Game of Thrones, My New iPad, & Other Things I’m Obsessed with This Week

Rescued Mutts

I made this video a couple weeks ago after Maybelle experienced another one of her weird late-night “episodes.” Today I brought the video to the vet with us, but we still aren’t sure what’s going on. I’m supposed to keep a log of these episodes, which are pretty infrequent (once every three months or so). My vet — who I love — had one other suggestion for me. If we determine that she’s not having small seizures — or can’t figure out what’s going on — that perhaps we should see an “animal communicator.” Apparently she’s got a couple she trusts and now I just kind of want to go anyway…

Anyway, has anyone ever seen something like this? It fits some of the “small seizure” criteria, but I’m still kind of hoping for ghosts.

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My Girl Crush on Tia Torres

I have an obsession with Pitbulls & Parolees… Not with the actual dogs and felons, but the Animal Planet reality show that centers around Tia Torres and her Villalobos Rescue Center. I’ve always liked the show but it  really hooked me when Tia decided to relocate her rescue from the deserts of California — where locals weren’t being too friendly — to New Orleans.

Why does the location of the the show matter to me? Well, much like the dogs and people Tia tries to help, New Orleans is a bit of an underdog. It needs help. I’ve often thought that if I was just going to pick up and leave my life, New Orleans is where I’d go. I’ve never been the kind of person who wants to move to a hip, thriving city like Austin or Portland. I would move to a place with potential, that needs the help of people who care. Continue reading

I Love Autumn, but I Don’t Love Deer

Every year I start to get an urge to write about how much I love autumn. Frankly, I feel stupider for it… Of course I love autumn. I live in New England. I like sweaters and boots and crunchy leaves under my feet. I love walking in the woods without being swarmed by bugs, or having to balance my need to be cool with my need to protect my body parts from things that bite. I love apples and I loooooooove cinnamon… I even kind of like raking. (mostly because my yard isn’t that big, and I don’t have to bag my leaves because the town comes and picks them up).

I don’t always love the garden cleanup — it’s a little depressing and messy — but that’s OK…because this:

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Paranormal Activity: The Canine Edition

I’ve had my dog for about three months. In this time I have discovered that she’s more or less fearless. Except for the normal wariness of vacuums and baths, nothing seems to phase her. I’m sure that part of it is her breed — she’s a Cattle Dog mix, and any 40 lb dog who is bred to take on a bull without backing down has to have nerves of steel — but I think part of it is that whoever had her before me, did a good job of socializing her. She seems to trust people implicitly. The day I picked her up at the Humane Society she allowed me to literally pick her up and put her in the car. (My dogs growing up would freak out if you tried to pick them up…even when they were old and having trouble getting around on their own.) Maybelle will even do things like follow me across an unstable bridge on a playscape and loves the vet. When I walked her across a set of big metal bleachers she looked alarmed by the new surface and practically crawled across them, but she did it… she made it across and the next time it wasn’t such a big deal.

Every once in awhile I might ask her to do something and she looks at me like I’m crazy, and she might find a better way to accomplish the task, but she rarely backs away from anything. So when she woke me up whining at 2 a.m. last night I assumed she was having a bathroom emergency. Perhaps she had not gone before bed when I let her outside. I got up, put her collar on her, and started to head downstairs but she just stood there looking at me like she’d never seen stairs before. She would tentatively take a step down and then retreat. It was baffling.  Continue reading

To Do or Not to Cockadoodledoo: Backyard Chickens

For quite some time now I’ve dreamed of having chickens. (Blame Barbara Kingsolver.)

Before I’d even closed on my house my mom told me that chickens were illegal in my town. It didn’t matter much since my yard is quite small and I wasn’t about to give up a whole corner of it to chickens. But I hadn’t been in my neighborhood for long before I started hearing the distinct cockadoodledoo of a rooster.

I thought this was strange. Many owners of backyard chickens will tell you that, as long as your neighbors are OK with your chickens it doesn’t matter much what the law says. But the one sure fire way to tick off your neighbors is to get a rooster. As far as I can tell, the rooster owner doesn’t even have hens.

He’s not very loud, and too far away from me to be much of a bother. I only really hear him when I’m outside, but I do wonder what his neighbors think. But, if he can get away with having a rooster, something tells me my neighbors won’t mind a couple of hens.

Guess My Breed!!

Let’s play a new game I’m calling, “Guess My Breed!”

This is my dog Maybelle. She’s a very pretty lady, that’s for sure. But her heritage is more than just a little confusing.

From the neck down she’s all Australian Cattle Dog. And she’s definitely got the herding instinct and brains of a working dog. But that head… well, it’s a mystery. I’ve got some ideas about where I think that head came from, but I’m interested to see what other people think.

Those ears. That color. Those eyes. What’s your best guess?

Food: Preventative Medicine

opacity, Flickr Creative Commons

I’ve spent the last few nights researching pet food. My cats have been on prescription food for urinary tract care for several years. Then when I adopted Maybelle I started researching dog food. I wasn’t just going to toss some Alpo in her bowl but I’m not going to spend my evening cooking food for her either. This led to me thinking more about the prescription food the cats were on.

As tends to be the case I realized I had to make a decision when the cat food started running out, but I wasn’t quite ready. I read some reviews and it seemed that people who had cats with struvite crystals and urinary tract problems had success switching them from prescription products to Pro Plan Urinary formula. But after reading the ingredient list it was clear to me it would only be an inexpensive short-term fix. While all of this way going on, my aunt and my mother asked me to go online and order them some crap to put in their water which supposedly cures cancer or something. (This was especially ridiculous as  they asked me to do this while drinking and smoking and wolfing down Yorkshire Pudding.)  Continue reading

Farewell to Wilbur!

I’ve been racked with guilt about not adopting Wilbur. So what if he’s too lazy to hike with, and too stubborn to learn to sit? He’s a doll. So ever since I adopted May, we’ve been visiting Wilbur at the pound. Everyone gets a little exercise and the dogs get acquainted, in case I were to lose my mind and take in a second pooch.

The funny thing is, Wilbur seems to be the one dog May plays like a normal dog with. Whenever she’s off-leash with other dogs she herds them incessantly, which wouldn’t be so bad if not for the barking. For some reason, May plays like a normal dog with WIlbur. Even when they get running, she doesn’t go into full herding mode. I think it might be because Wilbur just starts wrestling with her when he’s too tired to run anymore. (Though, in the video, you can see her biting his heels like a good Blue/Red Heeler should.)

Wilbur’s had some good news, though. He has found a home with a nice family looking for a couch potato. I couldn’t be more happy for him, but May and I will miss him terribly. It’s not going to be easy to find another dog to counteract her nutty herding behavior.


Get Them Doggies Rollin’

Maybelle and I met up with Tracy and Tulla at the dog park today and after about 2 hours of watching my new pup try to herd the other dogs and generally boss them around I decided I should get more familiar with the Cattle Dog in her. This is, apparently, what I have to look forward to.

Meet Mother Maybelle!

After waking me up half-an-hour before my alarm so she could go outside, she zonked back out. Unfair.

I’ve been spending countless hours on Petfinder, agonizing over which of the thousands of dogs was right for me. It’s impossible to make a decision that way — at least for me. So on Saturday my bestfriend Allison came down with her 10-month old baby (I can’t believe he’s almost a year!!) and we headed to lunch and ultimately to the Humane Society. Frankly we were expecting to just look. I had forgotten to bring any proof of homeownership, and didn’t think they’d let me take her. Turns out if they feel like you’re not lying to them, that’s good enough and they’ll let you take the pup home.

So we passed pretty quickly by the runs with litters of adorable but completely insane puppies in them. Then there were two beautiful Shepherd mixes, but they were big, young, and kind of nuts. And then sitting quietly in her run, waiting patiently for a little attention was Maybelle. She looked plenty calm to me, but she’s a cattle dog-mix so the sheet on her kennel said she was a level 9 on the energy scale and would probably be into extreme sports. That clearly was not going to be the case but I listened to the “this is an active breed” speech anyway.  Continue reading

They Need Your Help!

During my Doggy Deliberations I’ve been spending a lot of time on Petfinder. There’s just so many to choose from. I don’t have a fence yet, so I continue to hem and haw when it comes to make a decision. But over the past couple of days I’ve been following the goings-on at the City of Hartford Animal Shelter pretty closely. They’ve got 8 dogs they need to get out by the end of the week or they’ll face euthanasia. Sad.

As you might imagine, they’re mostly pitbulls…which, sadly, seems to be the case just about everywhere. But if you’re in the market for “Pibble” (as Rachael Ray calls her dogs) or just any dog, please consider one of these guys. I have a feeling I might be caving in by the end of the week. (Click on a doggy’s picture to read about each one.)

Cats & Dogs: Can’t We All Just Get Along?

Moving into my house made me finally feel comfortable, and settled enough to really think about getting a dog. But…I’ve got two cats, and one has historically been very afraid of dogs. Even little dogs. I used to dog-sit a daschund and Jerry, my scaredy cat, would just hide under the bed unless the dog was asleep in his crate. Jerry outweighed the dog by at least 6 pounds.

So I’ve been on a mission to desensitize him to dogs. Oddly my first attempt, with another small dog, didn’t seem to go over that well. He continued to hide under the bed, and make terrible growling and wailing noises (that my friend describes as a muffled fire engine). I was, however, surprised to wake up in the morning (with the dog under the blankets in my bed) to find Jerry wandering freely around my room. Once the dog got up that was all over, but at least I knew he’d come out from under the bed.

Then another friend stopped by with her border collie. Jerry went and hid upstairs again, but when the dog settled down I saw him come creeping down the stairs. As soon as he saw the dog he high-tailed it upstairs again but that was a big step forward. (Meanwhile, my other cat was feeling a bit threatened by the dog’s boldness and attacked him to let him know who is boss.) Continue reading