Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Bloggus Interruptissimus

Dearest Readers,

We will be unable to blog

from now until

mid October.

Please hold the whippets

in your hearts

until we return.
(We are fine, don't worry!)
hug your hounds

Monday, September 22, 2008


That's my word for poop-camouflage. It happens every year in the autumn. It's a little early this year, because we are parched. And we had that pesky little wind storm, when Ike met a cold front right over Paducah.

It's about time I wrote a poop story for this blog. This is the dog poop story headquarters after all.

The dogs and I get up around 6:00 to 6:30 in the morning. In the blessed summertime (my time of year, and the dogs agree) I let the dogs out first thing, and then I walk around with my pooper scooper and do the First Scooping. The early morning sunlight is at a steep angle, casting poop shadows long and far. Everything twinkles. while whippets tinkle in the sparkly 'shine, life is grand and I wave to my friend Carol as she drives by on her way to work. I tend to eat a significantly smaller breakfast after being up close and personal with the dog's last meal, digestified, and the morning chore is done before I'm fully awake.

Alas, now it is much too dark to dare de-poopage at such an early hour. So the dogs go out and do their dooty, come in and eat breakfast, and then we start our walkies routine. After two hours of walking in shifts of two and three per walk, now I have to scoop. This is more of a chore. I am awake. I have to pee. I am eaten alive by desperate blood thirsty it's now or never end of season mosquitoes. And then, the ultimate frustration: poopouflage.

There are two trees around these parts that I hadn't heard of back east. The Hackberry (also known as "widow maker" and the Piss Elm (pronounced 'peeis elum'). One or both of those trees drop leaves which look exactly like little whippet poohs. And in the morning, shiny with dew, to my old, tri-focalled eyes these leaves are indistinguishable.

For instance, is this poop?

No! It is a leaf, masquerading as such

How about this?

Or this?

Is it one of Luciano's famous poop sculptures? Looch has an amazing gift, an unsurpassed talent at vertical pooh towers.

No, if you click to enlarge, you will see that they are all leaves. Tricky duplicitous Hackberry or Piss Elm deciduosities. You would think that I would have learned my lesson, but I don't think so well in the morning. In fact, I don't have a single articulate thought until after eleven. (Do note the time of publication of this blog entry! That explains it. Remember I am on USA central time.) So you would think that by now I would have figured that it is not the best plan to nudge the leaf with my Kroc to make sure it is a leaf. It never is. It is a mushy pooh and now I am gagging and retching because even after 54 years of stepping in pooh, oft times barefoot, I still can't stand it.

That's probably news to my neighbors, but there it is. I am fanatic about cleaning the stuff up, but I do not like it. I gag. So to the few of you who persist in leaving YOUR DOG's pooh on our property? I spew on you!!!! Stop it!!! I have quite enough of my own dogs' fecal gifts to gag over.

Sorry. I digressed.

So there you have it. Poopouflage. I did end up getting myself one of these:
It is my new very favorite article of clothing. I wore it to the Critter K walk. I came home from that and washed it and dried it and ironed it. I have never ironed a tee shirt in my life. Not once. But I ironed my Walks With Poop shirt and paired it up with black linen slacks and jewelry and wore it to our Dinner Club dinner. And then I wore it to the Neighborhood Pot Luck Cook Out last night and to the movies to see Bottle Shock.
I like it more than either of my wedding dresses.
hug your hounds

Sunday, September 21, 2008

2nd Annual Critter K Charity Walk

Yesterday was the 2nd Annual Critter K Charity walk, sponsored by LaNita Flannery, DVM and Chip and Lisa Wynn. Here are Dr. Flannery with Maddie and Chip with the famous Benji
greeting folks at 7:30 in the morning.
And the folks and critters were already arriving - at 7:30 in the morning on a Saturday. Perfect weather, good people, magical critters.
After everyone signed up, we walked! And did we walk!
There were old dogs
And young
There were sweet happy rescued dogs
big hairy slobbery dogs
big not-so-hairy slobbery dogs
And dogs with sunshine in their eyes
Big and little dogs made new buddies
And a dog named Jack (look closely) made huge fans when he did the obstacle course.
There were non-dog critters
And wild critters
Little peoples had a great time

There were snackies! Lots and lots of snackies!
And there were friends

The monies from the registration, the raffles, and the silent auction will go to help our three local no-kill shelters.
There was a unity of spirit. People who love their pets, out on a lovely Saturday morning doing a little something to help pets who don't have people. Yet.
Life doesn't get too much better.
hug your fortunate hounds

Friday, September 19, 2008

Fat Charlie, an award, gross commercialism

First of all, thank you for your kind thoughts and suggestions for Fat Charlie. I did the accupressure/energy medicine points to calm down the flight/fight meridian last night, (the ones my dear friend Jean taught me to help Giacomino with his thunder phobia) and he ate his breakfast this morning and stayed downstairs. He was happy on his walk, but did try to convince us to go anywhere but home when we were two blocks out. He's lying comfortably next to my chair now.

We got an award! From dear Ben the Rotti. Thank you so much, Ben!

We would like to pass this on to Jake and Just Harry, and to sweet, talented Xsara way far away in Slovenia, and Jenn in the City, who is such a good writer, and the 4 B's cause we love their blog.

I forgot to post a link to this week's iPet of the week on the fantabulous iListPaducah.com! Meet Benji, a stray, who not only found a wonderful family, he inspired them to start the Benji Fund, to help the local no-kill shelters with money for spaying and neutering their adoptees.

Oh and for our local dear readers, don't miss the Second Annual Critter K walk, out at Stuart Nelson Park tomorrow morning! It is going to be AWESOME! We will have photos here to share.

I got some new things in the store to share. I did not order one of these for me, but I can't STAND not having a shirt that says this, and I am going to take one. I have to have it.

And I LOVE these doormats:

And though I was chastised for putting a political post on my blog, I don't think these will offend anyone. The Lame Duck Squeak Toy! Two Squeaks!!!

If you are local, these are at the Market @ 315 on Broadway. If you are far away, just email me if you have to have any of these delights.
hug your hounds!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Fat Charlie the Archangel

Fat Charlie the Archangel slipped into the room
He said I have no opinion about this
And I have no opinion about that
Sad as a lonely little wrinkled balloon
He said well I don't claim to be happy about this, boys
And I don't seem to be happy about that

Paul Simon, Crazy Love, Vol 2
from the Graceland album

Maybe it's his name. He's certainly not fat. But my sweet Fat Charlie is sad. This is the third time since we've moved to Paducah, that Fat Charlie has been terrorized in the autumn. I do not know what is up.

I am usually pretty darned in tune with my dogs. I'm able to see subtle nuances in their behavior, detect minor problems before they become major ones, know what makes the tick, what makes them happy.

But my dear Fat Charlie has me flummoxed.

He is the world's sweetest dog. He is Mama Pajama's best friend and litter brother. He is soft as a secret whispered between roommates, but brave as they come. I've mentioned before that I've never said the words "NO!" and "Fat Charlie" in the same sentence. He had a golden puppyhood, back on our farm, and a brilliant youth. He was my fastest ever whippet, and loved lure coursing and racing and hunting squirrels in our yard with a joy that verged on religious fervor.

Fat Charlie (top) and Mama Pajama - tired little three month old puppies

I wrote this about taking Fat Charlie down the 200 yard track to the starting box for a race. (Whippets race for fun, and championships, not for betting like their big cousins the greyhounds. They. Love. It.)

Taking Fat Charlie to the box is like having visible, tangible glee, right at the end of your lead. Pure, simple happiness. He leaps and bounds and wags. He rubs against me, he pokes me along, and he gooses me. He smiles, he grins, he even giggles a little. He hardly says a word. He doesn't have to, his entire being radiates pleasure.

He waits for his turn behind the box, with only a little "yip" ("0h!") escaping if he's one of the last ones to be loaded. Smooth as silk, in one quick fluid motion he's in the box, perched at the very front, not moving a muscle. His huge black eyes are bigger than ever. I run up the side of the track as fast as I can. I look back at him. He does me the courtesy of glancing at me, and then goes back to full attention on the Bunny. The door opens and he's out, as if fired from David's own slingshot. Now I'm the one
making noise!

"Go, Charlie, Go!" I scream, over and over again. He flies by me with the rest of the dogs in the feature race. I only see him. "Go, Charlie, Go!" "Go, Charlie, Go!" "Go, Charlie, Go!" I meet him at the end, more winded than he is. He stays on the Bunny with the pack, grabbing it with his front legs, scrambling and scraping, tail wagging furiously. I get his lead on, or the friend who's catching him for me does. He glances back at the Bunny a couple of times, just in case it takes off again.

Then he tells me "Thank you" in the softest of whispers, which makes me shiver. His joy is mine, and I thank him for that.

His competitive running career ended way too soon with a freak injury at our 2000 Whippet National Specialty, which required two surgical repairs. He did get to run again at the CWA Nationals as a six year old; a story you, my long time dear readers, may remember.

Fat Charlie and Mama Pajama now

Something is scaring Fat Charlie. The first year this happened, also in the early autumn, he refused to come into our bedroom to sleep. And he was petrified. I let him sleep loose in the house, and he would come into his crate in our bedroom at around two in the morning. It just went away and life returned to normal, but my heart broke for him.

Then the next time it happened, I moved his crate next to my bed. It now doubles as my bedside table. Again it was early autumn, and again he spontaneously got over it after about six weeks. And again, my heart just tore. He would look so panicky at bedtime, and hide down in his crate in the dog room. I would leave out bedroom door and his crate door open, and give him his bedtime biscuit wherever he wanted it, and sit on the floor and hug him.

He's usually a cuddle pack boy, so going off by himself is odd.

Fat Charlie looking at the camera in a whippet pinwheel with (clockwise) his uncle, Giacomino, nephew, Sam I Am, and half brother, Luciano.

This year his autumn panic is in the morning. He's perfectly happy going to bed. But he won't come into the dog room (off the kitchen - the dog room is everydog's favorite place, where dog meals happen and biscuits and bones live). He won't come for breakfast, and he won't eat. Never in his eleven years do I recall Fat Charlie missing a meal; even the nights of his surgeries, he said, "what's for dinner?" He's happy to go for his walk, but about two blocks from home, he mulishly lowers his head and plants his feet. "Not going back there." He's a good soul, and when we plead he comes. But the whites of his eyes show. And he pants.

By about eleven in the morning, he's back to himself. Pretty much. Instead of lying on his spot on the couch in the TV room, (right through the doorway to where I sit at the sewing machines or the computer), he is now lying on the floor next to my chair. (Unlike the photograph, I have since put a cushy dog bed there for him.) He doesn't want to eat dinner in the dog room, either, so I'm going to try feeding him in the kitchen tonight.

I am beyond baffled by this. I have wondered about a long list of possible causes, including but not limited to:
  • our house is haunted
  • neighbors use some sort of antidog ultrasound device (nope)
  • raccoons in the chimneys (gone)
  • I beat the bed with the pillows to freshen it and Charlie thought it was a bad bed (I don't do that any more)
  • he was worried when Mama Pajama was sick (I pray she's doing great - seems to be)
  • tornadoes/weather pattern (panic is independent of weather)

So I'm sticking with the haunted house theory, and the ghosts must only visit in the early autumn.

If you have a few seconds, could you send this kind, sweet, generous soul some, "You're ok" thoughts? I'm not asking for comments, just thoughts in your heads.

Thank you.

Hug your hounds

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Oh what the heck.

And while I'm at it, I would like to say one thing publicly. My husband made a critical point, which I dearly wish someone would talk about.

This presidential election isn't about race.

It's about


Sunday, September 14, 2008

The Edge of Ike

This happened during breakfast. BOOM!

Poor arbor.

Poor porch!

Dogs must walk.

This is the river. It doesn't usually have WAVES!

Bracing against the wind.
She's a crazy woman.

Our neighbor's ancient oak.

Hug your hounds
*** addendum- 7:10 pm - The rest of the neighbor's ancient oak just fell. It went all the way across the street, taking power lines and blowing a series of transformers. Within seconds, literally seconds, at least thirty people from our neighborhood there. Zoom! Whippet speed. Checking to see if everyone was all right. They are. Everyone is fine. Half of the houses are without power, but everyone is safe. After my walk this morning, the wind persisted, and there is now much more damage. HUGE old trees down everywhere. Some houses squished. Some cars squished. Lots of broken windows. I haven't heard the actual wind velocity yet. Makes me feel very small, and very fortunate.