Tuesday, March 28, 2006

At the Yawning Dog Ranch, your dogs walk all over me!

Piddle Happens...Puppies Welcome!

See what happens when you share your doggie jokes. At least someone thinks they are funny.

The newest tile from Sharon. Check out all her stuff at her Near Holy Studio.

Monday, March 27, 2006

Never say NEVER again....

I am having two of the weirdest weeks. Last week we were full to overflowing. (Eunice even had to spend a day in the house with us. I think we stressed her out pretty bad. Eunice is not used to having children in her house.)

I turned over 10 people away for last week and last weekend. But as of Monday, I only had one dog coming at noon. A night off and a morning off, I was going to enjoy taking a shower instead of giving dogs their breakfast at 7am. I am glad I still got up early, Vector insisted. I got a phone call at 6:50 wanting to drop a dog off at 7:20 - so much for my shower.

But this is it for this week, 1 doggie daycare and 1 overnight for Monday. No dogs until Friday, and as of 8am only 2 dogs for the weekend.

It won't last, the kennel gods must have heard me say 'day off'.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Variety is the very spice of life.

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 as dogs; 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 crazy things. The Salt Lake Trib had an article on a team of researchers from the University of Utah that are studying zebra fish colors. They hope to find the 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?

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Where the Wild Things Are

Last weekend I had the wild bunch come to stay with me.

We had every variety of toy issue that a dog can come up with.

Mine, Mine, Mine - leave me alone I am happy with MINE. This is Roxy, she gets a ball and can play all day, all by herself. She sometimes lets me play a little soccer with her, but mostly she is good if she has a ball to herself. She not particular about the ball either - tennis, the 8 inch softball that BB left last time she was here, the squashed dog ball, or the deflated mini basketball - all good as long as she is left alone.

Throw it, Throw it, Throw it! Now, Now, Now! That would be Packer of the mighty bark. He can chase until my arm falls off. You would think I would have developed a bicep like Arnold, or at least be able to throw something across the kennel without sending it over the fence, but no I still 'throw like a girl'. Packer is a labrador retriever and unlike my labs that can't get the retrieve part, Packer will just keep bring the toys back over and over again. That is if he can find the toy. Like my two dogs, who cannot find a piece of salami on the kitchen floor without having it pointed out, Packer is not a tracker. What he did learn is that if he cannot find his toy, Roxy always has one. Yikes.

Throw it, Throw it, Throw it! But I won't Give it, Give it, Give it! This is the most common of flawed dog logic. I want to chase it, I want to have it, if I give it to you, I can chase it again, but then I won't have it. This usually leads to me trying to pull a muddy, slobery toy out of a dog's mouth. This is usually the point where I rethink my career choice.

I Got It! Chase Me! This is Miss Daisy's thing. She wants to be chased and she figures stealing the toys is the best way to get attention. It doesn't really work. There are dogs that chase after balls but would never chase another dogs. We have dogs that chase but are never the chasee. Of course they never show up at the same time as Daisy, the ultimate chasee. I learned something new about Miss Daisy, she is a kennel toy hoarder. She has been dashing back out of her kennel when I try to put her brother in, grabbing a toy and stuffing behind their water dish. I counted 7 tennis ball, and 2 rope toys when I cleaned out her kennel yesterday.

Toy hoarding. There are a number of different styles to toy hoarding. Milly is of the 'Look there another one!' mentality. She grabs a toy and puts it in her designated toy spot, never the same place twice. Then she heads out for more. Of course while she is gone, the toys magically disappear. But this never bothers Milly, she just has the chance to collect and collect an collect and the pile never gets any bigger. I can't not say the same for my collections.

And then there is Moe. She is the pinnacle of toy hoarders. She wants all the toys, she is fast enough to beat any dog to any thrown toy, and she plans to hold on to all of them, forever. Moe sits on her collection. And when any dogs, including the ones that have no interest in Moe or her toys, goes by she shows her teeth and growls. This approach doesnot slow down her brother, Roo, at all. He just reaches in a takes a toy just to make her nuts. She has to leave her nest unguarded and chase Roo to get her treasure back. This proves that big brothers treat little sisters exactly the same regardless of species.

As you might have guessed, I had a long weekend of making sure Roxy has her ball, and to always have a toy ready to throw for Packer, being careful when I bent over to pick anything up, because Goofy would try to have his way with me. (Goofy, I'm married, besides these interspecies relationship never work out) But, now I know I just have to check Daisy's run for extra ammunition.

Friday, March 24, 2006

I always wondered what would happen if I used the electric dog collars on the kids...

I thought it would just get me killed by their grandmother. But, no, it will get you a call from the Department of Child and Family Services.

It seems that a man in Cedar City has been using a training collar to discipline his two boys, both are around 6 years old. He is facing charges, the kids are still with their mom who might be facing charges. The newspaper reported that there are no marks on the kids.

I have one of those collars, I can zap my dogs from up to a mile away. I use it when we are out in the desert and the deer are down out of the mountains. It works great at stopping a dog from chasing a deer. They zap like a static charge, it will definitely get your attention, but not hurt you. Well of course I tried it on me before I put it on my precious puppies.

I have often thought that people treat their dogs better than there kids. This guy is in deep doodoo for treating them the same.

I am interested to hear what happens in this case. It the zapper collar more punishing than spanking, or is it just because it is a 'dog' punisher?

Thursday, March 23, 2006

In like a lamb, out like a lion or strike that and reserve it.

That might be March in the rest of the country, but in Utah, we have a slightly different version.


Sometimes all in the same day.
Take Tuesday, the kids got up in a snow storm and wanted to go sledding. Not enough time before school. The little one gets home at 10:30 and it is sunny now and the snow is all gone. Back at lunch, gone by the time the first grader gets home at 3pm. Snow starts again at 4pm. The kiddos are watching a cartoon and I figure sledding afterwards. The snow stopped and the sun came out any the sledding slope in the yard turned back into mud. All before 5pm. Have dinner and the snow is back, in force. They finally get to go sledding around 6pm and lasted until the little one hit the apple tree. He came in and declared that he would never sled again. He changed it to never sledding head first again. That works for mom.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Walking in a Winter Wonderland...

My least favorite part of running a dog kennel is putting the dogs to bed. It's late, I'm tired, lately it has been VERY cold. And I have run out of excuses to get my husband to do it. So off I went into the snow and cold at 9pm.

I stepped into a winter wonderland. It had stopped snowing and there was no wind. Everything was coated in snow. Even the chain link and the dog runs looked gorgeous.

Walking in a winter wonderland, in the lane snow is glistening, a beautiful sight we're happy tonight, walking in a winter wonderland. Well, up until the flying leap of love that is BB hit me it the chest. Gee, maybe the dogs don't like my singing afterall.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Maybe I should just keep it a secret.

I sing to the dogs. I have the worst singing voice, but the dogs are pretty tolerant. Along with giving everyone’s dog a nickname, I sing to them. I have my basic repertoire of Roger and Hammerstein musicals, Beatles tunes, the theme songs to pretty much anything on Nickelodeon, and Christmas carols. See, I have a useless ability to remember song lyrics. I can’t remember anybody’s name, but I can get through at least two verse of any song from memory. You won’t be able to recognize the tune when I sing it, but I do have all the words right.

Usually, I pick a song that has their name in it. Penny gets ‘Pennies from Heaven’ and ‘Penny Lane’ thought that one tends to get stuck in a verse loop. For Blue, I tried ‘Am I Blue’ but that didn’t fit any better than trying to call her a Blue Meanie from Yellow Submarine. (Not a mean bone in that dogs body.)

And then there is BB. I like to call her BeBe, baby in French. And she gets serenaded with an off keep rendition of ‘Baby Love’ whenever I am trying to get her back into her kennel. This entails a number of high speed fly by’s before she decides, “oh yeah, I can go in now.”

This morning, I was singing inside the kennel building while getting all the doggies their breakfasts. One major problem with my kennel building is a lack of sound proofing on the inside. When the dogs get going, we are clearly above any OSHA standard requiring ear protection. (But, don’t rat me out) What I discovered this morning is that I sound great in there, it is like I have back up singers. Forget the shower, sing in the kennel. Besides, dogs will put up with anything if you are the one doling out the kibble.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

If everyone is IRISH on St. Patrick's Day...

Then all dogs must be IRISH SETTERS!

Once you own a 7 foot tall blue papermache dog, you just have to drag him out for all parade occasions. I got him, my dogs, and the kids all green bandanas. They looked great.

It was very cold and very snowy, but there was still a really big crowd for the parade.

I was joking that I should have brought the boom box and the cd of dogs barking Christmas carols. With all that snow, it seemed to fit. Maybe next year someone will release a CD of dog barking Irish drinking songs...it could be huge.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

"He is MY dog!"

That is what I heard from the backseat when Carl got dropped off yesterday.

I look in to see a little girl holding a stuffed dog. It turns out that the stuffed dog is also named Carl. Imagine that!? She let me see her precious stuffed Carl, and I must report that he was wearing his dog tag. Looks like stuffed Carl is also up on his rabies shots.

This little stuffed dog has been owned by this little girl FOREVER. And she had been asking for a real beagle just like her stuffed beagle for FOREVER.

When they went to the animal shelter to adopt a beagle, there was only one. And his name tag said, 'Carlton'. Perfect! It was love at first sight for the little girl and for her parents. Carl was the only dog in a rather large group of dogs at the shelter who was not barking. Yes, you read that right - a beagle that doesn't bark. I didn't think that was genetically possible.

We were afraid that he might pick up the barking habit from the wild things we have staying at the ranch this week, but so far so quiet. Well, at least Carl is quiet.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

It is not the size of the dog, it is the width of the mean streak…

Size doesn’t matter

I have decided, through close, thorough, and completely unscientific observation, size does not matter in dogs. It seems that they don’t really have a good grasp of their actual size. I often see tiny dogs playing with giants. Hysterical to me, oblivious to them.

And exactly who appointed the shitzu as ruler of the universe. Every single one I have ever met is aware of their ultimate superiority over all dogs, and of course all of us lowly humans.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

a wee bit of clarification...

When I put together my business plan to start this dog business, I had to guess about how much business I would really have.

So I surveyed my friends with dogs: How often do you travel in a year? And for how long each time? Weekends? Day trips across the mountain?

And from there, I just guessed. Full on Thanksgiving and Christmas. Empty for Easter - everyone takes their dog for Eastering in the desert.

I was so right about Thanksgiving and Christmas, and wrong about Easter. There is a lot of Easter travel that doesn't include camping in the desert.

Here are all the other times I never thought of:

The whole family goes away together. My biggest competition is people with plenty of family to impose upon. But when the whole clan goes to Disney together, I can fill the entire kennel with cousin dogs. This also happens for out of town weddings and funerals.

Then there are the sport weekends, as I mentioned in the last post. There are many NASCAR fans in Carbon County and I think they all have dogs.

And hunting season, you can't take your dogs hunting during deer and elk season. It is also very popular to send your husband off to the mountains and then take your girlfriends off to Wendover, I know am much more aware of when the seasons start and end.

People coming to town with their dogs, but the dogs can't stay with them. Not a lot of the local hotels allow dogs and I know of at least one grandma that won't let the grand-dog in the house. (Now, in her defense, she did come out and thoroughly inspect me and my place before her grand-dog came to stay.)

I even had a dog come all the way from Minnesota. His owners had booked a river raft trip down the Colorado River. After that they were going swing back north and pick him up for the trip to Wyoming. That is a well traveled dog.

The owner of the old Red Collar Kennel, which closed years before I opened, told me that I would be full everyday of the week. Funny, I really didn't believe her.

Monday, March 13, 2006

Is the game on?

I have discovered yet another weird side effect of opening a dog kennel. I am now aware of major sporting events. You see, I am one of the most sport-a-ly challenged people in all of America. I was actually worried that my kids would not be able to name a football, baseball, or basketball when they went off to school. We watch NO sports in this house. The closest they have come to a sport is watching golf at Gram’s house or maybe a few seconds of fast forwarded football when I am stopping only to watch the commercials on the Super Bowl.

But now, I can tell you when the NASCAR races are in Las Vegas; when the state wrestling tournaments are; when BYU plays University of Utah, and so on. All of which is really wasted on me.

I once was banded from ‘buying a square’ on a gambling grid at my office back in Chicago because I asked who was playing and then said, “Oh, it is basketball season?” Gambling I understand, that the Chicago Bulls were going to the Championship; Gee, I must have missed that.

I’m not as bad as Uncle Victor who was once shocked that a quarterback could make the same spectacularly bad play twice in a row. Instant Replay.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Too much of a good thing?

So how many is too many dogs?

For my mom, the answer is one.

For me, it is two. As much as I loved Sammy Dog, three was really a hassle. Now I really don't know how it would be to have just one dog, we got two puppies at the same time under the theory that they would 'keep each other company'.

Salt Lake City and I think, Kanab, have just changed their dog and cat ownership rules. In Kanab, you can have 3 dogs still but the price just went through the roof. Dog licenses are now $100 for the second and $200 for the third. Salt Lake is doing something different, they aren't raising the rates, they are cutting the number of dogs you can legally have to 2 per household.

Now, I am of the belief that the number of kids is not as important as how you raise them. This applies to kids, dogs, cats, or even goldfish. If you can't feed them, pay attention to them, train them, and pay the medical bills on them - don't have them.

I am also in favor of licensing, that is for the dogs and cats, I assume you can keep track of the kids. The main purpose of city licensing is to make everyone get their shots, encourage spaying and neutering, and to be able to return a lost pet. Licenses is supposed to be helpful, not a punishment.

I don't know what Kanab was thinking when they decided to raise the rate higher than my gas bill. They are only punishing the law abiding citizen. If runaways are the problem, fine the tar out of those owners.

And what is with SLC? Do you really think that people will just get rid of an extra dog because the city regulations say so? There should have at least been a grandfather clause allowing owners to register dogs they already have. Can you image having to give up a dog you have had for 10 years or move? I'd move. So SLC, is going to have more unregistered dogs, or more older dogs turned into the shelters, or have people move away.

Here in progressive, friendly Carbon County you can have 3 dogs before you have to get a kennel license. And if you want your own pack, the kennel license is $25 and you have to have your place inspected by the staff at the animal shelter. The actual dog licenses are $5 for a neutered dog.

Save money, get more dogs, and move to Carbon County.
And when you go on vacation, you can park the dogs with me.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Never a dull momet here at the Ranch.

I got up extra early today because I had a dog coming at 7am and because I thought I would be shoveling snow.

I got out of the shoveling duty. The snow we got last night stuck to the grass but melted off the driveway. This is a very good thing for a number of reasons: my driveway is beyond long, my husband is out of town, and my friend with the ATV who plows my drive is in London.

But I was up and out at 7am, which also turned out to be a good thing. The 7am dog never showed, but the phone rang and my neighbor asked me if I was missing a horse, since one had just run past her house.

'1,2,3,4, nope, got all of mine'

That is when the police showed up, the horse came back to my neighborhood, and ended up in my neighbor's driveway. I grabbed a rope lead and tried to help the police officer. Now, he is looking at me like I know something about horses and I don't want to admit that I am just a city kid from Chicago.

Well, Helper's finest got the horse to follow him down the irrigation ditch through a little gate and into my front pasture. I was very proud of him, and very relieved that I didn't have to do it.

That young horse is not getting the welcome wagon treatment from Paradise, but everyone else seems to be adjusting to the visitor. Pagan, in particular, is enjoying herself. This is the first time she isn't the bottom of the pecking order.

Well, the horse's owners just showed up with a trailer and took our runaway on home.

Get this the horse's name is Flash.

That Pagan hamming for the camera, or maybe she just thinks it is a snack. Flash in profile and Mia peaking over Flash's back.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Eh? What was that you said?

Now, I know that I lost a great deal of my upper level hearing while dancing infront of the speakers at place called Mabel's back in my college days. And that radio played at 11 in my car probably didn't help. But I think I will be completely deaf sooner rather than later by having labradors bark in my ears.

This is the kind of thing you never think about when you write your business plan.

When you are bending over to pick up a slobber covered tennis ball to throw it for the eleventy billionth time, your ear is in perfect alignment with a dog's bark. Ouch.

Packer is the guilt party today, but there are others. They get so excited about chasing the ball again, that they bark to make you do it faster. It is not really an effective method since you have to jump back into your skin after each bark.

I was trying to defend my hearing, so I put my hand out to 'block' the bark as I picked up the ball. I could feel the sound vibrations in the palm of my hand. It's like those cars that pass with the radio so loud you can feel it in your chest.

That dog can really project.
That is it, Packer has a Mr. Limpet sound effect.

Have you ever seen the movie, 'The Incredible Mr. Limpet'? Don Knots is transformed into a animated fish complete with glasses and still looking a lot like Don Knots. As a fish, Mr. Limpet can make this amazingly loud sound that helps the Allied forces against the German submarines during WWII. (Great movie, haven't seen it in year, will have to add it to my Amazon wish list.)

If only we could harness Packer's power for good.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

I am going to stick to dogs and give up on computers

Please bear with me as I attempt to improve my blog.

When I preview the changes, I see a whole dog and my title in the right place. But somehow, that is not what I get after I re-launch the code back into cyber-space. I get a half a dog and my title shoved into a corner.

Well, this was a waste of a morning. Let's see what 'Blogging for Dummies' has to say about this.

Please comment if you see a whole dog, too.

Friday, March 03, 2006

Grandparents raising the Grandkids....

I have read about a growing phenomenon of grandparents stepping in and raising their own grandchild. Did you know that it is happening for grand-dogs, too?

neither did I.

But I'd say a good 10% of my doggie clients started out as the 'kid's dog' and became 'mom's dog'. I just had a set of four dropped off yesterday, two are mom and dad's and two were contributed to mom and dad by one of their kids. I understand that they will be returning to a family of 2 dogs when said 'kid' gets their dog back this May. (I hope the 'kid' knows about this.)

funniest one has to been the 12 year old son who proudly brought home a dog one day, only to have his parent's remind him that he is deathly allergic to dogs. The dad, and still owner of the dog, explained that alfalfa is an excellent natural anti-allergen and he just stuffed tablet after tablet in. I had to ask "in the dog" or "in the kid"? (in the kid) I laugh because as I am listening to this story, I am watching that same son puff up and stuff up just dropping that same dog off - only it's about 10 years later.

I know my parents are willing to babysit the two legged grandkids, but they draw the line at the dogs. I would never have the guts to drop a dog off on my parents. They might keep the dog, but I would definitely be disowned.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Is your dog a Love-Hog?

I have quite a few love-hogs at the kennel. Those are the dogs that feel no one should get any loving other than them. Some are even ferocious about not sharing the love; they will drive off any dog that comes within a yard of me.

Today's love-hog is Dufus. She is a very cute grey terrier. She puts her legs on my knee whenever I am sitting down, but will never jump up into my lap. Carolina has taken to approaching from the rear and sneaking a pet from under my arm. Dufus is now onto this maneuver.

Boy, was she put out when Skittles just sailed right over her head and into my arms.