Monday, February 25, 2013

Monday mischief...I think...

I think I was wrong and I'm happy about that. 

Remember that I was having some difficulty with Callie and her crate when left alone? Upon my return she was panicky and very stressed for some reason. It's been years that she's been crated, the same crate, the same place, the same routine, etc.  I was thinking that Callie may be developing separation anxiety as she is aging. Not that she's that old, she's only around seven.  Well, I think I was wrong about the separation anxiety and I am very happy that I was wrong!

Over the past few weeks, she has been uncrated and left in her room off the kitchen with the side of a baby crib serving as a gate/door. Upon my return, Callie has been calm, quiet (now I know who was frantically barking until I opened the door) and very relaxed. Almost as if to say, "Oh. It's you. Whatever."

Callie says: "No crate for me!"

Callie is fine with the crate in the bedroom and the one in the living room where she lays while the young ones are being rowdy. So it's not crating, it seems to be that crate.  But...wait a minute...yesterday as I was in the kitchen making breakfast, I glanced over and didn't see Callie in her usual spot on her bed nor was she on the chair.  She was laying in her crate as if it was the most comfortable place to be. 

I think she might be messing with me.

This is what I am about.

Do you ever see something and think, "That is SO me."   

I saw this recently and it sums up my thoughts perfectly.

Friday, February 22, 2013


Between the yard being a mess of frozen paw prints, sharp ridges of ice and night shift, it was time. Time to buy more antlers. 

Of course, with a pack, I can't just buy one or two. That's not fair. It's not really fair that two antlers, in the size we require, cost $19.99 either. I'll save you the math, it means that antlers for everyone cost just over $70.00. Throw in a bag of kibble that lasts two weeks and say good-bye to almost two hundred dollars.  Sigh.  Have I told you lately how much I love them? They are worth it - every cent of it!

It always makes me think about the fact that none of the pack work.  They could I'm sure. I'll have to give that some thought over the next few nights at work and see what I can come up with.  Meanwhile, they are enjoying the antlers. 

Hiker saving hers for later.

Azule on the couch

Bill keeping his antler safe while napping

Forest spend a couple of hours with an antler and concentrated on a flat section of it. By the time he finally gave it up to go outside for a pee break, he had chewed out a section as you can see here with Callie.


The oval is where Forest was chewing and after it was passed around that day and into the next, it came apart and there are now two highly desired pieces.


Breeze, standing as she often does


I think I should look further into mail order antlers.  Companies in the USA that have great bulk prices can't/won't ship to Canada. There is a local chain-store that sells antlers cheaper but there is no indication of where they come from. The label indicates a distributor and nothing more. The ones I buy are Canadian and I'm willing to pay more to know where they are from.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

A cartoon

A few weeks ago, one of our favorite blogs, Ray The Blind Dog, posted a picture of a cartoon and that reminded me of one of the cartoons we have posted on our fridge. 

Which then got me thinking of For The Love of Dogs blog and their caption contest

Happy Wednesday!

Monday, February 18, 2013

Busy weekend

The past few days have been a mixture of trying to decide what is going on with Callie, encouraging Elsie the new cat to relax around the dogs and the on-going renovations.

There wasn't much success with figuring Callie out.  Her yearly check-up is to be in April, but we'll schedule a visit before then to have her checked out to eliminate any medical reason for her recent puzzling behavior.  

We were out for a walk on Friday afternoon and it was bitterly cold and windy.  The type of cold wind that made it feel like an ice cream headache. Callie of course thought the weather was just fine and wasn't bothered by the wind as it blew across the open fields. She was her usual happy self and played fetch and bounded through the few remaining snow drifts.

Back at home, Elsie the cat is beginning to venture out into the living room when the dogs are calm and relaxed.  This excites the heck out of blind Breeze who constantly nuzzles and sniffs and gently head butts her.  It's interesting to watch Elsie watch Breeze. I think that Elsie has figured out that there is something different with some of the dogs. 


Elsie sat on the back of the chair and watched Breeze walk around the chair and stretch up to sniff her. For some reason, Breeze doesn't seem to like getting up on this chair and would only stand with her front feet on the chair and lean forward. Elsie is very calm and sat there and observed Breeze and the others who basically ignored her.  I think that soon she will be a lap cat since she is very affectionate.  I can picture it already - five dogs and two cats on the couch! (only five because Callie will be in her crate beside the couch and Hiker rarely cuddles up on the couch)

Renovations continue with the one bedroom now finished except for an area rug. The final touch ups of paint were done with the supervisory crew ensuring quality work was performed.

Can we come in now?

Typical Bill, sitting with his formerly bad leg sticking out. He still does that with his leg when he's nervous. Moving things around, painting and trying to figure out how to assemble a bed frame, that makes for a nervous boy.

Are you done yet?

In the above photo, that is blind Brook facing the wall. Sometimes the blind girls get confused like that. It's a very small space there at the top of the stairs and she lay with her nose about an inch from the wall.
A bed frame purchased for $20, a cute wall light for $1.25 and a Valentine's Day pillow bought last year for $1.99 the day after the big day.

Looks good and was nap approved.

Forest and Azule

They were a little disappointed when I closed the door and they couldn't get back in.  I'm sure they thought that the bed was just for them.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Developing seperation anxiety

As you can imagine, with a pack of rescued and special needs dogs who currently range in age from ten months to seven years old, there are issues and sometimes challenges.  

Our latest challenge involves Callie, who is around seven years old.


At our home, we have the same routine on work days/nights.  All the dogs except Hiker are crated and receive a Kong with some of their meal in it and canned food to hold it in tight. (yes, Hiker gets a Kong too, she just isn't crated)  The crates are always in the same place are never used as a disciplinary tool, they have nice bedding, toys and things to chew.

crates are a nice place to be

Since Callie doesn't always play nice with others, she has been crated when unsupervised since she was adopted five years ago.  

For some reason, over the past couple of weeks, Callie has developed an issue with her crate. It's been bent to the point where the door barely closes and latches.

She has been destroying her bedding and when I approach to open the door, she is panting, trembling and anxious to get out.  She runs to the water dish and gulps water. 

the crate door that has a divider panel attached since it was being bent

The first few times this happened I thought she maybe would be better with a dish of water in her crate.  That made no difference, it would still be there, untouched when I let her out.

Yesterday morning while I was in the shower, she got out of her crate, since I obviously didn't close the (mangled) door as well as I thought I had.  She was laying on the floor, on her bed in the room where her crate is.  (It's a small room off the kitchen where she hangs out and I've re-purposed the side of a baby crib to make a gate) 

When it was time for me leave for work, I showed her the Kong and said in my happy (cheery-before-the-crack-of-dawn) voice, "In ya get Callie!"  She just looked at me as if to say, "No damn way am I going in there."   Uh-oh.  I can't be late for work and I am not going to try and force her.  So, I decided to leave her in the room with the baby crib side rail gate.  Since I am a bit paranoid, I shut Hiker in a bedroom with a radio on and some toys.

"I'm not going in that crate."

When I returned, Callie was calm, relaxed and seemed only mildly interested that I had returned. Quite a difference from before.

Callie's appetite, urination, bowel movements, energy level and desire to play are all normal.

I've talked with a few fellow dog people who have and/or had older dogs and they all say that their dogs developed odd habits and some anxiety type issues as they aged.  I've never experienced an older dog since Cairo died at age seven and the only older foster we had was with us a few weeks before he was adopted. 

I really don't think of Callie as being an older dog but I suppose that at around age seven, she's getting to where she'd be deemed an older dog. 

When I was driving home earlier today after getting groceries it suddenly dawned on me.  Seperation anxiety.  Could that be what is happening?  The crate that Callie sleeps in at night in the bedroom is fine with her. She's not alone. Same thing if she is crated in the living room. She isn't alone. 

So, that's what we're dealing with.  Not a huge problem (yet?) but somewhat puzzling.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Happy Valentine's Day!

What better way to say Happy Valentine's Day than homemade peanut butter dog cookies in heart and bone shapes!  

With some slight modifications, we're staying with the recipe we've used before.

Of course, these were made for the pack but we also decided to share with our neighbor Max the golden retriever/poodle mix and our other neighbor Dave who is a mastiff/great dane mix.  

I'm not overly creative or crafty, but I do try.  I made some gift tags and as I always do, I put Blind Dog Bakery on the tag with a little paw print.

Then, we decided to make up some bags for three dogs that we don't know personally but that I hear about from a lady at work because they are part of her extended family.  We shared cookies with them before and they really liked them a lot.

Don't worry, I made a big batch of biscuits so that there were plenty to share and plenty left over for the pack.  Of course, if you were to ask their opinion, I gave too many cookies away and there aren't enough left for them. (so deprived)

Happy Valentine's Day!

Saturday, February 09, 2013

It was dark, but we played!

All day yesterday it snowed. A lot. By the time I got home from work, it was, as usual, dark. But with all that snow out in the yard, we just had to get out there and play!

Where they are standing is an area that I cleared outside of the door so that there was some space to at least get out. Hiker decided that eating the snow was the best thing.  She stood by the snowbank and licked and licked. 

The pack was extremely excited to have all that fluffy snow to play in.  I measured the snow on their fort and there was nine and a half inches! It must be sturdier than I thought since all that snow hasn't collapsed it.

For Brook, all that snow meant that she was wading through snow that was almost up to her chin but that certainly did not stop her from having a great time.  All of the pack were running and jumping and having a fantastic time and within minutes there were footprints everywhere!

Callie was thrilled to play Jolly Ball in the snow and stopped frequently to roll around and jump into the deep snow. The lighting is poor but you can see how excited she was.

I'm looking forward to Sunday afternoon when we'll be able to get out for longer and in the daylight, to play in the snow.  News reports are that this is the most snow we've had at one time in the past five years. 

Monday's forecast is warmer temperatures (5C/41F) and rain.

Friday, February 08, 2013

Today, (Friday) we are having a "significant winter storm" according to The Weather Channel.  All the radio stations are giving long lists of cancellations and school closures.  We're expecting at least six inches of snow with strong winds. 

At 1:22am there was no snow when Brook went out for a pee but by 5:30am there was about three inches, it was snowing heavily and still is.  It would have been a great excuse to not come in to work, but since I don't get paid if I don't I am. I would much rather be at home playing in the yard with the pack! (and clearing the driveway)

Callie got out for a wander yesterday morning and had the trail to herself.

Come on, let's go!

Callie ran, sniffed and rolled.

Luckily, the remains that she discovered were well decomposed and frozen. (enough said!)

Then it was time to head home and let the others outside for the afternoon to play in the sunshine.  

This is how it usually starts.

Deaf Azule and blind Brook planning their attack on blind Breeze

Then the "attack".

Followed by the chase!

Sometimes these play sessions get a little out of control and I will intervene. Not often though. I am still a bit in awe of how they manage to communicate with each other since Breeze is blind, Azule is deaf and Brook is blind and partly deaf. 

Then it was time for a nap before dinner.

Monday, February 04, 2013

Breeze is excited!!

I had planned to tell you about how the pack assisted with the installation of new flooring in the master bedroom.  The room was cleared out, the tools assembled and we were ready to get started.

Azule and Bill ready to help but staying out of the way.

Best laid plans and all that.  You see, it looks like the floor is level.  It's a new sub floor (installed by the previous owners) and no, I didn't actually get a level out and check. I now know that I should have. 

Let's just say that I am really glad I kept all the receipts and that I am not looking forward to carrying 17 boxes of laminate flooring back downstairs and out to the car to return it.

So, why is Breeze excited?   Well, part of the reason is that I made some new tug toys.  (Some scrap fabric knotted and braided)

But the real reason why Breeze is so excited is this -

Not to be confused with Gerrard the wonder kitty.

She is approximately nine months old,  spayed and fully vaccinated.  Her people posted an ad on Kijiji to find her a new home since their landlord found out about her and told them no pets allowed.

I think that her name will be Elsie (after my Grandmother).  She's settling in well after her first two nights of hiding in the back of the closet which is under the stairs. As you can imagine, the pack makes a fair amount of noise running up and down the stairs and no doubt the poor little thing was terrified. I decided to get her out of there and put her in a large dog crate with a bed, food and water and a litter box. She used the litter box right away and then meowed, ever so softlyElsie seems quite content now to be wandering around and sniffing at the dogs through the gate. After settling for the afternoon in the crate, it's no longer being used for her.

Breeze and Azule checking on Elsie.

Breeze seems convinced that this is the best thing to ever come in the house.  She is beyond excited every time she gets a whiff of her!  They have checked each other out and Elsie seems curious as to what those hulking creatures are. Gerrard is his typical self with a whatever outlook on life. I think that being exposed to the permanent pack and fosters over the years has made him ultra-relaxed.

Brook was trying to figure out what was going on and being the clever little thing that she is, she got up on the armrest of the chair for a better vantage point. (yes, she is blind, so it's not like she was able to see better!)

So, no new flooring installed but a kitty that needed a forever and ever home has arrived and that makes Breeze very excited.