Thursday, March 31, 2011

When You Gotta Go....

We own a few kitchen knives which are extremely sharp. These utensils were designed with one purpose: Get the job done and do it well. Whatever their task, they never disappoint!! One afternoon, I was serving Rose some thin cheddar cheese slices. My, how that mongrel loves this treat!! Why not use our rugged-edged "cheese knife"? So there I was, feeding Rose a tasty snack, when suddenly, with little warning, my left hand middle finger got in its way!! Next thing I saw? Blood gushing out!! Oh, no!! I snatched a clean washcloth from the unfolded towels, applied pressure, held that hand above my heart.... Then I looked at it. This industrious little "cheese knife" had chopped quite a gash!! I panicked. On first glance, it appeared that I had nearly cut the tip of my finger off!! Which, of course is not at all true!! It was simply my deepest self-inflicted incision on record and I didn't even need stitches!! Two nights later, I wrongly decided that I could sleep sans any Band-Aids. It had not bled much further, after all.... That same night, Rose needed to pooh and urinate. Unfortunately, she lacks the training of awaking me when nature calls. My canine will typically arise, sometimes shake, and walk off!! Her destination? Always our sliding glass door first, which leads to outside. Then the great room carpet!! I was jolted awake at an ungodly hour by the sound of Rose "digging" her pillow. Uh, oh. Does that mean....? I did not want to know. But up from my bed I stood. Immediately, I noticed something. Red. All over my pajama pants, T-shirt and sheets. It literally resembled that of a scene from some horror film!! Sure enough, fresh flowing blood gushed from the injury!! Oh well. I will treat that later. First, I needed to inspect my Mongrel-Hound's potential "accident"!! I stepped foot into our great room. There, lying upon the carpet, was a pile of brown pooh. And this small wet spot. Still bleeding, I snatched a plastic baggie to scoop up the smelling pile. From my bedroom, I heard "paw" steps. Rose stood in the doorway, staring at me, her face sorry. There were three drops of blood upon our kitchen floor. So I scowled at her!! Why? Because it was far too early and I was half awake? Frustration? For if only I had not slept through my baby needing me this would not have occurred? Was it a "guilt trip"? After all, Rose had the accident.... She needed to understand that I disapproved? Who knows. Still bleeding, I found our cleaner and disinfected the locations. Then, I tended to my wound. Cleansed it, applied pressure. Quickly wrapped a Band-Aid around the finger. I returned to my blood-stained sheets, did not change, and refused verbal or physical contact with Rose. After all, she had an accident.... The following morning, everything was forgiven. It was no longer an ungodly hour. I had slept a fair eight hours, despite our interruption!! Besides, "when you gotta go, you gotta go".... Right? Rose was not in the wrong entirely!! On a positive note, we washed my sheets, plus I now have this scar which reminds me constantly of God's healing touch!!

Batting Practice

(I dedicate this post to Bert, the generous, rich gentleman who made an incredible memory possible. I'm eternally grateful!!)

On June 28th, 2008, I was blessed with an amazing opportunity. A trip to Minute Maid Park, Houston Astros home stadium!! For my beloved Boston Red Sox were competing against that franchise during interleague play!! Our seats proved to be unbelievable--above Houston's dugout--and the view of their field was astounding!! Long before game time, we entered Minute Maid Park for Red Sox batting practice. This was the first live baseball activity that I had ever experienced. Wow.... Then I contained my excitement just enough to glance toward the guy standing behind their batting cage....Captain Jason Varitek!! I recognized his uniform's digits--33--and nearly experienced a panic attack!! Quite honestly, I was star-struck!! "That's--that's--that's Jason Varitek!!" I stammered. I spun around in my chair to face Bert, who was temporarily positioned behind me. "Number thirty-three, that's Jason Varitek!!" But apparently seeing is not believing!! I was flabbergasted that Varitek stood there, wooden bat in hands, so close to me!! Mentally, I even doubted his existence on that field!! Certainly he was an impersonator?

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Slight Error

Oops!! I made an honest "rookie" mistake as a writer!! While researching the importance of vitamin C, I neglected to read every section in my "Nutrition & Health for Dogs" pet resource book!! (There are several parts!!) Here is what I learned yesterday evening: "Unlike humans who must get their vitamin C through diet or supplements, most animals produce their own vitamin C. Dogs produce vitamin C in the liver from the blood sugar glucose. Each day, adult dogs produce approximately 40 milligrams of vitamin C per 2.2 pounds of body weight. That is about 1,800 milligrams for a 100-pound dog, 900 milligrams for a 50-pound dog, and 450 milligrams for a 25-pound dog." Fascinating facts!! What I previously copied from "Nutrition & Health for Dogs" is accurate, as well. Canines do still need its recommended dosage of vitamin C!!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Vitamin C Intake

Vitamins. Everybody knows of their health benefits!! Swallow-whole multi-vitamin capsules regularly and your immune system should keep strong. Plus herbal Echinacea pills work wonders when it comes to evading an illness!! I swallow-whole something entitled "Wellness Formula" three times a day. This dietary supplement contains numerous vitamins, herbs, minerals, plus antioxidants. For the most part Wellness Formula maintains my health!! Rose "eats" her vitamins and minerals. In the form of peeled baby carrots, canned pumpkin, plus grated cheddar cheese. Her dog food contains vitamins, and the peanut butter/apple flavored twisted treats which I purchase my mongrel has fifteen vitamins plus minerals!! Each morning, I pour myself a mug of orange juice. Rose has, from our first dawn together, appeared curious about that citrus-scented beverage. She would attempt to dive her nostrils in my mug for a sniff.... Or lap it all up!! However, I always caught that cunning canine beforehand!! She would not even remotely consider stealing my orange juice!! Then one morning, I absent-mindedly abandoned a half-drank mug. On my bedroom floor. Free for tasting!! Uh, oh. And of course Rose did not hesitate to try my morning beverage!! Oh dear.... I suppose she received her vitamin C intake? Which is a positive concept.... Right? According to my "Nutrition & Health for Dogs" pet health resource book, canines need vitamin C much like we humans do!! This antioxidant "plays a key role in the production of interferon and infection-fighting white blood cells. Interferon, another part of the immune system's defense team, is produced in response to viruses, or tumors. The infection-fighting white blood cells, the backbone of the immune system, engulf foreign substances that enter the body. Many holistic veterinarians have had miraculous results giving critically ill dogs megadoses of vitamin C. The vitamin C helps restore the immune system, thus restoring the ability to fight the disease. Vitamin C also inhibits the secretion of histamines, making it a natural antihistamine and a necessary nutrient in the battle against allergens. Physical and emotional stress depletes your dog's body of vitamin C, so keeping up with the daily doses of vitamin C will go a long way in keeping her immune system strong. The daily dosage of vitamin C for an adult is: small dogs 500 mg to 1,000 mg, medium and large dogs (Such as Rose!!) 1,000 mg to 2,000 mg, and giant dogs 2,000 to 4,000 mg. For a weakened immune system, slowly increase the dose to 'bowel tolerance' (loose stools or diarrhea is a sign of too much vitamin C, in which case reduce the previous dosage)." Unfortunately, however there is more to orange juice than simply that antioxidant!! So I took the liberty of reading its ingredients!! Water, sugar, concentrated orange juice, vitamin D, calcium, vitamin C. Nothing hazardous--besides the sugar--to my "Mongrel-Hound's" well-being, at least!! Nonetheless, I was vigilant toward looking for symptoms of minor temporary sickness!! Such as diarrhea. But there were no ill effects!! Now, of course, I will never again leave my mug of unattended orange juice down on Rose's level. She may "ingest" her vitamin C elsewhere!!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Abracadabra!! Dog

As everybody knows, doting canine owners can, with time and patience, successfully teach their intelligent four-legged pets tricks!! Like "Roll Over". Two words and instantaneously Percy is flat on her back, awaiting a belly scratch!! Or "Shake". That single-syllable command encourages Ace to sit stock-still, and lend his master a forepaw!! Or "Play Dead". Those twain words prompt Gizmo into a "deceased" position!! Or "Sit Pretty". With this trick, an owner needs a treat of some sort!! She must verbalize the command. Promise Sarge his Milkbone. If executed correctly, he should sit straight up. Then balance upon his hips and tail, resembling a prairie dog. The reward? His treat, of course!! Rose has invented herself a rather unorthodox trick!! And it happened quite by accident, too!! I call her clever creation "Evade The Leash". One afternoon, we returned home from our walk. Inside, I grew distracted, as usual for someone who has Attention Deficit Disorder. Hence, my mongrel remained leashed a few minutes longer than expected. Not that she seemed to mind!! With a swift shaking of her head, Rose's lengthy red lead somehow mysteriously disconnected itself!! Now completely unhooked from my canine's blue and brown polka-dot collar, the leash dropped to our laminate flooring!! With one loud thud. Rose stared downward, her ears perked, and forehead furrowed as though thinking: "How'd that happen?" Right.... Like my sometimes-sly "Mongrel-Hound" did not do this act deliberately!! For shortly following, history repeated itself!! She shook, shook, shook, and off fell her lead!! No bewildered expression that time!! We do own another leash, however. It's shorter, more secure, thicker. This lead's "connecter hook" is also seemingly heavy duty in comparison to the first!! Today I seldom walk her while using that "magic trick" leash!! So.... Rose's cunning little plan has been extinguished!!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Finding Contentment

Whatever possesses people to adopt canines? Is it loneliness? An ever growing need for companionship? Is it love? A wishing for warm, friendly greetings at the end of each day? Is it homestead protection? Because that giant-sized breed will someday confidently guard his owners during a house robbery? Or is it an utter passion toward these beautiful four-legged creatures? For me, personally? I have never conceived any children, although becoming a mother has long been an aspiration of mine. Ever since I was little, plush baby dolls were my "offspring". I named them Nicole Jane, Amanda, or Rachel. My imagination ran wild!! I "mothered" twins, triplets, even quintuplets!! They ranged from infants, to five-year olds. Eventually, I grew up and put all those baby dolls away. But I was the girl who decided years ago to give each of my children Bible names!! I was the girl who verbally declared that Christmas carols would be sung as babies were snuggled near me!! For I always wanted kids!! I continuously daydreamed about children. Frequently spoke of children. Often thought about children. I've found difficulty finding contentment throughout the years. This feeling of sunken dreams.... Owning a dog allows myself abundant opportunities to exercise real maternal instincts!! It provides me with continuous reasons for employing nurture!! Owning a canine means I am needed in this existence. Some helpless beast depends on me for nourishment, fresh clean water, attention!! Now dogs are not kids. Training one isn't the same as childrearing!! But owning Rose will most likely eternally be the closest thing I'll ever get to motherhood!! Therefore, I vow.... I'll always attend her needs with smiles and a positive attitude.... Even at 3AM!! I will habitually greet Rose daily with our bright, cheerful "Good Morning Beautiful"!! phrase. I promise to laugh often, remember patience, and relax. I will sing her Christmas carols!! I hope to be the best Mama that Rose has ever had!! For alongside my mongrel I am finding contentment....

Six Amazing Months!!

"A dog has no use for fancy cars or big homes or designer clothes. Status symbols mean nothing to him. A water-logged stick will do just fine. A dog judges others not by their color or creed or class but by who they are inside. A dog doesn't care if you are rich or poor, educated or illiterate, clever or dull. Give him your heart and he will give you his." ~John Grogan

Thanks, Rose for accepting me, heedless of my learning disabilities. You have been such a wonderful friend!! And thanks for being the kind of canine John Grogan described!! I can hardly believe already that you became my beautiful mongrel six months ago today.... ~Love, Mama

Thursday, March 17, 2011

"Severe" Thunderstorm

Ah, Springtime!! My favorite season!! When bright yellow Daffodils return their loyal blooms. When gentle raindrops shower from clouds above. When everyone welcomes warm sunshine and shorter days. When Robins serenade us each morning with their melodious song. When multi-colored rainbows stretch across our broad heavens. When rock-solid hail falls like minuscule ice cubes from ebony skies. It is a time of environmental re-growth, optimistic hope, seasonal rebirth!! The news channel meteorologist previously warned our region of "possible" thunderstorms for March 15th, 2011. That could be fun.... I love wild weather, and am literally mesmerized by spectacular bolts of lightning as it shoots down our welkin like veins within one's arm!! Plus, this may be Rose's first thunderstorm experience as my canine!! How will she handle it? Race rabidly through our house? Hang loose her tongue and salivate excessively? Or lie stock-still, completely poised, awaiting the weather's passing? It happened so strangely.... We were watching TV when suddenly, sans warning, there was a single bright flash!! As though The Invisible Woman from Fantastic Four made an appearance and snapped our photograph!! Rose's eyes swayed from side to side within her head. She was waiting. Waiting. Waiting for noise. Ka-Boom!! Above our rooftops, the thunder resounded!! It was close, so close, reminding me of storms from Roswell, New Mexico or Conroe, Texas!! The only difference? Not nearly as loud!! Now Rose was on all-fours, waiting some more. Next, the faithful mongrel flanked my side, as though glue attached us. Tremors of fear shot through her medium-sized body. She shook and trembled, while I stroked my poor baby's velvet-soft fur. Rose showed some amazing resilience, however!! Heedless of the lighting's alarming flash. Despite that thunder's heart-stopping rumbling. Within a short amount of time, her fearful tremors stopped!! She simply lie next to me, seemingly recovered!! The radio news channel station declared our region's weather as a "severe" thunderstorm. It was pretty awesome....

Happy St. Patrick's Day!!

May God Grant you always.... A sunbeam to warm you.... A moonbeam to charm you.... A sheltering angel so nothing can harm you.... Laughter to cheer you.... Faithful friends near you.... And whenever you pray.... Heaven to hear you. ~Anonymous

On March 17th, everyone is Irish!!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Peanut Thief

We feed our wildlife. Or what few critters that inhabit the backyard, anyway!! We habitually fill feeders with seed for visiting small birds. Toss daily handfuls of shelled, unsalted peanuts toward grassy grounds so squirrels can eat. Everybody who resides under this roof enjoys these diversely colored flying creatures and comical bushy-tailed rodents!! Same as our wildlife seemingly appreciates their food!! Feeders become vacant swiftly, and peanuts disappear within a mere few hours!! One morning, I let Rose outside to frolic about our backyard, chase some squirrels, possibly urinate. We were planning an afternoon of running errands, therefore leaving my mongrel behind. I thought that stalking a few bushy-tailed rodents prior to our exit might keep her calm. And maybe she will urinate? As Rose indeed chased them away--but did not do her business--I ran through the house. Completed my lengthy list of mundane last-minute tasks before leaving her. Chairs on furniture to discourage my canine from lounging upon them. Radio on for "company". Foods out-of-reach.... Suddenly, I peeked through the great room window. Rose was.... Eating something!! But what? I rushed out our sliding glass door to investigate.... And retrieve from her mouth that little "snack".... Whatever it was!! Gently, I pried open Rose's mouth with my hands. A Peanut!! An entire peanut--shells and all--within her mouth!! I pulled it out, carelessly discarded the saliva-soaked "treat", and looked around. We had recently fed our squirrels. Much to Rose's delight, there were peanuts everywhere!! Which, of course, she was happily collecting!! "Rose, no!! No, no, no!!" I stepped back inside. Allowed her a chance to behave. Yeah, right!! Why would my "Mongrel-Hound" practice resistance now, when a "feast" of peanuts awaited her? "Rose, no!!" I yelled through the windows. I flanked her again, removed slimy peanuts once more and declared: "Alright, you're coming inside!! Playtime is over!!" Then I grabbed Rose's collar, leading my dog in the direction of our backdoor. Stealing nutritious food from helpless bushy-tailed rodents.... How low will she stoop?

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Know Your Breed(s)

Adopting any canine is a life altering choice, one that should never be considered casually!! Not ever!! Before adoption, prospective dog owners should always conduct extensive research on the breed of which they intend to purchase. This way, one does not unwittingly get a colossal-sized, fur-shedding, saliva-mouthed St. Bernard, or a minuscule, yapping, high-maintenance Chihuahua!! Far too often, people set their sights on particular breeds, sans reading about them, and weighing those negatives with the positives. Then, inevitably, these uneducated owners are forced to give up that four-legged creature which won their hearts!! All because they neglected to research!! When I first begun dreaming of another canine, we wanted an Australian Shepherd. What graceful, gorgeous, intelligent purebreds they are!! Wanting to spare myself of an unnecessary heartbreak by adopting a dog who may not suit us well, I drove to the library. Borrowed several books written about this breed. Australian Shepherds are high-energy sheep herders. Beautiful, certainly. Agile, yes. Bright, absolutely!! However, he seemingly happens to suffer from both "Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder" and "Obsessive Compulsive Disorder"!! She is a hard-working canine. Unless you keep his brain occupied at all times he will be discontent. As resulted? Behavioral problems. Australian Shepherd owners are "special people" fervently devoted to this breed. They must understand that being an Australian Shepherd master means twenty-four hour dedication!! Wow.... "Red flags" everywhere!! I returned the books, grateful that I read about this purebred!! Shortly afterward, we drove to a local shelter, saw Rose and.... For me it was "love at first bay"!! Plus, dog owners can also benefit by research after adoption!! Doing so greatly helps with knowing and understanding your canine's histories, instincts, drive.... This way, sans excuses, training is simpler!! After all, I have found immense gratification in learning about Rose's trinity breeds....

Monday, March 7, 2011

Racing Sophie

A dog desperately needs early introductions to his own species!! She reaps benefits aplenty, as do his owners, too!! Socialization fosters positive temperaments, and evades unwanted behavioral problems!! Having never raised any puppies, I've no clue how this works. But based upon research, from the moment a newborn canine enters our fast-paced world, through six weeks old, she begins to glean social skills. A puppy that is sold away too soon will develop problems regarding interaction with his own kind once mature!! Fascinating.... I am friends with this neighbor, Deborah, who resides behind us. She is a kindly, white-haired, experienced dog lover. I have truly enjoyed our conversations, plus her insights about canines!! Deborah owns this sweet, female grey-furred miniature Schnauzer, named Sophie. Sophie loves Rose, and enjoys rousing my mongrel into play through the cyclone fence which divides our backyards. Usually, however, Rose is occupied by snooping around, squirrel chasing, or exploring!! She will refuse to engage!! Until one Saturday.... While Sophie encouraged play Rose must have been in a mood of participation!! Because she decided to race Sophie up and down that fence!! This play began when our two dogs greeted each other by touching black noses.... Then the race was on!! Up. Down. Up. Down. Back and forth!! There was periodic joyful baying from my Beagle mix's vocal chords, elated yapping from Deborah's purebred's mouth....Then, as if Rose could somehow will that cyclone fence to magically vanish, so she can run free with Sophie, Rose circled our backyard with "Italian Greyhound" velocity!! But, in the blink of an eye, Rose returned. And resumed their race!! Socialize your puppy. Drive her to places where people, noises, canines, and strange smells exist. Organize "play dates". For people who decline to do so may miss out on wonderful moments such as Rose racing Sophie.

Friday, March 4, 2011

It's Not A Toy!!

Vegetables. They are grown in various shapes and sizes. Plus diverse colors, as well. Green, red, orange, yellow. Peas, tomatoes, carrots, corn. Health officials have long advised people to eat them, as they are rich in vitamins. Based upon my "Nutrition & Health for Dogs" pet resource book, canines benefit by ingesting veggies, also!! In fact, most are good for our four-legged animals!! The "dark green leafy" kind, plus red, orange, and yellow vegetables have been deemed most nutritious. However, onions are to be avoided at all times. Because these white, crunchy bulbs "contain a substance called n-propyl disulfide, which alters and eventually destroys the red blood cells of dogs, causing hemolytic anemia and sometimes death." In fact, canines who were fed veggies young will readily try Earth's vitamin-loaded treats fresh from our refrigerator!! Unless I am discussing Rose, who eats nearly everything!! Once, we chucked her a medium piece of raw broccoli. Which my Beagle mix did not hesitate to accept!! She caught it mid-air, held the wet, bushy green edible flower bud within her mouth.... And playfully ran toward our living room!! Rose then dropped that vegetable onto a rug!! She rolled in it, snatched the treat between her teeth, and pranced toward our carpeted great room!! Repeat: drop, roll, eat!! Rose reacted as though we had just presented her with a delectable beef-flavored rawhide bone!! She apparently considers broccoli to be some playtime item!! Much like many people, I am not a huge fanatic of veggies. I can certainly learn from my "Mongrel-Hound" about healthful snacking!! And Rose eats vegetables with such gusto!! What a grateful attitude she possesses!!

"Missing Grace"

I just finished reading a fantastic page-turner yesterday!! It is an American Girl Mystery!! About Kit, the Depression-era character!! Its back states:

KIT writes a newspaper story about how her dog, Grace, saved the Kittredges and their boarders from a house fire. Grace becomes a local celebrity, and all the attention is a lot of fun for Kit--until the night Grace mysteriously vanishes. Who would take Kit's dog, and why?

Written by my very favorite juvenile mystery writer Elizabeth McDavid Jones, the book is recommended for ages 9 and up, as it contains no pictures.