Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Dog Bloggers Beware!!!

Sammy and I were tooling down the road, windows open, A/C on high, feeling fancy free on the way to our Agility class last night. Of course we had the radio tuned to National Public Radio.

I heard a story that got me thinking. (That happens a lot when you listen to NPR.) It was about Mommy Bloggers. You can hear or read it HERE. Apparently those Mommy Bloggers are sneaking PAID ADVERTISEMENTS into the text of their blogs and not informing their readers.

In fact, they are compromising their integrity for a buck, and they are drawing the attention of the Federal Trade Commission.

Can you imagine what would happen if the Dog Bloggers got bought off? Oh my. The whippets suddenly endorsing ...


As we were on our lovely walk, we happened upon a stupid, ugly, stinking err... love ... choke ... lovely city squirrellie that we chewed into bloody bits who looked like he wanted some Corn Pone For Squirrel Enemies Friends! You can buy Corn POISON Pone at your local store.

No, I don't think that would work at all.

Dogs can't lie.

Hug your truthful hounds!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

The Cancer Dance

My sister Martha is in the hospital again. She was diagnosed with stage 4 ovarian cancer on March 24. That she is still fighting, (with all her strength, I might add), is proof of her superhuman courage.

She inspires me. Ha. That's an understatement from the Hyperbole Queen.

Last night I was able to make her laugh and laugh during our daily phone call. I told her about my adventures playing kickball (for the first time - why yes, I'm 55, why do you ask?) yesterday at the Summer Festival. I took Bill's dad's old cane to the game and limped up to the plate with it.

Martha hasn't been home since March 24. She has gone back and forth between the hospital and the extended care facility. Her superfriends have literally gutted her house: new paint, new carpet, new furniture. Martha has gotten to see it on a day trip, but that's all. I encouraged her to remind all of her medical team that she wants to go home. She'll get re-admitted; that's a given. Where's the harm in letting her go home for a little bit?

Anyway, one of my favorite blogfriends is battling his own cancer, and one of his commenters posted the following video. I just had to share this dance!

manda 8 @ Yahoo! Video

I know I haven't been too clever and funny lately. My readership is shrinking like a slug in salt. I'll have funny stuff to write about again.

Extra thanks to those of you who are hanging in there with me.

hug your hounds, and think some good thoughts about letting Martha spend a couple of days or a week in her own home

Thursday, July 23, 2009

What Do You Love To Do?

(Emmett at practice a couple of years ago)

I don't want to begin this post with a poor me litany, but I need a preface for the thing to make sense.

Let's just say that since March, I've have more than the usual opportunities to build my character. Way more.

Last night I was calmly listing the factors involved in creating the sensation that my head was screwed on too tight. You know, the feeling that your eyeballs didn't fit in your skull anymore and at any moment they would go *BOING* and pop out on cartoon springs, while your ears flap like two flags in a hurricane. Bill listened, and agreed that events over which I have no control were standing in a long line to whack the snot out of me.

"All you can do is take it as it comes and do what you can to get through it," said my wise and wonderful husband.

That conversation happened while I was packing up Swede William and Lindy Loo for their weekly handling class (practice for dog shows) at the Kennel Club. I would pick up Emmett on the way. Sometimes it's a pain in the ass to get up the energy to go.

An Afghan hound breeder and I share the teaching duties. She's been wonderful about taking up the slack when I can't be there. Plus, she's a talented handler. I learn a lot just by watching her.

Last night I wanted to work with Emmett. He needed more one-on-one than I'd been able to give him. Vicki kindly put her own dog away and let me be a participant.

Nothing earth-shattering happened. Emmett did great. I watched other dogs improve. We laughed. We encouraged each other. We celebrated Esther's wins with her Shar Pei puppy - her first ever wins with her first ever show dog. I fed my soul with forkfuls of a silly happy whippet standing like a champion race horse. Wearing a look of eagles and then dissolving in goosey wags.
Oh. Wait. Something earth-shattering did happen. My headache went away. The knots in my gut relaxed. I forgot that I was worried. I played with dogs.

I just played with my dogs. And that is what I love to do.

hug your hounds

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Sunday Silence

Every one in this house is asleep, except me. It's nine o'clock on a cool, grey Sunday morning.

We got up, as usual, around six and had our breakfasts. Bill didn't sleep well last night, for no particular reason, he said. I know when I got up to let a dog out - was it Fat Charlie or Easy, I can't recall - he was reading in his recliner. It was somewhere around two, chilly and pitch dark out.

"Can't sleep," I asked?
"I'm coming back to bed now," he answered. And he did.

I'm trying to switch the dogs to raw food. It's not working. I've tried before. It didn't work then. Isn't the definition of insanity to attempt the same behavior and expect different outcomes?

I didn't walk the dogs this morning. That is a radical departure from our normal routine. After coffee and the paper, Bill went upstairs and reclined in his recliner. I bought it for his birthday several years ago. He loves that chair. Mama Pajama and Delia keep him company on the day bed.

I poked around on Whippet World and Facebook. I let the gastric-ly upset dogs out again. That's going to be tough to scoop, I thought. I truly don't want to share that with my neighbors on walks, I thought. I poked around some more on the computer. The dogs went to sleep. Sound asleep. No lobbying for walks. We gave up or maybe gave in and went upstairs.

This town is quiet. The windows are open. It's crazy cool. Often this time of year the temperature never gets below eighty. It plummeted down to the fifties last night. The quiet blows in the windows on the breeze. I didn't even hear a church bell; maybe they gave in, too. Not a single car has passed. The whole neighborhood is a church this morning: empty, that feeling of a sacred chill, old, beautiful, at once familiar and aloof.

My front door opens like the heavy, antique, creaky mahogany doors of the Immanuel Episcopal Church in a tiny town in Maryland. Swede William ambles out. He stretches, yawns. The sun has decided to absolve us after all. William arches his neck. I am fascinated by the absolute, raw beauty of this dog, in its soft, satin paradox of art deco curves and Tour de France muscles.

The sun feels friendly. Time to walk.

Hug your hounds

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Stupid and a Half!

I'm a jumpy sort of person. Just born that way.

I avoid scary movies, dark alleys, sudden loud noises. The Fourth of July is not my favorite time of the year.

Fireworks are legal in these parts so my city has been exploding for two weeks. BANG! POP! TZZZZING! POW! With every cherry bomb I jump. Then I'm grateful that there are currently no thunder-phobic dogs here. Oh dear, then I miss the two recently departed thunder phobes. It's that breath taking moment of empty arms.

At last, the seemingly endless supply of explosives has been exhausted. The neighborhood noises have returned to the norm: softer booms and bangs of home construction; the high whine of the tuck-pointer's saw; the train a block over.

We walked extra early this morning. It's getting hot again. The geriatric crew, Fat Charlie, Mama Pajama, Easy, and I were enjoying the barely dawn quiet. We greeted a few other early morning walkers, folks in uniforms, carrying lunches, headed to the bus station to catch a ride to work.

It was peaceful.

And then, out of nowhere, THWACK! Something made a loud CRACK on the sidewalk just five feet in front of the dogs' noses. We all jumped and I let out a little shriek!


I've been walking whippets since 1992, so any sort of shock causes my hands to reflexively tighten my grip on the leashes. That's a good thing because the cause of the THWACK was the King of the Stupid City Squirrels who had fallen out of a tree right above our heads.

Think of it. You're a big fat Stupid City Squirrel. You're sitting in your tree thinking of ways to torment dogs and their humans. Oh, look, here come three dogs with mouths like alligators. Wouldn't you hang on to your branch a little tighter? Nooooo, you do a Stupid City Squirrel nanny-nanny-boo-boo dance, blowing raspberries, and fall out of your tree into the pack of dogs!

I've been extra jumpy today.

Lord knows what will fall out of the sky at us next.

hug your hounds

Wednesday, July 8, 2009


The whippets got an exciting package all the way from England!


Hmmmm. What is THIS!!!???

I'll tell you what it is: it's MINE, that's what it is!

Easy checks 'em out.

Lindy Loo hides hers


Thanks, Auntie Wendy, we LOVE them!
wags from the whippets
who say hug your servants and your English Aunties!

*** if you are a
Katherine Haynes and have ordered collars from me PLEASE email me with your dog's neck measurements!

Monday, July 6, 2009


Those of you who are Facebook friends or Twitter followers may have noticed that I cleaned the house yesterday. I am not a good Hannah Housewife. I figure I'm married to a man, not a house!
The dogs know something is up when the scrub brush and mops come out. Either we're getting company, or I'm going away. They watch. They all stick a little closer, and listen more carefully to street noises. Will I get out the suitcases?

So, they were on their tippy toes when Susan and Jeanette came through the gate. Susan and Jeanette are good friends. They lived with us for a brief time a couple of years ago, when they were between 'here and there'.

Susan wondered if the dogs would remember them.

Do you think?
Hug your hounds

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Laundry Day

Yesterday I laundered the upstairs dog bedding. There's a perfect little cubby in the guest bath where I stack the folded blankets and pads. They fit just right.

Once I'm finished, I carry the pile to our closet, replacing the pile which replaced the old bedding from the crates and on the couches.

It's an all day job, but a pleasant one.

I went in to switch the last load from the washer to the dryer, and to fold the next to last load.


Was there an earthquake? An inside tornado? A poltergeist? My nice, tidy, folded pile was...

Oh, I see.
My nice tidy, folded pile was made much more comfy!
Hug your hounds

Friday, July 3, 2009

Fat Charlie Went a-Walking!

(treasured photo by Laurie Erickson)

One of my favorite stories is Fat Charlie Went a-Running! , (thanks to Whippet World for the online hosting). The story tells of Fat Charlie's return to run in a race after a long injury lay off.

The top photo is of my dear, late friend Carolyn giving Fat Charlie a cool sponge bath and a kiss after that very race.

May I tell you just a bit about this dog? He is twelve now. His is a mush, my softest whippet. When he was born he was a big fat white marshmallow. If another dog in the house has done something Against The Rules, sweet Fat Charlie looks mortified.


Leave a thawing London broil or an entire loaf of ciabatta bread on the counter? Fat Charlie appreciates that I left such a fabulous treat just for him. He rewards me mightily for this good behavior, with dancing kisses and happy wags.

He rarely asks for anything, and when he does, he does by staring handsomely at me. About three times each morning he hops down from his spot on the couch. I look up from my typing or sewing and see a Fat Charlie with the exact expression you see in the red-bordered photo. It is up to me to determine what he needs. Usually he only wants a scratch, a kiss, and a return to the couch with his blankets re-arranged. Sometimes a drink. Occasionally a trip outside for a sunbath in the papasan chair.

Fat Charlie is a very good dog.

He was getting slower and slower on our morning walks. And then he stopped going altogether.

At walk time he would get in his crate, looking at me. "I don't want to go," he said.

This dog who would stay in our big yard at the farm for hours, lying in the sun, scanning for squirrels and fun, loving life. I would call him inside and he would look at me and wag just the very end of his tail. "Must I?" he'd ask. "May I stay out here a little longer?"

This dog who would turn inside out when he heard the word 'walk'. Who could spell w.a.l.k. and o.u.t.

Now he didn't even want to go.

I blamed the city. Sidewalks are hard on arthritic feet. Stupid City Squirrels: all evil temptation and no fun. Horrid cats everywhere. And it has been so hot.

Again, this morning at walk time, he put himself in his crate and got his biscuit. When I got to the kitchen door with Mama Pajama and Easy, I did what I've done every day since he stopped going - I tried once more.

"Fat Charlie, want to go for a walk?"

Well, he changed his mind. He came flying out of the dog room (I never shut the door on his crate) with a big grin. And we went for a walk. Lots of time dawdling, lots of sniffing, lots of soaking up the sun in this glorious unusually cool morning weather.

I think I started calling Giacomino Very Old Dog when he was twelve.

I can't imagine calling Fat Charlie Very Old Dog. He's just my big, fat, marshmallow puppy.

(how lucky am I: Laurie Erickson photo)

hug your hounds

Guts, Redux

hug your hounds

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Great Green Gobs of Greasy Grimy Gopher Guts

hug your stuffie-murderin' hounds

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Last Night's Dinner


Home made ravioli - garbanzo beans, arugula, Parmesan filling, with pesto in won ton wrappers a la Bill Renzulli.

He's working on a plan to offer pasta preparation workshops in our humble, homey kitchen. You should see the collection of recipes he's printed for the occasion.

I'm drooling.

Oh, and the dogs totally enjoyed licking the plates!

hug your hounds