Archive for November, 2012

What is it about a stick that attracts a dog?  Sure, they are fun to chew on and chase and even carry around at times, but when the stick is as big as the dog, you would think things would get a little awkward.  Obviously, Zella doesn’t care:


Yippee!! I found a stick that is as long as me!


**Prance, prance, prance**
Sure, this may look awkward as this heavy branch pulls my head sideways, but boy am I having fun!


I present to you…my stick. Please oh please oh please throw it for me! Pretty please?


Grimm, like any younger sibling, coveted the big stick that Zella had found.  He tried to steal it from her a few times and even offered her a chewed up frisbee in exchange.  But really–who in their right mind would exchange such an awesome piece of wood for a ragtag piece of plastic?

Not to be outdone, Grimm found his own stick–the mightiest stick of all (at least that could be found in my backyard at the moment):


Ha! My stick is bigger than your stick, Zella! Who’s more awesome now, huh?


Grimm’s stick was so long and bulky, he had trouble carrying it around.  He kept tripping over it and finally he settled for just chewing on it.  When he got tired of munching on his tree branch, he just sat and stared at it and laid by it and babysat the stick for a while.

Zella saw the monstrous stick and of course she wanted what Grimm had found.  No way was little brother going to have the more mighty length of wood.  She didn’t try to bargain for it or perform some covert operation to steal the stick–she just flat out took it from him.


I’ll take this, thank you very much.


You would have thought that the stick was big enough for them to share–Grimm could gnaw on one end while Zella pulverized the other.  Oh, no…Zella wanted to drag the giant stick around the yard–without Grimm’s help.  She got stuck a few times trying to bring her prize with her, and even tried to bring it indoors at one point, but no way was she giving Grimm back his stick.  It was hers now. Grimm had to settle for her cast-off branch.


This giant stick sure is tasty! It may take me a while to turn it into sawdust.


What was Charley doing, you may ask, while the younger ones battled over stick supremacy?  Well, Charley doesn’t really care about sticks.  He only would ever fetch sticks when swimming was involved, and since he doesn’t do much of that anymore, he proceeded to perform the one skill he has absolutely mastered over the years:  steal my bed.


Those wild young ‘uns can keep their rough, hard sticks. I prefer comfy, soft beds. And yep, you ain’t seeing things. I do have my rump on my owner’s pillow. I make my own rules–ain’t nobody gonna tell me I have to use a pillow only for my noggin.


Well, guess who’s changing their sheets today?  Thanks, Charley, for putting your dog butt on my pillow.  Just glad you are comfortable.





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Apparently Grimm thinks he is some sort of Tarzan.  See for yourself:


Earlier this week, he and Zella decided that it would be awesome to mimic beavers and gnaw one of the climbing arms of my Lady Banks rose off of its base.  This old rose has climbed all over the hackberry tree it neighbors and thus this vine was very well anchored in and around the tree.  Once separated from its base, the vine then became a free-floating, dangling stem for the dogs to grip onto and hang from.  Zella quickly tired of the swinging-from-the-vine game and decided to go munch on a frisbee instead.  Grimm, however, thinks he is some gravity defying Cirque du Soleil protege and refuses to leave the vine alone.

When he grabs the vine with his mouth, his front legs can no longer reach the ground.  At times, his whole body is dangling from the rose vine as he slowly twirls in a circle.  He tugs and wrestles with the organic climber but no matter how hard he tries, he cannot pull the vine down.  He has, however, caused the vine to knock against some of the dead limbs of the hackberry tree which support it, so at least he has managed to prune the tree for me.

Zella also pretends she is Tarzan at times, although she likes to swing from a proper rope and not a vine.  Here she is doing her impersonation of soap on a rope.

Some dogs really enjoy tugging on a rope or other such toy.  Certain breeds, especially pit bulls, American bulldogs and other “bully breeds”, have a deep, ingrained desire to grasp, hold and tug.  This was originally what these types of dogs where bred for and this genetic trait can be seen in our dogs today.  With their big ol’ heads and strong necks and jaws, these dogs can literally dangle from a rope or other such instrument.  However, this sort of grasping and grappling isn’t so easy on their teeth, especially when you have a dog like Grimm who now thinks any tree branch within mouth’s reach would be fun to try to hang from.

See any splinters in there? Take a good look–this may be the last time Grimm has pretty teeth. Because he likes to hang from woody vines and tree limbs, he may soon start looking like a hillbilly.

Tarzan…I mean Grimm…hopefully will become tired of swinging from his vine.  It looks like this vine may very soon become too high for him to reach.  All of his chomping and tugging has slowly whittled away it’s end.  Time to get out more ropes so I can save my trees.  Apparently my dog has a chainsaw for a mouth.


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How do we come up with the title of our blogs?  Some of us use our own names, more use a phrase or conglomerate of words that catch the interest of a reader.  Others, like me, use puns…but that is not the only reason this blog is called Grimm’s Furry Tail.



Obviously, I have a dog named Grimm.  And yes, he has a furry tail (although not nearly as furry as some other tails).  It is because of this tail, however, that I ended up becoming Grimm’s guardian.  You may wonder what his tail has to do with anything.  Well, let me explain:

Before I was his owner, when Grimm was originally brought into the veterinary clinic (my place of employment), he was placed in a cage in my inpatient area of the hospital while waiting for the results of his parvo test.  You really would not have even known he was there.  He was small at the time and the large kennel swallowed his black little self in its embrace.  He didn’t whine or bark and wasn’t unruly. The cage was just a place for him to wait.

I kept hearing loud thunks coming from the kennel he was in.  If you glanced at the pup, he seemed still…except for his tail.  Bang, bang, bang.  It whipped back and forth against the walls of the cage and the sounds would speed up when anyone walked by.  It never stopped moving the entire 10 minutes it took for the test to run.  When I overheard that his current owners at the time were planning on euthanizing him because he ended up testing positive for parvo, I glanced at the pup and his still wiggling tail.  How could they not even try to save him, I thought.  Someone needed to–any pup who could still whip his tail that enthusiastically in the face of a possible death sentence deserved a chance.  I assumed ownership of the black pup and his banging appendage–Grimm and his furry tail–and saved him from death.

The old proverb “For want of a nail, the kingdom was lost” has been used to illustrate the idea that some small item can cause much greater consequences–in this case, because a horse lost the nail on his shoe his rider was thrown. The rider was then unable to convey an important message which was key in winning a battle.  Because the battle was lost, the kingdom fell and all was destroyed.

I propose a new proverb with a much more positive connotation:  “Because of a tail, a dog was saved.”  Grimm’s furry tail heralded his enthusiasm and proclaimed his will to live.  His rear end was the start to our beginning and, to give credit where credit is due, became the title of this blog.


This is actually the more dangerous end of my dogs–their thin little tails become weapons of mass destruction when they are happy or excited. Coffee tables lose their decoration, walls and door frames get pounded into submission and lower legs sting when the pit tails are near.


To this day, Grimm’s tail continues to proclaim his enthusiasm for life.  As he has gotten bigger (and his tail longer), the beating his furry appendage dishes out really has gotten painful.  His tail whips back and forth and wags the whole rear end assemblage.  He can never stay completely still–as soon as a person makes eye contact, his tail starts moving.  If someone starts to talk to him, the tail moves faster.  If someone touches him, well, the tail moves fast enough to create a rather large current.   He ends up folding himself in half and whacking himself in the head with his own rudder.  Sometimes I think his tail even annoys him–when it gets going too fast, sometimes he’ll grab it in his mouth to keep it from banging into his noggin.

People have commented on the brute strength Grimm’s tail possesses and some have even dared to suggest I have it shortened.  Obviously those people don’t realize the importance of his hindmost part.  Even though it can be deadly at times, his tail was part of his saving grace and is as much a part of Grimm as the rest.  Grimm’s furry tail made Grimm’s fairy tale come true–it granted his wish for life and I mean to make it the best I can.



A mountain is composed of tiny grains of earth. The ocean is made up of tiny drops of water. Even so, life is but an endless series of little details, actions, speeches, and thoughts. And the consequences–whether good or bad–of even the least of them are far-reaching.


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I think I have the nosiest dogs in existence.  I’m glad that they have enough confidence to stick their snouts in random bags and boxes, but it gets a little embarrassing when they start to investigate other people’s private purses. With the way they want to sniff and explore inside bags and satchels, you would think they worked as detection dogs.  I can guarantee, however, that my canines have never earned a dime moonlighting as sniffer dogs (unless you count the time Grimm almost ate the coin that he found while rooting under the driver’s seat of my car).

Whenever I come back from shopping or if a package arrives, all three of them immediately start sniffing and nosing at the bag or box.  They don’t steal anything from the bag, even if groceries are present; they just seem to want to check out the wares.


These three dogs may be some of the biggest busy-bodies you ever did see.


Me:  Hey, guys, haven’t you ever heard the saying, “Curiosity killed the cat?” Leave the bags and boxes alone.  Nothing in there is for you.

Zella, Charley & Grimm:  What do you mean, curiosity killed the cat?

Me:  You know–it’s a warning.  Something you might not expect may cause you harm if you poke around in something that is not your business.

Grimm:  Are you saying that someone is trying to kill us?  Well now we’ve really got to sniff and inspect all the packages–maybe there’s something dangerous in there…or even a dead kitty.

Me:  I give up.


All my canines act like little kids when I come back from the store.  What’s in the bag?  Whatcha got there?  Is anything for us?  They do, however, seem to know when a certain box of food or treats or a toy is for them.  I don’t know how they figure this out, but they do.  They’ll pay more attention to the canine item in the bag than they would to a human one even if it is something they have never seen (or smelled) before.  How do they know ?  It’s almost spooky at times.


Grimm can be a nosy little bugger.


A dog’s nose is truly a remarkable organ.  Their sense of smell is said to be more  than 10,000 times more sensitive than ours.  We have utilized this ability from the day the first human partnered up with the first canine.  A dog’s nose has helped our species in so many ways over the centuries.  It allows us to procure food by tracking prey or finding and retrieving game; helps us to avoid danger by sniffing out explosives and contraband; provides us with a way to search for our missing, wounded and dead; and more recently assists us in detecting cancer, mold, termites, bedbugs and other natural dangers.  Dogs have allowed us to make the world safer and more accessible because of their awesome scent detection.

As impressive as a canine’s nose may be, when it is shoved in areas it doesn’t belong it can become a nuisance, like when a pooch pokes his or her sniffer into someones crotch.  My dogs don’t do that (thank goodness) but I have had to apologize when my canine’s cranium has been buried neck deep into some friends purse or backpack.  I have no idea what my dog was looking for, but their busy-body, nosy self just had to take a peek.  Curiosity may have killed the cat, but nosiness seems to have distinguished the dog.  Seems dogs also have a talent for spinning deterrents into assets.




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Lately I’ve been hearing from everyone who runs into Grimm, “Wow!  He’s got a big head!”.  Even people who see him on a daily basis comment on how much bigger it seems.  I tell them two things:  he’s a pit bull, so he’s going to have a fat head and he is still only a teenager in dog years and still has some filling out to do.  Sometimes, because of his size, people forget he still really is just a big puppy…although now he’s a big puppy going through the teenage stage.


“Did someone say I have a big head?”


The teenage years in dogdom can be aggravating.  Think we humans have a monopoly on juvenile delinquents?  Think again.  All of my dogs have gone through a teenage rebellious age–interestingly enough, the girls of the species have always been the worst.  In my case, it isn’t because my dogs are reaching sexual maturity (as all have been spayed or neutered at or before reaching six months of age), but because they are becoming socially mature. They are still learning the ins and outs of the world and, like us humans, tend to get into more trouble as they learn from their mistakes.  They have their own wonder years–the transition from pup to adult–and during this time, they are putting out feelers to see what they can (and can’t) get away with, both with people and other dogs.

Case in point:  Grimm couldn’t seem to be serious today about taking some photos.  All I wanted was a nice portrait to commemorate his growing up.  This is what I got:


“You like this look? This is my gangsta’ face. Peace, yo.”


See what I mean?  Delinquent, for sure.  I’m pretty sure if he were able, he actually would have thrown some popular hand signal into the mix–peace sign, not the other.  He wouldn’t dare to be vulgar, I hope.

The pictures didn’t get any better as the day went on.  I thought making him pose with Zella would make him take things a little more seriously.  Nope.  See for yourself below:


“Is this a pretty face? I’m a boy–why do I have to look pretty?”


Because Grimm ruined the picture by sticking out his tongue, I had to take one of Zella by herself so she would at least have a decent portrait.


Zella is much happier when she doesn’t have to have her photograph taken with rambunctious Grimm. Like a typical little brother, he always tries to annoy her.


After several more failed attempts to take a nice portrait of Grimm, I resorted to bribery.  “If you sit still and smile nicely like the handsome young dog I know you to be, I will play frisbee with you.  Please.  Do this one thing for me.” Finally, he did:


See? Was that so hard?


Grimm mostly is a good boy.  Sure, he drives me crazy at times like most teenagers do.  All I can say is thank goodness I don’t have to worry about teaching him how to drive or underage drinking or teenage pregnancy.  Now if we can only solidify the fact that flip flops are not in fact food, we’ll be doing okay.

I always thought the reference to the wonder years as a rite of passage had to do more with the youth wondering about how the world works.  Really, now I think it has more to do with wondering if the youth will survive long enough to reach adulthood.  It’s not about the wonders of the world, but the questioning of, “Are they going to make it?”.  Sometimes I wonder about Grimm:  will the crazy decisions he makes and the crazy antics he performs allow him to reach maturity?  Only time will tell.  It’s not that I let him play in the street or run rampant–he just does perplexing things (as I’m sure you’ve read about on this blog).   Between his obsession with eating plastic frisbees (and then vomiting bloody foam and frisbee pieces days later) and not watching where he’s going (he runs into things constantly with his large cranium), well, all I can say is we’ll see.  I wonder how many times my parents thought the same about me.


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Grimm has been operating in only two modes lately:  dead to the world and go speed racer.  He is either passed out cold or running full blast.  I bet you can guess which rate of motion drives me crazy.  Why can’t he have a happy medium? To make things even more interesting, he somehow enlisted Zella in on the action, so now it is double the anarchy, double the fuss.

Charley tries to help me keep the younger ones in line. He referees their play and corrects them when they get too rowdy. When they are especially bad, Charley bores them to tears with stories of life when he was younger. “Back in my day, we didn’t have them fancy frisbees you young ‘uns love to chase. We had to chase old tin pie pans…or rocks…or if you were really lucky, you got to chase a stick.”

Grimm never just walks anywhere anymore.  He sprints…and makes himself an obstacle course, too.  For example, if he and I are leaving the bedroom to, say, go to the kitchen, he sprints out the bedroom door, jumps completely over the two steps that lead into the living room, jumps onto the couch, runs it’s length two or three times, jumps off the couch and runs a lap or two around it, scoots under the kitchen table, commando crawls under a dining room chair, then speed slides into the kitchen where he comes to an immediate halt and sits pretty, waiting for a possible treat.  Makes me tired just typing it.  At this point, I seriously wouldn’t be surprised if my Evel Knievel canine decided to add a circle of fire to his route.   Why he can’t just walk straight from the bedroom to the kitchen is beyond me.  My room is only about 25 feet from the kitchen–Grimm’s circuitous route has to at least triple the distance.  Seems to me the shorter route would get him to the treat faster.

*Boing*! Gotta keep moving! Come on, Zella, no time to waste!

My wild dog does the same thing outside.  I expect him to run around when he’s out there, but there’s run around and then there is run A round.  Grimm literally runs three full, perfect circles of the yard before he commences exploration of his terrain.  He makes up obstacle courses outside, too–over the bush, through the culvert, backflip off the deck and weave through the bamboo. I get dizzy just watching him.

Now I know what you are going to say:  you must not be exercizing him enough.  Unless I can find an Olympic marathon runner who wants to have a tag-a-long canine training partner, there is not much more I can do.  I run him. I work him.  I let him play with his canine buddies for hours (three hours today). At this point, I feel like I am just helping him increase his stamina and am shooting myself in the foot.  Don’t get me wrong–I tire him out and he sleeps like the dead, but once he’s refreshed, well, life in the fast lane commences–again.

I brought back my frisbee AND Zella at the same time!

Lately, he can’t even seem to just sit still.  He’s constantly shuffling his feet and his butt keeps bopping from side to side.  I frequently find myself telling him, “Calm your body!”  When he’s in a down, he slithers side to side like he needs to itch his back.  Really, he’s just inch-worming his way slowly across the floor. Technically, he’s doing what was asked–he’s still down–he’s just not staying put.  I have to make everything extremely clear with him.  It’s like making a deal with the devil–gotta read the fine print or else he’ll walk on a technicality.

Grimm’s crazy energy seems to correspond with the cooler weather we’ve been having.  If it actually gets really cold, maybe he’ll hibernate and I won’t have to worry about wearing him out.  This life in the fast lane is tiring business.  I’m ready for a slow ride–it’s time to take it easy.

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