in class, I always packed 8-10 books for trips because one never knows how fast one will read, or what one's mood will be; I always went to bed late because I just wanted to read one more (and one more and one more and one more) chapter, and I mostly "forgot" my after school chores because I was so engrossed in a book. My best trick, though, was when I was sent to clean my room and discovered a book buried on the floor and never got the room clean because I'd start to read.

So, given my obsession with dogs, my love of books, and my interest in education in general, this type of therapy work seems appropriate. I'm going to just ignore the one thing that will pop into everyone's mind who knows me, and pretend that it won't be an issue. After all, the wonderful thing about volunteering is that I get to choose how to devote my time. If this doesn't work, I'll find something else, but I do really want this to work.

November 21, 2007

Puppy-Mill Action Week

Caution: Link-heavy, but most of the links are to my site

John Woestendiek, writer for the Baltimore Sun and author of Mutts blog reminded me that the Humane Society of the United States has declared the week of November 25-December 1 Puppy-Mill Action Week. Their campaign is to educate people about puppy mills and encourage adoptions from shelters rather than buying pets through pet stores. This issue is one of the ones that I am the most passionate about. I should probably start a new category for my entries about breeding and adoption issues.

The writer of another blog I read posted a little while ago about not buying pets from pet stores. She received some somewhat defensive comments from well-meaning people who felt attacked for buying from pet stores. Some of the arguments are that their purchase "rescued" the dog from the store, especially when told that if they didn't buy the dog, it would be sent back. Yes, I wish I could go in and buy out all of the pets and make sure they go to good homes and lead good lives. But until EVERYONE realizes that buying pets from pet stores will only perpetuate puppy-mills, that defense will not work. Legislation, legal challenges, boycotting pet-selling pet stores, and other civil actions are the only ways puppy-mills will be shut down.

November 11, 2007

Incident at the dog park

I'm beginning to realize that Payton and I actually share several personality traits. We're both over sensitive, though I am over sensitive to words and emotions, while he is troubled more by things and sounds. But both of us are, um, strong-willed, shall we say, and neither of us are social butterflies. At the dog park, Payton does not flit around and play with anyone who is half-way willing. No, he'd much rather set his sights on one or two pups in particular, and try to play with them whether they are interested or not (yes, I do tend toward this direction too, though I like to think I have the social grace to realize when the other party is not interested and leave it at that). And, for better or worse (and it's mostly for worse), we can both become a tad bit bullying; i.e., "you will play with me and by my rules or I'm going to take my toys and go home." Or, in Payton's case, "you will play with me and by my rules or I will poke and nip at you until you succumb." He's not being deliberately mean, but he doesn't always realize when he's being overbearing.

Needless to say, I try to keep an eagle-eye on Payton at the park so that I can stop him when he starts to get into bullying mode. I even bought a training collar for distances (he knows I'm trying to stop him when he gets this way, so he dances away from me while continuing to harrass the other pup); I primarily just use the sound trigger, and that has been pretty darn effective about steering him out of trouble.

Yesterday at the Dane play group, he became particularly attached to another young male, Cooper. He and Cooper played just fine until another dog came in and also started playing with Cooper. As soon as there were two other dogs seeming to pick on him, Cooper got scared. One dog was fine, but two got to be too much. So I tried to get Payton out of there each time another dog started in. Not necessarily fair to Payton, but I know my dog, and I'm not going to let him be involved when another dog turns from play to fear.

Something about Cooper seemed to attract other dogs. One in particular was a very sweet, but very persistent border collie who kept trying to mount Cooper at every opportunity, including when Cooper was playing with anyone else. Since I was monitoring Payton, it was easy for me to pull off the boder collie when I could see Cooper was starting to get troubled.

Apparently, I committed the very cardinal sin of disciplining another parent's child. I will say right now that I still think I was right to give Cooper a break when I saw him starting to get concerned. I WILL NOT stand by and let a dog get scared when it is a preventable situation. The majority of people at the park would come get their kids when they realized that it was becoming a gang situation rather than just playing. But for all the world, it appeared that no one was watching the border collie.

I had just pulled Payton and the border collie away (very nicely, not with the kicking and screaming that some owners do when they think they're dogs are suffering), when a man shoved his face into mine and demanded to know why I kept holding his dog. I explained that I was giving Cooper a break because the border collie had been harrassing him all morning (which was true...we never saw Cooper without the border collie, no matter what other dog was there, so Cooper spent a good bit of time whirling and snapping and trying to get back down to just him + one other dog). Still right in my face, the man continued to badger me, telling me how they were playing and didn't I understand playing, and how I shouldn't be touching his dog (who was sweet and I did spend time loving and petting him too), all the while trying to call his dog to him (who wouldn't come, by the way). I think what bothered me the most is that Cooper's dad was right there and didn't say a damn word; that, and the violation of my personal space--I still see the man's face hovering a few inches from mine.

True, it's not necessarily my place to protect Cooper since he's not my dog. But damn it, he was being harrassed, he was becoming fearful, and with Great Danes, fear biting is never a good thing. I just couldn't stand by and let Cooper get more and more fearful when simply holding off a couple of dogs would give him some breathing room.

I'm still upset about it now; as I said, I'm over sensitive to words and emotions. And, I keep thinking of the things that would have been better responses, and might have gotten through to him better. The way it is, we're both left with feelings of bitterness and self-rightousness, feelings which will continue to affect me because I'm not good about brushing these incidents off. If only I had a gift of being able to say the right thing at the right time...and refuse to be drawn into confrontations...and brush off insults and problems.

November 8, 2007

Dogs on Thursday 11-8-07

Thursday Dogs02.jpg


I had some charming pictures of the kids that I was going to post for today's entry, but then I got the email from my mother that said she had to put Kodi to sleep this weekend. Kodi was a Newfoundland that we were given when his breeder was in a difficult situation. It's a long story, and I won't provide the gory details here. She needed to find good homes in a short period of time, and thought of us because we have had a very long relationship with her and her kennel.

Kodi's death represents the end of an era for our family. See, we've always had Newfoundlands, or at least for the past 35 years. My grandparents started with a Newf-mix before I was born, then mom and I joined the Newf-group, and even the Husband and I had one. [Madchen, Sherman, Fagin, Ursa, Kuma, Baron, Kisha, Shawnee, Lena, Kodi] There were times when I would take four of them for a walk at the same time. That generated some stares for passers-by.....

When the Husband and I agreed to take Kodi, my mother had two newfs already, one of whom she had also been given by the breeder. If she hadn't already had two, I'm sure she would have been the breeder's first choice. Anyway, in 2002, we took in Kodi as a third dog, basically sight unseen. We went to the breeder's to meet him while we were in Wyoming, and took him primarily due to her circumstances and my bleeding heart.


Kodi was "special." He had earned his championship, and really did exhibit very good physical characteristics of the breed. He was one of the breeder's special house-dogs, but all he had ever known was the show ring. At age 5, already middle-aged for a newf, he was the dog-ification of the "model" stereotype. We're pretty sure there was not much more in his mind than looking pretty and having people clap for him. Honestly, I have never met a more vacuous dog. He was super sweet, very friendly, great dog in general, but just no personality whatsoever. I don't even think the term "dumb" applied to him. There just really wasn't much there behind those sweet dark brown eyes.


Several things happened that led to Kodi going to my mom's. First, mom lost Shawnee-pup, the very first dog we got from this breeder. Even at Shawnee's age, she was still a puppy at heart, essentially everything that Kodi wasn't. In order to provide company for Lena, she went to the pound to adopt a newf or pyrenees mix. She came home with Shilo, the "little yellow dog." Shilo didn't last very long. She was a wild thing, escaping, chewing up the house, high energy. Very sweet, but very high maintenance. Shilo went back to the pound.

In May, 2004, I was preparing to defend my Ph.D. dissertation, when Kodi and our dane Micaela ran into each other (we don't know what really happened), and Caela ended up succumbing to a gradual paralysis. We spent a week hauling her to the vet for x-rays, tests, anything, but she kept getting worse until she even started refusing food. She was completely paralyzed, 10 years old, could not even eliminate on her own, and just told us it was time.


For a variety of reasons, including the brutal summers, Kodi went to live with my mom that November, even though she had re-rescued Shilo from the pound. Shilo actually kind of taught Kodi how to play a little, something he never did with us (I still blame the heat and humidity of summer for part of his utter passivity). When mom lost Lena earlier this year, Kodi was still there to provide companionship to Shilo.

It will be strange not to have any newfs in the family anymore. The Husband and I are convereted to Great Danes, and mom feels that she is at an age and physical condition where medium-sized dogs are more appropriate. So Kodi, the newf with a big heart and no brain, is truly the end of 35 years of newfs.


November 1, 2007

Dogs on Thursday 11-1-07

Remy Payton playing 1.jpg

Remy is just about to be eaten by Payton. She doesn't know it yet, but she will soon.

Remy Payton playing 2.jpg

He's moving in, closing in on the kill.

Remy Payton playing 3.jpg

Oh no! He's moving in on the belly! Run, Remy, run!

Remy Payton playing 4.jpg

Oh, the carnage. Payton made it to the throat. It's all over now. Poor little Remy.

Note: No canines were harmed in the shooting of these pictures. These are professionally trained actors, performing the roles they play every single day.

October 29, 2007

Objects in the rearview mirror

Coming home from the MAC dog park yesterday, this was the view in my rearview mirror:


[Yes, I understand the irony of posting this picture having just complained about the poor behavior of MN drivers. In my defense, I had my camera out because I had been taking pictures at the dog park, and I shot this picture when I was behind a long line of cars at a red light. And you should know this is the truth because there were many other cuter expressions that I would much rather have gotten "on film".]

October 25, 2007

Dogs on Thursday

Thursday Dogs04.jpg

I was gone last Thursday and meant to pre-publish, but completely forgot. But we're back today.

I don't have any accessible pictures of Remy, so this will have to be another Payton post.

This is one of his favorite sleeping positions (click the picture for more Flickr pix):


I frequently look over from my computer in the evenings to see him curled up on his bed, nose tucked under paw. And yes, this is the same bed he stole from is more or less definitively his. He has the mysteriously-replaced larger bed in the bedroom for nighttime-sleeping, and this one is in the study for hanging-out-sleeping.

October 3, 2007


I took Annie Modesitt's toe-up socks class at the Minnesota Textile Center last night. Aside from needing a "stop being stupid" button to zap stupid drivers, the night was a ton of fun. Annie is a very laid-back, easy to work with instructor, and I loved her combination of "this is one way to do it, but here's another" hints throughout the class. I was particularly excited because I've never tried knitting socks on circular needles, and never tried toe-up socks, so got to learn both! She calls this class "Muttluks," in part because we make small socks to learn techniques that we can later use for wintertime puppy foot protection.

We didn't have time to completely finish one sock in class, so I finished mine tonight. Here is the finished product, graciously modeled by my little Remy girl. (I'll save the rest of the pictures for tomorrow's Dogs on Thursday post.)


We also had the chance to learn the "after-thought" heel, which is a real winner in my book. Very slick. I can't wait to try a real sock with all of these new techniques.

October 1, 2007

New Widget

Just under the "Categories" link on the right sidebar, you'll see a new Widget. It lists the headlines from one of my daily blog reads, Rolling Dog Ranch Blog. And oh, how appropriate is the term "widget" for this blog, as one of their pups is names Widget. One of the stories about her is the top post for today, October 1. But if you go to the blog (and/or the sanctuary home page), you'll be sure to find a lot of info about little Widget. She has quite the personality.

September 16, 2007

Choke chain collars are for training only!

We had a scary, scary incident at the dog park yesterday that reinforced the title of this post. Another great dane and golden retriever (I say "another" because neither one was mine) were wrassling together. They'd been playing for quite a while and were quite well matched.

I saw it first, but it really didn't take long for others to realize something was wrong. The golden's preferred method of play was on his back, kicking up his feet. One of his back feet got twisted in the dane's choke collar. Of course the dane kept trying to back out/away from the golden, who was subsequently dragged by his caught foot. Both dogs were getting more and more traumatized and hysterical: the poor dane was getting choked and dragged down, and the poor golden was getting dragged on his back with his foot caught.

It took at least three of us to extract the two kids. I'm not sure if there were more people or not, but I was holding the golden down so he didn't keep struggling and moving away, his owner was trying to get them untangled, and the dane's owner was holding her so she wouldn't keep trying to back away. Because I was at the end with the hysterical teeth, I didn't see the actual extraction process.

The good news is that everyone was fine. Nothing was damaged on the golden's foot, and he seemed to forget about the incident within the next 10 minutes. The dane was a little more traumatized; this breed is fairly sensitive, and can get their feelings injured quite easily. She really had no idea what had just happened, and really seemed afraid that something might go wrong again. I came out with several puncture wounds on my left hand because the poor golden was so hysterical. (I'm not calling them bites because that's not really what they were; just fear and pain and confusion reactions that are entirely acceptable for a puppy in his situation.) Honestly, of the three of us, I think I'm the most damaged, and my wounds are small. (Of course, my hand with a minimum of 6 bandaids plus the places I didn't cover does cause a small amount of attention and concern, but really, we're all fine.)

Being a golden, Remy handled the situation pretty well. She stayed out of it, and kind of just observed. Payton was a little traumatized afterwards, too, though. I don't know if it was the noise, the distress, seeing me in the middle, or any combination of the above, but he stayed pretty close to me while I recovered (some teeth hit some of those really sensitve nerves and bones on the wrist and I felt like I was going to pass out for a minute or two....). He improved once we got up and started walking again.

But it was just one of those awful, unexpected events that no one wants to see happen, especially to their own dogs. Please keep a flat or other type of break-away collar on your dog when you're not training. Almost ANY other collar would have been better; even a prong collar allows for a quicker release that could have gotten it off the dane much quicker.

September 13, 2007

Argyle Yorkies

Oh dear. Outfits for yorkies from Argyle socks. How many socks would Payton require?

August 27, 2007

Puppy and Kitty Love

Puppies that sing to whistling

and kitties that rahn-engineer their own playstations

who can resist? I could watch both of these over and over and over again!

More great critter pictures here. I've seen some of these ones before elsewhere, but there are definitely some good ones.

May 13, 2007

A Tale of Three Beds?

Did some kind soul take pity on Payton?

So, about two days after I posted "A Tale of Two Beds," a familiar looking box showed up on the front porch. The same style, type, everything type of box that the new blue bed came in. I opened the box V-E-R-Y carefully, so as not to damage any of the contents, and pulled out...the same bed, with the burgundy cover.

No packing slip. The return address is exactly the same, it's my name and address on the box. That's all the information I have.

I've kind of been waiting for someone to ask, "did you get the dog bed yet?" but no one has. An extra charge has not showed up on my Amazon account. No one's contacted us about a shipping error. And we know it's not simply a duplicate shipment because this is not the color I originally ordered.

So I sent this email to the address that was on the advertisement card that was the only paperwork in the box. Here's the text of the email:

I recently ordered and received a dog bed, Extra Large 43x28 Lounger Dog Pet Bed - Blue. I ordered through Amazon, and the charge is reflected on my credit card bill. About 3 days after receiving the bed, the dog for whom it was intended shredded the foam interior. Thinking that was the end of the bed, I gathered all of the foam confetti into a trashbag and threw the bag out. Since the cover was still perfectly intact, I simply put it over my other dog's bed.

Imagine my surprise when I came home from work yesterday to find a new bed on our front porch. The box was addressed to me, and it is the same type of Pet Supply Factory box that the first bed came in. This one, however, is burgundy. There is no packing slip, so I am somewhat at a loss as to why this new bed showed up. I did post the incident on my blog, but I haven't heard of a company that sends replacement beds when they've been summarily despatched by the recipient. Did some other kind soul take pity on my currently bedless pup?

If this is simply an error of duplication (which also seems a bit surprising since the color on bed 2 is different than the color on bed 1), what would be the next best steps? Bed 2 has not left its protective bag, so bed-destroying-pup doesn't yet realize he has another potential victim. On the other hand, he is still bedless, so might be able to restrain himself from a second round of destruction.

Please advise.

I sent that on May 9, and have still not heard back. Notice that I mentioned my blog entry, but did not actually link to it (though I considered doing so because I thought they might find Payton in Remy's bed amusing. Even if I had included the link, I wouldn't expect any company to send a replacement like this. If I had blogged about a problem, maybe. But this, um, problem, had nothing to do with the bed or the company.

Anyone out there willing to claim taking pity on a poor bedless dog? (He hasn't had a chance to shred the new bed because I don't want to have to send a shredded bed back, if that's what ends up happening. So he's still bedless, or Remy is, since Payton has now laid claim to every comfy spot in the bedroom that the humans don't use.)

May 7, 2007

A Tale of Two Beds

While we were at Slate Creek in March, Payton discovered Remy's bed. We've had this bed for about as long as we've had Remy. It's a nest bed sized for a medium dog, and Remy fits in it just perfectly. Payton, not so much.

This became a fairly typical scene at the lodge (click any image to enlarge):

In fact, Payton didn't even seem to care if Remy was already in the bed, as shown in these two pictures:
Remy's looking at Payton as if to say, "Hey, wait! What are you doing here?"
Then, "Mom! He's in my bed!"

This behavior continued even after we got back; we'd find Remy under our bed again because Payton had squeezed her out of her bed (it was particularly nice because the back wall of the bed kept Remy from wriggling her way under our bed and needing extrication at 2 or 3 in the morning).

So, we did what any responsible parent would do, and got Payton his very own Extra Large 43x28 Lounger Dog Pet Bed - Blue large dog sized nest bed. And bed technology has come a long way; the new bed has nice, thick foam. It's really cushy and comfortable. And Payton fits in it, ensuring comfort as there are no dog parts that have to hang over the edge.

Well, I should say, Payton used to fit in it. We received the bed on Wednesday or Thursday last week. Here's what we found on Saturday:
paytonbed1.JPG paytonbed2.JPG

Yep. The entire thing. Shredded. Confetti made out of nice, cushy, big-dog-bed foam.

Remy now has a nice new cover on her bed, and Payton is back to his previous pile of blankies. Except that he still wants to sleep in Remy's bed. After all, it's the comfy one, right?

April 24, 2007

Puppy-boy is Whole Again

...minus one spleen. Yesterday we went in to have his sutures removed. He has a clean bill of health and can now romp and play as he wants.

Not that we've been able to stop him over the past two weeks anyway...

April 10, 2007

It's a dog's life

Last page first: Everything is okay, Payton is doing fine and recovering well.

60 Hours Earlier: Saturday, April 7, 2007, 9:00 am

Somewhere around 9 in the morning, Payton vomited his breakfast from 6 am. This is not entirely unheard of, especially since mid-March he ended up at a vet clinic in Rapid City, SD, for symptoms of pre-bloat. They kept him for the day for observation, but it seemed to pass, and he came home just fine. So Saturday, with the first vomit, not really in panic mode.

However, after I get out of the shower, S tells me that Payton looks like he's feeling a little dopey; not that much later, we get another round of vomiting, this time a very viscous, bile-filled substance. He's now showing some signs of pre-bloat, much like in March, with a swollen abdomen, inability to get comfortable, distress panting, etc. My first instinct is that since we've just recently gone through this without any trauma, we can probably just watch him throughout the day. My second instinct to call the U of M vet clinic is the one I followed. Thank Dog.

We brought him in and they took him right back for xrays. When the doctor came back out, she asked if the Rapid xrays had shown anything wrong with the spleen area. There was some unidentified object there then, but they weren't really sure what it was, and he was obviously bloated at that time, so we didn't really explore that area. When she showed me the xrays, his spleen was huge. What they couldn't tell was if it was a) a twisted spleen, b) some kind of non-spleen mass, or 3) an enlarged spleen for some other unknown reason. She called the on-call radiologist who was pretty sure that it was the spleen, but he wasn't sure if the problem was torsion or enlargement. An ultrasound confirmed the radiologist's opinion.

At that point, we opted for a potentially less invasive procedure by having them do a needle asparate to see if they could detect anything in the spleen itself that would cause enlargement. When we asked her recommendation, she said that he was really borderline. She didn't know if the surgeon's willingness to schedule him in was indicative of a true emergency or just a comment that he had the time if we chose to go that way.

After that is when things really got scary. I had left the hospital around 12 thinking he would go to surgery (this was pre-ultrasound). With the option of needle asparate, things didn't sound very desperate, and possibly we could avoid surgery. However, shortly after the asparate, she called back and said that he was crashing and getting shocky, meaning losing blood. Furthermore, they found quite a bit of blood in the abdomen when they did the asparate, but they weren't quite sure if the blood was due to the procedure, which would then clot, or if it was from the spleen itself. She presented the option of attempting transfusions and playing the "wait and see" game, or just going to surgery; I didn't even ask S and just told her to go with the surgery.

At 8:30 Saturday night, we got the call that he was out of surgery and in the ICU (remember this is a teaching hospital at the U of M vet school, so the care and access to resources are pretty phenomenal). The spleen was indeed twisted, and it had indeed ruptured. They had to make a larger than normal incision to verify that the spleen was the only thing producing the blood (which was the case). They also tacked his stomach, which is a common procedure with dogs who might be prone to bloat if you're doing abdominal surgery anyway.

While he came through surgery all right, he still wasn't out of danger. Because the spleen had not been receiving good blood, it had been building up the toxins that it is designed to filter. So there was still a possibility that he would go into toxic shock if those toxins entered the blood stream. They also weren't sure if the transfusion would be accepted, or if he would be able to continue generating his own red blood cells. And, as we found out the next morning, he had lost so much blood pre-surgery that the surgeon wasn't even sure he would pull through. Talk about hearing something to make a mother's heart stop beating.

On Sunday when they called, he was doing well, alert and responsive, but they were concerned because they couldn't get him to move for them and he wasn't eating. He wouldn't even take hand-fed hotdogs. Part of the importance of him eating was to continue to build up protein supplies to combat the anemia. When we got to see him, though, he stood up for us and started eating. He not only ate the cold food that he had rejected earlier, but also the new food the student provided. They were happy to see him moving, too. Of course, this is my finicky boy who doesn't like slippery tile floors anyway, so I'm not surprised he didn't want to move, and he's also not food motivated, so I'm not surprised he didn't want to eat.

On Monday morning, he was doing well enough to move out of ICU into the regular hospital wards. We went in over lunchtime to see him and the surgeon said he was doing so well we could even take him home. Yay! When we asked Payton if he wanted to go home, he perked right up. During our visit he was somewhat whiny and squeaky, which we attributed to pain since our visit was delaying his next pain-killer injection. The student gave him the injection before we left, but he was definitely ready to go home. I think a large part of the whining was more to go home than for pain.

When we got home, he spent a little time in the backyard (he hates to potty on leash), then managed to get up the stairs. At that point, he was so exhausted from the hospital (the ICU really isn't the best place to get good rest) and from his emotional distress that he sacked out. I brought Remy to work with me for the rest of the day, and S was able to stay home with the boy. When Remy and I got home after obedience class at 7, he was alert and waggy and wanting to see us. He's moving quite well, and will probably be difficult to keep calm and quiet within a few days.

The entire episode cost under $5000, and I'll leave it at that. He's only 3 1/2, which, while middle-aged for a Dane (on the conservative side), is still young. But he has officially become the most expensive dog we've ever owned. And this is the second boy we've had now who had something go wrong with his spleen. I'm not generally one to bring my kids to the vet for every little thing. I have had enough experience that I can generally gauge if it is vet-worthy or not. I'm just a little scared that I almost didn't take him in. And the other scary part is the realization that if we hadn't been home, if this hadn't been a weekend when emergency visits become more expensive, we would have lost him. He would have bled so much internally while we were at work that even if he had still been alive when we got home, he would have been in pretty severe shock. I'm also pretty certain that if I hadn't taken him to the U, we might not have him with us now. Not that our vet is incompetent or anything, but we would have first had to push our way into a very busy schedule and they might not have had the transfusion/radiology/ICU resources tha tthe U has. Oy. I almost never say I'm glad the weekend is over, but this is definitely one time I am.

Right now I only have one picture of the incision site, and it's not a very good one. I'll try to get a few more and post them under the break to document his healing process.

February 21, 2007


"Get Fuzzy" has been running a series on Foodar, the cat who senses food. This is my Remy:


She is such a little scrounge that if there is a microscopic crumb anywhere in the vicinity, she will find it. If there isn't a crumb, she'll make it up.

February 14, 2007

WoW widowhood

While the hubby continues to be enthralled by World of Warcraft ("enthrall," in this case, meaning "to put or hold in slavery; subjugate: to be enthralled by illusions and superstitions"), I've been amusing myself otherwise.

I've watched the entire Cadfael series available through Netflix, while also knitting the Arctic Diamonds Stole from Arctic Lace: Knitting Projects and Stories Inspired by Alaska's Native Knitters (I don't have the book, but I'd like it *hint* *hint*).

I've also done a little bit of drawing, though not much. I found this newfpup picture online: newfpuppicture.jpg which inspired this: newfpupdrawing.jpg

The scan isn't as nice as I'd like, but at least you get the idea.

February 2, 2007

Bulldog Pictures

So here are some pictures of the bulldog girls from the first time they visited last March. Click on the thumbnails for larger pictures.

torichloe_small.jpg bulldogbutts1_small.jpg

Aren't they cute? In the first picture, Chloe is on the left and Tori on the right; they're reversed in the second picture.

Now, here are some pictures of the one we don't have this time, Chloe. Note how alert, refined, and generally nice looking she is.

chloe7_small.jpg chloepawball_small.jpg

True, she does look a little wild eyed and crazy with the ball, but that's probably just my picture taking ability.

But this time, this is the dog we get, Tori:

torirolling2_small.jpg torirolling1_small.jpg

I left the one with Payton relatively unedited. Notice the look of terror/confusion on his face as he tries to figure out what this dog is doing? (Also note the "Dog is Nuts" mat...I particularly like that touch.) Tori is actually Chloe's mother. Can you imagine what Chloe would think if she saw her mother acting like this?

Really, though, Tori is perfectly sweet and loveable. See, here she is being cute, sleeping and posing. She and Payton spent some time playing this afternoon. Really cute to watch someone with short stubby legs jumping up at someone with long lean legs. She zooms around the coffee table and leaps onto the futon; they poke at each other a little, then she zooms again.

tori5_small.jpg torisleep_small.jpg

February 1, 2007

Temporary new family member

We've inherited another dog for the weekend, one of the little bulldog girls we babysat for last year. We just have Tori because their daddies thought it would be easier for caretakers if they split them up (they don't always get along so well). So another friend has Chloe and we have Tori. Since I now have a digital camera and a card reader, hopefully I'll actually be able to take and post pictures relatively quickly.

UPDATE: I just realized I never got around to posting those pictures, so hopefully I'll be able to include both old and new pictures this round....

January 29, 2007

Lena: 1997/98 (?) -- 2007


Mom called me on Saturday to say that she had lost her lovely Lena lady. She had been out of the house all day, and came home to find Lena in her favorite spot. The vet said it was probably very quick and she didn't suffer.

Mom adopted Lena, then Luna, from the Newfy breeder we've known for ages. Lena had been adopted with a pet contract, and as every good breeder should do, the breeder had also included a right of first refusal in the contract. She was shocked, then, when a fellow fancier said she thought she had seen Lena in a kennel/rescue in Colorado. Our breeder had her for a few years, but couldn't afford to keep a neutered dog, so she asked mom if she'd take her in. Mom is a huge sucker for dogs (where do you think I got it?), and when the breeder offered Lena at no charge, well, that was that.

Lena had been with mom for many years. I think all this happened after I moved nearly 10 years ago, but it seems like Lena has always been there. She's always been a steady girl; wild and crazy playing was for the kids. But she had a true love affair with sticks. Mom called the game "Lena sticks," reminiscent of Winnie the Pooh dropping sticks off the bridge then watching them float to the other side and down the river. Lena loved to chase sticks, VERY insistently, whether there were any around or not, but she wasn't so great on the bringing them back. Consequently, the sticks that were thrown became smaller and less stick-like the longer the game whent on.


Since we lost Baron around 15 years ago, and I had practically no pictures of him, I vowed I wouldn't get caught without pictures of my dogs again. Unfortunately, since I didn't live with Lena, I don't have nearly as many of her as I do of other dogs. Both of these pictures are from our trip back home a few years ago; as you can see in the second one, Lena is eagerly waiting another Lena-stick to be thrown.

Romp happily and chase your sticks, Lena-lady. You will be missed.

November 19, 2006

For the sake of the dog

My mother sent this cartoon to me. Does she know me or what?


November 13, 2006

Definition of a Dog Person


I'da kissed him. I've seen T-shirts that proudly proclaim "I kiss my dog on the lips." I really don't know about the whole 'their mouths are cleaner than ours,' but that's never bothered me. I'll even let dogs other than my own kiss me on the lips. Does that mean I'm being unfaithful?

October 4, 2006

pet tables


Every kid falls in love with his/her first and second grade teachers. Linus is not alone there. But do you see what he's doing in the last panel? Normally he'd be leaning on a wall. However, Snoopy is ever so convenient to lean on when a wall isn't available. :-)

(Click here for a larger image so you can see Snoopy's priceless expression....)

August 30, 2006


What can I say? I just liked this one.


August 25, 2006

New item for wishlist

Most people who would tend to shop for me have probably visited Louise Peterson's DaneSculptor website. I realized I haven't been there recently, so thought I'd check. Gonna have to get me this necklace (click on the pictures to go to the website):

Have a Heart.jpg

This is just the wax version, but she has it available in silver and gold. My druthers are the silver.

It's a smaller model of this sculpture, which I may also have to purchase:


Given the prices on similar sculptures, I anticipate this one will cost in the $800-$1600 range. Maybe everyone in the world that I know could pool together? :-)

August 18, 2006

And I thought it was "bicycling"

Remy does this all the time. And she doesn't even have the squirrel. A few other dead toys, maybe....


Fighting for Seats

Both of our kids want to be on the couch we're on when watching movies. It's usually fine when it's just me. I sit on the far right, Remy sits nearly on top of me, then Payton sprawls on the rest of the couch, usually annoying Remy to the point she just gets up. When both S and I are on the couch, however, the situation changes. The usual rule is no dogs cause we both need the extra space. Which seems to have a very traumatic impact on great danes...both this one and the one we used to have. Doesn't matter that there is a second couch they can have all to themselves.

Payton would SO employ this trick.........if he could get over his fear of the cones.


August 17, 2006

Puppy Policies I Can Support

From Inside Higher Education: "Fido Goes to College"

"A growing number of institutions are hosting back-to-school events that encourage professors and staff members to bring in their beloved pets to help new students become more comfortable on campus. At the same time, health officials say it’s a good way to help freshman learn about health services available to them."

The article also labels a new variety of freshman ailment: Acute Canine Deprivation Syndrome. I definitely had ACDS when I was in Bemidji; I think that's the only semester I've ever had without immediate connections to a dog of some variety.

August 15, 2006

Uh-Oh: Doglike Nature

Just found this online store. Can we say "trouble?"

August 14, 2006

The Hot Spot

No, I'm not talking about the trendy new place to see and be seen. My poor little Remy girl has developed a nasty hot spot on her left hip. I took the kids to the river dog park a week ago today, and on Thursday, she had an oozing bald spot. We do have a vet appointment this afternoon--hopefully they can at least get a better clean and antibacteria ointment than I have. She's been a little conehead since Thursday, and most unhappy about it.

Count the factors that can contribute to hot spots: golden retrievers are susceptible; hot and humid conditions; lots of long hair; fleas or other allergens; dogs with histories of ear infections and other allergies; dogs with histories of anal gland irritations. Given that Remy qualifies for all of the above conditions, I'm amazed that we haven't had this problem before.

June 13, 2006

Black Hills Dogs Redux

And here's another take on Payton and little Jack...


June 8, 2006

Sad Spring

This has been a sad spring for pets. Shortly before the Walk for Animals at the beginning of May, three beloved pets went to the Rainbow Bridge: Bailey, who lived with the Rahns in Rapid City; Frank, who lived with Phil and Jody here; and Max, who lived with the Staffords (Becka's family) in Rapid City. Now there's a fourth to add to that list: Auslese, who lived with Dave and Linda in Ames, IA.

She's been having some problems for a while, but nothing that might indicate a serious problem that needed to be dealth with immediately. But apparently on Sunday, May 28, she collapsed, and before Dave could get her to the vet, she had stopped breathing. My heart goes out to them, particularly because Dave was alone when it happened, and Linda wasn't there when it happened. Coming home to no dog is one of the hardest things I can imagine doing; it's the number one reason I will always have two dogs.

But it's not just that. Lese was a model Rottweiler. We've known her for her entire life. Marley taught her to swim when she was just a little baby. We went walking down at Lake Nokomis, and Marley went right into the water at the boat dock like he always did. Little Lese, not knowing any better at the tiem, did exactly what Marley did. I just wish I had a video of her reaction once she realized what had happened.

After we lost Marley (and Dave and Linda lost their boy Max the very next day), Lese and Caela became friends. Because Caela was dog agressive and Linda's other Rottie girl, Sheba, was dog aggressive, we started walking one week with Caela, then the next with the Rottie girls. At some point, though, Linda asked if we could try walking Lese with Caela because the young one just wasn't getting enough exercise. The first day was a lot of build-up for nothing. I had Caela on a short leash, she had Lese at heel, and I'm pretty sure the two humans were the only ones who cared. For whatever reason, whether it was all of the treat bribes or the fact that they were so used to the other's smell, the two girls sniffed at each other then completely ignored each other. No growling, no pulling, no nothing. It was just a non-event.

Of course, after Dave and Linda moved to Rochester, we didn't see them very much. We were in the area right when they were moving because we were visiting Scott's family, but every time they came back to visit, Lese stayed with Linda's mom because they flew out here. We got to see them all at Ren Fest last August, when Linda was just pregnant, and Linda came up again in February to give a guest lecture, and then we got to see Lese for the last time when they came up in May.

She always remembered me, and she always remembered Remy. She wasn't quite sure about Payton, because they'd never met, but Remy and I were A-OK. This is my very favorite picture of her; it's one that Linda took a couple of years before they left Minnesota:


June 4, 2006

Black Hills Dogs

And no blog entry would be complete without puppy pictures. Becka's family has a new miniature schnauzer named Captain Jack Sparrow (aka Jack). They brought him out to the house so we could meet him, and we all thought great dane / 11 week schnauzer puppy pictures would be cute. The first picture is one Becka's dad took, and the rest are ones I took.


Captain Jack alone

Nose to nose with Payton

Captain Jack with Remy

April 10, 2006

Walk for Animals

Once again I will be participating in the Golden Valley Animal Humane Society's Walk for Animals. Click the picture to go to the main page for more information.


The kids and I had a great time last year. It was a coolish day, perfect for a nice 5 mile stroll up and down a parkway (I'm not even really sure where we went....). People who lived on the route actually came out and sat in lawn chairs to watch the parade. The Walk is where we met one of Payton's best friends, Vinnie, a huge Mantle-Merle dane, and Whitney, and grand old lady dane. That meeting also led to meeting Karl, the infamous lapsitter.

I'm happy to receive pledges from anyone who is interested in sponsoring me. Make checks payable to Animal Humane Society.

(As a side note, yes, I am still planning to also do the MS Allianz 60/30 Bike Tour again, but I'm not actively seeking pledges for that one. I'll just pay the entry fee there. Also haven't decided whether to do the 30 or the 60 either. Part of that decision will probably be based on what the actual day's weather is like; wind and drizzle will mean 30 miles.)

March 30, 2006

Payton is not a "small horse"...

A lot of people at "church" tell me that I don't have a dog, I have a small horse. Here is proof they are incorrect. This is a small horse. Granted, the small horse is doing the patented "Great Dane Lean" maneuver, and granted, Payton and I share kisses like picture #2, but he is an actual dog. (More wonderfully addicting cute pictures can be found at Cute Overload--just don't blame me for the new vocabulary words of "prosh" and "anerable".....)

On the other hand, check out Ginne Saunders' recent DaDane and find the picture of MACH DESERTWOOD'S LV MR BOJANGLES, CDX, RN, and then you might be able to come back to tell me that I'm full of it, and I really do have a small horse. :-)

Best Blog

I just found this blog... Dog Each Day celebrating the Year of the Dog. Not only are the illustrations absolutely wonderful, but I also love all of the stories that accompany the pictures. I do enjoy painting my own kids, but I might still send him a couple of pix to get a semi-professional portrait done. :-)

March 26, 2006

I-Fri: Monster

Many people consider large dogs to be "monsters." Especially when their four-year-olds are involved. Thank goodness my mom didn't. :-)


I may come back and do the face at a later point, but I've already scratched it off once. I hate faces, even though that's one of the best parts of this picture.


This is me with Sherman, my grandparents' Landseer Newfoundland. Sherman was HUGE. He was actually named "Fisherman," but somehow "Sherman Tank" usually seemed more appropriate. He was the peacemaker. if any two beings were fighting, he simply got between them. Who was to argue with that? I don't have any personal memories of the experiences, but apparently it was something to see a dog or two bounce off of Shermie's body as though they had just hit a brick wall.

project for someday


Some day this little puppy will be the center piece for a quilted pillow-top with doggy-themed fabric. I've been collecting puppy fabric for years; a 1/4 yard here, 1/2 yard there, to make some type of doggy quilt. I don't think I'll ever get to the point of making a whole quilt, but 12x12 pillows might just be doable.

March 24, 2006

Running with the bulls

Bulldogs, that is. We're puppy-sitting two little English bulldog girls for a week while their daddies are out of town. Yes, that's right. One Great Dane, one Golden Retriever, two English Bulldogs in our house. Last night was our first night together. So far, so good, knock on wood.... I'll be posting pictures once they're developed (yes, again, still use real film...).

March 17, 2006

Tree Spirit

One day while taking pictures at church, another parent came up to me and said, "Do you want to take a really cool picture?" Of course I said, "sure," but I was wondering how I was going to get to dogs that I couldn't even see. But instead, he pointed me toward a tree with a face in it. It's all natural; not even carved by someone. He was right. It is cool. So I painted it. First, my painting, then the actual picture I took. (You'll notice that I left out the bench and the dog, even though the dog is actually my own dog.) :-)



March 6, 2006

Take your dog-ter to work

Payton had to go to the doctor this morning to get his owie toe checked out. Looks like he damaged a nail pretty badly, but with as stoic as these critters are, he really didn't tell us he had a problem until I noticed he had licked his foot so much it was no longer white.

So, rather than leaving little Remy-laud at home alone, I brought her to work with me. I love having that option.

We took a little walk around campus at lunch, and nearly everyone smiled or acknowledged her cuteness in some way. Dogs should definitely be more welcome on campuses for their therapeutic values alone.

March 4, 2006

Another Look at the Iditarod

The Iditarod begins this weekend in Anchorage. This article about volunteering for the race from The Anchorage Press was in my Great Danes Online newsletter this morning. It's a really interesting read.

Continue reading "Another Look at the Iditarod" »

March 1, 2006


Oh, I wish this entry were about getting a new puppy, but no, just another kid--dog comparison. :-)

6 Chix

February 20, 2006

The Current Forecast is....



February 11, 2006

Reading Log: Marley and Me


I just finished reading Marley & Me : Life and Love with the World's Worst Dog by John Grogan. The fact that Grogan really is a newspaper columnist does show through in his writing; each chapter reads very much like a newspaper column, and I frequently felt that there wasn't much holding the narrative together other than Grogan's descriptions of his life with "the World's Worst Dog." I didn't even cry at the end, at least not until he started quoting some of the sympathy e-mail he received after writing about Marley and the family's loss.

While Grogan candidly confesses to many of the mistakes of a first-time dog owner, there were many times that I couldn't help but feel the family got what they deserved, though I'm sorry poor Marley had to suffer through all that. On the other hand, they did stick it out and keep him (though I was very concerned for a while that they wouldn't keep him), and he did enjoy a very nice life, by and large.

Marley came from a backyard breeder, which is a fairly typical new owner mistake. But despite that, how can there still be educated people in the world who don't do research into dogs before racing out to get one? I knew we were headed to trouble in the prologue when Grogan described his childhood dog who could do no wrong. Another typical mistake: "my first dog was so wonderful, how can anything go wrong with the next one?"

Then there's the reason they got a dog in the first place: so his wife could feel better about her maternal skills. She overwatered a plant, for pete's sake. You don't get a dog to "practice" being a mom. You get one because you enjoy the companionship that the four-leggeds can bring to your life.

Many aspects of John and Jenny's lives horrified me to no end, and I really hope that people might read this book as a "what not to do" rather than a "how to" manual.

Overall, a quick and fun read, but I'm glad I borrowed the book rather than buying it. And I can guarantee that the name alone does not make the dog; our own Marley was one of the sweetest, best kids I've ever had. :-)



February 2, 2006

EDM #52--Draw a Dog and #40--Draw Something With Folds


The most recent Every Day Matters challenge was to draw a dog. I've been trying to capture the basset hound I had in a different lifetime, Max, for a while now. This picture is pretty typical of him...the back of my mother's couch was one of his favorite places.

I'm also hoping to pass this off as Draw Something With Folds also, because the drapes and couch covering both have folds in them. I'm happier with the drapes than the couch, but I pretty much like the whole thing.

The kanji in the corner is the sign of the Year of the Dog (2006), and it is a stamp that I carved. My first one!

I *heart* you

This morning Remy was laying on the floor, belly down, head up, looking at me directly. Her front elbows were slightly sticking out and her paws were touching, forming a type of triangle with her legs. But her little fluffy chest bib turned the triangle into a heart shape. It was sooooo cute, and of course, my camera was no where near. I'm going to try drawing it, but we'll see how that goes. :-)

February 1, 2006

If this is true, then Remy is my spouse!


Remy has been deciding to selectively hear "come" or "no" or anything else she doesn't really want to do. But she's so cute, she gets away with it! :-)

January 16, 2006


Trying to catch little Remy now. I've cut up some large sheets of watercolor paper; these little portraits really work up quickly, though this is the third attempt with this Remy picture. She was in the backyard this summer, sitting so nicely by the garden.


Payton and His Tongue

For once the scanner did well. The light helped bring out some of the highlighting I tried to do with the paints. This was Payton resting after playing with 3 other danes this summer.


The Cutest 'Triever Face in the World

Little Remy, though she looks much cuter in real life than I managed to get here...


December 30, 2005

Not just for babies....

regret saying.gif

We play this game with the dogs, too. They usually aren't willing to give up whatever gross thing they snarfed up off the floor (or wherever). Remy is particularly reluctant to give up the prize; she'll duck her head and avoid you while frantically chewing and trying to swallow said item.

October 20, 2005

Dog Days

Today was just dog days in the comics world.


At last, a use for Payton's tail. He's always wagging; frequently he's beating something with his tail when he wags. It's particularly amusing when he is standing in a doorway and hitting both sides with the tail, or when he hits a dresser handle that makes noise, or when he...let's face it, he's just funny.


Neither of our current kids sleeps on their backs. Remy will roll onto her back when she's being cute and wanting attention, but she won't sleep that way. Puppy-boy doesn't even roll onto his back. Caela used to; with the exception of the tongue hanging out (she was much to dignified for that) she adopted the "on-the-back-with-one-leg-in-the-air" pose. I have a few good pictures of one paw visible over the back of the couch.

Rhymes_with_Orange 1020.gif

The older dog or the dog who was looking the other direction when you threw the ball/stick/toy and therefore has no clue that it's not even in your hands anymore.

September 12, 2005

Disaster Area pets


The caption to this picture reads: A dog vainly swims through flood water in New Orleans, hoping for rescue but given a wide berth by searchers. (full article)

There is absolutely no question that the damage wrought by Hurricane Katrina on the Gulf Coast has been unspeakable. Blog entries around the world have focused on everything from responsibility to aid to rebuilding to environmental issues to personal stories. Just last Friday, a conglomeration of radio stations around the Twin Cities raised around $900,000 for the Red Cross through Storm Aid: Minnesota's River of Relief. Crafters United has established an Etsy store for the Red Cross. I applaud these efforts. My contribution, though, is for the animals. As devastating as it would be to me to lose everything in one storm, to lose everything and my 4-legged children would be one of the worst things that could ever happen to me. In many ways I am far from politically correct when it comes to animals. I truly am sad for everyone who was affected by the hurricane, but I saw a picture of one of the stray dogs around the Super Dome that was just heart-wrenching because of what it means for the Gulf Coast pets.

Fortunately, I'm not completely alone in my monetary sympathies. and have both set up projects to help rescue animals and reunite them with their owners when possible. Around 80 dogs have recently been airlifted from New Orleans to California to ease the burden in the Gulf temporarily. Others are going to Houston, TX, and Gonzalas, LA.

Almost every major animal organization is involved in these rescue efforts. If it's in your heart and your budget, here are some places to consider aiding through donations:

The Humane Society of the United States

Noah's Wish

The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals

Best Friends Animal Society

The American Kennel Club

As I've stated before in many different venues, donations do not need to just be monetary. All shelters can use old computers, cell phones, towels, blankets, food, toys, leashes, crates/kennels, transportation assistance, and volunteer time. The shelters in the Gulf can especially use these types of donations as well. Or your local area shelters.

Other ways you can help in the eventuality of future disasters is to help lobby for more resources for animals in disasters. Some speculations state that not wanting to leave pets is one of the top reasons people won't evacuate. Shelters frequently don't accept pets, transportation with animals can be extremely difficult, especially in an emergency situation, some pets tend to be less transportable than others, and frequently rescuers can only allow one "item" that does not include pets (see more at the article posted above). I don't know what the answer is. I'm fortunate enough to have means of evacuating with the dogs if I need to. But I'm not sure I'd know what to do if I didn't have a car and know of places I can go.

August 24, 2005

I knew it!


Good thing I've been so faithful about taking the dogs to church!

August 5, 2005

a reason to visit houston


The Black Labrador Pub!

And the Great Dane Brewery and Pub in Madison (which I see also has an online gift shop now...)

We have a Black Dog Cafe in St. Paul which doesn't have a web site, but does have a review.

Any other cool dog pubs/cafes I should know about?

July 27, 2005

Flickr Experiment

I'm trying to make my pictures available via Flickr. This particular set is of my mom's dog, Shilo. She's incredibly sweet, but has just a wee sense of mischief. If she weren't an escape artist, we might have actually brought her back from Wyoming. Mom calls her the "little yellow dog," but I think she's part coyote, so I call her "Smiley Coyote."

EDIT: well, this seems to work okay, but I can't see anything in the code to remove the extra blank space. Anyone a flickr expert who can give me some ideas?

July 14, 2005

Oh, Children!


I think my mother's dog Shilo has caller ID as well. Either that, or she's making a very pointed statement about the realities of disciplining one's children. Here is an email Mom just sent about the crazy yellow dog:

Subject: She ain't nothing but a hound dog

The more I am around Shilo the more convinced I am she is hound. I see very little if any lab characteristics and bunches of hound traits. Hounds are the dogs who were bred to go off hunting with man and find their own way home. The working breeds work in tandem with man.

Two questions that have been foremost in my mind after since I re-adopted her - Am I anything special to her, and do I dare let her off leash camping? Both questions were answered with a resounding NO this morning.

Her hound traits - just listen to her "talk" or listen to her when she trees a squirrel. The newfs and I will all be downstairs. Characteristic of a newf, he wants to be with his master. Shilo is upstairs, downstairs, upstairs, dragging all her toys downstairs, and more times than not winds up going to bed upstairs by herself. She is clever like a fox. She quickly learns what she needs to know to survive. I frequently ask her if I mean anything to her at all and she just smiles and says, "Oh, yeah, you're the one who feeds my twice a day and gives me cookies." And off she runs.

The past couple of mornings the "girls" have been campaigning for me to get up and fix them breakfast between 4:30 and 5. TOO early! So, I've been putting them out for 45-60 minutes, then letting them back in around 5:30 or so and trying to catch a last half hour of rest. Two mornings ago when I got up to let them in, there was something black shredded all over the grass part of the yard. I was afraid Shilo had dug through the rocks and pulled up bunches of the weed stop Laramie Lawnery had put down under the gravel. I couldn't find any such place so went over to exam the shreds more carefully. (No contacts or glasses at this point.) It was the grill cover. I had grilled the night before and the grill was too warm to put the cover back on so I left it on the table. I chastised her, we all came in and went back to bed for another half hour.

This morning when I let the girls back in, Shilo had shredded the miniature rose Jo Armstrong had given me, the soil it was in, the basket the pot was in. There were bits and pieces ALL OVER the back yard. I dragged Shilo out, lay her on her back on the grass and scolded her and scolded her and scolded her. I got a bag and picked up all the pieces and came in and figured there was no sense in trying to catch any more rest this morning. I moved another small box of flowers to the front yard. I fed everyone breakfast, but Shilo was real hesitant about coming to her dish.

I have two big bare spots in the lawn that I am trying to grow grass in, though Shilo pretty effectively dug it all up Saturday. I had the hose out and was watering the muddy spots, the flower pots, and then went out the backyard to the side vegetable garden to water it. I have been leaving the gate open and teaching the dogs to stay in the yard, even if the gate is open. Up until this morning, they were being very good about it. But this morning, as I was watering, little yellow dog suddenly went slithering past, long and low. I called her, but she laid back her ears, tucked her tail between her legs, and took off. I put the hose down, ran after her, and continue to call her. By the time I got to the end of the driveway, she was half-way down the 700 block. I about caught up with her because she stopped to check out the Hall's house (Danes live there). But as soon as I got close, she was off again, crossed Sheridan and was half way down the 600 block. As I was running down my street I realized I had left the gate open, but didn't want to take the time to go back and close it. But now I realized I could never catch Shilo on foot, so I ran back and found two very good newfs waiting excitedly in the back yard, but both still in the back yard. Poor things. I didn't even have time for anything more than just a quick word of praise. I quickly turned off the water, found driver's license and car keys, and took off in the car after Shilo. By the time I got to Sheridan, she was at the end of 25th Street at Rainbow.

By the time I got to the end of Rainbow, she was nowhere in sight. I had no idea which way to go. I didn't see her anywhere. I turned right towards 30th and checked out the field by Sonic, check out the alley, then decided to try the route Dave might have taken when they went running. I went passed the hospital and up towards the golf course without seeing any sign of her. I remembered Dave saying she was very afraid of cars, so I decided she probably avoided Grand. I turned up 26th to Sheridan and then came back down 25th to the corner of 25th and Rainbow. There she was, at the alley between 25th and 26th trying to pick up a guy who was walking toward 25th St. "Please, Mister, wouldn't you like a little yellow dog? I'm very sweet!" I stopped the car and jumped out, grabbing the cookies I had grabbed on the way out to the car to use as a bribe. The man made good his escape and Shilo started to run up the alley.

If anyone had seen me, they would have assumed I was dog-napping. Shilo approached me warily, looked carefully at the cookies and skittered away. She finally came close enough I could grab her collar. I dragged her to the car, forced her in, then spread out all the cookies for her to eat. She looked at me very distrustfully. But, she did seem happy to be back in her house and she ran to greet the newfs and seemed happy to see them.

Bits and pieces of the rose are in a pot in the kitchen sink. I don't know if it will survive or not. And at one point I really did wonder why I was trying so hard to find her and bring her back home. But she's back in the fold and seems to have forgiven me for scolding her. What a hound.



Oh, yes. Let the puns begin.

June 24, 2005

Only in My World

I came across a name this morning, and the first way I read it was "Great Dane Schnauzer." Unfortunately, I doubt the person would think that was a compliment. But I kinda wish my name could be that cool....

June 4, 2005



Original Photograph

May 26, 2005

Could'a been worse...


the guy could have lost his head, which is what tends to happen when I feel threatened and start snapping.... ;-)

May 10, 2005



Isn't this the proper way to greet children?

May 2, 2005

Walk for Animals


Payton, Remy, and I participated in the Golden Valley Walk for Animals on Saturday. It was a 5-mile walk through one of the prettier parks in the Twin Cities, Wirth Park. I don't know any numbers or the amount raised, be the three of us raised $200. Thank you so much to all who helped out.

The Walk itself was a blast. I will definitely be doing it again next year. We found a few other Danes to hang out with. It's amazing how the breeds recognize their own. Payton really seems to like Huskies, and he's also very interested in little dogs, but he just gets giddy when he sees other Danes. Vinnie is a very handsome mantle-merle who is just 1 month younger than Payton, but a little taller, and quite a bit more filled out. At the half-way rest area, we let the two galumph around with each other a little. Vinnie's mom, Robbin, and I even exchanged phone numbers because they were having so much fun together.

We probably saw almost every breed of dog. Anatolian Shepherd Dogs were one of the more unusual types. There was another dog that is similar to the Dogue de Bordeaux (and, in fact, might even have been one) that was obviously a new mother and one of her pups. They were cute.

Lots of little dogs, either small breeds or genuine puppies. There was one basset puppy that was just racing in circles. But while dogs were the predominant species in attendance, we also saw ponies, cats, ferrets, rats, and I overheard someone saying they saw a goat. The little dogs were dressed in all variety of sweaters and riding in a multitude of contraptions, from strollers to bags to wicker baskets to arms (I saw one guy carrying a corgi, which was probably quite a load).

The only even close to negative things about the day were the poor instructions from the traffic control cops on where to park since they weren't letting anyone into the actual clinic area by the time I got there and the weather. Very chilly for spring in Minnesota.

April 20, 2005

I'm definitely his


I belong to Payton. If I leave him home with Remy and daddy, he squeaks the whole time, unless Scott remembers to "reset" him by throwing the kids outside then bringing them back in. He's my shadow.

April 5, 2005

Got any socks to get rid of?

Sock Dogs!!! I am just going to have to make one of these.

Sock Dogs Trio created by Naive Knitting

I would post a picture, but it just feels strange, since I haven't made one yet. Go to the site though. They're CUTE!


April 1, 2005

House cleaning


Those who have been to our house know how true this question is. And John and Stacie in particular know how Remy will make a beeline for the toy box, then systematically scatter them through the house. There's probably a bone or a toy on every surface the dogs are allowed on (so basically everywhere but the beds, the tables, and the kitchen counter :-) ).

Now my grandmother's dog, Ursa, would actually come to give her things. Every evening when the dogs got their cookies, Ursa would eat part of hers, but want to save the rest for later. She'd give it to my grandmother, who would "bury" it under the fabric arm rest covers (you know, those things that always are crooked and fall off the arms of chairs...). Ursa would come back periodically to check to make sure her cookie (and occasionally, her toy) was still there. Then, finally, at the end of the evening, she'd finish her snack, much to the dismay of the other dogs, who had long since wolfed theirs down.

Not sure it would make a difference


Payton is a little more cautious on slippery floors, but Caela never even bothered. In the Laramie house, she'd come racing down the carpeted hallway, slide into the kitchen cupboards, bounce off and turn into the living room. Every time she hit the cupboards, the whole house would shake...but that was simply how she turned, banking off the boards.

Remy, on the other hand, is really good about knowing what's happening. If we throw something for her, she'll race off, but start slowing down in plenty of time to avoid running into the wall. She's not a smart dog, per se, but she is quite clever.

March 30, 2005



John's family had to put their little wire-haired dachshund to sleep last week. Sam was definitely a sweet pupper, and will be missed by the entire family and larger group of friends.

For anyone who has lost a treasured companion, I highly recommend Remembering Farley by Lynn Johnston.

February 21, 2005

Big Dogs in Fur Caps

One of my weekly pleasures is reading Ginnie Saunders' weekly picture-blog DaDane. Ginnie is a professional photographer/artist who also happens to be a Dane enthusiast and owner. Several of my friends have received digital post-cards from me--they come from Ginnie's site....

Last week's picture was one of the best I've seen yet: a fawn Great Dane with a fox fur mohawk.

(and for anyone searching for a gift idea for me, I want this T-Shirt)

February 9, 2005

What every dog needs

Remy loves water and she loves walks, but she's really not too keen on walking in the rain. Might this make her enjoy it more?

February 2, 2005

Training Double-Header

Ok, so one was funny, but two must be a sign...both of these are more or less from today (I read Rhymes with Orange online, so it's about 2 weeks late):



Training is a very tricky thing. Just like kids, dogs are unique individuals with their own minds. One popular theory is that you give the command once. If the dog doesn't obey, then you work with the dog so that it understands the command you just gave--say "sit" as you are physically putting the dog into a sitting position.

Clicker training is the big thing right now. When the dog does what you want, you click and reward with a treat. Over time you stop giving the treat, and just click to indicate that's what you want. Does it work? I've never tried it myself, but there are legions of devotees to this method. Many of the training clubs in the Twin Cities endorse clicker training, and even offer classes for the humans to learn how to do it properly.

January 24, 2005

New Puppy Pix

Here are some more pictures of my puppy-boy. He's been so cute, even when he does stick his nose into everything.

Payton 1.jpg

Ok, everyone say, "Awww."

Here are a couple of close-ups from the same modelling session:

Payton 1

Payton 2

January 20, 2005


I need to get the kids to a dog park. Uncle Dave said he found the one near us when he took Remy running when he was here last month (Remy still hasn't forgiven us for taking Uncle Dave away). Dave said that since neither he nor Remy were properly licensed at the time, Remy just had to play on the outside of the fence.

Dooce, in Salt Lake City, UT, where Uncle Dave coincidentally also lives, took pictures and made a little montage of their recent visit to the dog park. Note the Great Dane in picture 5 that is smaller than our puppy boy...he actually looks quite similar to Payton. There are also a bunch of puppy pictures that are just dripping with cuteness.

Someday, I promise, kids, I will get you to a dog park. But you should really be bugging your daddy, who is staying home today because he can.

January 18, 2005

Literary Hounds

eating books.gif

I devour books. When I'm on a roll (or when I have the time), I go through several a week.

Remy just eats them.

Tail's a'waggin'


Great Dane tails are truly amazing. They are strong enough to break fish tanks (I've heard), and they leave welts and bruises when they hit you (I've experienced). Payton's tail is interesting in and of itself (yes, the name stuck). It starts out like a normal Great Dane tail, but after about a foot or so it turns upward into the beginnings of a curl. For those of you who know Lucy, it's not quite as curly as her tail is, but it definitely curls up. And it's always wagging.

While on a normal dog a curly tail might indicate less power toward the end (anyone who knows Danes knows that normal straight tails don't lose any power; they get whippier at the end), or at least would hope the curl would have some effect on the power of the tail, Payton's tail seems to take on new dimensions in tail-wagging prowess. The curl allows him to clear multiple levels, and to leave bruises in a variety of places...just ask Scott. ;-)

And it certainly doesn't help that he hasn't quite figured out that his rear end is connected to him. He's always wagging, and frequently has no idea why.

January 6, 2005

Forced to move to New York State

My husband will be happy to hear that I have to move to Albany, NY, and work at or attend SUNY - Albany. Their mascot is the Great Dane:

About the University

One of my favorite Dane sites is what tipped me off to this lovely mascot because she found this pendant.

We're thinking about "Sancho"


We've never been particularly thrilled with the name "Payton." It's ok, but not something we would have ever chosen for ourselves.

I was thinking about names again last night, and thought of "Sancho," as in Sancho Panza. Scott kind of okayed it, but I'm having second thoughts this morning. Is he a Sancho? And if so, who does that make Quixote?

He's really kind of a "D'artangnan" kind of character (but try getting the vet's office to spell that correctly); completely good at heart, but occasionally goofy and/or destructive without meaning to be. He seems to be a sidekick or supporting actor, rather than a lead figure, so Sancho works on all those levels.

January 5, 2005

pets in disasters


Unfortunately, I sympathize with this strip a little too much. I was rather distraught as we were leaving Texas to see several dogs running loose by the highways (this was before we hit the interstate), and at least one dog dead on the road.

But in the larger perspective, we've heard a lot about the human casualties of the tsunami, but what about the animal casualties? That's going to be a problem as well--pets without owners, owners without pets, stray dogs and cats, wild/feral dogs and cats, etc.

I often wonder about my own fur-kids if something tragic were to happen. We wouldn't be able to stay at most shelters, and I wouldn't leave the dogs at home or anywhere else where they couldn't get food or water.

That's it. We're heading for the hills. :-)

December 15, 2004

Oh, the Names they Bear

If we adopt Payton (and I'm trying not to get my hopes up too much), we would possibly be looking at changing his name. Caela was a year and a half when we adopted her, and we were able to change her name quite successfully from Blaze to Micaela. I've been going through little boy names, though, and having some trouble coming up with names that keep an "ayton" sound to them; at the very least, we should probably try to keep the "ay" sound.

Any good suggestions out there?



We will be interviewing Payton (and I guess he'll be interviewing us) while we're in Houston over Christmas. I'm trying not to get too excited, given that adopting a new dog is always an uncertainty, especially when we're several states and many miles away from the rescue organization. But his foster family had very good things to say about him:

Thank you for writing to us. We feel much more comfortable about Payton's future (probably with you) after reading your email. We love him so much after fostering him for six months now. He has been an absolute joy and we're sure he will make a wonderful companion for you and Remy.

Payton and Zorro, both young mantle males, grew up together with us during the summer. Zorro has since been adopted to a loving but noisy familly with three school aged children. Zorro was more laid back and less sensitive than Payton, so was a better fit for that family. Payton is now a little over one year old, he's very handsome, elegant and sociable. We've attached a fairly recent picture of him although he looks a bit thin on that photo.

He would love to share the couch and snuggle with you. At the same time he loves to run and play too. He's used to being home with our other two Danes for 9-10 hours while we are at work. He has several nylabones and teddies to keep him occupied. He will suck on rugs, dog beds and pick away at them slowly. He used to go in the crate during the day but he prefers to snuggle up with Chloe our five year old Dane. When the crate is up, Chloe chooses to go in it just to get away from him for a break!

He sounds like he'll be a very good dog for us, and that he and Remy should do just fine together. I'm still a little nervous, though, that something might go wrong, or that it might not work out, or that we'll get home and a few weeks later realize that it won't work. Scott and I did have some issues around adopting Caela, though, and she turned into one of the best dogs we've ever owned, so I can only continue to hope for the best.

December 1, 2004

Dane Lust part 2

Sorry, no real updates yet. Spent Thanksgiving in Las Vegas with my in-laws. Very relaxing. Came home to a Remy bouncing off the walls. She needs a new sibling, one who will really play with her. We might interview Payton while we're in Houston for Christmas....

But, in the meantime, I'll leave you with Ginnie Saunders' "DaDane of the Week."

November 11, 2004

Pet Therapy

I've been waiting for the perfect time for these two comics. When my stepmother sent me the little email story at the bottom, I guess that was my signal that the time is right.

stress release.gif

purr therapy


Being a veterinarian, I had been called to examine a ten-year-old Irish Wolfhound named Belker. The dog's owners, Ron, his wife, Lisa, and their little boy, Shane were all very attached to Belker and they were hoping for a miracle. I examined Belker and found he was dying of cancer. I told the family there were no miracles left for Belker, and offered to perform the euthanasia procedure for the old dog in their home.

As we made arrangements, Ron and Lisa told me they thought it > would be good for the four-year-old Shane to observe the procedure. They felt Shane could learn something from the experience. The next day, I felt the familiar catch in my throat as Belker's family surrounded him. Shane seemed so calm, petting the old dog for the last time, that I wondered if he understood what was going on. Within a few minutes, Belker slipped peacefully away. The little boy seemed to accept Belker's transition without any difficulty or confusion.

We sat together for a while after Belker's death, wondering aloud about the sad fact that animal lives are shorter than human lives. Shane, who had been listening quietly, piped up, I know why." Startled, we all turned to him. What came out of his mouth next stunned me. I'd never heard a more comforting explanation. He said, "Everybody is born so that they can learn how to live a good life-like loving everybody and being nice, right?" The four-year-old continued, "Well, animals already know how to do that, so they don't have to stay as long."

November 8, 2004

Down to one

Well, we've gone from 3 dogs in May to 1 in November. I spent this weekend driving to and from Lincoln, NE, to meet up with my mom halfway between Laramie & Minneapolis to give her one of my dogs. Becka came with me--I dropped her off in Sioux Falls so she could hang out with her sister and see Beth's new apartment. It was wonderful having a companion for at least 1/2 of the drive each day...thanks so much, Becka!

So far mom reports that Kodi is doing ok, though he seems to be asking her where his mom, dad, and Remy are, and when will he get to go home. But I think he'll adjust well, and he and Lena already seem to be hanging out together. Lena is a "stand up and look out" dog in the car, while Kodi will just plop down and sleep. Mom said that when Kodi just plopped down, Lena would lay down with him. She'd still pop up every now and again, but overall was much calmer on the ride home.

Remy and Kodi were particularly awake in the hotel room (must recommend the Ramada Limited North in Lincoln--$5 extra per pet, no weight restriction, no restriction on number of dogs per room!--bring your own pillows, though). They had to bark at every door opening and closing, every child shrieking, every car door opening, every voice in the parking lot. Fortunately, they settled down and stopped barking at some point, but I'm not sure they really slept.

Needless to say, Remy simply crashed all the way home yesterday, and went straight to bed when we got home last night. She didn't really settle down on the way to Sioux Falls--she'd nuzzle Becka, try to nuzzle me, look out the windows, nuzzle Becka, nuzzle me, etc. Once the dogs and I left Sioux Falls, Remy came to sit in the passenger seat, and settled down pretty well there. She just curled up and dozed. She slept pretty soundly in the front seat going back to Sioux Falls. Didn't even spend much time nuzzling once we picked up Becka again. When she did wake up, she was pretty dopey, just figuring out where she wanted to sleep this time. She had the option of one half of the back seat (I left the bench in place, but folded one of the split backs down), the slightly angled seat back, or the back back with the blankets. I think she spent time in all of those places.

Remy seemed a little confused when we got home. She didn't seem particularly concerned that Kodi wasn't with us leaving Lincoln, but she did act as though she kind of expected him to be there when she got home. We'll see how she is this evening when she's more rested (it's a rough life getting to sleep all the time).

Scott doesn't want to start looking for a dane until after Christmas. I need everyone's help to convince him otherwise, although it is just a couple of months. I just happened to stumble across a breeder in Wisconsin who is also involved in rescue who might have a 1 year old black male needing a home...if he's still there, she might be willing to support him for two more months....

November 4, 2004

Does Kodi have competition? Vote Now!

My uncle sent me this column (available on the Salt Lake Tribune page for 14 days, but also copied in this entry) about "the dumbest canine in North America." He invites stories of a better candidate to help settle a bet. I bet that Kodi wins. Let me know your comparisons, and I'll send my blog link to Kirby to see who wins the bet.

Continue reading "Does Kodi have competition? Vote Now!" »

November 1, 2004

For everyone but my mom


Remember that with older dogs you very rarely have to deal with potty training or chewing or other puppy issues. This is an especially good option if you are not particular about your dog's breed.

October 22, 2004

My own personal doghouse

Now that I have introduced The Bark, I have to share something really cool. I opened to an ad for Crypton Super Fabrics, which has teamed up with Weimeraner photographer William Wegman to create some very cool, very tasteful dog-themed fabrics. I haven't been to the site yet, as mom has a dial-up connection that she pays for, but the ad shows a variety of the prints. The fabrics are available in "wovens, prints, twill, metro, chenille, velese, and suede" and is advertised as resistant to "stains, moisture, bacteria, and odors." At a reception one of the Bark editors attended, a doggy-guest decided to put the fabric to the test, and the fabric held true. The downside, from what I can tell from an article in the other issue I read, seems to be that the fabric costs $52 minimum per yard. So yes, we could replace our futon covers probably three times for the same price as buying enough fabric to make one, but it's still a cool idea.

A little light reading

One of the nice things flying out to Wyoming this time allowed was the opportunity for me to catch up on some of the magazines I haven't been able to read lately. I've subscribed to Dog Fancy Magazine since April 1987, and I still have every single issue (or, at least in the case of last year, all of the important parts of the issues). Including the seven months that I have yet to read. So, for the first time since 1987, I won't be renewing my subscription. An era in my dog fixation seems to be closing. Don't get me wrong: Dog Fancy is a wonderful magazine, and a great resource, particularly for less experienced dog owners, or for the general public.

But lest you be alarmed that your favorite canine resource person will suddenly become uninformed about her favorite subject, a new magazine has fallen into my life: The Bark: Dog is my co-pilot (with a new book of short stories related to dogs of the same title as the magazine's sub-title, and from the same editors...). Like Dog Fancy, it's very informative. But it also seems to provide some more in-depth conversation about topics of greater importance...alas, no alluring centerfolds in The Bark as you would find in Dog Fancy. I also like that the magazine describes itself as "the modern dog culture magazine." Plus, it's quarterly, so I might be able to keep up. I was able to read both Summer and Fall 2004 on the plane from Mpls to Denver...

October 20, 2004

Shilo and Kodi

Well, apparently Shilo has not worked for my mother. She has a nasty habit of escaping both yard and kennel, and seems to be chewing everything. So Mom is returning her to the shelter. That's always a difficult decision to make, perhaps even more difficult than the decision to euthanize.

Which brings us to the issue of Kodi. Mom went to the shelter and found Shilo in the first place because Lena was so lonely and depressed. And if you've ever seen a depressed Newfie, you'll know what I mean when I say that's not a good thing. One-hundred-twenty + pounds of depression in a big, black fur coat, with big brown eyes...

So Mom is ready to adopt Kodi. Now! This goes back to my earlier entry about being a good dog parent. It's not that we don't love Kodi (at least for what he is), but I'm sure he'll be happier with Mom, eventually.

It's the eventually part that's hard. He has had a lot of upheaval in his life recently, particularly in being shipped out to Minnesota at 5 years old with these strange people. He seems to have bonded to me, maybe because I'm the pushover in the family, but also, I think, because I'm sort of like his first Mom...who had to find a good home for him. I know she won't be concerned that he's living with Mom, though she might question her judgement about asking me in the first place.

October 5, 2004

On-line Dating

or how we got our precious Remy...

on-line dating.gif

We lost our large golden boy, Marley, in 1999, and in 2001, were ready to get another fluffer-nutter (aka, Golden Retriver). I found the RAGOM (Retrive A Golden Of Minnesota) website, and we were good to go. But we didn't even really see Remy's picture on the site. We were hoping for a boy, someone our Great Dane, Caela, would let live longer than 20 minutes, someone like King, who reminded us of Marley.

After our initial screening interview, a volunteer named Penny called us to see if we were interested in meeting Remy. While Scott was on the phone, I went to the site to see if I could even find this dog--not one we had really considered. Apparently she was a little street-walker in St. Paul--picked up by animal control and surrendered to RAGOM.

When Penny brought her up to the door, she peeked her little head in, and I was smitten. This was, by far, the cutest thing I had ever seen. Her picture didn't do her justice then, nor have any pictures since. (I had never really believed that anyone/thing could truly be unphotogenic--I thought that was just an excuse to avoid having one's picture taken. But Remy truly cannot be reproduced on film. It's the strangest thing for one as cute as she.) Any disappointment that King had been adopted by his foster parents or that Remy wasn't the little boy we had specified quickly went out the window. Not only was she adorable, but she marched right in, found Caela's favorite toy (the tie-dyed elephant that Linda had given her when Marley died), grabbed it, and began playing with it. And Caela didn't blink!!

Penny told us that she had to adopt this dog out quickly or they would end up keeping her. And boy, is that true. I wouldn't have been able to place this one. But how did anyone lose her in the first place? She came knowing sit, and had some manners (which we have since trained out of her...), so someone put time into her once. But how could you lose your dog and not put every ounce of your being into finding her again? If we were on a trip through a place, and realized the dog was missing, our vacation would end right there until we found her again. It's true that Remy has a little wander lust, and given the opportunity would venture out on her own again. It's not that she's trying to escape; it's just that there's an interesting smell over here, and another one over there, and still another one, and by the time she looks up again, she's wandered into a different county.

October 4, 2004

Dog Owner Philosophy 101

Am I a good dog owner? I know that for at least 95% of what makes a good dog owner, I qualify. But what about that other 5%?

present lives.gif

I wonder if this is how my dogs feel. Because we have a backyard, I get spoiled and don't take them for walks nearly enough. Of course, Kodi is afraid to go for a walk with just me and him--he seems to need at least one other dog to be comfortable. And if it's a long walk, he starts to get tired and fall behind easily.

But poor little Remy. She's always so hopeful whenever we go down the stairs to the back door. The first thing she does is nose her leash and collar. It's not that I don't lavish attention on her (from getting home from work to going to bed, that is). She is quite possibly the cutest little puppy in the whole world, and she works that cuteness for all she's worth. But would she be happier if she were in a more active household? I feel like she should be allowed to go running or biking or swimming every day.

This article from Slate really gets me thinking. No, I will never make the decision with Remy that this author made with Homer, but Kodi? I was hoping my mom would take him when she was ready for another dog...we all know how well that worked out. I think Kodi is happy enough, though. But at what point do you know that you and a particular dog are just not a good fit?

Continue reading "Dog Owner Philosophy 101" »

September 26, 2004

Good doggies

Many of you have seen/heard this story already, but I thought I'd highlight it here as well. Apparently, while a man was trying to shoot a litter of unwanted puppies, one of them stepped on the trigger and managed to shoot him. Ya gotta love semi-happy endings:

CNN Article link:

Pup shoots man, saves litter mates
Thursday, September 9, 2004 Posted: 11:15 AM EDT (1515 GMT)

The four surviving puppies are being treated at the Escambia County Animal Shelter.

PENSACOLA, Florida (AP) -- Nice shootin', Rex!

A man who tried to shoot seven puppies was shot himself when one of the dogs put its paw on the revolver's trigger.

Jerry Allen Bradford, 37, was charged with felony animal cruelty, the Escambia County Sheriff's Office said Wednesday. He was being treated at a hospital for a gunshot wound to his wrist.

Bradford said he decided to shoot the 3-month-old shepherd-mix dogs in the head because he couldn't find them a home, according to the sheriff's office.

On Monday, Bradford was holding two puppies -- one in his arms and another in his left hand -- when the dog in his hand wiggled and put its paw on the trigger of the .38-caliber revolver. The gun then discharged, the sheriff's report said.

Deputies found three of the puppies in a shallow grave outside Bradford's home, said sheriff's Sgt. Ted Roy.

The other four appeared to be in good health and were taken by Escambia County Animal Control, which planned to make them available for adoption

In other news, apparently some dogs are able to detect cancer. They haven't found a way to make the tests practical yet, but I'm all for trying. Imagine going to the hospital, providing a standard urine sample, and having one of the cancer-sniffing dogs on staff detecting cancer. When they delivered the news to you, you could then respond in the presence of a dog, an animal known to lower heart rates and ease stress. And when the dog wasn't performing its duty detecting cancer, it could be in the wards as a therapy dog. Talk about multi-purpose jobs.... article link:

Study shows dogs able to smell cancer

- - - - - - - - - - - -
Emma Ross

Sept. 24, 2004 | LONDON (AP) -- It has long been suspected that man's best friend has a special ability to sense when something is wrong with us. Now the first experiment to verify that scientifically has demonstrated that dogs are able to smell cancer.

Experts say it's unlikely that pooches will become practical partners in cancer detection any time soon, but the results of the study, outlined this week in the British Medical Journal, are promising.

They show that when urine from bladder cancer patients was set out among samples from healthy people or those with other diseases, the dogs -- all ordinary pets _ were able to identify the cancer patients' urine almost three times more often than would be expected by chance alone.

"The issue is not whether or not they can detect cancer, because clearly they can. The issue is whether you can set up a system whereby they can communicate with you. That requires further ingenuity,'' said Tim Cole, a professor of medical statistics at Imperial College in London, who was unconnected with the study and is the owner of a chocolate Labrador retriever.

David Neal, a bladder and prostate cancer surgeon at Cambridge University in England, said it's plausible dogs might be able to pick up the scent of cancer because people with the disease shed abnormal proteins in their urine.

"I'm skeptical about whether it will be implementable, but scientifically it should be followed up,'' said Neal, a spokesman for Cancer Research UK, Britain's cancer society, who was not involved in the research. "It might be that the dogs are better than our current machines at picking up abnormal proteins in the urine. What are the dogs picking up? Can we get a machine that does the same?''

It is thought that a dog's sense of smell is generally 10,000 to 100,000 times better than a human's.

The idea that dogs may be able to smell cancer was first put forward in 1989 by two London dermatologists, who described the case of a woman asking for a mole to be cut out of her leg because her dog would constantly sniff at it, even through her trousers, but ignore all her other moles.

One day, the dog, a female border collie-Doberman mix, had tried to bite the mole off when the woman was wearing shorts.

It turned out she had malignant melanoma -- a deadly form of skin cancer. It was caught early enough to save her life.

Then in 2001, two English doctors reported a similar case of a man with a patch of eczema on his leg for 18 years. One day his pet Labrador started to persistently sniff the patch, even through his trousers. It turned out he had developed skin cancer and, once the tumor was removed, the dog showed no further interest in the eczema patch.

A handful of similar anecdotes have since been reported, but the latest study is the first rigorous test of the theory to be published.

The experiment, conducted by researchers at Amersham Hospital in Buckinghamshire, England, and the organization Hearing Dogs for Deaf People, set out to prove whether dogs could be trained to detect cancer.

Six dogs -- all pets of the trainers -- were used in the study. They included three working strain cocker spaniels, one papillon, a Labrador and a mongrel.

The trainers used urine from bladder cancer patients, from people sick with unrelated diseases and from healthy people to train the dogs over seven months to select the cancer-unique elements by process of elimination. They learned to ignore differences in the urine samples that were due to age, sex, infection, diet and other factors.

Urine from 36 bladder cancer patients and 108 comparison volunteers was used. Each dog had to sniff seven urine samples and lie down next to the one from a bladder cancer patient. The test was repeated eight times for each dog, with new urine samples every time.

Taken as a group, they correctly selected the right urine on 22 out of 54 occasions, giving an average success rate of 41 percent. By chance alone, you'd expect them to be accurate one-seventh, or 14 percent, of the time.

The two best dogs, Tangle and Biddy -- both cocker spaniels -- were right 56 percent of the time, according to trainer Andrew Cook. The papillon Eliza, tied with Bea, the third cocker spaniel, followed by the Labrador, Jade. Bringing up the rear was Toddy the mongrel.

"Toddy, bless him, was working at a rate no better than chance, really, but we still love him,'' Cook said.

One of the cancer patients was identified correctly by all six dogs, whereas two other cancer patients were consistently missed, indicating that perhaps the strength of the urine signal varies from person to person, or according to severity of the disease.

Perhaps the most intriguing finding, though, was in a comparison patient whose urine was used during the training phase. All the dogs unequivocally identified that urine as a cancer case, even though screening tests before the experiment had shown no cancer.

Doctors conducted more detailed tests on the patient and found a life-threatening tumor in the right kidney.

September 22, 2004


mutt family tree.bmp

My uncle sent me pictures of Shilo, the dog my mom just adopted. Yes, this is the dog that foiled all of our plans to ship Kodi off to my mom--she said she wasn't ready for another dog, so I didn't raise the subject, then she calls out of the blue one night saying she has a little yellow dog in her back yard. In reality, she's trying to find another Remy, but there is only one little Remy girl, and she's not going anywhere (she even got a bath last weekend).

Shilo is turning out to be a handful. She has a stubborn streak running through her, and likes finding mischief. Fortunately, there's no aggression. Another uncle went into mom's house to drop off a check; Shilo was in her kennel, and not only did she not bark at Rick, but allowed him to pet her through the bars (knowing it might cause a disturbance, he wisely didn't let her out of the kennel). The other part of the handful was the spaying experience. Shilo was running free on the streets before animal control got her. Well, at some point during that time, she had a liaison with some unknown male. The issue is now resolved, but mom almost had 11 puppies on her hands as well. Yikes! I did have to resist the urge to point out that Kodi is not only already neutered, but also has no possibility of bearing young. :-)

So now we're taking bets on Shilo's heritage. The only thing I am willing to put any money on would be yellow-lab. Mom is adding chow and/or hound (does that make her a chow-hound?) Any other guesses? Winners might get a sloppy Kodi kiss; losers will definitely get a sloppy Kodi kiss.

September 13, 2004

Falling down on the job

time for a little comic relief....on the canine side

This woman clearly hasn't been to my house; all of my kids give hugs:


And unfortunately, I'm afraid these little guys are right:

belly rubs.gif

When they notice it, my students tend to chuckle at this sign I have in my office: "Optimist: This is the best of all possible worlds. Pessimist: I'm afraid you're right." This is about how I feel about the political situation right now. I'm desperately afraid that Bush will win, legitimately this time. If that happens, look for One Day at at Time from Canada--I don't think I can take another four years of war and infringed civil rights.

September 2, 2004

Things I want

but probably can never have :-( :

"Senior Moment" by sculptor Louise Peterson (she says she can even personalize it a little--put on a dark patina and Caela's name--she lost her dane model for this sculpture right around the same time we lost Caela)

"Shake, Shake, Shake" also by Louise Peterson

Louise Peterson's larger than life-size "High Four" bronze ("High Four" from the back)

a cobra hood so students (and maybe spouses, for that matter) would know when not to mess with me... ;-)

August 28, 2004

A moment of silence

Mom said goodbye to Shawnee this afternoon. Apparently it didn't go as smoothly we would have hoped, but at least she is out of pain. Mom is going to take her ashes and some of Caela's ashes to one of our favorite camping spots in the Snowy Range outside of Laramie.

August 19, 2004

The Love of a Good Dog


My mother called today to tell me that her 10 year old Newfie puppy, Shawnee, has lymphoma all throughout her system. Shawnee is only the third dog I've ever had as a puppy, and definitely one of the few dogs who stayed a puppy her entire life. Mom plans to take her camping in the mountains again next week, then probably say goodbye on the following Saturday. Shawnee and Caela were both born in 1994, and we'll have lost them both in 2004.

I went up to Casper, WY, with my mom, and my best friend, Kathy, to pick Shawnee up. She was the first pup we had gotten from a new Newfie breeder (the family we had gotten dogs to got out of the Newfoundland business to breed black labs for hunting). This is the same breeder who gave us Kodi, too. Kathy took this picture of us with puppy Shawnee at Joanne's house. As you can tell, newf pups (and dogs) do not photograph very well, but you get an idea. She was around 3 months at the time of the picture.

When we got home, the poor little thing was so confused by her new surroundings without mom or any siblings, that she chose the best place she could find to hide. The cooler in this picture is about the size of the little play-mate coolers that you see construction crews carrying their lunches in.... And here's a complimentary puppy picture, just for the "Awww" factor. :-)

Shawnee never was the best-looking Newfie, but boy, does she ever have the newf personality. She went through a growth spurt, going through the awkward teenage stage. Unfortunately, she never grew out of it.

The most recent picture I have of Shawnee is from our trip to Laramie in August, 2001. She really hasn't changed much since then, and is still just as sweet as ever. Here is what mom has to say about Shawnee's outlook on life right now: "I'm not sure how Lena will take the loss. She is very close to Shawnee. It's going to be a really rough two weeks, but I am so greatful I have the option to end her suffering and don't have to watch her suffer. The vet says she is in pain now, but hopefully the prednisone will ease that. Also, she isn't having trouble eating yet, and that is a good sign. And, she still perks up and gets excited to see me, has her waggy tail and wiggly body, and she still tries to play with Lena, so I think she will be all right for a couple of weeks, especially since the medication is suppose to help."

So wish us all well, and keep a spot in your hearts for a wiggly 10 year old Newfie puppy.

August 16, 2004

Well, Payton it is...

My sweet Fritz has gone to his new home. I was in contact with Cathy, the coordinator for the Great Dane Foundation who told me he would be going to a new home.

So now I have to convince Scott that Payton is the boy we need.


Here's the GDF description of him:

"Payton is a 12 month old mantle boy that was turned in by his owners because they didn't want him any more. He is a total joy to be around. He is absolute teddy bear with a charming personality, in addition to being a true well-mannered gentleman around the house. He knows how to use a dog door, and is crate trained and housebroken. He is a typically lively young boy and loves playing with people, kids, and other dogs."

I just know Remy would love to have Payton around. It would make her such a much happier puppy....see, I'm only thinking of the children....

August 5, 2004

Lesser Danes

Ok, you know this one had to go on my page:


My mother called Caela a "Lesser Dane" because she was so small. Really small. I own miniature giant breeds. They're tiny. Lori, Lily isn't even in the category of "dog." Sorry. :-)

August 4, 2004

Welcome to our home


If you don't understand the reference here, I'm not going to explain, just so you'll still want to come visit us. ;-)

July 28, 2004

Dane Lust

I'm sitting at my computer looking at the images of Great Danes I have on the wall behind my monitor. There are some times when I really start missing my Caela--there is something completely unique about having a Great Dane around that the other two can't make up for.

Louise Peterson is a scuptor who clearly understands what Danes are. I have some of her cast stone pieces, but would love to have a bronze. Her most recent one, a memorial to her own Dane who recently passed away, will be just stunning. (So if anyone is looking for a really expensive gift for me, the piece I'd like is Senior Moment ;-) .) One of my other favorites is Shake, Shake, Shake, which serves the dual purpose of art and fountain.

I've also been frequenting some of the Great Dane rescue sites. One dog in particular has caught my eye--many of you have heard me talk about Fritz. He's currently at the Great Dane Foundation in Houston, TX, which is where we found Caela. The coordinator, Cathy (who was also there when we got Caela) says he's in "adoption pending" status, which is really good for him. (I'm trying to get photos uploaded, but having some difficulty. I'll get pictures up as soon as I can figure it out.)

Fritz facing camera
Fritz kisses
Side of Fritz

Now see, the beauty of this system is that I could go back and pretend that I'm not technologically semi-illiiterate. But I'm not gonna. But just take one more look at this can anyone resist?


June 24, 2004

Student Loans

Today was a particularly good comic strip day, and will therefore get two entries. Most of us have some type of loan we're still paying off. Then comes the questionable jobs we get in order to pay them off. How many of us are simply sheepdogs?

Mother Goose & Grimm
student loans.gif

June 22, 2004

Pet Rugs

Rhymes with Orange tends to be particularly cute and clever. Given that my rugs are almost completely made out of hair, I really liked today's strip.

Rugs for Pets.gif

June 16, 2004

Dogs in Heaven

Today's Mother Goose & Grimm really reminds me of Caela. One of the biggest reasons I never appreciated Catholicism is the belief that animals don't have souls and won't go to heaven (what-/whereever that is). I doubt that Caela is catching frisbee halos or retrieving anything in general, but if she is anywhere, she's happy. Probably laying in the sun and basking without ever getting too warm.....


"The Rainbow Bridge" is a story that is frequently provided when pets die. Our vet sends it in a sympathy card when appropriate. I first stumbled upon it in 1993 or 1994, but it's been around even longer than that. Here is a cute little flash movie of the story, edited only slightly: Rainbow Bridge flash. is another good site for information on "The Rainbow Bridge" and the Candle Memorial Ceremony.