Friday, May 30, 2008

Novel Excerpt

[Emily Hunt's dog - Hope - has gone missing. Emily's best friend Alabama has talked her into going to a lure trial. Emily's other dogs are Proper (Hope's litter brother), Raine, Thelonious, and Mr. Beans. Alabama's dog is Katie.]

She knew it hadn’t been right to miss the last several lure trials. She knew the dogs needed to get out and run. She knew none of the older crew were getting any younger, and she knew Proper was in his prime. She knew all of that; yet she hadn’t been able to make herself pack her van and go. But Alabama had called and given her “what for” as she would say. “What good is it going to do you, sitting on your big old farm, wishing? Not one bit. In the mean time, you’ve got these dogs who are here, and who count on you. You aren’t doing them or you or Hope or me one bit of good by staring at that computer screen of yours, wishing things were different. It’s not like you, Emily.”

The sun was just a hint behind the woods as she put the dogs in the van. “Wait, Proper! Let your uncle in first. Jump up, Mr. Beans. Now you, Raine. Thelonious, up you go.” She opened the top crate behind the driver’s seat. And by pure force of habit she turned to look for Hope. A surge of electric pain shot through her heart, robbing her of all her air. Proper looked up at her, feeling her sorrow, and he worried. She looked at his deep soul-knowing eyes and smiled. Stroking his ears, she said, “I’m sorry buddy. I’ll get it together. Today is for you. Jump up big guy.” He saw right through her smile to her sorrow, and wagged his bravest wag for her. Dogs don’t waste their time on wishing, but he missed his sister, and he missed his Emily’s happiness more than he would have missed his right front leg if it fell off. So he looked into her and he wagged an extra wag and he smiled at her and then he jumped into his crate in the van, next to his sister’s empty one.


At the lure trial, at first it was awkward. People either wanted to hug the life out of Emily, or they didn’t know what to say and they avoided her altogether. Some of the huggers then tried to steer their cheerful conversations to anything but Hope. Like maybe Emily had forgotten that her dog was gone and their mentioning Hope’s name would remind her. After getting her dogs all inspected at Roll Call, she was delighted to seek refuge at the van, getting all set up and ready for the day. The dogs were beside themselves. It felt like ten forevers since they had gotten to chase the lure, and they all focused all their energy on their Emily, saying, “Me first, me first, don’t forget me!” Those shining eyes of fun were better than morphine for the pain in Emily’s heart. All the human eyes either looked at her with pity or sympathy, or they avoided hers entirely. But these dogs held her gaze and said, “Good human! Today is the best day of our lives!”
Even Proper had extra fun in his eyes. That part of him, which had been missing for so long, felt whole again. He looked into his Emily’s heart and he said, “We are going to have a great time today. I should go first, I think. Yes, my woman, that would be fine indeed. You can put the jacket on me now.” Emily laughed.


On the drive home, the dogs were sound asleep. The completely contented sleep that only a good day of hard running brought. Emily chatted about how the dogs had done and Alabama listened and laughed. It was grand to hear her friend chatter on.
“I’m so pleased with Proper. He really had a good day. I guess he was just so glad to be running again, but that was quite a performance he put in during the run off. You’d think the lure operators would have figured out by now that the dog can turn. But you can hear them laying off the button as it’s coming to the corner and you know they think he’s going to blow the turn. I love to hear the ‘zzzzzzz’ as they realize he’s caught them sleeping and he’s going to catch the lure if they don’t punch it. I can’t blame them; he is so agile for his size and speed.”
“He really is,” said Alabama.
“And you’ve got to be proud of Katie! A win and forty points – woohoo! What’s she need now?”
“Eight more skanky points. Lordy be, it’s been long enough coming. Two stinkin’ years. But she did run her little fanny off, didn’t she? I was proud of my Katydid today.”
Katy heard her name, and stretched her toes without really waking up, and let out a contented groan. The two women laughed.
While she was already laughing, Emily said, “Could you believe Thelonious’s second run! Oh my stars, I thought the first one was inventive, but I have no idea what he thought he was chasing the second run. I mean, he was never anywhere in the neighborhood of the lure! Too bad they don’t get points for creativity, he’d be the number one sight hound in the country. You silly old man.”
Emily reached behind her seat as she drove and scratched the old dog’s neck where it laid against the crate. “He gets no less enjoyment from his day. I don’t mind paying the entry fee to see him smile like that. And how about Her Highness Raine? Wasn’t she just on fire? She ran like she was two again. Oh it does my heart good to see those dogs grin at me at the end of their runs.” Emily shook her head, sending clumps of curls flying. “Thank you, Alabama. Thank you from my dogs and from me.”

hug your hounds

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Thoughtless Thursday - Random Ramblings

We had two days of hard rain. Yesterday I picked up the yard. For those of you with scant numbers of dogs, skipping two days of pooper scooping wouldn't sound bad. I normally scoop twice a day, or more. Missing two days when you have nine dogs is like missing eighteen days of scooping if you have one dog. There you go. And the rain added a delightful unscoopability to the whole process.

Good thing I really love dogs.

To my neighbors who think I need more scooping to do and let their dogs poop with impunity outside our fence and leave it there as a special treat for me:

Let me imagine your stupid, lazy, irresponsible, ignorant redneck, innocent thought process. "Oh," you think. "Patience picks up all that poop everyday, she must love it and I am doing her a favor by leaving her some extra. What a good, considerate neighbor I am."

Oh you are so wrong. I pick up enough damn poop and I don't want yours. I am setting up infra-red heat-seeking missiles motion activated video cameras to catch you in the act. I am taking the evidence two places. The video will go to the police where you will then be eligible for a fine up to $1000. Ha ha ha ha!!! Cool beans!!! And I'm taking the other evidence and I'm putting it in your mailbox. Without the benefit of a baggie! HA HA HA HA HA HA I LOVE IT!!!! OH YEAH!!!!

I left Sammy in the bedroom this morning. We go downstairs in the morning in two groups, to avoid bottle necks and mayhem and trampling of Very Old Dogs. Sam I Am is in the second group. I had let everyone out to do their business and was putting down the breakfast bowls. No Sammy. "Where's Sam? Oh criminy, did I forget to open his crate?" Saint Bill ran upstairs, and soon I heard Sam I Am galloping down the hall above my head. I had opened his crate, but he was dawdling apparently and I closed the bedroom door before he exited. I doubt that he'll dawdle tomorrow.

We surprised Aynex (pronounced Eye Necks, you'll remember) on her way to the airport yesterday. Her neighbors gathered on her way out of Lowertown to wave goodbye.

(I had to edit the sign since this is a family friendly blog.)

Charter members of the Aynex fan club (Don't they just look like artistes!)

Pilates interruptus. (The construction workers driving by during the down dogs were highly appreciative!)

We made her laugh and cry.

Oh how we will miss her.

Thank you to all who have ordered from my website! I'll post photos of happy customers on the website and here as they arrive. Thanks to Aynex's last minute tutelage, I've made some minor changes to the web pages!!! Aynex said it all when she was talking to a friend on her cell phone. "It's going quicker than I thought it would," she said. (Translation: "Patience is not the GIANT IDIOT I thought she was.") It's quite gratifying, but I am still way out of my element. I would like to get a new page up for special sales, but we didn't get to the new page part... Plus I have LOTS of non-collar goodies for all kinds of dogs from my gift store, A Dog In the Garden, to upload. We'll see what I can figure out.

hug your hounds

Monday, May 26, 2008

Back in Business

When I started blogging, I had a nice business making collars and leads. I had started this business in 1994 and it had grown. I did not do any wholesale work; I preferred to custom make all the orders myself. Then I started to write my novel and I also started blogging. And I do some volunteer work and serve on some boards and next thing you know.. wooo-wee.

So I gave up my website custom collar business.

Well, the novel is going really well, and is even a little ahead of schedule! (Happy Dance.) This is due to my dear friend Rhonda who is helping me with organizational stuff and setting goals and things which normally mystify me. Time management is about as unattainable for me as oh, a graduate degree in Quantum Physics without the benefit of a course of study. So Rhonda has been a huge help. (She's been in publishing and in management and knows these things. How fortunate am I?)

Living without an income sucks.

So my website is back!!!! If you need a collar or if you are just curious, check out

I'm trying to do the HTML stuff myself (oh dear Lord) so some things might be a little wacky for a bit until I just give up and pay someone to do it, but I really can't do that right now because as I mentioned previously, living without an income sucks.

That's what is new in our neck of the woods!
hug your hounds

The Festival in Photos

Click on any photo to enlarge, use your back button to return.

There are not pictures of the whippets at the festival because:

(We save muzzle wearing for the fun stuff - bunny chasing!)

The one and only DJ Urbannn Cobb kept things lively between bands.

iList Paducah and Vera Pigsly - cute, cute, cute!

This little cutie matched the pig perfectly. (Her mom wanted everyone to know that she doesn't usually wear makeup. She had visited the roller derby face panters!)

Oh my dogness! Real pawtinis and pawgharitas!

Buzzard Brothers BBQ!!!! The whippets got plenty of tastes from this booth. Kentucky BBQ is not goopy. It is rubbed, always pork - ribs or pulled - and S-L-O-W cooked over hickory. Then there's a hot sauce for dipping.

Underneath "roasted corn" the word "TURKEY" is obscurred. TURKEY LEG, smoked and we really decided it was actually an EMU. It was gargantuan!!!

no comment

Important people

Important person!

Our local gourmet restaurant had a booth. Roast tenderloin ciabatta sammiches. Strawberry crepes. I gained three pounds.

Our dog-owning neighbors in their Lowertown Arts Festival tee shirts. (See what happens when the dogs aren't there to supervise?)

Our beautiful neighbor Valerie

Aynex tarted up her tee shirt.

The Saturday night band, Rockin Dopsie, Jr. and the Zydeco Twisters
Holy Moly they were AWESOME!!!!

Nieghbor Keyth was thirsty after all that zydeco dancing.

Really thirsty.

Two cups and a pitcher thirsty.

Oh!!! Freaky!!! Subliminal message!!!

The whippets are exhausted from greeting every single visitor who walked by their fence.

hug your tired hounds
(If you could possibly want to see more photos, there are plenty at Bizzyville's most excellent blog.)

Saturday, May 24, 2008

A Festival is coming!

We're having a HUGE festival - beautiful art and live music - right smack in front of our house this weekend! I thought I should dress up our porch a little. I haven't had any potted plants since the puppies were little. They're going to be two this summer so I thought it was time again.

Sam I Am approved.

Maria enjoyed the view from her papasan chair.

I thought the plants coordinated nicely with the toy pot.

Swede William inspected my work.

It did NOT meet Swede William's and Lindy Loo's approval.

So they decorated for me. Better.

The beer and wine garden is at our corner.

And so is the Buzzard Brothers Barbeque. Yippppeeeeee!!!!!
Photos from the festival, coming up next.

hug your hounds

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Travels with Jeannie - Chicago!

September 7, 2006. My new puppy was arriving from Sweden on SAS airlines at Chicago's O'Hare Airport. I had been waiting for the Swedish puppy's arrival for two years! When a puppy was first available, my dear old Caruso was in failing health, and bringing in a puppy would have been unfair to him, so I chose to wait until the next litter. Problem was Bill and his friend Harvey were having a huge joint art show the next evening. At our house. Expecting two to three hundred people. Well, Bill and Harvey are wonderfully resourceful, self-sufficient souls, we have a great caterer in the neighborhood, and Harvey's wife Jeannie said, "I'll go with you!"

I got the van serviced and the new brakes installed the week before, and I loaded up the whole waggle (only seven in those days) and picked up Jeannie at six AM on the day. I took all of the whippets with me so that at least Bill didn't have to deal with them as he got ready for his show. (Big of me, eh?) OK, and I did have the house spotless and the yard looking good.

Jeannie and the dogs and I were all in a high state of spirits and adventure and the miles flew by. It's about a seven hour drive to the cargo terminals of O'Hare. We decided to get there and check on the flight status and know that we had found where we would need to be, before eating lunch. The puppy was flying with his littermate, who was going to another home in the States, but they would be in that crate for twelve hours, and I didn't want them to wait for an extra second to be out and safe and welcomed! We chatted and laughed and before we knew it, we were getting off the Interstate.

As we pulled off the highway, I thought, "Man, Chicago stinks. I'm so glad I don't live in a Big City." Then as we drove in stop and go traffic I thought, "Hmmmm. It must be really industrial around here. I smell smokestacks. Phew!" We drove along, until we were only about a mile from the SAS terminal, and I asked Jeannie, "Do you smell something?"

"Yes, yes I do," she said.

"Do you think it's the van?" I asked, a nervous, jittery sort of feeling taking up residence in my belly.

"I don't know, let me ask this man," Jeannie calmly replied. She rolled her window down - we were at a red light - and asked a nice looking business man in a fancy car stopped in the next lane, "Excuse me sir! Excuse me! Ah, there you are! Yes, by any chance, do you detect an odor?"

The man made no effort to disguise his disgust and in a voice dripping with boredom and condescension he said, "Yes. It's you. There's smoke coming out of your van." And without so much as a do-you-need-a-hand, or a howdy do, he rolled up his window and made no further eye contact.

That little nervous, jittery sort of feeling in my belly launched into full fright and flight mode, and I calmly started screaming, "OH MY GOD OH MY GOD OH MY GOD!!! THE DOGS, THE DOGS!! WHAT DO WE DO WHAT DO WE DO WHAT DO WE DO?"

Then I got a grip, and the light had changed and I was driving and I collected myself and I screamed even louder, "OH MY GOD OH MY GOD OH MY GOD!!! THE DOGS, THE DOGS!! WHAT DO WE DO WHAT DO WE DO WHAT DO WE DO? WE HAVE TO GET ALL SEVEN OF THESE DOGS OUT OF THIS VAN RIGHT HERE IN THE BUSY STREET RIGHT NOW OH MY GOD."

Jeannie displayed a calm mature rationality that still impresses me to this day. "You could pull over in that gas station."

I had yet to succumb to rational thought and the picture of two Swedish puppies dying of something - I didn't know what, but something - in a lonely crate in an SAS terminal flashed in my brain. "I think we should get to the terminal before I stop."

Jeannie pointed out that if the van exploded first... Well, that set me off yet again in another screaming WHAT DO WE DO fit. And then Jeannie realized she was dealing with a near psychotic break on the part of the van driver. (Jeannie is an RN with a Masters Degree in Psychiatric Nursing. That came in handy!) She calmly listed our options. We could rent a cargo van, switch over the crates and drive home. We could get the puppies and stop at a service station and get the van checked out. We could stop at a service station and get the van checked out, and then get the puppies. And then sweet words of truthful inspiration poured from her lips. She said, "I don't think the smell is as bad. And I don't see any smoke."

I did point out that all the van's gauges were fine, and no red lights were flashing in the dashboard, and now that she mentioned it, I thought the smell had decreased too. We drove on, found the terminal, and were told that the plane was about to land, and that it would be an hour and a half before the puppies got through customs and to the terminal and would be ready to be claimed. We drove to a service station which we had seen at the last light before the freight terminals.

Jeannie approached a tall employee. "Can you help us, sir? We're from Kentucky!!!" The man had the rather swarthy look of a homesick Middle Eastern immigrant. I said, "Are you a nice person? I desperately and truly need you to be a nice person!"

In a heavy accent the tall swarthy homesick Middle Eastern immigrant man said, "No. I am not nice. But he is." And he pointed a scary long finger at another employee. This man walked over with a smile on his swarthy Middle Eastern countenance and sprouted angel wings and a halo. Not a round cartoon cheap halo, but the glowing golden radiant halo of a Renaissance painting of the Christ Child. He opened the van hood, checked around, smelled the air and asked in an echo chamber voice of divinity with harps and violins playing in the background:

"Did you recently get new brakes installed?"

That's all it was. New brakes breaking in. That's all. No exploding van spraying dogs and friends all over Chicago. No Swedish puppies dying of no-one-picked-'em-up. New brakes. Just sweet new brakes.

I kissed the angel man. I told the big swarthy mean scary man I would like to kiss him, too, but his look made me reconsider. Jeannie and I had lunch at the English Pub next door. We picked up the Swedish puppies who were safe and happy to see us and set up an xpen for them to potty right there at the terminal.

We laughed the entire way home. Seven hours of hysterical laughter. "You tried to kiss that big mean man!" "You said, we're from Kentucky!!" And we got home in time to entertain the art lovers, while they passed Swede William around, oohing and ahing over him.

Swede William became part of our family.

Jeannie became My Good Friend.

Hug your hounds

[Click to go back to Whippet World]


If you lost a black and white female dog who could have been mistaken for a whippet, one was found in front of the Coca-Cola building on Broadway. She is safe but wants to go home! Please email me for more information.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Ups and Downs

Our world spins out of our control all the time, doesn't it? I mean things just sort of happen to us and around us and in spite of us.

My Bill is at a two-artist art show back east. (See how far west I live now? I say "back east".) He sold four originals! Yay and yay, that is good news and definitely an UP. He has been gone since Thursday. That is sort of a down. I do fine when he is away. I mean, I am not afraid in the house. I got the yard mowed and the lilac bush planted. I got the poop bags in the trash and the recycling separated. (It is critically important not to confuse the two.) I got the dogs in and out and their toenails ground and their teeth brushed. These are all things I do whether he is home or not. But, well, more on that later.

Our dear friends Harvey and Jeannie are moving to California. They are the first "couple friends" we've ever had. Harvey and Bill are really good buddies, and though I was a hard nut to crack, or just a nut, Jeannie is a kind, generous soul and she didn't give up on me. I met her the first time in my dear vet's waiting room. That's a good enough omen right there. Now we have dinner together several times a week (one of us usually feels like cooking and the rest of us say "go for it!" or none of us wants to cook and we go out to a downtown eatery.) When I met Jeannie, I was still deeply mourning the friends I had left when we moved here. Being physically separated from those dear women was really on the par of an unwanted divorce for me, and I felt too exhausted to start a new friendship. I invest too much, and I was depleted. I am so glad she forgave me for being so remote at first. We shared some extraordinary times. Showing at Westminster, the birth of Lindy Loo and her siblings, a trip to Chicago to pick up Swede William from Sweden, and my son's horse races at Keeneland and Churchill Downs. I took Harvey and Jeannie for granted; that they'd always be here. But they are moving the end of June. That is a BIG DOWN.

The waggle went to some dog shows this weekend! In Jackson, Tennessee. You know that Johnny Cash and June Carter Cash song:

We got married in a fever, hotter than a pepper sprout,
We've been talkin' 'bout Jackson, ever since the fire went out.
I'm goin' to Jackson, I'm gonna mess around,
Yeah, I'm goin' to Jackson,Look out Jackson town.

Well, go on down to Jackson; go ahead and wreck your health.
Go play your hand you big-talkin' man, make a big fool of yourself,
You're goin' to Jackson; go comb your hair!
Honey, I'm gonna snowball Jackson.See if I care.

When I breeze into that city, people gonna stoop and bow. (Hah!)
All them women gonna make me, teach 'em what they don't know how,
I'm goin' to Jackson, you turn-a loose-a my coat.
'Cos I'm goin' to Jackson."Goodbye," that's all she wrote.

But they'll laugh at you in Jackson, and I'll be dancin' on a Pony Keg.
They'll lead you 'round town like a scalded hound,With your tail tucked between your legs,
You're goin' to Jackson, you big-talkin' man.
And I'll be waitin' in Jackson, behind my Jaypan Fan,

Well now, we got married in a fever, hotter than a pepper Sprout,
We've been talkin' 'bout Jackson, ever since the fire went out.
I'm goin' to Jackson, and that's a fact.
Yeah, we're goin' to Jackson, ain't never comin' back.

It's that actual Jackson, and I've been singing the song since I made the entries. Heather (Baby Ben's mom) went with me both days, and that was a treat. For me. Maybe not so much for her, as she had a raging cold and I picked her and Emmett (Lindy Loo's litter brother) up at 7:15 Saturday morning, and 5:30 Sunday morning. Sleep in on a weekend? Nah. In shows the winners of the classes for each sex go back into the ring to compete for "Winners Dog" or "Winners Bitch" each of whom are the only dogs in their breed to win points toward their championship. In small shows, often both Emmett and Swede William have to go back in. Usually we have to get someone the dogs don't know to take one of them back in, and that's no fun. So Heather got a crash course in handling on Wednesday. On Sunday, She won Winners Dog with Emmett!!! That was a BIG UP! Good for Heather! Good for Emmett! Woo-hoo!!! Up, up, up!

We stopped at the International House of Pancakes on the way home. Another UP!

Delia is my dog again. Temporarily. Usually when Bill goes away, she hangs with me. Reluctantly, with one ear on the door listening for Bill's return, but she hangs with me. For whatever reason, this time she is My Best Friend. This has been absolutely delightful for me, but not so much for Lindy Loo. Delia feels the need to squash her great-niece like a bug. She literally steps on her with her front feet, with a most perturbed look on her face. When she spends most of her time with Bill, this is no big deal. But when she's lying right next to me, Lindy Loo is near by, and this just annoys the stuffing out of Delia. Lindy Loo pays no mind, and never challenges her lot in life, so we're all OK. And I'm enjoying Delia's silliness. Up.

Aynex is leaving in something positively horrid, like four days. Down doesn't go any lower than this. She has lit this neighborhood with her spirit and humor, and I fear that buildings will simply fall down when she's not here.

We took all the dogs along to the show on Saturday, since Bill wasn't home to let them out. When we got to the show grounds, we got them out of the van, a few at a time to potty. When Very Old Dog's turn came, he strutted and wagged and bounced around. He was at a dog show! Woo would you look at him! Silly Old Dog. Precious up.

When Bill is gone, I'm not quite all here. (Yes, you could make the argument that I'm never quite all there, and you'd be right, but that's a different subject.) When he's away, I feel a little stupid, a lot ugly, and fat. I feel like the world is spinning sightly off kilter. And this amazes me. It was not always this way. I'm quite the independent one. Or I was. Bill is fifteen years older than I am. I feel so vulnerable. The upside to this is that dear Lord, after twenty-five years I do so love him.

What has rocked my world is my dear friend's sudden diagnosis and surgery for a brain tumor. At first, I didn't realize it had rocked my world, as I was totally consumed with her world. She is facing radiation and chemo as soon as her surgical wounds heal. Just like that, snap, her life, her husband's life, her dogs' lives changed. She is an incredibly brave, inspirational superhero, and is dealing with this with courage and humor and grace. That she has to endure this feels so unfair, so random, so mean. Being so far away means that I lie in bed at 4:18 AM and write about it. I thought I might go and help. But they have tons of friends and family close by who love them, and what, I tra la into town with my suitcase and my good intentions to get in the way? Going there would have been for me, not for them.

Fat Charlie is enjoying his last night on Bill's side of the bed. As I type, he's got all four legs stuck stick straight up in the air. Bill will be home in six hours and twenty-one minutes, if his plane is on time.

And Delia will do a happy dance. The whole waggle will howl their delight to the sky. And my world will be a little less off balance.

Hug your hounds.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Fun Monday #14

Our Fun Monday host this week is Mariposa and she assigns -

Collections... We all have them...and if you don't, you just may not realize it. For some reason or another we all collect something and we collect it for reasons that will definitely make for good reading. So on Monday, I want to see your collection. If you don't have or don't want or CAN'T (wink) show us a picture, then tell us what the collection is in 10 words or less. Then tell us why you started collecting it.

Um... no brainer here.

"tell us what the collection is in 10 words or less"

LOVE: Giacomino, Maria, Charlie, Mama, Luciano, Delia, Sammy, William, Lindy.

"Then tell us why you started collecting it."

I didn't. They started collecting me. And they make me a better person, and they make my life fun, and exciting, and rewarding, and complete. Lucky, lucky me.

Now have a look at the other Fun Monday participants!

hug your hounds

Wednesday, May 14, 2008


That is the video which Aynex (pronounced Eye Necks) made of Maria's thirteenth birthday party in February. Aynex is going to be a famous videographer or a movie director more famous than Christopher Guest or Stanley Kubrick, or Woody Allen or the Coen Brothers or Quentin Tarantino, or Pedro Almodovar or anyone we have ever heard of in the world.

I know this.

If you want to know how much every one loves Aynex, (pronounced Eye Necks, I know, it takes a while to get used to saying it), and if you want to see my Bill cry, go to her blog, AYNEX ,(pronounced Eye Necks, see it's getting easier) and watch her latest video, "Aynex the Musical."

I have to tell you just a little bit about Aynex, (see you can say it now without even thinking about it). She was born in Puerto Rico. Now you can't say that like we do in Kentucky when you are around Aynex. No "Porta Reeko." You have to say, "Phwhereto tonguedrill-icco". Or you try to, wanting to please Her Highness, but then you realise that her English leaves room for improvement and what the hey.

Aynex is tiny. She's not a Little Person, but she is a little person. And when she was in college in Massachusetts she was a passenger in a car which got broadsided. She was lucky to live, though she was in a coma and she was supposed to be a quadriplegic. But Aynex is not so good at doing what she's told, or she is good at doing what she's told she can't do. She was right handed before the accident. Now she sews the most amazing quilts. Award winning quilts. Left handed. And she does gifted graphic design. And she walks with a cane which she threatens you with if you displease her. And she rides a bicycle/tricycle thing around town with alarming speed.

Really, she should not be one of my favorite people. She is a year younger than my son Jake, so there is an age difference thing. She is charming and BEE-YOO-TEE-FULL and she flirts with my husband, who adores her blatantly and is jelly in her hands. And when she came to Paducah, she didn't like dogs!

OK, I could see that if you are 4' 8" tall, and you've had a spinal chord injury, and a large dog would knock you flat just as happy as howdy doo, that maybe dogs wouldn't be your companion of choice. I could see that. But, I would never be close friends with someone who didn't like dogs.

Oh was I ever wrong. I love Aynex. She is the most creative, brilliantly funny, talented, hysterical, adorable people in my world. She likes my dogs. Here's proof. She knows them by name. And she's moving away.

She started to like dogs so much, that she fancied herself a lab or a golden and she got hip dysplasia. She has to get her hips replaced, and she needs to move back closer to her family in Maryland to have it done. Now you would think that the Universe would figure that a thorough squishing in a car wreck might be enough for one small person, but I figure she was maybe just a little naughty in her last life, because she's getting a dose and a half of cosmic no fair this go round.

I've commented on her blog pretty religiously for the last I don't know how long. But she's been writing about the things here she's going to miss, and I can't for the life of me write a word. I'm too sad. I'm too selfish. I can't imagine this magical neighborhood without Aynex, because she'll take all the magic with her.

So I can't get myself around her leaving. And I only have nine days to do it.

Hug your friends and your hounds

Monday, May 12, 2008

Fun Monday #13 - Ohwa Tajer Kyam (say it fast)

Sauntering Soul is hosting this week. Oh the pain of her assignment!!! The anguish!
  • I know we all try to be sweet and kind to people the majority of the time. But let's face it....we also know that sometimes we can be a big jerk. It could be that you experience road rage from time to time. Perhaps you empty the coffee pot at work some mornings and don't feel like taking the time to start a new pot for the next person. Or maybe you don't return phone calls on a timely basis when you know someone needs a response from you. Have you ever "accidentally" ruined a favorite shirt of your spouse just because you didn't care for it? Come on - it's confession time! List the small things you do that make you a jerk and elaborate just a bit on each one. Please tell me I'm not the only jerk around here!

This is just a double whammy for me, because I try hard to respect you, dear readers, and keep this blog all about the dogs. This means I have to confess to my jerkiness with my dogs. Oh the shame of it! Oh the loss of face. Oh the torture!

I try to be the everliving best dog servant alive. I truly do. But I often fail. And it almost always is because I am the Queen of the Organizationally Challenged Order of Grand Jerkdom. So I know I have to do X, Y, and Z in a day. But first I have to check out the blogs, and Whippet World, and my email. And then I have to do some laundry. Time is ticking. Accck! I have to walk the dogs! Hurry up, dogs!!! I have to be at X in an hour. Arrrrgh! Get in your crates! Giacomino don't bite your collar! You are not a horse with a bit; it goes over your head! Maria shut UP!!! Come here. D-O-G-S get over here NOW!!! Who wants a biscuit? Cuss, cuss, stamp, scream.

I rage and flail around like a giant catfish on the river bank, gills flapping and eyes bulging. Total jerk. Totally unnecessary.

I miss entries for shows because I don't pay attention to what day it is. And then there's the training. Part of why I came to Paducah was to have all this time to train the dogs and to write. Except the Queen of Overscheduling Jerkheads is me. No time! No Time! Gotta serve on this committee, gotta go here, there and everywhere. Gotta add more to my plate! No time to train dogs. Just to complain about not having time to train. What a collossal JERK.

And it's no surprise to my close friends, but as long as this is the great confession, I am the worst sort of Procrastination Jerk. I think, "I'll answer that email tomorrow." WHY? Do I think I'll have more time? Or by the time I think to call a friend on the East Coast, it's an hour later there, and it's already too late. Jerk, jerk, jerk.

Well, that is enough of that. I'm late. Because I'm such a jerk.

hug your hounds and pity mine

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Hey! Woops..... LOOK OUT!!!!!

I fancy myself to be a person who spends enough time with and energy on my dogs, that they are reasonably pleasant to be around. I love working with animals; have since I was too young to know why. My childhood dog, Rex, knew more tricks than any old circus dog. I've put obedience titles on several of the whippets. Granted, some of our performances were a little Monty Pythonesque. OK, some were downright comedic events, but we also won a few classes along the way.

The one thing I had trouble with since moving to this corner city lot, is the dogs going barking berserk at our picket fence when another dog walks by on the sidewalk. Back at the farm, the dogs were encouraged to sound wild alarms if a dog were outside their fence. We had foals and ducks and a strange dog could be a danger. (This did not stop them from knowing when a friend was in need. Hence we welcomed Loosey the lost coon hound, but back to the story at hand.) So it was terribly confusing for them when their mad screaming at canine passersby here in the city resulted not in praise from me, but dismay.

I tried everything to get them to understand that the sidewalk was neutral territory. Nothing worked. I had to do something, because dogs are always walking by, and the whippets would work themselves into such a frenzy, that they figured if they couldn't bite the trespasser, they'd just bite what they could: each other. Then in desperation one day I hurled the large, lightweight plastic green watering can which was sitting next to me on the porch, into the air. Not aiming at them, of course, but at the ground behind them, or the fence.

Well, dear readers, magic happened. I never said a word. I kept the large light weight soft plastic green watering can in reach at all times. Interloper on the sidewalk. Mass of whippets swooping. Bark, Bark, Ba-! Large lightweight soft plastic green watering can flies through the air and lands behind mass of swooping barking whippets. Mass of startled quiet whippets turn and look at me. I sit innocently on the porch, minding my own business, humming an absent tune. "La, la, la." Whippets lose interest in attack mode, and instantly decide to play with toys, or come wagging for a butt rub, or roll in worm stink. No more barking, biting frenzy. Magic.

So for the last few years, if a dog and its walker wandered by our sidewalk, the waggle would swarm, then look up at the sky for a plumetting large lightweight soft plastic watering can, and then decide to occupy themselves otherwise. Even though there hadn't been a flying watering can forever. Peace reigned in our little corner of the world.

Arrive Lindy Loo. Lindy Loo is the great-granddaughter of Maria, the original Mouth of the South. Lindy Loo does her great grandmamma proud. I can't remember last summer (really, not a day of it), nor can I tell you for the life of me how Lindy Loo has achieved the age of twenty-one months without having met the large lightweight soft plastic green watering can. She does not limit her alarm sounding to members of her species, but includes children on tricycles, humans of different ethnic backgrounds, mentally creative folks who audibly converse with themselves, and persons who dress inappropriately in her rather dull, conservative opinion of these things. In other words, if it dare to pass by our side walk, Lindy Loo barks her fool head off.

So. Yesterday I was picking up poop in the back when I spied our sweet neighbor Julie walking her darling pair of rescued Chinese Cresteds, Rosie is a powder puff, and Eschon is the naked variety. Bill was reading on the front porch, and the waggle was enjoying the lovely day, lying in the papasan chairs, digging holes in the flower beds, playing tug with toys.

"ALARM!!!" cried Lindy Loo. "Interlopers on our sidewalk," she screamed at the top of her lungs!

Well, I dropped the pooper scooper thingies (thank all that is good) and grabbed the trusty old large lightweight soft plastic green watering can as I ran across the breezeway. I jumped down the steps into the yard and let her fly!

Now, herein lies the problem, dear readers. When we play Frisbee or even tennis ball in our yard, the dogs get to chase and capture the thing about two out of every seven throws. The other times I have to go through the gate, into the street, retrieve whatever I threw, and toss it back into the yard. Aim is not my forte.

I watched, first in eager anticipation of Lindy Loo's shock, then in fascination, followed quickly by concern, which rapidly morphed into abject panic. The large lightweight soft plastic green watering can arched gracefully through the upper atmospheres, flew way up over the fence, and was re-entering Earth's orbit directly over Julie and the unsuspecting Chinese Cresteds' dainty little heads.


Bill had left his quiet spot on the porch to hush Lindy Loo, and he was across the fence from Julie.

"What the...?" He instinctively ducked and covered, having been a child of the fifties, as the UFO hurled itself Earthward.

Of course at that very moment, our good friends Lee and Dee arrived from the other direction. Lee on her marvellous three-wheeler bike with the flag sticking up the back and the great big baskets for carrying anything, and Dee walking beside. They looked up in the sky and said, "Well!"

And the large lightweight soft plastic green watering can landed with a clunk in the street right in front of Lee's marvellous three-wheeler bike. Julie, the cresteds, and Lindy Loo were oblivious of their near death experience. Bill was laughing hysterically at me. Well, so were Lee and Dee. I was wilting with relief that I hadn't scared dear, sweet, gentle Rosie out of her powder puff little mind. Lindy Loo was still barking her head off at the cresteds.

Julie went on her fortunate way. Lee and Dee joined us on the porch for a glass of wine and to continue laughing at me. Lindy Loo scanned the horizon for her next victim. I kept the large lightweight soft plastic green watering can handy, but Bill discouraged any further attempts at behavior modification.

He wanted to make sure our liability policy was up to date.

Hug your hounds

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Monday, May 5, 2008

Fun Monday# 12

This Monday our hostess is Kitten! She says:

  • I would like to know "Who is Your Hero" Not from TV, but your real life hero. It can one or it can be many. Just someone you have or do look up to. You can do this any way you would like and if you want or can, share pictures!

Oh, boy. I have to be honest. Heroes are not to be taken lightly. My hero runner-up is Mama Pajama. As my long time dear readers know, she has shown courage and dignity in the face of a nasty disease. She loves life completely, and overcame the odds. We had an appointment to put her to sleep five years ago May 12th. She told me "not yet". We celebrate her every day.

Mama Pajama when she was ill.

Mama Pajama now.

But. My hero is my husband. Bill is purely an admirable soul. He sees the good in everyone, and we often joke about his rosy colored glasses. He is supportive, creative, smart, caring, funny, and humble.

I have learned so much from him. I tend towards cynicism, and it's hard for me to trust. I've watched Bill for these twenty-five years, and I see him trust folks and then I see them want to deserve his trust. He is incapable of holding a grudge. He is rarely angry at anyone (present U.S. administration excluded) and if he doesn't get mad, he surely can't stay mad.

People love and respect Bill. How can they not? He's so open with his acceptance, and he so clearly communicates his enjoyment of friends. His opinions are not given lightly, and are educated and fair.

He has accepted these nine dogs of mine - now eight of mine and one of his, since Delia adopted him - without a hiccup. He has cried over my animals. Rosy the rescued mare who came to our farm frightened to death of people, especially men. Later, she would hang over her stall door and rest her big head on his shoulder, with her trusting eyes closed, while he sang to her:

Rosy, Rosy, Give me your answer true.
I'm half crazy over the love of you.
It won't be a stylish wedding,
Cause I can't afford the bedding.
But you'll look sweet
And I'll be neat
When you give me your answer true.

Bill always fractures lyrics. It drives me crazy, but in keeping with his philosophy in life, he doesn't see the problem. His favorite song is Louis Armstrong's What A Wonderful World.

And he cries when he hears it. Every time.

I will never know how I was so fortunate to have shared the last twenty-five and a half years with this man. I figure I must have had a horrible lot in my last life to have been so rewarded in this one.
Hug your heroes, and your hounds.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

What Do They Think?

On a day like today, I wonder what my dogs think. Well, actually, I'm always wondering what my dogs think, but especially on a day like today.

I had too much to do. I have too much to do tomorrow and Saturday. And I have way, way, way too much to do on Monday and Tuesday. When I get too much to do, I get this buzzy thing that is constantly going off in my brain and my gut, and I feel a drummer in This Is Spinal Tap. Like I'm a potentially hazardous substance and sparks could actually and dangerously start flying out of my various body orifices.

Now I have these nine dogs who are pretty good at providing feedback when I'm acting like a human, or exhibiting other disappointing behavior. As I was running around getting ready to run out and do the too much I had to do today, the dogs gave me hints. I literally was running between the bathroom (turn the shower on) through the bedroom (strip off some jammies) into the computer room (answer two emails) back through the bedroom (down to my nekked self) and back into the bathroom (intending to jump in the shower). Only when I turned the corner of the bathroom doorway (at that literal run) I nearly knocked dear Very Old Dog off his rather shakey feet and into the shower stall. I pulled up at the very last second and scooped him into my arms, to prevent bouncing him under the spray.

He was rather taken aback by the unexpected explosion of his servant, and looked at me askance. "Excuse you?" I heard him say quite clearly.

Very Old Dog has been my shadow for fourteen years, only nowadays he doesn't move so fast, and I was flying madly around like a trapped bumble bee banging against an inside window pane. It's quite possible that he was following me into the bathroom on my first fly by to turn on the shower, and he had just arrived when I flew back around to hop in. I don't know. I know he was most displeased.

I had scooped poop before breakfast. Doing it then is so good for my attempts at dieting: breakfast loses its appeal. And I'm sure the commuters driving by feel better about themselves when they see me out in my red flannel jammies with paw prints and bones, which I won in the Kennel Club's Christmas Auction, at six-thirty in the morning with the pooper scooper walking slowly back and forth over the length and breadth of the yard. Pausing every so often to scoop, and then continuing. I used to wave to the commuters, but they were always too embarrassed for me to wave back. They would pretend they needed to turn away just at that second. I still wave to my neighbors; they know me and wave anyway.

After showering and dressing, I let the dogs out and then tucked them in their crates in the dog room with biscuits. There were looks: Oh, it's one of those days. I could just hear the "Hmmmphs" as they took the proffered treats. "Hmmmmph," times nine.

I ran around not getting enough done until three. "Hooray! You're home! Life is grand and we are glad!" Bill had let them out of their crates at lunch time. It was nice enough that the kitchen door could stay open, and his studio door, and they could go in between the house and the yard and the studio as they pleased. Bill had walked Delia after breakfast, so I did three walks of two, three, and three. Even these were not up to standard, as I was on the cell phone, and that detracts. Walking time is about enjoying life. It's about how is everything in dog land, and isn't it great to be out and about, and aren't we lucky to have each other. Not yack yack yack about ads in the Kennel Club Show catalog, or blah blah blah about the new city ordinance. Walk time is our time.

I got sideways looks from the dogs. They knew I was cheating.

And after the walks I had to put them back away. This is felonious behavior. I had gone way beyond misdemeanor. And, because I was out of dog food, I had to put them back away without having fed them. I swear, dear readers, I swear I heard clear as a bell three of them say, "Well, the nerve! The very nerve!" I gave them each two biscuits, trying to buy my way out of trouble.

When I returned from the post office, and the dog food store, and the office supplies store, and other boring places, it was with some trepidation. I took comfort in the forty pound bag of Iams around which my arms were wrapped. I used it like a shield. But I was off the hook. Bill was cooking Italian sausage and mushrooms and onions, The smell of which could make any dog forgive any sin. Our good friends Harvey and Jeanie were over for dinner, and they had been away for a while and the dogs were so happy to have them back. Each dog greeted me like I hadn't broken all the rules all day, and they ate their dinners without a grudge. Then they settled in to wait for the Italian sausage plate lickins and to enjoy our laughter with good friends.

But they all fell asleep a little too quickly tonight. They were pooped. And I wonder. When I'm being so stressed and so unsatisfactorily human, what do my nine little consciences think?

hug your hounds