Category Archives: Standard Poodles

Word(y) Wednesday ~ July 19, 2017

It may be Word(y) Wednesday, but it’s also washday, which means we’re off to visit patients today and tomorrow. The next couple of weeks are filled with all sorts of commitments and out of town visitors swinging by the Ranch, so posts may be somewhat sparse. Never fear, we’ll do our best to keep up on reading all of your posts and hopefully, we’ll be able to add a smile or two along the way. Stay cool sport’s fans. It’s ūüĒ•¬†ūüĒ•¬†ūüĒ•¬†hot, hot, hot this week in the 303; how is it in your neck of the woods?

Live, love, bark! ‚̧Գé

Monday Moanings

Thief, thief…I’ve been robbed…again!

No, the hoodlum neighborhood gang of squirrels didn’t break in the kitchen window. Remember how I waxed on about the Ninja a few days ago on her¬†terrific¬†socialization progress was going? Fast forward a few days and now I can safely say I have a juvenile delinquent.

So the story goes like this: We were running low on dog food. No problem, I can swing by the pet food store and pick up a bag. Nothing unusual there, right? While running around I thought, I’ll swing by the grocery store too since, well, we were out of EVERYTHING. Again no problem on its surface. Let me set the scene. It was one of the many days the weather was in the mid-90’s and traffic was the pits. I finally got home, a total hot mess and sweating like stuffed pig. After carrying in several grocery bags and the dog food in the house, I thought I’d take 5 to hydrate with some iced lemonade. The dogs greeted me like they always do, I sat down and began sipping the beverage and life returned to normal. Or did it? All of a sudden I realize I’m missing a dog. Cue the spooky music.

So I go into the kitchen and see the Ninja with her head deep in that shopping bag and notice the box of croissants is semi-open with one minor detail. Only two of the buttery delectables out of a dozen¬†remained.¬†I took the box out and put it on the floor to re-create the crime scene since I couldn’t open the cellphone fast enough to catch the actual proof. But I did capture where she was licking up errant crumbs from the floor.

WTH, Elsa?! Those weren’t quite the actual words I said out loud (think creatively) for which this face stared back at me.

 

As if it was no big deal. Well, I guess a girl’s gotta have her pastries, I know I sure enjoy them at breakfast. I chuckled and just chocked it up to yet one more thing on the ever-growing list of things this dog has eaten and didn’t think much else about it.

The next day I was preparing dinner, I pulled this out of the oven piping hot and turned around to grab the pizza slicer and looked back to see that¬†thieving¬†little brat on her two hind legs standing with her front paws on the stove¬†(something she has NEVER done since her hips are a tad wonky and always assumed it’s uncomfortable to jump up) taking a bite out of the edge.¬†

I hollered at her and she scurried out of the kitchen and then quick as a wink, Sam reaches up to try the same thing! Are you freaking kidding me? “Dude, you are supposed to be teaching her how to be a dog, not some waif-like pickpocket character from Oliver Twist!” *Ugh*

 

While Standard Poodles originated in Germany, I think my little urchin appears to be identifying more with the commonly thought of origination country, France for which I don’t blame her. But 10 croissants in a lightning quick moment? Dang girl! Maybe she is a distant relative of our favorite French fur-iend, Phenny¬†and channelling her heritage?

Bottom line…I think we need to schedule a refresher training session for Sam and as far as Elsa goes, I don’t even know where to begin. Looks like someone needs a summer job to stay outa juvenile detention and maybe a DNA test to put pedigree to rest.

Live, love, bark! ‚̧Գé

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! ‚̧Գé

 

Totally Tickled Tuesday

Elsa has now been with part of the Ranch pack a little over 9 months. And yes, it rather does feel like birthing a new kid. Her transition from a shut down, puppy mill survivor to a quirky poodle has been filled with tears and smiles. The tears from the fact that she didn’t even know how to take food from my hand initially and from her diagnosis of canine idiopathic epilepsy shortly after she arrived. Loads of patience and love have been in her life since she joined our merry little band. Even with a big brother who at times has been slightly unkind, she is morphing into a bona fide poodle. The smiles show up nearly every day as she discovers that being a poodle in Denver isn’t a bad life after all and one who has now found her barking voice and speaks in a poodle dialect of Yugoslavian whenever she looks at something and barks. We still have no idea as to what she’s saying but it must entertain her fancy because it gets her wound up and most definitely animated.

So what’s a bona fide Standard Poodle like? Compared to previous contenders I’ve owned over the years, these dogs are brilliant (ok, that might not accurately described Sam but for purposes of this post, we’ll give him the benefit of the doubt and say he’s sort of clever). They are athletic and can bounce and jump with the best of them. They are quite affectionate. And yes, very fun-loving. All my poodles have been sweet dogs and Elsa is learning that snuggling can be very reassuring and comforting. Plus there’s that whole thing of us uprights having nice cushy furniture they seem to relish.

While she still has a looong way to go before I could pronounce her a full-fledged “Standard Poodle,” and who knows, she may never make it all the way, she does continue to make progress.

Take a couple of mornings ago (but please disregard the clutter ok…remember it was early before I had a chance to pick things up). We rise early so we can enjoy our walks in the cool morning air. While waiting for my first cup of coffee to brew, little Miss Ninja went on a zoomie terror around the house for several minutes. She became transfixed with a tug rope that the sheepdogs used to play with. Sam was never interested in it but Elsa will occasional pull it out of her toy basket and ‘floss’ her teeth on it once in a while. That morning, she barked at it, pounced on it, repeatedly zoomed from the living room into the kitchen with it hanging from her mouth, play bowed repeatedly before attacking it and tossed it repeatedly. I was laughing so hard I could barely get a picture with my phone on the QT. She ¬†enjoyed playing with it for an unusually long time and I couldn’t help but smile at the thought that this ‘baby’s come a long way.’ It may not seem like a big deal, but when you’ve been a puppy mill survivor who only know a small cage for her entire life beforehand, it seems like a mountain of progress to me.

May you continue to blossom into a marvelous Standard Poodle, sweet girl and may you continue to keep tickling me along that way.

Live, love, bark! ‚̧Գé

A hunting we will go…

It is a well-known fact that poodles are great hunting dogs. Just ask my sister, Elsa. Sam here. She ‘hunts’ everything she can wrap her teeth around. I guess I shouldn’t cast negative aspersions since I’ve eviscerated my fair share of leather goods over the years. But she’s taken the whole hunting dog mantel to a whole new level.

First off, can I say she goes bonkers whenever a squirrel is within 87 feet of our house? We can be out for a nice leisurely walk with mom and she’ll see one of the bushy-tailed rats and will try to turn mom into a kite and climb up the tree after it. I’ll admit that girl has some wheels. Twice now she’s come within a whisker’s length of catching the two that¬†terrorize her live in our big tree and raid the trash and recycle bins. One of these days guys…she’s gonna catch you. Just saying.

We were walking early the other morning and guess what we came across? A cute ‘widdle wabbit.’

File photo-not the actual rabbit-there was no way to get close enough without scaring the stuffing outa the poor lil-guy.

Once we realized what it was, our poodle genes kicked into action overdrive. Say whaaat?! (spoken in ascending falsetto voice)

Just look at that pointing form of my sister! I was still trying to figure out just what the heck it is but she knew it was something not squirrel-like.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mom could barely pull us away we were so mesmerized. Now every time we pass by this little mini-park, we start looking for Bugs Bunny. Mom said I look like Elmer Fudd when I’m searching, but I’m not sure what she meant by that. No doubt she was trying to be funny. To which I say, ‘don’t quit the day job.’ She’s no comedian, trust me on that. And she’s no great photographer either, as evidenced by all the cross light-beams. She apologizes for the crummy i-Phone pics but couldn’t hold two leashes, two pulling dogs¬†amazing hunters, a bag of poop and the phone at the same time. I say she just wasn’t quite awake yet. She said sometimes, you just have to take the shot regardless of the position of the sun and objects. I say, ‘whatever.’

[Mom here…sorry about the crummy lighting, even editing wouldn’t improve them enough without those hideous light beams/overexposure. You should have seen the raw photos-eek]

So…do you have wabbits in your ‘hood? Are you a world-class hunter? Did you take classes to learn to hunt or does it come natural for you?

Happy Friday. Woo-hoo, how did¬†we manage to get here so quickly? Oh yeah, that extra long ‘howliday’ weekend the other day sure made a difference, didn’t it? Have a wagnificent weekend.

Live, love, bark! ‚̧Գé

Summertime Howlidays

With our hospital work this week, we’ve been a bit light on posts so we’re posting a Saturday PSA. Summer is officially here which means this weekend we will be enjoying a long weekend in the US. Here at the Ranch we want to wish effuryone a safe and Happy 4th of July weekend. ūüáļūüáł

Did you know that more pets are lost during this weekend than at any other time during the year?

With that in mind, Sam and Elsa offer the following red, white and blue tips for keeping your furry friends safe.


CREATE A SAFE ZONE

It’s best not to take your fur-friend with you to the neighborhood pawty. All those extra strangers, loud noises and inappropriate food coupled with fireworks make for a sure-fire guaranty for misery on your pet’s part. Leave them at home.¬†Dogs and cats aren’t all that keen on the loud noises that come with fireworks AND crowds so creating a room with¬†darkened windows, adding some white noise or leaving the TV turned on with a safe, crated retreat can go a long way toward keeping them at ease. Let them experience this space a few days before the fireworks start-up to get them used to it before it all starts.¬†

MAKE THEM COMFORTABLE

Provide their favorite treats and give them freely prior to the days leading up to the 4th to make them feel a bit more comfortable the next time there is a loud bang. 

PLAY WITH SOUND MASKING

Sound masking is a great way to cover up loud noises from fireworks. Music Рwhichever genre Рcan help them relax and feel a bit more at ease.  It is best to play what they are already familiar with so that association to the new music is not made with loud scary fireworks.

ADD SUPPLEMENTS IF NECESSARY 

When you know your pet is extra anxious during fireworks, the use of anti-anxiety helpers like Pet Releaf (a safe and effective CBD oil), use of a ThunderShirt, or LICKS Pill-Free ZEN supplements can help even the most stressed pet relax. Lavender essential oil can work wonders on their bed or collar and go a long way toward inducing relaxation.

It’s especially impawtant for us uprights to take the necessary steps to keep our fur-babies safe. Knowing they will likely react to all the loud noises, whatever can be done to make them feel safe and secure is in their long-term best interests. Don’t forget to make sure they are wearing a current ID tag,¬†especially¬†if they aren’t microchipped. ¬†Better to play it safe¬†and¬†make sure they are wearing their collar all the time but especially this weekend.

Enjoy the howliday, but be safe!  What clever tricks do you use to keep your babies safe and sound?

Live, love, bark! ‚̧Գé

Reflections on Life and Death

Life and death. We tend not to think about them until they are thrust upon us. And yet…they are in our sphere every moment of every day. This week we spent a lot of time at the hospital and hospice. And because of our experiences there, this post has been more than a challenge to share what it meant in an adequate way. This is in fact, the third draft and I’m still not convinced it’s conveyed well enough yet.

While volunteering over the past 4+ years, we’ve had many encounters where we’ve seen the impact of a death on those actually there. We’ve been in a room when a patient passed away, a mere 90 seconds after Sam allowed a relative to place the hand of the patient on his front paws. We have visited hospice moments following a patient’s passing and have tried to provide compassionate support for the family and staff. I’ve reflected in past posts how stark I found the fact that some people, despite being surrounding by the most caring staff, too often die with no relatives nearby. I’ve lamented that others have had their loved ones glued to an electronic device rather than being part of a ritual that we all will go through. It’s been confounding and troubling at the same time.

Yet this visit, things played out differently. We arrived slightly before our shift began and knew the hushed convening of people at the front desk signaled something had ‘happened.’ A group of long faced relatives stood outside the closest room with a large man dressed in a dark suit. The nurses behind the desk all softly smiled at the sight of Sam and his tail¬†wagged wildly but something was clearly different. And then it began to unfold.

Lutheran has an amazingly compassionate staff who provide comfort, dignity and support for those spending the final stage of life with loved ones in familiar surroundings. With each patient’s passing, they conduct a beautiful ceremony with a Tibetan singing bowl¬†as the body is removed and carried out to the transporting hearse. We had never experienced this somber spiritually touching¬†ceremony¬†before but that was about to change. This video will give you an idea of the sound (although there is no running water or crickets but I think you can get the picture and feel the peacefulness).

This week our interactions were quite intense as we witnessed the honoring of a life who passed with family and friends nearby, just the way it should be. Sam sat very erect next to me somehow sensing the reverence required despite being among some of his favorite nurses. Any other time, he’d be moving from one to the other engaging them and relishing the ear scratches but when the bowl started its melodic tone, he was still as a statue. The tones were soothing and continued rhythmically until the body and the family walked down the long hallway to the exit where the hearse was parked outside. I was so moved and it took both Sam and I several long minutes to gain our composure for what was to be yet another remarkable encounter.

Today’s visit was met with lots of hushed quiet voices, more so than usual. It’s understandable. Everyone there knows when a patient dies and they all honor the dead with quiet deference. And yet life goes on in areas throughout the facility. Housekeeping continues to clean, patients are tended to, reports filed. Care provided. We received the usual comments about Sam’s calmness and sweet nature, his freshly trimmed haircut. We were told to visit with a fellow in a room down the hall from the patient who had passed away. As I walked by, an older woman sat reading a book, glancing up and smiling broadly. She gestured for us to come in and tried to rouse her friend. Sadly, “Earl” did not open his eyes despite pleas from his friend, “Valerie.” Next to his chest was a large stuffed cat, the kind of stuffed toy that makes noises when there was movement¬†nearby. “Meow, meow.” Sam did the classic dog head-tilt which made Valerie chuckle and I introduced us as she apologized, saying, “Oh, that silly cat. I don’t know why he has it…he raised show dogs for years. Guess he just wanted to create some racket when he first came in a week ago.” While he may have been more animated a week ago, it was clear Earl was not the same man today. A frail small man lay in the bed, his eyes semi-closed, breathing deeply. She laughed about Earl’s sense of humor and I sat down next to her as she talked while Sam sat between her knees. She gently petted him, staring deep into her eyes and he moved even closer. I could tell we’d be there a while as Sam sorting out and addressed her ‘needs.’ Never mind Earl. It was all about ministering to Valerie in Sam’s mind. We talked about how they met, how long they had known each other and their days in the world of dog shows. Earl had had a black standard poodle up until recently who had been the apple of his eye. She chatted as if we were old friends and as I listened to her tales about Earl. Sam stayed focused on her face and she just kept repeating how wonderful he was. After quite some time, he slide down in front of her and curled up between her legs. We weren’t going anywhere soon. And so we continued to chat. She shared her thoughts about the book she was reading and was delightedly to learn the author was also one of my favorite mystery writers, Donna Leon. Many of her novels have been transformed into the¬†PBS¬†series, Brunetti, about an Italian police commissioner in Venice. After a long visit, she said how much she wished Earl could see Sam and expressed regret that Earl didn’t get a chance to say hello to Sam. We wished her well, finished up at hospice and then made our way over the main hospital for even more moving and intense visits with many people. Sam was on his best behavior and totally crashed when we arrived home hours later. We were both fully spent after a day sharing stories about the living and paying homage to the dead.

Hopefully I can continue to rot out my thoughts about our visit even more and share our experience from West Pines which was truly amazing. I am still trying to wrap my head around the intensity and how to share them adequately so that they do in fact convey the incredible privilege we have visiting with the most vulnerable and the needy. 

Live, love, bark! ‚̧Գé