Saturday, December 31, 2005

Never underestimate the power of Doggie Karma

Well my butt is once again rescued by doggie karma. I had a bit of a doggie over load headed my way yesterday.

I had 2 dogs that were not getting claimed.
I had a friend's dog that spent part of the holiday with another friend. Between the two of us, we had no idea when the first friend was due back. Before school starts was all we were sure about.
And then I had the people from the other side of the mountain who got hotel reservations in Moab and decided to make a last minute weekend trip. Somehow in the whole conversation about my kennel, their dog, where they are, where I am, and how nice Moab is to visit...I didn't realize that they were talking about THIS weekend.

So that is 3 more kennels than I have. YIKES! That is too many to take up to my house!

But I am saved again. One dog went home early. Thank you. The missing owners showed up and took their dogs. Yeah. (didn't get paid, but not very surprised by that) And my friend came home on Thursday rather than Monday. Whoopee!

There really must be something about being good to dogs radically increasing your luck.

Though, I just know that luck will not work on a trip to vegas.

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Why punish the dog for having idiots for owners?

I have two dogs that are not getting picked up. They were suppose to go home 2 days ago, I can’t find the owners, and I have more dogs coming tomorrow and no where to put them.

Maybe my doggie karma will save the day, again. But I am having my doubts.

Let’s see how I got myself into this situation. On the Monday before Christmas, I got a call from someone who needed a place for their dogs until Thursday or Friday. Oddly enough, I did have room until Friday morning. (the VERY short school break this year really knocked down the number of people going and thus, the number of dogs staying)

I get a call from the mom on Friday afternoon telling me that they will be by after work to get the dogs. I say that is fine, I am home and I don’t have another dog coming until Saturday. They don’t show up. I get a call from the dad on Saturday afternoon. This is Christmas Eve, mind you, asking if the dogs can stay until Tuesday. I actually can keep the dogs, another owner got sick and couldn’t take their vacation so I had a dog go home early. If this didn’t happen, I would have already been stuck juggling dogs for the holiday. Well, Tuesday has come and gone, as has Wednesday and now Thursday. I have 3 dogs coming tomorrow and I need these two gone already. Oh yeah, their food ran out on Monday - so I am feeding and sheltering them.

I called their numbers; no one knows when they will be back at work, no one has a home number or other contact. I am going to have to take these dogs to the pound.

Who knew that babysitting dogs would come with ethical dilemmas? I sure didn’t. I was faced with a similar decision 2 years ago. And in that case, the owner finally came and got the dogs. I got stiffed on the bill, and I have always regretted not taking those dogs to the shelter. They deserved a better set of parents.

Should I give these two idiots the benefit of the doubt?

So, do I juggle dogs and wait?

Or am I off to the pound tomorrow?

Saturday, December 24, 2005

You better not Growl, You better not Huff...

Because I have Santa's cell phone number and I will tell him to bring all you bad doggies a lump of coal! That didn't really work on the two dogs that won't stop barking at each other. (I've gotten quite a bit of mileage out of that one with the kids.) So I had to pull out the heavy artillery - "I am going to tell your fathers!"

Throw in a good glare and a finger wag and, lo and behold, good doggies.

Good Doggies get big dog bicsuits covered in peanutbutter.

Friday, December 23, 2005

Now, that is some kennel...

I am very proud of my kennel. I think the dogs have a good time and I take good care of them. I just found a place that puts my ranch to shame.

They are advertising on this blog. (see the little ad in the upper right corner, the one we hope will put the kids through college)

It is Noah's Bark, just northeast of Denver. They have a house for dogs! They get couches and beds and their buddies to play with. I think they even get cable. This is everthing I always wanted for my doggies.

Now, they do charge more than I do, but I was very impressed. And I enjoyed their doggy pictures.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Just doesn't like kids...

Not me, a dog that doesn't like kids.

I found this out by accident. My son came down to the kennel to ask me something really important. (change the channel, more juice, something immediate and life threatening like that)

That is when Jo went balistic.

LOOK CHILD! bark-bark- bark
DO YOU NOT SEE THE CHILD! bark-bark-bark
EVIL CHILD! bark-bark-bark

It is like she is channeling the Baron's wife from Chitty, Chitty Bang, Bang.

Jo is a nice, normal, friendly, little dog when not under the influence of the presence of children. (you know, my kids have been visiting their grandparents for a few days and I, too, am a nice, normal, and friendly)

Jo is not taking any chances this time. I keep telling her that there are no kids here; it is safe. But she is still very careful whenever she comes into the playyard. She looks around to see if the coast is clear beforing jumping out.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

I started this blog so I would stop boring my friends with dog stories.

I went to a Christmas party last night. Without my kids, no less. I was going to get dressed in something not covered in dog spit and talk to grown-ups about grown-up stuff.

Nope, spent the evening talking about dogs.

I got my dogs before I had kids. So I am used to people's eyes rolling back into their heads when I would go on and on about my puppies. Then came the babies, and that is all I ever talk about. I am too tired to even notice that others are glazing over or they are all moms anyway. (a friend vowed not to talk about her babies birth when she had kids - no such luck, but nice try)

Now all I do is talk about OTHER peoples dogs.
I think am not going to get invited out much.

Bad Mix

I don’t have a crop of bad dogs, I just have too many with the same personality.

They are like a couple of kids really going at it wrestling; then someone actually does get hurt. You have done this as a kid - you get hurt, you retaliate, and then the whole game goes to hell and you are really a truly pounding on each other. Well, dogs suffer from this as well.

All of these dogs play too rough, it goes over the top and they are all growing and showing their teeth. That I when I step into the middle, use my loudest ‘MOM’ voice and send someone to a time out. (I bet you didn’t know that time out works much better on dogs than kids.) If it was just one problem dog, that one would get a ‘if you can’t play nice, you can’t play’ speech and get one side of the play yard to themselves. Anyone of these dogs would be fine, but I have 4 of them this weekend.

Suddenly I am supervising an elaborate psych experiment: Okay A, B over here C,D over there – no switch A with C, B with D – yikes switch back – okay tired, frozen, aggravated, everyone back in their kennels, I need a nap.

Friday, December 16, 2005

So what is your favorite color?

I was thinking about this the other day, you can have a normal health Chihuahua that only weighs 3 pounds and a equally healthy 120 plus pound beast like Goofy, who is of questionable parentage. Dogs come in snow white, every shade of brown and grey, all the way to a black that practically sucks in light, even yellow, red, or orange. There is every possible pattern of spotting and solids and you can sorta count brindles as being striped. Vizslas, Weimaraner, Great Danes, all have fur so short it feels like silk and there is no way you can grab one of these ‘fur-less wonders’ and try to steer it into a kennel. Then there are the furry beasts, the ones that molt more than shed, the ones you can knit yourself a new dog every time you comb them out. (I actually have a friend who turns her dog’s fur into yarn and then knits with it – so while you and I fight to reclaim the house from dog fur, she is wearing it)

Think about it, dog skulls range from the size of an egg to just bigger than the turkey I served at Thanksgiving.

If we had the variety in people that there are in dogs, we would range from a foot tall to 20 feet. We do come in all the same colors; white, tan, brown, caramel, and black but no spots. I think spotted people would be pretty cool. If anyone finds a picture of a person tattooed into a stunning Guernsey cow design – forward that puppy.

Turns out I am not the only one who thinks about these things. Today’s paper had an article on a team of researchers from the University of Utah that are studying zebra fish colors. They hope to gene that controls pigment. Using this information they may be able to determine why we come in the colors that we do and only those colors. Isn’t science fun?

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Say, what was your name?

Well, I have done it again. Spent the weekend calling a dog by the wrong name and wondering why they don't come. My apologies to Shadow, who got renamed Smoke. And to Tessie and Sadie, who's names I reversed.

Maybe it is genetic, my mother has called me by my sister's name since she left for college.

That was 1974.

Monday, December 12, 2005

I can't throw it if won't give it back.

This is a concept lost on most dogs. "Have my cake and eat it, too." Is a more accurate summary of dog logic.

I want the ball.
I chased the ball.
I have the ball.
I will show you the ball.
I want to chase it again, but wait that negativily impacts having the ball.

And there is my own personal laspe in logic - why exactly am I reaching into this rottiweiler's mouth to pull out a tennis ball?

Saturday, December 10, 2005

no, nope, almost, YES

I got one. This is Ellie. Also known as Nellie, but I call her Ellie-Belly because she requires a belly rub before going back into her kennel. I was certainly easy to train.

Sweeping back the tide...

Trying to get 4 puppies back into a kennel is very much like sweeping back the tide. Get 2 in, lose 1, 3 in, 2 out, all 4 out, mom in, mom out...and so on and so on. I am getting too old for puppies. Especially when the littlest one figured out how to squeeze through the kennel's corners and go visiting the other doggies. Mom went balistic.

Friday, December 09, 2005

Chase Sequence

I am testing out my new camera in hopes of capturing some of the doggie fun out here at the ranch. This way the doggie moms and dads can check on their kiddos while out of town.

There seems to be some technical difficultly with the camera. This thing does not point where I think I points and nothing moves as fast a a cute dog doing something cute. Though you have to admit, Tessie does have a cute butt.

It's a GOOFY kind of love.

Goofy crosses that fine line between love and stalking.

Each time he comes to the ranch, Goofy selects a very little dog to follow around. He does mean any harm, or do any harm, but he is the biggest beast of them all and does tend to intimidate the other dogs.

He follows them around barking until I have a small, frightened, and somewhat damp dog covered in Goofy spit.

He has met his match today. There are 4 miniature schnauzer puppies he is trying to love, and they are really giving him a hard time. They are standing their ground and barking Goofy into a retreat.

Say 'Hi!' to Gracie.

Hi, Gracie!

She is only 4 months old and definitely be able to flip me backward out of my chair by the time she is full grown.

There tops are made out of rubber, their bottoms are made outa is not just Tiggers.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

It is PUPPY day at the Ranch!

I have a miniature schnauzer with four puppies, ranging from slightly fuzzy to down right shaggy. All very cute and very barky. And a Burmese Mountain Dog puppy that is the size of my full grown labs, only wider, and only 4 months old. The one is all big feet and no coordination. It is going to be a fun day of puppy romping and herding. Remember you can not steer puppies.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Wasabi the Green Puppy.

Well at least they didn’t go for the holiday tie-in and call him Grinch.

This is where I found the story.

Monday, December 05, 2005

I love my fluffy blanket and my fluffy pillow.

Maybe I should rethink my career move...
There is a set of dogs that makes me say that everytime they come. They are not bad dogs, they aren't friendly, but not all dogs are. This threesome are kibble pitchers. They go for distance over accuracy. Longest recorded shot of kibble thrown from a dish while held in the teeth is just under 26 feet. The shot might have been longer. Chucky could have actually hit the door from the far kennel (28 feet) and the puppy chow bounced back.

Dogs make messes. And I am paid the really big bucks to clean up after them, right. So I can't hold a little (or a lot) of spilled kibble against them.

Maybe it is just their luggage. Three dogs arrive with 3 garabage bags of stuff. Three fleece blankets, three dog beds, three favorite stuff animals, three regular loved but not completely necessary to sustain life stuff animals, three rope and stuff animal chew toys. I can only imagine that the person who packs for the dogs has never come to the kennel. I do wall to wall padding with all the stuff these guys bring. I end up having to store the bags of stuff on top of a couple of kennels because if I gave them all their blankets, beds, toys, and stuffed animals; it would be about 3 feet deep in the kennel and they would not be able to get out of their doggy door. But I should not be the one to critize someone else, as a narcoleptic, I love my fluffy blanket and my fluffy pillow.

We WOOF You a Merry Christmas,

and a HOWL-Y New Year!

I survived my first ever Electric Light Parade without electric lights unforunately. My husband McGyver’ed together a system for the lights three times. It was a pretty spectaclur effort at winging it engineering involving a uninterruptable powersupply, a portable car battery charger, and quite a bit of wire running around the front of my car. He tells me that I am getting a generator for Mother’s Day next year so I can have as many lights as I want on next year’s float. (He is getting the new trailer for Father’s Day!) The car battery charger gave out about half way down main street on Friday night and the whole thing blew up just as the parade started on Saturday.

Even without the lights, everyone was impressed with my papier-mache dog. Over 7 feet tall, and his mouth moves! Hold it, his mouth isn’t supposed to move. I had visions of walking along side of my float holding a very large bottom jaw and tongue. But the doggie made it through the parade both nights, head intact.

I walked the parade route and waved to all the people who braved the cold. (it was just plain cold on Friday and BITTER on Saturday night) I could hear people read my company name off my car, and point the dog out to the kids (sorry kiddos, it was not a dragon) and when they would hear the music – dogs barking carols – they would get the joke and bark along with the music.

As the parade went along, groups of people would yell and wave. Later my husband asked if I knew who they were. I explained that I don’t even recognize my clients when they are standing on the front porch, let alone in the dark, in coats and hats, and without their dogs! Impossible! But I do appreciate all the shouting.

I already have a plan for next year. I just need to find yellow Christmas lights. If you wish for a WHITE Christmas, Remember to watch out for the YELLOW Stuff!

Friday, December 02, 2005

Laughing Dogs?

I just saw a report on the news about a woman who has been researching dog laughter. Patricia Simonet has been trying to prove that dogs laugh. And the answer is: dogs really do laugh when they play. It is a sorta huffy sound. I hear this all the time when the kennel dogs play, but I thought it was them panting. If you want to try this on your dog, try making a ‘huh’ sound over and over again, very fast.

She recorded the sound dogs make when they are playing. After getting a collection of sounds and studying them, she went on to see if dogs knew they were laughing. The segment I watched showed a very large animal shelter full of dogs. (Really unhappy dogs) When they played the tape of the ‘dog laughter’, the place quieted down. It was unbelievable. She should cut a CD, I will happily be the first buyer. I have just the dog to test it on.

I have a client that is a hybrid of a beagle and a car alarm. (arf) He just (arf) barks and barks (arf) every few seconds (arf) all day (arf) and all night (arf) endlessly (arf). You get the picture. His parents sent him to me with a bottle of doggie downers. I felt guilty that I could not calm him down and gave him some at night. I mean he is a beagle, they were bred to hunt, and to bark endlessly and constantly. I can’t expect him to fight his DNA. But he is the poster dog for nuisance barking. When they picked him up, I got scolded because he was hoarse. They really meant for me to sedate him 24 hours a day for 10 days. Yikes.

Maybe laughter will be better medicine than valium.

Check the story out

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Your dog eats WHAT?!

I never say that. I say,"Go ahead bring whatever weird food your dog eats, you can't surprise me anymore."

Tuna fish.
Cat food, canned.
Cat food, dry.
Barbecued elk ribs, had to tell my husband not to eat those for lunch. Man, they looked good.
Baloney and hot dogs.
Scramble eggs from McD's.
2 cups of milk and an egg for breakfast. That dog had the most beautiful fur.
Chopped up boneless chicken beasts, at least the owners cook and chop it up for me.

But none of these match the dog sitting gig my big bother had back in Chicago in the early 70's. He had to drive to KFC's everyday and buy a very small, white, and mean poodle a piece of chicken and take the meat of the bone for her. You might guess that he did not continue in the pet sitting industry after this.

Kibble Envy Defined

Kibble Envy is a dog's conviction that everyone else's food is better than the stuff in his bowl.

Roxy, a boxer, has the ability to reach through a chain link fence into the neighbor's dish and flip kibble back into her kennel. Neighbors of Roxy have to keep their bowls on the far side or go hungry.

There is Tessie, who has been recorded at speeds faster than light, she likes to try everyone's food. I have to let her out last of all the dogs or she will whip past me, past the occupant of the kennel, grab one mouthful from their bowl, and still beat them out the gate to play.

Dasher is a enormous white husky that 'does eat well'. He eats just fine when he is here at the ranch. I think it is the pressure of all these other dogs, they might get his food, so he just chows when he visits me. But his dads worry about him, so they send him with cans of tuna. White, Albacore tuna - this was the first case of kibble envy in me.

I will go on record that I hate canned dog food. It really grosses me out and I am pretty hard to gross out. One night I am serving up dinner, and I notice a 'Made in Brazil' mark on the bottom of a can. I am thinking, 'this is one spoiled dog if he gets his dog food imported' and of course the follow up question, 'where would someone buy imported dog food - in Utah?' This goes on and I am noticing that this is some good looking and good smelling dog food. They must really know what they are making in Brazil. I finally read the can. This really was a spoiled dog, that was a can of imported Brazilian beef stew he was having for dinner.

Kibble Envy? Dog Food for People?

Kibble Envy?
Dick Van Patten has announced a line of dog food that people can eat. I can't decide it that is just weird or utterly brilliant.

Dick Van Patten's Natural Balance Eatables for Dogs

I like the name.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

The Four Rules of Dog Naming

The last post got me thinking about dog names.

First rule for a good dog name: Does it sound stupid when I yell it at the top of my lungs?

You would think this is an obvious rule but here is an example of ‘dumb when yelled’: I know of a dog named Brown Dog, which makes it sound like you can’t remember your dog’s name when you shout it across the park.

Second Rule: Does it sound like a 4 year old picked it out?

Yelling Princess, Pookie, Opie, Tiffany, Sweetie Pie can even embarrass the dog involved.

Third Rule: Try to be original.

This is also known as the DAVE Rule. My husband has never been in a class that didn’t have at least one other Dave in it. These are the most common dogs names (as unscientifically compiled by me) Max, Sam, Molly, Maggie, and Sadie. They seem to fall into the categories of people names that are no longer used by people. Let’s branch out folks, how about Ed, Oliver, Carl, Victor, Otto, Henry…there are still some decent names left. And the second most common naming source for dogs is a play on their color. I have seen my share of color coordinated names - some good, some bad. Copper, Penny, Shadow, White Fang, Smokey Bill, Blackie…the possibilities are endless though often repeated.

Fourth Rule: Not that Original or you will be explaining the name FOREVER.

This would be my own personal mistake. My dogs are Vector and Inertia, if you can believe it. One is named after her ability to only run in a straight line, thus making all rabbits save if they merely turn left. And her sister after her ability to not be moved - she is the body at rest remains at rest. Being a physicist, my husband gets the blame for the names, but I am the one who did it.

Meet some of the regulars at the Yawning Dog Ranch…

My very first clients were Snoopy, Tiffany, and Owey. Can’t you just tell they let the kids name the dogs? Well these dogs put to rest the theory that people own either large or small dogs because Owey is the size of a loaf of bread and Snoopy was the largest black lab I have ever seen. I say ‘was’ on Snoopy because he died last year. I now have a growing list of dog that I have babysat that have gone on to doggie heaven. (That is where all the frisbees taste like filet mignon and the squirrels are all fat and slow.) Snoopy was big enough to saddle and ride, and Owey was tiny yet running the show (shitzus born know that they run the universe) and then there is Tiffany, Torpedo Tiffany, as I renamed her. She was supposed to be a chocolate lab, but her color was closer to carmel than chocolate and she was as wide as long. The dog had no neck, just flared from her nose to her belly and then slimmed a little toward the tail. Not only is she shaped like a torpedo, she also functions as one. In Tiffany’s case love comes at a velocity. Tiffany is one of my favorites. She has to have all the love. No other dog can come near me. And if she feels that she has not been sufficiently loved she thrown a belly-in. Very much like a sit-in protest only it requires me to knee down and rub her belly until she decides we are done. Short of a fork lift, there is no way to move Tiffany once she has flipped onto her back. These dogs’ owners moved away on me. I never realized I would miss being knock flat by Tiffany.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Doggie Update

Justed calling to get the doggie update.
I just hung up with the dobies' mom. She misses them and worries about them and just wanted to check in on her kids. I love these calls. I talked to the german sheperd's mom earlier this morning. Maybe I should invest in a webcam and they can peek in on their kids when they are away. Kennel-cam? doggie-cam? or they might me checking on me ala nanny-cam.

Too cold for those of us without fur coats.

Not much playing down with the dogs today. It is just too cold. It makes sense that I am freezing; I am more of a reptile than a mammal. But how can they be freezing with a built-in winter coat. I can understand the Dobermans wanting to go back in their kennel - they are one of the fur-less wonder of the dog world. Winter has arrived with a vengeance and even the wooly dogs are not ready for this cold and windy weather. Even my own labs have been out and in like a shot. They keep standing next to the door, huffing at me to let them out, and when I open the door, they look at me to “make it stop.” Sorry doggie, I cannot stop the wind, the cold, or the rain…but thanks for asking.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Have a DOG-GONE Good Holiday!

I live in a little town that has the best Christmas celebration I have ever seen. Each year there is a Helper Light Parade at the beginning of December. You can come out, freeze in the dark and the cold, and see a bunch of home made Christmas floats all covered in lights.

The parade is scheduled for next Friday and Saturday, December 2nd and 3rd. I have wanted to do a float since I opened my dog kennel, but this year I am finally doing it. Nothing says Christmas like paper mache'ing in a freezing wind. If I don't end up with frostbite, I'll post some photos of my dog float.

My business logo is a blue dog yawning, of course. Making him 3D has been a trip. He is currently 7 feet tall, papered up to his collar, but still missing all of his teeth. I need to finish the paper mache so that I can get started on the painting. Why?why?why? didn't I start this in July.

I have the most important part of my float, the Jingle Dogs CD, dogs barking Christmas carols. Now all I need is the trailer, the generator, the lights....maybe a heated garage.

Home for the Holidays

Another Thanksgiving at home with the dogs. People ask me if I hate being stuck at home for the holidays because I am babysitting everyone else's dogs. What are they nuts? I have spent a holiday in O'Hare, not doing that again.

I love staying home. I like to cook big. I hate to be away from home for Christmas or Thanksgiving. Running a dog kennel means never having to lie about not wanting to go 'home' for the holidays.

Even better this year...not having anyone over for dinner, means I didn't have to clean the bathroom.