Monday, May 30, 2011

Twenty Dollars

"All pet owners are encouraged to save $20 per month for unforeseen expenses such as emergency veterinary care and care for elderly pets."

I recently read this in a Spring 2011 dog newsletter. I thought it was fantastic advice!! Unless your income happens to be low and you need this sum of money for living expenses, $20.00 is not very much money!! Seriously.... One cannot buy gasoline anymore for twenty dollars!! A large family cannot purchase groceries with that amount!! And yet, each $20 swiftly multiplies!! If my math skills are correct, in twelve months, a pet owner will have saved $240.00!! Wow.... Face it: We are caring for mortal creatures here.... And veterinary bills are mighty expensive....

Memorial Day

Recorded by Trace Adkins
I never thought that this is where I'd settle down/I thought I'd die an old man back in my hometown/They gave me this plot of land, me and some other men/For a job well done/There's a big white house sits on a hill just up the road/The man inside he cried the day they brought me home/They folded up a flag and told my mom and dad/We're proud of your son//Chorus: And I'm proud to be on this peaceful piece of property/I'm on sacred ground and I'm in the best of company/I'm thankful for those thankful for the things I've done/I can rest in peace, I'm one of the chosen ones/I made it to Arlington//I remember Daddy brought me here when I was eight/We searched all day to find out where my granddad lay/And when we finally found that cross, he said/"Son this is what it cost to keep us free"/Now here I am a thousand stones away from him/He recognized me on the first day I came in/And it gave me a chill when he clicked his heels/And saluted me//Chorus: And I'm proud to be on this peaceful piece of property/I'm on sacred ground and I'm in the best of company/I'm thankful for those thankful for the things I've done/I can rest in peace, I'm one of the chosen ones/I made it to Arlington//And every time I hear twenty-one guns/I know they brought another hero home to us//Chorus: And I'm proud to be on this peaceful piece of property/I'm on sacred ground and I'm in the best of company/I'm thankful for those thankful for the things I've done/I can rest in peace, I'm one of the chosen ones/I made it to Arlington/We're thankful for those thankful for the things we've done/We can rest in peace, 'cause we are the chosen ones/We made it to Arlington/Yeah dust to dust, don't cry for us/We made it to Arlington

Friday, May 27, 2011

Quitting Versus Acceptance

How frequently do canine owners give up on their dogs' behavioral issues? Diva is an excessive barker. Chewy seemingly refuses to get into his thick skull the "sit-stay". Ariel is downright incorrigible.... With countless shortcomings. Responsible canine owners try everything--borrow books from the local library, read their own, glean advice from trusted friends--nothing helps!! So now what? They give up on these beautiful four-legged creatures!! Quit is an even more appropriate word!! These dog owners allow Diva to bark day in and day out. Heedless of annoyed neighbors!! Their ears can even grow so accustomed to constantly hearing Diva's barking, that these owners eventually appear deaf!! And why should Chewy learn the "sit-stay" command, anyway? What purpose will this serve? Well.... If he's off-leash and you want to keep him nearby, "sit-stay" training comes in great handy!! Ariel seems so stubborn, so strong-willed, so dense-minded, that she will never learn anything!! ....Right? Excuses, excuses, excuses!! All canines possess habits or an instinctive nature which cannot ever be controlled, but that is where a loving sense of acceptance enters the picture!! If nothing truly works.... Rose has changed--gradually--how I raise dogs. With her, I have needed to be "fun, fair, and firm" regarding discipline. But the main aspect which has required acceptance would be that "Beagle bay". I've tried numerous "remedies" for her high-pitched, deafening howl!! Lavishing attention upon Rose. Gently "muzzling" her mouth with my hand. Inventing the "Calm" command. Ignoring this hyperactive, excitable girl. My latest approach? I lead her toward our room, close the door, and say: "Go to bed.". Rose happily pounces upon my mattress. I stroke her velvet-soft fur. Instantaneously, she's silent!! Rose's baying has long been ingrained within her.... To eradicate this instinct appears hopeless!! And besides providing love, nutrition, training, plus veterinary care, is it not part of our jobs as owners to accept these beautiful four-legged creatures for who they are? I think so!! But there's a fine line between giving up on them and acceptance!! Discerning the difference is not hard!! Don't quit on your canine.... She will never quit on you!!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Midnight Adventures

The best time of day for me--other than morning--is, oddly enough, any given ungodly hour. 2:00 AM? Midnight? 3:30 AM? Bring it on!! For despite inevitable groggy eyes, I am alert, coherent, and, mentally, very much awake!! I could probably engage in conversation with somebody, even!! Okay, maybe not quite.... I credit this impressive skill to numerous past asthma attacks. Because I would be rudely awakened by coughing, wheezing within my chest, plus the occasional difficulty breathing. At any given ungodly hour!! I would be forced to crawl out of bed, walk down a hall, enter our kitchen and find my albuterol sulfate!! Not the steroid inhaler, which I use daily. No. My lungs do not need an overdose of Flovent!! Both inhalers are stored together on our kitchen counter. And they're different shades of the same color: red. Convenient.... A positive is that my steroid inhaler features this counter, so they do not feel the same to touch!! However, should I wake with an asthma attack, I obviously need to be aware of my surroundings at all times!! Since adopting Rose, we have experienced endless "midnight adventures"!! Vomiting whatever she ingested outside.... All over my bed. Cleaning accidents off the great room carpet because I slept through her wandering. Connecting Rose's leash, so I can "walk" my mongrel around our backyard for nature's call. I must be awake enough to use the correct inhaler. Alert enough for decision-making skills, such as: "Where will I sleep, now that Rose vomited on my sheets?" Aware enough to remove urine stains off our carpet. Wide-awake through pitch-black darkness, as Rose does her business. Two weeks ago, we entered a new saga in our midnight adventures. I threw out her flat, ragged, worn-down dog bed. So, on Thursday, May 12th, we replaced it with a plump, new "people" pillow. We even found this soft rose-print pillowcase to cover it with!! Plus a fleece blanket!! Rose seldom sprawled out upon her red and white floral-print dog bed. But rather, she would curl up into a "little ball". This new arrangement will work, right? Wrong!! She refused it completely at first!! My mongrel simply preferred the hard floors over that plump pillow!! Eventually, Rose adjusted.... For a brief time, anyway!! Initially, she would rest her head against it.... At least Rose knew which appropriate body part to place upon that pillow!! Which left the rest of my canine's body against the carpet!! Then we exchanged pillows.... I received hers, she got mine. Finally, Rose lie her entire body on it!! For she likes my scent.... Victory!! ....Right? Wrong again!! Rose wandered the house, aimlessly. She chose to lie against my bed, upon yesterday's pair of jeans. Rose stole Uncle Michael's couch.... At 4:30 AM. I "lost" her during another ungodly hour.... And found my girl snuggled cozily against our red great room couch cushion. Rose stole my bed..... Twice on one night. Whew!! During seven days, I only achieved one full night's sleep!! Toward the end of this adventure, I was growing pretty annoyed with Rose!! And emotional. Finally, we purchased my mongrel a new dual-sided dog bed!! Which, of course, she accepted instantly!!

Friday, May 20, 2011

I've Lost Weight!!

A recent news study claimed that dog owners are healthier and leaner than those who do not share their existences with these beautiful four-legged creatures. It of course credited this finding to daily exercise routines. Responsible canine owners walk/run with their pets on several occasions, rain or shine, Sunday through Saturday. Since adopting Rose last September, their research has proven true personally. For I have lost some weight!! And I've accomplished this sans Jenny Craig. Without the assistance of any Positive Changes Hypnosis Centers. Sans pricy--and risky--weight loss surgeries. I'm not dieting, not watching the foods I ingest, not cutting back on sweets. But each morning, at 7:00 AM, I pull myself out of bed, link Rose's red leash to her collar, and walk. For ten minutes. Up and down our cul-de-sac. Later, in the afternoon, we repeat this procedure. Then, come evening, at 9:55 PM, I link Rose's red leash once more, and we walk halfway. Plus the hurried treks I take my mongrel on before leaving the house. Our pace is seldom fast-paced. We stop repeatedly so she can sniff locations, and pause to observe neighbor's cars as they drive down the street. It is hardly a cardio workout!! However, I am moving my naturally lazy body!! Those pair of legs so accustomed to sitting are working!! Thus my abdomen has shrunk itself some!! I am far from being "pencil-thin" and probably never will be. My belly still has flab. But I am thinner, my asthma/allergies have miraculously diminished, and I feel healthier!! All because of Rose....

Monday, May 16, 2011

In The Doghouse

I have a confession to make. About an unusual personality flaw regarding myself. Whenever Rose partakes in any negative habits, I somehow feel guilty inside. Especially if she is caught "red pawed" by another family member!! Every accident, when she bays or barks uncontrollably at 7AM, every stolen food item, I place myself "in the doghouse". As though I did poorly training her. Like her behavioral issues are my fault!! When truly, Rose was adopted at the age of three. I literally missed 21 dog years of her existence!! Who potty trained my mongrel? Who fell short in teaching Rose that snatching sandwiches off countertops will give her a bad reputation? Who neglected to show Rose that awaking Mama at 3AM on account of needing outside is absolutely acceptable? Not me!! Her behavioral issues were because of somebody else!! Not my research, investments and training!! But still.... When Rose is naughty and someone raises his/her voice as resulted, instantaneously I am the convict within!! Rose's body language always reveals guilt. I am ashamed. Of what? My girl's negative habits? Seriously? Those few negative habits of which I had zero responsibility in fostering? I am constantly on alert to Rose's whereabouts.... This way, both of us evade the doghouse!! Maybe I experience these feelings because I'm a perfectionist. Maybe I dislike it when Rose is caught "red pawed". Or maybe there are certain people in my life who wrongly believe that canines should be angels wearing haloes and wings. Perhaps they're a source of these reactions? I spoke with this friend the other day. She is a fellow canine owner and animal lover. I expressed these feelings with her. She could relate to them one hundred percent!! Which made me wonder: Do any other dog owners feel this way....?

Friday, May 13, 2011

Dogs & "People" Food

All canines love people food, some more than others!! They cannot comprehend that the onions we ingest, or chocolate we indulge ourselves in may be hazardous to their health and wellbeing!! Dogs weren't educated on how certain human foods can cause obesity problems!! They do not know that a steady diet of sodium-loaded crackers, greasy French fries, or juicy sausage may shorten their lifespan!! (And when I write "may", it means that only God knows how long these beautiful four-legged creatures will live.... Owners have zero control over this!!) Plus, crackers, French Fries or sausage invites unwanted behavioral issues, such as excessive begging!! Canines cannot comprehend that the feeding of pizza does, in some cases, permit him to abandon his nutritious daily meal!! And as resulted, she may lose weight!! To them, food is food and practically everything tastes delicious!! When we adopted Rose, she was a beggar!! We'd be eating dinner, and where would my mongrel be? Beneath our table, awaiting some scraps. Or staring up at us with a face of longing. I had to employ my perseverance until she learned that this behavior is not okay. It was no simple task!! Now when we eat, I say: "Go lay down, Rose." And she obeys!! (Occasionally forgetting herself when we have guests over!!) Someone would be in our minuscule kitchen fixing a meal.... When Rose bounds toward the room, and "sits pretty", telepathically asking for food. That is how she was taught "Stay".... A command which my girl constantly tries to evade!! I do, in fact, allow Rose liberal portions of certain people foods. Baby carrots and cheddar cheese being her two main "treats", she also ingests the occasional hotdog end, or that slim apple slice!! Mostly, I ignore Rose's telepathic pleas. And with the above motivations in mind, I do a fairly decent job at that!!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Booda Brand Playthings

I bought Rose yet another plush/squeak dog toy last month. Her second one in April.... Isn't she spoiled? It's this cute, furry Booda brand black and white cow. "Her" name is "Dairya", a play on words. I have recently discovered something about my mongrel. Although she is not picky when it comes to toys (A knotted white sock will do just fine!!) Rose seemingly prefers "hairy" stuffed animals over smooth fabric critters!! Initially, I hadn't planned on presenting her this dairy cow. Not immediately, anyway. She owned quite enough playthings already. Dairya can be given to her later, when a toy rips. Well.... I could not resist Rose's loving, expectant eyes as she watched me put away the bag containing that cow. I just had to give Dairya now!! So I clipped off the tags and tossed "her" in my excitable canine's direction!! Rose absolutely loved Dairya!! Atop "her" head, between a pair of pink velvet horns is this white "hair". Which Rose instantaneously chose to gnaw at!! Apparently, she also immediately chewed Dairya's left leg, because within less than one hour, I detected a hole on "her" crotch!! Oh no!! Small bits of cotton seeped out. I navigated my finger through this hole and could actually feel the squeaker!! But we just got it!! I had yet to even name this plaything!! Rose was smitten with Dairya.... She could not put "her" down!! What should I do? Answer: Stitch "her" wound up!! I had to be taught how by my sister, but the task was quite simple!! Needle in, needle out, needle in.... During just a mere short span of time, the hole was fixed!! I then returned "her" to my impatient, hyperactive girl!! Dairya's squeaker must be located in an area where Rose chews. Because she has never been the type of dog who makes excessive noise by her toys!! We certainly always know when Rose is playing with Dairya!! By its faint-sounding squeak, squeak, squeak.... Rose gnaws on the cow's stretchy arms and legs, as well.... She can spend hours just chewing them!! I have decided that Rose must truly like Booda brand playthings, since Kermit was from that company, too!! She must be a fanatic!! Or.... Perhaps Rose simply prefers "hairy" toys....

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Fat White Feline

Dogs bark, this we know. At the ringing doorbell. When noisy garbage trucks pass through. At people walking their canines. When other creatures cross the backyard. At absolutely nothing. Every dog owner, every neighbor, every human being is fully aware of this behavior!! Rose has never proven herself a barker. She bays!! Rose barks for the obvious reasons that all canines do. But never to excess!! She always possesses a reason for "speaking". Earlier this afternoon, I was online. Suddenly I heard Rose. Bark, bark, bark, bark, bark!! Followed by an excitable, high-pitched baying!! (Somebody) must be here.... I thought. Wait a minute.... My mongrel's racket was coming from our great room, not beside the front door!! She heard no knocking. Zero car doors slammed. No one's shoes touched our porch. The doorbell did not ring. Nonetheless, her barking and baying continuously carried on. And it appeared to be rather uncontrollable!! I stepped foot into the great room. Inspected our situation. In the backyard, passing through as though he owned it, was this fat, colossal-sized, white feline!! Oh. My. Gosh. As Rose's barking and baying persisted, I pounded on our sliding glass door, in an effort to scare him off. This worked as planned. Away he scampered!! Now I can deal with my loud-mouthed Beagle mix!! "Rose, Calm...." Bark, bark, bay, bay!! "Calm.... Calm." Bark, bark, bay, bay!! "Quiet." Bark, bark, bay, bay!! Finally, she was silent!! Giving Rose her reward for obedience, I slid open our door and outside my mongrel frolicked!! I understand entirely that canines bark at passing creatures. I do not mind allowing her to chase cats. And I know that she is a hunting dog twice over. I just never want my girl to consider that good behavior is howling and barking for what she desires!! Imagine the annoying behavioral problem this could produce!! Once outside, Rose sniffed around our backyard, trying frantically to find that obese feline!!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Monthly Visits

Every month, on the first Wednesday, our church congregation holds a women's meeting. It is for wives/mothers, babies, and daughters aged thirteen or older. There is a scheduled speaker who has prepared her message. People generously bring tasty goodies. And we always host it at our home!! Because these meetings allows zero dogs, Rose hangs out with Uncle Mike until around 9:00 PM. Dinner on those nights is a simple meal of hotdogs and chips. My mongrel certainly seems interested whenever there's food involved!! Whether it be breakfast, lunch, dinner, a snack.... She's at your side with wishful thinking that someone will feed her!! Which of course we seldom ever do!! Except for before these meetings. I microwave my hotdog, which Rose immediately wants. I cut it into small, bite-sized pieces for dunking purposes. I pour some ketchup upon my plate. Find a fork. Dip the pieces into my pool of ketchup. Then.... I save one end--sans any condiments--for Rose. I allow it some cooling time, have her sit.... And finally I toss the bite to my girl!! No surprise.... She loves hotdog!! Now, on the rare occasions that I ever eat one, my canine hovers around me, revealing her interest, and "begs" for some hotdog!! When these meetings are nearly finished, at 9:00 PM, I steal Rose away from Uncle Mike. Link the red leash to her collar. And as these meetings close, we silently stand together in a corner, waiting. Until several young teenagers notice. Then Rose is lavished upon with love and attention, which she wholeheartedly enjoys!! Especially when the petting is given by Christine, an animal lover. Everyone tells me how soft my dog's fur is, that Rose seems sweet. Some talk canines, mentioning past pets. Others discuss their longings for another dog. One girl shares stories about Sugar, her still-living, comical Basset Hound/Beagle mix. But Christine.... She bounds toward Rose with much enthusiasm!! Instantaneously, Christine is hunched over, caressing my mongrel's floppy ears, stroking her velvet-soft fur. I think Rose actually anticipates Christine's monthly visits!! As well as the other teenagers' too....