Sunday, March 31, 2013

Spring weekend

Saturday was the first day that really felt like spring around here.  The sun was out, the wind was calm, and the temperature probably made it to the 60s.  They were forecasting rain for Sunday so we took advantage of the nice day as much as possible.

I had some work to finish up and Clay brewed up another batch of beer outdoors.  This one is a Belgian blond ale.  We sampled the first runnings off the mash and it tasted pretty good.  I drank a few of our previous beers during the process and then Sparky and I went out for a hike to walk it off.  He and Riley had gotten in a fight earlier in the day so I've got them separated again for a while.  Trooper and Frank got into it later in the day, while Sparky and I were on the trail.  I'm not sure what was getting into everyone yesterday.  Spring, I guess.  Clay saw the Trooper/Frank row, and he said that Maya got into it too, coming to Trooper's defense. 

Sunday was rainy and dreary as promised, but we only got a little bit of actual rain in the morning.  The rest of the day was cloudy and damp but it didn't actually do anything.  Still, it wasn't a great day to be outdoors. 

We cleaned out the laundry room, went out to Blue Mountain Brewery for brunch, and then stopped at Lowe's on the way home and bought a metal storage cabinet.  The beer making equipment has quickly outgrown the small closet in my office.  This will provide a place for some of the big stuff anyway.  We got it put together pretty quickly, made easier by the fact that Sparky has moved over to the other kennels now.  Vince helped a bit.  All things considered, it was a pretty productive weekend. 

Friday, March 29, 2013

Greater Friday

It's the end of the work week, that's always good, even though I'll still be working at least a half day tomorrow.  But today had a couple things that upgraded it from good to great and on to greater. 

Sparky and I got out for a hike.  We did about a hour and a quarter out on the Heritage Trail, starting behind the the library (yes, Fluvanna has one, don't ask me why), up to the open fields at Pleasant Grove, over to the ball fields, and then back into the horse trails in the woods that eventually brought us back.  It's the first time in ages that Sparky and I have been out and we were able to do so because Gypsy Jr. went elsewhere today.  I couldn't walk them both and I was afraid to take him without her for fear of what she'd do while we were gone. 

I'd better back up.  I took in Gypsy over a year ago, actually it may be more like two years ago.  She was aggressive with other dogs and put some pretty bad puncture wounds in everyone I tried to keep with her.  I finally moved her in with Sparky who could handle her, and more importantly he could handle himself in a fight.  They worked out arrangements between them without anyone getting hurt.  She has been languishing without any prospects for a very long time and going stir crazy in the kennel.  She became extremely destructive as a form of entertainment, destroying two canopies, boardwalks, cabinetry, and tools.  I came to hate her because of it, and to hate myself for feeling that way towards her.  After all, it wasn't her fault, she's just bored out of her mind.  The obsession with which she pursues her destruction actually makes me wonder if she has literally gone out of her right mind.

We were stuck.  I couldn't put her up for adoption and it was really coming to the point that I could no longer keep her.  Still, I hated to euthanize her without giving her a decent chance, but my own feelings were such that I couldn't do anything with her.  I found a great place that was willing to take her in and evaluate her with a fresh, unbiased, set of eyes.  She's still my responsibility and I'll take her back if they don't think she's adoptable, but I feel like a huge weight has been lifted off me.  If she comes back because she's still too aggressive, I will euthanize her, not without regret but at least without guilt.

And in the meantime, Sparky and I got back to hiking, making it a great day.

The day got a further upgrade in the form a phone call that I missed.  Clay got home from work before Sparky and I returned from the trails and took a call from the vet.  The biopsy they did on Cabell's mouth was negative, no cancer, just inflammation.  To top it all off, a golden retriever that I had committed to taking in got otherwise adopted today.  That's a greater day.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Show me your teeth

For better or worse, our focus around here this week has been on dogs' teeth.

Maya and Trooper in a toothy embrace.
Just playing, but not a good place to put your hand while they are doing it.

Cabell's dental work.
Although he didn't have a tooth problem after
all, he did get a thorough cleaning.

Cabell's teeth look good for a 13 year old dog.

This Frank's mouth.  I tried to get a look
at it in order to judge his age.

They are not old man teeth.  His gray muzzle
may be premature.

I would say he's maybe 5-6 years old.

"Teeth" is one of my favorite Lady Gaga songs.
This is a link to gay vampire version of the music video.

Here's some more shots of Trooper and Maya because they are just so damn cute together.

You don't ever want to see Trooper coming at you like this.

They look like a two-headed shepherd here.

Seeing red

You gotta love dog people.
The last couple of days have been an eye opener.  The Supremes are hearing two cases that are at least tangentially related to gay marriage.  Neither case really presents directly the issue of whether or not states must allow same sex marriage, but one represents a challenge to a law banning it in California and another challenges a federal law that prohibits the federal government from recognizing it even if it's allowed in certain states. 

The real reason the GOP
wants to axe Sesame Street

As a lawyer, I don't expect great things from the Supreme Court.  It's rare that the court makes a true landmark ruling, and we are still at least one vote short to really make that happen.  Moreover, even if the side of truth, justice, and the American way prevails in these two cases, the struggle for equality isn't over.  It's never over.

As an almost middle aged gay man, I didn't think that marriage was the issue that our community should embrace and advance.  This is going to make me sound like an asshole, so be it, but I never really thought we were equal to straight people, I thought we were better, or at least could be.  I also thought that marriage is a rather archaic form of property ownership more than anything else and I never really felt the need to emulate heterosexual mating rituals.  But I was wrong about some of that at least.  For younger people in the gay community, marriage was and is the rallying point.  There's a reason that young people always lead social movements and old farts should remember that.

It's tough for me to remember
that not all christians are evil.
Wedding rings,
very creative
My thoughts on marriage and equality aside, what has amazed me these last two days is the level of support demonstrated by straight allies on Facebook and elsewhere.  I've been blown away by the number of people who have changed their profile picture and/or shared or liked pics of the red equality symbol.  I would never ask anyone to do that, and I don't consider it a litmus test of friendship or loyalty to do so.  Everyone has their own way of demonstrating support, some privately, some publicly, and for some this just isn't "their issue."  And that's ok.  I had never changed my Facebook profile photo after finding one that I liked and I wasn't even sure how to go about doing so now.  I don't post things in my status line to show support for various causes either, so I certainly don't fault anyone for not doing so on this issue, but I have been amazed by the number of people who have done so on their own accord.

Dog bless Beyonce
I have a self-selected group of Facebook friends, of course (bigots need not apply--nor those that vote for them), and I realize that they don't accurately reflect public opinion (yet), but even so, the sea of red that I'm encountering is astounding, heartwarming, and gratifying.   That, along with polls showing the huge difference of opinion among age groups, actually gives me hope.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Frank, Cabell, and Gigi

No German Shepherd hunger strike for this guy,
he went right after a bowl of food I offered
when we got home.
I picked up Frank from the Charlottesville-Albemarle SPCA today.  He had a long wait in the crate on the way home because I had to sit and listen to a conference call on my cell phone for almost an hour and then I picked up Cabell from the vet along with meds for Gigi before heading home.

Hercules greeted Frank and even offered
to play.  Frank prefers a tennis ball so
there should be no conflict between them.

Cabell's dental procedure did not go as planned.  His teeth are clean now and no extractions were needed, but the problem in his mouth was due instead to an infected and swollen area at the back of his mouth.  A biopsy was taken and sent off for analysis, and in the meantime it's antibiotics and anti-inflammatory meds, and some stuff to spray in his mouth at night.  He'll be getting soft food and extra love because this has me worried.
I am trusting Maya in the dog yard without a
leash now, so I put the long line on Frank,
just in case he decided to be a jumper.

The results of yesterday's needle biopsy on Gigi's elbow growth weren't encouraging either, because they showed some mast cells along with the infection.  She's now scheduled for surgery April 1st to remove that thing, which will be sent off for testing.  She's on antibiotics and benedryl to hopefully help with the itching/licking.  Thank you to everyone who suggested devices and techniques other than a cone.  We'll probably be trying them all after the surgery because it will be a tough place to heal given the fact that it's always in motion. 

Frank got along with everyone he's met so far.

I hurt my back by slipping on my new boardwalk early this morning when it was slick with ice that formed overnight.  Not a great day medically around here, but at least Frank's a nice boy.  He's met Hercules, Riley, Gigi, Trooper, and Maya, all without problem. He barked in the crate all the way home from the vet's office, but that was after being in there for over an hour so I can't really blame him for that.   He's been quiet out in the dog yard this evening.  He's a good looking black and red shepherd.   His ears are messed up from long term, untreated ear infections, but he seems to be in good shape.  

Monday, March 25, 2013

Cabell and Gigi at the vet

We got about 6" of new spring snow between Sunday afternoon and Monday morning.  The power went off about 2:00 a.m. Sunday morning but came back sometime later.  It flickered on and off quite a bit in the morning and it suddenly occurred to me that the vet probably had openings due to weather cancellations.  Cabell had been drooling a lot out of one side of his mouth, and lately I thought he was having difficulty eating, or at least he was eating slower.  Gigi was back to licking one of her elbows excessively.  I wanted them both to be looked at and got an appointment for early afternoon.

Sure enough, Cabell has at least one bad tooth and we've got him scheduled for a dental (extraction, xrays, cleaning) on Tuesday morning.  He doesn't mind going to the vet, he likes the women there.

Gigi was less thrilled about it, and will be even less so because the vet wants her to wear a cone to keep her from licking that spot.  I can tell you exactly what will happen.  We'll put a cone on her and she won't like it.  She will come over to me, look forlorn, put her paw up on me and ask me to take it off.  There is nothing in our shared experience that suggests that I'll refuse her.  I think I may look for something I can put over her elbow to keep her from licking it without using the cone.  Maybe some piece of hockey gear or something.  I did something like that once for some body part on some dog. 

After we were back home today.
Bremo and Cabell on the beds, Trooper and Maya, snuggling

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Stupid Snowy Spring Sunday

Maya and Trooper, before we left this morning.
They are so damn cute together I can't stand it.
I loaded up Maya, Rocky, and Hercules and we headed up to Gainesville.  The weather forecast wasn't great, calling for rain and/or snow starting later in the day.  The crowd reflected the forecast.  We'd have done better being out front of a grocery store where people stock up on bread, milk, and toilet paper, but the Petsmart in Gainesville was fairly quiet.
Booty looked great.  He's due to be
neutered tomorrow and will probably
be adopted before the end of the week.
That didn't matter that much for my purposes, anyway.  I was going to deliver some meds to Booty's foster and to see how Maya did out in public. 

Former foster Rocky
I don't usually post pics of
people without their permission,
but this one of Bob and Rocky
was too good to resist.
Booty was there and looked great, and he at least pretended to be happy to see me.  Rocky was good with everyone other than Booty (Rocky was just recently neutered and Booty is just being neutered tomorrow).  Hercules was good and impressed the volunteers with how trainable he was, or perhaps how well trained he already was.  I was pleasantly surprised, and impressed, with Miss Maya.  When we first arrived she had her tail tucked tightly under her belly, but before we went inside she had relaxed a bit and it has just hanging straight down.  Later in the day I saw her carrying it high and curved over her back like the owned the place.  She would let people approach her, pet her, and she even approached people herself.  No fear.

Maya, double leashed for my peace of mind.

Maya, look at that tail position.
I held her myself at first, on two leashes (attached to collar and harness), but later passed her off to other volunteers who walked her around the store.  She is not the shy, scared little girl that she was two weeks ago, much less the terrified little thing she was a month ago.  If anything, she's probably a little too confident, given her age and limited experience--that's the female shepherd in her coming through. 

My friend Susanne came along with her CASPCA foster, Darcy, and she got adopted to a couple who have a senior female shepherd adopted from VGSR about 10 years ago. 

Rottie Rocky (front)
Herc and shepherd Rocky (rear)
It was a good day and the snow held off on the drive home until I got to Orange.  It's snowing like crazy here now, already a couple inches or more with no sign of stopping.  It will probably be our prettiest snow of the year and I sure hope it's the last. 

Darcy looks like a young shepherd pup,
but she's actually about a year old, a small
(30 pound) mixed breed, very cute.


This is Santana.  She's about 10 years
old and was adopted from VGSR at six
months of age.  She is Darcy's new sibling.