Thursday, March 29, 2012

Hope and Luck

Today was again on the chilly side with the highs barely edging above 60 (16 °C).  Tack on the gusty winds, and it continues to feel like....well...March.  The tree pollen count has soared to a record high set in 1998. I have to admit to not minding the cool so much, but with the combination of pollen and the dogs shedding my allergies have really given me a good punch, leaving me with a migraine headache.

Adding to my headache is the thought of replacing our heating and cooling system in the house.  We knew last year it was on borrowed time and I have held onto some hope that it could once again be fixed.  Today a repairman came and gave us a fatal diagnosis.  When he told us he would like someone else to come and look at it to give us a final estimate on its replacement, it made my headache worse and left me seeing only dollar signs.  All I can do is hope to win the 'Mega Millions' lottery that is now up to over 540 million dollars.  I only have to pick all the numbers correctly and buy a ticket.  I think I should just save my dollar and put it towards the new heat pump--I'm just not that lucky.... 
But you know what?  I feel lucky enough!!  

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

No Stopping for Weather

It's now feeling like March because we had a cold frosty start to our day.  I turned the heat back on last night just to get the chill out of the air. For Wednesday, the warmth is forecasted to return.  This unpredictability of the weather makes me feel like Mother Nature may need some kind of an intervention to get our seasons back on track.  But whatever is happening with the weather, it's not stopping one of my favorite birds, the Eastern Phoebe, from building its nest above our garage door.
It's also not slowing down the new growth on the Forsythia bushes. The blossoms are falling off as this years leaves start to appear. 
The weather also doesn't stop Lucas from doing what he does best, watch CC.  Except in this picture, I think she's watching him!
In any weather, the antics of an energetic puppy named Todd don't stop either.  Except in this case, CarrieAnne's look did! 
Enjoy your Tuesday! 

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Out of Sync and Unusual

Off to work on Friday in clouds of fog.  I've decided that driving in heavy fog is like driving with a blindfold on. Especially on our road because of the narrow and steep curves.  
The fog gave way to bright sun and the warmest day of the season.  Leaves are starting to appear on the Forsythia bushes. When I arrived home from work, outside it all seemed as it should be.  But inside, it wasn't.
When I went inside, the dogs seemed agitated about something, and I know it may sound silly, but I remember thinking that they seemed relieved that I was home.  Todd who is crated during the day was practically hysterical and he wouldn't stop barking.  I got everyone outside, and CarrieAnne went over to the neighboring field and just stood there and wouldn't come back.
The dogs really seemed out of sync and kept coming to me for reassurance.  We played a round of frisbee and I took a few pictures.  Eventually the dogs seemed relaxed and content.  
It wasn't until we came back inside that I realized that in 3 different rooms, the screens were off the open windows. With such nice weather I have been leaving them open during the day; someone had obviously tried to get into the house through one of them while we were gone. While we joke that the only way the dogs would hurt anyone is if they fell over them, they still would have all barked at anyone that came near the house.  I think this does explain why the dogs seemed out of sorts when I got home.  I called our dog-walker who said 'everything and the dogs seemed fine' when she came.  Even though there was no break-in, nothing missing etc., at her urging that it should be reported, I phoned our Sheriff's office. They said they would patrol our road and for us to take note of anything or anyone unusual.  I feel really safe where we live, but I do take this seriously and will of course make sure windows etc., are closed and locked when we're away.  But I hope that with all of our dogs, we'll be the only 'unusual' thing on our road.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

It's Good to be Home!

I mentioned in my previous post about it being an exhausting week. After a good night sleep, and having nothing scheduled to do today, it has felt really good to be at home.  I actually felt energized so I decided to tackle a couple of cleaning and organizing projects.  It's amazing how much stuff one can accumulate.  How does that happen??

I contacted the rescue today about Lucas. His recovery from this last surgery has been pretty uneventful.  He is feeling really well and his energy level is up!  When he came to us, he only ate to live, now he shows his true Golden personality, and lives to eat!  But I have decided that a new 'forever home' should be found for him.  While we adore Lucas, he is way to obsessed with CC, our cat.  I have no worries about his hurting her, however I don't think that Lucas's constant chasing and bothering CC is fair to her.  He's a really nice boy and will make a wonderful addition to someone's home -- That doesn't have cats!    
~CC on the front porch being watched by Lucas~
Our sunny afternoon has ended with our taking a walk and playing ball with Todd.  Days like this are really fun for me ....
~Perfect Air Time!~
 I think they're fun for Todd too!
 Enjoy your evening!!
~Our Boy Sammy~

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Thank-You Todd!

Despite the beautiful weather, it is a stressful start to my week.  I'll spare you the drama and just say that I came home this evening, exhausted.  Carl is working late so that left me to care for the dogs alone. Todd is of course the one with the most energy.  You'll remember in my last post his very favorite toy, 'red ball' was missing.  We've moved furniture, searched in places that there's no way it could be, but we've been unable to find it. But tonight, throwing a tennis ball for him did the trick to wear him out.

Once all the dogs had been loved and fed I decided that I was going to lay down for a few minutes.  Things were quiet in the house, and it was just starting to get dark. I must have dozed off because Todd woke me up when he jumped on the bed and dropped something next to me.  When I looked at him, it was easy to see that he was really excited about something, and he was wagging his tail.  I put my hand on what he had dropped and I was stunned--It was the red-ball!!!  Of course I had to chuckle because I'd love to know just where in the world he found it!  Even though I'll never know that answer, I do know that its reappearance gave me a little needed grin at the end of my long stress filled day!  Thank-you Todd!!

Saturday, March 17, 2012

In A Fog

Saturday morning we wake to a heavy fog.  We take the dogs for a walk before the sun burns off the mist. Walking in the fog is one of my favorite experiences. I think the closeness of the fog creates surprises because even on familiar paths you can see something new....
This morning I noticed freshly spun spider webs all around that seemed to just glisten.  
The bright yellow of the forsythia seems to glow against the grayness.    
I also notice on mornings like today there is the lack of an echo. Even the sound of the gravel crunching under our feet as we walk down the drive way didn't seem to go far.
The only thing that seems to have 'gone far' is Todd's favorite toy, red ball.  Its been a really tough toy that he has played and played and played with, and not chewed up. We have looked everywhere and it appears to be nowhere.  Maybe it's lost in the fog...

Thursday, March 15, 2012

The Day-Care Dilemma

Incredible - There were 400 record highs set or tied across the US yesterday.  Some of the warmest weather so early in the season EVER in parts of the Midwest.  And the warmth is predicted to last for several more days.  The continued streak of warm weather means the famed cherry blossoms in the nation's capital will now peak a week earlier than originally predicted.  All around us, trees are blooming, birds are singing, the dogs are shedding and my allergies couldn't be worse--I am really enjoying every minute of it!  
-Tulip-Magnolia tree blooming near my office-
This morning I took Todd for another evaluation at a second-day care.  The place I took Todd last Thursday is located in the town where I live.  Along with boarding dogs, they do have a day care.  It's an older facility, clean and well kept. They keep the dogs on a regular schedule with play in the morning and are kenneled for an hour at noon.  Weather permitting, in the afternoon they play in the outside areas. In the heat of summer, they will sometimes set up pools for the dogs to cool off in.  The day ends between 3 and 4 o'clock in the afternoon and the dogs are crated until the owners come to pick them up.  Knowing that Todd would be crated or kenneled for 3-4 hours a day was something I didn't really like.  There were a couple of other things that I didn't like, so I didn't make a commitment about his coming there.  
Where we went this morning is the total flip-side of the first.  It's a 'Pet Resort' and that's exactly what it is, a resort.  The automatic doors welcome you into the large designer lobby with a hotel-styled front desk.  There is a gift shop, a pool and an agility course.  While your cat or dog enjoy their stay, you can check up on them anytime because there are live pet-cams in each 'suite' where they are staying, and in the day-care as well. There is a restaurant style kitchen with a cook to prepare any special meals that your pet may require while there.  And when they're all worn out from playing, they can have a spa-treatment to ease those tired paws.
Todd felt right at home in the posh surroundings and turned on his charm as he was 'evaluated' in the day-care.  I watched from a viewing area.  They introduced all the dogs to him and towards the end, when a Golden was brought in they took an immediate liking to one another and started playing right away.  Of course since he lives with so many Goldens, I just thought it was just because of that.  But I found out afterwards it was one of his pals from the other day care where he used to go--Who said dogs don't remember other dogs?  There's not much to not like about this place. However my reluctance is only because they have very large play-groups of 35-50 dogs each day.  While their dog-to-people-ratio is appropriate, I felt it was too many dogs, because they do not have divide groups of dogs by age or size. I have a concern about the Great Danes, Mastiff's and very large dogs being around Todd. 
So, onto the next day care which Todd goes to on Wednesday.  It was recommended to me by a friend, so I have no idea what to expect, other than it's a smaller facility.  But as I write this, I have to wonder, am I putting too much thought into all of this?  

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Those March Days

Charles Dickens perfectly described our weather when he wrote, "It was one of those March days when the sun shines hot and the wind blows cold:  when it is summer in the light, and winter in the shade.”  There have been times when I've forgotten that it's early spring and on chilly mornings like today, I'm reminded of it.  But I'm not the only one enjoying the warming temperatures.  I've seen the turtles sunning themselves on a log, and a snake (!!!) on its way somewhere that I hope is far away.

Lucas is doing really well and it goes without saying that I'm glad that the surgeries are behind him. As you may (or may not) know, a dog has 42 teeth.  People have 32 which includes the wisdom teeth.  Lucas has had 38 removed.  It's overwhelming, at least for me, to think about that number. But it had to be done, and I'm thankful that he has been able to have the treatment that he needed.  You may recall that Lucas's surgeries were not inexpensive and the total cost has been around $5000.  I was told this week that all of his dental work has been paid for from a special fund-raiser that the rescue held for him and other dogs have expensive medical needs.
This weekend you'll find me basking in the warmth of the spring sun, and in the reminder of the kindness and generosity of people who have helped to make a difference for Lucas. ~Enjoy your Saturday!!~

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Lucas: Flying or Driving?

This morning Lucas is resting comfortably.  His surgery on Wednesday didn't take nearly as long as the first, but unfortunately it was not without its little glitches along the way.  When I dropped Lucas off in the morning, he was anxious and seemed nervous, and that continued while waiting for the surgery to begin.  For some dogs, this may not be too much of a problem.  However I've thought that Lucas has a bit of laryngeal paralysis because his breathing when he's excited becomes really loud and raspy.  When he had problems breathing before his surgery, the dentist took an x-ray to look at his heart and lungs, which were thankfully okay.  And since Lucas was under anesthetic, the doctor took a peek at his throat via a scope, which confirmed that the folds of his larynx are not opening and closing as they should.  Lucas's breathing problems continued after he woke up and an injection of Acepromazine which is a tranquilizer, was given to help keep him calm.  Needless to say, he was pretty loopy, wobbly and glassy-eyed when I picked him up.  He was of course that way the entire evening.  
On the way home I made a really quick stop with Lucas and when I came out of the store, he was sitting in the drivers seat of my van.  He's never gotten into one of the seats before and wish I'd had my camera because he was quite a sight sitting up in the seat but with his head on the window and his eyes all glassy and half opened.  I guess he was so 'drugged up' he thought he could drive?  I guess if he'd been a person he would have thought he could fly--Maybe Lucas thought that too, who knows?  
Its been a hurried and very tiring week with very little spare time.  This morning I'm taking Todd to check out a new day-care.  I don't know much about the place other than it's an indoor and outdoor facility and has a pool.  Afterwards, I get to do my favorite thing which is to be home.  I'm really sorry I've not been able to read your blogs this week and so I'm  really looking forward catching up on your news!  Enjoy your Thursday!!  

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Conversational Snow

The week as always is off to a running start. On the schedule tomorrow is Lucas's second surgery to have the remaining un-salvageable teeth removed. I've been assured that the length of time that he's to be under the anesthetic will be shorter than last.  I'm hopeful that will be the case, and everything will go well.

Winter has also returned.  Today it's bright and clear but we are having a blast of cold wind and temperatures below freezing, reminding me again how stubborn Old Man Winter can be about leaving.  Yesterday we had what the weathermen call 'conversational snow.,'  I've never heard that term before but it apparently means that it amounts to nothing more than a conversation.  Where do they get these terms?

I was told yesterday that Todd's day-camp where he's been going for several months is closing.  I was so disappointed to be told that.  They were a top-notch place that truly made a difference for my shy, but energetic and playful boy.  It hit all the notes as far as care of the dogs, playtime, nap-time (can you believe they had down-time for all the dogs?) and the staff was the best. While its only been open for less than a year, apparently their closing has something to do with the landlord of the building.  I've decided that he was obviously not a dog-lover, because he made it impossible and very expensive for them to continue to be in business.  I really want Todd to continue to play with other dogs and be around different people.  So once again my search for the perfect place will begin.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Through the Briars and the Brambles

I've been feeling really restless the last several days.  I've decided that it's either spring-fever, or too much sugar.  But I've had real problems staying focused on any one thing in particular.  So Carl and I took the dogs for a walk yesterday afternoon.  As you can see in the new header picture, it was a beautiful day of blue skies and sunshine.

Since we've not seen anyone new or any changes to the property in back of us, we headed in that direction.  Carl was about half way up the hill when all of the sudden Josh who was not on a leash started his excited barking and howling as he ran into the woods after some deer he'd seen. In the picture below on the left, Toby is looking at Josh the moment he started running.
It didn't take but a moment to lose sight of him. Carl had the dogs on a leash so that left me to get Josh.  I decided that I'd cut him off on the other side.  Of course I am not as fast as either the deer or Josh, but I caught sight of him going into the woods on the other side of the clearing.  He had been totally outrun by the deer, and he had also gone totally deaf never looking back as he started the next leg of his adventure.  I went into the woods to get him and became tangled in the briars.  As I freed myself, I kept calling to Josh and a miracle happened, he regained his hearing and came to me, all sparkly eyed and smiles!!
~Josh after his adventure~
Of course I didn't scold Josh for running off, but praised him for coming back.  On the way home the words to the old country  tune "The Battle of New Orleans" which is a traditional hillbilly tune by Johnny Horton tumbled through my head,

Yeah they ran through the briars and they ran through the brambles
And they ran through the bushes where a rabbit couldn't go
They ran so fast that the hounds couldn't catch 'em 
On down the Mississippi to the Gulf of Mexico...

Now, even a day later, I can't get rid of it...
Finally my mind is focusing on something.