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I will honor Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year.

~Charles Dickens

 

Christmas waves a magic wand over this world, and behold, everything is softer and more beautiful.

  ~Norman Vincent Peale

 

 

Merry Christmas 2013

 

 

 

 

 

XMas 2013 Pup Pic

 

 

I hope everyone has a festive, fun and furry holiday season!  Here, the woofers are eagerly awaiting their visit from Santa and his elves, vigilantly watching the fireplace for the appearance of the fat man.  Or maybe they are waiting for the rats to come back…who really knows?

Can you find Grimm in the above picture?  If you’re having a hard time, just look for the pair of floating eyeballs.   Grimm is so dark, he blended almost seamlessly into the dark furniture.  Plus, his collar and white streak on his chest combined in some magical way to give Zella horns.  Maybe she’s trying to become a reindeer…

 

 

Rufus' First Christmas

 

 

This is Rufus’ first Christmas with me and the gang.  This is also the first time in more than three years that I’ve actually had a Christmas tree.  My tree, however, is not the traditional type.  I figured Pig Pen…I mean Rufus…needed a Charlie Brown-type Christmas tree to fit his style, hence the use of the giant pencil cactus.  Between Rufus’ curious nose and Grimm’s happy, waggy tail, I’ve lost a few ornaments. Thankfully, however, none have ended up in any doggy bellies…yet.  The holiday season still has a ways to go, though.  Anyone care to guess how many ornaments will survive?

 

 

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Autumn days mean deep blue skies, frolicking squirrels, trees shedding leaves and temperatures dropping.  This leads to more outdoor time, with a 66.6% approval rating by my dogs for the change in season.  The remaining 33.3% would rather hibernate.

 

Zella watches the leaves fall, Grimm searches for squirrels.  Rufus just stares at me accusingly for making him get off the couch and enjoy the outdoors.

Zella watches the leaves fall, Grimm searches for squirrels. Rufus glares at me for making him get off the couch and enjoy the outdoors.

 

 

Rufus seemed truly baffled by the large flurry of leaves that kept dropping on his head.  The wind had picked up and the hackberry tree was losing leaves left and right.  What was Rufus’ solution to the problem?  Why, try to catch and eat the leaves, of course!

 

Leaf Catch Try #1

 

 

Leaf Catch Try #2

 

 

Leaf Catch Try#3

 

 

Obviously the boy lacks hand, err, mouth-eye coordination.  I thought try #2 was to be a success, but no.  By this point, even the squirrels had come down from the tops of the trees to watch the show.  I think a couple of them actually even tried pelting him with a few acorns, making bets on whether or not they could hit his huge noggin.  Finally Rufus gave up and started eating leaves that had accumulated in my flower pots.  Rooting around in the dirt, he looked like a little piggy…with a vest.

 

Eating Dirt

 

 

Zella was completely embarrassed by her housemate’s lack of proper dog abilities.  All the work she had put into making the squirrels fear her wrath…out the window.  She was going to have to work double time to regain their respect.  Didn’t Rufus know anything?

 

"Why?  Just...why?  Can I bury him in leaves?"

“Why? Just…why? Can I bury him in leaves?”

 

 

Grimm was so fixated on triangulating the squirrels, he just ignored the antics of Rufus.  Grimm really wanted to race around in the yard, but because of the recent rain and the amount of mud present, he satisfied himself by giving squirrels death glares from the deck.

 

Grimm:  "I'm so gonna get you, squirrels!" Rufus:  "Ooohhh...funny looking baby kitties in trees!  Love you, baby kitties!" Zella:  "Dear God, please turn me into a squirrel so I can scamper far, far away from here."

Grimm: “I’m so gonna get you, squirrels!”
Rufus: “Ooohhh…funny looking baby kitties in trees! Love you, baby kitties!”
Zella: “Dear God, please turn me into a squirrel so I can scamper far, far away from here.”

 

Between all the dirt eating and almost leaf catching, Rufus was worn out.  It was time for his sixteenth nap of the day.  Back inside we went to rest up for our evening walk.  The cool day should lead to a crisp night, perfect for a stroll around the neighborhood…if we can pry Rufus off the couch.

 

"Grimm told me to pretend to be a squirrel.  Is this a face a squirrel makes?"

Rufus:  “Grimm told me to make a scary face to frighten the squirrels.  Is this scary?” Grimm:  “See what I have to work with?”

 

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I think I have the laziest dog on the planet.  How do I know, you ask?  Well, I’m pretty sure the following criteria qualify him as the most sluggish around:

  • His favorite walk is from my bed to the couch.
  • He refuses to catch a ball and, instead, lets it bounce off his forehead.
  • The above also applies with a frisbee.
  • He only goes the minimal distance required in the yard to do his business.
  • All the bunnies and squirrels laugh when he is around.
  • He is slowly becoming part of the sofa (see previous posts).

Rufus has seriously let himself go.  His lack of movement has caused his waist to expand a bit and I fear his limbs will deteriorate.  I gave him some slack earlier in the year, thinking his laziness was due mostly to the extremely hot weather we had earlier in the summer.  Now that it is cooling off a bit, I expected to see his frisky side come out.  Nope.  He just asked for a blanket to keep him warm in his slumber.  The time had come to force the issue and get him off his behind.

 

"Okay, fine.  Let's get this show on the road.  I'm ready to sweat!"

“Okay, fine. Let’s get this show on the road. I’m ready to sweat!”

 

I thought it might be fun to try Rufus out as a jogging partner.  I figured since he just sort of shambles anyway, I could go really slow (which is my prefered pace) and enjoy the scenery.  Rufus could get his blood flowing, I could slowly get back into running and we could bond over the experience.  Imagine my surprise, then, when I had my arm almost pulled out of my socket.  It’s not what you think, though.  Rufus did almost dislocate my shoulder, but not because he took off like a rocket.

We started slowly, Rufus trotting beautifully by my side.  “This is great,” I thought.  “Rufus makes an excellent poster boy for jogging with your dog!”

The joke, however, was on me.  Here I was, jogging happily down the road, stupid smile on my face, enjoying the cool brisk evening air, hand in Rufus’ leash, when all of a sudden Rufus decided he didn’t want to run anymore (and run is being generous…he was barely trotting).  Instead of slowing down first like any normal dog (or any other being with any type of motor skill), he just stopped and flopped immediately onto his side, perfectly imitating a beached whale caught on the asphalt.  I, in my jogging enthusiasm, did not realize he had crumpled himself onto the road and I kept going until whiplash and an almost dislocated shoulder from the sudden dog anchor stopped me in my tracks.

“Rufus!  What the heck, buddy?  Come on, let’s go!”

I tugged at the leash.  Dull, glazed over eyes stared out at me from Rufus’ skull.  Dear God!  Had I killed my dog?  Did he have a heart attack?  I bent down and checked him out.  He proceeded to roll on his back and solicit belly rubs.   Big faker.  I prodded him with my foot.

“Get up.  Let’s go, doofus.”

He rolled back onto his side and just laid there.  I tugged again at the leash.  Nothing.  I started to drag him, thinking he would get up and start walking.  Nope.  I dragged him two feet with his harness before I gave up.  He still wouldn’t budge.  Since we were only fifty feet from the house at this point, I thought I would call his bluff and just leave him.  I turned around and jogged towards home.  This finally got him to sit up and acknowledge me, but he wasn’t moving anywhere.

“Come on, Rufus.  Come here!  Ok, fine.  I promise I won’t make you run anymore.”  He still looked doubtful.  Time for the ultimate bribe.

“Rufus!  Come here!”  Blank dog stare.

“If you come now, I’ll let you snooze the rest of the evening away on the couch…and I’ll throw in some peanut butter!”

**Boing!!**  That dog actually galloped back home and beat me to the front door.  As soon as I let him in, he jumped on the couch.  Even though Grimm was in his favorite spot, he didn’t care.  He just climbed on top of Grimm and commenced his snooze fest.

"I never want to leave the couch ever again...or you, Grimm."

“I never want to leave the couch ever again…or you, Grimm.”

 

Obviously Rufus will have to stick to sleeping and wrestling as his sports of choice.  I guess he really isn’t built to be a runner.  He has more of a couch potato weightlifter physique.  Really, though, is being lazy all that bad?  If sleeping on soft surfaces makes him happier than frantically chasing frisbees, that’s fine.  Grimm and Zella are more than happy to be my running buddies.  Rufus can come if he wants and we’ll slow our pace to make him happy when the time comes.  I will enjoy the dog he is rather than try to turn him into something he isn’t.  I’ll take him any way, shape or form, even when he’s out of shape and his form looks more like a sofa pillow and less like a dog.  As long as he’s happy, I’m happy.  At least I know I’ll have company when I, too, want to be a couch potato.

 

"dkkj"

“Okay, no more pictures…and no more running!  Take off these sweatbands!”

 

“You gotta know when to be lazy. Done correctly, it’s an art form that benefits everyone.” 
― Nicholas Sparks, The Choice

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One year ago today (or thereabouts), a warthog and a dog became proud parents.  You know, now that I think about it, maybe it was actually a hippo…or possibly a rhinoceros…an ogre?…and a dog.  Either way, some type of forbidden union produced Rufus.  Only the most powerful love could have made such a canine.

Who's his daddy (or momma), you ask?  I have no freaking clue.

Who’s his daddy (or momma), you ask? I have no freaking clue.  Surely one of these combinations is the correct recipe for a Rufus.  **Note:  If you are one of the creatures pictured above, please do not infer from this posting that Rufus is asking for any proof of parentage.  Your secret is, and always will be, safe.  However, if you feel the need to come forward to claim your offspring, you are too late.

I have no information on his beginnings.  Did he have other siblings?  Are there other Rufi (that’s the plural form of Rufus) out there?  Possibly.  If you follow this blog, you know that Rufus was a rescue so I only know his history from the time he was about four months old.  Today may not even really be his true birthday, but based on his comparative age when I obtained him, it is a very close approximation. Why September 1st, you ask?  Well, it just so happens that today is also Grimm’s birthday and, even though Grimm is a rescue too, I do know that this is the day he was actually born.  Apparently, I wanted two Virgo canines in the house because one just wasn’t enough.  The Virgo dog horoscope states:

The Virgo Dog is a genuine domestic creature, more resigned than any other Sign of the Zodiac to play the role of pet. In fact, he or she will feel totally comfortable in this position and accept it without a single murmur. This canine will be in his or her element as a friend and companion living with humans, and will strive to be the perfect pet. The Virgo Dog considers being told what to do as a pleasure…it also saves him or her the trouble of having to think up something. There will be no unpleasant surprises for an owner who returns home to the Virgo Dog since this canine is the cleanest and most hygienic of the Zodiac.

This sounds great!  Who doesn’t want the perfect pet?  Rufus had to be a Virgo for sure!  Plus, since Rufus loves Grimm so very much, Rufus wanted to share his birth date with his older brother, too.  I thought, they share everything else, why not save my brain from having to remember another date and let them party it up together?  The woofers thought it was a good idea, I thought it was a good idea and my maid thought it was a good idea because she would only have to clean up the post-party shambles once instead of twice.   Just kidding.  There are no post party shambles (yet) plus I don’t have a maid.  [Dear Santa, please bring me a maid this Christmas, okay?  Thanks.]  I should have read the horoscope further before assigning Rufus the same date of birth.  I never read this part until today:

The Virgo puppy will be easy to handle in the beginning, but as he or she gets older, trouble is bound to start. This canine is determined that his or her life be filled with beauty and nothing but the best will suffice…the most comfortable chair, the most delicious of food, the most luxurious of surroundings. The Virgo Dog will never be found sleeping on a hard floor and is sensitive to discomfort in much the same way as the fairytale Princess was to the irritating pea. The Virgo Dog tends to spend a great deal of time in the garden, communing with nature as he or she weeds, digs and generally makes a mess.  The Virgo Dog is never happier than when he or she is doing something for the owner. This canine will take over some of the many chores which pile up during the day…bringing in the laundry, counting the socks, clearing the table, for example. However, this truly helpful dog does not always get it right.

My couch and yard were pretty much doomed from the beginning.  I knew there was a reason Grimm and Rufus were so vain!  Having to look pretty and be comfortable was destined by the stars, not to mention their exuberance in performing yard work (and by yard work, I mean tree destruction).  So, to my two puppy boys:  Happy Birthday!  Here’s a picture to demonstrate exactly how far they have come: Then and Now Whoa!  Rufus blew up a bit, didn’t he?  Grimm just looks like a bigger version of his puppy self, only he grew into his ears.  Rufus, however, looks like he’s been hitting the ‘roids.  He hasn’t, just so you know.  Those are the hippo…or rhino…or warthog…or ogre genes coming out.  He will probably fill out even more over the next year.  Does the Incredible Hulk need a canine sidekick?  Rufus is available for hero work two nights a week. Grimm has pretty much done all the growing he’s going to do, unless you count getting a fatter belly “growing”.  [If that’s the case, well, I’ve been steadily growing for a while now, too.]  He still acts like a puppy, though, so I’m still waiting for him to mentally mature.  With Rufus only a year younger than him, I’m afraid I’m going to have a couple of wild boys for a while yet. For their birthday, they got to do all their favorite doggy things:  chase a bunny, watch the squirrels outside, eat awesome grub and catch some zzz’s on the couch.  Rufus really wanted a kitty for his birthday, but I told him no.  Grimm just wanted a pair of flip flops to eat.  I told him no, too.  Instead, they got fluffy squeaky toys in the shape of veggies to play with and a special dinner treat of canned tripe mixed with tuna juice added to their normal kibble.  Stinky like you would not believe, but they adored it (Zella got some, too).  I told Rufus he needed to make a birthday wish but that he couldn’t tell me what it was, else it wouldn’t come true.  However, I think I figured out his wish because it appears to have come to fruition:  to really and truly become part of the couch.  See?  Sometimes birthday wishes do come true and sometimes (okay, most times) a homely pup grows up to become a good friend…and part of your sofa.

Rufus' transformation into Rufa is complete!  Birthday dreams do come true!

Rufus’ transformation into Rufa is complete! Birthday dreams do come true!

“You were born, and with you endless possibilities―very few ever to be realized.  It’s okay.  Life was never about what you could do, but what you would do. ” 

—Richelle E. Goodrich

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You may wonder why I have so many pictures of my dogs on the couch: lounging, playing, sleeping.  The truth of the matter is my dogs are comfort hounds and they refuse to rest their weary heads on anything but the softest pillows and their derrieres on the plushest cushions.  Even though I have four dog beds strategically placed throughout the house for them to use at their leisure, I might as well sleep on them myself.  I may have to, seeing as how my sofa has been pirated by the woofers.

 

 

Super Comfy

 

 

The worst couch potato of the bunch is Rufus.  He hardly ever gets off the couch except to eat and to go outside.  If something catches his attention somewhere else in the house, he goes to the end of the sofa closest to the action to see what’s up.  He does not, however, leave the couch.  Oh, no.  You see, Rufus is morphing into being part of the couch.  No kidding.  Even his hair color is changing to match the sofa.  His fur now has the texture of microsuede and he roughly resembles the shape of one of the cushions.  I’ve even accidentally sat on him when I thought I finally had the couch to myself.  The only giveaway was that he moved, barely, and the couch usually doesn’t.

 

 

Rufus wedges himself between the cushions in an effort to more seamlessly blend into the sofa contours.

Rufus wedges himself between the cushions in an effort to more seamlessly blend into the sofa contours.

 

 

One day I expect to just come home and see a dog face ingrained into the sofa.  His body will compress into a cushion and I’ll be the only person in town (or the world) to have a couch that barks.  Maybe it’ll have a tail, too.  Wouldn’t that be something?  No more worries about crumbs falling into the sofa seat.  Rufa (that’s Rufus + sofa) will take care of that for me.

 

 

Rufus slides further into the cushions.  This is his idea of paradise.

Rufus slides further into the cushions. The wrinkles on the pillow matches the wrinkling on his face.  To be smooshed by pillow cushions–this is his idea of paradise.

 

 

l have seriously never seen such a lazy dog.  He would spend all day wallowing on the couch if I let him.  When I take him to work with me, the first thing he does when we get home is jump on the couch, roll all over it and moan in pleasure.  He then proceeds to tell the couch about how horrible it was to stay in a hard kennel all day with only a threadbare blanket for comfort.  He leaves out the part about getting to play with doggy friends and such.  He only remembers that sleepy time did not involve a couch.  I told him he was starting to resemble a couch what with his lack of exercise and all.  He promptly snuggled into the pillows and commenced his snoring workout.

 

 

Sofa Love

Rufus loves the sofa so much that he actually smiles when he sleeps on it. The couch fairy must grant him sweet dreams.

 

 

For most creatures, comfort is a luxury.  For Rufus, comfort is a priority.  He gets very dramatic if I don’t let him on the couch.  Giant tears form in his eyes, his lip quivers and he starts channelling Oliver Twist.  If still denied couch access, he attempts to use his one brain cell to sneakily gain admittance.  By sneakily, I mean he tries to climb over the back of the couch.  Because he’s short, he ends up just being able to rest his head and forelimbs on the back cushions.  He’ll stand all day on his rear legs if it means part of his body gets to rest on the couch.  For Rufus, some comfort is better than no comfort.  After all, he who sleeps comfortably sleeps best and Rufus has to be the best at something.

 

 

 

Rufus and Grimm unite in their couch claim.

“Back off, lady.  This couch is taken.”

 

 

 

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How boring would life be if all the dogs in the world had the exact same personality?  Even within a breed of dog, drives and intelligence can vary greatly.  As much as many of us might wish, if they were perfect little robots all the time, life would be quite dull.  Always doing exactly the right thing, all the time, never getting into trouble or seeking out attention–might as well get a pet rock.

Zella shows off her perfect "Miss Manners" side while lounging on the couch.

Zella shows off her perfect “Miss Manners” side while lounging on the couch.

If they were all geniuses we might find roles reversed and dog owners worldwide would be in for loads of trouble.  Dogs are manipulative enough as it is–they are pros at giving the sad, dejected look in order to gain pity and force us humans to give in to their wills.  What if they had us doing their bidding all the time?  Can you imagine the hordes of canine-loving humans worn weary from endless frisbee tossing or how bank accounts worldwide would be drained from the massive purchases of treats and peanut butter?

To the untrained eye, Grimm may appear to be just lazily napping.  In reality, he is plotting out his next course of mischief.  The blanket over his head only serves to hide the evil mastermind gleam in his eyes.

To the untrained eye, Grimm may appear to be just lazily napping. In reality, he is plotting out his next course of mischief. The blanket over his head only serves to hide the evil mastermind gleam in his eyes.

What about the intellectually challenged?  It would get very monotonous indeed to constantly throw a ball for a dog only to watch it bounce, over and over again, off the top of his big, hard head.  Constantly tripping over a dog without enough sense to get out of the way would drive a lot of us crazy.  However, with a mixture of all the above personalities plus the countless, special quirks mixed in, life with canines becomes something altogether satisfying, joyous, baffling, comical, inspiring and exciting.

They can't all be perfect geniuses now,  can they?  Someone has to be the goofy simpleton.

They can’t all be perfect geniuses now, can they? Someone has to be the goofy simpleton.

Now, as someone who has an intellectually challenged dog, I can say there is something to be said about a “dumb but sweet” nature.  Rufus is not the sharpest canine around, but what he lacks in brains he makes up for in brawn.  I knew he had to be given that huge, hard head for something;  there is only a very tiny brain in there that doesn’t require much protection.  However, that tough skull comes in handy when plowing your way through brush and bramble even though a handy, cleared trail is only feet away.

His intellectual shortcomings, however, can be quite endearing.  He still hasn’t figured out that he can easily jump onto the back seat of the car.  He waits patiently (and would probably wait all day) for me to pick up his heavy self and place him onto the back seat.  No amount of bribing, threatening or other tactics can get him onto the seat by his own power.  He’ll put his front legs up on the back seat, but just stand there and wait, tail wagging, for me to hoist the rest of him.  By his way of reasoning, I’ve always picked him up (yeah, much easier to do 40 pounds ago) and placed him in the car, so that is how it is always to be.  Sweet as sugar, this rock of a dog, but slow as molasses.

Recently, thanks to Emily over at Adventures of a Dog Mom, the pooches all got to sample a canine version of ice cream–“Frosty Paws”.  Naturally, it was a hit, but poor ol’, simple Rufus was having a hard time eating it from the container (and keeping his face clean).  Because I suspected he might have trouble, I had to help him out a bit.  Some of you may think he is truly a super genius who just has me trained to do his bidding while acting helpless, but no.  Helping him out just speeds things along, pure and simple.

"This ice cream is soooo yummy!  Ummmm....lick, lick, lick.."

“This ice cream is soooo yummy! Ummmm….lick, lick, lick..”

"I think I'll just eat the whole container, thank you very much.  Nom...nom...nom..."

“I think I’ll just eat the whole container, thank you very much. Nom…nom…nom…”

"That was really good, but it made my mouth really cold.  Can I ask you a question?"

“That was really good, but it made my mouth really cold. Can I ask you a question?”

"Is my tongue blue?  Cause I think it's frozen.  Are you sure it's not bitten by frost?"

“Is my tongue blue? Cause I think it’s frozen. Are you sure it’s not bitten by frost?”

"Can I have some more?  That was SO GOOD!  I think I might be a little sticky..."

“Can I have some more? That was SO GOOD! I think I might be a little sticky…”

How could I not love this special boy?  What he lacks in brains he more than makes up for in comic relief and innocent sweetness.  He will never be a mastermind, but that’s okay.  He never fails to bring a smile to my face–his snaggletooth grin, pig-like waddle and complete trust can melt any heart. That’s my dog, pure and simple.

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Happy 4th of July 2013

 

 

Today America celebrates Independence Day–a day to relax with family and friends, drink a few beers, eat comfort food and ooh and aah over the spectacular fireworks that will be on display when twilight descends.  But how many of us really consider the words that started this day in motion on July 4, 1776?  I must admit…I hadn’t read The Declaration of Independence since my US government course in college.

 

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

 

The second sentence of The Declaration of Independence has been said to be the heart and soul of America.  All men [and I would add, “women”; Grimm would add “canines” to that sentence if he was asked his opinion] are created equal with certain unalienable rights.  Are we, in America’s society today, living up to this credence?  Would our founding fathers be proud of what we have become…or would they shake their heads in shame, disappointed in the welfare of our nation?  I don’t think there is a right or wrong answer.  After all, today’s society, and our world in general, has changed much in the past 237 years.  But no matter the changes, the above sentence has to remain true else we turn into the exact force we were trying to escape to begin with.

So today, as we celebrate our independence, think for just a moment about your own life, your own liberties, your own pursuit of happiness.  As a nation, we still have many hurdles to clear, but that is true of any large society, especially one comprised of so many different nationalities, religions and beliefs.  We have a choice, something so many others do not get.  Our founding fathers believed in it enough to make the following pledge:

 

And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.

 

How many of us, today, would make the same promise?  Standing up to tyranny and speaking out for those who can’t is a very hard thing.  People the world over have suffered at the hands of oppression and not all (or even a majority) have been successful in their efforts to achieve personal freedoms.  We are not a perfect country, but we are given choices–free will–to do what we need to within our laws to pursue our own happiness.  We have the choice to drink beer, eat barbeque and gather by the hundreds or more to watch exploding fireworks.  We have life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

 

 

Life Liberty Pursuit of Happiness

 

 

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