Saturday, December 29, 2012

A Crescendo

With Christmas on Tuesday, the week began quietly.  But its volume started to increase, and on Thursday it hit a crescendo.  Work on the new roof for our barn began last weekend.  Carl stayed home from work on Thursday to finish taking off the old roof before the roofer returned to put the new one on.  His doing this without anyone around caused me some concern, but Carl assured me he'd be 'just fine' and there was no need to worry.  However, worrying is one of the things I do best, so of course that's what I did.  Mid-morning the worries really came to the surface when I received a call from Carl telling me he'd slipped on some ice and had fallen off the roof of the barn--Three hours later Carl and I are leaving the hospital, he is on crutches with a cast on his left foot that is broken.  We are very, very grateful that this was the 'only' injury--We all know that when someone falls two stories, it can be much worse. However, unlike when you fall off a bicycle and you get back on, Carl will not be getting back onto the roof of our barn!

With that, the volume on the week quieted again.  Snow has been falling off and on all day.
While Carl sat with his foot propped up, the dogs and I spent time outdoors.  Wendy even came outside with us.
Toby sampled  the snow...
 And no matter the weather, Josh is always ready to play frisbee ... 
It really brought out the puppy in Annie, and she chased after Sheba.  
At 14 years old, Annie is such a lady and I couldn't help but enjoy watching her and all the dogs play in the snow!
I hope you've enjoyed your Saturday too! 

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Christmas Menus

It feels like all Carl and I have done the past two days is eat.  Dinner for Christmas Eve could not have been more enjoyed. The restaurant was lit mostly by candles, and with an unexpected snowfall, it added more of a holiday feel to the evening. We passed on dessert because of the chocolate torte that calls to us each time we open the refrigerator door. And we'd just gotten home when a friend of ours stopped by with their entire family to sing Christmas carols for us. The day literally ended on a good note!

Christmas day started early when I made homemade cinnamon rolls.  The rolls need about 2 hours of rising time, but they are well worth the wait and the work that goes into them. They are baked in my Grandmother's cast-iron-skillet (frying pan), that allows them to bake perfectly and evenly.
In between eating and a much needed nap, I enjoyed chatting with all my siblings and other family members. The dogs enjoyed the day too, and loved playing in what little snow is left from yesterday. Wendy seems to be feeling better and even rolled a little in the snow this morning.  Todd has really loved digging in it and having us throw snowballs at him that he tried to catch.
It could not have been a better day.  If I could make another Christmas wish, it would be to stay home from work tomorrow--Unfortunately, that wish won't be coming true.  I do hope your wishes came true and your Christmas was an enjoyable one as well!

Sunday, December 23, 2012

The Finish Line and 500 Posts

It's three days before Christmas, and today is the day I've been waiting for because I have crossed the finish line--All the shopping is done, all the cards that are going to get sent are in the mail and my lesson for church today has been taught--Now I am just hoping that the packages that I mailed will make it to where they need to be, tomorrow.  But my time is now my own, and I can enjoy the holiday. Tomorrow Carl and I have dinner reservations at a favorite restaurant for Christmas Eve. For the holiday they have a special menu that we are both really looking forward to.

Wendy has had a little set back, and doesn't have an appetite. I'm hoping that it's just the cold bothering her arthritis and the medication I have given her today will help. Her spirits seem to be 'up' so that's encouraging.
Keeping our spirits up today is a win by the Washington Redskins, and a homemade chocolate torte given to us as a gift by a friend. The torte is moist, dense, and has a rich, deep chocolate flavor--What a Christmas gift!
To end this post, below is a fun picture of a former foster dog named Paige that was taken at the rescue event that Humble, Lucas and I attended last Saturday. She and her owner, Carolyn, have been together about six years now and both are very near and dear to my heart.  Paige was considered 'un-adoptable' by many in and outside the rescue because of her reactive behavior.  But I felt strongly that Paige just needed the right person to give her that chance. Carolyn saw the same potential in Paige that I did and she helped Paige to realize that she didn't have to be the defender and protector of the world, that she (Carolyn) could do that. Because of Carolyn's love and dedication, Paige has become a well adjusted and confident Golden, who is totally devoted to Carolyn. Carolyn is on the board of directors of the rescue and takes Paige to the rescue events where she has become a perfect ambassador for the work the rescue does. I will always be thankful and grateful to Carolyn for opening her heart and home to Paige and making such a difference for her. And finally,  I will just add that according to Blogger, this is my 500th post.  Some of you reach that milestone much quicker and easier than I have. But it's still one for me nonetheless--So here's to the next 500 posts and a very Merry Christmas to all of you!!
~My former foster girl, Paige~

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Todd's Right

The end of a very busy, long and exhausting week came yesterday.  Carl and I both went to bed shortly after dinner last evening, and didn't let the dogs out one last time.  At about 3:30 this morning, I was awakened by Todd, sitting next to me on the bed.  We've been allowing him to sleep outside his crate at night because of his spending days inside one while we're at work. But his ears were back--A sure sign that something was wrong and on his mind.  I started talking to him and he sheepishly stretched out, rolled onto his back and started with his cacophony of sounds, telling me about what was bothering him. I knew exactly what Todd was saying.  I got up, (noting that he wasn't following me) and I found 'what' he was talking about.  I didn't say anything, but just cleaned up his little accident.  I went back to the bedroom, and there Todd sat, on the corner of the bed, ears still back, looking at me, as if to say, "I'm sorry, but this wouldn't have happened if you hadn't gone to bed early..."  Todd likes it when he's right...

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Christmas is Coming!

I can't believe how quickly Christmas is coming.  Patients coming into our office all seem to be feeling the Christmas spirit and are excited about celebrating the holiday season.  I've enjoyed hearing about their plans, and asking the kids what is on their Christmas wish-list.  Despite how hectic and crazy things are for us this week because I have no day off, I'm enjoying finishing writing our cards and shopping for family and friends.

The picture below of Lucas (left) and Humble was taken at the rescue event this past Saturday.  I think that it shows how lovely and photogenic Humble is, and I think that she made Lucas look pretty good, don't you think?

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Picky Eaters

Since both Humble and Lucas are available for adoption, I took them to a 'meet and greet' Christmas event that the rescue attended in hopes of maybe finding a forever home for Humble. (Notice I didn't say for Lucas too!)  Both dogs did really well, and enjoyed the attention.  I didn't meet anyone that I thought was 'forever home material,' but that was okay--I've no doubt that HUMBLE'S forever home is out there, and it's just a matter of time before the stars and the moon all line up and the cosmos bring us all together.
Back at home, things are quiet.  There are no big changes for Wendy, other than she is eating a little more at mealtime. At the moment she seems to like the addition of Lucas's food to her meal--However she still won't eat all she's being given, and isn't tempted to take the tastiest of treats offered to her.
Another dog that doesn't like what she's being fed, is Annie.  I've been watching her for quite some time and notice that she doesn't like the vegetables that are added to her meal.  She will ever so lady-like, always take them out of the bowl and put them onto the left side, where they are eaten by someone else.
 It makes her a favorite at dinnertime among the not-so-picky-eaters!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Canine Independence

Today was my last scheduled day off for the rest of the year.  And instead staying home, I spent it with someone that I've known peripherally for a few years. She and I have worked on church committees together, and had brief conversations, but it took sitting next to one another at a meeting where we struck up a conversation and realized that we have a great deal in common--One thing is that she and her husband have 5 dogs, one is a Scottish Terrier and another a Portuguese Water dog that she shows and does field work with. We decided that we needed to get to know one another better.  So, today I met her very well behaved dogs, and we were off to have lunch at a restaurant that we both happen to really enjoy and did some shopping afterwards. Interesting, at least to me, how you can think you have little in common with someone and then find out the opposite is true.  Am I the only one this happens to?

Back at home the focus remains on Wendy.  The tilting of her head is not nearly as noticeable, but she still really struggles to get up and walk. The last couple of days Wendy has decided that she has had enough of eating her meals alone in bed, and hobbles into the kitchen to eat with the rest of the dogs. She's not able to stand the whole time, and won't eat an entire meal, but I think it's a good sign.
Wendy has also decided that the ramp we put on the steps isn't for her, but for old ladies and has channeled her independent nature and refuses to go up or down it.  So, I stand at the bottom of the steps, and help her down. Wendy also decided today that she wanted to go with us on our walk.  I got her outside but she couldn't stay on her feet, so I left her in the garage while the rest of us went for our walk. When I got back and got her up to go inside, I noticed her tail was wagging, just a little--I've not her tail-wag since she started having problems, and so it was a good feeling to see it.  I also found myself humbled at how hard she is trying to stick to her beloved routine, and how she seems to care little for how she may be feeling. I think I can learn from that.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

How It Should Be

The end of a long, busy week has finally gotten here.  My office Christmas party was Friday evening, and today was a day of shopping that ended with Carl and I enjoying a late lunch at a favorite restaurant.  At home this evening, the dogs were patiently awaiting dinner to be served at their favorite place to eat.
Thank-you for the good thoughts for Wendy. She's not quite as unsteady on her feet as she was a couple of days ago, but she still needs our help to stay standing.  To try and make things easier outside, we've put a ramp by the back porch steps so she doesn't have to go up or down stairs.  Wendy is sleeping a lot more, and not eating much. She doesn't seem to be in any pain and seems comfortable. And just as she has always done, she's setting her own pace --It's how it should be.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

A Letter to Wendy

Dear Wendy, 

Like all the dogs before you, I never want you to go.  The special bond we share has not dimmed as the years have passed.  I remember your youth and your stories like they happened only yesterday.  How I wish I could turn back the years for you.  My heart has been breaking the last few days as I see you struggle to get up and walk. They say that "the eyes are the window to the soul," and your eyes seem to have changed.  I really noticed it yesterday when I came home from work.  I'm not sure what it means, or if it means anything.  But what I do know is that I will continue to keep my part of the bargain and be there for you, just like you have been for me so many times. And when the time comes, which I hope and pray will not be too soon, the last thing I will do for you is to gently let you go.  I know that you'll only be gone from my sight, because I will forever keep the memories of our long life together, warm and safe and tucked away in my heart.  The thought of losing you is already bringing a lot of tears.  And when you are gone I know that out of habit I'll look for you because you are so intertwined within the fabric of our lives.  And I know there will be an empty feeling that can never be filled. But that's what real love is--And the fact that you are a dog does not and will not change any of it.  

We love you Wendy.  I really hope you feel better and that today is a good day for you. 


Sunday, December 2, 2012

Work and Play

Saturday morning started with an early morning phone call from a friend of mine. Her daughter wasn't feeling well and the two were signed up to take a Bûche de Noël (Yule Log) baking class, and would I like to attend in her place?  Of course I gladly accepted the invitation. The class was 4 hours long and its description said that in that time you were "to learn the mysteries of a proper genoise (sponge) cake, the wonders of butter-cream frosting, and the magical decorating powers of mushroom-shaped meringues." However the class was described, it was really a lot of fun!  The cake was a lot of work, but I think it had a really good flavor, and so I took it to a get together last evening. But this morning I have to admit to having overdone it on the sampling and along with a late night, I woke up with a bit of a headache.
The rest of the weekend has been uneventful as the focus turned to Humble who we've had for about two weeks now.  She's settled in nicely and really enjoys playing with Todd. One thing that was obvious when I first met her was that she is not 13 years old.  My friends and I and the vet all agree that Humble is probably only around 11. Her energy level and physical condition pretty much confirm that.  This week she becomes available for adoption through the rescue, and I'll list Humble on their website to try and find a forever home for her.  Of course we have thought about keeping her.  But we feel that she's just not a good fit for our household. This is only because she's a little too rough with our cat and is possessive and a little growly around food when the other dogs are around, and that creates a little bit of a problem in a multi-dog household.
But even though Humble doesn't like the other dogs around when she eats, she doesn't mind sharing the dog-beds, and that is just one of her many good and endearing qualities.  

Thursday, November 29, 2012

New and Old Friends

Today has been a busy day off work.  I met a newer friend for lunch at the horse farm where she works and she gave me a tour.  Clairvaux Farm where my friend has worked for 3 years is a hunter/jumper show stable.  Unfortunately there weren't many horses inside because with a warm sunny day, they were all outside. But I enjoyed lunch with my friend and getting to know her a little bit better. Of course I enjoyed the tour too.
Back at home, it was all about 'old' friends.  In my last post I mentioned about taking Annie and Wendy to the vet last Saturday.  Both girls loved the car ride and getting to see new people. You may remember that Annie has liver and kidney damage (caused by being on a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug for more than a year without her previous vet checking blood-work to see if it was harming her). For the past 3 months she's been given a daily supplement of Denamarin and a Pepcid to try and stabilize her kidneys and liver.  The good news for Annie is that it appears to be working, and her liver value is now almost normal, and her kidneys appear to be stable too.
For Wendy, it was good news as well. Born in late January of 1997, she is rounding the corner to almost 16 years old.  I can admit that I've not taken her into the vet because she was in need of a rabies vaccine.  I've always limited the vaccines that our dogs are given--And because having a rabies vaccine is the law, it goes without saying that I've always complied with that. Because of this legal-requirement, it kept me from taking Wendy to the vet because I didn't want her to have any vaccines because of her age. But a notice from the county about it, left me with no other choice. But what I didn't know was that Virginia allows a vet to decide if an animals health could be compromised if given the rabies vaccine, so a waiver has been written for Wendy--What a relief!  Her blood work does show a few minor changes, which is to be expected at her age and she's had an exposure to a tick-borne-illness which she'll take an antibiotic for. The vet does want to see Wendy in 3 months for another check-up and that I'll comply with!
All in all, our week appears to be ending on a good note.  
I hope yours is too! 

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Five Days

I had so many things planned for the five days that I've had off of work...So many things.

For starters, there was a much-anticipated Saturday lunch date with a very good friend. Not to mention errands to run, a few things to organize and put away along with some cleaning to do and a lesson to prepare for church. Even with Thanksgiving, it was going to be such a productive weekend.

I did none of the above.  Instead, I took Annie and Wendy to the vet early Saturday morning, rescheduled my lunch date with my friend, and spent almost every minute at home.  I just really thought it was what I should do. And so I did.
~On the road with Wendy & Annie (background)~
We took advantage of the unseasonably warm weather and let all the dog's unleash their energy with long, leisurely, walks. We explored around the pond on the property adjacent to us, and played ball.
~Sheba and Joshua~
Yes, aside from the Thanksgiving Day drama with Humble, it was a perfect five days, even if I did feel a bit guilty for letting a few things slide. That is, until my friend Diane helped put things in perspective.
"Who says long weekends have to be productive?" she said in her e-mail. "Instead, have a memorable weekend like the one you're having.  You won't remember the weekends where you run errands and clean, but you will remember one where you devoted time to those precious to you."
And she's right. So what if the closets didn't get cleaned and my desk didn't get organized?  Instead, I enjoyed catching up with all my siblings, I got to know 'Humble' just a little bit better and spent time outdoors with the dogs.  It was, indeed, a really nice five days.
Productive? Okay, maybe it wasn't. But priceless? Absolutely. 

Friday, November 23, 2012

Post Thanksgiving Day

We had a really nice Thanksgiving day!!  I was reminded more than once about how much I have to be thankful for and I really do try to make sure that I count all those blessings often.  I personally don’t think we should include all our thankfulness on one day just because that day happens to be Thanksgiving.  However, a day set aside where everyone (at least in the U.S.) is being thankful together can be and is a special thing.

One thing I am very thankful for, is that Humble is okay following a little 'incident' yesterday.  I mentioned in my previous post that she was a counter-surfer-extraordinaire.  She showed her talent by eating *8*  yeast dinner rolls that I had rising on the stove.  I really thought I had them situated where she couldn't reach them, but unfortunately I was wrong.  (For those of you who don't know, a dog eating rolls that are rising is dangerous because the warm environment of the stomach acts as an oven and encourages the dough to continue rising and that can cause a bowel obstruction, a bloated/distended stomach, or cause it to twist--And then there is the issue of the yeast because it also ferments in the stomach, and releases alcohol which may lead to alcohol poisoning--Making it all a (possible) life-threatening situation)  
I tried to get Humble to vomit with hydrogen-peroxide but for whatever reason, it didn't work.  So I had to call the rescue and tell them what happened and that I needed to take her into the animal emergency.  While this was a mistake on my part, I had acted quickly enough that all the emergency vet had to do was get Humble to vomit, which they did and out came the 8 rolls, still intact and as the girl said to me 'you could put them right into the oven!'  ....NOT that I would ever do that, but it was a much needed bit of humor at the end of a stressful situation!  Needless to say it left Humble and I both worn out.  However we were still able to enjoy Thanksgiving dinner with our good friends, minus my homemade dinner rolls!
Today is Black Friday and a day that dedicated shoppers hit the stores in the early morning hours for bargains and deals.  It's a tradition for many people, but for years I haven't shopped on this day.  Instead I enjoy shopping online and spending the day at home.  However I do have to admit that for some reason this year my ignoring Macys was tougher because of a few things they had on sale. But I really do much prefer our “black Friday” at home to that of standing in line in the cold. The picture below was posted on Facebook, and is a very long line to get into a 'Toys R Us' across the street from where I work.  It was taken around 10 o'clock last night and the store wasn't going to open until midnight. The store is in the middle of the photo behind the tree.  YIKES!!  Do you shop on Black Friday?