Monthly Archives: March 2014

Open Gate

Yesterday my worst fear came true. In fact it’s probably one of the worst fears any dog owner has.

I got home close to eleven last night. I didn’t notice anything peculiar about the gate on the west side of our house. I got out of the car, went inside, and immediately let the dogs outside to go potty. Again, I didn’t notice anything wrong. I just opened the backdoor, let them out and went back in the house.

While the dogs were outside, I got settled in. I removed my work shoes, put on pajamas, and decided what I wanted to eat. I also put food in the girls’ bowls so they could have their supper. That done, I figured sufficient time had passed and I opened the back door. Normally the sound of the backdoor opening is enough to bring the girls running. I didn’t hear them.

“Come on inside now,” I sang. Those words always brought the dogs running. No dogs. No sound of their tags. Silence. It was then that I looked to my right and saw that our gate was wide open.

“Oh no!” I screamed. I ran out of the gate calling their names. “Haley, Molly.” I clapped my hands.

I heard the jingling of their tags. Haley came running down the street (she likes to potty in the neighbors’ yards, especially those across the street) and Molly emerged from the shadows of our next door neighbor’s tree. Where they had actually been I’ll never know.

I was so relieved when I saw them. I thought I was going to cry. I secured the gate and welcomed them into the house. They danced at my feet and then sat down when I held up their food bowls.

I called my husband and asked him if he’d left the gate open. He told me no. “Stupid kids,” I said. Mind you, I don’t hate kids. I just don’t like when children exhibit rude tendencies like: screaming at the top of their lungs late at night (okay, so I did this when I was a kid), or leaving their toys on your property/in your driveway, or ricocheting their basketballs off the backboard of the goal which may or may not result in the basketball hitting your car, or entering your property without permission. 

He told me that I didn’t know it was the next door neighbors’ kids. I was positive it was them. Who else would go in our backyard? Sometimes the electric company went through our backyard, but that is only to carry ladders in order to access the street light behind our house. They’re also pretty good about latching gates.

The only thing I could think of is the children next door were playing with a ball or some other toy and it ended up in our backyard. Since no one was home (I’m assuming they knocked on the front door first to check, but we know what happens when you assume) they decided to get the toy themselves, forgetting to latch the gate behind them.

Honestly, I don’t care if the kids go in the backyard to retrieve something. I just care that they don’t latch the gates behind them.

I hate to think what would have happened if a car came down the street while my girls were loose.

It was time to put an end to people going in our yard without our permission (this is the second or third time our gate has been left open since the family moved next door). This morning I went out and bought two locks–one for each gate (come to think of it I should have bought a third lock for our back gate). Before I left for work earlier I attached the locks to the two front gates. Now, if the kids have to get something out of our back yard they’ll either have to jump the fence, go behind all of the houses and enter through the back, or they’ll have to come to the front door and ask us/wait until we get home.

My husband is all for keeping the toys hostage in our garage if we find them on our property. I’m all for the kids asking for them back as I have no use for children’s toys. I think both of us are ready to move out of the city and into a place where the houses aren’t near as close together.

Until next time…run like someone left the gate open.


Schnauzer Sitting

His name is Bliz. He went home yesterday, but had spent eight days with my husband, me, and our menagerie of animals. I never let him meet my rats; I didn’t trust him around my rats. He got to see the ferrets, but he wasn’t allowed to directly interact with them; I didn’t trust him. He’s a Schnauzer and I know their history, prior to being in the Working dog class they were in the terrier class. I know about terriers too.

He’s a big baby; doted on at home. Perhaps not even let outside all that often because for the first couple days he would whine at the back door when I’d put the dogs out to go potty. Sometimes he would run and try to hide and we’d have to bodily carry him outside.

Eventually he learned that being outside wasn’t a bad thing. On nice days the dogs were outside most of the day. He seemed to enjoy himself.

Haley and Molly didn’t seem to mind him much. About half-way through the week Molly started playing with him. Haley only acknowledged him when she needed to, like when they were both on the love seat with me and she used him as a pillow. Other than that, he really didn’t exist to her.

His whining drove us nuts and we’re not used to dogs that have to be in our laps, so it was an adjustment for us humans. We had to get used to him and he had to get used to the routine at our house. By Wednesday, he didn’t annoy us as much. By Thursday we actually liked him. By Friday he was part of the family. By Saturday we were somewhat buddies.

His mom and human sister returned for him on Saturday. They missed him. They wondered if he missed them. I told them that he had a rough first few days because he was in a strange environment, but he quickly adapted. While I talked, he tried to terrorize the ferrets. I called him, snapped my fingers, and pointed to the floor at my feet. He came and laid down at my feet. He’d learned in just a few days what snapping of the fingers and pointing meant. Smart dog.

His mom noticed that he’d lost some weight. Between smaller portion sizes and outdoor exercise I suppose he had lost a couple pounds. I didn’t notice. He looked the same to me.

I carried him out to her car. He hopped right in. She thanked me; gave me a hug. Then she, her daughter, and her dog-son drove away. I returned to the house. It felt a little different without Bliz’s presence. I was relieved and a bit sad. Relieved because he was a needy dog; sad because I had worked with him and got him used to the way we did things.

I released my girls from the playpen they were in and tried to put him out of my mind. He wasn’t my responsibility anymore, or at least until the next time we dog-sit him.

To a certain extent am anxious to see him again. In his home environment this time so I can see how they do things. I offered some pointers in how to get him to stop marking other people’s homes and getting him a solid, rather than soft-sided crate. I want to see if he does better after staying at my house for a week.

I know that a week doesn’t give enough time for change and I know it is up to his parents to keep up with his discipline and routine, but I hope that the next time I see him he’ll be a polite little boy with perfect potty manners and that loves to go outside.

What? I can dream can’t I?

Until next time…that is not a good place to relieve yourself.


Home Made Diet

I’ve read different articles about raw diets, making dog food at home and so on. To me it was a nice idea, but not necessarily practical for me. I’m a vegetarian, I’m sure I mentioned that before. That being said, feeding my dogs a raw diet was an unnecessary expense. There also was the added complication of Haley being allergic to chicken (and possibly other meats). She seemed fine on lamb and rice, but I eventually took her off of that and put all of my dogs on a vegetarian diet. Her allergies improved; she didn’t have near as many flair-ups on her belly. Unfortunately, there wasn’t enough protein in the food to keep up with her healthy metabolism (oddly enough the other dogs kept their weight and might even gained some, but it might have been an illusion due to the fact that Haley was once heavier than them, but lost weight and is now lighter than them). To add insult to injury, Haley doesn’t chew her food (I know, most dogs don’t) and on Saturday evening vomited up her entire meal for the day. As a result she was rail thin and I was worried.

 

Fortunately, the loss of weight didn’t slow her down any. She’s more active now than she was before. Only, she’s too skinny weighing probably about ten or eleven pounds when she should be weighing fourteen.

 

I decided that she needed some added protein in her diet. So, I put her on lentils and rice–a favorite meal of mine because it is simple yet a complete meal. Today is the second or third day that she’s been on it. She still has a whole lot of energy, and sometimes seems that she has more energy now than before. I haven’t noticed much weight gain, but I know that will take some time. It also seems like the yeasty smell of her coat that I’ve gotten used to is starting to fade. Maybe, just maybe, my Haley is getting better. Only time will tell.

 

It is difficult having a dog with allergies, but I don’t consider her special-needs despite the fact that she probably is. I just see her as my baby who needs a little extra attention in the nutrition department. My hope is that this lentils and rice diet will improve her health so that we won’t have to resort to allergy shots. I’ll keep you posted about Haley’s health.

 

On a lighter note, we might be moving. I’ve decided that the 40 minute drive to work warranted looking into getting a loan to buy a house closer to my job. I’ve talked with a loan officer and I might be qualified for a Rural Development Loan. I’ve glanced at houses in the area and I found one place on nine acres of land–oh the possibilities! I’ve decided that some goats and a Great Pyrenees will have to come live with us. Maybe even a Blue Heeler or two. My dad and I were even discussing that he could live on the land–in his own place of course–and be responsible for keeping the grass down; perhaps he might even pursue his gardening passion.

 

My husband was dubious at first, but he’s come around. He likes the idea of living in the country. Which is odd because he is a self-proclaimed city boy. Me? I’m a country girl at heart. I don’t consider myself a cowgirl or anything, but I do like certain aspects that go with living in the country like goats, herding dogs, lots of property, and being close to [most] nature. I should know in a couple weeks how things are going to go. For those who are praying people, keep my family in your prayers. For the rest of you keep your fingers crossed.

 

Until next time, eat like you have all day and then soak up the sun because Spring is almost here!


Doggy Buggy

I have toy dogs. Three of them, but only two of them are currently living with me, my puppy is with my mom. Two of them are purebred Shih Tzu and the puppy is a Shih Tzu-Yorkie mix. I love to take them to Petsmart and Petco. It gets them out of the house and socializes me. Sometimes I let them walk, but other times I put them in the shopping cart as it is much easier to shop without them pulling this way and that.

Since I have toy dogs, I have certain urges to be that dog owner. You’ve met that dog owner and are possibly one yourself if you love your dogs as much as I love mine. I want to be that owner who dresses her dogs up (for photo shoots only, I don’t do dressing them up to go out in public, at least not yet), cuddles them, spoils them, feed them from [plastic] spoons and forks. Mostly, I want to be that owner that puts her dogs in a stroller.

Some people laugh at the strollers. I used to. I thought it was undignified. “Dogs aren’t children. They can walk on their own four paws.” But there is a part of me that realizes that strollers do have their place.

Several years ago, my mother and I were shopping at Hobby Lobby when we saw a woman with a stroller. We didn’t think anything of it until we realized that there was a Yorkie in the stroller and not a baby. As long as the Yorkie was in the stroller, no one minded the dog’s presence.

Another instance was when a lady brought her dogs into the salon to get their nails done. She had three little Chihuahuas in a stroller. Even though I wanted to think that she was that owner, I really couldn’t. I wouldn’t want to fight with three tiny dogs and their leashes, trying to untangle them when they get wrapped around each other or me. Or, if I had them on a coupler had to deal with them trying to go in opposite directions. In this case it was a practical thing.

Hence the reason why I want a dog stroller. I have toy dogs and taking them out shopping can be difficult battling with leashes, them sniffing here, them sniffing there…it’s all fine and good at first, but it gets old really fast. Not to mention Haley has food allergies and there are always pieces of dog food on the floor that she tries to get to. A stroller would keep her from eating anything and everything and it also leaves my hands free while I shop. It’s practical.

Like I need to justify myself to anyone…

Like I need to justify myself to myself…

Why don’t I just allow myself to become that owner? Why don’t I just go out, buy a stroller, dress up my dogs, take them out, call them my furbabies, and be done with it? The only answer is: because I haven’t done it yet. I keep putting it off. I’m too lazy. Yep, that’s what holds me back, my own laziness.

I guess it isn’t such a bad thing. My husband would kill me if I dressed up my dogs. My philosophy? If it doesn’t bother the dog then it doesn’t bother me. My dogs don’t mind being dressed up. In fact in the wintertime they love their coats and get excited when I pull them out. They love their harnesses too. So why not dress them up from time to time? They’re cute dogs. I should show off their cuteness.

Yes, I am a bit vain, I apologize.

Sorry if the last two posts have been kind of random. I’m just writing as my brain fires out words and phrases. I think I’m coming to the end of the words and phrases that my brain has stored up. So…

Until next time, that little pink shirt matches your eyes.


Seasons of Change

I really wish I could get back into the swing of my weekly posts. For some odd reason, after a hiatus it is hard to start up again. I’m going to try to write more, but I can’t make any promises.

I have a new job. I’ve finally put my Masters in Library and Information Studies to good use and am now a full-fledged librarian at a Catholic university about forty minutes from my house. My official title is Reference/Circulation Librarian, but I wear more hats than that as there are only three librarians. It’s a small, comfortable campus and I work in a small, comfortable yet spooky, library. I’ve been assured that the library isn’t haunted. No, it’s not, but Oklahoma can be windy and the building is ancient so when the wind blows the windows rattle. Not necessarily a sound one wants to hear when they’re in the library by themselves at night.

Oh, yes, I work until ten at night. It’s not bad. I have student workers who keep me company most of the time. On Thursday nights though I close by myself, that’s when the silence of the library is deafening. Oddly enough, it’s music to my ears.

The good thing about being a librarian is I have a whole lot of time to write which means that I might be able to blog more often.

Haley and Molly are back with us. I couldn’t stand being without them anymore and I’m so glad that they’re back. They’re amusing little girls.

Oh, speaking of dogs, the university allows dogs that are being trained as therapy dogs. In fact there are two Australian Shepherd dogs that come visit the library from time to time. Seeing them makes me want to get my dogs certified as therapy dogs. I think it would be fun and beneficial for all of us. It would be one more thing that I could do with my dogs.

So what is it like working as a librarian? Fun, but it’s not for everyone. No, we don’t read books all the time even though I have spent hours reading in the evenings. Most of the time we provide computer services to the students. We help the professors as well. Next month I’ll be able to do some library instruction for a Freshman Comp I class. I can’t wait. This is what I was trained for and it’s nice to finally do what I was trained to do.

You’re probably wondering what happened with the grooming job. I quit after my boss only scheduled me to work one day a week, but newer bathers were getting several days a week. I figured that it wasn’t worth it anymore. So, I quit and began searching for a job in a relevant field to my Masters. That’s how I ended up as a librarian. I don’t regret it either.

Don’t get me wrong, the grooming job was so much fun, but the people (mostly women) were a bit difficult to deal with. After getting ill-behaved dog after ill-behaved dog, I realized that I love dogs too much to work with them on a daily basis. I also loved my sanity too much to work with my co-workers and the dog owners.

Besides, I get paid a whole lot more now and have been able to buy almost everything that I want in the two paychecks that I’ve already received. Basically, what I make in a month now it would take me two or three months to make at my old job.

Now it’s time to save up so I can make a nice down payment on a house by this time next year, if not sooner. Fingers crossed.

Well that’s about it for this post. I should have another post ready before 10, if not at least within the next twenty-four hours.

Until next time, get ready to spring forward