Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Pictures from the mower

Gigi again


Gigi and Trooper out at the front fence.


Cabell doesn't spend much time outdoors anymore, but he
still made his way out to the front fence to bark at the neighbors' dogs

Zachary and Bremo's butt

Zachary and Bremo

Cabell heading back in

Gigi and Bremo at the gate, ready to go back inside.

Trooper and Gigi, on the run

Monday, July 30, 2012

Driving Miss Dixie

Clean and shiny, as we were heading off.
Dixie is always ready for anything.  She went straight to the van.
Sunday I drove Dixie up to Leesburg to a prospective adopter.  I gave her a tub bath before we left so she would be clean and shiny and able to put her best paw forward.  Of course, she marked two dog beds and the living room when we got there.  I left them a crate and hope they use it. 

Dixie is a sweet girl and she's a lot better with other dogs than she was when I first got her.  She's also the smartest shepherd I've had around here since my Gypsy and Emmylou.  She watches, listens, and learns, and she's not so stubborn that she will refuse to use what she's learned.

She will be a very devoted dog and she will watch over a household better than any security system could.  Nothing escapes this dog's attention.  She got so tired after the excitement of checking out the new place that we set up the crate and put her in it for a break so she could settle down and get some rest, otherwise this dog is always on.   

Dixie rides in a crate inside the van, because I'm not a complete asshole.
Fuck you, Mitt.

Nice, pretty, big fenced back yard in new home.

Checking out the new house.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Night shift

Lana, cooling down
I hesitate to complain about the extreme heat we've been having lately because my mother lives in Kansas where this has been going on for the past month or more while we've only had it for a few days at a time.  But the dogs are feeling the heat and although I've done what I can to keep them comfortable, there's just no real comfort out there during the day.  Consequently, the foster dogs have become nocturnal.  They sleep during the day as much as possible, in the shade, in front of the fans, and they are active, playful, and far too noisy at night. 

Lana, Cooper, Dixie, in the area I was mowing
I've been taking the gang of four out to the pasture just as the sun is going down and they run like crazy, even though it's still really too hot in my opinion.   I've been mowing while they run, but I'm just sitting on the mower, while they are running.  I hope that will make for a quiet night, but it hasn't been so for the past two nights.  I've been up until after 2:00 a.m. waiting for them to quiet down, providing food, rawhides, and in one case, medication to shut them up. 
Dixie and Cooper, as it was getting dark

Hank is one of those dogs who can't play without barking it seems, and that causes a couple others to join in the conversation.  He may be wearing Nero's bark collar soon, I can't get by on 4-5 hours of sleep for very long.  I think the routine needs to be:  1. late evening pasture time; 2. cool down; 3. late meal; 4. rawhides.  That's what finally did the trick last night, I just need to make it happen before 2:00 a.m. 

Am I the only one who likes butt shots
of dogs running?  I love the motion and
the carriage of the tails.
Heiland is now my dog and I put him together with Gypsy Jr. this morning.  They ignored each other at first and then got into a fight.  I walked away.  She is a tough little bitch and made it clear that she's in charge over there.  I put Sparky in the space where Heiland had been.  He's fine by himself and it will let me do things with him one-on-one.  Gypsy Jr. and Heiland will establish a relationship, they both like the water, and I expect they will be playmates by this evening, which will be good for both of them and quieter for me.  I need to find out if Heiland is spelled "Heiland" or "Hieland".  It's a Fluvanna person's idea of a German name, so it could be an entirely arbitrary choice and a made up word.  It's supposed to mean something in German.  At least two readers here speak German, what say you? 

Hank, of course

Dixie, Hank, and Lana, back in the dog yard
after the pasture run.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

The gang of four

The terrible trio consisting of Hank, Lana, and Dixie, that triumverate of terror, was transformed into the gang of four today with the addition of the new yellow lab, Cooper.  I had thought his name was Copper, which I would have mispronounced as Cooper more often than not.  When I looked at his paperwork, however, the name on it was actually "Cupper." That wasn't an option for me, so I considered his name to be open and just went back to Cooper, which is a good name anyway. 

I got him back home mid-afternoon and put him in a kennel adjacent to the terrible trio so they could get acquainted without him being overwhelmed.  They did some barking through the fence, mostly him and Hank, but except for the fact that Cooper is intact I didn't see any reason to think they wouldn't all get along. 

He's only about a year old, sweet, but mouthy and ill-mannered.  This evening I took them all out to the pasture for a get-acquainted romp.  They were all fine together, Hank seemed to like having a buddy and someone to tilt the hormonal balance in the group back in his direction.  A good time was had by all and I put them back into the big kennel all together just as it was getting dark. 

The shelter gave him vaccines, wormed him with Panacure, and did a heartworm test, all negative.  If I had left him there a few more days he would have been neutered, but they were full and really needed the space.  I can get him neutered one day next week and then he will be good to go.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Faith, hope, and cable ties

First Corinthians 13:11-13 (King James Version, Cambridge ed.)
When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things. For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known. And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.

I don't think I've ever quoted a bible verse in this blog, and I actually didn't know this was a bible verse until the black magic of Google found it for me.  If pressed for a guess, I would have said it was a line from a Shakespeare play or sonnet.  It had come to mind when I was outside working on the dog kennels, using one of the three essentials in every man's tool box. 

This is my version, from the Gospel according to Brent:

When I was a child, I played with toys like a child, I understood my toys as a child, I thought about toys as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish toys. For now I search through the toolbox, all a jumble; but then it hits me: now I know what I need; out of the chaos comes clarity and a solution to any task at hand.  In there resides duct tape, WD40, and cable ties, these three; but the greatest of these is the cable tie.

Attaching tarp to kennel
 (in this case, a shade cloth)

Securing additional layers of wire fence
to fortify the kennel

Attaching rope light to top bar of kennel panels
Holding electric cords and hardware cloth

I use a fair amount of WD40, everything in the humid south rusts so everything needs WD40.   I don't use that much duct tape, but I have it; no one should be without it.   I use cable ties by the hundreds.   I have found that they are a quick and easy way to attach tarps to the kennels and I have found myriad uses for them. I went to Lowes this morning and picked up another hundred because I ran out of the 8" ties, which are ideal for most of my uses.   Yes, they decay in the outdoors over time like all plastics and I could use wire instead, but cable ties don't poke, cut, or rust, and they are easy to use in a variety of applications.   They come in many sizes but I prefer the 8" for most uses.   Smaller ones would work for joining chainlink to fencing, but they are tough to manipulate with my fingers.   They come in many colors, but I discovered today that the black said for indoor/outdoor use whereas the white ones said for indoor use.   They make excellent stocking stuffers; get the 100 pack, you'll be surprised at how quickly they disappear.

New yellow lab comes tomorrow.  For now, here's a few garden pics.

My tomato plants are growing by leaps and bounds.  This was taken several days ago, they are
remarkably bigger now, lots of blooms and some fruit beginning to form

Monday, July 23, 2012

In praise of Labs

This picture is making the rounds on Facebook today, or at least it made it to me today and I shared it and sent it on it's way.  It's cute, it's clever, and it makes a very important and valid point.  There's another one I've seen on Facebook a lot.  It's a panda bear saying something to the effect of:  "Racism is stupid.  Look at me.  I'm black, white, and Asian, and everyone loves me." 

Any dog that will allow himself to be placed up on a table,
and lay down for it, is pretty cooperative.
I loved this pic and wanted to share it, but this post isn't about racism, it's about labs.  I've had a number of foster labs and they always seem to get adopted pretty quickly.  They are very popular and for a very good reason.  No one who has ever had a shepherd will have a lot of say for labs when it comes to being smart, but they do tend to be big, sweet, and goofy, and that's what most people really want and need in a canine companion, even if they don't realize it.  Most people don't expect their dog to be running errands, managing the household, balancing their checkbook, or doing anything else  calls for a border collie's level of intelligence.  A lab can be easily entertained with a ball, the same ball, thrown the same way time after time.
Look at that tail, just a blur.

The lab picture caught my eye because the yellow lab shown here may be coming my way one day this week.  His name is Copper, which I will almost certainly confuse with Cooper but I hope I won't have him long enough for it to be a problem. 

He's about a year old, friendly, 65 pounds, and has had vaccines at the shelter he's coming from.  He was given up because he was "too much for the wife to handle."  I'm guessing that the husband was a useless piece of white trash that didn't do anything to help with the dog, or with anything else, while the wife had sole responsibility for too many children and a one year old dog on top of it.  The husband's involvement was probably limited to opposing getting the dog neutered, which is one thing they could have done that might have helped with all their problems. 

There may be an opening in the Terrible Trio sometime soon because I finally have someone interested in Dixie, and a couple other inquiries about her as well.  I think Copper will try out to fill that spot, although I expect him to a short-timer. 

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Our new guest

This is Heiland.  I picked him up Sunday afternoon after spending several hours working on his kennel.  He's going to spend a couple days here so we can get better acquainted and I can guage his adoption prospects.  Maybe it's because we had met yesterday, but he was happy enough to see me today, brought me his tire right away. 

He loves to go for car rides so he headed for the van and hopped in the open crate as soon as I had a leash on him, and he rode home no problems. 

Before picking him up I had several hours of work to do to make his kennel ready.  It's the kennel adjacent to Sparky and Gypsy Jr. and I haven't been using it since the puppies and it had been vacant for a while before that.

The kennel is 10' x 20' but it has a canopy frame that covers just 10' of it's length.   We had ordered a new tarp for that so I put it up for shade, hung a fan, and ran cords for the fan and rope lights.  I had an unused 6' x 10' kennel panel and I suspended that over the back section of the kennel, like a roof, to discourage jumping.  I covered that with shade cloth so by the time I was done all but the front 4' of the space had a shade covering over it. 
Kennel with new canopy, shade cloth, a-frame,
igloo, and a tire for Hieland to play with.
I pulled the water trough out of Nero's old kennel and soaked it in soapy water with a gallon of bleach to sanitize it.  I'm glad I got that cleaned up and used it because Heiland loved the water, stepping right into the tank as it was filling up. 

Most of this kennel was either heavy guage chain link fencing or had been reinforced with leftover fencing from our pasture fence, which is very heavy.  The front panel of the kennel with the gate was not particularly heavy and hadn't been reinforced and Heiland tested it a bit when I first put him in.  I found a piece of fence scrap that was just about the right size and added that to the front of the kennel.  It's now strong enough that when he bites the chain link it doesn't give him the idea that he could tear it up if he really wanted to. 

He is accustomed to living indoors, apparently, and being outside on an overhead runner.  I hope he will be content out there tonight.  I need to get a feel for what he's like with other dogs, and people. 

He's a great looking dog and I think he's fine, but I'm not going to push it.  I am letting him drag a short leash around for now so I can get a hold of him without reaching for his neck until he gets to trust me.  Once they see me as the food provider my popularity increases greatly. 

I let the terrible trio (Dixie, Hank, and Lana) out to the pasture again today for several hours while I was working outdoors.  I'm amazed that they wanted to get out there and run in this heat, but they did, although they then settled down in the shade.  Those three entertain themselves very nicely and it's fun to see them run.  Besides, a tired Hank is a quiet Hank is a good Hank. 

Owner surrender

I went to meet Heiland on Saturday afternoon.  His owner had called the VGSR hotline while we were in NYC last week.  He's about 5 years old, neutered male, black sable, AKC papers, and pics of his parents, both of whom are beauties.  He's also said to be very "protective." 

I went to meet him not knowing if I'd see a German Shepherd Dog or a mutt with a hint of shepherd flavor.  But as you can see, he's a big, gorgeous, handsome, black sable.  His favorite, and maybe only toy, is half of a tire.  We haven't had a dog who played with a tire since our first rottie, Jack, who used to carry it around his head like a collar.

The owner's health is bad and he's not able to handle the dog really or give him any kind of activity.   But, he's neutered, in good health, current on vaccines, and is on heartworm preventative and frontline.  He's had an issue with allergies but has been a vet.  He has lived indoors as a house dog.  This was all much better than I expected for a Fluvanna County owner surrender. 

I'm just not sure about his temperament and I don't think I'll be able to really assess him until he's out of his current environment because he's not a dog I'm going to push myself on until we get acquainted.  I had the owner put a leash on him and then I walked him without any problem.  He brought me his tire to play with but he didn't really want to give it up. 

The owner has to go out of town and his immediate problem is what to do with the dog for Monday and Tuesday.  I don't really want to be a boarding service, but a couple days with Heiland here would probably tell me what I need to know and it would help the owner out as well.  That's why after meeting him on Saturday I'm going back to pick him up on Sunday to spend a few days here so I can see what he's like.  Jack's tire is still around and will finally see some action again.