Category Archives: Fun Fursday

Gardeners and Dogs


Gardeners and Dogs…deceptive title because this isn’t about the ever romantic pottage garden harvesting all manner of herbs and salad ingredients, while the dogs snoopervised the non-stop back-breaking weeding. Nope. And we’re not talking about the joys of wrecking a manicure from digging in the dirt to harvest any $150.00 a piece tomato (as I recall that was about the amount I calculated the last garden I planted veggies at the Ranch, accounting for tools, water, compost, time, etc. and presuming the squirrels didn’t get it first). Even though I do love to garden, wrecked manicure notwithstanding, instead what I’m talking about is even if you live in a high-rise condo with no yard, you’re a gardener if you have dogs that go outside. Only those peeps living on Antarctica are probably not gardeners and well…they’ve got other problems. 

 

How is it possible that we are all gardeners? Well, remember that post talking about nasty grass awns? Those horticultural nightmares have dried out and are just waiting to be widely dispersed. This morning’s walk showed me just what joys to expect [insert breathless anticipation here]. Don’t get me wrong. I love grasses…those exquisite textures gracefully swaying in the garden.  

Otherwise known as ornamental grasses. 


What I’m talking about here as the latest assault by Mother Nature on gardening dog owners is this clumping, upright grass that’s a bear to eradicate from the landscape. Often called pearl millet, I have always called it “Velcro grass.” The leaves are hairless except at the base. But it’s those bristly seed heads that cause major problems. Growing up to 3 ft. tall, these things stick to socks, furry legs, noses, wherever they can attach their dastardly evil heads. Not everyone may have this botanical scourge (lucky you). But you probably have stuff we can’t even begin to nightmare about in the Wild West. I just discovered a website that identifies weeds that grow where ever you live in the US, with apologies to our Canadian friends for not showing what might harass them (See: http://www.preen.com/weeds). This site identifies 3 separate categories: broadleaf, grassy and woody weeds. Yeah, I know, it’s sponsored by a chemical herbicide company, and around the Ranch we go organic but the information it provides can be invaluable for identification purposes. Besides, it’s much more ladylike to call it what it really is known by than spewing like a drunken sailor the kind of vocabulary I normally use when I’ve had to pick out, one by one, those millions of pearled seed heads from my socks or from the dogs’ legs, ears, snouts or chests. Trust me when I say they are no picnic in the park to remove, thus the PG-rated name for our purposes. Even though I now know what they’re really called, they’ll still probably be referred to as Velcro grass or one of the more colorful HBO names I normally blurt out.  And just so that you can benefit from my past ineffective removal experience, even washing socks wasn’t a very simple way to remove those damn things. 

With Elsa shoving any and every thing into her mouth (eyeglasses, socks, grass of all stripes, just to name a few items) I have to go organic to protect her from noshing on anything sprayed with chemicals (my go-to herbicide is non-toxic table vinegar) and then watch her like a hawk when we’re outside the safety zone of the yard.

So have I convinced any of you condo/apartment residents that you really are gardeners? Do you have similar herbaceous squatters? Got any tips for removing them from socks?

Live, love, bark! ❤︎

 

Those Were the Days…

We have been extraordinarily busy with loads of hospital visits and some out-of-town travel visiting with family so we’re playing catch-up for the next few days trying to read blogs as well as post ourselves.

With apologies for another light-on-content post and because we haven’t had much of the white stuff here for a while, I thought I’d share this ‘throw back’ pic of Sam from February of 2012. We had just had a nice dumping of the white stuff and back then Sam was an ‘only child’ and helped out by snoopervising the shoveling efforts (note the paw prints on the right side of the walkway during the inspection tour). As I recall, it was quite cold in addition to somewhat deep. Sam seems to be channeling a “hey Mom, I think you may have missed a spot” look.

We’re still hopeful we’ll eventually get some snow before winter is over so maybe Sam will get another opportunity to survey a white landscape and chaperone removal efforts. Fingers and paws crossed. No word as to whether the Ninja will be a helper or a hinderance with snow removal efforts. My sense with the few sparse storms we have received so far seems to indicate she’s more into bouncing about snow than snoopervision shoveling.

Snoopervising snow removal, Feb. 4, 2012

Snoopervising snow removal, Feb. 4, 2012

Live, love, bark! ❤

Mother Hubbard’s Cupboard

We all know Sam had a good time at the K-Oss Pawty with his new fur-iend, Anne. When he came home (past his curfew I might add) he kept reminding me about all the terrific treats there and began guilting me into making more treats for he and Elsa. “Ok, ok I said. I’ll make some more treats.” Seeing his hang-dog look and hearing those heavy dog sighs every time he walked past this sight made me realize how truly mistreated he is. NOT! but that’s another story.

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I have been trying to get Sam to eat more veggies and fruits as long as I can remember, both of which he has soundly rejected. A few chews and then he spits them out into a mushy spot on the floor. The little Ninja Hoover aka Elsa, however is more than happy to gobble up any blueberry, apple slice, peas or green beans offered and it’s made Sam reconsider his limited thinking on those kinds of foodables. Now he sits patiently while I dole out those healthy snacks so I wanted to find a recipe that might have apples or applesauce. A quick check of the ole pantry showed a nice jar of unsweetened organic applesauce so I was off to the races…otherwise known as the Google Oracle to find a recipe. It contains peanut butter, oats and applesauce. A few minutes with the KitchenAid and Voilà! A new favorite is born. From this…

'Pawnut-Applesauce' Treats

‘Pawnut’ Butter-Applesauce Treats

To this…in no time!

final

For those of you interested in the recipe, Sam wanted me to share it so all his fur-iends could enjoy this tasty treat.

‘Pawnut’ Butter ~ Applesauce Treats

3 cups whole wheat flour
2 cups pick-cook oats
1 cup ‘pawnut’ butter (Xylitol free please)
1 cup unsweetened organic applesauce
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 to 1/2 cup olive oil or coconut oil (I used 1/2 cup of coconut oil)

Instructions

Preheat oven to 350ºF. Mix all ingredients well but don’t over mix. Knead the dough on lightly floured surface (if dough is too loose or crumbly, you can add more coconut or olive oil). Roll to about 1/4 inch thick and cut into shapes with cookie cutters. You can also make small double balls if you don’t want to use any cutters, they’ll be fine, just not as cute as a paw or bone shape). Place on cookie sheet approximately 1/2 inch apart. Bake for 25 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool and serve. Store in airtight container in fridge for up to a couple of weeks.

Easy-peasy. Your fur-ball will love ’em and you’ll love knowing they are eating something tasty and healthy. Just don’t let them guilt you into too many. That hang-dog look only goes so far.

Live, love, bark! ❤

A funny thing happened last Friday…

Those of you who follow us on Facebook know what I mean when I say “a funny thing happened on Friday” but let me set the stage for the rest of you. So…have you ever considered sponsoring a dark complected foreign exchange student (from the foreign shores of Greeley, Colorado-trust me, that town’s a world away even though it’s a mere 49 miles northeast of Denver)? Me neither but our world was about to change.

For many months, I’ve been contemplating the addition of a baby brother or sister for Sam. I’ve  looked at a number of dogs that might be suitable for us with no luck. For one reason or another, none of those other pups seemed to fit. But that didn’t stop me from still trying to find a sibling for the doofus. I knew I didn’t want a new puppy so limited the search to Standard Poodle rescue groups across the country, looking at hundred’s of dogs.

I had a small connection with the lady who runs the Poodle Rescue of the Rockies who happens to also be a breeder, shows them and is a big lover of standard poodles. She was friends with the former CFO at work whose wife bred show quality champion Standards. And it was quite by happenstance that I actually met Jeanne at a local dog show a few years ago and have stayed in touch with her over the years. Purebred Standards aren’t exactly plentiful in the rescue area-there are far more hybrid dogs. Jeanne might get a few in a year but every time I contacted her, the answer was still the same, “Nope, nothing right now, but I’ll keep you in mind if something comes up.” Then over a month ago, I called and heard this, “We’re getting in 6 standards from a puppy mill from up north but it’ll be a while before they’re ready. Keep in touch and we’ll see what we can do.” So I kept in touch. In fact, I called every week, “Are they ready now?” was my new mantra. Finally the week came where I could meet two females from the group. Color me overjoyed.

When the dogs came in, Jeanne named the females Hope, Faith, Charity, and Love. We came to the conclusion a female would be a better choice with Sam so we proceeded on that basis. I met Love who everyone called Lovey first. She was a gorgeous girl, as tall as Sam though very skinny with a regal face and half tail. Faith was a bit smaller and all of the dogs came from the same breeding hell-hole (aka puppy mill farm in Greeley) where the 92-year-old owner passed away. The dogs were filthy, matted, and completely unsocialized. Picture the worse, times two. Faith was more aloof but making progress much in the same way as Lovely. I felt Lovey would be a better companion with Sam and the two met. After the initial “sniff, sniff…yup…he’s a dog” reaction, I watched this girl to see if she and I would connect. Something inside me said…”this is the one.” Every few days, I reached out to Jeanne to express my continued interest and see where they were in the process of rehoming. A couple of people had contacted her before me and I was afraid I might end up being a bridesmaid runner-up.

Lovey was temporarily placed with a foster while Faith stayed with Jeanne. After a freak accident involving electrical arching from a transformer at the foster’s home, Jeanne took Lovey back so as to minimize the stress. However the 19 (yes, count ’em) 19 firefighters and all the activity associated with determining the house was safe to inhabit, overwhelmed poor Lovey causing her to stress out to the point that she needed to be hospitalized and given medication to stop the dehydrating diarrhea. Then the medication caused her to suffer a reaction and resulted in an evening of seizures. Once the vet diagnosed it was a reaction and not some other medical issue (i.e. epilepsy, etc.), the meds were stopped and the seizures disappeared as quickly as they began. Poor Lovey though lost a bit of weight and needed to be nursed back to health. Last week Jeanne called and said she’d like to see how Sam and Lovey interact together since she thought a ‘big brother’ would be critical to her socialization. The impression I was left with was this was strictly a meet and greet session. We arrived mid-afternoon and were greeted by a number of standard poodles (Jeanne had 6 she was either placing, boarding or part of her own pack). It was doggie Disneyland and Sam was overjoyed at the prospects of ‘playtime with poodles.’ Lovey was used to that commotion and romped with all the big dogs. In true Sam fashion, he was just keen at the chase part.

The meeting went great, and while the dogs interacted, we talked about Lovey’s past and future. After a couple of hours, Jeanne asked, “well, are you ready to take her home tonight?” Wait…what? I thought this was just a meet and greet?! Long story short, we filled out the paperwork, gathered up her pup paraphernalia and loaded up the car.

She was a great traveler (unlike a certain Standard who loves the idea of riding in the car, but just can’t stand the actual moving part. She sat in the back seat checking out EVERYTHING. Nothing seems to escape this girl, she’s curious and needs to check out whatever is in her view. She’s quiet and remarkably calm. My hat’s off to the foster mom and her son for working with her. We had a couple of conversations about her progress and I continue to be awed at what a great job they did while she stayed with them.

going-homeApart from trying to figure out how to accommodate this newbie who was thought to be about 4 years old, we needed to figure out an appropriate name. Lovely wasn’t gonna cut it. With her regal stature, I felt like she needed something noble. Girl names seem to be in short supply from what I could determine to fit the bill. Sure there are 87 million cool boy names, but girl names…that was another story. I knew it couldn’t be some fluff name but what? Finally I landed on “Elsa von Furstenberg,” Elsa for short. Hey, don’t laugh…poodles originated in Germany so I figured, a German name would be just the ticket. I nixed Brunhilda though right off the bat. So apparently…it seems there was a “little” Disney movie where the heroine was named Elsa recently (had I known, I might have gone deeper on the list-yeah there are actual lists of German names for dogs (and cats, too). Think the top 100 baby names. Oy. Anyway, I came up with a regal name (which means noble and it describes this girl to a tee) from the top third of the list after Wayne and I couldn’t seem to agree on anything (he liked “Misha” to which I said…blech).

elsaThese past few days have been a whirlwind for Sam and I. We’re trying to figure out what makes this girl tick. Is she housebroken or not (we’re still asking that question and hoping for a positive answer soon)? Trying to access the personality of a puppy mill dog isn’t easy and you must have the patience of Job. They are easily spooked, have no experience with everyday stuff that seems obvious and yet they are somewhat of a blank slate for the future given the right training. One thing that was a lovely discovery is she walks well on leash, though she continues to not realize ‘you can’t ever cross the streams” (as in cross the leashes with Sam and behind mom’s back) but we’re working on it. I took her and Sam through our neighborhood Farmer’s Market on Sunday and she was a rock star. Elsa is very bright and has a high desire to please (unlike a certain furry brother). She’s figured out that she rather enjoys all the attention she’s garnering through her good looks and was curious and patient while people fawned all over her. I was blown away. I don’t even like that much going on and she was showing me the ropes!

So bottom line last Friday, we rescued a ‘little girl foreign exchange student’ who we will make sure is fully legal and hope you’ll enjoy hearing stories about her and who knows, maybe if she shows some aptitude, I’ll turn the laptop over to her for her perspective. Right now, Sam is thinking, “gee, everything was great at Doggie Disneyland, but did we have to bring her home?” That and “so how long is this semester and when does she go back to that foreign land?”

When you see pics like this, you know everything’s gonna be all good.

bookendsAnyone know the procedure for procuring a H-1B Visa? Got any tips to share?

Live, love, bark! ❤

Ready or Not…

…here I come. Ok, as soon as I get fully spiffed up and drink a couple of cups of canine brew. Yawn.

yawn

Sam here. My upright tells me we’re going to the hospital today to visit with patients. Normally I’d be bouncing up and down like a pogo stick but today, I need a few more minutes of beauty sleep to be my absolute best. Well that and it’s kind of crisp outside now (even though the forecast is for 90. Again😧). Oh drat, she’s calling me now for our morning constitution. Guess I better get up. Happy Thursday. We’ll be back with a report on how it goes later.

Live, love, bark! ❤

Oh the Places You’ll Go…

As I mentioned in a post earlier this week, mom decided to try to show Bashful around the hospital when we went in this week. Sam here. Bashful promised he wouldn’t go on a walk-about, so I lobbied mom to bring him along.

finalWhen we first got there, we were greeted by some of the volunteers manning the desk near where we check-in. They were very excited to greet me and made Bashful feel right at home. Bashful got to pal around with us as we visited with loads of staff members, visitors and patients at the hospital. Both of us boys were on our best behavior and received lots of treats and attention (my favorites!).

We were there just over a couple of hours which is definitely on the long side for me but there were just so many uprights who really needed my attention. So I doled out LOTS of therapy for everyone we encountered. Hey, I had to look good and impress my buddy Bashful, didn’t I? And all that work really wore me out.

finalWhenever I have a busy day at the hospital, I take a nap and rejuvenate as soon as I get home. This outing was much harder on me and I crashed big time as soon as I could. With apologies to Bashful, (sorry little dude, I wasn’t a very good host but I think I heard you snoring a little myself so I’m guessing it took a lot out of you as well). Normally, I nap for a couple of hours and then I’m “as right as rain.” This time, having an even longer nap didn’t seem to make a dent in my depleted energy levels. I wasn’t even interested in going for my evening constitution and I never pass up a walk but just didn’t feel up to more activity. Ok, sure it sprinkled 16 drops and there was lots of thunder and you all know I despise rain, but I was just too exhausted to even go pee in the yard, yet alone go out for our usual 2+ mile walk. All I wanted to do was rest and snooze and even with all the incessant noise that mom made while watching the Olympic Games, it still didn’t make any difference to me to want to go for an evening walk. Bashful concurred so us boys caught up on our beauty sleep.

Are you ever so tired you don’t want to do one of the things that you absolutely live for every day?

Live, love, bark! ❤

🎶These Paws are Made for Walking…🎶

IMG_1799Walking. It’s one of the simplest of activities and a must-do for dogs. It’s a pretty darn good activity for the uprights, too. Sam here, reporting for blogging duty. Someone recently asked my mom how often and how far we go walking and when she told them, they couldn’t believe it (usually at least 5 miles a day, but often times more). I think she said something like “well, it isn’t like he’s gonna walk himself!” Egad, sometimes that woman embarrasses me with her outspokenness.

IMG_1219Why walk your dog? Glad you asked! There are a number of pawsitive reasons to walk your pup. Unfortunately we canines don’t take responsibility for our good health so we have to rely on you uprights to do that. Sure you may have the equivalent of a dog amusement park in your backyard but frankly, unless you’re out there running around chasing us, it’s not likely we’ll do it on our own. More than likely, as soon as you blast out of the house for work, we start our day-long siesta only getting up to grab a drink and maybe shoot off a couple pee-mails. We’ll wait until you exhaustedly show up from a day in hell  work bouncing up and down like a pogo stick, unable to contain our excitement and looking forward to wanting to share some time out on the road.

So let’s go over all the reasons why you should walk your dog.

  • If your pup is ahem…how should I say this…a bit portly, he definitely needs to go for a walk. Remember, we’ve been lounging all day soaking up Vitamin D, besides…it’ll be good for you as well. Nothing like shedding a few calories with your BFF (best furry fur-iend)! Remember if the dog is overweight, you’re not getting enough exercise. Period.
  • An exercised dog is usually a well-behaved dog. If we’re tired, we’re less likely to think up ca-razy things around the house.
  • 7d0cf9874df8f08f66cc99b07801d542Remember…we evolved from wolves. Even the tiniest, fluffiest, most adorable of us share that tiny bit of DNA from the undomesticated wolf. That means we’re still a tad bit nomadic. That excitement we experience before a walk is similar to wolf pack behavior preparing to go out on a hunt. Wander, hunt, eat. It’s what we do.
  • Walking keeps our minds sharp, not bored. A bored dog has too much time on his paws. See the reason above for keeping our minds stimulated and not engaged in destructive behavior.
  • It may be your neighborhood, but I need to pee around it. Sniffing around is like your bookmarking on the internet. Think of it as our way to ‘pin’ stuff like you do on Pinterest. It allows us to survey the area, figure out whose who at the zoo and keeps us happy while maintaining our waistlines.
  • Walking provides teaching moments which engages our brains. Mom is always making me do sits, stays, and comes. Sometimes I fur-get how to do things, so when we walk, she ‘reminds’ me of what I have to do particularly when we go to the hospital. Remember: a well exercised dog is a good dog and practice makes perfect.
  • Bonding. Walking together allows us to bond more closely. We get to share fun  adventures and other peeps. Walking enriches our love for you and reinforces our relationship.
  • Walking is the perfect opportunity for you to meet other people. My mom is a bit of an introvert. It’s a good thing I’m a great ambassador and able to start-up conversations. Mom would probably be a hermit if it weren’t for me.
  • I can ‘hear’ you rolling your eyes now saying “but Sam…I don’t have time to walk my dog.” Like every other upright, my mom is busy (so she says) but she’s responsible and committed to me. I didn’t search her out, she found me and thinks like anything else, you make time for things that need to be done. Sure, sometimes, it’s not convenient, but it’s the right thing to do. She might grumble because it’s too cold or she’s too tired, but 5 minutes out and Bam! she’s smiling and I’m happy she’s happy. Even shortened walks work-the point is to be clever if you’re pressed for time. Maybe just chase your pup or spend an extended amount of time playing with him. I promise, we don’t keep score but we will be balanced and a pleasure to be around. You can take a longer walk tomorrow. Just saying.

So…do you regularly walk your pup? What do you do when you can’t?

Live, love, bark! ❤