My Dogography

Dog_Geek Greyhound

As a kid I was small and skinny. Too studious and too serious to be popular. So I devoted myself to learning all I could, to getting through school and getting on with life as soon as I could.


Dog_High Class

As a young man, I decided to get into business. I worked hard and applied myself so I’d move up the corporate ladder and be able to have all the things I wanted…  Continue reading “My Dogography”

Inside a Free Spay and Neuter Clinic

Because I work with rescue animals every day, I am quite aware of spay and neuter programs like The Big Fix and Beat the Heat, and I applaud their efforts to reduce the animal overpopulation which results in around 4 million animals being destroyed each year. These programs offer low cost, or no cost, spaying and neutering on special “clinic” days. This morning I was able to volunteer in one of these major clinics. This one was hosted by the Dr. Carol Hood Memorial Animal Clinic in Newport Tennessee.

I was to show up at 7:00 AM, and I did so. Though it was barely light outside, there was already a table set up outside the front door, manned by volunteers, and a line of folks bringing their pets in to be “fixed”. My role was to help get the animals inside, weighed, and crated to await their surgery.

spay and neuter clinic catsThe shelter’s Director and staff had everything well organized and it seemed to go smoothly. I heard several of the other volunteers comment on how well organized this clinic was. Reservations had been taken ahead of time, crates and neckbands had been labeled with each pet and owner’s names, files had been set up with all the pertinent information. As patients arrived they were ticked off a master list, neck banded, weighed, and crated. Cats went into small crates in the hallway, spay and neuter - dogsdogs in larger crates in the laundry room. Files went into the medical room so they could start drawing up drugs by each animal’s weight.

spay and neuter - mobileIn addition to the shelter’s own medical staff: Dr. Gill Conklin DVM and vet tech Alicia Payne, working diligently in the shelter’s operating room, a mobile unit from Lowell Michigan run by Dr. Bruce Langlois arrived to help out. Continue reading “Inside a Free Spay and Neuter Clinic”

Fences and Hasenpfeffer

fence needed: rabbit eating flowersToday’s adventure deals with the garden project once again.  Helpful hints received from many of you (thank you very much) included advice for dealing with produce munching vermin.  I am collecting hair from our weekly haircuts for use in nylon stocking bags that will be hung on corner posts of the garden to ward off rabbits.  We don’t have as many rabbits as we did a few years ago because Dolly Dawg developed a taste for hasenpfeffer on the hoof… or paw… and while it was heart rending to know she was devouring those cute little bunnies, the damage being done to our flower beds has been dramatically reduced.  Perhaps fear of the “horrible, bunny eating beast of 1198” has spread for I have not seen hide nor hare of one for quite some time.  But, just to be safe, I plan to hang enough hair bags to drive them out of this end of the county!

Maybe human hair bags will also help ward off raccoons, possums, and squirrels.

Oddly enough, the dogs don’t seem the least bit interested in squirrels. Personally, I think the squirrels bought them off by telling them where the road kill is before any other neighborhood dogs can get to it.  They love possum though, live or flat. And they like coon as well, but rarely get any except when one get s hit by a car.  They’re pretty ferocious when cornered, and not as stupid as possums.  Possums will fall for anything!  Continue reading “Fences and Hasenpfeffer”

Way Back Whensday: Brandy

My brother, sister-in-law and their two little girls were visiting last week.  They stayed at Mom’s house, which is on our property, about 60 feet down hill from our house.  One of the things my 4 year old niece liked was visiting with our dogs.  I took one down to mom’s house each evening.  Erin liked giving them treats and petting them.  She asked that Cochise make an encore visit on her last day, so she may have liked him best this year.  Last year she and Blondie toured our house together during their visit.

We talked dogs.  I reminisced about one of my favorite dogs from my youth: Brandy.

Brandy was a Welsh Corgie.  Among his more outstanding features was that he liked to go sailing with me.  He even helped sail the boat.  Or at least bring it back to dock.

Brandy the sailor dogBrandy would stand on the foredeck with a pre-prepared rope in his mouth.  As we approached the dock I’d give him the word, he’d leap over to the dock, run around a cleat and jump back into the cockpit with me.  I’d take the rope and wrap it around a cleat on the boat and arrest or forward motion so we’d swing lightly along side the pier.  It was a trick that tended to leave spectators gape-jawed… once we got it down pat.  There were many embarrassing moments during the training.

Other peculiar traits were that he greatly disliked anyone in any kind of uniform: mail man, meter reader, policeman, military, any uniform.  I adopted him from a shelter, so I didn’t know his background.

Also, hot air balloons caused him to leap into the air and bark incessantly.  We lived in Bloomington/Normal IL at the time and hot air balloon races and exhibitions were not uncommon.  Airplanes, helicopters, birds: no problem.  Balloon: get ready for insanity.

Otherwise he was a pretty sedate, affectionate little fellow and I liked him a lot.  The feeling seemed to be mutual.

Why Foster Care?

Animal shelters and rescue programs desperately need the help of people who will provide in-home foster care for some of their animals.

What Is Animal Foster Care?

Foster Care saves lives
Belle – July 3013

Animal foster care is similar to human foster care in that you provide a loving, safe, temporary environment for animals in need.  Programs vary from facility to facility, but generally The Shelter/Rescue provides the food and medications; you supply the place and the love.

Why Animal Foster Care?

Shelters and rescues need foster homes for several reasons:

Continue reading “Why Foster Care?”

Snow Day for Blondie

snow dayIt snowed yesterday.  It snowed last night.  It’s snowing again this morning.  We currently have 6 or 7 inches of snow on the ground.  For New Hampshire, that’s nothing; for Tennessee that’s crippling.  The entire region has declared a snow day.  Schools closed yesterday.  Government offices are closed.  Most businesses are closed, those that are open are running on skeleton crews.  The road crews are pleading with folks to stay home: stay off the roads so they can get them cleared.  Stuck vehicles just slow them down.  We’ll just hunker in and make the most of it.  The dogs will enjoy this special play day with both of us here.

Continue reading “Snow Day for Blondie”

Clothes, Dogs and Fashion Sense

dogs, dress-up,clothngI have always considered dressing dogs in people-like clothes to be degrading and silly.  I’ll admit that I’ve seen (and enjoyed) some photos of dogs dressed up for Halloween that were really cute, and I marveled at the patience these dogs display in sitting still for a photo.  But to dress a dog in doll-like clothes and trot it around on a regular basis is…silly.  And I have always doubted that the dogs like it, so it must be something forced on them.

Cochise, spiffed up for visiting.

Accessories are another matter.  Even my own Cochise has shown a fondness for adding a splash of color when we go out to make our rounds at Christmas time.  But this does not restrict his movement or get snagged on things the way clothes do.

And protective clothes are an exception.  Our friends at Old Friends Senior Dog Sanctuary often put coats on their wards to help keep their aged bones warm in winter, but these are special made to conform to the shape of dogs bodies and to allow free movement.  And the dogs to seem to enjoy the protection from the cold.

It was, therefore, rather surprising to me to see Cochise’s reaction to being stuffed into a Tee shirt after he came in from the cold, shivering violently: Continue reading “Clothes, Dogs and Fashion Sense”

Silly Sun Puppies

Blondie-Cochise 131129 Sun Puppies-800The sun is shining again today, as it did yesterday, but not for a long time before that.  Blondie and Cochise are making the most of it: or trying to.

The sun has not yet swung around far enough to admit much of the sunbeam through the window, just a strip in front of the sofa.  They’re not allowed ON the sofa and they know it.  So I put the snuggle-bed over in the sunshine for Cochise when they came in from their last exercise time and he was shivering.  It’s cold out.  The cold doesn’t bother Blondie, she has a heavier coat.

Cochise curled into the bed, felt the warmth of the sunshine and moaned with pleasure.  Blondie stood nearby and looked at him enviously.  She poked at him with her nose.  He yawned at her (which in dog-speak does not mean he’s tired – in this case it was “go away you’re bothering me”).

Continue reading “Silly Sun Puppies”

Artificial Gravity? Ask the Big Dog

dog, bath, bathing,
Cochise pouts through the afterbath

As scientists the world over ponder the problems that must be surmounted so mankind can thrive in outer space, the debilitating effects of weightlessness is high up on the list of priorities.  However, I submit that if they want to find the secret to generating a field of artificial gravity, they need look no farther than the nearest large dog.  It never ceases to amaze me how a 90 pound Bulldog can suddenly increase his or her weight to around 200 pounds at the mere sight of a bath tub.

If scientists can figure out how a dog can increase their gravitational attraction at will, they should have the secret to creating artificial gravity in spaceships.

Old Bed, New Bed, Garden Bed

Published in September of 2013 by Grit Magazine

Marie has been promising Blondie that we’d buy her a nice snuggle-bed like Cochise’s as soon as Wal-Mart got one that wasn’t some outlandish color.  It has been months, but yesterday Marie got out of the truck and was carrying a lovely new snuggle bed.  Blondie wagged her tail so hard she was beating herself on the hips with it.  As soon as we laid the new bed down in the house, Cochise hopped into it and said, “Mine.”

Cochise takes Blondie's new bed.Blondie was not amused, “Just because he’s the alpha dog, he gets the new bed?  MY bed!”

After a bit she settled in though; thinking, “An old bed is better than no bed.  And I have gotten used to sleeping in this one even though it was supposed to be his.  I guess it’s OK.”

She’s SUCH a good girl!

Speaking of beds, I’ve been working on getting my raised beds in the garden ready for the fall/winter season.  Nearly all of the summer crops have run their course and I’ve been pulling out the old, dead plants, composting some and burning any that were diseased or nightshades – or both.

Disease hit us hard his year.  This was partly due to the extremely wet summer and partly due to the fact that I was using a modified square-foot garden method.  In every case, when I looked up causes for the leaf blights that hit us, overcrowding; which prevents leaves from drying properly and creates an environment conducive to mold and blight, was listed as a major cause.

Another hint at how wet it has been is the number of mushrooms that pop up continually, all over the place.  These little Fairy Parasol mushrooms (what I’ve always called them – I have no idea what their real name is) are all over.  But out in the yard we’ve had toad stools that got huge; when their caps opened up and flattened out they were 10 to 12 inches across!  And brain mushrooms that were the size of half a basketball.  Too bad none of them are edible or we’d have had an incredible harvest.

The Patti pan squash that was in here is gone, but the various peppers and green onions are still going strong, although the peppers don’t like the way the nights are getting chilly.  Since this box will lie fallow for the winter, I’ll let these grow until they decide to quit on their own.  The onions will probably continue to grow through the winter – I’ll just lay the straw in around them to exclude weeds.

This bed is planted in a variety of leaf lettuce – which grows well in the winter.  It will slow or stop growing in the real cold parts, but will remain alive even when buried under a snowfall.  The snow melts and out pops the green of the lettuce.  Other boxes contain beets, carrots, turnips, and onions (all grown primarily for their greens) and spinach.  Root crops grow well in the winter, but we don’t usually get much from the root.  But by trimming the greens judiciously, we can supply ourselves with fresh veggies all winter long.

I’ll have several boxes planted in Brussels Sprouts.  If I can exclude the looper moths this fall, the sprouts will grow nicely during the winter – benefiting from a frost – and produce great tasting sprouts until spring.  Keeping the moths out means covering the fence boxes with plastic or at least a fine mesh.

I also have several boxes planted as Butternut and Acorn squash.  Although these are called winter squash, their fruit probably won’t be harvestable until spring.  But, that will give us something once the summer squash in the freezer is gone and while waiting for the new summer crop to start producing.

Our sweet potatoes are doing well and will be harvested once the vines die back.

I also have a row of sugar peas planted against at trellis.  Peas like the cool weather of early spring and fall, so these will also grow well in the coming months.  We harvest these as tender young pods and use them in our cooking.

And of course I have the herb bed.  The basil does not like the cool nights.  It’s time to seed out a pot or two to keep in my office for winter cutting and setting out next spring.  The Sage did poorly again this year.  I have terrible luck with sage.  Rosemary, carrot, mint, dill, thyme, oregano, chives, green onions and parsley all did fine.  Although the oregano is looking a bit thin this fall.

Radishes were a disaster this year.  Too bad – I really like radishes.

It’s time to prune back the blueberries and grapes and clean out the strawberry bed for the winter.  And that will about take care of my seasonal garden change-over.

What are you doing to get ready for winter?  Am I missing anything?  Please share!