Saturday, June 30, 2012

Dee's Yard

A coupla weeks ago, Dee & I went to spend a Resonance Repatterning weekend with the FABULOUS founder, Chloe Wordsworth. Dee is a fellow labyrinth enthusiast. She switches hers up and does a different one every season. This one is made of sea shells & other treasures, and is her own design:

Dee in the center. 

She has AWESOME trees!

Backyard gazebo. 

St. Francis.  :-)

Friday, June 29, 2012

Down to the Lake in the A.M.

Love the spider webs.

So spider-webby.

This is one of my favourite views; love that little kid chair with the grown-up ones.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Tabby Bobcat Thursday

I'm missing M&M. And Barkley & Remi. But I don't want to rush into getting a new dog just yet. Mostly because I don't think I have the energy to do it--certainly not for a puppy. I was lying on the sofa watching TV and my hand fell down toward the carpet and I just missed Maggie. It's where she would be if she were still with me. It's where Barkley would have been, too.

Here's Tabby curled up in a box of John Morgan stuff; maps, calendars, etc. 

I was going to cover the box in pretty fabric or get crafty & collage or decoupage, but as you can see, Tabby has been chewing the edges. She does that. 

She greets me at the door like a dog and makes a trilling noise as she talks to me. She scratches at my bedroom door which is a cat-free zone.

"This here is good chewing cardboard."

She is my connection to M&M. And I think she misses them. Should I get another cat to keep her company? Ugh. Twice the litter box. And I don't really want to become a cat woman. And I want to get my house in order.  Always a work in progress! Anyway, missing the girls and grateful for Tabby, all in one. 

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

This is hysterical! Thought I'd share it:

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Mum & a Few Pix

Those who know Mum will not be surprised to see this:

Whatcha doin', Mum?  
Oh, just breaking up this concrete slab.
As you do.

A coupla months back I painted most of my kitchen, but stopped at the fridge. I couldn't move it by myself & it was a good stopping point. The fridge has been out in the middle of the kitchen waiting to finish getting the water system installed, so this was the perfect opportunity to get behind there and whip on some paint: 

What's this, you ask? 

LOVE you, Mum!

And in other news, last night's dinner at Chez-Chiro-sis:

Nephew RoRo is learning to cut his food PROPERLY. 

But then he put down knife & fork to eat with his fingers. Hahahaha
 After dinner, backyard vizzie:

And of course, I found a 4-leaf clover, but wasn't sure if it counted:

Leaves trimmed by a lawn mower. Chiro-sis remarked, "NOT so lucky, are you?"  Hahahaha

Monday, June 25, 2012

Monday for Mari

Barkley: My Love Affair with Dogs Begins

Miss Ruthie had a menagerie of animals on her farm, including Rottweilers. When I would visit, Rottweiler Gretel would trot up to me and lie in my lap—well, her head was in my lap. She was a big girl! I loved her and wanted to get a Rottweiler, but Husband was opposed because they have a reputation. Miss Ruthie’s friend’s daughter’s dog had labweiler puppies, (half black lab, half Rottweiler) and I picked out Barkley when she was three weeks old. She was all black and had a labby head with small rottie ears and a rottie body. I had just discovered basketball and I named her after Charles Barkley. I downplayed the Rottweiler part to Husband.

One of thirteen puppies, she had had a good puppyhood under Miss Ruthie’s tutelage. I crate trained her from the start and she would settle into her crate for naps and at night time. Crate training made housetraining so much easier, for one. It also made it easier for Barkley for when guests came over and they weren’t comfortable around dogs. She just went to her crate. Also, it made traveling easier, because I knew she was safe. Once we had to stop by somewhere on our way to our bay house. It was a hot summer day, so we just brought her up with her crate and there she was, comfortable in her domain. It prepares dogs for any kind of containment; kenneling or if they’ve had surgery and need to be still.

Barkley with Spider. Spider used to drool when you pet him.

The first thing I remember about Barkley is that she smiled. She smiled when she was excited to see you. So then whenever she smiled I would say, “Smile.” Eventually she would smile on command. Actually, that’s the second thing. The first thing is that she was very licky. Lick-lick-lick. “Why does she have to be so licky?!” my husband would complain. And she liked to sit on my feet. It was very comforting having the weight and warmth of her body leaning into me. She was just a people dog.

She could fetch and she liked to play. She was very energetic and such a lab. Except. She hated water; which was good because I never had to be concerned about her trying to escape the backyard. The only time I ever saw her voluntarily jump into a body of water was when a neighbor-friend brought his purebred, 23-bloodlines, dumber than a stump, black lab for a visit. His name was Rolex, because . . . wait for it; yes, he was a watch dog. Anyway, he went running down our pier and jumped off the end. Barkley followed suit. Splash! I couldn’t believe it. Perhaps she was nearing her heat cycle at the time. And then! 

The valiant Falcon, 1/2 ankle-biter, 1/2 weaner dog. 

Falcon, my stepson’s little yappy dog, who was with us for the weekend, went flying after Barkley as if to say, “I’ll save you!”  Splash! All 22 pounds of him!

Barkley on the pier at the bay. Remi in the yard in the background.
Her distaste for water wasn’t just with swimming; it was also with the rain. She hated getting her feet wet, and if it was raining, she’d stand at the door and look out. If I called to her or put her on a leash, she did this funny little I-hate-the-rain dance where she lifted up her paws and try to shake off the water. Sometimes she really just refused to go out if it was very wet. “I’m not going out in that stuff!”

She was also very sneaky when it came to baths. We had a walk-in shower, so I would just put her on a leash and walk her in. That worked the first time! The second time, she knew what was going on. I did get her into the shower, but I had to keep her on the leash, and essentially do everything one handed because she had figured out how to open the shower door with her nose. She was annoyingly smart and disobedient like that. But as I write this, it makes me laugh to think of getting soaking wet and soapy with her.

Somewhere along the line, she got scared of thunderstorms. It wasn’t until much later in her life, so I think she must have gotten frightened at a kennel, or when I was away for the day. She would shiver and shake and her teeth would chatter. Temple Grandin says that once animals get scared like that, it’s harder to get them unscared.

So I’d give her a homeopathic remedy, Whole System EEP (by Nutriwest) for calming down as well as Perelandra’s ETS for Animals, which is their version of the Bach flower essence, Rescue Remedy. Barkley responded very well to homeopathic remedies and flower essences. She had a queasy stomach sometimes, especially when she got nervous, so I’d give her nux vomica. She was mostly very cheerful, and just wanted to nuzzle in.

We had hand crank door bells on the doors that you would turn when you wanted to ring the bell. She would go and touch the bell and make it ding when she wanted to go out. If we were at our vacation home, she would touch the door knob. She was so smart like that. I never taught her to do that, she just did it.

Barkley by the door with the crank bell.
She was with me wherever I went. When I was in college I had a word processer, which I thought was very fancy at the time. Barkley would lie on my feet as I was tippy-tapping away on the keyboard. And then when I was printing out my paper, we would play a game with her bone. I would hide it, and she would find it. “Where’s your bone, Barkley?” Of course, being the Pavlovian dog that she was, after a few times, as soon as she heard the click of the printer starting, she was all excited.

I took her to basic doggie obedience class for a six-week course when she was still a puppy. We learned how to sit and stay and heel. She was so smart. I would play with her in the house. “Sit,” I would say. And she would watch me as I inched further away. In the beginning, she would start after me. “Stay.” I would go on the other side of the house and call to her, and she would come, wagging her little nubby tail as if she’d not seen me all day.
~Excerpted from Healing Dogs with Love

Monday, June 11, 2012

Monday for Mari


I was fully prepared to be a cat person for the rest of my life. Enter Beau, an Australian sheepherding dog with a bladder control problem. Inherited from my then-husband’s ex-wife who would euthanize him if we didn’t take him, Beau became my responsibility. I had to get over my fear of dogs, and especially this one. Not so much that I thought he would bite me, but that he peed everywhere when he got excited. Which was pretty much his standard “hello,” when he saw you. That coupled with his errant herding instinct of knocking me down when I was carrying groceries into the house... well, we had some work to do. I had to look beyond my resentment of the ex for forcing a dog into my life. I didn’t like dogs; coupled with the drooling spit factor, they’re smelly and messy and take a lot of attention. And I really didn’t like this one with the added pee factor. But I was the primary caretaker, and so we had to make friends. Until Beau, I hadn’t really had any consistent interaction with dogs. I was a cat person; they are more convenient. They aren’t clammering for attention. They don’t drool. Where dogs are saying, Pet-me-pet-me-pet-me, cats are saying, Perhaps you may pet me. If I feel like it. Maybe.

My husband used to play this cute game with Beau; he would be sitting in front of him, and he would take his finger and point it at him and say, “Bang!” And Beau would flop over on the ground, playing dead.

My dear friend Miss Ruthie groomed Beau and cleaned him up. She is my expert on children and animals. I took him for a walk everyday, and fed and watered him. And somewhere along the way, I actually began to love this guy. He was really a sweet dog. And around the time that I realized that I wasn’t afraid of dogs anymore, and that I was attached to this one . . . we went away for a weekend and a friend was coming to the house to feed him and he got out of the house and disappeared. She never made much of an effort to find him. Husband walked up the road toward a farm and found that he had gotten hit by a car. Just like that, he was gone. It was the oddest thing; I was petting him before we left and I felt him saying goodbye to me. But not just goodbye for the weekend. I was assuring him that we’d be back. And he was trying to tell me he wouldn’t be there when we got back.

Beau came into my life and helped to heal an old wound. He showed me the capacity for love of a dog. When I got that lesson, his work was done. 

~Excerpted from Healing Dogs with Love
Sorry for the lack of a photo of Beau--am working on it!

Monday, June 4, 2012

Monday for Mari

I'm in love with a dog I didn't know.

It started with a suggestion from John Morgan to research other dog books, as I'm writing my own. So I went to Amazon & googled. And I got sucked into this:

Sweet Lou.
I knew going into Last Dog on the Hill  that Lou lived 16 years and that this book was a tribute to his life. So I knew as I was reaching the end of the book that I would also be reaching for the tissues at the end of his life story. I boo-hooed my way thru the last part, of course. This dog was a real hero. He confronted an armed robber, attacked a rapist and during the course of his life saved hundreds of troubled & misbehaving dogs from certain euthanization. In the process, he gave Steve Duno a new profession as a dog trainer.

"Real heroes are not pompous or bigheaded. They're accidental and sweet and good-hearted, with nothing to prove. Farm kids called to war, cops and firefighters rushing into eternity, plain folk when the dykes break. They are uncomfortable with attention tendered for simply doing what seemed right at the time." (p. 187)

Reading Lou's story also sparked memories of all my dogs. Steve talks about how Lou would place his paw over his foot, and that this was a typical Rottweiler behaviour. I laughed at the memory of Remi, who used to do that, too!

"Our friendship defined us. These days I can't think of myself, or of life before or after him, without imagining him here forever, like an inscription carved in my heart."  (p. 181)

My sweet Remi & Barkley.
"The essential crime committed against all dog owners is born of the love we hold for them, which, like the love of a child, runs deep. No parent should have to bury a child, they say, but that is what we dog owners must do, not once but time after time, throughout our lives. While we remain unchangeable to their sweet eyes, they run from birth to the grave in an instant of our own measure. They burn like kindling, and though we know we can never replace one dog with another, we keep trying, in hopes of reviving hints of some great dog gone by. No; they are not children we bury. But dogs like Lou come close. They come very, very close." (p.5)

My sweet Millie & Maggie.
This book is Lou's story, but in the process of reading it, you will fall in love with your own dogs even more.  My friend Gareth from Mystic Pet said that all dogs want is a master to be devoted to & love. I think it goes two ways when you have a special bond with a dog. This book is a testimony not just to Lou's loyalty and devotion, but also to that of the author's. For anyone who has ever rescued a dog and wondered, Who rescued whom? Read this book.

Here's a trailer for the book: