Monday, May 28, 2012

Postcards from Kansas

I failed to bring the necessary cable to download pictures from my camera, but today I realized I could take pics with the iPad. This is my mother's dog, Murphy. He's a little mutt, adopted from a shelter about 12 years ago. He's a great little guy, now, but there were some rough moments in the early years. He pretty much has my mother trained about the way he wants her.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

This is a shot of the back end of my rental car, loaded up with over 30 pots of flowering plants that I put together on Saturday. There are two cemeteries near Delphos, Kansas where my father and extended relatives and maternal ancestors are buried, including those that homesteaded in that area back in the 1860s. This is an annual tradition for us and it's not the least bit morbid. It's more along the lines of the family gatherings at cemeteries in New Orleans on All Saint's Day. Although most people use artificial flowers these days, we use live plants. My mother and sister will go back later this week and bring them back home and use the plants in my mother's garden. It has been close to 100 degrees and extremely windy the last two days, but today was beautiful.

It Is harvest time in Kansas. It's early this year and I'm glad as it's been a long time since I've seen wheat this ripe and ready for harvest in Kansas. I've seen wheat elsewhere of course, but there is no place else to see the endless waves of wheat to be seen in Kansas.

We drove out to Kanopolis Lake today. Our family spent many weekends camping and boating out there when I was a kid. The place had changed of course, but the park and the lake looked great. It brought back many good memories. The days our family spent together out there were some of our best times together.

One thing Kansas has in abundance, other than wheat, is wind. Several wind farms have sprung up in Kansas, including this one near Ellsworth. On my drive up from the airport in Wichita I had seen a couple of the windmill blades being transported on an 18 wheeler. They are huge and there is nothing in this picture to give a good perspective on their size. Fascinating to see, and I hope we will be seeing a lot more of them.

Interstate highways speed people along. It's only necessary to stop for gas and that's what most people do, particularly in a place like Kansas that, for most people, is just a space to be crossed on the way to where they are going. One of the casualties of this are numerous lesser known parks and roadside attractions. If they are not at an exit off the interstate, most people pass them by. Mushroom Rock State Park is one of those. In truth, it's really not worth a detour for an interstate traveler, but it is an interesting place.

Wednesday I'll be heading back to Virginia.

Friday, May 25, 2012

One more romp before I go

Zachary lays in the water tank after his pasture romp.
I'm heading to Kansas tomorrow for about a week.  I took Gypsy Jr., Max, Dixie, and Hank to a boarding kennel to lighten the load on Clay who will still have our five plus five adult fosters, and the three pups to care for.  Daisy will be going to her new home tomorrow.

I did some mowing with Gigi, Rex, Vince, and Daisy.  Cabell, Bremo, and Zachary had a run in the pasture too. 

Vince holds his own when running with bigger,
younger, faster dogs.  He has shed some pounds.
He will be Rex's babysitter this next week.
Rex acted like a normal dog for a while, until the running stopped and then he went into his tail chasing/spinning.  Once he starts that behavior he can not stop it himself and it's as if he can not hear me until I get within a few feet of him.  It's a terrible obsessive/compulsive disorder.  I've had to stop the prozac because his guts can't handle it.  I don't know what he will be like by the time I get home.  He really needs to move someplace where he will be inside all the time, with just one or two other dogs, or none.  He's good indoors, and I've had him indoors all this week.  He will be outside while I'm gone, however, because of his digestive problems.  With fewer dogs (I boarded the major barkers) things will be calmer here.  He and Vince will have the dog yard to themselves.  It seems that he just can not handle stimulation.  His activity needs to be directed, on a leash, or he quickly reverts to the OCD behavior.  In the right home, he might be all right and he might get over this, I don't know.  Or it might be that the kindest thing I can do is to euthanize him.  Will reassess upon my return.

One of the Pyr mix pups.
Bremo still has that puppy look on his face.

The pups are growing and are very cute. 

This Rex (left) and Daisy (right). 
I don't think either of them has more than one foot on the ground, they were flying.

The pups have lots of toys and things to climb on, hide under, etc.
They have learned to climb up onto the center platform to lay in the sun.

My new girlfriend is so pretty.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Just some pics

(A note about photo layout.  Blogger really sucks at layout, or at least I don't know how to do it very well.  I mess around with them a lot but don't always get them aligned the way I want them.  And of course the view will vary depending on the size of the viewer's screen.  Generally speaking, for best results, maximine the size of your viewing window.)
Stately Gigi on her bed next to mine at night.
Gigi hiding between my legs under my desk during a storm.

Trooper, resting his head on me, saying good morning.
Gigi's morning greeting.

A classic Hank action shot

Gigi and Radley in the pasture today

The scene at the fence when the neighbor dogs come over.
Look at all those tails held high. 
Everyone's a bad ass from their own side of the fence.
This is Vince.  I've been surprised at how well he gets
along with other dogs and at how much he enjoys the pasture romp.
He's a good old dog.

Gigi and Hank

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Spring storms

Gigi is very good about coming straight to the house
from the dog yard and vice versa.
A good size comparison picture of Gigi and Cabell.
They are about the same weight.
She is taller and longer.
I'm sitting here in my office with five dogs, three of them as close as possible under my desk and chair.  The occasion isn't an unbridled show of affection for me.  We are having a spring thunderstorm.  Gigi, Cabell, Zachary, Trooper, and Rex.  Of our own dogs, only Bremo is oblivious to storms.  I don't know if Rex is actually scared of if he's just picking up on the other dogs' anxiety.  I crated him and he's settled down.  Gigi is at my feet, Trooper is sitting behind my chair, and Cabell is standing at my side.  Zachary is stretched out on the floor under the desk.  It's not a happy time, but none of these dogs is even in the ballpark of the level of anxiety suffered by our late Emmylou. 

She was returned from one adoption because she broke through a window during a storm.  I just didn't ever leave her home alone during the afternoons in spring and early summer.  She had it bad, the poor girl.  She was generally fearless, but storms were another matter.  Trooper deals with the scary thunder the same way he copes with other things that scare him,  he barks ferociously at it and looks to me for backup. 
This was due to the camera's motion more than the dogs'.
Sort of an interesting result.
All my puppy pics came out blurry because they were in motion,
the light was dimming, and I didn't have the flash on.
They are growing, doing well, better pics tomorrow.
I'm trying to get my act together to get out of town this weekend.  Clay will be here but I'm boarding Dixie, Hank, and maybe Gypsy and Sparky just to lighten the load for him while I'm away.  Daisy will be going to her new home Friday evening.  That will just leave Max, Lana, Radley, Rex, Vince, and the puppies, in addition to our five.  I'm still trying to figure out which four to board to make feeding and cleaning the easiest around here.  And I need to fill pill dispensers for Bremo, Cabell, Rex, and for Gigi's skin supplements.  Rex poses a problem.  He's doing great indoors, surprisingly trustworthy in the house, and our dogs tolerate him.  He had a bad case of diarrhea, maybe from the prozac, and he dropped some weight, but he's back on track digestively.  I hate to board him, the kennel will be over stimulating for him.  Even if he stays in an outdoor kennel here, I think it will be better for him than boarding, especially if some of the other outdoor dogs aren't here, he'll have less reason to get excited and start into that tail chasing behavior.

This is Max, very loyal, devoted.  Nice guy, nothing wrong with him that I have seen.
He needs someone who isn't afraid of large dogs.

The pics are just some that I took yesterday while doing some mowing and playing with the pups.  When I get back from Kansas it will be time to speuter those pups, get them another round of vaccines, and get them adopted.  I obviously haven't been rushing into it. 

Four of our five, after a pasture romp, ready to come back in.
L to R:  Gigi, Bremo, Zachary, and Cabell
Trooper won't come in from the pasture until he's been out for several hours
 or I chase him in on the mower.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Sunday fun day

Radley, on the run
Lana and Vince, taking a break
The dogs had fun anyway, and that seems to be what it's all about around here. 

I mowed the far lower corner of the pasture and ran three groups of dogs.  First it was our five plus Daisy and Vince.  Then Cabell, Bremo, and Zachary went in, and replaced by Radley, Hank, and Lana.  Then I got everyone in except Daisy (she just won't come in from the pasture), and took out Max and Dixie.

Everyone got a good run, so things should be quiet this evening.  The young ones rest and recover quickly however, and are ready to go at it again, that would be Daisy and Hank especially. 
The foster dogs stick closer to me than our own dogs.
I guess I'm still intersting to them.

Vince, Daisy, and Gigi, in the shade

Hank and Daisy at far left rear, then Vince and Radley.
Lana at right and Gigi in front.

Dixie and Max

I know someone is thinking, "that's a lot of pictures of Gigi".
Yes, I know, but she's my new girl, she's very pretty,
and she's always nearby.
Refilling the water tank with fresh water after the run.
Gigi, Lana, Daisy

After the run,everyone is tired, but Hank grabbed the rope and Daisy wasn't about to quit on him.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Rapid rescue

This is the way I like for it to work.  I went up to Ruckersville to pick up the rottie today.  I saw that the paperwork had his name spelled as Radix rather than Raddicks.  It's still an odd name.  I arrived shortly before the owner and had Radix on a leash by the time she arrived.  He was friendly and happy to see me, and I think he would have been happy to see anyone.  He went into a crate in my van without too much urging and we went back to Charlottesville to get him vaccinated because he only had a current rabies vaccine.  That was easy, he was good with the vet techs, and he tested negative for heartworm.  Then it was up Rt. 29 to Culpeper to meet his new foster dad.  This is the home that adopted Sable from me, and Rowdy (now Bernie), and Zoe the boxer too.  They also took care of Tasha to the end of her life.  It's obviously a home that I like and trust. 

Radix met the first of their dogs and did fine.  He's very excited, stressed even, but happy.  He's been living outdoors in a small pen for several years, let out only on a cable from time to time.  He's in a much better place and I think he will adjust and settle in happily.  It will be a big change for him, but I know they will give it a good chance to work. 

One of the best things, in addition to the fact that I don't have yet another dog here tonight, is that the whole circuit was completed in just about five hours or so.  I've had longer days that accomplished less. 

While I was away, Daisy's prospective adopters came and took her for a few hours.  They went to the river and had another meeting with their own dogs.  They are quite taken with her and she with them.  They are coming by Sunday morning to do the paperwork and will then pick her up next Friday starting their new relationship over the long holiday weekend. 

I'm going to Kansas for Memorial Day weekend, leaving Clay here in charge of things.  I'm planning to board a few of the dogs just to get the numbers and noise down to a manageble level for him while I'm away.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Upping our pack weight

Gigi is a small Dane, quite lean and slender, but still she adds close to a hundred pounds to our pack weight.  Cabell and Bremo are both about a hundred, Zachary and Trooper are both about 80.  We've fallen off a lot with the loss of Gypsy and then Molly, and I like to keep close to 500 pounds of dog in the house, so Gigi has graciously consented to join us permanently, getting our pack weight back up to a respectable level. 

She has fallen into the routine around here very nicely and seems pretty happy with it.  I've really missed having a girlfriend, and she's big enough to fill the huge void of feminine power left by Emmylou, Gypsy, and then Molly.  She's different from all of them, but she's sweet, she lets me kiss on her, and she's happy to hang out with me all day. 

In spite of the peer pressure, I held off making a final decision in case a really great home came along, and wanting to make sure that Clay and Trooper were ok with it.  But the truth is, I've been feeding this girl our dog food rather than the foster food ever since she came here.   I've been planning for her to stay all along.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Catching up

It's been one of those weeks.  In a vain attempt at being a corporate suck up, I volunteered for a project at work that I should have stayed out of.  It drastically upset my routine, increased my stress level and stomach acid, and eliminated my time for anything else this week.  Hopefully that is abating, at least a bit, and I've learned my lesson, never volunteer for anything, ever. 

I haven't had time for blogging this week, and besides, I left my camera somewhere last weekend and got it back just today so I haven't taken any new pictures.

It's been a quiet week, dog-wise, as quiet as possible around here anyway. 

Someone came out to meet Daisy yesterday that will be adopting her just before Memorial Day.  They've got a two year old male yellow lab, an older female, no kids, and about 10 acres of property with pond, field, and stream.  She should be very happy there.

Someone is coming out Saturday to see the puppies, and I have a couple other interested parties as well. 

Max got returned to me suddenly yesterday, with no notice.  One hysterical phone call and he was on his way here.  He's the big red and black shepherd that went into the home with the small dog.  No problem with the small dog, but I think that one of the adults in the home was never comfortable with having a large dog.  If I had to guess, and I do, I would say it's a case of a large dog phobia.  Max is not a difficult dog from anything I've seen, although he does have the habit of jumping up into one's face.  That can be rather off-putting to small dog people, and subject to misinterpretation.  I moved him in with Dixie, no problems, and brought him in to a crate last night.  I even put Gypsy Jr. together with them in the large kennel during the day.  No more adoptions to small dog people, or any couple where both parties are not on board. 

I went to meet this rottweiler dog today.  His name is Raddicks, don't ask me why.  He's a sweet boy, although I need another foster like I need a hole in my head.  I have a foster home lined up for him though, and I think he will fit in well there.  The only bad thing about him that I could see is that he's nine years old and probably has limited adoption prospects because of that.  He sure doesn't look or act like an old guy though.  He was so happy to be out of his pen and on the green grass today.

Rex hasn't eaten much since he came back from Gainesville on Sunday.  He's fine with the tail chasing when he's indoors and things are calm.  I may back off on the Prozac, in case that's upsetting his system or he's too zombied out to eat.  I guess I'll call the vet before mucking with his medication.  They just love to hear from me on Fridays. 

I picked up Nero's ashes today, courtesy of the Charlottesville-Albemarle SPCA cremation service.  I'd encourage everyone to use them.  It's a good service and it goes to a good cause. 

I got in a little pasture mowing Thursday evening, along with a big romp with Radley, Lana, Vince, Hank, and Daisy.  A good time was had by all. 

Gigi came into the bedroom yesterday for the first time and laid with me on the bed for a while in the afternoon.  I brought her dog bed into the bedroom last night.  None of the boys will sleep on the floor on my side of the bed because I often get up and down a few times before finally going to sleep.  But Gigi curled up on the dog bed next to me and didn't move until morning.  Trooper is more than a little jealous and we need to work that out.  (Trooper will have to get over it.)