Archive for category Dogs

Recap and Fast Forward…

It is Monday… the weather is fine, and all else seems to be fine with the world. Except for a few minor points. The most significant point is, well, that it’s Monday (and I have long sided with a lasagna eating tabby in the disposition of, “Mondays… I hate Mondays.”)… The less obvious point… today would be a great day for a birthday party… or even a quiet dinner out – celebrating someone turning 27.

But enough depression – each day is a new day (even if it is a Monday) – and there’s no way (yet) to turn back the sands of time… reflecting is ok, but dwelling can get dangerous.

Time for the recap: I dog-sat this weekend, threw a party, and did some sorting (and reading).

Reading: As can be noticed, I have finished Heart Shaped Box, and decided to progress to the often discussed (but, admittedly, I’ve actually never read) The Great Gatsby. Not too bad, so far (at two chapters through)…

Admittedly, I went with it due to its length – having only read eight books (ideally, I should be through at least ten if I were staying on target with my reading goal… through thirteen by the end of June to be on even pace. I figured a bit of a shorter work could help me catch up a bit before the end of the month.

Sorting: I go back many years with some things. Not the least of which is card collecting, although I have gotten out of quite a bit of it (I have loads of basketball cards that are just sitting in boxes, languishing in their idleness, remembering days when I could actually tell someone who the players were, or the rough value for the better cards.

My senior year of High School, a friend named Jon got me into these other cards. They were collectible, but they were also designed to have games played with them. This was 1994, and the fledgling craze that would become Magic: The Gathering was in the Revised set. He had stacks of cards, and we put some decks together (stacks, actually, since the rules were rather open – plus we were still green to the idea of a finely tuned, themed deck)… and I was hooked. I played somewhat regularly in college with some other guys in ROTC, and it became amusing for me to discover folks (after I had weened myself from buying boxes and boxes of cards) that were just getting into the game.

I remember one time, when I was working at a furniture store, that a couple of the electronics staff had “discovered” the game. At one point, when I was walking to the back of the store for some reason (check on something in the warehouse, get a drink… who knows, now). At this point, the game was in its fourth or fifth edition. I commented on the game, and they looked at me with the surprised expression of, “Oh, you know about this?” I offered to bring my cards, if they wanted to look through them for possible trade/purchase, and they were even more surprised when I brought back a box – not just any box (for those of you that know card storage boxes), but a “paper” box. Get a case of printer paper from an office supply store, then fill that with various size count boxes… THAT was my collection (some eight years ago).

Well, I’ve always picked up a pack here, and a pack there from newer sets, just to see some of what was going on, but recently, I slipped back into some old habits, and got a box from each set of the most recent expansion (Time Spiral)… After they had been staring at me from under my desk for over a month, I finally decided to start breaking open packs and see what was there… I sorted (completely) through two of the boxes, and managed to make it most of the way through the third over the weekend (sorted by color, but I still need to finish, to discover how many of what cards I ended up with. And, coming soon, the “Tenth” edition…

The Party: I had been thinking about it for weeks… After Jenn passed, one of the things her mother mentioned was that she still wanted there to be parties and fun stuff going on up at the house – to open things up and have fun… a great way to honor Jenn.

I had folks over for dinner last Sunday – 10 June- (and I feel like a heel, not having mentioned it before) – a former coworker and his wife, and a lady-friend that I’ve been seeing/hanging-out-with *gasp* for almost two months (who also happens to be the couple’s neighbor). Things went well, then, and I am crediting that as my “reopening” of the house…

Anyway, I had an “old friends” party this past Saturday (16 June) for “the gang” – the folks that Jenn and I (mostly Jenn’s people from high school) would run with. We had dinner and just hung out, talked, watched movies, and just chilled out. Of course, the other side to my planning for the party was as a mini-birthday party for Jenn…

Sitting: The previously mentioned lady-friend has a dog – a cute cocker-pomeranian mix that is the right size to be a lap dog – and has the good temperment of a lap dog as well. While the friend was in Raleigh for a wedding, I was taking care of her dog… and the dog became very popular – the in-laws liked her, and everyone at the party was talking about her. I kept her seperated from the rest of “the brood”, to make sure there would be no issues. All in all, a very easy keep for the weekend.

So that’s my weekend recap… and now the fast-forward section.

This weekend is the Rush concert (going to the Virginia Beach show) – marking my third Rush show (all of them in Virginia Beach). I’m also taking my sister and nephews (it will be my sister’s 2nd show – she last saw them on the Roll the Bones tour, and my nephew’s first real concert). Busch Gardens on Saturday, and then I get to help my sister-in-law move to Raleigh from Virginia next Monday. Fun, fun! But I have three more days to chill, and then I get to kick into some summer fun!!!

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Dogs, and Horses, and Cats (oh, my!)

A short one, this morning… maybe more later…

The cats are fine, short of them (the oldest, most likely) flipping the food storage tub to the floor by the time we returned home last night (guess they got hungry, eh?) The horse is also doing well, despite some of his mood swings when he is trying to test my wife (the horse is 22, and my wife is learning the Parelli “method” with him… some days he wants to play, some days he doesn’t…)

The dogs, however… We aquired a beagle in August through some touchy family issues (we are “dog sitting”, until the dogs owner gets into a housing situation where pets are allowed), and our other two “County Specials” (read: mutts) have been doing well… until recently.

The beagle has some issues (it seems that he has always itched since he’s gotten to us… it’s possible that he is allergic to something in our area – since he came to us from Texas). He itches and he barks (bays would be a more accurate term – he had been an indoor dog, and now he stays outside most of the day, whne weather is decent). So he itches and bays, but otherwise is pretty mellow.

The oldest, that we shall call here, Piper (which, by the way, is her actual name… go figure the originality here, huh?) has been around for about six years. She had some personality issues (we think she was abused before she came to us) – namely she was leary of anyone that she did not know.

The youngest, we’ll call her Gretta (same deal – we named her, we’ll use it), is just outside the true puppy stage at about 18 months – and we’ve had her since she was about 6-8 weeks old. Recently, however, she has been demonstrating some concerning traits, which last night were actually witnessed by yours truly (previously, we heard about the issues after the fact). There had been an issue where Gretta had gone after Piper… we discovered spots of blood and places where piper had lost small tufts of fur, and Piper looked like she had rolled in something… Since then, we’ve been keeping Gretta seperated during the day…

Last night, I let Gretta out of the smaller kennel (a 10×10 area) and was getting ready to let everyone inside for dinner, and to get ready for bed. Gretta went over to Piper and after a few moments, they began scrapping (Gretta had put herself over Piper’s head/upper back area, and when Piper let Gretta know that Gretta needed to get down is when everything started). In the effort to seperate them, I was hitting Gretta with a plastic feed bowl (livestock quality from Tractor Supply, not a flimsy bowl) and pulling on her collar. It took me about two minutes of popping Gretta, kicking at her back end and pulling on her collar to get them seperated, at which point Piper went to the other side of the yard. During the scuffle, they ended up in the smaller kennel – and I left Gretta in there when they were finally apart.

* Note: I am not one to condone hitting animals with “foreign objects” (spanking with your hand is one thing, but taking full swings or even kicking I find to be in extremely bad judgement), but I could think of no other way to seperate them. Friends of ours had to shoot both of their dogs when the dogs got so far into a fight that attempts to seperate them wouldn”t work – and the dogs ended up nipping each other in the throat, drawing blood…

So now we are at a crossroads, figuring out the best way to handle the animals… For now, we are just keeping them seperated as we have, both inside the house as well as out… We are considering training classes, but beyond that we aren’t quite sure on the best way to proceed.

A not-so-quite-short short one… just something I needed to get out of me…

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Weekends and changes…

Not much to report on the writing front – had a lot of projects around the house this weekend that took priority – some gatherings being hosted at the house so rampant cleaning and gift-wrapping were required…

And, along those lines – we woke up without water on Saturday (darn the country)… Mind you, in the six years that I have been in this house, this is the first problem that I have had with the water freezing in the pipes (a bit of a stressful event, as festivities were planned for the evening… not having a working toilet would have been very bad for party plans). Fortunately, it was just an endcap on a pipe coming from one of the wells that had popped off, so it turned out to be a pretty easy fix once the plumbers came out (MUCH better than pipes popping, say, in the ground or worse yet, in the house!)

The parties went along fine, and a good time seemed to be had by all…

Changes, however, are inevitable…
While the people have been having fun, our dogs have been developing some peculiar dispositional issues lately… some issues of food aggression in our youngest prompted her to challenge the dog we’ve had the longest (the “pack’s” Alpha when we aren’t home) when one of my wife’s uncles came to visit and give some treats… As such, both of the dogs got a bit bloody (nothing too severe at the moment, mostly a few nips or claw scratches) which we found later that night… Of course, we didn’t find out the backstory until the next day… we were thinking that the third dog had instigated (he’s the oldest dog, but when the youngest wants to play and he wants to chill, Alpha has a tendency to step in and seperate them)… We figured that if any issues would develop, it would have been soon after the third dog arrived (back in August), so for there to be issues in December is a bit odd…

Also, I found out that some of my friends that I haven’t seen since the wedding have moved… apparently there may have been an issues with my email because the message that I was told he sent never arrived…
Another buddy of mine that has been in the Army was going through training during the summer as he changes specialties… last I heard, he was supposed to be in Georgia if all of the training went well – the last numbers I have were based in Michigan, so I don’t know what his status is…

It’s sad, really, that folks that we spend so much time with when we’re younger, or during pivotal periods of our life, are the ones we try to keep up with the most, but are the ones that get shuffled around and lost track of for extended periods (but always seem to catch up with the easiest)…

“He knows changes aren’t permanent, but change is…” – Rush, Tom Sawyer

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