Thursday, September 29, 2011

My "Oops" Baby

I love words!! My favorite subject as a Homeschooled kid was always vocabulary!! I loathed math. Reading comprehension was difficult. But I excelled with words!! As though I was born to write!! I enjoy looking newfound words up and expanding my vocabulary!! Seriously. The Thesaurus is like my best friend. Over time, word definitions, it seems, are constantly being altered!! In this ever-changing culture, our dictionaries, too, earn updates. Why is that? How can one word mean something for a certain generation of people, then be entirely different several years later? Just progress, I guess.... It's like the word "mongrel". According to "Dog Facts", my canine reference book which was published way back in 1991, a mutt is conceived when twain mixed breeds mate each other. Mongrels are the product of four dogs or more. But a Beagle/German Shepherd mix such as Rose? These are crossbreeds, not mutts!! Well.... According to countless dog trainers, writers, groomers, and owners, any mixed breed is actually considered a mongrel!! Really!! This applies to St. Bernard/Border Collie crosses, Labrador Retriever/Poodle mixes, and yes, Beagle/German Shepherd crosses like Rose. But that is their opinion.... Right? Just insignificant facts? Mutts are mutts and crossbreeds are crossbreeds, which means that Rose is not a mongrel!! Correct? That is what I thought....Then I looked up the word "mongrel". According to my Webster's New World Dictionary's definition, it means: "an animal or plant, esp. a dog, of mixed breed". What?! Any mixed breed? So the experts were right, after all!! Every one of them!! The shelter where we adopted Rose. Our vet.... She is a mutt!! Plus my crossbreed!! In one!! The chances are high that Rose was a product of an "accidental" mating!! I mean, who in their own right mind would deliberately breed a large German Shepherd with a medium-sized Beagle? I know, I know. For over a year, I have fled that thought. Because, according to my "The Complete Guide to Mutts" reference book, "oops" breedings can have bleak results: "The downside to puppies (Or grown canines!!) from accidents is quite often that the father is unknown and the parents were never screened for genetic diseases such as hip dysplasia or eye diseases. If you choose a puppy (Or grown dog!!) from an accidental breeding, you are taking a risk on the puppy (Or grown canine!!) being genetically unhealthy." Honestly? I was afraid. Of falling head-over-heels in love with a weak, sickly, diseased crossbreed!! Who wants that heartache? So fleeing this concept felt safer somehow? In my mind, it did!! But, thankfully, Rose is an exception. She's strong and in good health!! I have figured out just how my "hound" was conceived: A male Beagle--not neutered--escaped his fence or backyard kennel. He met somebody's female German Shepherd--not spayed--and the two mated. Or vice versa. But I am blaming the male wanderlust Beagle. Reputations will be reputations!! Rose is like a complete different beast to me now!! She's no longer a mystery!! No longer an "unknown"!! But rather, Rose is a certainty!! She's my very own "oops", an unplanned pregnancy of the sorts, which makes her quite unique!! And Rose has earned a new nickname: "Shepherd-Hound"!!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Beagle/German Shepherd Mix?!

~Written with a head cold!!~

I'm not sure what I was thinking. Really. I'm not sure one bit!! But I have oft wondered if Rose is, indeed, a mongrel. After all, she's an "unknown"!! Nobody, not the shelter where we adopted Rose, not even our vet, knows what her breeds are!! So I have searched Google Images, periodically. Perhaps she's an Italian Greyhound/Beagle mix? No.... Neither purebred have much fur. According to my dog books, Beagles' and Italian Greyhounds' coats are dense or short. I can comb my fingers through Rose's velvet-soft fur!! A Beagle/German Shepherd cross? Maybe. I have Googled pictures of Beagle/German Shepherd mixes before. Found an image that looked slightly like my girl. Only slightly. Rose is so unique, like every mixed breed canine, that there is no dog identical to her!! Not completely, anyway. Yesterday, I did it again. Looked up pictures of Beagle/German Shepherd crosses on the Internet. You cannot trust Google Images!! Look some famous person up, and chances are your computer screen will be full of inaccurate pictures!! Trust me!! But then I discovered this picture.... Of a canine's head.... Described as "Dave's Beagle/German Shepherd mix". It was posted on someone's blog. "Her" floppy ears were smaller than Rose's, but "she" had a light tan face and dark brown soulful eyes.... Quite similar to that of Rose's!! Oh. My. Goodness.... So Rose must be a Beagle/German Shepherd mix!! (Will I ever get this right? First Rose was a Beagle/German Shepherd/Blue Heeler. Then she was my Beagle/German Shepherd/Italian Greyhound. Now I feel confident that Rose is a Beagle/German Shepherd cross?) Seriously?! When this concept initially entered my mind, I was a little disappointed. Honestly!! I liked the idea of owning a mongrel!! Mutts are the best!! Now Rose is a crossbreed?! Well, hardly anything has changed. She's still unique!! Rose's legs possess velocity and agility, because of the Beagle!! For I read somewhere that those medium-sized hounds are fast runners!! They were bred to be. Beagles hunt--unleashed--on foot!! Plus, Rose will eternally remain my very own "Mystery Dog"!! But today, I declare with confidence: "She's a Beagle/German Shepherd mix!!"

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Banana-Flavored Treats

So yesterday, September 21st was Rose's fourth birthday. Or our one-year anniversary, depending on what people prefer to call it!! Well, my mongrel enjoyed herself a 100% home-made "birthday"!! That's right.... Absolutely nothing was store-bought!! Not Rose's treats, nor her gift!! The present was one of my socks, stuffed with cotton filling, plus a squeaker. I tied both ends. How did I make it? I "murdered" Valentine, Rose's heart-print, floppy-eared, long-legged bunny toy!! For she seldom ever played with it anyway. I cut the toy open using a pair of scissors. Pulled out fluffy white cotton, plus a clear flattened squeaker. Stuffed Rose's sock with about half of the filling. Placed Valentine's squeaker inside. Then, I tied a knot on both ends!! It looks hideous, but Rose loves her new toy.... She plays with my creation every day!! I appreciate how dogs truly enjoy life's simple pleasures!! Just an example. And they enjoy life's simple pleasures sans any complaints!! Fine examples.... Now what good is any "birthday" celebration without a treat? Of course I baked Rose some biscuits, too!! Here is the recipe: (Rose rates it Four 'paws' way, way up!!)

Yappy Birthday
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup mashed banana
(That is one whole banana!!)
1 large egg
1/2 cup wheat germ
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
(We substituted wheat flour with white flour, because I heard that too much wheat can effect a dog's digestive system?)
Carob Frosting: 1 cup carob chips (MAY NOT BE SUBSTITUTED WITH CHOCOLATE CHIPS! CHOCOLATE IS TOXIC TO DOGS!) (I opted out on the carob chips)
1/2 teaspoon vegetable oil
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine peanut butter, banana and egg in a large bowl. Stir well. Gradually add wheat germ and whole wheat flour.
(I did not pay attention to the "gradually" part and just dumped those twain ingredients in. Oh well. Everything stirred together alright, anyway!!) Roll out dough to 1/4 inch thickness and cut with cookie cutter. Bake on a ungreased cookie sheet at 350 degrees for 35 minutes.
Carob Frosting: Place bones on wax paper. In a double boiler over simmering water, stir carob constantly. When carob has softened, add oil. Mix well. With a spoon, place a stripe down each bone. Be careful not to overheat carob as it will harden. Place in refrigerator for 15 minutes. Serve. (Quickly clean any utensils and dishes used for melting carob). Makes 1 dozen.
(I doubled the recipe. I think we baked 32 biscuits!! I am no Martha Stewart, though, so a small handful were burnt and thrown away....)
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. (Pieces of my dough did, in fact, stick to our 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!

This dough was--thus far--the most moist of any bones I have baked. Easy to roll out!! The bananas must have caused this!! Plus, it was greasy!! Because of the bananas? And while baking inside our oven, they sizzled!! Yes, sizzled!! These treats just foamed and bubbled!! It was strange!! Did the bananas cause this, as well, I wonder? Who knows!! I was curious as to which flavor would be the strongest: Peanut butter or banana. Because neither food is bland!! And as I stirred the ingredients together all I could smell was peanut butter!! So I tasted a bone. Seriously!! The answer? It is banana!! Rose took me by surprise when I began preparing the ingredients for baking. She seemed interested!! Weird.... My "hound" is hardly ever nearby whenever I cook or bake.... Despite the fact that she loves food!! Rose may be a world-class beggar, but my girl always flees as soon as I pull out any pans!! Perhaps she somehow knows that I am not at all the least bit domestic and is afraid of our house burning down!! Come on, Rose.... A little faith here.... But as I started mashing the banana, into our kitchen she emerged!! I was thrilled!! I scooped this small taste of the fruit onto a spoon and let Rose try it!! Turns out, she likes banana!! Next, I worked with the peanut butter. She was still interested!! So I allowed her a taste of that!! Not surprisingly, Rose loved peanut butter!! She even wanted "seconds".... Which, I gave her!!

Happy "birthday", Rose!!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Happy Anniversary, Rose!!

This is a very special day!! For myself in particular. It is a landmark anniversary: One year since I adopted Rose!! Wow.... 365 days. Allow me to ponder that concept.... One year?! Really?! So, with that, it is also my mongrel's "birthday"!! She turns four years old!! As 365 days have so swiftly passed us by, I never count age. No. To count age seems the same as awaiting the inevitable: death. How depressing is that? Today's a celebration!! Of the life I have spent with this beautiful creature thus far. A day to feel nostalgic and recall memories already passed. Happy anniversary, Rose Elizabeth....

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Praying For Homeless Dogs


Awww, sweet!! This sentence is printed in bold capital white letters across a royal blue rubber wristband that I own. I bought it at the shelter where we adopted Rose. For $1.00, if memory serves me well!! I wore it proudly on my right wrist from the day we met Rose until those bold capital white letters began to fade away from scratches. Then I set that bracelet aside, for memory's sake. It has been nearly a year since I bought my royal blue rubber wristband. Time flies.... It has been nearly 365 days since I adopted Rose!! As our one-year anniversary swiftly approaches, I find great truth in the wristband's words. "ADOPT A SHELTER DOG, MAKE A BEST FRIEND." Wow. As I recount within my mind every adventure we have enjoyed, every predicament, every lesson learned, every happy time every sorrowful moment.... I know, sans any doubts, that I've discovered "a best friend". Rose and I do so many things together: Sit in damp, dewy grass, Attend the end of our church's monthly ladies' meetings, go on hikes.... There were adjustments to be made when she first arrived, plus training which urgently needed done. Rose had separation anxiety-type issues, and left behind complete bowel movements whenever I "abandoned" her.... Even for a few brief hours. However, with time, firm yet gentle scoldings, patience, perseverance, (Plus pumpkin!!) we successfully overcame this problem!! Now, she still dislikes me leaving her, but.... There are zero "accidents"!! As I walk this path called life, oft feeling like a failure, I'm reminded daily of how Rose is my proudest accomplishment!! Seriously!! She is happy and contented, absolutely in love with her Mama.... The best canine I have ever owned!! It has been wonderful, just wonderful to share my existence with Rose. I have thoroughly enjoyed becoming acquainted with this crazy mongrel!! So, as Rose and I approach our first anniversary, I've felt lead to partake in something deeply heartfelt: Find a local shelter Website, one that faithfully updates photographs, and pray for the adoption of homeless dogs!! Because God does care for His lowly beasts!! I will pray based on age, breed(s), temperament, how long he/she has stayed in the shelter.... I've been immensely blessed by Rose, and she is lucky to have found a forever home!! Now I repay my gratitude.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Rose.... My American Girl

"Hardly any person in the world today is a purebred, it's funny we want it in our dogs. It would seem a true American ought to have a mixed-breed dog, it's the only American thing to do. What comes stumbling up to us in the street and is willing to get in the car invariably turns out to be a wonderful pet." ~Carol Moran, owner of Clementine, the Spaniel-Labrador mix

I am not a "purebred" person. Proud of it, too!! I am Scottish/"Irish"/German-Russian/American!! Yep. I am a mongrel.... Just like Rose!! She is my Beagle/German Shepherd/Italian Greyhound mix. (I think!!) She is my American Girl!!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

September 11th, 2001

Readers: I listen to this song every year on 9-11. Powerful lyrics!! Plus, utterly reflective on each American individual's feelings during the hours and days that followed those tragic, historical attacks. Today--ten years later--we remember Tuesday, September 11th, 2001.

Where Were You
(When The World Stopped Turning)
Written and recorded by Alan Jackson
Where were you when the world stopped turning
on that September day
Were you in the yard with your wife and children
Or working on some stage in LA
Did you stand there in shock at the sight of that black smoke
Rising against that blue sky
Did you shout out in anger, in fear for your neighbor
Or did you just sit down and cry
Did you weep for the children who lost their dear loved ones
And pray for the ones who don't know
Did you rejoice for the people who walked from the rubble
And sob for the ones left below
Did you bust out with pride for the red, white and blue
And the heroes who died just doing what they do
Did you look up to heaven for some kind of answer
And look at yourself and what really matters
I'm just a singer of simple songs I'm not a real political man
I watch CNN but I'm not sure I can tell you
the difference in Iraq and Iran
But I know Jesus and I talk to God
And I remember this from when I was young
Faith, hope and love are some good things he gave us
And the greatest is love
Where were you when the world stopped turning
on that September day
Teaching a class full of innocent children
Or driving down some cold interstate
Did you feel guilty 'cause you're a survivor
In a crowded room did you feel alone
Did you call up your mother and tell her you loved her
Did you dust off that Bible at home
Did you open your eyes and hope it never happened
Close your eyes and not go to sleep
Did you notice the sunset for the first time in ages
Or speak to some stranger on the street
Did you lay down a night and think of tomorrow
Go out and buy you a gun
Did you turn off that violent old movie you're watching
And turn on I Love Lucy reruns
Did you go to a church and hold hands with some strangers
Stand in line and give your own blood
Did you just stay home and cling tight to your family
And thank God you had somebody to love
I'm just a singer of simple songs I'm not a real political man
I watch CNN but I'm not sure I can tell you
the difference in Iraq and Iran
But I know Jesus and I talk to God
And I remember this from when I was young
Faith, hope and love are some good things he gave us
And the greatest is love
I'm just a singer of simple songs I'm not a real political man
I watch CNN but I'm not sure I can tell you
the difference in Iraq and Iran
But I know Jesus and I talk to God
And I remember this from when I was young
Faith, hope and love are some good things he gave us
And the greatest is love
And the greatest is love
And the Greatest is love
Where were you when the world stopped turning,
on that September day

Thursday, September 8, 2011

The Butter Remedy

Some events in life are too hilarious for reality. As though they're a work of fiction and Hollywood screenwriters thought up the script. With world-famous, billion-dollar-earning comedians "hired" to play its characters. Funny. Sometimes, it certainly seems, that life has a good sense of humor!! Rose was enjoying herself. To immense capacities. It was a lovely, warm September morning, blue skies, few clouds in sight. My kind of weather!! I sat in damp dewy grass alongside Rose, stroking her velvet-soft fur. Ah, bliss.... Periodically, a squirrel or two would enter our fenced-in backyard. If "chosen" by Rose, these bushy-tailed rodents faced her fantastic velocity and agility. But there are always several that she allows to flee sans any chases!! In the backyard stands this impressive wood pile too colossal for burning. With our stove being small, these "tree remains" simply will not fit!! Sawed up, certainly we could set fire to it, but our family orders wood every Winter. That is ready-chopped. So for now, this impressive, colossal-sized wood pile has become somewhat of a "fence decoration". No problems there!! I have affectionately deemed it "Rose's wood pile". Because when my mongrel pursues squirrels, she leaps and climbs upon that "fence decoration"!! For without a doubt, Rose longs to catch one of those bushy-tailed rodents!! She is fast, but they are faster, thankfully!! Recently, Rose has picked up some pitch from that wood pile. On her paw pads. Yep. Sticky, gooey, stubborn pitch!! How does a dog owner solve that problem? Wet washcloths are worthless. As are moist baby wipes. I do not wish to apply some cleaner that may cause Rose physical harm. So what? One word: butter!! This served as my far-too-simple solution!! But it was tricky. Rose absolutely loved the fact that I brought some "people" food outside!! For me? She seemingly asked. Yippee!! I love butter!! Rose must have thought she had died and gone to Heaven!! As any hound would, of course!! Now I am walking toward her. With a plate which contains this dab of butter. She grew excitable, as expected!! When I took the butter and applied it to Rose's paw pad, her tongue kept licking my fingers!! She wanted that "treat"!! It was hilarious!! With her mouth snapping open and closed.... I giggled so hard!! "No, no, don't eat it, don't eat it!! No, no!!" is what continuously left my lips. In a playful tone. Now how do I enforce upon my canine strict cooperation and obedience when she is making me laugh so hard? Honestly.... Is laughter not the best medicine? I managed to get rid of the sticky, gooey, stubborn pitch.... And Rose happily earned a new nickname: "Butter paw"!!

Monday, September 5, 2011

Just For Laughs

(Rose's version of "This Little Piggy". No, I do not play it on her paws.... That would be just weird!!)

This little hound dog went to the market. This little hound dog stayed home. (Poor Rose!! She loves to go places!!) This little hound dog had roast beef. This little hound dog had none. (But Rose would like a taste of roast beef, too!!) And this little hound dog went howl, howl, howl, howl, howl, howl.... (Large emphasis on Rose's last howl!!) All the way home!!

Alright. It's official. I have way too much time on my hands!!


Friday, September 2, 2011

Mission Accomplished.... At Last!!

Rewind: Less than two months ago was Independence Day. When fireworks and bottle rockets exploded seemingly everywhere. Since then, Rose has stubbornly "protested" our routine evening walks. Literally. Due to this pathological fear that at any random second, something will go BOOM and frighten her. Even though nobody has lit a firework in several weeks!! However, her fret graduated itself from pathological to psychological. Swiftly. She absolutely refused to go on our walks. Rose's muscles would tense up, in both her neck, and shoulders. Forcing me to gently pull my mongrel down our cul-de-sac!! Seriously!! We even purchased Rose a red harness so to assure that she cannot accidently slip out during such fights!! Or injure her extremely vulnerable neck!! I tried being firm, yet patient. She was not getting her way!! I tried being relaxed. I bribed her with treats. Nothing worked!! This has been a roller coaster ride of one step forward and two steps back. Temporary success. Long-term defeat. I desperately wanted a victory!! It felt as though this struggle of ours drug on and on.... I have most likely exercised Plans A through Z in attempting to find solutions!! Or so it seems!! Fast-forward: I finally got smart in my realization that Rose not only learns best with treats, but can anticipate one.... So long as she is cooperative!! If my Beagle mix walks flawlessly down our cul-de-sac--the entire way--sans tensing up, she earns a baby carrot!! Plus endless praise!! If not, nothing. No treat. No "Good girl". This newfound plan began one night during a short-lived heat wave. Quite by accident. Rose, like everyone, was drinking more water than usual. That night, she surprised me!! I lead her toward our backyard, and Rose walked in the direction of growing blueberries!! Really? We walked completely across our backyard.... Toward the end of it!! And then.... She urinated!! The following night, same thing!! On both occasions, I praised Rose excessively, and provided her a baby carrot!! Then, our heat wave ended. We returned to fighting each other. I tried walking Rose down our cul-de-sac.... But gently pulled her instead. Alright. We will return to the backyard next time. Relax. But under one condition: I lead her toward the blueberries!! My message is crystal clear: Cooperate, baby carrot. Be reluctant, even for a second, she loses!! Rose is my bright girl.... Who loves food!! It did not take much time for a long-awaited "mission accomplished"!! We now walk effortlessly every night!! Why didn't I think of that before?