Sunday, September 30, 2012

Stop to smell the flowers

Sunday morning I was up early and off with Lance.  He met the resident rottweiler in the prospective new home without any problem and then spent the next 30 minutes or so marking everything in the adopter's back yard.  If it was stationary, he'd sniff it first and then piss on it. 

He's a nice boy.  I'll call tomorrow for an appointment to get him neutered. 

I came back home and loaded up Cooper to go meet some prospective adopters west of Harrisonburg.  They live on the side of a mountain and had to meet me down at the base to take us up in a 4 wheel drive vehicle.  There is no way my van could have made it.  Beautiful home, great folks, and Cooper will have a good life there.  They've got a youngish female shepherd who is very bossy, but Cooper can handle that after living with Lana and Hank.  Unfortunately, I left my camera in the van so I didn't get any pics of Cooper with his new sister. 

There is one more road trip tomorrow, Monday, down to Natural Bridge to bring back a boxer, a husky, and two small dogs.  Only the boxer is coming home with me, however.  That will make four days that I've been on the road with dogs.  I don't think I'll leave home the rest of the week. 

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Sheetz swap

The new, younger, Lady was good here yesterday.  She learned to do the stairs, both up and down, in one try and after that did them on her own like she had been doing so all her life.  She fell into the crate routine almost instantly and would run directly to her crate upstairs in my office as soon as she came back in the house.  All indications seemed to be that she will be a pretty easy foster and an all around good dog.  She's shy, but that's about the worst thing I can say about her, and that's really not a bad thing because overly confident shepherds are more likely to be problematic. 

Saturday morning I had a phone call and Facebook message from another foster home offering to take in the young Lady.  I jumped at it because it was an offer from someone I know and trust, and she will be better equipped to get Lady adopted permanently. 

It was particularly fortuitous because the plans to meet the rottie, Lance, had shifted from the Shenandoah Valley to Haymarket, in northern Virginia.  I was able to arrange a meeting at the Sheetz gas station in Haymarket to accomplish both transfers at the same place and time. 

The timing was perfect.  I got Lady transfered and on her way and then Lance showed up shortly thereafter.  Lance is a big boy.  The pics I had seen must have been taken when he first came in back in February.  He's been well fed since then and has really bulked up, too much really.  He was hard to handle even for me and I think I'd use a prong collar on him if I was to try to walk them on a leash. 

He seems like a nice boy.  He rode home nicely.  I gave him the dog yard by himself because I don't think he's had much chance to exercise in quite a while.  We noticed what appears to be testicles on a dog that was purported to be neutered, so I've sent an email asked for clarification and verification.  His paperwork shows him to be neutered, but it says nothing about when or where it was actually done, and appearances are to the contrary.  We will see.  Handsome boy though.  We are going to meet his prospective new home on Sunday morning. 

Do you see what I see?

Just before we left for vacation I had an email from the shelter in Orange about another shepherd named Lady.  She was still there when we got home so today I drove up to Orange and brought her home. 

Her coat is rough, dry, and ragged.  She is underweight and looks like a coyote shedding a coat after a rough, lean winter when food was scarce.  If I took her to an adoption event now a lot of people would look at her with pity but pass her by because she's not the showroom shepherd of their dreams. 

But that's not what I see when I look at her.  She's a gorgeous, classic beauty.  On top of that, she's housetrained, crate trained, good with other dogs, and she has her fourth birthday on Sunday.  Anyone looking for a young beauty should snatch her up quickly.

She was dumped with the age-old "allergy" lie, "my granddaughter is severely allergic."  That's the biggest lie out there, next to "the check is in the mail" and "of course I'll respect you in the morning." 

The only things wrong with her are entirely superficial and easily remedied.  All she needs is some food and a new fur coat.  If someone gives her the food she will grow the other on her own. 

Thursday, September 27, 2012


Wading through emails from the last two weeks is taking a few days.  One that I just saw was from an adopter from eight years ago.  The dog was a puppy when she was adopted, one of Buck's pups. 

I don't remember all the story, but I got a call from a young man who had a male dog and his litter of puppies.  The mother (a solid black female) had been placed directly with someone that I knew and she went to a good home but he still had a bi-color male, Buck, and x puppies. 

I drove to meet them.  They were living in a 10x10 kennel outside a single-wide in a mobile home park over near Fredericksburg.  The pen was pretty much full of feces as I recall and leaving them there wasn't ever an option.  Buck was a pretty cool dog and a good doggie daddy, but everyone needed out of that situation. 

This particular pup turned out to be partly, maybe mostly, blind, which led to some behavioral and personality quirks, like a fear of going through doorways, but the adopter and her family worked through them.  Finding out what the problem was went a long way towards dealing with it, of course.  They had another dog in the home, which helped this pup cope with everything. 

Her name is Liberty and she's a lucky dog.  Another pup from that litter came back to me a year or so ago after the adopter had babies of his own.  Jack wasn't overly fond of the kids, or the wife.  Liberty's family took Jack in as a foster and found him a second home, for which I will always be grateful. 

The email said that Liberty had celebrated her 8th birthday on September 11th, while we were away.  I can't believe it's been that long, but we've been doing this since about 2000 or 2001, so she certainly falls within the time frame.  Happy birthday, Liberty, Jack, and all the others. 

I have a shepherd coming in tomorrow, although I hope I can move her on to another foster home fairly soon.  I'm making arrangements to bring in a rottie this weekend, but he already has an adopter lined up.  Monday I'm meeting my doggie dealer who is bringing me a boxer.  Oh, and Teddy is coming for the weekend.  Vacation is over.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

English dogs

Believe it or not, I think this is the only picture of a dog that I took all the time we were in England. 
I've already forgotten his name but he was one of several dogs hiking with their owners on Glastonbury Tor.  There was a sign on the gate that we passed through saying that there were no sheep grazing on the Tor that day so dogs were welcome to be offleash.  This guy was on a leash with his humans but there were several up there that were running free. 

One of the nice things about dogs in England is that they are welcome in so many places, most notably in pubs, where we saw quite a few.  Englishmen must be a hardier lot because no one seems to have come down with a dreaded dog disease from dogs being in places where food and drink are served.   Or maybe their dogs are cleaner, or maybe Americans are just germ-phobic. 

I had heard that pitbulls were banned over there, but we continued to see quite a few.  Labs were very popular, especially in the country.  We saw a couple shepherds, one Dane, but I don't think we saw a single rottie. 

There was one particular breed of dog that we saw a lot of when traveling through Wiltshire and Dorset.  It's a cute, scruffy little thing you would first assume to be a mixed breed, but we saw too many of them that all looked the same.  I failed to ask anyone what it was, but I've done some searching on the internet and have determined it was a Border Terrier.

I talked to several people with dogs and one of the first things I heard from most of them was "he's a rescue." Paul O'Grady (a daytime television personality, sort of a mix of Liberace and Oprah if you will) has a show dedicated to dog rescue and was putting on a huge fund raising event for a shelter while we were there.  We didn't go because Clay was afraid I'd come home with a dog.

A pub called the George Inn in Lacock had a "dogwheel."  It is a device mounted in a wall near the fireplace.  It's essentially like an exercise wheel operated historically by a now-extinct breed of dog called a Turnspit.  The dog was placed into the wheel to run in place, turning the wheel, which powered a mechanical turnspit device in the fire place to turn meat as it was cooked.  Apparently the Turnspit is an extinct breed of dog, but a hyper Jack Russell could probably perform the same task. 

The single family home with a big backyard seems to be virtually non-existent, so they are nation of dog walkers as a matter of necessity, choice, or both.  There seemed to be public footpaths all over the countryside that are ideal for that, the roads however, are not.

I'm not going to bore everyone here with a lot of photos from the trip, but if you are interested in seeing them I've uploaded a batch of them here.  There's a lot of them, so don't feel obliged to wade through them all.  I've generally captioned the first pic in the series from each location and few others that are noteworthy. 

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Welcome home

That's Zachary in front, with Gigi
and Cabell coming down the steps.
Zachary, Cabell, and Bremo's butt.
Home.  It was a great trip-- partly tourism, partly commercial venture, partly a scouting mission.  We got back to Charlottesville late Friday afternoon, in time to pick up Vince, Trooper, Sparky and Gypsy Jr. from their various boarding houses.  Everyone else was here to greet us, and they did.

My pretty girl, Gigi, tail up high, happy to see me.
Cabell and Bremo, both are still doing well.

The garden still looks good.  That's Vince checking things out.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Walking in the land of giants

The picture isn't great but it show a chalk figure of a giant etched into a hillside in Dorset. There isn't a lot known about its origins so I don't have much to say about it. There are other chalk figures of ancient origin that we will see in a few days.

Today was a busy day. We found a not-so-small hoard of pewter at an outdoor antique fair. Then we visited Glastonbury Tor and I climbed it. Then it was a visit to the giant and on to Dorchester, the home of the literary giant, Thomas Hardy. Dorchester is Hardy's Casterbridge and we are spending the night at The King's Arms Hotel, which Hardy wrote about in "The Mayor of Casterbridge". Hardy is, to me, the greatest master of the English language, ever. To him I attribute my love of the language and all things English, so this is holy ground.

Having a great time and I've even learned to like cask ale beers, barely chilled.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Location:Dorchester, England

Saturday, September 8, 2012

One more for the road

 This will be my last stateside post for the next couple of weeks. I'll probably post some from England, but I'm not sure where or when. Here's a few random pics.

Vince and Lady

Gigi and Trooper, almost sharing a bed

Lana and Gigi in the pasture

This pic is the epitome of Hank.

Zachary and Bremo

Lady looking worried, and Bremo
who never worries, about anything.

 Container garden

Thursday, September 6, 2012

My special Lady

Everyone knows that I have a soft spot in my heart, and in my head, for senior female dogs.  I love my boy dogs too, I have more of them after all, but the old girls really touch me.

I am pretty sure I don't want to know about Lady's past.  I'm not one who enjoys tragedy, I generally avoid sad animal movies and stories, and I find any form of violence to be obscene.  (I will never understand why an act of love is considered "dirty" but blowing someone's head off barely gets a PG13 rating for a movie, that's just sick.  But I digress.)

The great thing about senior dogs generally is that they are so appreciative for everything you do.  This evening after feeding Lady her moistened dry food, canned food, and enough pills to choke a horse, I sat down on a wood pile, watched and waited while she finished eating.  When she was done, she came over to me and started giving me kisses, in what could only be described as a display of affection and gratitude.  She laid down next to me and proceeded to have a roll in the grass, which she really enjoys.

Lady is putting on a little weight; I don't think her ribs show quite as much.  I feed her twice a day and she eats every morsel.  Her stools are solid so it appears that she's digesting her food, so I have to assume that she just wasn't getting much of it before now.  I could probably increase her feed even more, but she seemed so frail when she got here that we needed to take everything slowly.

Lady seems to be feeling pretty good and she likes some outdoor time although it is difficult for her to get around.  Earlier today she wandered off to the edge of the property, exploring her new surroundings.  I called and she immediately headed for me, and even tried to run a bit.  Her front legs can still run, and did, but they outran the back legs, which just could not keep up.  She made it back to the house, but I lifted her up the two steps to get into the house and she went straight to the nearest bed.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Make me laugh

I stole this off of Facebook, it made me laugh.  Not a lot of things make me laugh during political seasons, but dogs always can.  There's quite a few things I see on Facebook that make me laugh, most are dog-related.

This week I don't have much time even for a quick laugh.  The housesitter came out this morning for introductions and instructions.  Boarding arrangements have been made for Trooper, Sparky, Gypsy, Jr., and Vince.  That will still leave eight dogs at home to keep the housesitter company.  I think everything will be fine.

I've got a few more things to do around the house and need to start thinking about packing soon.  There is one more dog prescription to pick up tomorrow.

I've been mowing like crazy because I don't want to come back to an overgrown mess.  The pasture is all cut and I'm going to mow the lawn areas again before we leave as well.  This afternoon I took Gigi and Vince out to the pasture together while I mowed.

They were a good pair together.  For an old guy with short legs, Vince is really fast when he runs, and when he's in the pasture he really runs.  In fact, when he's outside he is usually running, never a slow easy walk, even though he's just running from place to place to sniff and pee.  But when he's inside, he's calm and quiet, usually right at my feet.   He didn't eat very well today though, I'm not sure what is up with that.

Lady has been with us about two weeks now, I guess, and today is the first day I saw her poop.  She's obviously been doing it, but she's stealthy about it and goes away to far corners of the yard, out of sight, to do her business.  I've been wanting to see her do it because I'm curious about how she's digesting her food, and also curious about how she accomplishes the act, given that her back legs barely support her and she can't really arch her back.  The poop was good so I think we'll see her picking up a few pounds soon.  She probably has already, but her ribs still show so she's got a ways to go.  She's got a good appetite and I suspect she just wasn't being fed in her former "home."

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

A rottweiler in a pear tree

I've written previously about our pear tree.  It's never been properly pruned and it produces an abundance of  rock hard pears.  I like a good pear but I've never eaten one of these.  Maybe they would ripen indoors, I don't know, but they remain stone like on the tree up until frost.

Our first rottie, Jack, discovered the pears and discovered that they were chewable and somewhat edible.  Rotties have strong jaws and need to chew so the pears fulfilled a need.  Jack would go out to the pear tree on his daily stroll, sometimes would eat one on the spot, and always brought one back into the house for later.  When he couldn't reach them, he'd get Vito to jump up and pull a branch down for him.

After Jack died the pear tree was unappreciated for several years, but lately Cabell and Bremo have discovered it.  Cabell seems to prefer the apples but they are pretty much gone whereas the pear tree is still loaded.  Last year the pears were huge and perfect.  This year they are smaller, but the dogs don't really care.

Bremo brings one in the house and lays it on his bed.  He positions the pear between his front legs and if he feels the pear is being threatened he lowers his head over the pear to make it clear that the pear is his and is under his protection.  I can take it from him, but he'd rather I didn't.  He will growl if another dog approaches his bed if he's guarding a pear.  I don't know if he even likes them, but he likes to have them.  It's an object of some value and all the other dogs respect it.  Cabell likes them too, but he will usually eat his outside or as soon as he comes in.  Fortunately, the two boys don't fight over them.

Earlier today Bremo got up to go outside and left the pear behind.  Lady went over to his bed, laid down, and tried eating the pear.  She wanted to check it out but she wasn't overly impressed.  Either it was too hard or she didn't care for the taste.  Maybe it's just a boy thing.

Here's a few pics of my container garden, still looking good.

Monday, September 3, 2012


Gallagher at our meeting place this morning.
We head for the UK on Sunday for two weeks.  The day off from work today was nice; it gave me time to get a jump on preparations.

Lana and Hank, on top of their platform,
looking out over the pasture as I was mowing.
I drove Gallagher up to Culpeper to meet his new foster home.  He's in good hands.  Daphne will be going back home Tuesday evening.  The housesitter comes out Wednesday morning to meet Lady, get re-acquainted with the rest of the pack, and do a walk-through of the feeding process.  I have two weeks of pills prepared for Cabell, Bremo, and Lady, and we are packaging up Zachary's food this evening.

Trooper and Gigi out in the pasture.
All Trooper ever wants to do is run the fence line as cars pass.
Gigi got bored with it, but following me back and forth on the
mower gets old too.  
The mower and rain gods have smiled upon me for the last two days anyway.  All the mowers are operational and I've got almost all the grass cut, even the pasture.  I plan to keep mowing whenever there is a break in the rain so it's as short as possible before we leave.  I also need to spray weeds, get to the dump, do laundry, and clean the house.

Cooper (left),  Hank (front), and Lana (rear)

Lady on her bed in the kitchen.  She is a sweet girl and she is
doing fine; she just needs to take things slow and easy.
Gigi, galloping across the pasture