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Archive for December, 2012

Happy New Year!

As 2012 draws to an end and 2013 takes over, we resolve to change things about ourselves.  With a new year comes new opportunities, new beginnings.   A fresh year washes away the stains of the old and we are given a new start. Why a new year is needed, I can’t say…one of our human weaknesses, I guess.

Canines need no such delineation of time.  They take each day as it comes with no lingering thoughts on the past.  Something not working for them?  They alter their approach immediately.  They make no excuses or apologies for their behavior or actions and they never resolve to change anything…they just change.  We wish they would stop eating the cat poop, getting on the counters, digging in the garden, munching flip flops…and we can change these behaviors by training and conditioning a dog.  Canines, however, don’t consciously make an effort to change for anyone other than themselves.  If something works, why try to fix it?  Something not working?  Try another tactic.

That’s what we humans do with a new year.  It is a chance to try new tactics and fix what isn’t working…or so we resolve.  Sometimes we are successful, sometimes we fail and try again the next year.  For me, I have resolved to break the rules a bit and follow the canines example and heed the lessons I have learned from them.

Against the Grain

Be yourself.  Don’t be afraid to go against the grain, even when it may not be popular to do so.  Celebrate your individuality and take a stand for your own beliefs.  Do what feels right and because you believe in the outcome.

Playing on the Couch

Share what you have with others.  Even if it is only your time or experience, giving away a part of yourself may make a tremendous difference to someone else.  More often than not, you will gain something in return.

Stand Up For The Little Guys

Stand up for the little guys.  Don’t allow the weak to be bullied by the strong.  Speak out when you see an injustice.  Help those that need a hand. One day you may be the one who requires assistance.

Big Nose

Don’t take yourself too seriously.  Don’t beat yourself up when you fail.  Learn to laugh at yourself and your mistakes.  We are only human after all.

These are the lessons I’ve resolved to incorporate into my life.  Time marches on and I’m not getting any younger.  Life is too short to worry about the little things.  I resolve this year to make no more yearly resolutions.  If I follow the advice of the woofers, I shouldn’t have to.  Here’s to another year of life, lessons and laughter…let’s make it a happy one!

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Merry Christmas 2012

‘Twas the night before Christmas and all through the house not a creature was stirring…oh, who am I kidding?  Something’s always stirring around here.  I’ve got two out of three dogs running around my house like rabid reindeer on crack and the third is passed out beneath my feet, passing gas with a silent stink so foul, it is like a solid being.  Is it too late to ask Santa for a gas mask?

The pooches are super excited over Santa coming to visit.  They have been insisting that I leave out some of their favorite dog biscuits for him to snack on. I told them that although Santa appreciates the thought, he would prefer human treats.  They were crestfallen.  To spare their feelings, I said maybe we could leave him a few of their doggy ones and maybe he would give them to his elves…or something.  Hey, I don’t know what elves eat, do you?  And I’m pretty sure reindeer are vegetarians.

Upside Down Zella

After I told the woofers that Santa would give their biscuits to his elves, Zella decided she wanted to become an elf.  She practiced looking like an elf most of the day until she learned that the elves have to work year-round to make toys.

Grimm With Jingle Bells

Grimm was just excited that he got to wear his Christmas collar with the jingle bells on it.  At one point, however, he got his collar off and decided that maybe he should eat the bells instead.  He thought it would be cool if he jingled even without the collar on.  I told him that if he actually dared to eat one of the bells, Santa would be enraged.  Not a lie since I’m the one playing the part of Santa, even if Grimm is not aware of the fact.  I would be enraged.

Charley at Christmas

Even old Charley seemed more excited than usual today about the coming of Christmas.  He even ran around outside with the other dogs and caused some mischief himself.  One thing I noticed is that everyone seemed uplifted and happy to be together.  The magic of the holiday appears to have enchanted everyone.  If I can get peace in my house, then peace on earth should be manageable, too.

Three Dogs

Christmas comes but once a year, but the goodwill and generosity the season brings should infect us all year-round.  Material items shouldn’t be the highlight of the season.  The excitement of getting to be with family and friends and the remembrance of what the holiday truly means should hold that honor.  Make a point to give something of yourself to others each day and the thanks you receive in return will be priceless.   Thank you all for the encouragement and support given to me this year and, from my family to yours, Merry Christmas!

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Today I found out that Grimm and I were nominated for the Versatile Blogger Award by Goosey Anne.  Thank you so very much, Goosey Anne, for this honor. Goosey Anne’s blog is one you should definitely explore as there are many treasures to be found.  One of the many gems is her artwork–you can see more of her work here:  www.annesmart.weebly.com.  She is a truly versatile lady.

One of the many meanings of versatile is the ability to do many things competently or to turn with ease from one thing to another. Sometimes, like a lot of other bloggers out there, I feel like I get stuck in a rut and you, dear readers, are subjected to hearing or seeing the same things over and over again.  Receiving this award is like a vote of confidence–if others feel that I am versatile, well, maybe I’m not as boring of a writer as I sometimes feel I am.

When Grimm heard about the award, he was ecstatic!  He felt I needed to show everyone just how versatile he can be, so he forced me to create a collage to show his talents.  And yes, I know he is the dog and I am the human, but the boy can really grate on your nerves if you don’t give him a few concessions. The things I do to make this dog happy.

 

The Versatility of Grimm

Grimm is definitely quite versatile, but he would only allow me to showcase his more desirable talents. I wanted to add: the goofball, the sneak and the destroyer but he became the pouter so I didn’t.

There are a few rules attached to this award to make things official:

  • Display the award certificate on your website.  

VersatileBloggerNominations

  • Announce your win with a post and link to whoever presented your award.  
  • Post 7 interesting things about yourself.
  • Present 15 awards to deserving bloggers.  (I’m going to cheat a little and only nominate 7.)
  • Drop them a comment to tip them off after you’ve linked to them in the post.

 

Since this award belongs to both Grimm and I (since he is mostly the subject of this blog and it’s named after him), it is only fitting that I also include some facts about him, too.

1)  I have worked in the veterinary field for over 15 years now.  I’ve taken care of a lot of sick dogs, cats, squirrels, bunnies and birds over the years and I’ve learned something valuable from each and every one of them.  Grimm has been going to work with me since I rescued him and in the past year he has donated blood to three pooches and helped to save their lives.  His motto, like mine, is pay it forward.

2)  Heights and small spaces freak me out.  I start to panic if I feel too confined or if I am any higher up than six feet.  Grimm panics sometimes when he is left alone without any human around.  That is his biggest fear:  that no one will be there for him.  His anxiety is getting better, though, as he matures.

3)  One of my favorite smells (besides food) is freshly mowed grass.  To me, it is the smell of summer.  Grimm’s favorite smell (besides food) is dead thing, so much so that he likes to wear the odor as his cologne.  He and I have very different ideas on what makes a pleasant olfactory stimulant.

4)  I obtained a BS in biochemistry from the University of Texas at Austin many years ago.  Grimm is currently working on obtaining his CGC (Canine Good Citizenship) Certificate so he can start more advanced training as a therapy dog.

5)  I prefer my coffee hot and my tea iced, although I will drink them both ways. I sweeten my tea but only add cream to my coffee.  Grimm prefers his water room temperature or colder but will drink it even if it is tepid.  He also doesn’t really care if his water comes from a stagnant pond or an Evian bottle–he is humble like that.

6)  My favorite songs at the moment are by The Lumineers and Imagine Dragons.  Grimm really likes the song “Demons” by Imagine Dragons.  What can I say except he has good taste?

7)  To me, there is nothing better than snuggling in a warm bed on a cold night with a good book and a ridiculous amount of pillows.  Grimm is an excellent organic bed warmer but he also likes to steal the pillows.  His big head needs a lot of cushioning, I guess.

 

Now for the other nominees.  These are all blogs and bloggers who are very versatile in their own ways.  They are presented in no particular order:

1)  http://loveandalittlereddog.wordpress.com:  Terrific blog about life with a little red dog named Cayman.

2)  http://louisianefille.wordpress.com:  Musings and stories by a talented writer who happens to be a southern girl like me.

3)  http://throbbingsofnoontide.wordpress.com:  Beautiful photography and interesting stories grace these pages.

4)  http://40isthenew13.wordpress.com:  Stories of life and family fill these pages.  Through it all runs an undercurrent of humor and the frustrations of getting older.

5)  http://adventuresofadogmom.wordpress.com:  Versatile is this dog mom’s middle name!

6)  http://jennifervaughn.wordpress.com:  This blogger strives to make us all examine the writer within and lets us know we are not alone in some of our struggles.

7)  http://temporaryhomepermanentlove.com/:  Peek inside the life of a foster of bully breeds and the new beginnings given to these beautiful rescued dogs.

 

There you go.  I hope you get the chance to explore at least some of the blogs listed above.  It’s time for me and Grimm to hit the sack and for him to steal my pillows.  In some things, like his expectations of comfort, he is not versatile at all.

 

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Since today was supposed to be the end of the world and all, I figured I better get as much use out of the new camera as possible.  So, what did the pooches and I do?  Yep, we played around outside.  Take that, pending apocalypse!

It was a beautiful day–started out cold, but then warmed up.  Nothing like starting the day at freezing temperatures and then having to put on a t-shirt by the afternoon.  Oh, Texas!  What bizarre weather you have!  Maybe this really is the beginning of the end.

I promise not to bore you too much more with pictures of the dogs.  I just couldn’t help myself.  Plus, if today really is the end, you won’t see anymore photographs of my dogs anyway and no one should leave this world without experiencing a little bit of doggy cuteness, even if my canines are super paranoid about the end of civilization.

 

Grimm in the Bamboo

 

Grimm thought the bamboo would be a good place to hide in case the alien hordes came screaming down from the heavens.  He said he would pretend to be a panda bear and maybe they would leave him alone.  I told him to get out the white paint.

 

Brotherly Love

 

Charley, who is usually the tough dog of the bunch, really worried all day about the world ending.  Here, in the above picture, he kept asking Grimm to protect him.  Really, Charley?  You’re supposed to be the tough guy.  Grimm’s the big wimp.  Just goes to show you that sometimes those with the biggest talk are also those with the biggest, girliest screams when the real poop hits the fan. Just saying…

 

Turning on a Dime

 

Zella and Grimm practiced evasive maneuvers, in case the zombie horde came shambling out of the bramble.  In this instance, Grimm pretended to be a zombie while Zella ran to get a weapon–her big stick.  Notice the vacant look in Grimm’s eyes and the slobber running down his chin.  He does zombie a little too well.

 

Charley

 

Charley still couldn’t seem to relax, even as the day went on.  He kept muttering about natural disasters and asteroid impacts.   He told me he wanted to drink some whiskey, for “liquid courage”.  I told him he could drink whiskey in 6 years, when he turned 21.  He was not amused, as you can see in the picture above.

 

Zella Looks for Squirrels

 

Zella kept watch on the skies for any other-worldly invaders.  I told her she was going to hurt her eyes, staring at the sun and all.  She didn’t care. All of a sudden, she started jumping around, babbling about how she saw them up in the trees–the aliens had arrived!  Um, no, Zella.  Those were just squirrels.  See what happens when you have sunspots in your eyes?  Can’t even tell a grey alien from a grey squirrel.  Boy, was she embarrassed (but not as much as Charley, because when she started shrieking, he high tailed it under the deck, screeching along with her).

Only a few more hours to go, folks, until we get past the 21st of December, 2012. Then all my chickens…I mean canines…can stop worrying.  Once we make it past midnight, we’ll be okay and maybe Charley will finally put the shotgun away.  At least he’s not cowering under the covers.  Maybe I’ll give him that whiskey after all.   Wait a minute…paranoid dogs…isn’t that a sign of the apocalypse?

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Guess who got a new camera for Christmas?  It’s actually my one present to myself, mostly as a reward for surviving this past year and also because my old camera has just about croaked.  The old FinePix camera had to “think” for about 2 minutes in between shots and really, one can only expect the canines to stay still for a fraction of that time.

This new Canon PowerShot does just about everything…I think it even made me a cup of coffee a minute ago, but I can’t be sure.  That may have been my smart phone.  Gadgets these days…what can’t they do?  This camera even has a GPS function built in, so I guess when I start becoming senile I’ll be able to determine if I’m still in my back yard.

Of course, trying to figure out all the features gave me a terrific excuse to snap some photos of my favorite subjects…my pooches.  I think they all groaned collectively when I opened the package with the new camera inside.  Too bad, woofers!  Better practice saying, “Cheese!”

Grimm 12-20-12

Grimm's Big Lips

IMG_0116

Grimm's Tired of Pictures

Charley's Nose

IMG_0105

Tuckered Out

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Grimm Waits

 

 

Grimm has seemed very pensive lately and I’m not sure why.  Is it a sign of maturation?  Of innocence lost?  He’s not sad or depressed as he still plays with wild abandon, but I feel like I should get the boy a journal or something.  What deep canine thoughts flow through his brain?

I think my pup is growing up.  He seems more serious at times and is more apt to pay attention in his lessons and training.   He has also decided to start alerting me to outside noises and what he considers to be possible threats.  His watchdog bark starts deep enough, but when he thinks he hears something that really needs my attention, he goes into a “WOO-WOO-WOO”  yodel which, frankly, isn’t really scary and is more humorous than anything.  His “sister”, who is about 25 pounds lighter than he is, has a much fiercer bark.  Grimm does, however, have a much more intimidating appearance–until he starts wiggling. If someone actually ever broke in, I’m sure he would give everything away for a few chest scratches.  The other dogs?  Charley would sleep through the whole ordeal and Zella would probably bring them a rope to play tug.  Tough dogs I’ve got, huh?

Grimm still frolics and chews like crazy, but he actually chews on his own toys nowadays which, even up until a couple of weeks ago, was unheard of.  He is starting to actually stay seated for attention and doesn’t knock me down nearly as often when he tries to sprint out the back door.  Is his training finally paying off or have my wishes been granted?  Maybe it’s a combination of both.  Or maybe I’ve just forgotten that he has always had a contemplative aspect to his personality, as the picture above, which was taken recently, has a lot in common with the picture below that was taken almost a year ago.  Maybe my canine is just a deep thinker at times…okay, rare times, but still at times.   As long as he doesn’t take on the weight of the world and become too serious, I think I can manage.

 

Baby Grimm Thinking

“Wash the weight of the world from your shoulders.”

~Unknown

“We are shaped by out thoughts; we become what we think.  When the mind is pure, joy follows like a shadow that never leaves.” 

~Buddha

 

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Something amazing has happened, folks.  It’s an honest-to-goodness Christmas miracle.  The dogs have finally decided to start helping out with the household chores.  This might have something to do with the fact that I told the dogs that Santa only brings gifts to good pups and since I took Grimm to see Santa last week, he thinks I have a direct line to the jolly old elf.  Grimm probably told the other pooches about my “in” with Santa, hence the good behavior.  Okay, so maybe I overstated my relationship with Santa a bit, but is it my fault Grimm blabbed to the other dogs?  That boy can’t keep a secret. Now they all think I will put in a good word for them, as long as they continue with the stellar behavior.  What they don’t know can’t hurt them, right?  And you’re not telling, right?

That's right, boy.  Ya gotta really get your head in there and lick them dishes spotless.  Keep at 'em, boy.  Gotta get 'em sparklin'.

That’s right, boy. Ya gotta really get your head in there and lick them dishes spotless. Keep at ’em, boy. Gotta get ’em sparklin’.

Since Charley is the old man of the crew, he took on a supervisory role.  I heard him explaining to Grimm the proper technique used to pre-wash the dishes, so I snuck into the kitchen to see what was going on.  Sure enough, Grimm had the old licker going at full speed while Charley taught him how to clean a serrated edge spotless without shredding his tongue.  As soon as Grimm got the hang of things, Charley left him to finish the job on his own.

Ok, I think I've made the silverware shine.  Come check my work, Charley!

Ok, I think I’ve made the silverware shine. Come check my work, Charley!

While the dishes were getting a good overhaul, I heard the washing machine start to fill with water.  What’s broken now?, I thought.  I headed into the laundry room to see what was going on and ran into Zella.

Zella Mans the Washer

Oh, hey, I was just starting a load of laundry. Where do we keep the bleach?

I was starting to get a little bit concerned about Zella doing laundry.  First of all, how the heck did she reach the knob and open the lid and secondly, I don’t think she sorted the clothes at all, this being her first time doing laundry and all. Once she started asking about the bleach, I decided I better check on things a little better.

What?  No, I didn't put your  new red shirt in with the white towels...I think.

What? No, I didn’t put your new red shirt in with the white towels…I think.  What would happen if I did?

About this time, I heard the dishwasher close and decided to check on the boys. Good thing I did, too, because they put the wrong soap in the machine.  I ran back to the laundry room to stop Zella from pouring bleach onto the colored clothes.  I know they meant well, but this was turning into a disaster!

Me:  Okay, everyone…just stop!  I appreciate the help, but from now on, only I get to load the machines.  Just…pick up your toys and I’ll be happy.

Grimm:  But Santa won’t visit us if we don’t help you around the house!  What else can we do?  I know–Zella can take out the trash, Charley can dust and I’ll vacuum.

Me:  I thought you were scared of the vacuum.  Plus, remember the last time you were near the vacuum?  I almost died.  No, I forbid you to touch the vacuum cleaner.  You know, now that I think about it, I’m pretty sure you guys have met all of Santa’s requirements.  Just…go lie down or play or something.

Grimm:  Are you sure?  Santa seems pretty strict.  We better clean the toilets, just to be safe.  Come on, guys!  To the bathroom!

Me:  Oh, no, you are NOT putting your doggy mouths anywhere near the toilet! Come back!  Did you hear me?  No more doggy lips on the dishes, either!

I’m afraid my well-intended deception has bit me in the you-know-what.  Now I know why dogs don’t do chores more often.  There’s a reason they don’t have opposable thumbs.  Can you imagine the chaos they would cause if they did? Santa would leave this realm all together.  Time to go rescue the dogs from themselves.  Wish me luck.

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Grimm got to go see Santa Claus today (or as we call him in our house, Santa Paws).  Grimm was a little too big to properly sit in Santa’s lap, so he had to convey all his doggy desires to him from the ground.  Plus, he got to pretend he was one of Santa’s reindeer for the picture (that is, if Santa has reindeer who prefer to bedazzle their horns and paint them green–times are a-changing, my friends, so maybe Santa’s deer have embraced Lady Gaga’s fashion sense).

 

Grimm With Santa

 

 

Santa:  So, Grimm, have you been a good boy this year?

Grimm:  Oh, yes!

Me:  Maybe you need to define “good” for him, Santa.

Santa:  [Looks at me like I’m a little crazy…that’s okay, I get that a lot.]  Tell me, Grimm, what would you like me to bring you for Christmas?

Grimm:  [Giant sparkle in his eyes, totally excited about getting gifts…]  Well, I would like the new Frisbee 3000 that tastes like peanut butter…ummmm, at least four pairs of new flip flops I can chew on…two new bones to crunch…a new rope so Zella and I can play tug in the house…a new dog jacket for when it is cold and a bag of awesome sticks!

Santa:  That sounds good, but sticks are usually only given to bad kids and dogs and you said you have been good.

Grimm:  So you aren’t going to bring me any sticks?

Me:  Don’t be too hasty, Santa.  You really should keep the sticks on your list.

Santa:  Well, I guess I can make an exception.

Grimm:  I love you, Santa!  [Grimm licks Santa’s face and beard, Santa looks a bit sheepish (although kind of hard to tell with all that facial hair.)]

Me:  Come on, reindeer boy.  Time to go.  You’re holding up the line.

Santa was posing with the pooches and the kiddos at the local Harley Davidson Motorcycle Shop.  We had to weave our way through dozens of shiny bikes to leave and I thought there might be a small catastrophe or two as we left. Grimm kept wanting to go see all the patrons and, well, let me tell you–I had to keep a short leash on the boy to prevent any mishaps.  In my head, I kept seeing him knock over one motorcycle, which would then knock over the one next to it, so on and so forth, until the entire stock of Harley Davidson’s were on the ground and a bunch of Hell’s Angels were threatening me with death. Didn’t happen, of course, but it could have–just saying.

After pictures with Saint Nick, we headed over to the local giant pet store to see what was available.  Grimm made lots of friends there (as per usual) and received lots of praise and pets for his good behavior and sweet demeanor.  I think we even changed one older lady’s perception of pit bulls.  She kept looking at Grimm from afar and when it was time for us to check out, she was standing near us by the checkout line, waiting on her family.

I noticed she kept staring at Grimm and would timidly reach out to him.  Finally I asked her, “Would you like to pet him?  He would love to meet you.”  She smiled sheepishly and said she would, but she wanted to know, “Is he a pit bull?  I haven’t ever met one in person.”

I replied, “Well, here’s your chance.  He’s just about the sweetest knucklehead you’ll ever meet.”

She reached over and lightly petted Grimm.  Grimm leaned into her and looked up at her, tongue hanging out.  She commented, “But he’s so friendly!  He can’t be a pit bull.”

At this point, Grimm had an audience.  Other people were now petting him, too. One man replied to the lady, “This is how this breed is supposed to be with people.”  Since he and the lady were now deep in discussion regarding dog breeds, I reeled Grimm in and we left with our wares.

All in all, Grimm and I had a good day.  The other pooches were waiting for us at home and got to test out the new treats Grimm picked.  Apparently, he has good taste because they were well received.  Maybe Santa will bring Grimm sticks for Christmas after all, but it will be for good behavior, not bad.  The boy sure pulled out the charm and good manners today and I had a glimpse of the awesome dog he one day will be.  All I want for Christmas is a continuation of this good behavior.  How about it, Santa?

 

Hey, Santa...how 'bout we take your bike for a spin after our photo shoot?  I can exchange these antlers for doggles.

Hey, Santa…how ’bout we take your bike for a spin after our photo shoot? I can exchange these antlers for “doggles”.

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