Saturday, November 29, 2008

A Mutual Rescue

I forgot to share this week's iPet of the Week!

It's a fabulous happy story, about Dru Bear the Maltese/terrier mix.

Marie rescued Dru Bear from the Lexington pound, because the then six year old looked so terrible. Then Dru Bear turned right around and rescued Marie back, just by loving her so much. Marie figured if her little dog could love her with such a huge big love, then she could love herself a little bit.

Read all about it HERE.

Hug your hounds

Thursday, November 27, 2008

In Today's Paper

I have a regular "gig" in the Paducah Sun. In a section called

Local bloggers are featured, and we are given assignments to write about. Today's topic was
When I think Turkey Day I think...

And I wrote:

… about a soggy oyster and Rex, my childhood mutt.

Rex always proudly greeted people with a gift. He would pick up whatever was immediately available: a scrap of paper, a leaf, my dirty underwear out of the laundry pile. He strutted around with his treasure, offering it to any worthy hand. One Thanksgiving, our next door neighbors ate at our house. My best friend, 11-year-old Sandy, didn’t appreciate the oyster he found in his stuffing, but was too polite to leave it on his plate.

Rex had never been fed a morsel from the table, but would lie quietly underneath, waiting for the meal to end, when he would “gift” us with any dropped napkins.

I can still hear my mother’s shriek, when, two hours after the meal, Rex dropped Sandy’s soggy oyster into her outstretched hand, proud as ever.


You can meet the other featured bloggers at Bizzyville and at the iList Paducah Blog.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Enjoy your oysters, and hug your hounds

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Where's the umph?

I've noticed something.
I have become exclamation mark disabled. In my informal writing (email, blog, groups and lists) I usually evoke emphasis with
bold and italics,
and three exclamation marks.

These tools, well, they're familiar friends really, have left me. Left town altogether. Vamoosed.

I think it's this new bloggy place to express myself. I mean this blog is for you, dear readers. So I can't bore you with wallowing. Ah... maybe another reminiscence?

Maria loved to lure course. I can't find any photos of her coursing, because she was in the days before digital photography. In lure coursing three dogs of the same breed chase a lure - three white garbage bags - on a string around a series of turns (think of the cats cradle string game, only instead of your fingers, there are pulleys nailed into the ground).

Whippets LOVE this game. Well, they love any game that involves running and chasing.

Maria was pretty fast, and her small size made her very agile; she could turn on a dime. She got her field champion title in fairly short order.

But there are RULES to this game. Number one rule is no aggressive activity ever. In lure coursing muzzles are optional, and most don't use them. (They are used for dogs who feel the urge to bite at the moving string or dive at the baggies, most often.)

Maria developed her own rules. RULES, I should say. Once she had moved up into the Field Champion division, some of the more experienced runners would cheat. Meaning, instead of following behind the baggies, they would guess which way the course would turn, and cut the corner. Maria was Highly Offended by this and would respond by running over to the cheater and SCREAMING, no, by SCREAMING in his or her ear.


I don't know why, but the judges took this as a sign of aggression, and no more lure coursing for the mouthy little redhead.

But she could race.

In racing, the whippets run in groups of six, out of a starting box, for 200 yards straight. No turns, no cheating. In racing they chase a furry lure, with a squawker inside, and a white garbage bag too. In racing, muzzles are mandatory, because all six whippets get to the end at around the same time, all bent on mauling the evil squawker lure.

Oh Maria did LOVE to race.

But by the time we started racing, she was not so fast. This did not diminish her love of it. This is a picture of Maria (#1) and her best ever friend Willow (#6). It looks like they are first and second, but I am quite comfortable in my assumption that they were last and next to last.
Can you see the smiles?

Maria only had one litter. Four girls and a boy. In the picture she is resting on Delia, with Promise and Pippin. I've never known her happier, and she loved her Luciano and Delia with all her maternal heart until her last day.

Showing Maria was a blast! She never did get her last win for her championship, and when she started to get bored with it we stopped. I could have sent her with a professional handler; she would have gotten her last win quickly. I had good handlers offer, frequently. But I just couldn't bear to send her away, or even to hand her to a professional ringside and then disappear. She drove my friends CRAZY. Good friends who were kind enough to hold her for me while I was in the ring with Caruso, Jazzbo, Giacomino, Willow, or Jessie.
Maria squeaked, trembled, cried, "MY TURN!!! MY TURN RIGHT NOW!!! I SAID IT IS MY TURN!!!!"
(To those of you who have held Lindy Loo ringside, she gets it honestly.)
There. It worked.
I found my exclamation points!!!
hug your hounds

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Floating Boulders and Southern Ice Skating

Our lives are still kind of topsy turvy.

Fat Charlie, who is 11 years old, and is sweet as sugar, stands and wags and stares at me. Two hundred and sixty-seven times a day.

I think he's trying to tell me that I lost her. That in my senile servitude, I've dropped off his Maria and forgotten to pick her up. So he's gotten three breakfasts a day and countless kisses, and I'm trying to go on and make life around here as usual.
Would you like to come along on our walkies today?
First is 14.5 year old, Giacomino, aka Very Old Dog. I was afraid he would be unhappy, walking alone, since he's walked with Maria for 13.5 years. She did not feel like walking with us for the last week (except Thursday; she went along on Thursday), and Giacomino felt silly and happy.

This is a great spot for pee mail, and sometimes there's a cat poop to try to nab.

Is that not the sweetest, most adorable face?

[Oh don't be so sentimental, silly human! Let's go walkies!!! The sun is out!]

Giacomino just goes around one block. He loves his walk.
The next walk today was Mama Pajama (Fat Charlie's litter sister), 8 year old Luciano, and Fat Charlie. Luciano had already walked to the river with his sissy Delia and Bill earlier. But he wanted to go again. (Looch and Delia are Maria's son and daughter.)

Here we are downtown, and I took a picture of us in a store window.

Yes, my hat has a whippet on top, with his own hat and scarf!

In front of the Federal Court House downtown. These guys walk about a mile.
Then it's the Wild Bunch's turn.

Lindy Loo, Sam I Am, and Swede William.

Our delicious and wonderful neighborhood coffee shop, named Et Cetera, has a post for dogs and they always put fresh water out. My dogs have never been tied there. If you click to enlarge, you will see Lindy Loo, who is Maria's great granddaughter, is VOICING her displeasure at this arrangement.

Swede William wanted a do over, in case his girlfriend Teka or his Nana Lisa might see. Also he wanted to show how he had hog-tied Lindy Loo. Sammy's just being good.

We have a new ice skating rink in Paducah!!! It is WAY popular.

And on the river was a tug pushing several barges full of HUGE rocks. (Notice Lindy Loo's concern.)

Okay, they'd been as good for as long as they could. Chaos.

Nothing has made so much sense lately, so rocks the size of easy chairs floating down the river... there they were.

In front of the store where I sell my goodies.

It is a pretty downtown.
I hope you enjoyed our walks! We are trying to get back to normal. Maria spent her life creating smiles and laughter, and I feel she would not tolerate this sorrow for long.

Hug your precious hounds

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Remembering Gifts

Maria was my smallest whippet. Diminutive only in physical mass, her presence was luminous and cosmic. And, as I've mentioned, brassy.

She came from a "show kennel" before I knew better. One of too many puppies from too many litters, Maria did not know how to enjoy lap time. If you put her on your lap she would stiffen like an ice sculpture and try to drip off. Until her last two years. Something switched in her brain, and though she would grunt when you lifted her, she would soon relax.

But she was a cuddler from the get go. On the couch, in bed, under my blanket.
And she was a gift giver.

The following is an excerpt from a chapter in my first book, Mama Pajama Tells A Story, titled The Gifts.

After a particularly long, harrowing day at work, my husband and I fell into bed, exhausted. As we turned to each other in the dark, we were each struck by the thought that something was terribly wrong with the other.
There was a smell. A very bad smell.
OK, there had been plenty of garlic in the pasta, but this odor went way beyond garlic breath.
First we thought the other had suddenly developed a gross deficiency in his/her personal hygiene. Then we thought the other must have a terrible infection somewhere awful.
I sat up and turned on the light.
"Bill," I said.
"Patience!" he said.
"I don't have any infected, unhygienic anything," we both said.
I jumped out of bed and peeled back the sheets. Nothing. I lifted the pillows, and

there was our little gift: a putrefied slimy long-dead baby bird.
Maria had snuck it in from the yard and buried it under the pillow. Just for us!
After we changed the sheets and took a shower just for good measure, Bill and I laughed ourselves to sleep.
Years later, we still check under the pillows before getting in bed.

She shared with us the gift of being a world champion squeaky toy squeaker. She could squeak a squeaker three times a second nonstop for the entire time it took to fix dinner. I loved it. Drove poor Bill crazy. And, if the mood struck, which it usually did, she could de-stuff a stuffie faster than I could say, "Maria, what are you doing, it's too quiet, where...?"

Many a time our yard appeared to be a Colorado January, when in fact it was Kentucky August. Stuffie 'snow' everywhere.

She was the most efficient self-coverer. She could wrap herself in a blanket so effectively, that you could peer in a crate, or pass by a couch, or sit on your bed, and not realize there was a little whippet tucked in. In her dotage, she gifted me with the privilege of covering her.

"Arf." Translated: Servant!
[Patience continues with what she was doing.]
"Arf." Translated: I said, Servant!
"Coming, Maria."
"Arf. Arf." Now.
"I'm coming!"
"Arf. Arf. Arf." A little whippet could freeze to death, let's get a move on.
"There you go, all covered up, snug as can be."
[thirty seconds pass]
"Arf." Not quite comfy enough. I moved. You are allowed to try again.

She would start barking at me for her diner, which is served at five, at three. And if I said, "MARIA!" in exasperation, she would look stricken for two seconds, and then realize my error, and wag that tail, and bounce off her front feet as she redoubled her barking efforts.

I could prompt, "Maria, what does a cheerleader say?"
And if we were alone, she would say, "Rah, rah, rah," clear as a bell.
If I were showing off for company, she would say, "Arf, arf, arf, arf, wooooooooo!" and get the whole pack howling.
Giving me the gift of humility, of course.
If she were here, she'd be barking at me to get off my duff and walk the dogs, so I will, and I'll maybe reminisce a bit more, later.

hug your hounds

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

A Lifetime of Laughter

Never has a soul brought more laughter into a home.
Such spark.
Such sass.
Little Miss Mouth of the South.

Which makes it way too quiet now.
Too dark.
Too reverent.
No cheerleader saying rah rah rah.

Delia is looking for you,
Her sweet mom.
Me too.
I'm going to keep thinking I hear you.

I hate my empty arms.
Empty bed.
Extra bowl.
But you made me laugh out loud

For almost fourteen years,
and I thank you.
Now run
And tell God to hurry up with dinner.

And snuggle with your best friend Willow,
And Gracious,
And roach in the sun with Opie.

I miss you, sweet pea.

February 7, 1995 - November 18, 2008

Monday, November 17, 2008


Oh my DOGS!!!

Looky here, I made a new blog

Have a visit and have fun. I'll be putting all KINDS of fun stuff on (so I can afford to finish my book) and so you can have the coolest holidays EVER.

Thanks. I mean it.

hug your hounds

Sunday, November 16, 2008

snug as...

three bugs in a rug.
[Luciano, Lindy Loo and Swede William demonstrate]
We believe in creature comforts around here. (And in the bottom right corner of that photo is my red flannel paw print jammies with the heating pad chord hanging down! We are equal opportunity creature comfort providers.)
Maria had another couple of days of not feeling up to snuff. She seems to be feeling a little better tonight.
hug your hounds and keep them warm and safe

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

iPet of the week - YOURS

We had a horrible discovery in my beautiful, good, friendly corner of the world.

A massive dog fighting ring.

My wonderful vet, Ol' Poke 'n Stick himself, whom you've met many a time on this blog, had the ugly job of assisting the Sherriff's office in the investigation.

Ol' Poke 'n Stick, with Lindy Loo's sissy, Simmer in October, 2006)

So, in today's iPet of the Week I suggested that we donate to the shelter which took in 72 pit bulls, and that we honor the 11 poor dogs fished out of the river by devoting some extra time and attention to our own pets.

You can read it HERE.

hug your hounds

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Hugs... whippet style

I got nine hours - NINE - of writing purely on the book today. Woo-hoo! So I'm taking a minute to share these.
Check the paw over the back.

It's that yin yang thing!

hugs from us to you and yours

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Meet Mortise!

This week's iPet of the Week is really fun!

Meet Mortise the Boxer HERE. Mortise is one cool dude. He ate a box spring. And half a couch.

[Please click to enlarge this photo... it's worth it!]

And just a note: I am finishing my book. This leaves me with no time. Every spare second goes to the book.

PLEASE understand!!! And please be forgiving. I feel like I have abandoned you, dear readers, after all your tremendous support. I am trying to produce something which you will enjoy, and be proud of, and take credit for. Yup, you all can take a lot of credit for this book. You have given me strength, courage and confidence (not a feeling at which I excel), and knowing you are waiting has kept me on task.

Okay, back to work for me!

hug your hounds