Monday, July 31, 2006

I just traded one Referee for Another.

Boudin and Pecos are the same dog in two different shapes. Both feel it is their job to referee the the other dogs. I get this a lot from any of the sheparding breeds.

It is alway a hassle. They can't distinquish play from fighting and so they charge into the middle of two dogs and bark like crazy. This usually has the effect of escalating play into a fight rather than detering a fight.

It was a long week with Boudin and it is going to be a long week with Pecos.

Saturday, July 29, 2006


I would first like to say that there are about eleventy-billion tennis balls in the play yard. All in different levels of deterioration from nearly new to missing all the fuzz to popped apart and so covered in spit and dust that they are indistinguishable from the surrounding dirt.

But Sadie has a favorite one. It used to be red and it used to be round, but now it resembles one of those donut peaches, doesn't bounce when it hits the ground any more and is only red when she chews off the dirt.

And once again, Sadie, if you want me to throw THAT ball, you have to let me have THAT ball.

Sadie does try to give it to me, I am just not fast enough. She drops the ball at my feet and immediately recatches it. Especially if there is another dog within 5 feet of us. This can go on for awhile. 10 or 20 drops and recatches before she will finally leave the ball long enough for me to retrieve it. This is really slowing down the play session. I tried Cotton's trick of throwing a different ball to get her to drop the one she has, but that only worked about two times. She wants her ball thrown and no other.

I am in big trouble today, HER BALL, ended up in the gutter of the kennel building. I'd better show up today with a ladder or there is going to be hell to pay.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Project Runaway did go to the dogs

At least, it was not a dog in a purse. The dogs were all small, but no minis.

The designers had to make an outfit for the owner and for her dog and a little story to explain what she was doing and what she was wearing. I, personally, would have found the clothes easier to make up than the story.

The dogs were all adorable and very well behaved, in my opinion. If someone tried to put a fur collared jacket on my dogs, they would probably end up wearing it themselves. Inertia put up with a lot from my daughter, but always managed to call off the dress-up at the point she was wearing only jewelry. (I wonder if I can find that picture of Inertia and her massive amount of garage sale emeralds?)

One dog did end up in a purse. One of the designers doesn't like dogs and instead decided to carry her 'model' back to the work room in a purse that had to have cost in the four digit range. Talk about traveling in style.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Love is in the air?

Well, it has to be something. I am getting quite a bit of unwanted attention from my male dogs this week. Maybe they sense my husband is out of town, and they think this is their big chance to make a move on me. I just don't get it, my leg has been humped more this weekend then in all the three and a half years my kennel has been opened.

Usually it is only around Goofy that I have to worry about my virture remaining intact.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

I've got a Schipperke!

I never heard of this breed either, but he is the cutest dog. He is small, fast, jet black and naturally tailless. I think he wants to play with the other dogs, but all the other dogs have other ideas. When his owner told me everyone loves Ziggy, I don't think she was talking about the crazy desire the other male dog have to mount Ziggy.

Get off! This is not a dating service!

I had to break it up, so I grabbed Ziggy in my arms. Flip decided me and Ziggy was still an attactive combination and he latched onto my leg.


I'm a married woman!

I will tell your mother on you!

Flip put that away, you are scaring the little dogs!

As if it were not hot enough, my own personal space heater just landed in my lap.

To make up for the large and wild group I had last weekend, I am getting a small and fluffy set this weekend. Doggie Karma pays off again. Or at least I thought so until a fluffy Pomeranian landed in my lap. That is just too much fur for the middle of July. I was already over heated, now I was sure I was going to melt.

It felt and looked like a little sun had climbed into my lap.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Project Runway going to the dogs?

I am a huge fan of Project Runway. In case you don't watch, it has nothing to do with dogs. It is a reality show for fashion designers. They get a project, a spending limit, a time limit, and they had better make something beautiful or they're OUT.

Each week there is a new 'project' and they showed the announcement for next week's episode in the previews. The designers will all have to work with 'Today's Most Popular Accessory'.

I am hoping they are talking about an ipod, if it is a dog in a purse, I'll have to stop watching.

If you do watch, click the 'Blogging Project Runway' listing on the right. You will be amazed.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

How do you play fetch with a dog that won't give the ball back?

Get more balls!

I have finally figured Cotton out. If I have a ball in my hand ready to throw when he returns with the old ball, he will drop it at my feet and chase the new one. This was working pretty well, I even had a few extra balls for when Tessie sweeps in and steals the dropped ball the moment it hits the ground. Then Cotton was on to me. He started keeping the first ball in his mouth until he got to the other one. Okay, more balls and more changing sides of the kennel. But Cotton has come up with something that puts the whole game in jeopardy, he keeps taking the balls into his run with him. I didn't realize that he had pretty much cleaned out the playyard of toys until I had to empty both his water dish and food dish of tennis balls just to feed him.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Pets with Pets, well this is a new one on me.

I was at a friend's house today and she asked if I wanted to see her dog's new pet. It is a lizard. It is the third lizard in a series of lizards that her son has caught over the summer.

Her dog is fascinated by the lizards. He lays in the shade and watches the lizard in his aquarium all day long. He might be a little too fascinated, he is the one that knocked off the lid and let lizard 1 and 2 go free. But his owners think that the lizard is the best babysitter they ever had for their dog.

Hey, that hurts.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Finding the silver lining

Despite all my bruises, all the times I was bounced off the fence, all the times they chomped on my hand, or the attempts at sitting on my lap - this was the easiest group of dogs to put back in their kennels. No calling, no chasing, no begging, no scolding...just open the kennel and call their name.

These crazy dogs clearly know the value of a cranked up air conditioner.

Monday, July 17, 2006

I just want to say, "Ouch"

Cotton, my favorite kennel eating dog, has been saving my hide since he got here. Cotton allows only love for Cotton. He circles me and leans on my legs and runs interference for any dog that tries to come up to me. Normally, he would get a scolding for hogging all the love, but this weekend is full of bouncy, jumpy, ricochet dogs. I have more bruises than I want to admit. So Cotton is free to hog all of my attention.

The first time Cotton stayed with me, he pulled the door panel off and actually ate a part of it. That was when I switched from particle board doors to aluminum. At other stays, I learned to leave his door open at night. Of course, I reminded the dog sitter about Cotton's fear of enclosure, but forgot it when he came again. He pulled the metal door out along with the door's frame and part of the wall.

Oh yeah, no door for Cotton, I remember now.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

I can't believe that no one called the cops on me.

I had the barkiest group of dogs since I opened. They would get started in the middle of the night and go for about a half an hour, take a break and start again.

I went down to the kennel about 6am. My usual routine is to wake them around 7am to give my neighbors a break because as soon as I open the door the place just explodes with noise.

But not Friday morning, when I slammed that door shut they knew I was mad. They all stopped barking, if only for a few seconds. I was livid, I was thinking that all my neighbors probably had their windows open just like me and that no one in a 3 or 4 block radius got any sleep. Those dogs barked so loud it sounded like every window in the kennel was open! I was ready to return a couple of them to their owners in the form of a throw rug. But you can't really get away with that, but I am sure the dogs thought I was capable of it.

So on Friday, each of the dogs wore an antibark collar for about an hour. A couple of them obviously had worn one before because they stopped barking while it was still in my hand.

We had a much quieter night that day.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

If this group of dogs doesn't knock me down, kill me and eat me...

I figure I will live a long and happy life as a dogsitter. I just have to make it to Monday.

Friday, July 14, 2006

I have become a Helper Landmark

Something I noticed when I moved to Utah. Everyone gives directions in the terms of “Just Past …” Fill in the blank with a store. The real trouble for a newcomer is that the store name is probably the original store name and not what it is currently called. The next problem is that “Just Past” can mean a block, a mile, 30 miles or 300 miles.

Walmart is JUST PAST Pizza Hut.

Wellington is JUST PAST Walmart.

Colorado is JUST PAST Wellington.

As long as it is the next big thing you come to after passing the landmark it is “Just Past”.

My husband over heard two teenage girls talking and one was trying to give the other directions.

“It is just past The Yawning Dog Ranch.”

“Where is that?”

“You know, you go by it all the time.”

“Oh yeah, the one with the big blue dog.”

Gee, maybe I don’t have to describe where I live by naming the old owners anymore.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

You never know where the next good idea will come from.

I went to see a couple of other people’s kennel when I was on the other side of the mountain. I am trying to expand and I need to see if there are any better ideas out there.

Both kennel owners warned me that their kennels were old. So okay, I won’t be able to get any vendors’ or contractors' names, but it might still be worth a stop.

It so was. First off, these kennel owners were great to me. They took time out and gave me a whole tour. They went over what works at their kennels and what they would change if they could. It was a huge help to me.

Both kennels had cinderblock walls between the dogs. I was planning to put walls in but this sealed the deal. Their kennels are so much quieter than mine. I think because the dogs can’t see each other or me that well, they are calmer. It will also cut back on the fence fighting and Tessie’s incessant blanket stealing.

What I didn’t like was that it made the kennel seem very dark and the dogs seemed to be in caves. I do realize that the dogs probably love the cave quality, but I think it would freak out the owners. It wasn’t until I was back home that I realized that the kennels are so dark because there are no windows. My windows haven’t worked out well. They had to be on the dog side of the kennel so that I would have the afternoon sun solar gain, but that means the dogs can put their paws on the window sill. I even had one jump through a screen. If I can afford my new place I am going for skylights. All the light and none of the dead flies on the window sill.

The other thing that made the kennel appear cave like was that all of their interior runs are only 4 feet high. Tessie would knock her head or learn to stop jumping with that kind of restriction. It would save me a ton on fencing, but I like being able to step into the run to clean it.

And the very best idea that I never thought of: extending the awning over the dogs another 3 feet and putting a shaded sidewalk in for me. I was going to shade the exterior runs but I would have cut it off at the gate. My husband said he thought of this, if only to save me from standing under the drip line of the roof. Gee, I was assuming there would be a gutter.

Well, there are many more kennels to see before I finalize my design. Can’t wait for my next rip ‘over the mountain’.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

canine mathmatics

Beagle + Pug = Puggle
Pug + Chiuhuahua = Chug
Pug + Miniature Pinscher = ? a Pug-scher? a Pigscher? a Min Pin Pug?

Whatever you decide to call him, he is a cutie. I have the Pug-Pinsher cross staying with me, and her sister, the Beagle, is expecting at least four Puggles. I can't wait to see those puppies. As for Chug the Chug, I haven't seen him in ages - but he is also very cute.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Just is case we ever decide to start taking in cats.

My husband keeps on suggesting that we expand to cat sitting, but I think he just wants to be able to say that a 'Cat House' is open in Helper. Again.

Monday, July 10, 2006

I liked seeing the wolf exhibit at the Brookfield Zoo, but... was the seals that reminded me the most of my dogs. They way they play with each other, do tricks and beg for snacks - seals are just very wet labradors.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Good doggie manners knows no langauge barrier.

I spotted this on my way to Dim Sum in Chicago's Chinatown.

I say I go home to see family and friends, but in fact, I mostly go to eat my way across Chicago.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

It is just my personal theory...

But I think letting female dogs go into heat without breeding them makes them more aggressive.

I really don't have a large enough sample to make this judgment. I really should go a do some research, but I am facing down a weekend that includes two females coming out of heat, one in the middle and one that is pregnant. I believe this will be the first case of estrogen poisoning here at the ranch.

I have seen nice dogs become psycho during their heat cycles. They make my PMS look like a walk in the park.

They are mean to the male dogs - "Sorry boys, you are just not up to my standards!"

They are mean to the female dogs - "If I am going to breed, that means I am the alpha female, and I just want to make sure that everyone knows it!"

It seems to me that the aggression continues after the cycle ends, particularly to other females. The level of aggression is also notched up every cycle. Now I could be wrong, I have mean females that have been neutered. You may have had your dog go into heat and see no personality change. I think I probably see the worse behavior because I get to see the dogs in a social setting. And face it, no female of any species looks its best when trolling for a mate.

Friday, July 07, 2006

Look someone made furniture just for me.

Actually these are part of a scuplture series.

My sister took me to a huge furniture store outside Milwaukee. The store made a walking path for their employees and there are set of metal couches, chairs and TV cabnits all over the place. Each one is painted up a bit different, but the 'Dog on the Couch' set - I just had to get a picture of that one.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

We got ourselves another 'Lego' Poodle

A 'Lego' is a mini-toy poodle cross.

Toby is the smallest dog we have ever had. I thought he was still a puppy, but no he is already a year old. He is so small that he got out of the kennel by walking between the gate and its frame. Toby had to hang out with us in the house until my husband got his kennel all wired up.

Toby seemed to like the idea of hanging out in the living room for awhile, but this dog just cannot relax. He was on my lap, then my husband's, he would leap up to the back of the couch and walk back and forth. With his size and personality, it is like having a dog and a cat at the same time.

Toby also suffers from 'the lap is always softer on the other side of the living room'. He only just settles in, when - LEAP - he is off to sit with my husband - LEAP - he is back again.

You would think he would eventually wear himself out with all the leaping and resettling and just pass out on someone, but I never saw him sit for more than 2 minutes.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

It is taking longer to unpack than it took to pack...

Why is that?

We did leave with a half full car and came back with wall to wall luggage. Maybe that could be my problem.

We even gained a few more dogs - of the stuffed variety. Blue Dog, of course, came with us. He belongs to my son and he is the toy I search Ebay for on a regular basis. We ever lose him and I am in big trouble.

Dave's Aunt gave my daughter a fancy doll and my son a stuffed bunny. The bunny was immediately declared a 'dog' and named Coco. Owner gets to pick the name, the sex, and the species as well - that's my rule.

After a couple of days at the cousin's house, my two had yet another two stuffed dogs. Pinky and Brown - I'll let you guess what they look like. That was nice of the cousins to give away some of their toys. Only problem is that my son's dog got left at the cousin's house. I figure that it will be arriving anyday now - I know I would not pass up the chance to get a stuffed animal out of my house.

The first annual Westminster 'Stuffed' Dog Show to be held at my house.