Saturday, November 30, 2013

Long weekend

Ochie, the only non-blurry picture I got.
The dog is perpetual motion.
I have free time this weekend. I can't remember when I've ever said that, but I actually finished my two days of work in two days, I've got three days off plus the weekend, and no dog adoption trips. It's winter so there's no pressing need to mow grass, although I could be doing a final mow and clean up of fallen leaves. 

Emma, left, and Tricia, right.
The Pyrs are Honor and Daisy, but don't ask me
which one is which.
Friday morning I met my friend Tricia, along with her daughter Emma and two of their Pyrs for frosty, early morning walk in the woods. I hadn't slept well the night before and was a bit stiff starting out, so the walk really helped warm me up. I didn't have the energy to handle Max so I took Ochie because he's become a bit of an obnoxious barker, not getting enough run time and attention. He was fine with the Pyrs although they thought he was a bit too energetic. I was hoping that one of them would kick his butt to settle him down, but they were too nice.  We did a little over two miles and I felt much better by the time we were done.

Trooper was in the lead starting out,
but that didn't last for long.
Maya and Trooper, river overlook
In the afternoon, Clay and I went to a new brewery we had heard about, not far away over in Goochland County. It's called Lickinghole Creek Craft Brewery. It's a new and pretty big operation, but with a tiny tasting room, apparently due to stupid county regulations being selectively enforced. There was a pretty good crowd there in the afternoon, and the cozy space made for a necessarily friendly crowd. The beer was good, especially one called Gentleman Farmer Estate Hop Ale made with hops that they grew themselves.  It is in middle of no where, but it proves the old adage, "If you brew it, they will come." We came home with a few bottles. 

Friday afternoon I harnessed up Trooper and Maya and we went out for another hike. Trooper actually got tired before I did, making me realize that he needs to get more exercise. I don't take him out on the pasture runs because all he does is chase cars along the road inside the front fence. He's getting a little chubby and after about three miles he was really slowing down. Maya was pulling him along, which gave her more exercise. The three of us managed four miles by the time we were back and I was pretty much done for the day at that point myself.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Thanksgiving 2013

Poached fish and shrimp. On top went the sauce,
sliced eggs, wilted spinach, and then potatoes.
Cheese and cream went into the potatoes,
bread crumbs and parmesan on top.
It was good.
On our last trip to the UK, we were in a hotel in London and happened to watch a cooking show.  It was two guys who called themselves the "Hairy Bikers."  They made a couple of traditional dishes on that show, one of which was fish pie.  The word "pie" has a different connotation in the UK than it does here, where "pies" are thought of strictly as desserts. Over there, a "pie" is any thing baked under a crust, basically.  It's really more of a food delivery system than a particular food.  Anyway, the best way I can describe fish pie is to think of shepherd's pie, except made with seafood. It consists of two types of fish, and shrimp, in a cream-based sauce with a mashed potato topping.

Trooper and Maya, Bremo in front

The cooking show made it look easy and delicious. Fish pie is often on the menu in pubs and after seeing the show I ordered it every time I saw it on the menu to see how they were made. We found the Hairy Bikers' recipe online and bought the ingredients yesterday and made it this morning. It was good and we were done with eating and even cleanup by 11:00 a.m.  I took a few of the dogs out to the pasture for a romp, which is where these pics were taken. The indoor shots were done as we were cooking.  

The camera-shy Cabell Dog, before he woke up
Thursday afternoon we went to Charlottesville and saw Judi Dench in Philomena. Good movie, great story, beautifully told even if it wasn't always easy to watch. It strikes blows at two of my favorite targets of scorn, the catholic church and the republican party, but I still find it very difficult to watch a movie with an HIV theme even nearly twenty years later. Fortunately, that wasn't the major theme of the movie or I wouldn't have made it through it. Still, beautiful movie, worth seeing, an Oscar-worthy performance by Judi Dench, of course.  

Rotten girl Maya in back
Good girl Gigi in front
Max, acting like a real dog
Thursday evening we took Maya and went to James River Brewery. We delivered our Toys for Tots purchases from yesterday's shopping and stayed for a couple beers.  A very nice Thanksgiving day.


My beautiful Gigi

Ochie, Gigi, and Anna

Anna and Vince



Our entire pack except for Vince.
Maya, Bremo, Trooper, Cabell, and Gigi

Anna is getting too attached to me. I need to get her adopted soon.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Seven miles with Sparky

It didn't rain all morning until Sparky and I hit the trails. Then it started with a little sleet but mostly just a slow, off and on rain.  It was chilly, but good hiking temperature. We had the trails to ourselves, which came as no surprise. I had intended to go a good five miles or so, but I took a wrong turn, down a trail I didn't know existed, and ended up with a longer hike. Sparky didn't mind although he was getting thirsty by the end of it.

I came home, showered, and we headed to town. We picked up supplies for Clay to brew up another beer this weekend, and then we went toy shopping. James River Brewery is collecting for Toys for Tots so we ventured into the toy department of Target and scored some games and toys suitable for 7-12 year old girls.

Having done our good deed to celebrate the christian/commercial corruption of Saturnalia, we went across the road to Timberwood Grill for dinner, a couple beers, and to buy their craft beer advent calendar. That's right, 24 different craft beers, one for each day of December. I think the tradition then requires that we drink 24 more beers all on Christmas day, cause a domestic disturbance, and end up on an episode of Cops. 

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Fifth anniversary of blog (with rainy day pictures)

Anna has been indoors long enough that
she's beginning to think that she owns
the place. She's a nice girl with bitch
potential, rather possessive. I think that
she is beginning to put on a little weight.
Blogging:  "Never before have so many people with so little to say said so much to so few."

I missed the exact day again this year, but November 24th marked the fifth year that I've been blogging. Although the date is different, today corresponds to the day featured in my first post five years ago as we prepared to load up and head to Kentucky for Thanksgiving. We are not going this year, for the first time in many years, because I just couldn't figure out a way to leave. Leaving is always difficult but once we get away I always relax and enjoy myself and the dogs have generally fared pretty well. The way the weather is today it may be just as well that we are staying home. The drive through West Virginia sounds like it would be snowy.

Vince in his favorite spot under my desk.
Anna has been vying for that spot. No trouble
so far, but I'm watching her closely.
I didn't really have any particular expectations when I started blogging. It's a release, and an opportunity to vent, and these days it serves as my memory about former foster dogs and past events. I find that I can plug a few key words into Google, along with "vadogrescue" and generally find the post that I need to refresh or replenish my memory. I often wish the blog went back for the full 12 years that we've been fostering instead of just the past five.

When Gigi wants a change of venue from the
bedroom, she comes into the office and uses
one of nice, new, big crate beds from Costco.

Maya.  I hope that within
the next year she will be
settled down a bit more.
Some folks have noticed and pointed out that my break from fostering didn't last long and that's true but I never really intended to stop, just cut back.  We have just four or five fosters at the moment, depending on how you count, and that is down from the ten or more that we've had at times in the past. However, I would like to keep it to no more than two or three. 

Trooper curled up tightly on a cold, wet day.
I got a quick pic of Cabell before he got up
and left the room.  He now recognizes the
iPhone as a camera, which he hates.
Although I've thought it was pretty well known, we intend to keep Maya and one of my goals for the next few days is to complete and send in an application to adopt her.  Whether or not it gets approved is anyone's guess, but she's not going anywhere.  I still don't have a fence that will contain her, but she's "homed" here now and she doesn't stray very far or for very long.  She's relatively safe here at least and she seems to like it here.

My term on the VGSR board of directors expires at the end of the year; I did not seek re-election and I will be greatly relieved when it's over if I even manage to stick it out to the end of the year. I completely understand why rescue groups tend to splinter and break apart and I don't think that's such a bad thing. Increasing size brings bureaucracy; rules and regulations replace mutual trust. An open membership also attracts people who may love dogs but don't have a clue about much else. Rescue works best when it's local and is composed of a small core group that respect each other and are actively involved in the rescue work. Although those who can not foster can still make valuable contributions, those who view it as a social group or as a way to exercise petty forms of power are the bane of my existence.
Bremo doesn't get up any more than
necessary these days, but I saw him
running on a cold morning recently.
There's no shortage of dogs in need and no shortage of groups to work with. I still have four VGSR dogs even after adopting Maya, so I expect I'll continue to have some association with VGSR in the future, but I'd like to limit that for a while and try some alternative routes. I will continue rescue work and will continue this blog as long as I have something to say. With the number of dogs around here, most days I do not lack material.

I mostly stick to writing about dogs and rescue work, but not exclusively, to the dismay of some. But if you think that I don't hold anything back, you need only talk to Clay who will confirm that I think, believe, and say many things far more extreme and outrageous than anything I have written. If I offend it was probably because I was striking back at something that I find offensive; I rarely do anything unintentionally. In any event, I write to express my own feelings and no one is forced to read, or agree with, anything I write, so "non, je ne regrette rien."

Monday, November 25, 2013

Deer hunting

No, this is not really a post about hunting, pro or con, I'm not getting into that.  It's about Max mostly, who has discovered deer in a big way and is determined to find them whenever we go walking.

Sparky is less concerned about wildlife than he is about scent marking.  He wants to make sure that everyone knows that Sparky was there and he wants to keep track of any markings left by other dogs. Max, on the other hand, has become a real wildlife fanatic ever since he spotted his first deer.  His ears are up and listening constantly and he alerts at the sound of any bird or squirrel, assuming that every sound is a deer until proven otherwise.  He barks at horses too, but seems unsure about what to make of them.  He goobles up horse poop as we walk whereas Sparky just steps over it, unconcerned about anything other than canine smells.

Max was so keyed up today that I couldn't keep up with him.  My legs were a little sore starting out from the five miles I did with Sparky on Sunday.  Max and I put in another four miles today but by mile three I was needing to slow down the pace a bit.  We didn't actually spot any deer today, thank goodness, but he was convinced that the woods were full of them.  It is nice to see him focused on something, I wasn't sure he was capable of that in the beginning. 

Saturday, November 23, 2013

A sunny Saturday

I gave Lily a ride up to Culpeper this morning where we met her new foster mom.  I handed her off with all her meds and paperwork.  She's as sweet girl and she's in good hands and Anna is glad that she didn't stay long. 

 I dropped off the adoption paperwork for Natalie and Chloe on my way back home and then loaded up Max and Maya to go out for a hike.  It was the first duo I've walked with in a long time and they were a handful.  My back will tell me tomorrow if it was too much. 

Friday, November 22, 2013

Lily, a short term foster

Several weeks ago I posted pics of a young female shepherd named Lily.  With everything going on around here, I flat out forgot about her.  She was still with the owner and was safe but they were still wanting to re-home her.  The foster mom who will be taking her actually reminded me about her and fortunately her home was becoming open for a foster this weekend.  I had Friday off from work, so I contacted the owner and arranged to pick Lily up Friday morning.

We went directly to the vet because her vaccines were due and she has skin issues that need to be addressed.  The owner reports that this was a long term problem, presumably allergies, but that she was doing better with a switch to Taste of the Wild food.  Previously they had been cooking hamburger and rice for the dog and she was scratching a lot when I first met her.  She looked better today but you can smell the yeast on her and see the hair loss and red skin.  The vet cleaned out her ears thoroughly and gave me an antibiotic and a prescription for an anti-fungal medication that I got filled at a pharmacy today. 

There's nothing wrong with her foot or leg,
it's just an awkward moment caught on camera.
We came home and she met the other dogs without any difficulty, even without proper introductions.  Anna was actually a little protective and jealous of me and didn't like Lily getting too close, but they are fine when I'm not around.

Max, left, and Lily, right
Both love to chase a ball.
I'm meeting Lily's new foster mom on Saturday morning up in Culpeper.  She has taken fosters from me in the past and is one that I trust.  She's the foster who took on Bastian (who had horrible skin and allergies) and got him adopted to a great home.  Lily's condition isn't nearly as severe as Bastian's was.

Lily leading Max, Maya behind
Anna looking at me
Lily is a great dog, just a year and a half old, housetrained, crate-trained, kid-friendly, and she even seemed ok with cats at the vet's office today.  She knows sit, down, and stay commands, and actually does them.  She loves to fetch a ball or a Frisbee.  She's quite well trained but the former owners have small children, a busy work schedule, and no time or interest left over for a dog. She's really going to be a great dog for someone but it will require someone who is willing and able to manage the allergy condition, whether it be food, environmental, or both.  This foster mom hit the jackpot when she placed Bastian, I hope she can do so again. 

Anna rode along today so I could weigh her.  She had only gained one pound and I hadn't lost any.