Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Rainy Days and Dogs

The weather has been rainy here for the past few days and it's expected to continue through the rest of the week.
I've decided that there's no point in cleaning the muddy paw-prints until it stops raining.
Because I'll just have to turn around and clean them all up again -- And on day three of the rain, I think I just might be okay with that.
And I also think that after all these years, I might be (finally) becoming immune to the smell of wet dogs.  
I may have just found a silver lining to all this rain!   

Sunday, April 27, 2014

The Red Frisbee

The weekend could not have been any more beautiful.  The smell of fresh cut grass lingered in the air this morning after a little rain last evening.  Today the chatter of birds filled the air and the sky was brilliant blue as we again enjoyed the warmth and view from our front porch.
Earlier in the day I threw the green frisbee for a very energized Sheba who eagerly retrieved the green frisbee. At one point when she didn't return, I just figured she'd lost interest in playing.  But a few minutes later, Sheba came to me proudly showing off a red frisbee.
In and of itself, this isn't that unusual because we have other kinds of frisbees that can be found throughout the yard, and she or Josh will often return with a different one that catches their eye.  However, the red frisbee has been missing since late last summer. Because both the green and the red frisbees are long time favorites, and are no longer being made, I searched and searched for that red frisbee with no luck whatsoever -- And Sheba has found it.  It's times like this, I just wish I could just ask her where it was, and where she left the green frisbee, because now its missing and I can't find it.  

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Pack Leader and Follower

~View from the front porch~
A beautiful start to our Saturday with bright sun.  The morning wind has stayed around and is a little chilly, but it's a welcomed chance to sit outside with the dogs.
Pack-dynamics and how the dogs interact with one another always fascinates me. One of the relationships that I find interesting is the one between CarrieAnne and Todd.  There's no question that Carrie is our pack leader.  Yes, typically the alpha dog is the largest and strongest, and most often male.  But (believe it or not) we don't have a strong male. So Carrie, who is one of the smallest in the group is filling that role and I have to say is managing this position quite well having earned the respect of the other dogs. I think that Todd's place in the pack is somewhere in the middle. From what I can tell, he's an equal to Sheba and Josh, below Charlie, and above Sunny and Shadow.
But without a doubt, Todd respects Carrie and clearly adores her. They don't play with one another, and when CarrieAnne is outside watching the world go by, Todd is never that far from her. When something catches her attention, Todd follows, but never leads.  When I toss a treat to Carrie, Todd never tries to get it if she misses it.  I can't help but think of Spike the Bulldog and Chester the Terrier who were animated cartoon characters in the Warner Brothers Looney Tunes series of cartoons. The little dog Spike was always following Chester around, calling him, "boss" and saying things to him like "hey boss or right boss?"  I have to wonder if Todd may be saying some of those same kinds of things to Carrie as he runs along beside her.  And CarrieAnne, just like Chester, doesn't mind at all, and I think she enjoys it.
I hope you enjoy your weekend!  

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Annie's Second Milestone

For the second time this year, we reached a milestone with Annie.  The first one was her 15th (!!!) birthday in January, and the second was that as of yesterday, Annie has been with us for two years now.  Reaching these two anniversaries hasn't been easy for Annie because of her health.  As you know, she was diagnosed shortly after she came to us with liver and kidney damage from un-monitored long term use of a medication (rimadyl).  But despite being in renal failure, the test results from a vet-visit this past Saturday indicate that for now, there are a few slight changes, but everything appears stable.
~Annie and CarrieAnne~
Over the past couple of months, (understandably) Annie has really slowed down.  She has good days and some not so good days.  And there are days where Annie will eat both meals eagerly, then have days like today when finding something to tempt her to get her to eat is a challenge.  Annie is also having some weakness in her back legs, and I sometimes have to help her stand-up and steady her on her feet. But, it's all okay because she seems happy and so we just take each day as it comes and let Annie set the pace as I have set a goal for a third milestone.  

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Easter and Spring

If there is a day that is a touchstone for my life, and one that I remember more clearly than any other holiday growing up, it's Easter. Even many of my Christmases have blurred together with only a few standing out in my memory such as the first one spent away from home when I went to college, and the first one after I got married.
But for me, Easter day is different.  I remember so many of them as I was growing up and spending the day with close and extended family and enjoying a big meal.  
~Charlie enjoying a 'meal' of ice on Saturday~
Easter and springtime is really the time of the year that reminds me that hope is eternal and all is possible. I hope today that you also enjoy celebrating Easter and spring for the promise that they both bring.
We have enjoyed a quiet weekend at home.  We have gotten started on the spring yard-work, and just sitting outside warming up in the sun.  

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Waking Up on Wednesday

A much too early start to a day when I stayed up too late the night before. I'm off work today, and will be taking CarrieAnne to the vet for her yearly check up.  When I greeted Cissy this morning, she gave me her usual "rooo-rooo-rooooo" and rolled over onto her back.  When she did that I noticed that her skin was red.  Cissy's skin sometimes gets irritated from the folds of her stomach that traps moisture, and after a day or two of patting cornstarch on it to keep it dry, it's just fine.  So, I grabbed the cornstarch and as I was putting it on her stomach, I noticed the slightly different texture that had turned slightly sticky and pasty from the moisture. And so I added a little more and that's when I saw it ....... The box I had in my hand wasn't cornstarch, but powdered sugar -- In my early morning haze, I had grabbed the wrong box from the cabinet. Of course I cleaned everything up with help from Cissy and a few onlookers who I think may have been laughing at me behind my back.  
~Annie, in March~
I can only hope that the vet seeing CarrieAnne this morning is a little more awake.  Enjoy your Wednesday!


Sunday, April 13, 2014

In Full Bloom

It's days like today when I am reminded about why I'm lucky to live not too far from our nations capital, Washington DC.  A friend of mine mentioned yesterday that she was participating in an early morning "Ranger Run" through the cherry blossoms, and offered to take anyone who wanted to see them with her.  In the 20 years we've lived here, I've never gone, so I jumped at the chance.  While she ran, I leisurely walked and enjoyed the blossoms along the tidal basin.  
~The Washington Monument from the Tidal Basin~
If you ever get the chance to come here this time of year, it's definitely worth it.  The whole area along the tidal basin suddenly turns pink and white as the cherry blossoms begin to bloom on approximately 3,750 trees that are descendants of a gift from the people of Japan in 1912.
~The Thomas Jefferson Memorial~
The walk by the river under the cherry blossoms is just magical, and on a sunny morning like today, it was the most beautiful place to be!
I love history and trivia, so here are a few more photos and a few more things I learned about the history of the cherry trees that perhaps you didn't know either.
In January 1910, around 2,000 cherry trees arrived in Washington, D.C. About two weeks later, the Department of Agriculture discovered that the trees were diseased and unfit for planting. The department concluded that the trees must be destroyed and so they were burned.  However 24 trees were spared and allowed to grow under observation in an unspecified location.  Today there are eighteen cherry trees growing near Hanes Point.  Where these trees came from is unknown, and  proof that these trees are from the 1910 shipment doesn't exist.  But evidence supports that they are, and it's felt that they are among the most historically significant trees in the entire United States.
On Valentine’s Day in 1912, as a symbol of friendship, 3,020 more cherry trees were sent from Japan. 
Americans haven't always been as enamored by the cherry trees. Three days after the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor, trees were chopped down in what was suspected to be an act of retaliation. For the duration of World War II, the trees were referred to as “Oriental” not “Japanese” cherry trees.
After World War II, cuttings from the cherry trees were sent back to Japan to restore the Tokyo collection that was decimated by American bombing attacks during the war.
In 1991 a few young plants grafted from the trees were gifted back to Japan, and one of them graces the front of a tombstone in a crowded Yokohama cemetery. An adjacent monument reads: “A woman who loved Japanese cherry blossoms rests in peace here.” That woman is Eliza Scidmore, the woman whose idea it was to bring the trees to Washington more than a hundred years ago.  

And finally, just to end on a lighter note and because you may have thought I'd actually have a post without a dog being in it, I will add these last two photos.     
Enjoy your Sunday!  

Friday, April 11, 2014

Closing the Barn Door

Despite rain that is falling this afternoon, our week and the weather could not have been better!  Not even a little bit of drama with our barn roof could dampen how good it felt to have sun and warm temperatures.
It began at six o'clock in the morning on Wednesday when I missed a phone call from the company that we had contracted with to put the new roof onto our barn.  The gentlemen on the phone was apologizing for not calling the previous day and told me that they would be there about 7 o'clock to begin the work on replacing our barn roof.  WHAT??!! It was 6:30 when I listened to the message, so I felt a little bit of panic because we had specifically asked for a days notice so that one of us could arrange to stay home that day to keep the dogs from barking the entire time. Carl was already gone and my schedule at work on Wednesday could not have been more full of patients.  So, I did the only thing I could, and that was to leave the dogs.  I was leaving for work just as the roofers arrived and the dogs started barking at the windows.
Of course I worried about their barking the whole time while at work. Our dog-walker wouldn't be able to let the dogs out, so when I was able to have someone else take my patient before lunch, and I decided to race home to check on everything.  My mind was filled with all the scenarios of how the dogs may be reacting to the noise and having people around. What if a fight began because of all the tension and excitement...what if one or more of the dogs got injured in this fight, and what if their barking at the window caused one of the windows to break....wait, did I remember to close the window?  What about Todd in his crate, what if he got so excited in his crate that he injured himself...what if, what if, what if...  When I finally got home I decided to enter the house through the backdoor.  As I quietly opened the door, all the dogs were fast asleep on the kitchen floor.  Todd slept peacefully in his crate.  I think my coming home got them more over excited.  Now why did I worry?  
But the shingles match the ones on our house, and we couldn't be happier with how the barn now looks. With Carl's injuries from its first replacement last year that brought with it regrets, taught lessons and gave us a lot of hindsight, we gratefully and finally close the proverbial barn-door on this chapter.  
I hope you have a good weekend!  
Early tomorrow morning I'm off with a friend to see the cherry-blossoms in Washington D.C.  I cannot wait!

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

And Now He's Three.....

The Westminster Kennel Club says that the "Scottish Terrier's character and personality reflect the bleak and lonely moors of his origin.
Life to him is serious, to be met with dignity, reserve and stout heart. 
He is by nature aloof, but to the accepted few friends and family his devotion is deep and lifelong. 
A secure place in his home, understanding and companionship are essential to his happiness. 
The description continues by saying:  "In spite of his independent spirit, his strong desire for approval will win compliance with your wishes where harsh words and punishment will fail." 
To those who appreciate his unique character, the Scottish Terrier is a friend and companion, second to none."

I think the Westminster Kennel Club has perfectly described our "unique character," Todd, who turns 3 years old today.  Happy Birthday Todd....