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!!)

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Why I Love Mutts

Warning: This post is going to repeat a fact or two that I have already written. But I cannot help myself!! I am passionate about this subject!! Vehement, really!! I prefer mixed breed canines over purebreds. Love them. And, as readers of my blog very well know, I verbally advocate mixed breed adoption!! Why? Is it because of a personal preference? Such as I simply like mongrels better than purebreds? Yes and no. My reasons for preferring mixed breed dogs run deeper than that. Far deeper. I have learning disabilities. Or "developmental delays", as we've been told. Call them what you will. I have two disabilities. 1. An undiagnosed form of Attention Deficit Disorder. 2. Short-term memory loss. Thus, mongrels speak to me somehow!! They are different, like myself. Unique. One-of-a-kind. Unusual. Rare. Own a mixed breed canine and he/she will be absolutely impossible to reproduce!! Is that so bad? I do not think so!! Purebreds are ordinary. Normal. Everyday. What's so special about them? Their temperament? Is that it? Yet, based on my observation alone, so many people and families adopt purebreds!! But why? Mixed breed dogs are needlessly euthanized in over-crowded kill-shelters everyday!! Still. All in part because everyone wants purebreds!! When I adopted Rose on September 21st, 2010, I contributed toward ending this hidden tragedy. Financially. And actively. Whether or not the shelter where I fell in love with Rose's beautifully unique face even has a kill-policy!! Besides, I am a Scottish/German-Russian/"Irish" (At heart, anyway!!) American. I'm mixed, too!! What would someone such as myself possibly do with a purebred? Other than love her, of course? Alright. I have a confession to make. Honestly. Prior to adopting Rose, I considered getting a purebred. I wanted something different from my recently passed "blond"-furred German Shepherd/Golden Retriever cross, Shadow. Why not a purebred? I thought about Chocolate Labrador Retrievers. We researched miniature Australian Shepherds. Crazy. Now every time I stroke Rose's velvet-soft fur, or just enjoy being her Mama, I'm grateful that I reconsidered. It was a wise choice!! And guess what? She is nothing like Shadow. At all. They could not be more different from each other. Rose's floppy ears, coat markings, size, temperament.... I love how that turned out!! No mistake. Yes, I know. I am quite hoity-toity about mongrels. I admit to that. But what can I say? Mixed breeds are the best!!

Monday, October 24, 2011

"Bloody Sock Performance"

Think: How many magical World Series moments can resurface within a baseball fanatic's mind? Immediately? That is a difficult question, considering how many years the Fall Classic has been played!! Okay. How many World Series games are so special that they will remain in sports fanatics' psyche forever? Ah, another difficult question!! My own personal answer to both of those queries? Three words: "Bloody Sock Performance". During the 2004 Postseason, Boston Red Sox starting pitcher Curt Schilling had badly injured his right ankle. He dislocated a tendon, requiring an experimental surgical procedure. For the second time. Same operation, repeated. This time, one of his sutures pinched a nerve in Schilling's foot, causing extreme physical pain. He could hardly walk. And it was during Game Two of the World Series, his scheduled start. Boston had worked so hard for this.... The doctor fixed that problem, and on to Fenway Park he headed. For work. A risky decision.... But this was how I discovered Schilling. While witnessing him pitch on our television screen. During the 2004 American League Championship Series, actually. And it was all because of his "Bloody Sock Performance". Seriously!! I am eternally grateful for that. I composed this poem sometime in 2006. On a rainy February day. It is not well-written, nor does this poem flow. But I composed it with such feeling!! Today marks the seventh anniversary of Curt Schilling's 2004 World Series start....

"The Mark of a Champion"
~A Tribute to Curt Schilling~
There was a man who gave his all;
The very second he took the ball;
For on that October day;
He helped pave a way;
To strike out tears;
With their first Championship in 86 years;
His mind was fully prepared;
While performing on an ankle surgically repaired;
Blood seeping through his sock;
There was a hobble in his walk;
Yet courage in his heart;
As he did his job on a benumbed body part;
Battling his way through;
With God’s strength he drew;
And enduring severe pain;
Was nothing compared to all that was gained;
To do everything it takes to win;
That is the mark of a champion.

Friday, October 21, 2011

World Renown Home Run

Well, it is that time of year again--October--when the two best baseball teams contend against each other. For a postseason victor. For championship rings. For a World Series title!! That's right. The World Series!! This is an important event in my house!! Seriously!! The drama, suspense, pitching, hitting, wins, losses.... What's not to love? I composed this poem last February. When I was working on a Red Sox project. I am especially proud of it. Why? Because I never witnessed Carlton Fisk's World Series game-winning home run!! It was 1975!! An era when hippies existed!! Can you say "Flower Power"? When America's feminism movement was largely embraced!! And I am 27!! I was not even a dream within my parents hearts during the year 1975.... However, thankfully for me, Carlton Fisk's home run is world renown!! There are pictures. Video footage. Aged articles. It's written in baseball's history books!! Which is how my poem was born. By researching Carlton Fisk's home run in children's books. Yes!! Children's books!! Not once did I look a fact up on the Internet!! I am proud of that, as well. Today marks the anniversary of Carlton Fisk's game-winning home run.... 36 years ago.

Carlton Fisk
It was the 1975 World Series;
When Boston contended against Cincinnati;
It was that pressure-filled Sixth Game;
Victory being both teams' aims;
It was 12 extremely lengthy innings;
Tied 6-6, with nobody winning;
Then Carlton Fisk entered;
He lead off with his homer;
And Boston claimed the victory;
That clout went down in history!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Not A Retriever

Dogs need human interaction. Playtime. Training. Walks. They thrive on it!! Some canines need human interaction more than others. Rose falls into that category. Without a doubt!! For these beautiful creatures were made to form an unbreakable bond with their people!! After all, they depend entirely upon us!! For food. Water. Treats. And when their people are negligent owners, based on our experience, dogs find ways to compensate!! Rose is a fine example of this!! When we first adopted her, she seemingly refused to play with us. How strange is that? Apparently, poor Rose was never introduced to interactive play!! She would hold a toy within her mouth. Drop the stuffed animal to our floor. And roll in it. That was how Rose played. All by herself. I would attempt to interact with my mongrel, sans any success. She just did not understand!! Seriously!! There is no "Retriever" in Beagle/German Shepherd, thus Rose did not fetch. I accepted that. And I actually gave her "solitary play" zero thought!! I never tried to work on human interaction with my girl. No. When she has a toy, I simply play with her!! Unless I am temporarily preoccupied.... Slow, but sure, Rose has learned interactive play!! Yippee!! First she would run away from me in our fenced backyard. I'd say: "Go, go, go!!" and Rose fled!! Perhaps not the most ideal game for a Beagle mix, but she interacted with me!! I will take that. Then, she participated in tug-of-war with Kermit, her Booda brand dog toy. Until "he" became worn. Plus Rose absolutely enjoys playing "keep-away". Always has. Rose will hold a toy between her teeth, I'll go after my crazy hound.... And she scampers off!! That cunning little mutt!! Now she and I have twain silly little interactive made-up "games" which we play: "Where's Rose?", and "Follow Me". So far. Perhaps in the future, I will make up even more "games". "Where's Rose?" is always played outside. In our backyard. During the morning. After she does her business. Rose poops, then frolics around the yard!! That's right. Frolics. She can be so weird sometimes!! But after Rose is finished doing her business, my weird dog begins to act playful!! Really!! She runs a half-circle around the yard toward our wooden porch. In full-speed. "Hides" between the porch and our trailer. I say "Where's Rose? Rose!! Where's Rose?". And she shows herself!! Repeat. Until she is finished!! We participate in this "game" nearly every morning!! "Follow Me" is played less often. I hunch over and dangle my arms. "Come on, come, on, come on...." I coax Rose. While walking backwards. Rose follows. Then she earns some praise and a liberal sprinkling of grated cheddar cheese!! Simple. Yet interactive!! Recently my bright girl has learned to "fetch" her toys!! Sort of. I gently snatch away Garfield or Mutt and sway my hand back and forth. "Ready? One, two, three...." I begin. Her head moves along with my repetitive swaying. She is focused. In the zone. I throw Garfield or Mutt. "Go get it!!" I command. And Rose does this adorable prance-like bow toward Garfield or Mutt!! But she never brings her toys back!! Nope. She playfully flees her Mama as though thinking: "Catch me if you can!!" Which, of course, is only part of the fun!! Well, I do not own a Retriever mix....

Thursday, October 13, 2011

October Is Adopt-A-Dog Month!!

(Words taken from one of my HealthyPets e-mails)

--Adopt A Dog Month--

If you feel like there's a void in your life, you can make a difference in two lives as October is Adopt-A-Dog month. The ASPCA started Adopt-A-Dog month to promote and raise awareness of the millions of dogs that live in shelters, places not fit to be called a home. Shelter dogs don't nearly have the amount of space or the amount of love they deserve. Also keep in mind that thousands of pets that do not get adopted are euthanized due to lack of shelter space. You can do your part in many ways; here are a few helpful ideas to get the gears going.


The best way to help a shelter dog is to bring one into the comfort of your home. Visit local shelters and share that love connection that will keep you and your new pooch's relationship going on for years. For those who absolutely prefer purebred varieties, an estimated 25% of purebreds are found in shelters. (Although there are countless mixed breeds available for adoption in shelters, as well!! No kidding!! Just check out some local shelter Web site images!! You will see....) Some shelters offer discounts or waive adoption fees. Contact local shelters to find out what they offer.


Not everyone has the time or money to invest in a new pet - you can still do your part by donating supplies, money or your time. Local animal shelters depend on the kindness of strangers' help aside from what little government funds they receive to keep the shelter going. You can do your part by volunteering to help walk dogs, clean cages or whatever tasks that may be needed.


Attending and volunteering in pet-related events is a fun way to participate in pet awareness. Attending shelter fundraisers and pet fairs are ways to help people understand how important pet adoptions can be. Even if you are unable to adopt a pet, you can help bring awareness to those who can devote their time to a new family member.

Other Ways:

Information is key to preventing the growth of pets being admitted into animal shelters. Pet behavior trouble is one of biggest reasons why owners turn dogs into shelters. You can do your part by informing new pet owners what struggles they may face in the early stages of owning a pet.

I cannot express this enough. I am eternally grateful for Rose!! She has been such a joyous blessing to me!! Comical, loyal, submissive, sociable.... The best canine I have ever owned!! I owe my gratitude to firstly, God, Who answered our every prayer, and secondly, a local dog shelter!! So search your options. And adopt a canine today!!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Rose's Lullaby

Life is funny sometimes!! Comical to the point of hilarity, even. Truly!! And occasionally, some things just happen, nearly magical, that bring about a simple solution to an ongoing issue!! Rose bays. From the Beagle within her. "What's a bay?" people oft ask me. My answer? A cross between a howl and a cry. That is my definition of the word, anyway!! Not a howl. No. Rose seldom ever howls!! Not a cry, either, but close enough!! It is a high-pitched, eardrum piercing, "siren-like howl" that residences in China must hear!! Seriously. When Rose bays, it sounds as though she has just been stabbed!! Literally!! I have tried seemingly everything to train this out of her. Gently "muzzling" Rose's mouth with my hands, giving the "Quiet" command, being firm, accepting her baying as "It is what it is". Nothing works!! But apparently, Rose likes it when I sing. Yes, sing!! It can be a Christmas song. An ancient church hymn. Or the chorus to a country song. Fast. Slow. Or out-of-tune!! It does not matter. Dogs never criticize!! The other morning, on Saturday, my sister was sleeping in. Trying to, at least!! I was sitting on our living room floor, stroking Rose's velvet-soft fur, when in the front door walks my Dad!! My mongrel barked and barked. "Rose, quiet, quiet, quiet, quiet!!" I commanded her. She refused to obey. Fine.... So I then grabbed Rose's collar and gently pulled her toward our great room. Really. My strong, stubborn girl tensed up every muscle within her neck. How does a medium-sized canine even do that? The German Shepherd within her, perhaps? During our human/dog tug-of-war, Rose's barking was swiftly changing itself into baying!! Uh, oh. I somehow managed to lead her into the great room. Quickly closed our French doors. And the baying began!! "Rose Quiet. Quiet. Quiet. Quiet!!" She did not obey. I gently "muzzled" Rose's mouth. Still no obedience!! I was losing my patience. I then attempted to shush her. "Shhhh, shhhh, shhhh, shhhh, shhhh, shhhh...." Nope. She continued on with her baying!! Controlling a howling dog is like quieting an upset fit-throwing toddler.
Difficult!! For Rose's baying is instinctive!! And once it happens, it happens!! Finally I began to sing!! And, quite by coincidence, I sang the lullaby "Hush Little Baby"!! Funny.... Only I did not have its words memorized. I just knew the tune!! So I looked it up.

Hush Little Baby
Hush little baby, don't say a word,
(Mama's) gonna buy you a mockingbird.
And if that mockingbird won't sing,
(Mama's) gonna buy you a diamond ring.
If that diamond ring turns brass,
(Mama's) gonna buy you a looking glass.
If that looking glass gets broke,
(Mama's) gonna buy you a billy goat.
If that billy goat won't pull,
(Mama's) gonna buy you a cart and bull.
If that cart and bull turns over,
(Mama's) gonna buy you a dog named Rover.
If that dog named Rover won't bark,
(Mama's) gonna buy you a horse and cart.
If that horse and cart fall down,
You'll still be the sweetest baby in town!

Interesting lullaby!! But much more comforting than "Rock-A-Bye Baby", that's for sure!! The words I found were "Papa", not Mama. However, I altered them!! Rose, hearing my voice, stopped her baying instantaneously!! Who would have guessed!!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Rose's "Talking" Tail

Dogs "express" themselves in various ways. Some bark. And for creatures that are unable to verbalize words like humans, who can blame them? Some expose their tongues in a goofy "grin". That is, if canines are even capable of smiling!! Some howl. Especially hound-type breeds. Some wag their tails in an exuberant manner. Like Rose. She wags her tail for anything--food, attention, play--that is simply the way my mongrel "expresses" herself!! A few months back, there was this "Family Circus" comic strip featured in our local newspaper. Dolly and Jeffy are with their shaggy-furred dog, Sam. He is wagging his tail so enthusiastically it might fly off. Literally. Dolly says: "Sam likes to smile with his tail 'stead of his face." Yep, that's my Rose!! It was perfect, just perfect!! I cut that "Family Circus" strip out. And I put it away for memory's sake!! Seriously, how could I not? Rose's tail greets me in a spinning motion whenever she is lounging around on "our" bed. Thump, thump, thump!! it pounds against my mattress. Thump, thump, thump!! when I pass the doorway. Thump, thump, thump!! if I am in our kitchen. Thump, thump, thump!! when I'm headed to the bathroom. Thump, thump, thump!! if I am walking toward her!! Around and around, Rose's tail spins like the rotator blades of a helicopter!! This gesture never ceases to make me smile!! Works every time!! For whenever Rose greets me with her spinning tail, it is as though she's talking!! Silently. But talking!! Sort of like a small child who just caught sight of his mother. "Mommy!!" he exclaims with much delight. Rose's tail practically does that!! She catches sight of me, and it is impossible to ignore!! Thump, thump, thump!! And I began to smile!! What does Rose's tail say? I think, like the delightful boy, it declares: "Mama!!", if that is what dogs call their owners. We have even made a game of this: I walk into "our" bedroom, Rose lying upon my mattress. I say: "Where's your tail? Where's your tail? Where's your tail?". Provided that Rose is in the mood for this crazy made-up game, she participates. Thump, thump, thump!! Her tail then starts spinning and pounds my mattress!!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Namesake Flower

How do dog owners decide on a name for their canines? Search the Internet? Yes. Flip through pages of Baby Name Books? Some people do. With a wide range of diverse dogs that are given sometimes such unique names, it causes me to wonder. Strikes my curiosity. Perhaps you were smitten with a name in particular. Loved its meaning, even. Or did you call your puppy "Ivy" because no opinionated Aunt-to-be could accept that name for her niece? Well.... Of course there is always the more cliché canine names. Like Shadow. Spot. Or Buddy. You know, those names which are considered the most popular choice among owners? Seriously. But I have also heard of some very different-sounding names that were given to dogs!! Like Nero. Pixel. And Venus. Do canine owners name their dogs based on individual temperament? Or maybe a personal experience inspired them? I will forever remember how Rose earned her name. It was the day we first met. In September 2010. We drove to our local shelter and chose to pursue this beautifully unique "Beagle X". I was interested in her. A volunteer worker then found one of their ropes, and carefully wrapped it around Rose's neck. I took the "leash". Lead my prospective girl toward a fenced-in yard. On our way, there was this blossoming rose bush. I do not recall what color the flowers were. Red? Pink? Who knows!! I was in some sort of a blissful daze!! We were getting my dog!! Well, Rose, remaining true to her "hound" self, sniffed one of the buds!! I imagine that there were countless smells on that fragrant flower. Had many adopted canines who'd gone before her urine marked the rose? Most likely!! As we entered the yard, I took off her rope. Let Rose run free. It was love at first sight. Instantaneously!! Somehow, someway, I just knew she was the one!! Immediately following her flower-sniffing incident, my sister said: "She looks kind of like a Rosie. Hi Rosie!!" Oh. My. Goodness!! I had previously chosen twain names for my future canine--a first, plus a middle--and Rose was one of them!! Honestly!! Our dear friends would refer to this as "Unity of the Spirit". Which means that when two or more very different minds think alike on a certain subject, it's God!! Wow.... So Rose it was!! Then, for a middle name. I was struggling with this one, since Rose is merely one syllable. What's a decent middle name for Rose? I pondered all options. Searched my hand-written list of favorite Girl names. Rose Sandra? No. Rose Esther? No. Rose Olivia? No!! Then suddenly, Uncle Michael made a suggestion: Elizabeth!! Oh. My. Goodness!! One of my very favorite names happens to be Elizabeth!! I tried it on for size. "Rose Elizabeth...." It is beautiful!! And I've loved the name Elizabeth ever since I was a teenager!! Amazing.... Unity of the Spirit once again!!