Thursday, April 27, 2017

Black dogs, green grass, and buttercups

Felix went back home late Thursday afternoon. But before he left, I couldn't resist getting him and Gigi together for some pasture time romping through green grass and yellow buttercups. Black dogs can be hard to photograph. They need a pretty and contrasting background.

The first two pics were Felix. He's about 3/4 of Gigi's size.
He has the red collar, she has a black collar with a lot of bling.

A taller yellow flower among the buttercups.

Unbridled joy. I really envy a dog's ability to experience this, and to express it.

Nose to nose. He looked so much like Gigi that I drove
to the shelter to get him the day after I saw him. He's
just the sweetest boy you've ever met.

Finally, the sun

Felix came to stay with us for a few days. Unfortunately, it was raining and he was stuck inside much of the time beng bored along with the rest of us. The sun finally came out again on Wednesday and we got out for a five mile hike.

Maya was happy to be hitting the trails
again too, even though it was getting hot.
Felix enjoys a good roll in the grass.

It was bordering on hot and quite humid, so we made several
water crossings.

Felix lays down in the water like Jack.

One roll was not enough for Felix, he did
it on three separate occasions.
TJ hung in there, but 5 miles
is too much for him in the heat.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Getting Comfortable with Chaos

 Cookie in a crate on her way to the vet.
Things are a little crazy around here even on ordinary days, at least by the standards of one or two dog households. Even without fosters, we are barely under 10 dogs. Add in a couple fosters, Cookie and Jack, and then throw in a couple temporary boarders, Scarlett and as of today, Felix, and we are up to 13 dogs. Cookie had surgery today so the kitchen is her post-op ward. The weather is too lousy to keep many of them outdoors, so the house is pretty full of dogs right now. Wet dogs, muddy dogs, stinky dogs, thanks to the lovely weather we've been having. 
That's Felix being greeted upon his arrival.

But, on the bright side, the rain is finally coming to an end, isn't it? That means I can make better use of the dog yard at least during the day, bringing them in when everyone is tired and ready to sleep at night. Felix and Scarlett are just temps, and they are two of the easiest, so they barely count. When Clay is home I make him keep a couple dogs in the front room where he hangs out. I can put Gigi, and Trooper in the bedroom much of the time, There's four crates in my office. I work on the theory that spreading them out really means there's just two, three, or four dogs in any given location. And yet, as I'm sitting here, there are five dogs gathered around me such that I have to give a warning before I dare to move my chair. Of course, I love it and wouldn't have it any other way.

Since I was going to town to pick up Cookie from the vet, I made a late afternoon appointment for Sparky as well. He was due for his rabies and other vaccines and his annual checkup. He basically checked out ok, but he's nine years old now, so they are sending off some blood work. 

Felix was fostered here, so he's not intimidated by a lot of
shepherds. That's Scarlett, Trooper, and Theo.
Cookie's surgery went well. The biopsy results will tell us more. She's got two incisions, one rather large. She ate dinner this evening though and got her first pills, including a pain reliever, and some antibiotics to treat a possible urinary tract infection, which could explain and resolve the periodic indoor urination she's been doing. She's going to be having a lot of crate time for the next few days at least, but tonight she's quite content with it. 

Felix getting inspected by Maya, Theo, TJ,
Trooper, and Samantha.

Felix and TJ hit it off. They played with each other
when they met and are still at it this evening.

TJ is still spreading husky love (fur) wherever he goes, but
mostly in our house.

Spark at the vet today.

Cookie at my feet while talking to the vet.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Graceful Gigi

Sunday wasn't the rainy day they had predicted. It was cloudy and it wasn't a pretty day, but I got out for a hike in the morning and a pasture romp in the afternoon. Here are some pics featuring Gigi who joined us in the pasture. She spent a lot of time strolling around with her head buried in the grass, grazing like a horse. But she was also in the mood to run in sporadic bursts. She really wanted to engage another dog in a good chase, but alas, the stupid shepherds were just focused on the tennis balls.

Spring grass just tastes good.

I think that this is one of the best pictures I've ever taken of any dog.

Samantha came out with us too. She only runs for food.

Her slender lines and her sleek black coat make a nice
contrast with green grass and wildflowers.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Working the charm

I drove up to a Promises adoption event today with Cookie and Jack. Maya came along for the ride. Mostly it was about meeting a couple who were interested in adopting Cookie and getting her to meet their current dog. To jump to the end of the story, they want her and will adopt her after her surgery next week.

Cookie thoroughly enjoyed herself. It was chilly and rainy so we were inside a rather small and cramped store, but Cookie positioned herself to see and greet everyone who entered. She soaked up the attention like a dry sponge but gave back at least as much love as she received. She was good with everyone and everyone liked her. She kept an eye on me and checked in occasionally, but she was happy to have other people handle her, walk her, and love on her. Very un-shepherd-like behavior, but it worked for her, I wish more of them would try it.

Her surgery is Tuesday. We are hoping for the best possible outcome from both the surgery and the subsequent biopsy, but she has a new home regardless.

No stress, no anxiety, just love.
You can see the large tumor on her belly here.

The tips of her ears are rounded, eaten
down by flies.

"Just touch me, I will heal your soul."

And then there's Jack. I debated about whether to take Jack along today but in the end, I did. It should have been obvious to anyone who read yesterday's blog post that Jack and I have been at odds. I keep a mental shit list and some shepherd is usually at the top of it. Many days it seems that they are all vying for the top spot. Jack has held the infamous position unchallenged for days.

As I said, we were inside the store, in a rather small space, and for much of the day there were other dogs around. I left Jack in the van with Maya. After Cookie's adopters left, I put her back in the van and got Maya out for a few minutes. She appreciated the walk over to some grass, but when we went into the store she practically climbed into my arms, so I put her back in the van. I think she knows what adoption events are about, I hope she knows that she's just along for the ride.

When the dogs had mostly left the store, I took Jack out so he could at least meet the other volunteers. Everyone was impressed with him, of course, but I soon was as well, much to my surprise. I held his leashes, but Debbie started to work with him and soon had him literally eating out of her hands. He would "sit," "down," and "shake" on command and stayed surprisingly focused as long as a treat was in view.

He was good with strangers too, taking treats and even performing his short repertoire of tricks. I didn't let him meet other dogs and I should have gone over to Debbie's house to do so after the event. I had this crazy idea that the rain would stop and I could go home and get in a hike. The time would have been better spent socializing Jack. Anyway, it was a good experience for him but it was even better for me. I needed to see another, better, side of Jack for a reminder that it's there. He's a good dog, he just needs work. I've gotten so lazy that I prefer the easy ones like Cookie. I guess Jack is the karmic price I pay for having Cookie. It's a good reminder that good dogs are made, not born. Cookie is 7-8 years old. Jack isn't much more than 1. Everyone knows that shepherd brains don't even begin to work until they are at least two years old. It takes time, patience, and more than a little effort. Giving up is not an option and failure is not an option. I will, no doubt, need this reminder again.