Tag Archives: Dog

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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Puppy Paw Print Arts Project

I truly believe my dogs are in cahoots with one of more of the following: The guys who cleans our carpets, the folks who sell us the “très cher” (too expensive) bags for our equally “spendy”  Miele™ vacuum cleaner or maybe it is my trainer at the health club, who always wants me to do extra workouts in my spare time at home.

All I know is that I go to the club for an hour of working so hard I am dripping in sweat and arrive home to see a “puppy project” that is going to make me delay taking the much needed shower. The latest involved a very deep hole dug in the back yard. So deep that all I could see was the white butt and curly tail of Gordon,  my male Elk hound puppy a midst the flying dirt. But he only supplied the medium. The “art” was charcoal black paw prints well distributed on the 3000 square feet of our light beige carpet, by both he and his sister, Elki.

Elki barks at me with outrage as I vacuum up all her paw print art work. She must feel righteous indignation similar to the chalk artists whose work is hosed away by the street cleaners. In her eyes a thing of beauty and hard work but her inky black paw prints on the light beige carpet incite me to drag out the vacuum. The result is additional expenditure of energy and muscles already exhausted by the prior hour get additional workout as I push through the task.

Pacific Northwest folks are unique in how and what we view as troublesome. Take Blackberries for example.  A delight to eat, they grow wild up here in the Northwest, on very strong spinney canes that rip through the picker’s skin and clothing.  When we first moved to Seattle many years ago we delighted at seeing a host of signs along the road with bold large letters saying FREE and BLACKBERRY but puzzled by the smaller print that up close read “ FREE removal of BLACKBERRY from your property, guaranteed to eradicate these plants forever!”  A cottage industry has sprung up involving owners of goat herds who camp out on one’s blackberry infested property. Goats will eat just about anything and the brambles do not seem to bother them at all.

I’ve been thinking that I should rent out my dirt digging dogs! They are fast and very efficient. They work for dog treats.  Not sure how to entice them to dig on command, but once that detail is solved, we could be in business!

kathy gail@2013

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