Holy Toledo Don’t Move

If you follow me, you know that I have a few dogs.  Mutt is the biggest of all three and the biggest chicken of them all.  This scaredy cat syndrome she has leads to a lot of uncontrolled barking.  My neighbors hate it and so do we.  My husband had threatened for years to buy one of those shocking dog collars for barking, but I forbade it.  All I could imagine was the ‘youtube’ video where the dude had the collar on and he barked.  Each time he barked louder and each time he was shocked with more intensity.   The poor guy was crying uncontrollable by the time he got it off.  NO WAY WAS THAT HAPPENING TO MY BABY GIRL. PERIOD.

Mutt is totally afraid of everything and everyone.  If she sees white on the ground, she refuses to go out.  It does not help that she was clobbered by a 2 foot avalanche of snow off the roof one year.  When she sees anything out in the yard that has not been there all her life, she spazzes out especially if it is black.  In out, in out, barking for one of us to come see what is in her space.  Fall is the worst.  Leaves…do I need to say more?  She has a dog door but you can forget about her using it after sun down.  In the rare cases she has tried to brave the night, she has high tailed it right back in with eyes as wide as apples, hair ruffled on her back, and barking to beat the band.  Heck, half the time she is running so fast and out of control to get back inside she misses the dog door completely and smacks her head into the door facing.  She is definitely my 80 pound chicken little.

One day I came home from work.  Hub was avoiding eye contact.  I knew something was up right then.  He only does this when he has done something he knows I would not approve of.  I looked all over for evidence to support my suspicion.  I found nothing.  As I was fixing dinner, I noticed Hub was becoming more fidgety and shifty eyed.  Hmmmmm.  I served dinner and all were in attendance except Mutt.

MUTT.  I look at Hub. Not a word escaped his lips.   He had that deer in the head light look.   I got up and looked out the back door.  There was Mutt in the corner of the yard pressed against the fence.  She was just sitting there not doing anything.  I opened the door and called her in.  She came walking on her tip toes.  What the heck was going on?  I asked Hub if he had beaten my dog.  He looked at me as if I had asked him if he’d killed one of my kids.  “Of course not!” he said with disgust.  Mutt comes in with a mixture of calm and defeat.  I thought maybe she was sick.  I resumed eating.

It was not until later that night I realized she had not uttered a sound all evening.  She went out and came back in without incident.  What in the world was going on?  I called her over to the couch.  She jumped up and laid her head in my lap. And that is when I saw IT.  Hubs had gone and bought that shock collar!  I throw my evil eye upon him and he immediately started with his defense.

He pointed out the fact that we had not heard a peep out of her all night.  (evil eye).  He pointed out that she has calmed down to a normal dog’s energy. (slight evil eye).  And the most important thing was the collar seemed to have a calming affect on her that made her a bit braver and more confident.  (Are you kidding me?  Huge Evil Eye!).  He gave me a little cockeyed smile.  I went to take it off but he forbade me.  Oh boy, but I went along with it.  I was going to trash it as soon as he went to sleep.  However, something happened that night.  She did seem a bit more confident.  She went in and out the door with ease.  No barking and no frightened looks.  It was as if this collar was protecting her at all times.  I’m sure in her mind everything around her was getting shocked too and therefore nothing would dare move or grab her.  I did not throw it away.

Next morning, I asked him about her reaction to the collar.  He said she was barking her fool head off at something, probably a falling leaf.  He put the collar on and walked back inside.  She started to bark again and got a surprise!  It shocked her and he said she yelped.  She tried it one more time, yelped, then never barked again.  It broke my heart to hear this but she was being quiet and acting very content.

Over the years she has become friends with it.  She knows the collar gives her more freedom and willingly comes to you to put it on.  (we can let her out without fear of the neighbors complaining)   You can even ask her where it is and she will look around the room as if she is really looking for it.  She has figured out she can bark but only intermittently.  The collar gives her a couple of times before it shocks. Please don’t think of this as cruel the why I did at first.  We give her the bark time she need to be queen of the back yard and, at least for my dog, it has helped her and us so much.  Now to the reason I started this story.

Jeff, our Pomeranian, has a vocabulary of about a billion barks. He loves to continually show off his aptitude.  Today was an extremely vocal day for Jeff and Hub had reached his limit.  He snatched the collar off Mutt.  She gave him a surprised look.  He then proceeded to adjust the size to fit Jeff.  No! No! I yelled. Mutt started walking in circles.  I kept telling Hub he was too little.  It would hurt him.  But Hub continued with his mission.  Before you knew it, Jeff was sporting a new shocking device around his tiny little neck.

I was freaking out.  Hub started laughing and I looked at him with contempt only to see him pointing at Mutt.  Mutt was sitting on the couch reared back with the whites of her eyes showing.   She and Jeff had locked gazes.   Her ears were lying down and she was so still she was not even breathing.  It looked as if she were telepathically warning Jeff not to make a sound or make a move.  And Jeff obeyed her every telepathic thought.  He stood there frozen stiff.  It was as if she had told him all about that collar.  He never made a peep.  And she never took her googly eyes off of him.  After a few minutes of laughter, from both of us, Hub felt sorry for him because he told me to take it off.  I did and off he went out the dog door to educate the backyard critters with his verbal skills. All I can say is I sure am glad the boy knows how to keep his mouth shut when it counts.

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Until next time remember this: When you find peace within yourself, you become the kind of person, err, dog who can live in peace with others.

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Baby, take a walk on the dog side

A customer walked into the store the other day with her little poochie.  He was precious, fluffy, and smelling good.  His mom told me his name is Bandit and he was just groomed yesterday.  Boy, he really smelled good.  Ya know how they say sights and smells can spark memories, well this reminded me of the time I came home to an intruder in my house!

My house was a wreck from a weekend of our own dog grooming session.  With three dogs in the house, it gets hairy.  All get baths and one is shaved.   It is an ordeal, to say the least, since none of them like baths.  What am I saying?  They hate water.  If it is raining or snowing you can forget about going out for any reason.  This makes life hard when bathing them but it is an awesome correction tool.  Water in a spray bottle and a firm no makes them sit up and take notice.

Fortunately for us, the weekend we all dreaded was behind us and my babies were clean and smelling good.  My house did not fair as well.  Morning comes early in my house and time waits for no man, eer,woman.  We bid goodbye to the pooches, the messy house and left early for work.  Around 11:00 I became ill with a stomach virus and had to come home.

I drove up the drive and hit the garage door opener but nothing happened.  It had rained earlier in the day and I figured it knocked out the electricity.  The only way to get into the house is through the garage.  We don’t have keys for the house; however, we do have a small –let me stress that again– a small dog door in the back.  I would have to use it to get in.  No worries I have done this before with no problems.

I stick my head in, so far so good.  My shoulders go in one at a time.  Hmmm, I had not remembered it being so small.  Let’s not discuss all the weight I have gained since I last tried this.  I then wiggled my top half all the way in.  OH MY!  It was really getting tight.  That is when I realized I still had one arm at my side.  I would have to back out and start over.  One problem, I was stuck.  Really stuck.  I laid there for a minute wondering what to do.  The house was quiet.  Hey wait, THE HOUSE WAS QUIET.  My dogs were not in the house.  I could not imagine what was going on. Adrenaline started pumping and I jerked myself right out of the hole and started over.  It is all a blur now but somehow I got in.

When I got into the living room I smelt it.  It is an unmistakable smell.  It was a man’s cologne and it was strong.  OH my lord!  There is a man in the house and it ain’t my Hub! My house was in shambles.  Somebody broke in, let my dogs out and burglarized my home!  WAIT, maybe he is still here.  My adrenaline was going ninety to nothing.  I grabbed a knife out of the drawer and crept down the hall.  As I was tip toeing  to my room I started questioning myself,’  What the heck am I doing?”  What am I really going to do if someone is in here?’  ‘Why would a burglar smell so dang good?’  Then I told myself, ‘Call the PoPo!’,  ‘Turn around you fool!’,  but I just kept on walking toward the pending doom.
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Before I knew what was going on, all heck broke loose.  I was pounced on and knocked to the ground.  My face, arms and hands were covered in wet goo everything was loud and confusing.  I finally got my wits about me and realized it was my DOGS.  They did not know it was me because the garage door never opened.  I guess they were trying to hide from the burglar.  I was never so happy to see them in my life but the house still smelled like a man.  I shushed the dogs and kept looking.  Mutt’s, (Lab/Weimaraner/Chicken mix),  back hair was standing on end.  She was tippie toeing on my heels and sniffling dog sniffles.  Jeff, (Pom/old man mix), was following with a bewildered look on his face but he was quiet too. Lucy’s, (Rat Terrier),  nails were tapping an eerie sound on the hardwood floor short, deliberate and brave.  Each door held a mystery, I would reach a door then quickly throw my head in… shaky knife leading  the way.  Then return to my position behind the wall.  A scene right out of Cagney and Lacey minus the Lacey.  After I was convinced the intruder was gone, I looked to see what valuables he took.    A room by room search reveled nothing was missing.  I guess no one wants a 15 year old TV or an awesome cassette player, dirty underwear and dog toys.  When I approached the last room in the house to be searched, I was overcome with the man’s cologne.  Maybe I was wrong and he was in there.  He could have been hiding behind the shower curtain and I forgot to check it.  (insert Psycho’s shower scene here) I slowly twisted the knob, my heart was in my throat, my little butter knife up and ready.  The door slowly opens……… and then I come FACE TO FACE with the source of that man’s cologne. The intruder!
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It was Tommy Hilfiger, well, it was his cologne sitting on the sink.  NO ONE IN THIS HOUSE WEARS COLOGNE!  Wait, wait just a minute, upon further inspection I saw it was really a bottle of Timmy Holedigger Dog Cologne!!  Son had bought and sprayed Jeff with it that morning before he left.

TIMMY HOLEDIGGER DOG COLOGNE….FOR HEAVEN SAKES.

Oh and about my house being in shambles, it was the mess that we did not have time to clean up.  I guess in all the excitement I did not recognize my own mess.

Thanks everyone for the pep talk from the earlier post that I have now removed.  You have no idea how much you all helped me.  Much love and peace sent your way.

aMusing Mondays: Flying Things or Drunk on Bug Juice

If you follow my blog, you have read about my dogs Mutt and Jeff. You also know that I have changed their names to protect the not so innocent. Maybe it is time you put a face to the pseudonym. Mutt is the big one. She is a cross between goofy and gentle. I bet you thought I was going to give you a couple of breeds didn’t you? Jeff is a tiny Pomeranian. He is not a cross between anything. He is straight up bossy, which can lead him into the wrong direction and that brings me to this week’s story…

Shortly after moving into our home we adopted Jeff. He was born head strong. He always walked his own path and was just plain hard to warm up to. He was and still is a strange dog with some odd peculiarities. When he was a baby he only wanted to be petted with your feet. Petting him with your hands would drive him crazy and not in a good way. Lord forbid you pick him up that would send him over the edge. Some of his peculiarities have disappeared over the years, some intensified and some are the same like hating ANYTHING that flies. Birds, bees, flies, you name it, if it flies he wants to catch it, defeat it and eat it. Many, many days I would be cleaning the kitchen, look out the window and see this crazy dog running in circles barking and jumping in the air for no apparent reason. (I always looked to see if the neighbors were watching him do this. They already think he is a little rabid he-devil. Seeing Jeff perform this ritual would seal the deal.) After closer inspection, I realized he was chasing little flying insects. It seems his favorite were little sweat bees. Many times he would come in the house after a good day of chase with a blown up snout. Before I really knew what was causing it, I thought maybe allergies.

One evening I was sitting on the back porch with Mutt and Jeff. I noticed Jeff’s head bobbing back and forth. After a few seconds of bobbing, he would stand perfectly still then pounce the ground with his front paws. At first, I could not see what he was after but I could smell it. He had found a stink bug. It didn’t take long before I saw that it would crawl a little bit then try to fly. Of course, that would drive him crazy. Stink bugs have sticky legs with tiny barbs. They can hang on to anything for as long as they want. A few times it would stick to his snout. Oh my, that would send him into orbit. I kept telling him to stop messing with the bug. He would, for about 2 seconds, then go right back at it until I made him go in the house.

A few nights after that incident with the stink bug he was wanting out into the fenced back yard. I let him out while I stayed inside to watch a movie. Around 2 hours later, I noticed he was not back yet. I opened the door and found him sitting on the step staring into space . In he walked, then he stopped in the middle of the floor. As I watched him, I noticed something seemed to be stranger than normal. Not only was he now staring into space he was also swaying back and forth. You know that ‘dipping deep’ kind of swaying. The kind that almost looks like you’re leaning into a strong wind while trying to climb up a steep hill. Then without warning he reared straight up then fell over stiff as a board.

I FREAKED OUT! OMG What is going on? MY DOG! I raced over and held him in my arms crying like a baby. I could not figure out what was wrong but I did notice his breath. UGH! He had the strongest stink bug breath I had ever smelt. In no time at all, he popped out of it and was looking at me like, Why are you touching me with your hands??? He was so confused and so was I. Of course, Jeff could not tell me what he did so I went outside and looked around. Nothing, I found nothing but I smelt that nasty bug smell. I followed my nose until I came upon a hole in the ground. There I saw the remains of hundreds of dead stink bugs. Jeff had dug them up and eaten them. Apparently, stink bugs can make a dog drunk!

The next day he was showing no signs of illness. In fact, he was barking his brains out chasing another flying thingy. I ran out to make sure he did not have another stink bug. One heart attack a year is all that I can handle. As I got to him, I noticed it was not a stink bug but a poor little butterfly. It must have not been as exciting nor as enticing as the stink bug because he spat it out on the spot.

Until next time

aMusing Mondays: A Wicked Sense of Humor

 

When we moved here years ago I was totally shocked at the size of these birds up here. I thought they were giant crows that were involved in some type of nuclear fall out. I can only guess their weight but I would guesstimate an average of 20 lbs…some larger some smaller but all huge! I was told later on they were Common Ravens. Shoot, there is NOTHING common about those birds as far as I am concerned. In the last few years I have come to believe the Common Raven must have a sense of humor. Last winter, one Raven that hangs out at the top of my backyard Pines got a big chuckle when he witnessed my dogs’ surprise of the first snow of 2010.

Every morning my dogs have a ritual, which consists of, CAN’T WAIT TO GET OUT THE DOOR AND BARK MY BRAINS OUT! Pacing, pacing can’t wait. They run as FAST as they can, down a 45ft porch and jump off the end with an attitude that should scare even the meanest of squirrels! Then turn with a puffed out chest to look at the door to see if anyone was watching. They are proud beasts, my Mutt and Jeff.

This morning was a tad bit different. Can’t wait, Can’t wait! (the same) Ready set GO (the same)….run, run, run (the same)… the little one (7 lbs Jeff) gets to the end of the porch first but things are DIFFERENT! White stuff.  EVERYWHERE! He puts on the brakes right as he gets to the end of the porch…..PLONK! He flew off alright but not in the manner he was accustomed to. Pride was…………GONE.

The BIG one (70+ lb, Mutt) was hot on his trail. There was no way that little one was going to beat her. Her mind quickly changed as she watched him fly then land hard in the snow. She tried with everything she had to stop. Too late, the snow and ice started about 15 ft from the end and she was already in it. BRAKE, BRAKE, BRAKE, you could just see her mind yelling it and her eyes pleading it. She did manage to slow down a little bit before the big finish, which lead to an agonizing slow motion crash. She felt ever step she hit as she was going down. The little one watched at first with horror and moved out of the way before she squished him. Then he appeared to be basking in pure joy of  seeing the big dog epically fail. Both of them got up. No barking, no looking back with pride……..they did their business and came back to their nice warm beds to lick their proverbial wounds.

After witnessing this comic relief, I walked back to the den.  It is then I noticed there was not only the one Raven at the top of the tree, there were now about five or six Ravens clucking and chuckling like little hens. I guess the one at the top called for the others to watch the morning entertainment. Yep, I think the Common Ravens have a wicked sense of humor.

Note: To all concerned, it is 8:10 on Sunday night.  I have this scheduled for publish on Monday .  So far so good. My tummy ache went away, no headache and everyone in the house is doing well.  I think I am in the clear….we are in the clear.    On a serious note,  I really was scared and I do appreciate any prays that were prayed for us.  That was some pretty heavy guilt.  Thank you my friends