Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Walkies with Bingo

Bingo and I are creating our little daily rituals. First thing in the morning I feed her and then we go for a walk. "Walkies!" I say, and she gets all excited. I have a Bingo station by the door with leash, treats, and other accouterments. I stand at the door and she circles around me once and then sits down and I put her collar and leash on her. Here's our walk yesterday afternoon:

Down to the lake.


One of my favourite views.

Multi-coloured chairs & one for the little one!

Across the road to head back up.

"What's that?"

And this morning's walk:

Down to the lake.

Misty morning.

Favourite view.

I don't have any pix when we go past the lake. Mostly to find a woodsy area where I don't have to use the plastic bag stuffed in my pocket!

On our way back home, toward the lake.

Another shot of the lake. 
Favourite chairs.

I have a lot of lake pictures, but I'm really appreciating the beauty of it. I wouldn't take the time or effort if it weren't for Bingo. She's definitely motivating me to walk down there.  :-)

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Doe A Deer

'member when I lived at the River House and would have deer everywhere? Well:

Dear deer in my back yard.  :-)  Hullo.

I spoze when I have a garden (stop laughing, Mum) I won't welcome the deer.

But for now, it's very sweet.  HAPPY SUNDAY, everyone!

Saturday, July 28, 2012


It's been almost 3 months since Maggie died. It simultaneously feels like ages ago and just yesterday. A few weeks ago, Mari sent an email out with an appeal to find a home for Bingo, a 7-year-old black lab mix. The owner, Jessica, was heartbroken to rehome her, but she has to move to Colorado to take care of her aging grandparents; in particular her grandmother who had broken both arms prior to a lumpectomy surgery. Her grandfather is allergic to dogs and they don't have a backyard.

I didn't think I was ready for another dog. I'm enjoying the freedom of cat ownership; no walks, no rushing home, no worries about thunder storms, etc.  I dutifully FW'd the email to my animal friends but kept thinking about her:

Photos that came with the email. Bingo nestled in with one of Jessica's room mate's min pins. Obviously plays well with others.

Chow mix?

Melty picture that made me go all soft and gooey, of course. Those eyes!
 Of course I have a soft spot for black labs; all my dogs have been black lab mixes.  And even tho I kept telling myself It's too soon after Maggie, I had ventured over to Petfinder. I had even found a rottweiler that I was smitten with and had called about, but he had been adopted the day before I called.    I guess it wasn't meant to be. And Bingo was in the back of my mind. There had been a mention of food aggression and she was scared of thunder storms, but had a Thunder Shirt like Maggie. While I was sympathetic to Jessica's dilemna, I also was mindful of not taking on a dog with issues. 20 years ago, before Barkley, I'd had a very difficult dog named Bailey. She has her own chapter in my book-in-progress, Healing Dogs with Love. In fact, when I was looking at M&M, Miss Ruthie told me to do a home visit with the caution, "Remember Bailey." All of this was in the back of my head. But then I had just gotten a book on Amazon, and this popped up on the Thank-you-for-your-order page:

It's a sign!  So I emailed Jessica and sent her a link to my blog. Mari gave me a glowing referral. And I set up a time to meet Bingo. She was really sweet and I really hit it off with Jessica and her room mate, Karen (also a massage therapist). Jessica told me that she'd been praying to St. Francis to help find a new home for Bingo, and when she went to my blog, there I'd had a picture of St. Francis in a blog post. For both of us, it felt like this was meant to be. She would stay with Jessica for 3 more weeks and  then I'd get her. 

After my Bingo vizzie, I popped over to Mari's. I told her about Bingo and commented on how small she was compared to my other dogs; she's only about 60 lbs. Mari pointed out that my house was smaller now, too. I hadn't thought of that!

The day I picked up Bingo, it was raining. We all had convivial chit-chat and then a tearful good-bye, followed by an uneventful ride home. She's the first dog I've had who could jump up in the car by herself without the aid of a ramp or horse stairs or coaxing with treats. She nestled in to the back seat and we drove home in the rain. When we walked in the door, Tabby came to greet me as she usually does and Bingo lunged at her and snapped. Gahhhhhh!  

And that was the beginning of my OMG! What-have-I-done?! panic. But we took a walk down to the lake and she was very well behaved. She did go after the chickens across the street, but ignored the cows. We came back and Tabby was sitting on top of the sofa. Growling and hissing. Oh, no.

I gave Bingo some reassuring pets and fed her. Tabby had taken to walking on whatever surface she could find to be above Bingo; a path from the bookcase to behind the TV and up to the counter. Where she sat and growled. It had been a long day; 4 hours sleep and rainy-achey weather and well--just not the best day. So I went to bed. After Maggie died, I decided no more pets in my bedroom. I'm a light sleeper and they wake me up. So I put one of Bingo's bed outside my door and went to bed. She barked at 11:30p and woke me up. So I took her outside. Then again at 2:30 and then again at 5:30 barking. And she was whining--exactly like Bailey. OMG!  Not another Bailey! Not a good night. And in my sleep-deprived stupor, I emailed Jessica and told her this wasn't going to work out.  

I'm such an idiot.  

I had an email exchange back 'n' forth with Mari and said we have to find another home for her.  I was thinking about Bailey and how hard it was with her. What am I going to do? I can't have another Bailey. Somewhere I felt prompted to do some writing/editing of my book. And this is what I had written:

All dogs want is to love and be loved. 

Gah! I'm such an idiot!  

I had not given Bingo a chance to adjust. I'd just taken her from her family and she was in a new environment with a growling-spitting cat and me who was not focused on her, but myself. We went for a walk and I heard, Bingo is not Bailey. AND you are not the same person you were 20 years ago.  

I'm sorry, Bingo. I'm SO SORRY!  I sat with her on the floor and petted her. She looked at me with those liquid brown eyes. I will spend the rest of your life making it up to you. I wrote an email to Mari and Jessica, basically apologizing for being such an idiot. I feel so bad for putting Jessica thru all that drama. How horrible to love a dog and then worry about her in her new home with someone who might not appreciate and love her as you do. I'm so sorry.

As I write this, Bingo is snoozing on the floor by my feet. Tabby is growing used to Bingo and has stopped her automatic growling. She even jumped down from the counter to Bingo this morning and almost rubbed up against her. Progress!  Bingo slept thru the night and didn't bark until 8:30 this morning. We went for our morning walk to the lake and when we come back, she gets a treat. We are settling into a life together. It was a bumpy beginning, but I will do my best to give her the life she deserves. I love this sweet girl. 

Zzzzzz . . . .

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Bingo Is Her Name-O!

I have a new dog in the house; Bingo. She's a sweet black lab mix with a tail that thumps on the floor when I look at her. I went to meet her a couple weeks ago, and picked her up yesterday. She's a smart girl who knows Sit, Down & Roll Over with hand signals. So cute! I tried it this morning in the kitchen, but then she just lay on her back for the roll over because she wants me to scratch her belly again.

Here she is at our meet 'n' greet with Jessica, the gal who rescued her 6 years ago:

She was found after a drug raid, tied to a tree, weighing all of 15 lbs. at 6 months old. Can you imagine? Poor thing!  You can tell she's a happy girl from her pictures:

As I write this, she is sitting by my side. I reach down and give her a scratch and she thumps her tail.

Yesterday when we got home, I gave her a Mercola dental bone which she ate right up!

Bingo sporting her Thunder Shirt, which helps to calm her during storms.
Tabby and Bingo did not have a good introduction. Bingo chased after her and Tabby was not amused. Here she is looking at Bingo from behind the TV:

Bingo cheerfully looking at Tabby:

Hullo.  :-)
 So here's the deal: UPDATE!  I was looking for a home for her but she found it. Here. With me. And even Tabby is getting used to her. More Bingo-blogging to come . . . . 

Look at this sweet face.  :-)


My latest favourite quote from Don Juan DeMarco:

Monday, July 23, 2012

Monday for Mari

I've been reading Patricia McConnell's For the Love of a Dog: Understanding Emotion in You and Your Best Friend. Brilliant-brilliant-brilliant! Now some people argue that dogs don't have emotions because they are animals. As if. As if they don't have brains with the same sort of neurotransmitters that humans have. I think these assertions are made by auditory people who think that just because animals can't talk, they can't feel. What's wonderful about Patricia McConnell is that she's a scientist, and backs up her information with a lot of neuroscience and other sciencey-type research. I found particularly fascinating the different physiological clues and facial expressions that dogs make that give us insights into what they're feeling or trying to communicate.  Pay attention to body posture; stiffness, leaning forward or back. A dog who bites out of fear has a different physiology compared to one who bites out of aggression.  

Humans and dogs have many of the same facial expressions, so I went thru a few pix to look for illustrations from the book. One of the first things is to look at the mouth; opened & relaxed (a dog's version of smiling) or closed, denoting tension. Here's Remi:

Hmmm . . . closed mouth. Also brow furrowed. I think he was thinking, "What?" 
Here he is, mouth open and he is leaning into me--all 145 lbs. of him!  Patricia McConnell says that dogs are not "huggers" like us primates, but I'm not embracing him full on or very tightly. I let him cozy up to me.
Remi in the center of the labyrinth. Mouth smiling.  He always came and joined me in the center of the labyrinth, and so I asked him to stay so I could take his picture. You can see him leaning forward wanting to come out.
Here's mama Barkley:

I always thought of this as a serious picture. Mouth closed. 
But here she is in the background with a happy, relaxed mouth:

And Remi resting his big head on Mum. He liked to do that.  :-)  "Yes, you're very sweet. Now go away," says Mum. "And you're not a dog, you're a horse."
Here's Albus, my sister's dog. Looking very happy sitting outside the labyrinth.

Here he is at the beach. Mouth closed, and looking a bit tense (or perhaps he's enjoying the breeze flapping his ears?) He went after a woman when he was off-leash that week. This was also the trip where he bit my niece. He was not a good dog to be around lots of kiddiewink noise.
And one of my favourite pictures:

Millie, mouth smiling AND eyes closed. Melting.  :-) 
Maggie & Millie, smiling with Mari. 
Patricia talks about "whale eye," a fear look where the whites of the eyes are showing. I don't know if  this qualifies, but Maggie was awfully patient and sweet with nephew Rowan:

Rowan's mouth open, Maggie's mouth closed. 
When I took this photo last year, I thought it was really sweet. Now I think Millie's not looking too happy. 
Maggie, 2011. Not so Christmasy-cheery. Sorry Mags! 

This was one of my favourite sequences of photos. I was outside taking Millie's picture. I didn't know what she was looking at, but she was watching Tabby Bobcat walking on the ramp behind me:  

I didn't know Tabby was behind me until!  I felt her jump on my back while I simultaneously snapped the look of surprise on Millie's face!

Yes, dogs show surprise the same way humans do: raised eyebrow muscles and the jaw drops down a bit.
And we'll end with more happy pix of Maggie & Millie:

Here are Millie & Maggie the first day I brought them home to the River House; sitting by the labyrinth.  :-)
SO happy sniffing for whatever rodent was under the river-dusty car!

Happy Millie sitting at the top of the ramp . . . 

Heh heh heh. Blocking Maggie's way--but she doesn't look too unhappy about it!
Millie's favourite spot at the River house; sitting in front of the living room window. Happy mouth,  & she sees SOMEthing fascinating in that field!

I'm leaving you with this picture of Maggie & Tabby Bobcat together on the front porch of the Lake House because it's just so sweet:

HAPPY Monday!