Sunday, December 30, 2012

Brewing on a blustery day

Toquima (left), Lana (middle) and Riley (right)
Everyone wanted to play boxer style today.
Clay is embarking on a new hobby, making home brewed beer, and we started today.  The sun was shining and it was a pretty day, but a stiff wind made it pretty chilly. 

It was also a good day for dog play.

Our cooker is a turkey fryer.
It will also make a nice lobster pot.

Trooper and Toquima (standing), Riley and Lana looking on.

Adding the malt

Lady has developed a couple hot spots
so she's wearing a soft cone until they heal.
The soft cone is nice, but she still feels very put upon.

The mixture had to boil for an hour.

Adding pelletized hops.  Good smell.
Toquima, Augie, Riley, and Trooper
Hercules doesn't really play with the other
dogs, but he sure loves to play ball.

Lana, Toquima, and Riley

Lana and Trooper

The cooling coil and thermometer

After the cooking, near the end, adding the yeast.
Now we have a week or so of fermentation.

Lana, Toquima, Riley, Trooper

Trooper on his sentinel post.  Toquima joins him up there sometimes.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

First snow, almost

Augie is very fast when he wants to be.
He and Lana are both beginning to put on weight.
We had snow for about 90 seconds.  It was pretty while it lasted, huge flakes, falling heavily, but it very quickly reverted to rain.  I watched through the window and ran upstairs to grab my camera, but by that time it was pretty much over.

Toquima and Augie

I found a camera setting that is better for taking pics of dogs in motion and they are nearly always in motion. 

Hercules is happy with a ball in his mouth and it makes him quiet, which makes me happy.
He's tough on the balls, however, so I'll probably be making a trip to Walmart to buy some more.

Hercules is fine with other dogs,
but prefers his ball.
Toquima and Lana really hit it off.
Toquima will play with anyone.

Snow and rain doesn't bother Toquima in the least.  I don't think anything can penetrate that coat.
Lana has a short coat, but she also has enough sense to get in out of the weather.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Living the good life

Bear (front) was one of the hoarder dogs, previously known as Romeo.
Anna, the white shepherd, was also a former foster, but Dog help me, I can't remember her story.

Fireplace and mantle at the Hysell home.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Up close and personal

Some people don't allow their dogs on the furniture or on their beds.  That's fine, depending on your dogs and your furniture it may even be wise.  What I don't buy into, however, is the idea that you shouldn't allow your dogs on the furniture in order to reinforce their position as dogs as opposed to humans.  Seriously, if your dogs don't respect you, keeping them off the furniture is too little, too late.  Still, like I said, it's a personal choice, but personally, I love snuggling with dogs.

We have finally convinced Gigi to use a dog bed at night (most of the time) just due to space considerations in the bed, but when I'm in bed alone, Gigi lays on Clay's pillows and Trooper sprawls across the bed, keeping his face as close as possible to mine.  For a dog that so vehemently objects to being looked at directly by strangers, Trooper revels in it from those he knows, loves, and trusts.

Gigi can be snuggled up close to me and Trooper will move in between us.  Amazingly, the two of them get along without any problems.  Gigi is content being close by and on the pillows.  Trooper looks at her as if to say, "I need this," and then pushes his way in to be up against and on top of me.

Trooper only does this when I'm awake.  He has no real interest in sleeping in that position and no interest in being that close to me when I'm asleep.  Gigi, on the other  hand, sometimes sneaks up onto the bed the middle of the night.  We often wake up in the very early a.m. hours and reposition dogs in the bedroom so that we can all go back to sleep. 

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Return of the horse

Patton in the back of the
van on the way back home.
I took the horse back to his home today and released him back into his natural habitat.  He seemed happy to be back, particularly happy to see Pegasus and the other dogs.  He was fun to have around for a while, although not all the dogs in our household would agree with me.

Patton back at home

The new shepherd, Hercules, is a vocal one.  He wants to be indoors, he wants attention, he wants to talk to anyone who might listen, he just wants.  Pretty typical shepherd.  He and Riley the rottie are getting along well, and he will meet the boxers either tonight or tomorrow.  I don't anticipate any problem there. 

Pegasus had grown a lot.

Patton and Pegasus

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Herc and work

Early Saturday afternoon I picked up Hercules in Charlottesville.  He was coming to me from another VGSR foster home.  It appears that Herc is one of those dogs that gets possessive and protective in his home after settling in.  We are going to see what he's like in a new foster home, mine. 

He seems like a nice enough dog, he rode well in the car.  I put him in a kennel by himself for the afternoon adjacent to Riley and the boxers, Augie and Lana.  There was a little fence fighting, mostly instigated by Augie, nothing serious, just male posturing.

While they were getting acquainted Clay and I put up a canopy over one of the kennels that I've been working on for a while.  It's the one that was damaged in the derecho last summer.  I had taken it down completely and have slowly been putting it back together.  The old kennel was made with panels that were only 4' high.  A set of new 6' kennel panels had been donated to me so they were put into service.  It will make for a more secure kennel since it's higher, and more importantly, we no longer have to bend down to go through a 4' high gate. 

For additional security, I put 2x10 boards along the inside perimeter of the kennel to prevent tearing through the chain link or digging at the base.  The gate was strengthened by putting on a second latch and covering the gate panel with a welded wire panel from a disassembled crate. 

I had built two, 4' A-frame houses and put them together to make an 8' shelter filled a foot deep with straw and made even cozier with an igloo doghouse turned with the opening facing into the A-frames.  All that remained was to put a new canopy over the top and we did that today.


It's nice to have that space useable again.  I put the two boxers in it this evening and then introduced Hercules and Riley.   They had already met through the fence, Riley is friendly enough, and there were no problems. 

The horse goes home tomorrow.  We will miss him, but it will simplify the routine around here at least a bit. 

Friday, December 21, 2012

Hope and Joy

This year's Winter Solstice wasn't the end of the world.  Like every Winter Solstice, however, it marks the beginning of the end of the long nights, even though winter is just getting started.

Enjoying the expression of musical genius is the best way to celebrate most occasions, Solstice included.  Here's a couple of my favorites.

This is Lilly, one of the hoarder shepherds from 2011.
She was renamed Hope, appropriately enough.


Mary Chapin Carpenter has provided much of the soundtrack for my life and she best expresses the hope of the season:

Hank is the essence of joy.


The other sentiment of the season is pure joy, and what better way to celebrate the non-end of the world than with a Beethoven flash mob?

There are a lot of negative aspects to rescue and the emotions of anger and despair are ever present.  Anger about the way people treat, abuse, and neglect their dogs.  Despair over not being about to do enough in face of the overwhelming need and demands.  But the inability to fix it all and make the problem go away is not a reason to do nothing.  It may be an uphill battle, and may even be one that we can never win, but that's no reason not to try.

There's a parable about the two wolves inside us all, representing good and evil, battling for supremacy.  The question is posed:  "Which wolf wins?"  The answer:  "The one that we feed."  Feeding on hope and joy keeps anger and despair at bay.  That's the reason we've been doing this for over 12 years, and I've been blogging about it for over 4 years.  How much longer?  I don't know.  Lately I can't even bring myself to look at my email.  But then I think about people like my doggie dealer-- she's not a young woman, she's got significant health issues, and yet she keeps going.  How could I do any less?

This is hope, this is joy, this is rescue.

(I just pulled this picture from someone else's post on Facebook.
I don't know the dog, the guy, the organization, or the full story behind it.)

Thursday, December 20, 2012

A fine bromance

It's a relationship with no defined terms.
It fits no societal norms--Facebook doesn't even recognize it.
It's complicated, but really it's simple. 
This is a fine bromance.



Featuring: Super Trooper, Patton (a/k/a "The Horse") and introducing, Toquima