Thursday, December 29, 2011

New Year's Eve Raccoon

I walk Rose daily around 9:55 PM. Halfway up and down the cul-de-sac. This is our routine. Every night, I feed Rose a spoonful of pumpkin, then walk her. Our agenda is for Rose to urinate one last time before bed. Although sometimes she does not go. Oh well!! We have witnessed some interesting wildlife on our nightly strolls. I am wary of these creatures, as though they are mass murderers, because Rose's "hunting" skills cannot be trusted!! How will my Beagle/German Shepherd cross react if she faced an aggressive rabid opossum? Fight or flight? Would she allow some wild animal to brutally tear her apart? Honestly.... These queries are best left unanswered!! So I attempt to protect Rose.... Whenever possible. About one year ago, on January 31st, 2010, we were embarking on our evening stroll. When I noticed something moseying about in our neighbor's side lawn. Obviously, night had befallen. Everything was dark. Minus one bright streetlight. So I could hardly see anything!! Meanwhile, Rose was literally face-to-face with this mysterious creature. At first I thought that we encountered a neighbor's feline. Until I could vaguely recognize "his" body figure. Short and fat. A bushy tail. Four stubby legs. Gasp!! A raccoon!! Suddenly, sans any warning, my protective maternal instinct kicked into full gear!! Seriously!! I yanked Rose back, probably a little too hard. But this was an unsettling experience!! What can I say? My baby was face-to-face with a raccoon!! We must have scared "him". For "he" waddled away across the street as fast as "his" stubby legs could move!! It was then when I could finally see. Sort of. It was "his" gait that gave "him" away. Slow and leisurely. Not swift, or graceful like your typical cat!! What a thrilling, yet startling surprise this was!! I am so grateful that Rose was not attacked by our "New Year's Eve raccoon"!!

Monday, December 26, 2011

Rose's "Second" Christmas

So yesterday was December 25th. Rose's second Christmas with me!! As early as possible, I pulled her red and white velvet stocking off its nail. Until yesterday morning, this holiday item hung vacant upon my bedroom wall. I found Rose's treats and plush toys. I swiftly stuffed her stocking until it bulged. Literally. I love filling Christmas stockings!! I purchased Rose some Milo's Kitchen chicken jerky, bacon & cheese flavored Beggin' Strips, plus the "Cinnabone" dog biscuits. My Beagle/German Shepherd cross' toys were a plush baby blue puppy. Uncle Michael named "her" Rose. A plush golden-colored monkey. I named "him" Curious George. And a plush pink kitten. I named "her" after my childhood feline, Sugar. With much enthusiasm, I presented the fuzzy stocking to Rose. Like a small child, she was excited!! Seriously. Usually excitement brings about high-pitched baying. But not this time!! Rose shadowed my every step, and became a little jumpy, instead!! I pulled out the Beggin' Strips. Yes, I understand that this was probably not my healthiest choice of treats to buy, but.... It is Christmas. We all receive "junk" food on December 25th around here!! I bent the Beggin' Strips in half. They are long and Rose does not need an entire piece!! Next I pulled out the chicken jerky. They were also cut in long strips, so I broke one. Or I attempted to, at least!! This chicken jerky was tough!! So Rose received two small pieces of it. Then, one by one, I pulled out her toys. I forgot to cut off their tags, however!! Oops!! So after quickly cutting off their tags, Rose was given one. Then another. Then another. Rose must have thought that she died and went to Heaven!! For I give her more presents on Christmas morning than our anniversaries!! My mongrel's favorite toy was the puppy. Initially. She plays with all three!! Lastly, I fed her at 8:00 AM. Finally, I gave Rose a candy cane shaped home-baked biscuit!! My "hound" of course, appreciated all my hard work in making those holiday treats!! She ran through our house with it, rolled on the candy cane, then ingested her "Cinnabone"!! Silly puppy!! I later found a small piece of something tan near my girl's ear. What is that? I wondered. It was a part of her candy cane biscuit!! Caked to my dog's fur!! Ah, the predicaments she gets me in....

Merry Christmas, Rose!!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Honey "Christmas" Treats

The other day, I baked Rose some dog biscuits. For her Christmas stocking. It was the final thing on my holiday to-do list. Other than "bagging" up everyone's presents, which, traditionally, I always partake in on Christmas Eve!! Helps pass the time.... Now Rose will receive two gifts of treats, three plush toys, plus these crunchy biscuits!! Wow. Her fuzzy red stocking will be bulging.... The cookbook where I found this recipe also, of course, contains something specifically meant for Christmas. It is entitled "Santa Paws". Nonetheless, we were lacking in two things for that recipe: An ingredient.... And money. But then, an idea surfaced within my mind: Bake Rose something sweet!! Every December 25th, we all receive sugar-laden junk food--chocolate--which she cannot even have!! Why leave poor Rose out on some of the fun? Plus, I purchased some adorable holiday cookie cutter shapes: Candy cane, gingerbread man, Christmas tree, snowman, gingerbread woman, and stocking!! So I made these treats into Christmas biscuits!! Here is the recipe:

(These biscuits taste like honey.... I think they wrongly named this recipe!!)
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons molasses
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/2 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup wheat germ
1 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
(We substituted wheat flour with white flour, because I heard that too much wheat can effect a dog's digestive system?)
1/2 cup brewer's yeast
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl mix together honey, molasses, oil, milk and cinnamon. Gradually add flour, yeast, and wheat germ.
(I never follow the "gradually" rule when baking.... Oh well!! Everything stirs together alright anyway!!) Roll dough to a 1/4 inch thickness and cut into bone (Or Christmas!!) shapes. Bake at 350 degrees on an ungreased cookie sheet for 20 minutes (We did 15 minutes, but not all ovens were created equal!!) or until bottoms are brown. Makes 1 1/2 dozen. (We made 14--two of each shape, plus a couple extra candy canes!! And.... A round "cookie" that I used with the leftover dough!!)
Bake bones on the middle oven rack. If your dough is sticky, apply a light layer of flour to your hands, the rolling surface and rolling pin. Because of variations in oven temperatures, monitor the cooking time for your batch of "Doggy Bones". Bake bones until the bottoms of the biscuits become medium brown, and adjust remaining baking times accordingly. If bones do not become "bone hard", bake bones for an additional five minutes or leave them in the oven as it cools. Store "Doggy Bones" in an airtight container. For extended supply, double your batch and freeze them!

As I began searching for the ingredients we would need--alongside Uncle Michael--Rose ran through our great room, a toy within her mouth. She wanted playtime!! "Not now, Rose...." I said. This happens nearly every time. I am doing something with Uncle Michael, my brother, and little miss "Jealousy, thy name is Rose" desires all the attention!! It's cute.... In such cases, we always smile, and let her win!! But not this time. We had treats to mix up and bake. Rose's biscuits!! So my "neglected" girl had to play by herself.... She rolls on the toys whenever I cannot interact!! Rose does have Attention Deficit Disorder, however!! While I stirred our ingredients together she appeared into the kitchen, curious. So I allowed Rose a tiny taste of her treats' dough. My Beagle mix loved it!! Keeping these biscuits put away until Christmas morning was difficult. At first!! The second I pulled them out of our oven, Rose looked up at me with those pleading eyes of hers that I know so well. She wanted a sample!! How can you say no to that? It turned out that one of our gingerbread men broke his right leg, so I gave her him. By the way? Rose rates this recipe Four 'paws' way, way up!!

Merry Christmas, Readers!!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Sleep In Heavenly Peace

I love to sing!! And hum. While sitting on my bed, stroking Rose's velvet-soft fur, I often find myself singing some Christmas songs this time of year. "Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer". "What Child Is This?". "Jingle Bells". Whatever comes to mind. But the carol which appears within my head the most during such moments, is "Silent Night"!! No idea why. Probably its lovely, soft melody.... So, as I pet Rose, my vocal chords hum "Silent Night's" tune. Or I sing its words. Either way. Somehow, "Silent Night" has become Rose's Christmas song!! Whenever I hear this carol, it reminds me of my beautifully unique mongrel!! Instantaneously. Which has brought countless smiles to my face.... Such a sweet thought.... So, to be festive, since Christmas is six days away, I thought I'd post the lyrics to "Rose's carol"!!

Silent Night
Composed by Franz Xaver Gruber and Joseph Mohr
Silent Night! Holy Night!
All is calm all is bright;
Round yon Virgin Mother and Child;
Holy Infant so tender and mild;
Sleep in Heavenly Peace,
Sleep in Heavenly Peace.

And, as I hum or sing this Christmas carol, Rose snoozes away!! "Sleep in Heavenly peace", girl. "Sleep in Heavenly peace"....

Friday, December 16, 2011

A Mixed Breed Resource

Earlier this year, I was browsing the "pets" isles in our city's largest bookstore. It is located several miles away from where we reside, so I seldom shop there. I came across this book, entitled: "Mutts: America's Dogs", written by Brian Kilcommons and Michael Capuzzo. I flipped through its pages. I already own a book on mixed breeds. Did I really need another? But I was thrilled by this finding. Brian Kilcommons is a nationally-renown animal behaviorist/trainer. I own two of his books. I never knew that he co-wrote something about mongrels!! And.... This book is different. Honestly. It is nothing like my other mixed breed book!! Nothing. "Mutts: America's Dogs" not only celebrates every mixed breed canine, but it also offers wisdom, plus insight on which beautifully unique creature best suits your lifestyle!! It covers known crossbreeds. It covers "Mystery Dogs". Now is there a "one-size-fits-all" with mongrels? Never!! Example: One Border Collie cross can be hyperactive. ADHD. Another laid-back. "Mutts: America's Dogs" features both heart-warming, and heart-breaking stories about true canines!! It is honest, hilarious, poignant!! And, of course, "Mutts: America's Dogs" provides special training tips, as well!! To quote a blurb on the book's back cover: "Brian and Mike make mixed-breed dog owners proud of their mutts. Through their comprehensive, creative, and very amusing descriptions, the prospective adopter will learn a wealth of information about every imaginable 'breed' of mutt. Brian and Mike have made the thousands of homeless dogs in animal shelters stars. Any adoptive pet owner must read this book before deciding on which mutt to adopt." ~Jane M. Stern, executive director, The Anti-Cruelty Society, Chicago. Well said. Plus, within this book's pages is a picture. Of an adorable hound mix. Tail curled, ears perked.... Just like Rose!! On its page are various notes. "Mischievous eyes--if you can catch me you can have my toy." "Large ears to hear refrigerator door opening from anywhere in the house." "Big nose--anything, anytime, anywhere." "Long legs for taking journeys whenever possible." Yep.... Every part of those notes describe Rose!! Purchase "Mutts: America's Dogs". It is a wonderful mixed breed resource!!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

"Rose Elizabeth!!"

Readers: Apparently, I am in sort of a blogging "funk". Is that contagious? A "non-dog" blog author whose site I visit, recently stated the same complaint!! Ah, writer's block. I suppose when you type stories, insights, feelings, plus opinions twice a week, that is bound to happen sometime!! Sigh.... Well, I am in the mood for a "bad dog" story about Rose.... Here goes.

Every morning for breakfast, Uncle Michael eats twain slices of buttered sourdough bread, plus a strawberry yogurt. On our great room carpet. This is one of Rose's favorite moments!! A chance to spy on poor Uncle Michael while he ingests his breakfast. An opportunity for begging. A chance to lick up any bread crumbs which inevitably fall.... And, best of all, an opportunity for stealing Uncle Michael's toast "crusts" off his plate when he is not looking!! Sneaky, sneaky.... None of these activities are allowed. And Rose knows this fact far too well!! She and I spend mornings together on "our" bed. While I read the daily newspaper, drink orange juice, and engross myself in books. However, when Uncle Michael is eating, Rose prefers to watch him!! She awaits patiently for crumbs, or abandoned buttery bread "crusts". Uncle Michael is usually quite good at remembering to remove his white plate from the carpet. But every now and then.... One morning, I was emptying/filling our dishwasher. I knew in advance that Uncle Michael's breakfast plate still lie on the great room floor. Forgotten. Usually in cases like this, I take care of the plate myself to avoid Rose's thievery. Seriously. She does not need the extra carbohydrates and oily butter!! But I didn't. For reasons beyond my own comprehension, I thought Rose could resist such a temptation. What was I thinking? Rose? My "Living Breathing Vacuum"? The "Mongrel-Hound" with an amazing love affair toward food? My "Little Beggar"? Rose? Avoid temptation? Really?! What on Earth was I thinking? My head must have been groggy that morning, with all common sense emptied out!! I turned around, and glanced through our French doors toward the great room. Where was Rose? Wolfing down the toast "crusts", and licking Uncle Michael's plate "clean"!! For whatever reason, this all-too-common scene shocked me!! Why? Because mentally, I was certain that Rose could resist temptation!! So my reaction was not very ideal. It was just that. A reaction. I did not scold "Bad dog!!", because this isn't my training style. I never gave Rose a firm "No!!". I did not even shout: "Hey, hey, hey!!", which, for reasons beyond my comprehension work on her. No. I yelled, in a rather shocked tone, "Rose Elizabeth!!" Using my Beagle/German Shepherd's middle name also seemingly works wonders. As does keeping a firm tone of voice. Immediately, sans hesitation, Rose ducked away. "Go to bed." I gently commanded. She did.... Licking butter off her paws. Honestly? My naughty girl looked way too pleased with herself....

Friday, December 9, 2011

A Drastic Change

What did I accomplish today? Well.... For a few weeks I have wanted to make some changes on this blog. But how? Search for a new background? No. I like my blog's background!! It is pretty, whimsical, cheery.... So I made a few adjustments.... At first. I added to the header. I discovered a lovely quote about being different. Typed that onto my blog's sidebar. I "decorated" it for Christmas. Good enough.... Right? Not exactly. Earlier this afternoon, on a whim, I took to the notion that my blog's "title" should change!! To "Beautifully Unique". Now that is a drastic change!! Which, honestly, I was quite nervous about partaking in.... As if doing so would be permanent, with no looking back. But the new header swiftly grew on me.... I love it!! "Beautifully Unique". Like every human being. No one is ordinary, able or handicapped."Beautifully Unique". Like every mixed breed canine. In the world. Especially "Mystery Dogs" and "Oops Babies". Like Rose. A Beagle/German Shepherd cross. My "Big Dog/Medium Dog". A "Shepherd-Hound". The "title" fits. Works. Bodes well with life. Readers can still find my site at That much has not changed. Just the header. Now, my blog has sort of a "unique" theme to it. Yep. Standing out and being different is a positive thing. And, as I have struggled mightily with this very issue, hopefully my perspective will change, as well. I am "Beautifully Unique", too....

Monday, December 5, 2011

National Mutt Day

It was Friday, December 2nd. I went about my usual morning routine: Woke up, let the cat outside, checked e-mail, read people's "dog blogs". Rose was sleeping peacefully on her comically-sized pillow in "our" bedroom. My "Lazy Bones" never wants to get up each morning.... I was groggy, and half-asleep, as I'm still fighting a head cold. Then.... I saw it!! A photograph box on the internet homepage's sidebar.... Of this mixed breed!! What's that about? I wondered. It contained an article on "hybrid" dogs. Out of curiosity, I clicked the story. And it taught me something!! December 2nd is National Mutt Day!! I was thrilled. Seriously? Today is National Mutt Day? There's an actual National Mutt Day? I thought. Yep. And, according to some online research, there is even a Web site, It was funded in 2005 by Pet Expert and Animal Welfare Advocate Colleen Paige. The Web site is fantastic!! National Mutt Day embraces, rescues and celebrates mixed breed canines!! Its mascot is Tyler, a suspected four-year old hound/Pointer mix. He's owned by actress Charlotte Ross. National Mutt Day encourages everyone to adopt a mixed breed dog on December 2nd. I visited my local Humane Society's Web site earlier this afternoon. It was filled with picture after picture after picture of homeless mixed breeds!! National Mutt Day suggests volunteering at any local shelter. Be a dog walker, perhaps? National Mutt Day encourages people to donate toward local shelters on December 2nd. They suggested only $5.00, but anybody can give more!! Or donate food and other supplies to local shelters. They are oft in need of such simple items. Like toys or dog beds. National Mutt Day even suggests that grieving owners donate in the name of a beloved lost mongrel!! Wow.... What wonderful ideas!! Well to me, December 2nd is now a holiday of the sorts!! I have it written on my calendar!! Any reason for celebration, I say!! I attended a large Christmas bazaar, with 1,000 booths that day. Among them, was this table selling locally-baked, thin organic dog biscuits. They came in three flavors. I bought Rose some peanut butter treats. My Beagle mix, of course loves them!! So we celebrated National Mutt Day in the most appropriate way possible to Rose: With food!! Yum.... Rose is the best mixed breed canine that I have ever had!! I cannot express this nearly enough. I could shout it on our rooftops!! Somehow, I love her more than any dog that I have ever known. Honestly!! Rose is beautifully unique.... As are all mixed breeds!! I am glad we have a day to set aside and celebrate mongrels!! They certainly deserve it!! And as a tall, short-haired, lanky volunteer at the Christmas bazaar's Humane Society's booth said: "Every day is a day to celebrate mutts!!" Agreed!!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

The Christmas Ornament

Readers: A cold germ is going around over here, and, unfortunately, I have caught it. Sigh.... And I am not quite recovered yet from my calf/ankle/foot injury!! What else can go wrong? Hopefully, this blog post will not be foggy.... Like my head!!

I always think about and remember Shadow Sunshine, my beautifully unique "blond" furred German Shepherd/Golden Retriever cross at Christmastime. She was euthanized on June 15th, 2010. I have an entire decade worth of memories filling her stocking, purchasing treats and dog toys, celebrating December 25th with my mixed breed. I recall as though it was yesterday our final Christmas together. Shadow had been showing tell-tale signs of aging: Deafness, stiff joints, senile behavior. I somehow knew within my heart that this would be our last. So I took complete advantage of it. Shadow no longer played.... Spending money on tennis balls seemed useless. Instead, I filled her stocking with treats. Nothing else. She ingested each treat. Less than six months later, Shadow died. I was right. My intuition did not steer me wrong. Last Christmas, three months after adopting Rose, I was struggling with grief. It came upon me suddenly, like an ambush during some war. This was a Christmas of colossal firsts: My first with Rose. Our first sans Shadow. I had bought Rose a fuzzy red and white Christmas stocking. Purchased her gifts. Yet somehow, the memory of Shadow's last Christmas haunted me. I missed her so much!! It felt selfish and wrong to be experiencing such an intense longing for Shadow.... When I have Rose!! Honestly.... But I could not help myself. There were tears, sorrow, plus heartache. We drove downtown to do some shopping during that time, and I was really depressed. I wept in an antique shop. While looking at merchandise. Snuck off to a Jack-In-The-Box restroom during lunch to compose myself. Then, we discovered this quaint little store. It was decorated for Christmas. Everything looked so nice!! On display, there was this small tree. An artificial one. Hanging on its branches were various glass dog breed ornaments. Naturally, I was drawn to the Golden Retriever, "half" of Shadow. No. I thought. Move on. I coached myself: Time to move on.... Be in the "now". Walk away from that tree!! Walk away I did. Then suddenly, a tiny voice inside me said: Go back. Go back. Look for the Beagle. I walked over to that artificial Christmas tree once more. And.... There it was!! A glass, glittery brown, black and white Beagle!! It was flawless!! Plus, the ornament may as well have been custom-made!! Black on its back, a white chest, this adorable brown-colored furrowed forehead.... Just like Rose!! I purchased the ornament. Its tag read: Beagle: Dogs selflessly give humans their unconditional love and loyalty. Beagles are one of the most popular scent hounds because of their energy, willingness to work and sweet dispositions. They make great family pets and truly enjoy their status as "man's best friend." Wow. Minus the "energy (and) willingness to work" part, that describes Rose extremely well!! Loyal. A sweet disposition. Loving. I will treasure forever that sparkly glass Beagle ornament. One glance at it reminds me of so much. That first Christmas without Shadow. My emotional meltdown. Healing. And everything that Rose blesses me with!! She is an incredible one-of-a-kind, friend to me!! A four-legged "kindred spirit". Different, like myself. She is amiable, submissive, and easy to train. Sneaky, strong-willed, plus sometimes naughty. I love it all!! She is a beautiful, amazing creature!!

Monday, November 28, 2011

If You Rescue One Dog....

I found this quote on somebody's blog. I have no clue who said these words, but they instantaneously spoke to my heart:

"If you rescue one dog, you won't change the world, but surely the world will change for that dog."

Mmmm, so true, so true!! Before we adopted Rose from a local shelter on September 21st, 2010, she had been caught wandering some busy street. Sort of like that scruffy-looking mongrel, Tramp from Walt Disney's "Lady and the Tramp". Then, respectable dog-catchers somehow grabbed her. Drove Rose to our shelter. She wore no collar. Was never microchipped. Had no name.... Rose seemingly knew zero basic commands. Either nobody taught them to her, or they were not very consistent!! So Rose learned everything from me!! She had Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. Temporarily. Only until she settled into our family, that is!! Rose must have been an outside-only pet. Because our backyard was where my Beagle/German Shepherd cross always wanted to be!! Strange.... The sliding glass door would open, and Rose ran swiftly in that direction, as if she was going to miss out on some great adventure!! My independent girl.... I worked hard on encouraging her in this area. I have a comfortable bed.... She is welcome to lie on it.... I will provide her with nonstop petting and affection!! She suffered from Separation Anxiety. A mild case, anyway!! She would leave behind poop "accidents" every time we left home, and "abandoned" her. Then I discovered that pumpkin is a natural canine laxative!! I began feeding it to her. Problem solved!! Rose refused to interactively play with us. She would just snatch her toys and roll on them. How sad was that? This left me to wonder if Rose's previous owners were the go-go-go type and paid her no attention. Now she interacts with friends' children, as well as us!! Rose will frequently find me--toy in mouth--and "ask" to play!! It is adorable!! There.... A deeply personal, proven example of the truth in this quote!! And Rose is, indeed, my greatest life accomplishment!! Seriously!! But I think that the reverse is also true: Rescuing one dog changes your world!!

Friday, November 25, 2011

Toxic "Human" Foods

Readers: Thanksgiving is over.... Relatives entered and exited people's homes.... Traditional food--turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, sweet potatoes--have been eaten. Devoured, really. Plus, in our family, are some non-traditional dishes: Green bean casserole, and corn pudding!! Yum!! Now that Thanksgiving is behind us, bring on the Christmas parties!! Yeah!! And if you are like me, who owns Rose, a Beagle mix with an incredible love affair for food, read this post. Because, seriously. You will be educated. And surprised!! In fact, read it even if you do not own a food-loving canine!!

(Taken from one of my HealthyPets e-mails!!)

There are various foods that are toxic to dogs. Some we
know about, however, there are many others we are not
aware of that are just as dangerous and poisonous to your
pet. Below is a list of common foods that are harmful to dogs.

Chocolate contains theobromine, a compound
that is a cardiac stimulant and a diuretic.
their pet has eaten a large quantity of
chocolate, many pet owners assume their pet is unaffected. However, the signs of sickness may not be seen for several hours, with death following within twenty-four hours. Symptoms include staggering, labored breathing, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, tremors, fever, heart rate increase, arrhythmia, seizures, coma, death.
Cocoa powder
and cooking chocolate are the most toxic forms. A 10-kilogram dog can be seriously affected if it eats a quarter of a 250gm packet of cocoa powder or half of a 250gm block of cooking chocolate. These forms of chocolate contain ten times more theobromine than milk chocolate. Thus, a chocolate mud cake could be a real health risk for a small dog. Even licking a substantial part of the chocolate icing from a cake can make a dog unwell.
chocolate and dark chocolate are the next most dangerous forms, with milk chocolate being the least dangerous. A dog needs to eat more than a 250gm block of milk chocolate to be affected. Obviously, the smaller the dog, the less it needs to eat.

Mushroom toxicity does occur in dogs and it can be fatal if certain species of mushrooms are eaten. Amanita phalloides is the most commonly reported severely toxic species of mushroom in the US but other Amanita species are toxic. Symptoms include abdominal pain, drooling, liver damage, kidney damage, vomiting diarrhea, convulsions, coma, death.

As few as a handful of raisins or grapes can make a dog ill; however, of the 10 cases reported to the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center (APCC), each dog ingested between 9 ounces and 2 pounds of grapes or raisins. Symptoms include vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, and lethargy.

Macadamia nuts are another concern, along with most other kinds of nuts. Their high phosphorus content is said to possibly lead to bladder stones. Dogs develop a tremor of the skeletal muscles, and weakness or paralysis of the hindquarters. Affected dogs are often unable to rise and are distressed, usually panting. Some affected dogs have swollen limbs and show pain when the limbs are manipulated.

Baby foods can contain onion powder, which can be toxic to dogs. Can also result in nutritional deficiencies, if fed in large amounts.

Bones from fish can cause obstruction or laceration of the digestive system. (The same goes for turkey and chicken, as well!!)

Cat food is generally too high in protein and fats.

Fat trimmings can cause pancreatitis.

Milk & dairy food: Some adult dogs do not have sufficient amounts of the enzyme lactase, which breaks down the lactose in milk. (However, Rose has zero issues with dairy products!!) This can result in diarrhea. Lactose-free milk products are available for pets.

Raw Eggs contain an enzyme called avidin, which decreases the absorption of biotin (a B vitamin). This can lead to skin and hair coat problems. Raw eggs may also contain Salmonella.

Raw Fish can result in a thiamine (a B vitamin) deficiency leading to loss of appetite, seizures, and in severe cases, death. More common if raw fish is fed regularly. (Raw, or undercooked salmon, steelhead and trout from the Northwest carries flukes that can cause Salmon Poisoning. According to one of my books: "It is not the fish itself that causes canine salmon poisoning but the presence of a bacteria--Neorickettsia helminthoeca--that lives in one of the salmon's internal parasites. This parasite, a fluke, travels throughout the fish's circulatory system, invading its muscles as well. When a dog eats uncooked fish, he ingests these flukes--and the pathogenic bacteria they contain. The flukes pass through the dog's intestinal tract, but the lethal bacteria remains behind, causing disease and often death." Eating small amounts of raw or undercooked salmon, steelhead and trout can kill your dog. Symptoms are slight fever, followed by a loss of appetite. Then higher fever, often reaching dangerous levels. Above 107 is considered a lethal temperature for canines. Even if they survive the 107 degree fever, worst, oft deadly symptoms include: Severe diarrhea and dehydration. Few dogs survive untreated.)
So keep this information in mind as you celebrate the Christmas season!!

Monday, November 21, 2011

My "Comfort Dog"

We are friends with this dear family. They have three children, one of which is a five-year old daughter. Quite the character this little girl is.... And I appreciate everything about her!! She's fun, thoughtful, childish, plus grown-up all in one!! This little girl's favorite playtime activity is doctor. Interesting. That was always one of my favorite playtime activities, as well. But only because I loved Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman and admired our Pediatrician!! Seriously!! So whenever these dear friends visit, this little girl asks to play doctor. We each trade off being physician or patient. When I play the ill one, she has me lean against my bed frame in her "hospital room".... With Rose by my side!! Sweet....Then this little girl calls Rose my "Comfort Dog"--which really means Therapy Dog--and acts as though the mongrel is visiting me!! Cute.... Lately, Rose's fictional "character" has become reality, as I continue to heal from my leg/foot injuries!! There will be absolutely no more walks until I am well enough. Sigh.... I miss them already!! But my "Lazy Bones" Rose is not complaining!! We have lived the life of Reilly, as they say!! Who can complain about that? Every morning, we sit/lie upon "our" unmade bed. I rest and ice my foot, which is less swollen than it was three days ago. Yes!! I stroke her velvet-soft fur, while she, of course sleeps!! I read books--aloud--to an uninterested Rose. Well, I whisper the words, at least!! But she literally dreams through my story time!! And I listen to Christmas music. Why not? Twain local radio stations have been playing Christmas music.... All month long!! Come evening, we repeat!! While Rose just contentedly lies at my side!! Except for yesterday morning. There was a rare near-Winter sunshine. Its beams were pouring through our living room window. Ahhhh, Solar heat.... Rose stood up and left "our" bed. She headed toward the living room!! I hobbled behind her. She then collapsed happily in the sunshine!! I followed suit. My bedroom was cold, anyway, because I had not turned on our heater!! Wow, what a difference the sunbeams made!! Within seconds, I was no longer cold!! Rose knew exactly where the best place was!! Perfect!! Together we soaked up the sunshine's warm, welcoming beams, while I read aloud. What a wonderful "Comfort Dog" I own!!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Special Blog Post

Good day, Readers!!

As you may already know, commenting on this blog has recently grown difficult to partake in!! It was not always that way. I have been writing on Endless Possibilities for about a year now. To begin with, anyone could comment!! Then, somehow, that changed. Nobody could comment. I became frustrated and annoyed about this concept. At first. Then I asked myself why is it that I am writing Endless Possibilities? I can just shut this blog down, if all I care about are people's inputs!! Right? But obviously, I have not done that!! So why? Twain reasons:

1. I love to write. Endless Possibilities is an incredible outlet for expressing myself via words.


2. This is a journal of the sorts. About Rose. My beautifully unique Beagle/German Shepherd mix, who I very well know will outlive me. Someday, I'll have this blog to reflect upon as I grieve her inevitable passing!! Our good times, plus our bad times. Is that such a negative thing? I do not think so!! Memories can be healing!!

Now, we have changed the way comments get sent!! It will no longer be difficult!! So feel free and share your comments with me....

Friday, November 18, 2011

My Perfect Walker

I must be growing clumsier with age. Seriously. I have always been somewhat of a klutzy person, with more falls and injuries than anyone can even count. I've dislocated my knee. Sprained both ankles. Stabbed my thumb while carving a jack 'o lantern. At age fourteen. And I have the scar to prove it!! Still!! I have knocked my two front teeth out as a toddler. The list is lengthy.... And it's only by some miracle that I have never broken any bones!! Yet. Yesterday, while breaking an injury "world record", even for me, a leg fracture was my darkest fret. I fell twice in three days' time. That is the "world record" part. Twice in one week. I have never experienced that before.... I was running through our muddy backyard when my second fall happened. Daft, I know. I slipped and twisted the bottom half of my right leg. Felt something pop. Then I panicked. Something popped!! I thought. Something popped!! Then, I mentally told myself: Just stand up. I did.... I could bare my weight.... Hardly. I am someone who tolerates pain, but the leg throbbed!! "Walk it off, walk it off, walk it off", I coached myself. However, with each step I took, the pain intensified. Time for an adrenaline rush!! I walked inside, found some frozen broccoli, plopped myself upon a chair, and "iced" my ankle. Then, as soon as my fear melted away, I inspected the injury. Minimum swelling!! Zero bones poking out!! Yes!! But, alas, my injury was still present. The foot/leg does hurt. Now I have my ankle wrapped, am taking potent pain-killers and walk like an elderly man with a cane. Sigh.... But no broken bones, thankfully!! Meanwhile, Rose has instantaneously figured out that her Mama is not one hundred percent. Canines have an incredible way of sensing such things!! When we go on our walks, I hobbling behind, she does not run up our front yard toward home like usual. No. She just walks slowly. My sweet girl!! Rose has always been a wonderful walker. She doesn't pull, lunge, or run as my right arm is connected to our red leash. Not even after cats and squirrels!! My mongrel walks at a leisurely pace, stopping to smell bushes or fence posts along the way. Typical. She is a hound, after all.... Plus, Rose sniffs the air. Yes, the air!! She leans her head back and takes in aromas my own nose cannot detect. I walk Rose down our cul-de-sac, which takes about ten, to fifteen minutes. But it really depends on how many distractions we encounter!! I walk at her pace. Unless we are in a hurry, that is!! Then, she is not even allowed to sniff out bushes!! Lately, she has patiently walked at my pace!! Halfway, because it is shorter. We must look like quite a sight to witness, Rose in front, and myself lagging closely behind!!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Sporadic Accidents

Sometimes, these things just happen. Quite unexpectedly. One second life is good, and the next, I find myself cleaning up a yellow urine spot!! On "our" mattress!! Whenever these accidents--which are sporadic--occur, I attempt to figure out why. Was Rose spooked by something? Did she need outside, but "asked" nobody to take her? Is there a medical issue behind this? Then I use my head and flip through veterinary books, or search the internet. And I find zero reasons to visit our doctor!! Every time. One night, Rose was being strange. This is never a good thing!! Rose was not playful. She refused attention. "What's wrong, Rose?" I continuously asked her. "What's the matter with you?" Our skies were dark, as night had befallen. But she did not want outside, either!! "Go to bed, Rose." I encouraged cheerfully. "Go to bed." I gestured toward "our" unmade mattress, with sheet coverings and blankets thrown about. Rose would not even enter the bedroom. Oh no!! I understood now. Rose had an accident.... On my bed!! I inspected it. Sure enough. Upon the foot of "our" bed, was this small damp spot. Great.... My heart raced. I always feel an adrenaline rush whenever Rose is bad!! I looked at the sorry expression upon her face. I scowled at my naughty girl. What else was there to do? Immediately, I stripped my bed of its sheet and mattress cover. Threw them in the laundry "room". We will wash my bedding tomorrow. Next, I found some lavender/vanilla scented air freshener spray. I love the sweet smells of lavender and vanilla!! I sprayed my bare mattress. Inhaled. Exhaled. Ahhhh.... Now my bedroom smelled good!! I looked at the mattress. Zero visible stains!! Yes!! Her urine did not even touch my mattress!! Next came forgiveness. While my mattress dried, I knelt down next to Rose. Stroked her velvet-soft fur. And suddenly, I could feel my heart break. "Why, Rose?" I wished to ask. "Why?" And she glanced up at me with loving brown eyes.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

I Learned Something New!!

Four days ago, on a whim, I Googled "Mixed Breed Dog Blogs". I was hoping to find some places with people like me, who own and love mongrels. I discovered one suitable blog, written by this Dog Behavior Psychologist. She resides in England. This blog author owns twain dogs, one of which is a mixed breed!! I was thrilled!! And, although I am not sure exactly how a Dog Behavior Psychologist works, her blog is highly educational!! I read this today:

"What lies beneath ~ DNA breed testing for mixed breed dogs"

If you own a ‘Heinz’ or a ‘Bitsa’ of unknown ancestry, I expect that like me you’ve spent many hours wondering what breeds your dog is made of. (Rose!! Does this sound familiar? I thumbed through breed identification books. Asked around: "What do you think she is?". Guessed wrongly.... Twice. And it all came down to what nearly everyone said: "Beagle. And I see some German Shepherd.") Tilly was described as a Labrador-cross by LRRSE who rescued her from Ireland. As she’s entirely black, this was an obvious assumption. Certain aspects of her behaviour are good indicators that the ‘cross’ part of her make-up is largely terrier, but for some time now, the Labrador part I have had my doubts about. I did a communication for a client dog earlier this year. He looks exactly like a black Labrador, however, the first thing that he said to me in a rather insistent tone was, “Everybody thinks that I’m a Labrador, but I’m not.” This is precisely the kind of information that requires me to put aside any preconceptions that I may hold about an animal, trust that what the animal is telling me is true, and faithfully relay the information to the animal’s owner no matter how inaccurate it may seem at face-value and regardless of how rubbish an Animal Communicator the owner might think I am. On learning that her dog had told me that he wasn’t a Labrador, she got him DNA breed tested. The result was that he has zero Labrador in his make-up. (Sort of like Rose having zero traces of Blue Heeler or Italian Greyhound within her?) What a result for Animal Communication too! For a couple of months, I considered whether or not to get Tilly DNA breed tested. The test from Wisdom Panel isn’t cheap at £59.99, but eventually, curiosity got the better of me. I bought the cheek swab kit, and following the instructions to the letter collected the required cheek cell samples from a rather bemused Tilly before her breakfast one morning, and then sent the swabs off to the lab to be tested. That was three weeks ago, and today, I got the results! Tilly is ½ Jack Russell Terrier, ¼ Collie, and ¼ - who knows - but definitely not Labrador. For the 'mix' part, Wisdom Panel identified the 5 next best breed matches that appeared in the analysis of Tilly's DNA, with one or more of these breeds being possible contributors to the genetic make-up of her mixed breed ancestors. Listed by the relative strength of each result those breeds are Border terrier, Lakeland terrier, Soft Coated Wheaten terrier, Dogue de Bordeaux and Dandy Dinmont terrier.

Interesting, huh? I thought so!! And, chances are, I cannot afford any DNA breed testing on Rose!! Provided that America even practices such a thing!! Not that I am complaining. Seriously. I'm not. I love my Beagle/German Shepherd mix!!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Daylight Saving Time

Why must time change every Autumn and Spring? Honestly.... This only messes with our heads and moods. Makes us tired. Produces cranky attitudes. Why cannot time remain consistent all year around? Wouldn't that be simpler? Yet, each year we "Spring Forward", only to "Fall Back" again!! This can become so confusing!! Even to canines. We own an Audubon Society singing bird clock. It hangs on our great room wall. Every hour there is a different bird sound. I feed Rose at 8:00 AM and 2:00 PM daily. An Eastern Bluebird sings for her morning meal. A Purple Martin chirps at 2:00. And my bright girl recognizes both of those birds!! Seriously!! When Rose's floppy ears hear the Eastern Bluebird, they perk, her head sometimes cocks from side to side, and she performs an adorable "dance"!! 2:00.... Same ritual. Occasionally at night she will hear the Eastern Bluebird tweet. Then Rose stands up, and does her "dance".... Ready for food!! But it is dark outside!! I cannot feed her now!! As if she knows that!! Or even cares!! The Eastern Bluebird sung.... It must be time to eat!! So I allow Rose a baby carrot, instead!! That is the best I can do. It's always well received, of course!! She is, after all, a Beagle mix!! Anything will suffice. As long as food is concerned!! I never encourage Rose's late-night snack. She ingests countless baby carrots a day!! Most times, at 8:00 PM, Rose is sound asleep on "our" bed, dreaming. My mongrel never hears the Eastern Bluebird then!! So.... No baby carrots!! The other night, on Saturday, we were running through our house turning back time.... I wish!! There is a clock in nearly every room of this house--plus our electronics--more than I can count!! Anyway. When our bird clock needs changed, we have to play every single call, one by one, until its time is right. I sat on my bed, stroking Rose's velvet-soft fur. We listened to each bird. Rose's head cocked with every single one, a curiosity strong in her eyes. Then the Purple Martin chirped!! At 11:00 PM!! She cocked her head, jumped off my bed, and performed that little "dance"!! "Do you want a treat?" I asked. (More "dancing" from Rose!!) "Alright." I smiled. "OK. Let's go...."

Thursday, November 3, 2011


Some houses try to hide the fact that children shelter there,
Ours boasts of it quite openly, the signs are everywhere,
For smears are on the windows, little smudges on the door,
I should apologize I guess for toys strewn on the floor,
But I sat down with the children and we played and laughed and read,
And if the windows do not shine, their eyes will shine instead,
And when at times I'm forced to choose the one job or the other,
I want to be a housewife, but first I'll be a Mother.

I found this poem on the page of our dear friend's blog. What beautiful words!! It is uncertain whether she wrote it or not, but I instantaneously appreciated the poetess's strong message of motherhood. So powerful. So moving.... And I feel the exact same way. With Rose!! Not to take away any meaning behind this poem's words. Our sweet friend is in a much different season than I am. She's married. I am single. She has borne six wonderful children. I have zero offspring. Nonetheless, Rose is the closest thing that I will ever get to having a daughter right now. Strange as this may sound. Even though she is an animal, not a human being!! But I have to seek contentment somewhere.... Enter my bedroom and you will immediately take notice: It's obvious that I own a canine!! The evidence is all around!! I do not hide it. But, rather, proudly display the proof. Upon my shelf are diverse dog books. Fifteen, thus far. Three breed specific books. One local hiking guide. Three training/activity manuals. Two books about mutts. Four guides which contain medical issues. A manual about living with older canines. Plus one dog biscuit cookbook. And this "library" is ever-expanding itself!! That's right. Hung on the left side of my dresser is an adorable Disney Store plastic Mickey Mouse bag. Its background has fun comics all over. Inside is where I keep recycled plastic newspaper bags for cleaning up after Rose. Several of them. For they arrive daily, after all!! Hung on the right side of my dresser is a floral-print backpack. I purchased it during those "dreaded" Back-To-School sales. Rose and I use this backpack while hiking together. Inside is a vacant canteen for my girl's drinking water and recycled newspaper bags. Yep. Just the basics!! Although my backpack could also use some hand sanitizer!! Plus a First-Aid kit. In front of my bookshelf is Rose's reversible dog pillow. Alongside that, lies her red "emergency" leash. It is lengthy and easily links to Rose's collar while in a hurry.... Perfect!! This leash has come handy on several occasions, none of which were for any emergencies!! Then there are the toys. Usually Rose's plush Garfield, long-bodied "Mutt" and home-made "sock" are kept in our great room. That is where they live. But occasionally Rose's toys wind up in my bedroom!! Or wrapped up in "our" blankets. Ah, evidence. Sweet proof that Rose shares my existence. I wouldn't have it any other way....

Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy October 31st, Rose!!

I did allow Rose a small spoonful of peanut butter earlier this evening.... Which she loved!! See, this was a special treat, one that I may never give her again. Or, perhaps next October 31st? I found this tiny spoon, scooped up some creamy peanut butter, and let Rose lick it off!! Well, she had to nibble some of her treat, but.... Afterward, I was told that Rose never even barked while I greeted Iron Man, a skeleton, and The Grim Reaper!! Good girl!!

Happy October 31st, Rose!!

"Howl"oween Safety Tips

(Words taken from our local dog shelter's Web site, plus a HealthyPets e-mail)

Halloween can be a fun time for our children,
but not necessarily for our pets.
Please follow these tips,
and share them with others,
to help keep pets safe this Halloween.

Protect your pet by keeping it indoors. Trick-or-treaters' excited voices and costumes could spook your dog causing it to run off and get lost. Make sure your dog is wearing identification just in case. Many pets get spooked and escape. Unfortunately they end up in shelters without identification.

Pets can also easily become victims of trick-or-treaters if left outside and unattended.

Keep your pet confined away from the door as you greet trick-or-treaters to prevent it from darting outdoors. (We do not encounter many trick-or-treaters, other than neighbor kids, Shawn, Aaron, Jonathan, Josh, Daniel, David, Will, Brad and Libby, which is enough for me!! I can get easily overwhelmed!! During this time, Rose is kept--against her own will--in our great room behind closed French doors!!)

On Halloween, your dog may feel its territory is being invaded by the onslaught of odd visitors. Keeping your dog in a secluded area of the house will help it stay calm and prevent it from growling or possibly biting a visiting ghoul or goblin. (Although my ever-friendly Rose would never feel invaded, and her worst defense against ghouls or goblins would be a series of excitable "Beagle" bays!!) It may help to provide a chew toy or a toy stuffed with treats, like a KONG which may help reduce stress. You may also want to crate your dog.

Keep Halloween candy out of your pets reach because it can make your pet sick. In fact, chocolate can be fatal to dogs! (Because chocolate contains twain hazardous ingredients: Caffeine and theobromine. If Rose were to eat an ounce per pound of her body weight, she could be in grave trouble. Honestly!! That is when it would be absolutely necessary to induce vomiting. Plus rush her in the direction of our nearest emergency center.) The wrappers, such as tin foil, can also get stuck in your pet's digestive tract, making them sick.

If you have to take your dog with you outside, make sure you use a short leash for the most control, and that your pet is highly visible at all times. Also make sure your pet doesn't stop to eat anything off of the ground.

Don't dress your pet in a costume unless you know they love it. (Rose would hate me for dressing her in a costume!!) Otherwise, it will put a lot of stress on your pet. Be sure costumes are safe and will not choke your pet. Also, make sure your pet has a clear view and that their noses are not covered.

Your dog can also be a hazard to itself. If your house has a lot of decorations, your dog may knock them over with a wag of the tail and burn himself. Be sure that your decorations are not pet accessible.

And, when the trick-or-treaters have gone home for the night, don't forget to reward your pet's good behavior with treats made especially for him/her, like dog biscuits. (I think I might allow Rose a small spoonful of peanut butter after the neighbors leave!! Reese's contains this ingredient!! Plus, she loves peanut butter!!)