Category Archives: Puppy Posts

Dog Poop Karma

Dog Park Karma: the perverse reward of stepping into at least two piles of dog poop for the shite you shun.

 

Our Off Leash Park has a sign: IF YOU SPOT IT, SCOOP IT. I think this is a fair system. I have observed many dog owners, oblivious to what the Universe has in store. They ignore their own pet’s gifts, not to mention the opportunity to invoke the Karmic process and protect their own footwear. “Pay It Forward” clearly not on their Net Flix list.

 

Other communities take this a bit more seriously. In Brunete, Spain, some dog owners may start to fear the postman. Why? Because the local government was so tired of people neglecting to clean up their dogs’ mess that they found volunteers willing to patrol the streets and watch for them.

 

Can you guess what’s next? The offending material is boxed, labeled “Lost Property,” and a courier delivers it right back to the guilty pet owner. How well has it worked? Well, since the campaign began, there has been a 70 percent reduction in abandoned dog waste.

 

The city of Bristol, England had something similar in mind with their latest campaign to get people to clean up after pets. They feature signs with toddlers picking up dog poop, smearing it all over themselves… I think you get the idea.

 

I spend a lot of time at dog parks. I have to Norwegian elk hound pups, less than 2 years old. They greet me at the door whenever I am out, even to get the mail. But during their perceived window of time called “run wild and free”, they make it clear what they expect.

 

Anxious to get into the car and off to the park as quickly as possible, they use innate Moose herding techniques to guide me out the door. Elkhound translates “moose dog” in Norwegian and even pups are hardwired to fearlessly pursue and manage large animals. Moose herds or their Mommy who drives the car to delightful places they can frolic, all get not so gentle persuasion to move along. Similar application of skill is applied at mealtimes if the food bowls do not appear at the appointed hour and place.

 

In the car at last, they are content to hang out as far as the windows’ openings will permit. They sniff the wind for familiar scents that tell them, “We’re on the right road.” When traffic back up from road repairs dictated I take a different route, there are whimpers of concern voiced from the back seat.

 

My female pup has studied reruns of  the movie “Foot Loose.” Elki emulates the films heroine as she hangs between two trucks going down the freeway, her hair blowing as she screams “Yippee!” Perching herself as high up on the arm rest as possible and out the window as far as possible,we motor along to the park.  Elki’s fur fluffs up as she yips with excitement.

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We arrive and my pups caper about in the wooded enclosure.  I righteously pick up after my two dogs and any extra offerings that I spot as well. I even tote in 5 gallon bottles of water to add to the communal supply held in a converted rain barrel.  I share my brilliant Karmic observations with another pup’s parent. We both chuckle about “Universal Truth” and paybacks.

Cooler temperatures encouraged a decision to turn on the car heat vents at my feet. “Oh wow…dog farts,” I shouted and roll down all the windows.

One of the dogs ate a ton of grass and promptly emptied its stomach.   I’d buried the results in gravel and leaves as best I could. No plastic baggie would easily scoop up that mess.  The Universe must have felt otherwise…the source of the vile smell was on the sole of my shoe!

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Spoiled Dogs!

Ready for the Dog ParkSpoiled? My dogs? Nah….

Last weekend we embarked on a new type of vacation. A trip dedicated to travel with our dogs. They are old enough to have reliable good manners and can be trusted not to chew up the decor at the hotels!

We did select a dog friendly place to stay in Oak Harbor. I was pleasantly surprised to see how many places are listed as “pet friendly” when searching the internet. For those of you wishing to plan a get away with your pets, check out sites like www.bringfido.com . Lots of options are listed no matter where you intend to roam. The most important parts were the reviews and comments from happy pet owners.

So are my two Norwegian Elk hounds truly spoiled? I certainly did enter them in the “Spoiled Dog” contest! Our travels on Whidbey Island lead us back to a winery by that name that we’d discovered on a previous, “BP” (Before Pups) trip two years ago.  We’d enjoyed their Pinot varieties especially and were back to ensure a purchase of their lovely dry Pinot Rose before it sold out this season.

Yes, we planned an entire vacation around two pups! That is what parents do when traveling with children or grand-kids if they want to enjoy the trip. Plan ahead, make good choices and spend the time relaxing and enjoying….not struggling against situations that are fraught with peril from the get-go.

For dog owners lucky enough to live in the Pacific Northwest, it is a true paradise of pooch playgrounds!  Seattleites love their dogs! The numbers available confirm it. There are now more dogs in Seattle than children, by a lot: about 153,000 dogs to 107,178 kids, according to figures from the U.S. Census and the Seattle Animal Shelter. The area’s canine oriented facilities certainly bear out this. One can’t sling a dead cat (apologies to cat owners for the bad pun!) without hitting a “Doggie Daycare” or” Pet Parlor” these days.

I want you to know there are at least six Off Leash dog areas on Whidbey Island alone.  There is a non-profit organization called FETCH- (Free Exercise Time for Canines and their Humans!)that maintains five of these parks. See www.fetchparks.org.  We hit them all and went back for a few extra visits to the pup’s favorite one, the Patmore Pit! This off leash area is 40 acres of open grassland dotted with lush islands of brush and trails through the trees on the outer edges. Our female pup, Elki was in dog heaven as she romped through the bushes, struggling out the other side with vines and branches trailing behind her. Her brother Gordon seemed content to follow her lead or possibly just couldn’t keep up with her pace. She is lighter than he by about 20 pounds and she can run circles around him on most outings.

When we finally could coax our cavorting canines back to the car our boy would flop on the back seat to nap. His sister was doing a great imitation of the scene in “Foot Loose” where the troubled teen daughter of the local preacher is hanging out of her boyfriend’s truck with her hair streaming in the wind. Elki struck a similar pose sticking out the window as far as she could squeeze her head and front paws, barking “Yippee”. She was on the look for the next opportunity to run wild and free. We wondered if she’d ever truly get tired.

I will say that when we settled in for the evening that Elki was so deeply asleep she was snoring! This is the pup that usually sleeps with one ear cocked so as not to miss a single sound.

My definition of “spoiled” pertains to fruit that isn’t picked and eaten at its peak of flavor. In the case of our pups, the Oxford dictionary says to spoil someone is to “Treat with great or excessive kindness, consideration, or generosity”. I think my pups must have read that one! They love us excessively and are so generous with their affection toward their human family members that we are probably the ones who are spoiled.

Maybe Gordon and Elki will enter us in a contest … one called “spoiled humans”… cause we certainly are!

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The Path usually not taken…

The “Path not taken” was the theme for our timed writing exercise at this week’s writing group. I’d arrived just as the group was starting its introductions…a bit late due to my usual predicament…dogs!

My dogs chose the “Path Not Taken” that morning… it was the path that is usually underwater! But we are in low tide season up here in the Pacific Northwest. OLAE, the off leash area in Edmonds, has been experiencing a major expanse of beach exposure. Receding waters in the Puget Sound open up the natural rockery barrier between our dogs’ “allowed” area and the public beach where the wagging tailed visitors are not so welcomed!

“It was not their fault! They were tempted.” This is the stock answer from my Hubby when ever our pups commit some transgression.  But Hubby was not the one jogging in heavy stiff soled Mephisto®foot ware, burdened by the additional weight of wet sand! I had not planned on this level of exercise before sitting in my writing group that morning. I’d planned on contemplating the beauty of the snow kissed peaks of the Olympic Mountains and being calmed by the sounds of the waves crashing on the beach. Now my thoughts were derailed by wondering if I’d have time for a quick change into drier attire before I arrived to sit and write.

My pups were, in their defense, truly tempted. A low flying gull that teased them with hope of capture, coupled with their lack of literacy had them flying down the beach in hot pursuit. They raced right by the bright yellow sign that said “No dogs allowed past this point”. This barrier is usually enforced by deep enough water and a high rocky expanse that discourages, or at least slows down most of the canine curiosity about what is on the other side of that point.

As I jogged after my escaped canine charges, I tried not to slip on the still moist rocks, recently exposed and still covered with algae and sea weed. Muttering commands that my mischievous mongrels pretended they’d never heard before, despite the 6 weeks of Puppy Manners class where they’d performed perfectly, I finally caught up with them.  I was aided by the presence of a Beach Ranger who sternly informed me that “Dogs must be leashed in this section of the beach!”  She stated this as I was breathlessly struggling with the clasp on one of my dogs’ collars and had the other one in firm grasp.  Talk about stating the obvious!

Her terse smile did not brighten her words.  “I hope that you are going to go back where you came from.” Her nod toward the other end of the beach indicated a “Path frequently taken”.

I am currently searching for a real time “app” for my Droid phone that posts the tidal charts in Edmonds. I believe I will need to consult this on a daily basis for the next few months or risk time in “Dogie Detention.”

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Girl Cars

Girl Cars vs. Boy Cars

“Girl cars always have great stuff.” This comment came from my youngest son while a passenger in my car after his simple request for a tissue was immediately fulfilled.

“What do you mean by Girl Cars?” I asked, trying to decipher his label. He is the owner and driver of a vehicle too, so I was intrigued by his comment. “Do you mean a particular color or model of car? Or just a car owned by female verses an auto owned and driven by a guy?”

“I mean when girls drive cars, their’s or even someone’s they borrow. Girls always have stuff that you might need while on the road.” He explained: “Girls always have Chap-stick and Kleenex. Girls have something to drink, like  water bottles in their cars.”

I laugh: “The Kleenex box actually has some fresh, unused tissues in it too, right?”

 The back seat of my Hubby’s car typically has so much tissue litter that one cannot see the floor! If we are going to use his vehicle to transport our two Elk hound pups, a major clean up of the back seat has to occur before they are allowed access.

“Well being a Mom myself I can attest to the fact that my car is usually well stocked with emergency items.”  I sigh about the fact that my kids are grown but the old habits still persist.

“Yeah, kind of like a Diaper Bag on wheels!” He snickered.

“These days I would call it a Mobile Emergency Kit.  My childcare days are long gone. Even the grandchildren are passengers these days! They are old enough to drive themselves.

“Not true! Your puppies are your new grand kids!” He chuckled pointing to a small bag of Maggie’s Yummy dog treats nestled in the center console of my Prius. To further drive home the point he opened the glove box and pulled out some of my “extra” plastic bags.

“Hey… Poop Happens!   A good dog owner must anticipate the need for picking up the waste that occurs on walks or at the Off Leash Park.” I am proud of the fact that I have never knowingly left dog shit lurking at the edge of a sidewalk like an organic I.E.D. for waiting to blow on some unsuspecting pedestrian’s foot wear.

“Guilty as charged!” I guess he is right. “The stock is still on hand, only the nature of the merchandise has changed”.

“But not just in Moms’ cars.” He clarifies “Most females have well stocked and clean cars too.”

“When Girl Cars get cleaned, their female owners actually use the vacuum devices at the Car Wash.”

Remembering the one time I actually saw the floor mats in my Hubby’s car in the dating phase of our relationship; “Yeah, guys mostly clean their cars to impress girls on first dates!”

“Or if they have to pick up a female relative up at the airport.” My son chuckles about his Dad trying to convince Grandma that a ride home on the Shuttle would be more convenient. “Yes, the Shuttle saved him major time… by not having to clean the car, not the 2 hour round trip to get her at SeaTac.”

My son continued to lavish praise; “Girls’ cars usually something to eat in the glove box besides a very old and crumbly package of saltines. There is almost always a water bottle in their cars.”

“The Water Bottle is actually full of potable liquid, not some cloudy murk that has probably passed the expiration date?” I laugh out loud. “I’ve seen seeing water in bottles that I would not even use to clean my windshield, let alone drink!  By the way, are you hungry? There is a bag of organic raw almonds in the glove box.”

I remember opening the passenger door on a City Utility work truck to a wave of water bottles and soda cans crashing onto the driveway. Granted this was after a road trip for Hubby’s work in the field.  “I certainly would not want the job of managing the Motor Pool fleet at the City!”

“At least the motor pool has electric vehicles.” I reminisce, “When was the last time you borrowed any guy’s car that had more than a quarter of a tank of gasoline?”

I recall the starving student days of our early marriage when we had little cash. “It was a luxury if we could fill the tank with more than five dollars worth of gasoline at the pump at any given time.”

I certainly have shaken off that practice. “Most women I know would rather spend an extra five minutes to completely fill the tank than go back every few days to partially do the job.”

I could totally relate to a recent conversation. A female friend stated; “I always have to build extra time into the schedule if using my Hubby’s car.”  Inevitably she’d need time for a stop at the gas station before traveling very far!

I have a much bigger list to go over before an outing involving the use of my  Hubby’s car! Well before the scheduled departure time,  I check not only the gas gauge but also tire pressures. I do that little “walk around ” one sees at the Car Rental places, before they turn you loose in their cars.  I glance at the little clear plastic sticker that indicates the date of the last oil change too! Thank God for those stickers! I am sure a woman must have invented these… otherwise how would we ever know? I do draw the line at popping the hood and pulling the oil stick.

I have  been known to stealth his car out of the drive way for a quick spin.  Better to hear those unusual noises, like the squeal of a loose belt or the screech of metal on metal from the brakes, before a trip begins for real!

All of this data suggests a few things that we women could do to “help out” our guys with cars. Gifts could be so simple. Here is my suggestion list for the coming birthdays and holidays.

1)      An Eddie Bauer car kit! These Olive Green canvas bags are totally geeked out with everything that one could ever possibly need in the event of a breakdown! I’ve seen Red Cross Emergency Medical kits that pale in comparison! Another product surely developed by a female! Maybe Eddie’s Mom?

2)      Gift Card from the local car wash! Bonus if they have “vacuum interior” as part of the deal.

3)      Gift Card from the Oil and Lube place! Love those little stickers!

4)      Gift Card from the guys favorite FAST-GAS Station!  (…and that would be the one on their way to work! Right next to the Drive-Thru Coffee kiosk with girls in Bikinis!)

5)      Flashlight / Key chain embossed with the TOWING COMPANY phone number. Bonus if you can get one that is approved by your Auto insurance company!

6)      If you are really feeling generous… spring for a membership to AAA! Remember that AAA covers the member, regardless of whose car they are traveling in… and it might be yours!

Happy Motoring!

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Puppy Periodical?

It is confession time… we let our puppies sleep on the bed, both of them. In fact we encourage them to come up and cuddle with us. They have joyfully engaged in this activity for quite some time too. They are starting to grow up a bit. Soon they will be one year old. Maybe that is the equivalent of teenage in dog years?

All of a sudden our boy dog had decided that he’d rather be under the bed, not on top where we can pet him and he can interact with us. His little sister still claims her spot, squarely in the middle where she can stretch out and poke either or both of us simultaneously, with her warm little paws.  Each evening, we coax and call but sadly, we were not able to induce him up onto the bed. My Hubby is troubled by this perceived snub, but I said “what can he be doing down there anyway?”

Our Puppy Manners trainers both stated that dogs are “den animals” and staying in crates actually was comforting to them. We’d both snorted with laughter when she was not looking. If she could see the cavernous holes our pups have been digging in the back yard, Ms. Puppy Manners would be shocked! I have literally gone out and seen nothing but the curly tip of my 50 pound Elk hound boy’s tail sticking up from a recent excavation project. Our female has burrowed so far under the deck on the lower yard; I thought she’d somehow managed to escape over the fence!  Only after hearing her brother’s worried yelps as he paced back and forth, did she poke her little nose out from her lair under the deck.

“He’s probably down there with a flash light and some issues of Playboy.” Hubby seemed to know what teen boys would engage in when they were feeling a need for some privacy and this translated well to our adolescent canine.

I laughed aloud! I was amused and then even more intrigued.  “What would those magazines be called?” I challenged him to come up with some magazine names to fit the scenario.

Puppy Porno? No, too easy and a bit trite” he said ” How about Bad Dog?”  I just giggled… I could see we were not going to go to sleep any time soon!

“Or here is one with a double entendre: Doggie Style!” We were on a roll. Laughing with hilarity he said ” How about Haunch! … or Rub My Belly (till my leg starts twitching) as the byline”.  I scrambled out of bed to find my trusty writers notebook and a pen. Some of these were gems and I didn’t want to drift off to sleep without committing them to paper.

“Would In Heat be too tasteless?” Or “Come”? I was rolling on the floor, sobbing with at this point..”How about BITCHES IN HEAT?” I gasped. “His little sister could be the centerfold”. Our female Elk Hound, like most of her sister pooches, loves to lie on her back, displaying her crotch to the whole world! She had developed a tan line this summer; she’d exposed her tummy so often. We joke that she wants to be a Nurse when she grows up. She tends to home in on any of our wounds and licks them until they are properly healed, in her opinion anyway. It is the only treatment she subscribes to. A vision popped into my head of “Nurse Elkie” the featured Bitch of the Month in one of her brother’s magazines.  The quote under her photo spread would be “Hi I’m Elkie.  I’d like to lick you all over!” Here is our Hottie, all wrapped up and ready to be your holiday hound!

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OK, no more big bowls of chocolate chip espresso gelato before bed time! This magazine naming collaborative was going “to the dogs” if you’ll pardon the pun.

Both of us are huge fans of Mel Brooks classic “Young Frankenstein. Hubby recalled the “Voof!” comment made by Inga. This truly would be a great title too, we both agreed.

So you won’t have to leave this site to go and look it up…here is the context:

Dr. Frederick Frankenstein: For the experiment to be a success, all of the body parts must be enlarged.

Inga: In other vords: his veins, his feet, his hands, and his organs vould all have to be increased in size.

Dr. Frederick Frankenstein: Exactly.

Inga: He vould have an enormous schwanzstucker.

Dr. Frederick Frankenstein: That goes without saying.

Inga: Voof!

Readers, if you are still on the blog after all of this crazy and tasteless commentary.. feel free to add your own suggestions for the magazine name!

I am going to try and get some sleep.

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Carpet Cleanup Caper

The Carpet Cleanup Caper

I bargained hard when Hubby wanted to get a second dog. We already had one Norwegian Elk Hound. These dogs are notorious for shedding. I even have a T-shirt that says “EMBRACE THE FUR” above a silhouette of an Elk Hound Dog.

We did indeed have dog hair all over the place.  Dogie Fur “dust bunnies” were overrunning the house the way real rabbits would overpopulate a community in the absence of predators to keep their numbers down. Dog hair covered the carpet, the sofa, the upholstery in the car too. We purchased a Dyson vacuum as the cost of replacing dust bags in the old Sears canister unit was costing us a fortune. But vacuuming was almost a daily chore and Hubby was not sharing the work load here. We started a discussion about what would need to happen if a second prolific shedding machine was added to our household.

It was a given that the fur would increase. So how to make it less of a challenge to keep cleared up? If fur stuck to the carpet and upholstery then we could replace it with wood flooring and leather covered furniture and car seats. I bargained hard. All of this needed to be done before the second puppy arrived in our home.

Hubby decided his first task was to remove the old carpeting and replace this with wood flooring.  As newcomers to the Great Northwest, we spent a few weekends down at the local IKEA store.  There was no store like this in Arizona, although I hear there is now one location out in Tempe. I can only imagine how the locals there are enjoying the IKEA cuisine! I doubt the hardy pioneers of the Southwest been daunted by the recent “horse meat” stories. I seem to recall a shop called “Ye Olde Meat Market” that sold horse meat.  The shop garnered much business when local beef prices went through the roof back in the “seventies” they put a limit on how much one could purchase at each visit.

Anyway we’d spent many weekend afternoons, down in Kent looking at the new fangled IKEA store, specifically at the varieties of manufactured flooring. Of course one developed quite an appetite wandering through the maze.  Inevitably we dined on the Meatball Special in the cafeteria located conveniently at the middle of the maze, so that shoppers could refuel and continue on with their shopping quests through the rest of the store.

Hubby decided the Pergo laminate  flooring would be a relatively inexpensive way to replace the gray carpet that was currently installed in our recently purchased home in Seattle. Anything we could do to brighten up the coloring in the home would be welcomed. We made it through our first winter of no sun but saw the need to improve our surroundings artificially when at all possible to add more light and improving the color scheme.  The blond wood flooring seems to be a solution to our darkness issue as well as provide smooth surfaces to be easily vacuumed of dog hair.

For some reason many of Hubby’s Home Improvement Projects take place when I am out of town on business trips. This is probably due to the fact that it would be quieter around the house with me out of screaming range.  My youngest son’s room walls would probably not have been painted bright blue if I’d been home at the time. Oh well.

 

The carpet replacement job was well underway when I left town for a Gourmet Foodie convention in San Francisco.  The old grey carpet was stripped away and safely at the local dump. The dump is called the sanitary landfill up here, but it is still the same scenario as Phoenix. You drive in and they weigh your car before and after and charge for the weight lost. Hmmm, I wonder if that would work for a weight loss clinic. The work of cleanup and preparation for replacement with the new flooring seems a fairly benign activity to happen while “Mom was gone”.

Upon my return I saw that the floor debris was completely gone and the sub flooring not yet in place.  I could actually admire the cleanup work and rejoice that finally he had completed a job without leaving a monumental mess for me to clear away!

Back in the kitchen, inspired by the Gourmet Foodie offerings at the convention, I looked for a favorite saute pan. I started to whip up a tasty treat to reward my hard working Hubby. I reached up to retrieve the pan hanging on the pot rack in the kitchen.  As I pulled it down I noticed it was a bit dusty.  I chalked this up to not cooking with it for a few weeks.  Later on I needed a strainer which was also located on the pot rack. This item was equally dusty and upon closer inspection was covered with dog hair as well.

All of the pots and utensils were coated with dirt and hair. What had happened?

I went to the closet that held various cleaning equipment meaning to grab my vacuum and do a bit of clean up of the area.  I glanced over at the Shop Vac® and clearly it had not been used in a few weeks, the cord was still wound up neatly from the last time I had deployed this equipment.  However the leaf blower was there cord sprawled all over the floor, the attachment still in place too, indicating that Hubby had recently used it.

Even though I knew it was the wrong time of year to be blowing fallen leaves I could not resist asking what the heck he’d been doing with that leaf blower. Sure enough the answer I received more than explained the dust and dog hair that covered all of my cooking equipment on the pot rack.  In a brilliant ploy to save time and be efficient, Hubby had literally blown out the back door, all of the construction debris. Of course he never looked up! Obviously he didn’t cook using any pots or pans during this time. In my head was a cartoon-like image of Hubby screaming “Woo-hoo!” as he waved the leaf blower.  He opened the back sliding door to our deck and proceeded to blow, through the kitchen, all of the accumulated dust, wood scraps and contributions of hair from the family Norwegian Elk Hound, into the back yard.  Did I happen to mention the dog is a male? They probably did a  high-fiver (or pawer) each other in congratulations on the job well done.

Happily the wood flooring went down without further incidents. Leather sofa and chairs were purchased. Our new puppy was driven home in my newly upholstered car. Clean up of fur was easier and we enjoyed living with two Elk Hound pups, fur and all.

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Elkhound’s Mom: 1… Squirrels: 0

I feel a bit crazy to admit this, but I used a Water Cannon on some squirrels today! I was awesome! I almost knocked the furry little fiend off his perch in the tree.
I must explain. I am not an over the top, aggressive person. I love all animals and would normally not harm a fly. I cried buckets when Bambi’s mother got killed. I was even more traumatized when Old Yeller died from rabies after he saved the boy from the wolves! I only eat meat that has been raised by thoughtful, loving farmers who respect their animal’s welfare and all…but I digress.
Squirrels! My father in law used to call them “rats with fuzzy tails”. Yes their antics can be quite cute and entertaining. I admit to purchasing and installing on a tree near my house, an item called Cobs-A-Twirl. This was a squirrel feeder that had promised to provide fun for both humans watching and for the squirrels by creating wacky squirrel antics and most importantly… keep squirrels away from the bird feeders. It did not keep squirrels from draining the sunflower seeds from my bird feeder, but I have to admit laughing hysterically at the promised “antics”.
I have a neighbor who loves these furry rodents so much she leaves peanuts out for them. Mind you there is a plethora of food provided by Mother Nature for these pests, but she feels compelled. Maybe she was a squirrel in a former life and starved to death. Neighbor Lady also feeds the Raccoon in our area too, but back to the squirrel problem.
I have two ten month old Norwegian Elk Hound puppies. They are, as many or most dogs are, tormented by squirrels. Think about the dog in the movie “Up”. Shouting “squirrel” stopped all action, every single time.
In our neighborhood they are so well fed, they fake bury their extra peanuts, courtesy of the aforementioned neighbor, all over our property. They especially love my vegetable garden. They appreciate the ease of digging and burying peanuts there in my well tilled soil. The fact that they often uproot tender your plants is a constant source of irritation to me. The little varmints also ruined a few lovely Hydrangeas and Narcissus, eating the tender bulbs. I guess neighbor lady must have neglected their peanut supply when she went on vacation this spring.
I think this establishes the fact that I have no great love for the neighborhood squirrels. But this is not what drove me to the garage to look for the water gun. I was tired of having literally every phone conversation completely drowned out by the enraged yips and whining of my two puppies.
There was a squirrel literally shaking its bootie, right in front of the large windows of our Master Craft home. It is a testament to the strength of the window glass used in our home, that we have not had dogs launching themselves through shattered panes and out onto the lawn. The same squirrel or possibly a family member also teases our pups from a perch in an Alder tree right outside the French doors of our master bedroom. The Alder tree has a section at the top that is hollow and decayed, even thought the bottom of the tree remains healthy. The tree is the equivalent of Squirrel Project housing, providing perfect place for the squirrel family to raise its young. We have unlimited entertainment as this tree attracts lots of additional wild life. Yellow Shafted Flickers and Pileated Wood Peckers find tasty treats in the decaying wood and are sort of slowly demolishing the squirrel slum.
My pups have worn a path in the carpet between the front window and the master bedroom door. They are frantic on some days trying to decide which place to go to bark and truly wear themselves out with the task of patrolling these fuzzy tailed rats!
Today I was at my limit. Decibel limit that is. I tried in vain to carry on conversation with several callers today. Frustration fueled by being completely unable to converse, even behind my closed office door was my call to action. Drowned out by high pitched yips, moans and squeals, I decided to give the squirrel some retaliatory fire.
I have some fairly hefty squirt bottles around the house that produce a fairly decent long, straight shot of water. These are strategically placed around the house to be handy when pups need a little wet blast to the nose, to remind them of behavior issues they might be violating. Worked for the most part like a charm on the pups so why not try them out on the squirrels.
Alerted by the incessant and irritating barks of the Elkhound Pups, I dashed out onto the deck, just outside the master bedroom door. I fired off a few rounds at a squirrel lingering on the branch of his tree house home. My water stream was not quite long enough, especially with the breeze blowing across my trajectory, the blast of water fell just short and rustled the leaves under my quarry.
If the squirrel’s actions could be interpreted as a sneer and his chatter as snide remarks. This one clearly gave me the furry finger! I was incensed and suddenly shared the emotions of my young puppies. But instead of whining and yowling I went to my garage looking for a better weapon to wreak havoc on this pest.
There, is a corner of our garage was my youngest son’s vintage Water Gun Super Aqua Blaster Soaker 2000, the perfect weapon to use in breaching the gap between the deck and the squirrel. I loaded up the water tank and was ready for action. The squirrel was still out there. I had half expected the squirrel to have been laughing so hard he’d have fallen off the tree branch. His text to his furry friends would definitely have read “LMFAO- she missed me”.
But there he was, possibly a bit distracted as he was still taunting the puppies who’d run outside to their dog run to continue their protests. I quietly opened the French door, took aim and let him have it full in the face. He did jump off his perch and scramble inside the hollow of the tree. I felt such a rush. Probably made up for those lettuce sets and flower bulbs, not to mention assuaging my puppies frustration.
I swear my boy pup looked up and me and smiled, as if to say “score one for mommy”.

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The Great Elk Hound Escape

“The dogs are out!” I am a bit breathless as I share this with Hubby. I’ve roused him from sleep fairly early in the morning and he is still groggy. “What do you mean?”

“I mean the dogs have jumped the fence and are in the wetlands!” I am now exasperated and throwing on suitable clothing to go out onto the street in our neighborhood and round up our furry escapees.

“They could not have jumped that fence” he cries in disbelief. He is now struggling into a pair of jeans and heading down the stairs to the recreation room where a doggie door opens to let our pups into their fenced area in the back yard of our home.

I say fenced, but this fence is a “work in progress” and has been since we brought home our new puppies.

Our property is about one half acre and most of the “back yard” is in fact part of a two acre wetlands preserve. Lots of old growth trees and a floor of ferns, sisal and blackberry brambles while unfriendly to us humans, provide wonderful wild life habitat for birds, squirrels, raccoon and the occasional coyote. We own the lot and pay taxes, but there are many restrictions as to what we can do with the property beyond the rear fence that extends out 12 feet from the edge of the house. There is a steep incline to this part of the lot and so once over the fenced dog area it is a pretty steep drop down to the bottom of the lot. There is a creek running through this and the adjacent lots which adds to the boggy marsh like terrain. Not a place we often go hiking through, but rather admire the flora and fauna from the deck on the rear of the house.

Our older dog was pretty arthritic during his last few years while lived with us at this home. He certainly was never spry enough to jump over the fence and explore the wet lands below. Not so with the two young pups! We had several weeks time before they came home to live with our family, to get ready. My suggestions to Hubby about beefing up the fence structure and adding height fell on deaf ears. The process of keeping one jump ahead of their capacity to leap has become a running gag in the family.

Back to the morning I mention above. I had by now run out the front door and managed to round up both of the adventurous Elk Hounds. They were still young enough to fall for the rattling of their favorite treat bag. They scrambled up the side hill of a neighbor’s yard that was not fenced and willingly came back into our house through the front door. Hubby was still down stairs out in the dog run. Shaking his head in a state of disbelief that the pups could have jumped this fence, he had not closed the door to the run.

Both puppies barreled down the stairs and out their door and demonstrated that they could indeed clear that fence. They leaped like deer right over the fence in front of a very shocked Hubby! Just in case he didn’t believe they could do it. The second time the wily pups were much harder to convince to come back. Dog treats didn’t lure them as easily this time around. Hubby finally had to trek into the brambles a bit before they’d get close enough to be grabbed.

A shopping trip to the local Home Depot ensued immediately after we’d secured the pups in crates at home. By the end of the morning the fence had an additional foot of chicken wire added to the top.

Hubby stood back admiring his handy work. He stated smugly “This should hold them”. I just chuckled and muttered under my breath “Yeah, for a month or so until they grow a bit more”.

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I was ” Paw Dialed”

My nine month old Elkhound puppies called me today on the phone! No kidding, my cell rang and it was the home number. I answered expecting the caller to be my son Nick.

“Hello… hello?” No response from the caller but line was still open and I could hear some background noise.  “Nick is that you?”  Still no answer but more scuffling could be heard and then the line went dead. I dialed back and received a busy tone several times. What was happening at home?  I was in Napa this weekend and wishing we had a security system that had video feed.

I’d spoken to the family, including the puppies almost every night. As much as I enjoyed the luxury of sleeping without fifty pounds of hound on my feet, it was a bit cold in that big bed all alone. I admit I was longing for the silky touch of their cuddles. The buzz of the hotel’s alarm clock was a poor substitute for their wet noses and smooches on my neck and face that accompanied their wake up greetings each morning. My hubby reported that the pups both were excited to hear my voice each time I called. Elki, our female puppy even licked the screen of hubby’s smart phone  while she listened to me calling her name and murmuring how much I missed my furry babies.

I called Nick’s friend and performance partner, Brian. He was scheduled to see Nick for a practice in a bit. He answered his cell phone and I explained about the weird phone call I’d received from our house.  He said he’d leave right away and would report in when he arrived. We both doubted that Nick was in distress, but there was still a sense of urgency that he needed to follow through and set me free from worry.

By this time I had a suspicion that two frolicking puppies may have knocked the phone from its cradle on the night stand in my bedroom. We have set up the base unit there as it needs a bit more space, with the answering machine portion, which is much larger than the individual phone units and their base changing cradles. Somehow they must have stepped on the redial button in the process of their revelry and miraculously called my cell number. Probably all that was needed would be to put the phone back on the hook. Even Nick could do this if I could just speak to him, but alas… a busy tone still was the only response I received when I dialed our home. He was blissfully unaware of the situation.

Sure enough Brian confirmed back to me when he called me back on his cell phone. Nick was just fine.  It was just the bedroom phone disturbed by the pups. Bad news.  Just replacing it back on the stand would not restore service. Upon his arrival at our home he went to the master bedroom and examined the phone system. It was completely destroyed. It would seem they’d lost patience during the call and took out their frustrations on the phone and handset. It was completely disassembled and all the wiring was chewed beyond repair.

These were ATT phones and several years old. So obsolete that no replacement parts exist and would need to be replaced with a whole new set. I wonder if I can claim this on my homeowners policy or as an expense on our taxes.  Until we replaced the crumpled plastic, bent circuit board and dangling wires with a new unit and phones we had no phone service on the land lines.

They are not actual land lines of course, but internet cable service, but dead just the same. Had this been the old fashioned phone with copper wiring, we might have had some fried pups!

I am a proud mommy and would love to believe that our puppies are so superior that they could actually figure out how to dial me up on the phone.  It would be very sweet to think that they missed me so much.  But then I’d have to be upset with them if I thought they did it purposefully. A whole new phone system is not going to be cheap!  I might have to pawn (no pun intended) some of those expensive chew toys that they choose to ignore in favor of dirty socks out of the laundry.

Much easier to call this incident the canine version of a butt dial!

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Tabasco is the new orange

Tabasco: the new accent color at our house.

Readers if you do not have dogs… just stop reading now. Prospective dog owners please do the visual equivalent of sticking your fingers in your easy and shouting “nah, nah, nah” to keep from reading a story that will make you question why you would ever think of owning a dog. 

Only the dedicated dog owners will truly understand and appreciate this post. Dedicated, Unconditional Love type owners like the couple we met at a local dog park when our puppies were very young.  They own two German Sheppard dogs that were about a year old. My husband mentioned that our puppies were beginning to chew a bit and we were troubled about this aspect since we’d not had that experience with previous pets. The husband laughed and stated that their dogs had a project going in the basement of their home that was keeping them very busy. Basically they had sacrificed the carpet on that floor to the dogs. They figured it would take a year or two before the floor was down to the cement, but seemed like a bargain if they’d stay away from other parts of the home.

Our puppies chew… everything! We purchased a rather expensive, “guaranteed to work”, bottle of Fooey™. This is a bitter apple mixture that our puppy trainer swore was the best. “Be careful to not get this stuff on your hands” she cautioned.  And she was right, because of course we had to taste it ourselves. Made my hubby pucker up like I hadn’t seen since our first date! Great! This was the answer to saving the woodwork. Our dogs licked the surfaces we’d sprayed and smacked their lips for more!

  We’d already tried vinegar. Our house smelled like the salad bar at Sweet Tomatoes. We had tons of chew toys and read the articles on how to get training going by redirecting the pups away from the undesirable item and over to their toy box to find a fun new item that is good to chew. This was accompanied by chirpy enthusiastic reinforcement type statements that made us sound like the 9th grade cheer squad.

A friend said she’d tried many recommended methods too.  She found that Tabasco sauce, straight out of the bottle was the only thing that stopped her Golden Doodle in his tracks.  She painted it on every surface that her pup was attacking. “Great! We’ll try that too”. What did we have to lose? I didn’t take into account that we have all white trim and carpet in our home but stopping them from chewing the trim, right down to the wall board, it was worth a shot.  Orange is a great color for fall, right?

We have bright orange trim now throughout our home. I have developed a slight cough, due to inhaling the fumes of Tabasco as I slathered the walls and trim. It is a good thing that COSTCO sells industrial sized bottles because purchasing such a large quantity of the grocery store 5oz. size would have been even more costly than the Fooey™ .

How is this working you ask? Well I had not found any new shreds of carpet at the bottom of the stairs yet.  I checked other spots in the house for new damage and gouges. We were looking good.

Just as I was feeling like we’d won this battle, our little girl pup seems to have developed a slight cough. 

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