Tag Archives: dog

The Granddog comes for a visit: Parenting skills revisited

One of our granddogs came to visit a few weeks ago while his ma and pa were traveling. Two weeks later, he’s still here, which is fine because he keeps Ike busy.

We’ve discovered some interesting — and humorous — similarities between two children and two dogs — aside from the fact that two eat twice as much as one:

1.) If one thinks he’s been shorted in the food dish, he’ll let you know by (a) staring at you, (b) sniffing the food tub, (c) staring at you, and finally, shoving his dish around to make some noise. Just in case you missed the point.

2.) They fight over who gets to sit in the front passenger seat. The general plan is that whoever gets there first, wins. Sound familiar? Once in awhile they both get relegated to the middle seat, a fact that miffs both.ikeand harvey

3.) If one leaves an unfinished treat (i.e., rawhide) while he runs off to investigate something in another room, all bets are off. He who finds the treat, wins.

4.) Two in the tub doesn’t always work. Getting them into the tub can be a challenge. Sometimes it’s best to divide and conquer.IMG_0408[1]IMG_0409[1]

5.) If Ike, a lightweight at 15 pounds, chooses to snooze on Gma or Gpa’s lap, then Harvey, a heavyweight 45 pounder, becomes an instant lap dog. Beware whoever’s lap is free: Prepare to catch the 45-pounder as he jumps onto your lap.03131318530304130847

6.) They may sleep much of the day away, but 5 p.m. is the witching hour. You may think it’s time to fix supper, but in reality the race is on. The two of them begin a mad chase through the house, running at top speed from the second floor down through the main floor and back. This usually ends with both of them laying on the kitchen floor, panting wildly, slobbering everywhere, completely oblivious to the fact that a galley kitchen is not designed for two dogs and two adults.

7.) At the end of the day, the two are the best of friends. The fact that one is 1/3 the size of the other just means that the big guy gets to hold the little guy.0302131158

Welcome to our zoo, part two

Late Friday afternoon, an energetic Havanese entered our lives with the force akin to a full-blown blizzard. My first hint at how the weekend might play out came when Ike bolted to the front door, sniffing along the doorjamb, whimpering only slightly.

Much to his surprise, the door opened and a white ball of fluff barreled into the living room, skidded across the oak floor and slammed into Ike. The moment he was off his leash, the two dogs were racing through the house. Watson barely stopped long enough to acknowledge his owners’ goodbyes.

Ike thinks he's hiding

This went on for the next three hours, with periodic time-outs to catch their collective breaths. In the meantime, the hubs and I vacillated between laughing uproariously to feeble attempts at creating order.


We finally gave up. At about 9 p.m., the Havanese was relegated to his crate in the basement and the Schnauzer collapsed at my feet, happily snoring within seconds.

This morning, Ike slept in like a teenager. Obviously, he was storing up energy for another day at the races. Fred finally dragged him from slumberland and took him out to perform his morning ablutions. When they returned, we fetched Watson from his crate and sent him out for his turn about the block.

Back in the house and they were back at it, running in circles, stopping only long enough for a gulp of water or to snitch a kibble.

For the moment, things are quiet. Ike has crashed in his favorite spot on our bed near the window…ever on guard for the next squirrel. Watson is downstairs — not sure he wants to navigate the steps.

I’ll say one thing for this dogsitting business. It has cured me of my urge to get a second Schnauzer to keep Ike happy. We’ll just borrow Watson.

Ironically, last night when my husband asked how big Watson will get, I told him that he’s already full-grown.  Besides, he’s mostly fur. This morning, Fred told me about the dream he’d had last night.

Turns out Watson arrived with a tag that read: This dog will grow to 2,000 to 3,ooo pounds.

In the dream, he’d said to me, “See, I told you so.”




Baffle latest attempt to finesse squirrels

My husband is engaged in an all-out battle with the squirrels that want to feast on our bird feeders. This is, of course, a long-standing feud, and one that neither side is willing to give up on.

Over the years, he’s launched several plans, each designed to one-up the furry tailed creatures. A few years ago, for Christmas, I gave him a long-handled hook that — according to the seller — was guaranteed to out-fox the squirrels. At first, Fred was ecstatic over his new toy. He promptly stomped out into the frigid, snowy weather to attach the long hook to the side of the house, hanging the bird feeder on its end. Then, he sat back to enjoy his birds. That lasted about five minutes before squirrel number 1 made his own appearance, balancing precariously along the pole.

Note to manufacturer: 1.) Apparently, you don’t know the definition of “guarantee”, and 2.) You don’t know Bluffton squirrels.

A few weeks ago, we were checking out at Meijer, and I noticed an odd saucer-shaped contraption in my husband’s cart. (Yes, we use two carts…that’s a completely different blog.) Seeing my raised eyebrows, he grinned and proudly announced that this was a “baffle”, yet another tool in “Fred’s-gonna-fool-the-damn-squirrels-yet” campaign. Trust me. I did not say a word. I’ve learned.

That was a few weeks ago. The baffle has been installed, and he-who-would-be-the-squirrel-king has tested it at various positions, and has sprayed the pole with something that will supposedly make it even more difficult for the little guys to climb to the end. But…and here’s the best part. The hubs has engaged the dog in his feud. Always happy to please, Ike is proving his mettle as GUARD DOG. From his vantage point on a rocker in the living room, he keeps one eye on the street for his girlfriends, the two little she-dogs that pass by regularly, and another eye on the secret garden, where the bird-feeders are positioned. At the first sign of a squirrel, he is off his chair and jumping up and down at the window, whining and barking until Fred pounds on the window, no doubt intending to cause apoplexy to  any creature in the vicinity.

Usually a few whacks on the window send the squirrel flying but once in awhile, the whining, barking and window whacking continues for a solid minute. In the meantime, I cringe, hold my breath and say a prayer of thanks to whoever created those ancient heavy windows.

Personally, I think it’s become a game of one-upmanship. A game which could, unfortunately, never end. Kind of like those Monopoly games that I played with my brothers. They went on for days until our mom finally got sick of seeing the board. I wonder….maybe she could intervene in this one? Mom?

Crocuses, parsley and forsythia, oh my

Isn’t it amazing how crocuses suddenly pop up? Yesterday, the warm weather sent me out of my stuffy office in the early afternoon. I just had to get out and enjoy the sun and warmth, so decided to walk home to check in on the husband and the dog. As I walked through the backyard, I was surprised to see some random crocuses blooming. Their bright yellow color immediately lifted my spirits and I began to look around the gardens for other signs of spring.

Little green shoots everywhere! Tulips, daffodils, hyacinths…and other plants I can’t identify until they bloom. The forsythia buds were starting to pop, so I clipped off a few stems to force indoors.

About this time, I found the dog dragging his master around the block…or maybe it was the other way around. I stuck a crocus in the dog’s face. Apparently, they don’t hold the same fascination for him as they do for me, or he was just disappointed that the yellow thing didn’t smell edible. The husband, on the other hand, was happy to see the crocus. As we stood there like two dummies, staring down at those tiny flowers, we wondered how it is that they surprise us every year. We wondered if we stood there long enough, would we be able to watch them grow and open? Maybe some botanists know how this works.

I snapped a picture with my phone and sent it to my daughters. One responded later on (yawning), that “Oh, I’ve seen them all over my neighborhood.” So much for that excitement.

Okay, so the arrival of the crocuses fell flat on the kid, but it sure got me inspired. Although the gardening catalogs have been filling our mailbox for several months now, I’ve not paid much attention to them. See, part of the problem is that a couple of my brothers are already eating from their gardens, but then that’s an unfair comparison. One has a farm with a greenhouse and the other one plants spinach in the fall so it’ll pop up early in spring. It’s a lot warmer in Virginia and Kansas.

If that smacks of sibling rivalry, it probably is. But hey, I’ve got crocuses. Bet they don’t. AND I have fresh parsley which recently poked up its head from under its winter blanket of snow.

Now I’m rambling, so it’s time to quit. Besides, those gardening catalogs are calling me. Time to build some new raised beds and get moving.

Isn’t it amazing what a little warm weather will do for the soul?

After 20 years, the Queen takes her leave

Yesterday when I got home from work, I was greeted by two four-footed creatures. One was overjoyed to see me; the other was, well, simply glad that someone had responded to her imperious calls.  Because as far as Peaches was concerned, she was THE QUEEN. She presumed that it was she for whom the rest of the family toiled.

It’s been that way since the day she showed up on our doorstep more than 20 years ago. She fooled an 8-year-old into pouring her a saucer of milk and that was that. She was there to stay.

That was the only time I’ve been grateful for allergies, because my pronouncement that she could stay but had to live outdoors was met with loud objections. But hey, if Mom’s gotta breathe, kitty’s gotta do her breathing outside. That lasted for about four months…until the cold of winter set in. We settled on a deal that she could come in when it was REALLY cold  and/or REALLY wet. But she had to be in the basement. This worked most of the time, except when Anne sneaked her into her bed. Which she did a few weeks ago.

The funny thing was, after about 12 hours of indoor life, she was ready to go back outside. She’d sit in front of the door and meow. In later years, she’d howl. We’d let her out and off she would go to do her daily hunting and gathering. Any small rodent was fair game. In fact, large rodents weren’t necessarily off her radar. It became her habit to present these to us as gifts, gazing up at us in that condescending way of hers. And waiting. For praise. Which, by the way, she did NOT receive.

We probably should have kept track of her catches, but after the baby bunny on the doorstep, we lost interest. That was the day that the girls and I had to summon Dad home to dispose of the little guy. Peaches watched Fred with disgust as he performed a bunny burial.

Oh, but she could be charming. She could purr as loud as the rest of the cats, begging for a scratch behind the ears or a belly rub. Not from me, of course. She and I had an understanding. There was to be no rubbing of a furry body on the legs. In turn, she expected me to slip her a snitch of tuna or salmon periodically.

Peaches was a walker. She often joined us on long walks. If she got tired or bored, she’d return home and wait for us on the porch, bellowing her disgust. About five years ago, she quit following us. She’d walk about halfway down the block, whining the whole way, then give up and go home to wait.

Her worst nightmare was the day I adopted Ike. She’d tolerated every other dog, but none of them were interested in her. Ike was. He would dance in circles around her, eager to play. Finally, she’d stick out a paw, claws extended, and take a swipe. He never learned.

In recent years, we could tell that she was losing her hearing she wouldn’t come when called. Her howling reached decibels of discomfort. A trip to the vet 3 years ago revealed that she was in excellent health, with the exception of some signs of dementia. A couple of rounds of “kitty Prozac” and she was humming a happier tune. The trick was getting those little pink pills down her throat without losing a finger. Even Lindsay, who could get a lemon down a dog’s throat if she had to, finally gave up. Forget trying to hide it in her food. She was on to us. She’d eat everything and spit out a mangled pill, then fix us with a withering stare.

Every time the girls would visit, they’d give her an extra hug before leaving, “just in case”. We knew 20 years was pretty unusual in a cat — especially one that spent her days roaming the neighborhood. Knowing that didn’t mean we were ready for it when it came.

Yesterday, when I got home from work, I put her out to soak up some sun. When she hadn’t returned by 9 p.m., I was getting a little worried. At 2 a.m., I checked the front porch. No Peaches. Not a sound. When my running partner showed up this morning, I told her we were on a Peaches search. If there was a lump in the road, she would have to check it out. Not me. Couldn’t do it.

When I returned an hour later, I fully expected her to be on the porch. But as I walked up the driveway, I saw her, lying on her side in the grass. Even from a distance, I knew she was gone. I wrapped her in a towel and placed her on the patio, then called Fred and told him the first order of business when he returned from his conference would be a burial. He sounded as sad as I felt.

In an odd turn of events, the girls have had to console me this time. “She was OLD, Mom.” But it was Lindsay’s Eric, who put it in perspective for me.

“Peaches has joined Fritz (another cat) in what Native Americans call ‘the great rift in the sky'”.

Random thoughts strike again….and again

It’s another Random Thought Day. Truth be told, every day of my life is made up of random thoughts. Oddly, it’s often one of those thoughts that prompts me to start writing. To whit:

1. This morning, Ike and I were walking over to meet Mary Ann and Sparky (AKA Arthur). Two minutes after leaving our house, Ike decides it’s time to do his thing. Yes, I had a bag with me and scooped it up. Interesting. Usually, this takes a good five or 10 minutes. So…we’re heading down the road and passing a certain superintendent’s house. Ike decides this will be a two-poop day. Ugh. No more bags. Sorry Mr. D. We’ll be over to scoop that soon!

2. Last night as we were getting into bed, Ike (who thinks he is human and therefore, can sleep in our bed), stood at the end of the bed looking at us. I don’t know what he was waiting for, but I sure as heck wasn’t going to invite him to nose in between us. The Saint glared at him and mumbled something like: Just be glad we let you in this room.”

3. Whyizzit every time I buy a pair of pants, they fit fine in the store, but when I get home, they don’t? And whyizzit, just when I pull up to said store to exchange them, the clock strikes 9, and the doors close?

4. How did all that fabric get into my sewing room and what am I supposed to do with it? I’m sure there was a reason for buying it, but that reason now escapes me.

5. Who planted all those morning glories in my garden and why do they take over everything? My poor delphinium got strangled to death.

6. Does the cat really think I want to come out to see what remains of her latest catch? Is it really that crucial to her ego that she share three feathers with us?

7. Who made the decision that if I find a penny I shouldn’t pick it up unless it’s heads up? Why can’t I have good luck either way? Don’t rain on my parade, buster.

8. Some guy at the farmer’s market gave my mom and me a lecture on the advantages of red potatoes vs. white potatoes. She wanted white and all he had was red. He gave her the antioxidant lecture and pointed to a little graph that proved his point, or so he thought. And then he handed her a pile of potato recipes. My mother drew herself up to all of her 5 feet 1 inch, and said, “My dad grew potatoes. I know potatoes.” (Insinuating, of course, that she knew potatoes far better than he.) Guess she told him.

9. Howcum I’m always the last to know everything? Believe me, this is true.

10. Like my friend, Peter, I’m always wishing tomorrow was Friday. Hey, a girl can dream, right?

11. Why is the distance between Ohio, Virgina, Kansas and Arizona so far? Could someone please just scramble the states so I can live closer to my brothers? I want to be able to walk over to their houses when I know one of them is baking or cooking so I can just eat their food. It always sounds better than mine.

12. Why do those damn walnuts keep dropping in my yard? And why do I have to worry about them smacking me on the head on the way to the ground? It’s not even my tree!

Okay, now that I’ve got all those random thoughts off my chest, it’s time to become productive. Time to sift through all that fabric and decide what to do with it. Oh yeah, and time to visit Mr. D’s house for some poop scooping.