Sunday, April 30, 2006

That's a lot of dog food.

I think I have now served the biggest doggie dinner in the history of the ranch. A very nice Great Dane named Maddie just had 6 cans of dog food for dinner.

Normally, dinnertime is a barky time inside the kennel building. Last night when I lined up those 6 cans and started opening them, it was perfectly silence. You could hear the doggie math going on in those 9 furry heads, "That has got to be at least two cans for each of us." Dogs are not known for their math skills.

I had to serve dinner in two bowls, that is another first.

But I do have to add, that Maddie may be a big eater, but she still has a lovely figure.

Saturday, April 29, 2006

"So, would you like to hold the baby?"

My reaction to this question has always been, 'You must be kidding!" Though, I am proud to say I have never actually blurted this out at a proud new mother. I was just thinking this again last week, a friend has a brand new baby boy (quite the cutie) and I am thinking, "Man, I know I have forgotten everything about babies. Please don't offer to let me hold him." She didn't.

I never had the baby-crazies that some women do. I have never touched a stranger's pregnant belly. But I did once watch a co-worker give some lawyer a heart punch for pulling that stunt in the elevator of the Prudential building back in Chicago. (I was so proud of her) The first baby I ever held was my nephew at his baptism. If you see the photo, I look a little stiff. Once I got him I was afraid to change my grip and he was a pretty big baby, too. I had never changed a diaper until the day my daughter was born. I was 35 at the time. I had been pretty proud of that fact until that day, when I realized that there was some skill involved and I really didn't have any of it.

Even in the case of my own children, I knew my limitations. When my daughter was born, they handed me her right after her birth this is what I was thinking: "Isn't there someone here far more qualified and a lot less drugged than I, that can hold this baby?"

Two years later, I held my second baby with just as much uncertainty as the first kid and I realized, "Man, I know I have forgotten everything about babies. Please, someone offer to hold him."

But just this morning, I reached out and grabbed a Bichon out of her mother's arms before I was even sure of the dog's name.

Oh-my-god! I do have that gene; it is just for the wrong species.

Friday, April 28, 2006

Are all of those your dogs? No, they're everybodies' dogs.

Kids ask me that all the time when they see my extensive collection of doggie name clips. My very low tech, but highly effective way of knowing what dog food goes with which dog.

I think I need to have my husband add another row on. See on the top, where I wrote the days of the week. I used to be able to clip on the names of which dogs were arriving on each day. Not anymore.

I am always surprised when I don't recongnize a dog in this town. I really thought I had met them all by now.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

There are quite a few Dog Blogs out there...

More than I ever realized. So I do a bit of surfing myself and one dog lover blog will lead to you many other dog blogs. But today I found a great one. The Cool Dog Site of the Day , click here and you can find the best dog sites around. They have a new site everyday, and you can vote for best of the month.

It is going to take me a couple of days to get through all 25 of April.

And I love their 'Dog on Board' stickers.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

So, tell me your name again.

I ran into a client at McDonald's the other day. She was asking if July fourth is already full. No, not yet. And I asked her who her dogs are. Chico. Big, black poodle - Chico? (I have 4 or 5 Chicos.)

I then I started to laugh, her other dog is named Sophie. But for the two weeks that Chico and Sophie stayed with me at Christmas, I called her Joan. I remember thinking that was the dumbest dog name I had ever heard. It wasn't old fashioned enough to be a good dog name. For gosh sakes, people are still running around with the name Joan. It was just wrong.

It didn't fit the dog, either.

Well, I found out Sophie's real name when her owners got back from their trip. Joan, it turns out, is her mother's name. When I asked, "what's her name?" I had meant the dog, not the human dropping her off. But 'Joan' she was to me for two weeks. I must have just driven that dog nuts.

I forgot to asked, does the dog come when you call your mother?

Monday, April 24, 2006

What's your regional dog?

For Carbon County, I would have to vote for the Labrador, but as we all know, I am biased. I understand that loving labradors is a universal things and they are popular everywhere.

Then there are the Heelers. I never even heard of this breed until I moved to Utah. It has a Red and Blue version, that have nothing to do with their political view points. Besides in Carbon County, everyone is a Democrat no matter how you vote.

There are a lot of the herding breeds around here; Heelers, Austrian Sheperds or is that Austrialian Sheperds, (I really need to pop for that dog breed poster), collies, all the brands of spanials. But that might be a tradtion the Greek immigrants brought to this place. They came to bust the coal mine strikes of the Italians and brought their herding instincts with them. It cracks me up to think that I live in the middle of nowhere, but can get better Greek food than I had in Greek Town back in Chicago.

But it is the minitures that are taking over. I see more chihuahuas everyday, and I just babysat my first pug and then saw two more around town. My daughter even asked Santa for a weiner dog and two chihuahuas, one black, one brown. And I would like to thank the big guy for going for the Polly Pockets instead of the puppies.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

I just never know what I am going to find when I head down to the kennel.

My husband checked in these two dogs, Doppler and White Fang. Their owners said they have been here before. When I got down to the kennel, I would have sworn I never saw them before. It could happen, they could have come on one of the weeks I was away and the dogsitter was in charge. That must be the case, the names are familiar and they already had clothespins with their names on them, but those dogs didn't know me at all.

And they were seriously freaked out about being in the kennel. When a dog acts afraid of me and too timid or submissive for the situation, I don't let them out with the other dogs. It is the frightened and insecure dog that will bite you. These dogs wouldn't even come out for the first day. They stood in their doorways and growled at me, like a couple of wolves peeking out of a cave. (I'm thinking this is going to be a very long week and a very messy run, if they never come out)

I started by opening their gates and then going to the other side of the play yard with all the other dogs. They did finally take a chance and checked out their side of the play yard. I did this for a few playtimes and then I sat with them for a session. No pressure, I let them come up to me. Doppler is a love-bug, but still a little too submissive for my taste. I think the current owners must have rescued these two from someone who was really mean to them. Sometimes you can never cure the abuse a dog received as a puppy.

And it turns out that White Fang is a leaner and a big, heavy leaner at that. Leaners like to lean into whoever is petting them. The better the petting, the bigger the lean. My man Fang is about 130 pounds of leaning power. I thought I was going to end up squashed like a bug under him.

I still don't let them mix with the other dogs. They might never de able to socialize with any dogs, but they do have a good time together. And instead of them being afraid of me, and me of them; I get kisses and leans.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Dog aren't the only wild things around here.

Yesterday morning, I counted 13 deer just over my back fence line. Actually, there were 14, but the last one, I never saw just heard him. It is a baby braying from under a clump of pinion and scrub pines. Mom must have put him there to stay safe while the rest of group finished eating. From the amount of noise he was making, I'd say he was not happy with the arrangement.

This is the largest group I have ever seen here. All winter, we had a group of eight that dined on my husband's archery targets until the hay bales collasped.

And lately, it has been a group of 4 or 5 that show up in the evenings.

But 14, that is a record.

I wonder what I will see today.

Friday, April 21, 2006

The Chaser becomes the Chasee

Sunny is a herder by breed. I keep telling him, ‘they are not sheep!’, but it does not deter him from trying to steer all the other dogs. And where is he trying to make them go anyway; it isn’t that big of a play yard. I guess it really is the journey and not the destination in Sunny’s case.

He runs round and round, while barking and barking, and generally bugs the begeebers out of the other dogs. Well, the table has been turned and the chaser has become the chasee, and he is not happy about it. Nellie has been running Sunny ragged since she got here.

Dogs don’t have a real highly development sense of irony, but I do. Go get ‘em, Nellie!

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Don't corner the shitzus.

We have quite the dueling pair with Sasha and Seirra. They are backing off all the big dogs with their fearless back to back fighting stance. I haven't seen such teamwork or footwork since the last time I watch the 3 Musketeers.

Don't mess with the ladies, they are armed and dangerous.

They are also smaller than a loaf of bread and very fluffy.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

The Dog's Mom, The Dog's Dad

There is a lot of us out there. Those dog owner who consider and call the dog their child. Doggie Moms and Dads.

I found one while on the pursuit of sticking a picture at the top of this page.

My son

Check it out, he has a very cute four legged son, and the dog now has an adorable baby sitter, as well.

To all the moms and dads that started with dogs, I say, 'Bravo!' and that if you did a good job raising the dog, you are ready for the baby.

People will laugh and tell you that having dogs is nothing like having kids. They are not nearly as right as they think. Parenting is parenting, and dog are kids. I know there are a number of differences…like paying for obedience training but never having to pop for out of state college tuition. My dogs will never need just the right shoes, and though they whine for bread and bacon, they will never bug me for a Malibu Barbie or a Power Ranger. And as for the nitty-gritty stuff, scooping poop is tedious and stinky, but it is never as up close and personal as a diaper change. And no matter how hard it was to house break the dog, potty training will give you fond memories of it.

I am working on a guide for all those doggie Moms and Dads to help them thru the transistion from Fido to Junior. The working title is My Big Sisters are Labradors. I am hoping this blog generates a few more chapters so I can finish it up. Wish me luck!

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Who has been sleeping in my bed.

As I mentioned before, we have bought the dogs their very own beds, with the hope of reclaiming our own.

I know some people are wondering why sleeping with the dog is bad. Sleeping with kids is not much better. I am actually starting to wonder about sharing with my husband. Maybe Rob and Laura Petrie may have had the right idea with the separate beds.

The advantages to sleeping with the dog is the heat. The disadvantage can also be the heat.
There are some other problems with dogs in your bed, I have named them:

Canine Migration
If you ever get out of bed for a trip to the bathroom, deal with baby, or talk a toddler back into bed; you know where the dog moved to - your spot.

Canine encroachment
If you don't get out, you will get moved over. My dog, Inertia, is the queen of canine encroachment. She starts on my husband's right and whenever he rolls over she matches him and fills the space he just left. On an average night, Inertia can claim half of king size bed with both of us squished into my side.

The Blanket Pin
This is Vector's specialty. She always manages to get some portion of my blanket under her butt. And always in such a way as to leave me with a cold air gap on the other side.

Up Means Out
Back to getting out of bed. To my dogs, me being up means that they should get to go out. That is some serious midnight mileage in this house. All the way downstairs and around to the front of the house. I am not up for that much exercise in the daylight, no way in the dark. I am convinced that my dogs have learned to fake a throwing up sound, so that my husband will leap out of bed and let them out.

Don't Go Back to Bed without Me
And of course, if you did make the round trip to the front door and back to bed. The dogs will want to come back in just after you dosed off.

I guess you are stuck with the last two whether or not you share your bed with the dogs. But I will warn you now, if you let them head up the stairs first, you are going to have canine migration on your hands.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Poodle Breathe

This is yet another of my highly unscientific research projects, but I think poodles have the worst breath. Let me tell you, I do get breathed on quite a bit. So, I do have a reasonably large sample for my research.

Dog breath is never great, but poodle breath is awful and it is the same for all poodles. Big or little. Yucko! Why is this, what about poodles make everything and anything turn into canine halitosis.

And why we are at it, what makes them all such pests. My father would have called them 'itches', that what he called me and my siblings when ever we were bugging and bugging at him. Poodles are a lot like 5 year olds, they just don't get it when someone doesn't want to play with them. They just bug, and bug, and bug at the other dog until the dog relents and plays, heads back to the quiet of their own kennel, or the poodle finds there is someone better to bug.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Happy Easter to All You Bunnies!

One day off and it is back to be chased on Monday!

Do you know when dogs celebrate Easter?
About two weeks later, that is when those unfound eggs are at their best.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

It is good to have friends.

This is Sunny. He was SO excited about coming to the kennel. He pulled his Mom all the way down the path. I could see the disappointment in his face when he saw that there were no other dogs.

He only had me to play with, and I don't run around so what good am I.

Then Gus arrived. Gus is just a puppy and a very little puppy at that. He is a jack russell terrier. I knew I had a good match for Sunny. Gus didn't think so. He didn't want to come out of the kennel. The first time he came out, met Sunny and headed back in for safety. The next play time, he gave Sunny a snif, too. Third time is a charm, he put his paws up on Sunny's nose and played.

The dog trainers call this socialization. I say it is good to have friends. Playing with other dogs is the best thing you can do for your dogs. Think about it, you wouldn't let your toddler hang out with a bunch of grad students. Everyone needs friends their own 'age'. For that dogs need dogs.

Try it out, take your dog to a dog park or just out with your friend's dogs. You will see an improvement in all of your dog's behaviors. There must be something to learning where you stand in the dog universe that give a dog a sense of identity and confidence. A happy and confident dog is a great dog. A scared and timided dog will be the one who bites you.

Friday, April 14, 2006

Piddle Me!

Well, Gus must have been really happy to see me. When I picked him up, he peed all over my lap. The one thing I learned with motherhood, all the stuff your kids get on you washes off. Well, most anyway.

My biggest worry was that once Gus did it, everyone else would feel obligated to over-mark me.

This is where is gets a little gross, so if you still have the ability to be grossed out. Stop Here.

I lost my ability to be grossed out after I had kids. Changing diapers, being thrown up on, cleaning up blood, all in a mom's day. You don't even think about it. None of the moms do. No one likes barf, right. The smell alone will make you want to add to the mess. But not a mom, the first reaction to a sick little kids is to cup her hands under their mouths. If this doesn't prove that your mother will love you no matter what awlful things you might do; I don't know what will.

It is my personal theory that the reason we have our husbands in the delivery room is not to stand up in the stirrups and yell, "You will never be naked in my presence again!" It is to let them in on the un-told yuckiness that is parenthood.

When my children were about 6 and 4, my husband mentioned to me that, "I didn't want to say anything at the time, but the birth was pretty gross." Gee, do you think. It's not like pregnancy was 9 months of your body finding new and imaginative ways to gross you out.

I like to tell doggie moms and dads, when they are expecting their first REAL kid, that they will do just fine, the dog has already taught them that they can love something that make disgusting messes.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Don't shoot the dogs. Don't blame the judge. Lets, just knock the owner upside the head.

Big public interest story on the news, here in Utah. A woman in Herriman went to jail yesterday for keeping too many dogs. It seems that she was cited for having 7 dogs in the past and was given a warning to get rid of the extras. The rule is only two dogs per household unless you get a kennel permit. And she didn't get rid of the extra dogs. I understand that she is fostering these dogs and does this a lot. She just didn't find homes for them in the time allotted.

Okay, I love dogs, too. But if you want to have too many, pop for the kennel license. How hard is that. You pay, they inspect. It is that easy. Herriman even has a special designation for people fostering dogs. That seems like the easiest solution to me, it has to cheaper than 180 days in jail that she was sentenced to.

And now for the judge, his 'easiest solution' was for her to, "just shoot the dogs" before the court's deadline. Come on judge, that was not only thoughtless it was heartless. Your telling me, the judge doesn't know about kennel license, either?

Maybe they should forget about licensing the dogs in Herriman, require tags on all the idiots. Think of all the revenue it would generate.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Lullabies for Doggies?

The Salt Lake Trib had an article about a CD of lullabies for dogs. It made me think about that dog laughter researcher. I checked out the lullaby site. What they have done is create music over the sound of a heartbeat. It works for babies (Too bad I can't try it out on my son - got up every two hours for more than two years. He would have been the ultimate testing.), so they tried it on dogs.

I still like the dog laughter idea better, because playing lullabies non-stop at the kennel might calm the nuisnace barkers, but it will definitely send me screaming into the night.

I emailed the woman doing the laughter research and asked for a recording. I think she could have a platium record on her hands. And I know my neighbors would appreciate it.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

The ranch has a bad case of testosterone poisoning the week.

Gunny and Durango insist on turning circles, toe to tail while growling.

Durango keeps trying to mount Drake.

Drake is fine with Gunny in the play yard, but will throw himself at Gunny's kennel door the moment I put Gunny in. Sure, anyone can attack a rottweiler behind industrial fencing.

Chewy, who is small, furry, ferocious, and also Gunnies big brother, is trying to defend his brother from all these big dogs. Really quite funny to see a shitzu running off a labrador to protect a giant rottweiler. Once a big brother, always a big brother.

And when not trying to show his superiority to all of the boys, Durango has been trying to get Roxy's attention.

Sorry Dur, Roxy only has eyes for her ball, so give it up. She is just not going to be impressed by you peeing on her kennel door, either. She is just not that kind of a girl. But if you were small, round, and yellow - she would be all over you.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Jager, Bull, and Goofy, it's like a parade

Unrequited Love...

Goofy has decided to love someone his own size this weekend. And, NO, is it not me. Goofy is in love with Bull, a bull mastif. Bull is currently the same size as Goofy, but he has yet to grow into his head.

But as usual, this is a unrequited love for Goofy. I'm the only one who actually loves him. Because, Bull only has eyes for Jager, who is small, fluffy, and black. (This would normallly be who Goofy would be in love with.)

Jager, who is too old for this, is having nothing to do with either of them.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Dogs seem to have the right idea on family.

Now, I have two dogs that are actually sisters. They are littermates. But I have a client that has 2 dogs, also labs, that have the same parents but are not littermates. They liked the first dog so much, they went back and got another puppy from the same breeding pair. And then there are dogs that are no relation at all just living in the same family. Take Gunny and Chewy, that is a monster rottweiler and a shitzu. And of course, the shitzu is the big brother.

To dogs, all the dogs in a household are brothers and sisters. Dogs belonging to other members of the same family are called 'cousin dogs' by me. I get a lot of cousin dogs when the whole family goes to a wedding or on a cruise.

And to the city council member of Kanab, a family is all about love, acceptance, togetherness, and playtime. And no one's family is any better than anyone else's - just ask their dog.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Spring has arrived and she is showing her teeth!

Somehow I managed to forget that April doesn't just bring rain, it brings dog bites. We have had 3 bites in one week here at the ranch. On the news, there were 4 dogs shot after attacking some kids in SLC. The paper had a story about a girl bit by a neighborhood dog.

I don't know the cause, but spring brings out the worst in otherwise normal dogs. Last year, I had a policeman tell me that there are more dog bites in the spring than the rest of year combined.

One of my biters is just plain mean and isn't welcome back here at any time. The other is a rambucious dog that has been here a hundred times. She has always played too rough, but I would not have suspected her of biting.

So, if you are out enjoying the weather, really keep an eye out for dogs this season. If you own a dog, these are my suggestions:

Get the dog out for some exercise. A physically exhausted dog is a happy dog and not a biter.

If your dog is aggressive in any way, at any time, get help. Aggression is not something that a dog will 'get over', 'grow out of', or 'is just part of being a dog'. It is a problem that will only get bigger and bigger. There is a point of no return. And as much as I hate the idea, if your dog is a biter, you will have to euthanasia your pet.

I look back on the fights and bites I have had here. And when you think of the total number of different dogs we have here everyday, it is a very small number. There was always a warning behavior that I should have come down on hard, before it got to the point of biting.

The big punishment around here, is a time-out in their run. Works great on the dogs, doesn't work as well with my kids, though. If I put a dog in the run for about 10 minutes while every other dog gets to play; I will have a very polite dog when they do get to play.

So let's be careful out there, spring can have a really big set of teeth.

Monday, April 03, 2006

Brotherly Love

These puppies belong to another blogger, Ruth. Her dog just had 5 puppies, and her other dog is due this week with another 4!

Those are her daughter's hands, only 12. So these are some little guys. Check out all the mommy and baby photos at her place.

Dog nuts, we just FIND each other.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Spring Forward, Fall Back...

And everyone gets to be a sleep deprived zombie for a couple of days.

Dogs and kids don't get the time change. My dogs get up by the sun and not the clock. This was really a problem at our first house. It was at the top of a hill and I swear we got daylight at 4 am in the summer. Now we live in the mouth of a canyon and we never get a sunrise before 6am. Or maybe the dogs have just gotten old like me and are just more interested in sleeping in than greeting the day.

This morning I got up at my regular hour, thanks to the un-snoozable alarm that is Vector. But I didn't have to go down to the dogs until 8am. Which was really the usual time, but made me feel decadent and lazy without any actual neglecting any of my charges.

I must be the only person that enjoys the first day of daylight savings time.