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Posts Tagged ‘Grimm’

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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This weekend I had the grand idea of extending one of my flowerbeds.  I thought to myself, what better way to celebrate the weekend than by not being able to move the next day?  Nothing quite says weekend warrior like a pulled back and fire ant bitten feet.  My dogs, God bless them, were outside with me every curse of the way.  They suffered through heat, witnessed abuse to rocks and watched in amazement as I tamed the earth to my will.

 

 

Eating Trees

 

 
Grimm, who must have been a landscaper in a previous life, helped me out by pruning a few branches.  While I was busy digging and planting, Grimm kept watch over the whole scene.  Even though it may look like he was goofing off and just eating plants, he assured me he was actually testing them to ensure they were safe to have in the environment.  Good old Grimm, looking out for the other pooches.

Suddenly, without warning, Grimm gave the “ALERT!  ALERT!” bark.  Something had crept into our perimeter that posed a huge threat.  We were at DEFCON 2, according to Grimm, and all on alert.  I made my way to safety while Grimm corralled the trespasser.  Using his own body to block any possible escape routes, Grimm made sure the interloper did not move any closer (as seen below).  All that military training was starting to pay off.

 

 

Grimm With Snail

 

 

Wait, you don’t believe me?  Where is the huge threat, you ask?  Here, let me show you more closely the seriousness of the situation:

 

Itty Bitty Snail

 

 

This is obviously a very scary, enormously dangerous creature.  Thank goodness I had my big, tough pit bull outside to protect me and watch every movement this gastropod made.  What with a snail’s lightning quick reflexes and all, I’m surprised I lived to tell the tale.  How could I, a puny human, ever hope to survive combat with a snail on my own, especially one so microscopically tiny?  Surely my squinting to see the darn thing would hinder my movements and hasten my demise…or so Grimm would believe.  We humans are so fragile.

 

Grimm On Porch

 

 

 

Grimm takes his job as protector very seriously.  No microbug or itty bitty crawly thing will escape his notice.  Spiders everywhere cower at the mere mention of his name.  In one fell slurp, it all could be over.  Grimm did not eat the snail since the snail decided to retreat back into his home.  If he hadn’t, escargot would have been on the menu.  Smart move, snail…smart move.

Grimm saved the day once again.  Nothing scares him, as long as it is smaller than, say, a chicken.  My dog is tough as nails or, at least, snails.  His motto is, “The smaller they are, the softer they fall”  and Grimm likes soft things.

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Over the past few months, I have been presented with a few awards by my fellow bloggers.  To those who have bestowed these gifts, do not think I have forgotten.  I owe you a tremendous debt of gratitude and am truly honored that you all have taken an interest in the life and adventures of us here at Grimm’s Furry Tail.  As the newest addition to the canine crew, I will let Rufus speak for all of us:

Thank You

Now it is my turn to pass along these terrific little gems.  Giving an award to a fellow blogger remains one of the best forms of encouragement; it is a way to tell someone that you enjoy their work, appreciate their effort and seek to read (or see) more of their talent.  Being on the receiving end, for me at least, lets me know that others have been entertained or somehow affected by my work.  Those words strung together, those photographs perfected, made their way into the life of another person and caused some sort of effect in their life.  Did I inspire them, compel them to ponder a deeper question, alter their perception or just make their day a little brighter?  Hopefully, if I did my job, I did all of the above and maybe more.

Awards

The Very Inspiring Blogger Award

Back in May, Kat from Travel. Garden. Eat. was kind enough to pass along the Very Inspiring Blogger Award.  Her blog addresses most of my favorite things in life and she inspires me to get out and explore, even if it is just in my own backyard.  Her pictures, too, are truly beautiful but you shouldn’t just take my word for it.  Go check her blog out for yourself.  Go on.  I’ll wait.

There are a few rules to be followed when accepting this award:  thank and link back to the person presenting the award, post the award on your blog, pass the award along to fifteen other bloggers (I’m going to cheat and only pass the award along to three inspiring bloggers) and share seven facts or thoughts about yourself.  Because this blog is more about my dogs than me, I’ll share seven facts about them instead.

  1. Grimm has recently become obsessed with squirrels.  Even when inside, if you say the word “squirrel”, he looks up at the ceiling in anticipation of a fat, furry rodent dropping from the heavens.  I worry about him getting a crick in his neck from all the head twisting he performs in his search for these delicacies…I mean critters.
  2. If Zella gets really excited, she starts to vibrate.  Playing frisbee and running with me while biking tend to bring on this condition.  If the excitement continues, she starts to make duck and monkey noises, too.  One day, I expect her head to actually explode from her fervor.
  3. When Rufus waits for his food, he drools…and drools…and drools.  A small lake forms around his front feet.  Saliva bubbles erupt from his mouth.  Strings of slime drip from his chops.  The boy needs a bib.
  4. All three of my pit bull dogs have donated blood to other canines in need.  I warn the owners of the receiving dogs that if their canine suddenly develops an urge to eat flip flops or destroy any plastic disc shaped items after the transfusion, I am not to blame.
  5. Whenever we go outside, Grimm has to run about three laps around the yard just to warm up.  Then the real shenanigans can begin.
  6. Zella excels at reading my body language.  At times, she seems to know what I’m going to do before I do.
  7. Rufus is secretly a princess trapped inside an ogre’s body.  He has to sleep on soft, fluffy surfaces, can not walk or potty on damp or wet ground and must be assisted in getting in and out of his carriage (my car).

Now for my nominees for the Very Inspiring Blogger Award:

  • fishofgold.net–This blogger was recently Freshly Pressed for her post titled, “How To Make A Goldfish”.  After reading this, you understand just how incredible this lady is.  She touches on subjects some of us would rather pretend didn’t exist, but that is the reason why I respect her writing so very much.  Plus, she has a super cute dog!
  • bebeinside.wordpress.com–This blog actually belongs to my sister who inspires me every day.  She currently is staying with me and the crazy dog clan and is preparing for a new little one; I am going to be an aunt for the first time in 5 months and Grimm, Zella and Rufus are going to have a new human cousin!
  • queenofzoom.com–With five kids and five dogs, she really is zooming!  Her pooches make me smile and Mr. B is just a doll.  If you haven’t already, stop by for a visit!

Zella loves awards

The Liebster Award

At the end of May, Ena from Trying To Pray presented me and the gang with The Liebster Award.  A month later, another Liebster Award came our way, this time from The Crossover.  Thank you both for this honor and I am truly grateful to have gotten to know a little about both of you through blogging.

The rules for this award are as follows:  thank and link back to the nominating blogger, state eleven random facts about yourself, answer the eleven questions presented to you at the time of the award, pass the award onto eleven other bloggers and leave them with eleven questions to answer, too.  Lots of elevens in there!  So, without further ado, here are eleven facts about me (and the pooches):

  1. I have only had a cell phone for a little over a year.  Before then, I used a landline and smoke signals to contact people.
  2. When I was little, I wanted a horse so very much, but I only had a faithful dog.  I used to make a halter out of a leash for her to wear and I would make her jump over bricks and other obstacles while I pretended to be a great equestrian hunter/jumper.  Only later, as an adult, did I learn that our playtime and make-believe was actually agility and I had been using (quite successfully) a prototype of the canine head halter.
  3. The only food I really hate is jelly.  Yuck.  Don’t hide it in doughnuts or cookies, either–I’ll find it…and spit it out.
  4. Grimm is the biggest dog I have ever owned.
  5. I really wish I had a pool right now.
  6. Every time I go to the store, I buy a little something for the pooches.
  7. Rufus loves watermelon.  Anytime anyone eats any, he immediately starts drooling.
  8. I find myself browsing the back to school aisles even though I am not going back to school nor do I have any children who are.  Buying school supplies was one of my favorite tasks and perusing the school supply section is completely nostalgic for me, even if the trapper keepers have been replaced by iPad cases.
  9. I have been vaccinated for Rabies.
  10. Zella loves to bark at the lawn mower when I attempt to start it.  Once it starts running, she stops and runs away to chase bunnies.  It has become our lawn care ritual.
  11. I have always loved to read.  When I was a kid, I would actually get in trouble for reading too much and not completing my chores.  I would lock myself in the bathroom or read outside while hiding in the woods.

Here are the answers to the questions asked by Trying to Pray:

  1.  Are you a cat, dog or other person? I’m definitely a dog person although I do love cats, horses and goats. 
  2. What is your favorite flavor of ice cream?  I love coffee and vanilla bean.
  3. Best childhood memory?  Exploring the woods around my house with my siblings.
  4. What is your favorite place to sit back and ponder life?  Anywhere outdoors.
  5. If you could go back in time and place, where would you go and why?  If time travel were possible, I would be the first in line to go back to the Jurassic period.  Dinosaurs have always amazed me and seeing a live Tyrannosaurus Rex would be truly awesome.
  6. What writers have inspired you?  L.M. Montgomery, Jack London, J.R.R. Tolkien, Shel Silverstein, John Grisham, Michael Crichton, Chris Wooding, Jane Austen, Jim Butcher…I could go on and on and on.
  7. If you couldn’t do what you are currently doing, what would you like to do or be?  I would love to have a little bookstore or run a plant nursery or have a hobby farm.  One day, maybe.
  8. What tastes better with ketchup on it?  I’m not a huge fan of ketchup, so I would say nothing!  Mustard is more my taste.
  9. What is your favorite color?  I love earth tones and all shades of blue, but I have been very partial lately to the color of slate.
  10. Where is the best vacation spot?  Anywhere away from the beaten path.
  11. Who fills your life with joy?  My family and friends and, of course, my dogs.

And from The Crossover:

  1. What is your all-time favorite book?  I have a lot of favorite books, but I think my all-time favorite must be The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein.  I think I first read it when I was about seven years old and I immediately gained a new respect for trees.  The unconditional love shown by the tree has meaning for both children and adults.  Reading it again as an adult who has experienced life and self-sacrifice makes the book relevant no matter your age. 
  2. What is your current favorite song?  Keep Your Head Up by Ben Howard.
  3. What was your favorite subject in school?  Biology and Studio Art.
  4. What is your favorite season?  I love the fall, especially when cold fronts bring blustery winds to Central Texas.  Spring comes in as a close second.
  5. If you could have any job, what would it be and why?  I would love to be trained as an architect, both structural and landscape.
  6. If you could interview any living person, who would it be and why?  Actually, this would probably be my maternal grandmother.  She is the last of my grandparents and her life experiences are always fascinating to me.  I always want to know more, but she is not the kind of person to really talk about herself.  Time is passing too fast, though, and I really need to find out all her secrets and desires, fears and feats.   
  7. What is the last movie you saw?  Pacific Rim.
  8. What is your greatest fear?  Death.  Or rather, I fear that I will die before I can accomplish all that I want or need to before I go.  I guess it is not so much the death part I fear, but rather dying with regrets.
  9. Are you a cat or dog person?  I am definitely a dog person.  I like cats, but mostly the ones who act like dogs.
  10. When are you the most productive?  Generally, I am most productive mid-morning after my coffee has kicked in and my brain has awakened.  I’m worthless after 10 pm.  My brain goes into standby mode then.
  11. Who is your hero?  Anyone who puts the needs of others before their own and who works to make the world a better place–the list is endless.  Anyone who makes the effort to make another’s life better is my hero.

And now onto my nominees for The Liebster Award (in no particular order):

For all of you listed above, these are the questions I would like to know the answers to:

  1. What made you start blogging?
  2. If you had to give up one cherished pastime or hobby, what would it be?
  3. Who has been the biggest influence in your life?
  4. Where did you grow up?
  5. What is your favorite food or beverage in the whole wide world?
  6. What are you least skilled at?
  7. And most?
  8. If you could have any superpower, what would it be?
  9. Do you prefer coffee, tea or neither?
  10. What type of landscape relaxes you the most?
  11. What television show or book series are you currently addicted to?

The WordPress Family Award

Lastly, two excellent bloggers presented us here at Grimm’s Furry Tail with the WordPress Family Award.  Thank you, Thoughts Of A Lesser Canine and Tails Of A Foster Mom for being part of our WordPress family!  Since all of you, dear readers, journey into the world of Grimm and friends, you are all a part of my WordPress Family.  Therefore, I pass this award along to all of my readers and thank you, with the deepest sincerity, for being a part of my blogging family.  I hope you will explore some of the blogs listed above and make your blogging family even bigger.

The Best

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Ahhh…summer in Texas.  The sun is sweltering, the humidity is high, the mosquitoes are as big as mockingbirds and all the dogs want to laze around inside during the daylight hours.  I can’t say that I blame them.  It’s too hot to run around outside unless it’s early morning or late evening, but that’s when the giant mosquitoes swarm around and make life miserable.  What to do?  Do we risk heat stroke or exsanguination?  Both sound like bad ideas.  Maybe we’ll just stay inside.

My lazy dogs have taken over the couch this summer.

My lazy dogs have taken over the couch this summer.

Even the bunnies are too hot to run.  When the dogs are outside and rustle up a rabbit, the rabbit runs a few yards then stops and hunkers down.  My very brilliant dogs stop the chase and turn around, twirling in circles, looking every which way.  “Whaaat??  Where did the bunny go?  Bunny?  Oh, buuunnnnyyy…”.

Very slowly, rabbit ears come up over the grass.  The bunny peers at the dogs, as if to ask, “Really?  Are we really going to do this?  I’m hot, you’re hot; can’t we just pretend you got me, I’ll play dead, and we can both go on about our day?”.

The dogs exchange looks, shrug their shoulders and say, “Yeah, okay.  Good point.  But we sooooo got you, bunny.  You better play dead for a long time.”

Grimm dreams of colder days when chasing bunnies and frisbees doesn't tire him out so much.

Grimm dreams of colder days when chasing bunnies and frisbees doesn’t tire him out so much.

How do you entertain three lively dogs when it is hot enough outside to fry your brain?  Walks during the day are out of the question.  The concrete and asphalt would burn their little footsies.  Running around outside in the heat of the day leads to heat exhaustion and heat stroke, even with a giant water trough outside to jump in periodically.  Roughhousing inside causes too much chaos.  So what do we do?  We wait until dusk and then we all pile into the car and head to the nearest lake–Lake Pflugerville.

Zella can't wait until evening comes.  Her dramatic sighs from the couch illustrate her frustration with being inside during the day.

Zella can’t wait until evening comes. Her dramatic sighs from the couch illustrate her frustration with being inside during the day.

Lake Pflugerville really isn’t a true Texas lake…more of a giant Texas pond.  It does, however, have a 3.2 mile dirt and gravel track around it, a large expanse of water, and enough constant wind and rough breezes to blow even the most determined mosquito off course.  Not having many artificial lights around it makes for great star watching and moon gazing.  The croaks of the frogs, the quacks of the ducks, the splashes of the fish and all the smells in between delight the dogs.  Plus, if they want, they can go for a moonlit swim.  This biweekly excursion has become a favorite trip for the woofers and me.

Rufus daydreams about chasing Grimm through the lush prairie grass.  In a minute, his daydream will turn into reality, but instead of chasing Grimm through the grass, he will chase him around the couch...and over the rug...and under the table.

Rufus daydreams about chasing Grimm through the lush prairie grass. In a minute, his daydream will turn into reality, but instead of chasing Grimm through the grass, he will chase him around the couch…and over the rug…and under the table.

The lazy days of summer are aptly named.  The heat and humidity seem to soak up everyone’s energy.  Here at my house we seem to have become seasonal vampires, only out during the hours between twilight and early dawn.  On the days when I’m not working, we save the rest of the day for napping and lazing around, working on indoor projects or doggy behavior training while indoors.  Even though it gets hard to work their bodies during the hottest parts of summer, I can still engage their brains.  I can’t have complete lazy bums around here.  Plus, the waggle of their tails while indoors makes for a nice breeze.  If only they could aim them better, we could turn those tails in mosquito swatters.  Maybe we’ll work on that during these lazy days.

The boys wake up when the sun goes down.

The boys wake up when the sun goes down.

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They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.  If so, Grimm has been given the best compliment of all by his buddy Rufus.  If Grimm chases a bunny, Rufus chases after Grimm and the bunny;  if Grimm starts to munch on a stick, Rufus munches on the same stick with him;  if Grimm decides to commence a raid to steal a shoe, guess who has appointed himself his sidekick?  Yep, mini-Grimm…err…Rufus.

Grimm decided to survey the yard from the safety of the sunflowers.  Rufus decided to join him, but since his legs are so much shorter than Grimm's, he gave himself a boost.

Grimm decided to survey the yard from the safety of the sunflowers. Rufus decided to join him, but since his legs are so much shorter than Grimm’s, he gave himself a boost.

The attraction between these two isn’t just one-sided, either.   Grimm now expects his minion to follow his lead.  If I let Grimm out alone, he waits at the bottom of the deck until I let Rufus out with him and then the two of them race off around the yard to find their next adventure.  Sometimes, though, Grimm loses Rufus in the tall grass and brush in the empty field.  Grimm comes tearing back, but Rufus, with his stumpier legs and clumsier movement, can’t keep up (it’s like watching a rhinoceros chase a cheetah).  Because he is too short to see over the grass, he stops and turns in a circle, looking for Grimm.  If he sees him, he comes running.  If he doesn’t, he waits where he is, confident that his friend will come find him.  Grimm then sighs, looks at me as if to say,”Why can’t he find me?”, then turns around and goes to collect him.

Rufus sticks by Grimm, even when foraging for tasty edible plants.

Rufus sticks by Grimm, even when foraging for tasty edible plants.

Even Zella is confused by their love affair.  Sure, they both still play with her and she plays with them, but it is a rarity for her to have one-on-one playtime with one of the boys.  Lately, she has taken on old Charley’s role as referee and lets them know when they are too rowdy or rough.  Sometimes, she even leads the whole gang in their outside adventures, but after a while, the boys get bored (and a little jealous) of her finding all the bunnies and go about doing their own thing.  Zella very rarely follows them–she likes to forge her own way and is more independent.

Snacking On Leaves

Rufus mimics Grimm’s movements and eats the exact same leaves he does.

I should just start calling my wonderdog duo Grufus.  Why use both names when they are always together?  I should just save myself the trouble.  The real trouble, though, is that when these two are deep in their Grufus universe, I don’t exist.  Sure, they both still seek out my affection and are enthusiastic upon my return home from an absence, but their obedience goes out the window.  If I tell one to come, but the other is allowed to stay outside, then the one who was supposed to come back to see me just pretends he didn’t hear me. I have no reward readily available to trump their joy of  just getting to be together.

Grimm tastes a leaf, finding the juiciest tidbit...

Grimm tastes a leaf, finding the juiciest tidbit…

...and Rufus joins in, performing a perfect synchronized taste test.

…and Rufus joins in, performing a perfect synchronized taste test.

To prevent my two young hellions from combining to form one monstrous demon, I need to work on increasing their independence from one another.  Sure, it’s great they have a true brotherly friendship, but the co-dependence isn’t really that healthy.  Grimm already has some remnants of separation anxiety when he is away from me and I don’t need Rufus to have the same when away from Grimm.  Time to work on increasing Rufus’ self-reliance.  He can do things on his own, but he does prefer to have Grimm by his side as his role model.  Grimm, I know, just likes having a minion around.

Rufus poses by himself in front of the sunflowers.  Independence in a dog can be a good thing.

Rufus poses by himself in front of the sunflowers. Independence in a dog can be a good thing.

Grimm makes a good role model, but I don’t want Rufus to become an exact copy.  Plus, some of Grimm’s habits are not ones I necessarily want Rufus to have.  I don’t want to shatter the bond they have, but I do want to give them individual opportunities.  They each have so much to offer and I need to allow their own personalities to shine.  They are canines, not clones.  Time for Grufus to become Grimm and Rufus again.  No more monkey see, monkey do.  Independence training, here we come!

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We are not the same persons this year as last; nor are those we love.  It is a happy chance if we, changing, continue to love a changed person.

-W. Somerset Maugham

 

How fast a year flies!  It seems like only yesterday that I tentatively wrote the first post on this (or any) blog.  I remember feeling a little nervous, not knowing if what I had posted had really been sent off into the world wide web.  Would people read what I had written?  Would they think me silly, starting a blog about a dog?  Honestly, I decided that it didn’t really matter–I started writing for myself but, I must say, I am incredibly honored to find that others enjoy my ramblings.  Thank you, dear readers, for your encouragement and support.  Without it, I probably would not have made it to this blog’s first anniversary.

 

Three Pitties

 

Frankly, with my technically-challenged self, I’m surprised I got this far and that somehow, someway, I did not crash the whole Word Press universe.  Seriously.  I’ve been known to do that around technology.  Setting up this blog took some time and planning (and struggling and fighting with my computer…it’s possible a few curse words were muttered).  Once I got the hang of everything, publishing a new post became something I looked forward to.  Sharing my adventures, frustrations, musings and foolishness in regards to living with dogs allowed me to view my canine relationships in a whole other manner.  Trying to see through my readers’ eyes, I realized just how big a role my woofers play in my life.

 

Grimm's Big Tongue

 

 

Three weeks after my first posting, I finally got my very first follower:  Texana’s Kitchen.  Slowly, as time went by, new followers came and then, in October of 2012, something strange but miraculous happened–I got Freshly Pressed.  I was astonished because the post picked was not, in my opinion, my best work.  It was written because Grimm was starting to show more and more signs of separation anxiety and I needed an outlet for my frustration.  But after ending up on Word Press’ pick list, my little blog took off.  I was truly humbled to be placed among such terrific writers and bloggers.  More awards from fellow bloggers were received and I could not have felt more honored.  Thank you.

 

 

Grinning Rufus

 

 

 

The past year has been one of hope and heartbreak, of laughter and tears.  I welcomed a new dog into my household and said a final farewell to another.  I witnessed a wild, young dog mature into a gracious teacher, observed another become more patient and self-confident and learned more about life and myself along the way.   I hope, in some small way, that my words have allowed a measure of laughter or introspection to enter others’ lives, even if only for a minute.  Knowing that we are not alone in our struggles, even those not related to our pets, helps each of us in our journey through life.  I can’t promise to teach you anything new or even to always entertain you, but stick around and we’ll see where things take us; I’m pretty sure my crafty canines have many more adventures planned for the future.

 

 

Best Buds

With these two woofers around, trouble is always just around the corner. What new adventures await?

 

 

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If you own dogs, or any pets for that matter, you have to have a healthy sense of humor.  Dogs either have the best timing in the world or just know instinctively how to embarrass us humans.  I think, really, they are just trying to keep us humble.

No one likes to speak of the dark side to owning pets.  They are, after all, animals who never apologize for their bodily functions, follow their instinctual drives and go where their nose takes them.  If that happens to be your boyfriend’s crotch, well, tell him not to make any sudden moves.

Oh, please don't bring up all the embarrassing things we do!

Oh, please don’t bring up all the embarrassing things we do!

Over the years, I have definitely been annoyed, embarrassed and angered by (and apologetic for) my dogs behavior and actions.  I wonder, though, how many times my dogs may have thought the same about me?  Even though we live on the same planet, our worlds are entirely different and I am constantly amazed that we have made it thus far together.

Take, for instance, poop.  Humans don’t like to talk about it (generally—I have a few friends who always have to bring up some aspect of their bowels during a conversation).  Dogs, on the other hand, use it as a calling card, a treat or as a way to make our lives just plain miserable.  One day, I even woke up from a very pleasant slumber to roll over and find poop on my pillow.  Poop…on my pillow…looking at me with it’s little poop face.  Charley, my old geriatric dog, had unknowingly dropped a solid turd during his sleep, and since he has a bad habit of resting his derriere on my pillows, said turd had a very comfy resting place.

It’s not enough that I’m constantly toting little green bags around whenever we go for a walk—from my dog’s perspective, since I immediately bag the waste, they must think I am fascinated by their excretions.  Really, I’m not. But if I don’t scoop the poop, then either:  1)  I step in it or 2) the dogs step in it and drag their poop-foot all over the house or 3) the dogs step in it and then jump on someone who is over for a visit and smear poop on them (try explaining to a hysterical friend that the mud they were angry about my dog getting on them is actually feces).  I won’t even go into the whole eating-of-cat-poop nightmare.  Poop breath is, well, poopy.

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.  [Needless to say, guess who's changing their sheets today?  Thanks, Charley, for putting your dog butt on my pillow.]

There is a very good reason why I don’t let Charley sleep on my bed anymore.  He has his own bed now.

Related to the poop issue is the butt and genital licking issue.  I know canines don’t use toilet paper, but dear God, the licking is out of control.  I have three male dogs in my house and the penis licking never stops.  If they are not licking their own, they are licking each others.  I know…too much information. But while I’m sharing all their deep, dark secrets, I might as well bare all.  And, speaking of baring all, Zella, my female dog, has no shame.  She lets it all hang out all the time.

Zella likes to let it all hang out.  Even Rufus is a little embarrassed by her lack of modesty.

Zella likes to let it all hang out. Even Rufus is a little embarrassed by her lack of modesty.

Another instance where my dogs and I have differing opinion is in the olfactory department.  They just can’t seem to grasp the concept that dead things are not perfume.  Grimm especially likes to generously apply his cologne—eau de putrid—after I have spent considerable time either giving him a bath or right before I have to be somewhere and really don’t have time to bathe him.  Having to smell and then clean the death slime off my dogs is slowly driving me insane.  I don’t even understand how one dog can find so many dead things.  He must have them stockpiled somewhere where only he knows. My neighbor has even been a witness to the downfall of my sanity caused by the smell of decay.

One day, after Grimm coated himself in a particularly slimy dead thing, I drug him to the hose to commence the decontamination process.  I happened to start a conversation with Grimm while I bathed him.

“Why would you do this? Why do you roll in dead things?  This is just disgusting.  I mean, what is this?  Not only do you stink to high heaven , but you are coated with yellowish grease!  You are driving me crazy!”

My neighbor, who happened to be walking by, stopped to witness the spectacle before him without my being aware of the fact.  Here I was, berating my dog and talking to myself, while the stench of a rendering plant wafted through the air.  I’m pretty sure my disheveled appearance left no doubt in his mind to the depths of crazy I had fallen.

I heard a chuckle and my neighbor said to me, “When that dog of yours tells you why he does the things he does, I want to know, too.  He does look pretty proud of himself, though.”

“How long have you been standing there?”, I asked.

“Long enough.”

“Long enough to decide I am a completely crazy person, you mean.”

“Pretty much, but also long enough to see how much you love that damn dog.”

He left, chuckling to himself and I couldn’t help but start chuckling, too.  The absurdity of the situation made me laugh out loud and Grimm, in response to my laughter, wagged and wiggled, causing death-slime water to sling all over me.  I laughed louder.  I probably even got some death juice in my mouth and eyes.  I completed my chore, dried Grimm off and went inside.  I was tired after all the scrubbing and was ready for a nap.  I told myself, the only thing that would make my day complete would be to find a piece of feces on my bed. It would have been the icing on the cake…or, in my case, the poop on the pillow.  I giggled to myself.  What else can you do?  It’s either laugh or cry, and I chose laughter.

Grimm sniffs the air, triangulating the location of his next source of death cologne.

Even fresh after a bath, Grimm sniffs the air, triangulating the location of his next source of death cologne.

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My heart found its home long ago in the beauty, mystery, order and disorder of the flowering earth.
–Lady Bird Johnson

If you grew up in Texas, at some point you probably found yourself being photographed while sitting or lying in a patch of bluebonnets.  It is a rite of passage for most children growing up in this state.  Every spring, once the bright blue spires dot the roadsides, parents load up their children (and possibly the family dog) and go in search for the perfect spot.  It is not unusual for that perfect spot to literally be on the side of a busy highway.  For those of you who didn’t grow up here but have witnessed this roadside pilgrimage and wondered just what the heck was going on,  I’ll let you in on a great Texas secret:  we’re plumb crazy about our wildflowers, but especially the bluebonnets.

Grimm shows off his Texas sized tongue while lounging in the bluebonnets.

Grimm shows off his Texas sized tongue while lounging in the bluebonnets.

When I was a kid, every spring the family would load up in the minivan and drive west towards the Hill Country–prime bluebonnet territory.  My folks could disguise the trip as a mini vacation and, by my parents reckoning, my siblings and I could frolic through the fields on some back country road without as much worry about us becoming human roadkill.  Plus, in the hill country, there was always the possibility of getting longhorn cattle in the background of the photograph.  True, there might have been a greater probability of having one of us kids being bitten by a rattlesnake, but there were four of us and I’m pretty sure my parents thought the risk of losing a child perfectly acceptable in return for the perfect picture.  Seriously.  That’s how hard-core Texans are about their bluebonnet photo-ops.  You may get bitten by ants, stung by bees, bitten by a snake or gored by a longhorn, but by-golly your parents captured the glory of spring and the essence of youth by pairing you with those blue flowers.  I won’t mention the rashes incurred, though, from commando crawling through the flowers so that mom and dad could get that perfect “flower + face” close up.  No sirree.  Some things are too horrible to relive.

Charley smiles pretty and puts up with my photographing nonsense.

Charley smiles pretty and puts up with my photographing nonsense.

Since I have no children, my dogs now get to suffer as I did as a child.  They now get to endure the biting insects and deal with the sun being in their eyes.  Cruelly, they also have to pose with any number of my flowering plants to commemorate the event.  Like the bluebonnets, some of these plants only flower once a year and photographing the flower in question lets me enjoy it’s beauty year-round.  On the plus side, I usually don’t make them stand next to the giant prickly pear cactus when it is in bloom but that is only because I am not terribly fond of plucking cacti needles out of doggy legs.

Rufus acts serious when posing in front of the lavender plant.

Rufus acts serious when posing in front of the lavender plant.

Zella humors me and stays in place for her photograph with the oleander bush.  She is really just dying to go chase more bunnies.

Zella humors me and stays in place for her photograph with the oleander bush. She is really just dying to go chase more bunnies.

I thought this snail was really cute but none of the dogs would pose with him.  Oh, well.

I thought this snail was really cute but none of the dogs would pose with him. Oh, well.

All of the new growth, the bloom of the flowers and the emergence of tiny crawly things reminds us of the miracle of our earth.  Everything has it’s own niche and balances perfectly in sync with everything else.  We humans sometimes forget how delicate nature can be and days like today, Earth Day, remind us of the importance of doing our part to keep Mother Earth healthy and hale.  Sustainable living through reducing, recycling and reusing has become an everyday mantra.  Urban farming and composting have become commonplace which, in my view, helps us to get back to the literal roots of it all–the interconnection of nature and the natural world.  To enjoy it, we must protect it and each do our own small part to make the world a greener and healthy place.  After all, future generations of Texas kids need to be able to live through their own great bluebonnet photo trek and without bluebonnets, they will never be able to appreciate the soothing relief provided by Calamine lotion.  See?  Circle of life.

Grimm has decided he has had enough posing with the posies and races towards me through the young sunflowers.

Grimm has decided he has had enough posing with the posies and races towards me through the young sunflowers.

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Over the past few months, my fellow bloggers have been kind enough to bestow several awards to me and my wily canines.  I appreciate the time and thought they put into nominating my little blog and wanted to say, “Thank you.”  So, while Grimm prattles on in the background saying, “You like me!  You really like me!”, I’ll tell you a little bit about those gracious writers and offer my nominations in turn.

Whew!  All these award speeches have worn me out!  Gotta rest for the after party!

Whew! All these award speeches have worn me out! Gotta rest for the after party!

In January, Kirby’s Dawg Blog presented me with the Very Inspiring Blogger Award.  Thank you, Leah and Kirby, and please accept my apology for waiting so long to accept it.  Kirby is just about the cutest little munchkin you can find and  his “dawg blog” has everything from information on the ancient beginnings of our modern dog breeds to cuteness overload and more.

February brought another Very Inspiring Blogger award, this time presented by Double Moon Pie.  This blog, like mine, also gets it’s name from an inspiring animal–in this case, a horse named Double Moon Pie, or Pie for short.  Marie Anne, the author of this blog, comes from a very animal-friendly family and her love of horses (and dogs) comes across beautifully in her posts.  Thank you, Marie Anne, for the kind nomination and again, please accept my apology for the delay in acceptance.

Very Inspiring Blog Award

Finally, earlier this month, Human Rescues Dog, an informative, witty, introspective blog mostly about my favorite subject (dogs), presented me with The Versatile Blogger Award.  Thank you for this honor.  All of the above mentioned blogs contribute their own individuality to our blogosphere and are each inspiring and versatile in their own ways.

versatileblogger111

With these awards come a few rules:  thank and link back to the nominating blogs, display the awards on your page, list seven facts about yourself that may not previously have been known, and pass the awards along to other bloggers who deserve the nomination.  Since I wouldn’t have a blog without the antics of my canine pack, I will include some facts about them, too, because, after all, it’s only fair to know some of their dark secrets.

  1. My current guilty pleasure involves watching multiple episodes of Downton Abbey for hours on end when it is raining outside.  I think, however, that I have been watching it too much lately as my dogs are starting to bark with British accents…except Rufus.  He picked up the Irish accent instead.
  2. When I was younger, I once got lost hiking in the Colorado wilds.  When Charley was younger, he once got lost when he wandered to the house next door.  When I went to collect him, he looked at me suspiciously, like he had no idea who I was.  It was only when we were back in my driveway that he expressed his gratitude to me for rescuing him.
  3. I enjoy going on road trips with no exact destination in mind but instead, stopping at interesting locations along the way.  Zella also loves zooming around in the car and, if I don’t keep the window controls locked, she will roll the windows down herself.  Many a time I’ve been driving along when all of a sudden the noise of an open window drowns out the radio.  Looking into my side mirror, all I see are Zella’s tan ears and pink tongue flapping in the wind.
  4. I’ve always had an issue about swimming in natural bodies of water.  Something about the slimy rocks, the nibble of a fish and the flapping of aquatic plants against my legs sorta freaks me out.  Grimm, on the other hand, loves to swim and the murkier the water, the better.  I can’t count the times I’ve had to wash pond scum off his face after a dunk in the local lakes and creeks.  I swear he pretends to be a baleen whale, skimming the plankton with his teeth as he submerges his head underwater.  I think one time he even tried to sing like a humpback whale, but of course he forgot to breathe out, not in, when he was underwater and came up sputtering.
  5.  One of my favorite desserts is tiramisu.  Rufus’ favorite after dinner treat is one of my socks.  He doesn’t just munch on them, but swallows them whole.  He tried to hide his obsession for socks from me, but I found out about it after he vomited up two of them in the last week.
  6. Whenever I eat a meal, I find that I save my favorite morsel for last.  My dogs, however, all eat their favorite part of their meal first and save the most boring parts for last.
  7. Call me old-fashioned, but I still like to read an actual newspaper and not read the news off of the internet.  Grimm also prefers an actual newspaper because he can still eat that…a computer, not so much (but he has tried).
Rufus was floored to learn he and the other pooches had won awards.  Charley, on the other hand, smiled happily.

Rufus was floored to learn he and the other pooches had won awards. Charley, on the other hand, chuckled at his response.

As for my nominations, I have decided to pick three terrific recipients and give them both awards.  Although the actual rules call for fifteen, I feel quality over quantity serves as a valid excuse for my short list.  All of my nominated blogs offer enough substance and style to more than make up for my brevity.

So, in no particular order, my nominees for the Very Inspiring Blog and The Versatile Blogger Awards are:

  • mauriceabarry.wordpress.com–This blog inspires me to think and he can be both funny, wise and poignant all in one post–truly versatile!  If all you read is his about page, you will be hooked.
  • ourlovingpack.com–With each photograph posted, a mini-story unfolds.  Her children and pooches show how innocence makes for a splendid friendship.  Be sure to read the story of Chance–it is truly a remarkable one.
  • jbranchohio.wordpress.com–This is a newer blog but timeless in it’s humor and message.  Plus, Brittany and her husband make all organic pet products, too!

I hope you enjoy exploring these blogs as much as I have.  One of the joys I find in blogging is how we all serve to inspire each other because of our versatility.  From all of us at Grimm’s Furry Tail, thank you!

Awww, shucks!  Thanks for the awards!

Awww, shucks!  Are those awards for little old me?

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What is it about sunshine that makes us feel so vibrant…so renewed?  Sure, it helps that sunshine can stimulate the production of serotonin (the “feel good” hormone) and help regulate our pineal gland, which produces melatonin (the “body clock” hormone).  Of course, it allows us to make Vitamin D and the UV radiation in sunlight causes an increase in endorphins (the “natural opiate”).  If you are like me, though, the warmth of sunshine on your face triggers memories of youth, of being carefree and relaxed, of getting to be almost one with nature.

 

Grimm basks in the spring sunshine.

Grimm basks in the spring sunshine.

 

The dogs love the spring sunshine just as much, or maybe more, than I do. Some of the above biochemical processes may occur in them, too, but with their fur coat, the benefits have to be less.  So why do they love the sunshine as much as me?  Well, for one, it means they get to run around outside and chase the spring bunnies, munch on fresh spring grass and wallow in the mud and wildflowers.  The increase in sunlight causes things that were once dormant to awake and drives the rhythms of life around us.  The canines are mesmerized by the songs and mating antics of the birds and, at times, dive-bombed by the mockingbirds when they get too close to their nests.  The best for them, though, is the proliferation of smells that have invaded their world.

 

 

Zella sits in the wildflowers as she rests in her pursuit of bunnies.

Zella sits in the wildflowers as she rests in her pursuit of bunnies.

 

Spring rains seem to wash the winter drudgery away while the sunshine dries the landscape to perfection.  Textures change daily as growth happens literally overnight.  The buzzing of the bees, the trills of the birds, and the whispering of the wind act in harmony to create a perfect symphony.

 

Charley watches the other dogs as he prepares to saunter into the greenery.

Charley watches the other dogs as he prepares to saunter into the greenery.

 

 

Watching the dogs romp and play in the new spring landscape delights me.  They are as curious about the outside world as we are.  Grimm chases butterflies, Zella rousts rabbits and Charley finds the most delectable blades of grass to nibble on.  Rufus acts like a kid who has entered a magical world–for him, this is his first spring ever.  He had never smelled wildflowers, never tasted the earthiness in a sprig of grass, never before been entranced by a buzzing bee before now.  He has learned the joys of spring and sunshine and mimics his older housemates.

 

 

Rufus and Grimm frolic through the grass, kicking up their heels in almost perfect synchronicity.

Rufus and Grimm frolic through the grass, kicking up their heels in almost perfect synchronicity.

 

The sunshine and beauty of spring has brought a renewal of spirit to all of us at my house, human and canine alike.  The power of the sun has enlivened our world and called forth life.  Now is the time to get out and live it.  Time to act like a kid again and race with the dogs through the wildflowers.  All of you should do the same.  Go outside, enjoy the sun and frolic with your beasts!

 

Grimm leads Rufus in finding more spring-time adventures.

Grimm leads Rufus in finding more spring-time adventures.

 

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This morning, around 7:32 am central standard time, I awoke to find a gruesome spectacle:  dismembered bodies on my couch.  A double-homicide happened overnight in my house and I never even heard a thing.  What you are about to see is not pretty and is for mature audiences only.

This is all that remains of the victims of a double homicide.  The whereabouts of their missing parts are unknown at this time.

This is all that remains of the victims of a double homicide. The whereabouts of their missing parts are unknown at this time.

My screams of horror awoke the pooches in the house.  What sort of monster could have perpetrated such an act?  How could anyone murder two little, helpless white bears in such a violent way?  And where, pray tell, were their missing parts?  All these questions and more circled in my head.  I needed to investigate.

The first victim was dismembered and two of the limbs were missing.  Where were they?

The first victim was dismembered and two of the limbs were missing.  Why did the killer leave one leg attached?  Why did the killer leave a severed arm next to the body?  These were the questions that begged an answer.

As I peered closer at the crime scene, I noticed there seemed to be an abundance of black hairs around the victims.  Were these left by the killer on accident or were they left to throw me off the trail of the true killer by framing another?  It was time to interrogate the suspects.

Rufus seemed perplexed by the whole ordeal

Rufus seemed perplexed by the whole ordeal.

Rufus seemed a little confused on what was actually happening.  He couldn’t believe there could be a murderer in our midst.  I didn’t think this simpleton could have actually performed this horrendous act by himself, but I had to ask the questions to be sure.

Me:  Rufus, where were you between the hours of midnight and 7:30 this morning?

Rufus:  In my kennel.

Me:  Are you sure?  No one let you out and you didn’t escape?

Rufus:  Nope.  You let me out this morning.  If someone had let me out earlier, I probably would have peed on the floor.  Did you see any urine?

Me:  Well, no.  Good point.  Okay, I have to ask:  Did you murder and dismember the two white bears on the couch or do you have any idea of who might have?

Rufus:  No, I didn’t.  I don’t want to be a snitch, but in the past Grimm has been sort of rough when he plays with those bears.  Please, though, don’t tell him I said anything!

Zella was in a state of shock over the loss of two of her stuffed babies.

Zella was in a state of shock over the loss of two of her stuffed babies.

Rufus’ alibi seemed airtight, so I questioned Zella next.  She adores all her babies and seemed to be in a state of shock over losing her two white bears in such a violent fashion.  The fact that one was missing it’s head really seemed to disturb her.

Me:  Zella, where were you between midnight and 7:30 this morning?

Zella:  Oh, gosh, I’m just so distraught right now!  I was sleeping next to you, remember?  You really don’t think I had anything to do with this, do you?  You know how much I love my babies.  They are my life!  Who could do such a thing?  Why are you wasting time talking to me when you could be out finding the true monster who did this?!?

Me:  Now, calm down.  This is all routine.  Plus, you have a history–remember the time you ate the face off your stuffed dog toy?  The similarities are there, even if you don’t want to admit it.

Zella:  That was a one-time thing and I was under the influence.  Take my blood–I’m clean!  I didn’t do this!  If you won’t find this murderer, I will!

I left Zella to calm down while I went to find my last suspect.  He was found contaminating the scene of the crime and my suspicions were up.

Grimm told me he was just helping to investigate.  Was he..or was he covering up evidence against him?

Grimm told me he was just helping to investigate. Was he..or was he covering up evidence against himself?

Me:  Grimm, where were you between the hours of midnight and 7:30 this morning?

Grimm:  Why, sleeping next to you and Zella.  Don’t you remember me snoring?

Me:  No, not really, but I do remember you jumping off the bed at some point during the night.

Grimm:  I went to get a drink of water.  Am I a suspect in this crime?

Me:  Right now, you are a canine of interest.  I am still gathering evidence and statements.  I must say, though, it is a little bit suspicious that I found you tampering with the crime scene.  Hiding something, hmm?

Grimm:  No, I just was helping you investigate.  Where do you think the missing parts are?  Why aren’t you interviewing Charley?  I smell a conspiracy and I think someone’s trying to frame me.

Me:  I doubt that.  Frankly, I think the missing parts are in your belly, but I can’t prove that until you either vomit them up or poop them out.  Secondly, Charley would never do anything like this.  He sleeps like the dead and doesn’t move from his bed.  I have found some black hairs around the corpses, but I can’t prove anything…yet.  Open up.  Let me see your teeth.  Any fiberfill stuck in there?

Grimm:  I think I need a lawyer.

Grimm acts innocent, but is he really a serial stuffed animal killer?  Only time will tell.

Grimm acts innocent, but is he really a serial stuffed animal killer? Only time will tell.

Proving that Grimm perpetrated this crime is proving to be a fool’s errand.  He’s a slick one, for sure.  All my evidence is circumstantial, so no real charges will stick.  For now, he acts as sad and distraught over the loss of the stuffed bears as the others.  Crocodile tears, I’m sure of it.  Anyway, if you have any tips, please let me know.  I would like to bring this murderer to justice.

The two stuffed bears are survived by the pink stuffed bunny, the faceless baby dog and the fluffy blue weenie dog toy.  A memorial will be held next week.  In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Save-A-Stuffy, an organization dedicated to refilling and restitching stuffed toys in need.

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There is an epidemic going around, folks, and I’m pretty sure no one realizes the severity of the problem.   I’m not sure anyone even knows that it is a problem.  Believe you me, though–it’s a disaster waiting to happen.  Protect your children, stow your valuables.  But above all else…HIDE YOUR SHOES.

 

"Grimm has lured me to the dark side."

“Grimm has lured me to the dark side.”

 

Why the panic, you ask?  Do you live in a household with two footwear frenzied canines running amok?  No?  Well, if you did, you would understand.  No sneaker, slipper, pump or loafer is immune to the attention of a dog affected with the footwear fetish.  You can try to run and hide, but you should just leave your shoes behind.  If you don’t, the dogs will find them anyways.  They ALWAYS find them.

 

"You see this shoe? It thought it was safe, tucked away in it's basket hidden on a shelf. Look who has it now. There is nowhere to hide. None of your shoe friends can save you."

“You see this shoe? It thought it was safe, tucked away in it’s basket hidden on a shelf. Look who has it now. There is nowhere to hide. None of your shoe friends can save you.”

 

Grimm has always been fascinated by footwear.  Flip flops, of course, are the ultimate delicacy for this shoe gourmand.  The more expensive a shoe, the better they taste.  I have tried to keep my footwear safe, but I am only human. Occasionally a closet door gets left open or a running shoe is carelessly tossed in a dark corner.  Now that Rufus seems to be following in Grimm’s footsteps, my diligence has to improve.  The fate of my soles depends on me.

Grimm's Shoe Fetish

“I think I will start at the top. That little tab sticking off the back of you, shoe, looks delicious. Let the destruction begin!”

 

Now that Rufus has joined the family, my serial shoe killer finally has an accomplice.  Nikes can’t run fast enough to escape them, stilettos aren’t sharp enough to injure them, and even Dr. Scholl’s inserts are not immune to the footwear fiends destruction.  If they can’t respect a doctor, you can bet your Doc Martens will have no chance whatsoever.  With shoelaces hanging from their fangs, they race to catch the next pair of unsuspecting victims.

Shoe Eater

“Another shoe lost to Rufus the Ripper. MuWaHaHaHaHa!!”

 

You have been warned, my friends.  A destroyed shoe is a gruesome sight to behold.  It can take less than ten seconds for your flip to flop or your pump to deflate in the mouth of a skilled destroyer.  Keep your shoes hidden and be very wary of curious canines.  The fate of your soles depends upon it.

 

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Being the new kid on the block can bring challenges.  You have to make new friends, avoid new enemies, prove yourself worthy in a lot of ways.  Making that transition can be hard and finding new buddies to share life’s experiences can be that much harder.  So, when you are finally accepted into the fold, life feels complete.  What could be better?

 

Battle Over The Stick

 

Rufus was accepted as one of the gang right off the bat…even before I officially decided to keep him.  I thought Grimm might be a little jealous of the new guy since his position of youngest was being usurped by a new hellion.  I had visions of gang initiations and hazing going through my head.  I could just imagine Grimm, Zella and Charley making Rufus dress like a cat and meow all day or forcing him to give them his ration of treats and food as tribute.  But did they?  Nope.  They took him in and immediately made him feel welcome–sharing their toys, their food, their beds, their love.  He became their newest little buddy.

 

Grimm vs. Zella & Rufus

 

Maybe, I thought to myself, the dogs knew at that time that he wasn’t supposed to be a permanent resident.  They were just being polite.  Now that I’ve officially adopted him (and by officially, I mean I just said, “Okay, I guess you can stay”), I thought maybe the jealousy would start.  Dogs can sense so much–surely they can determine through their canine superpowers when something is temporary versus permanent.  Surely they would gauge the subtle shift in the environment when Rufus was given tenure.  Surely the petty squabbles would commence.

 

Three Pups Carry A Stick

 

Unless playing tug of war with a stick counts, then I was completely mistaken. You see, that is what is remarkable about dogs.  They have an innate sense of goodwill (well, most dogs, anyway) about taking things at face value.  The newbie didn’t have to prove his worth to them or remake himself to fit their ideals.  He could be himself, and they theirs, with no apologies for their quirks, no expectations to become something more or less…no hidden agendas, no subterfuge, no scheming or gossip.  How refreshing it would be to live in a world such as this!  To be able to just say what you mean and mean what you say…well, why can’t we?

 

Teamwork

 

 

Rufus couldn’t be happier about being accepted into the fold.  To belong to something…to be part of something…isn’t that what most of us desire?  Don’t we, too, understand the feeling of wanting to fit in and the joy of finding true friendship?  As long as we can be ourselves and be true to our spirit, then finding our niche should bring us joy.  Love your friends and accept them for who they are.  And if your friends also love to tug on sticks as much as you, well that is a huge bonus!  Tug away, my friends…tug away.

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If you live in North America and you just so happen to look outside and see a mushroom cloud, well, that’s my house.  Now, before you call in the ATF or other government agencies to report possible terrorist activities, you should know that this noxious cloud was not caused by plutonium or uranium or any other radioactive substance.  It was caused by something much more serious:  canine flatulence.

Rufus is starting to catch up with Charley in his gas production.

Rufus is starting to catch up with Charley in his gas production.

With four dogs in the house, the amount of methane produced is astronomical. My household may be solely responsible for the greenhouse effect (sorry, Greenland–my dog’s gas is melting your glaciers).  I don’t feed them beans, they get a probiotic with their food, but lately the increased amount of gas can be attributed to the woofer’s goat impressions.  They like the spring grass, but it doesn’t like them so much.

Last night was the worst.  Between their musical backsides loudly proclaiming their expulsions and the odor permeating the air, I’m surprised I didn’t asphyxiate in my sleep.  I was going to light a scented candle to help mask the stench, but I was afraid of an explosion.  Instead, I sprayed air freshener until my index finger was permanently bent.  I sure hope they don’t use fluorocarbons in those cans anymore (if they do, sorry ozone layer).

Brain Damage

I’m pretty sure too much exposure to noxious gas causes drain bamage bain dramage your brain not to work.  According to the Environmental Protection Agency, too much methane gas displaces oxygen and, without oxygen, well, our brains start to go south.  Maybe this explains a few things, like the picture above.  The dogs are contributing to their own demise.

Charley has always been gassy, but even more so in his old age.  I always know when he’s about to commence an air raid.  He usually gets up, very quietly and quickly, and leaves the vicinity.  That’s my cue to follow.  There is no helping those left behind.

Rufus, the new kid on the block, has begun to give the old man a run for his money.  He is a stinker, in more than one way.  Rufus, though, unlike Charley, likes to wallow in his own stench.  I swear he smiles when he passes gas.  I should have named him “Pig Pen” what with his own personal gas cloud hovering overhead.  He has no shame.

Grimm always seems perplexed whenever his derriere starts squeaking.  He does quick turns to see what the heck is happening in his nether regions.  Once he has figured out that the smell of death and decay is coming from his butt, he tucks his tail and hides his head in shame.  I almost feel bad for the kid, except I too have to smell his stench.

Zella, God bless her, is not ladylike at all in her flatulence.  She is the worst about snuggling up to you with her backside near your head.  Does she have the grace to move before breaking wind?  No.  She just breaks your nose with her odor.  Between the four of them, I’m surprised I have any sense of smell left.

Can I get a gas mask over here, please?

Can I get a gas mask over here, please?

How have the noxious fumes not killed me?  I have no idea.  All I know is that I need to invest in a military spec gas mask.  Anyone know of a good wholesaler? I’m gonna need more than one, I think.

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How can two very lovely dogs go from this

 

What Big Teeth You Have!

 

 

to this

 

 

Dumb and Dumber

 

in a matter of three seconds?  If you answered “brain damage”, I suspect you might be right.  I think my dogs have been eating lead paint…or drinking…again.

King Knucklehead (that would be Grimm), however, chose not to participate in the day’s shenanigans.  (Shocking, I know.  I checked his brow for a fever.) However, just because one does not willingly join in with the antics of others does not mean that one is immune to being pulled into their affairs.  See what I mean?

 

 

You Eat Grimm's Leg, I'll Eat Yours

 

Zella the Zany and Rufus the Dufus (or Doofus, however you want to spell it is fine) were determined to drag Grimm the Grump into their canine capers. Grimm, however, just wanted to bask in the warmth of the sun.  The wild woofers, however, just kept gnawing at his leg until he said, “ENOUGH!”

 

 

Don't Bite My Leg!

 

 

Rufus couldn’t help but give a little sass back, but he and Zella decided to leave Grimm the Grumpy Pants alone.  With a huge, dramatic sigh, Grimm went inside to lie down next to Charley.  Even though Zella and Rufus were leaving him alone, being next to Charley would guarantee that they wouldn’t try any funny business.  No dog dares to wake Charley without a very good reason.  Charley may be old, but he’s fierce and doesn’t take kindly to being roused from his beauty sleep by the likes of barbarian canines.

So, for now, Grimm is safe from the doofuses (or is that doofi?).  I fear, however, that it will not be long before Grimm reclaims his role as their witless leader.  If he doesn’t, Rufus may take the role…if so, God help us all.

 

 

Rufus the Dufus

 

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Today being Zella’s fifth bithday, I got up early to wish her a happy one and see what she wanted to do today.  Apparently, the woofers decided to celebrate her birthday a little bit early.  I don’t know what the heck happened last night, but I awoke to find four passed out canines, all in some state of disarray–Grimm was naked, Charley was covered in rope toys, Rufus was buried under Grimm and Zella was missing teeth.  When I woke them all up, no one could tell me what had happened.  They all had conveniently developed a case of amnesia.

What the heck?  Where did your teeth go?

What the heck? Where did your teeth go?

I happened to see my camera lying on the couch, definitely not where I had left it.  Maybe some clue to the canine exploits was hidden in its memory.  I scrolled through the pictures and…OH MY WORD!  I have some very bad dogs. Seeing the pictures, though, helped to trigger the dogs memories of the events leading up to this morning.  Be warned…what you are about to see and read is not pretty.

The woofers decided it would be great fun to take a road trip for Zella's birthday (without me, it seems).

The woofers decided it would be great fun to take a road trip for Zella’s birthday (without me, it seems).

The first of their many crimes involved the attempted theft of my car.  They all thought it would be awesome fun to take a road trip for Zella’s birthday. Somehow Rufus decided he was driving while Zella rode in the back like she was Miss Daisy or something.  However, being unable to reach the pedals and appropriately work the gear shift, they gave up the road trip idea.

Rufus is clearly drunk in this picture.  He can't even sit straight.

Rufus is clearly drunk in this picture. He can’t even sit straight.

Since the road trip was a bust, they all decided to get drunk instead.  Zella had the bright idea of using her favorite retrieving toy as a beer bong, thus making the chugging of the alcohol that much easier.  Even though all the dogs are technically minors, they again violated the law and drank until they were completely sloshed.

Zella thought her toy would make an excellent beer bong with just a few modifications.

Zella thought her toy would make an excellent beer bong with just a few modifications.  You can tell by her eyes that she is already fairly under the influence already.

After being totally and completely inebriated, Zella wanted to tell all her stuffed toys how much she loved them.  She started to get a little paranoid and then worried they would leave her for some other dog.  Then she got mad at her toys, saying they never loved her…ever…and that she saw them eyeing the other dogs in the house.  How could they treat her this way, when she gave them so much of herself, sacrificed so much for them?  She then proceeded to eat the face off her (former) stuffed puppy dog.  Grimm had to intervene before it got too ugly and the police were called out for a domestic disturbance.

Zella was feeling a little paranoid that all her stuffed toys were going to leave her.

Zella was feeling a little paranoid that all her stuffed toys were going to leave her.

Grimm, who at this point was also completely inebriated, decided that he would take Zella’s ex-toy under his wing.   Since Rufus was passed out on the couch, Grimm didn’t have his wingman anymore, so the little faceless stuffed dog would have to do.

Grimm decided he would befriend Zella's ex-toy.

“It’s okay, little faceless dog.  I’ll be your buddy.  Girls are stupid anyways.  Who needs ’em?  **Hiccup**  It’s just you and me now.  We have each other.  Shhh…don’t cry, little stuffed dog.  Hey, where did your face go?”

Charley, who I thought had more sense than to be suckered into this cesspool of delinquent canine behavior, paraded around modelling the assorted canine rope toys as a new version of a boa.  Apparently, he also started singing show tunes as loud as he could and almost broke a hip trying to dance a drunken Charleston.  Eventually, he passed out still wearing all the different ropes–why just wear one when you can wear all three?

Apparently Charley thought the rope toys made better fashion accessories.

Apparently Charley thought the rope toys made better fashion accessories.

I never did find out, though, what happened to Zella’s teeth.  I swear they were there yesterday.  I haven’t found any yet, no blood and there is no photo evidence to help me solve the mystery.  I did, however, figure out why Grimm was naked this morning and not wearing his collar.  He apparently decided to give it to his new buddy.

Grimm, in his drunken generosity, gave his collar to his new friend.

Grimm, in his drunken generosity, gave his collar to his new friend.

What a crazy bunch of dogs I have!  They are, however, all very ashamed of their delinquent behavior and promise not to get drunk ever again.  Here’s to a happy fifth birthday, Zella.  Hope you have a fun day sleeping off your hangover and that you and your wolfpack stay out of any more trouble.  Now I know what to get you for Christmas…two front teeth.

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If you have ever owned a dog, at one point or another you have probably found yourself in this scenario:  you are sleeping soundly, dreaming a rather pleasant dream, when all of a sudden the dream changes.  You find yourself encased in a wet, moist, moldy cavern with stinky, vaporous sulfur pits surrounding you.  A hideous panting/blowing sound smothers you from all sides.  Ack!  Just as you are starting to panic, you wake up to find seventy pounds of dog breathing in your face.  No?  Never happened to you?  Guess it’s just me, then.

 

 

Nothing like waking up to this big mug in the morning, especially when his warm breath blows right in your face.

Nothing like waking up to this big mug in the morning, especially when his warm breath blows right in your face.

 

Grimm and the other younger dogs at my house don’t really have bad breath, per se.  Mostly it is just the wet, moist panting in my face that drives me bonkers.  Charley, on the other had, has some monstrous foul breath in the morning.  I guess if I only brushed my teeth maybe fifty times in fifteen years I’d have some monstrous breath, too.  Because of his health issues, having him under anesthesia for a full dental cleaning is not really recommended.  And because he doesn’t chew nearly as much as when he was younger, relying on him to maintain his oral hygiene isn’t happening.  Time to up the tooth brushing, I guess.

 

Don't Breathe On Me

“Ugh, Charley, don’t breathe on me, dude!”

 

 

Rufus, the now five month old foster pup, is finally overcoming the puppy breath stage.  I’ve never really been a big fan of puppy breath.  Some people love it, I don’t.  With new teeth coming in, too, the metallic smell of blood lingers at times in his mouth.  Because of this, his panting breath makes me want to run outside for a breath of fresh air.

 

Zella vs. Rufus

“I will make you retreat, Zella, by breathing my horrid metallic puppy breath in your face! Have a whiff!”

 

Maintaining good oral hygiene is important and is no less so in our canine buddies.  The gold standard for optimum dental care in our dogs is daily brushing.  I know this, I preach this daily at my veterinary hospital.  Do I follow my own advice?  No, not really.  Occasionally I bust out the toothbrush, the paste, the rinse and the breath spray and go to town on the dogs teeth.  They actually like getting their teeth brushed.  Problem is finding time to do it each and every day.  After spending all day taking care of other peoples critters, I must admit I’m too worn out to give mine the gold standard.

I just wish the dogs could brush their own teeth.  Lack of opposable thumbs and all makes that a little hard, I guess.  Plus, my dogs have an unhealthy obsession with eating the entire tube of paste (even the vanilla mint variety), so leaving it up to them is probably not a good idea.  I guess it’s time to practice what I preach.  Better grab that breath of fresh air while I can, because I’m going in—into the dark, sulfurous cavern known as Charley’s mouth.  If you don’t hear from me in the near future, call the professionals.  The fumes will have finally gotten me.

 

 

Okay, time to scrub this old dog's mouth.

Okay, time to scrub this old dog’s mouth.

 

 

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My dogs love frisbees.  LOVE them.  The problem, though, is that these plastic discs last about two seconds around my house.  They can only hold up so long against the catching, chomping, chewing, crunching and tugging done to them by my canines.  Until I go shopping again, they are an endangered commodity.

 

Rufus With Blue Frisbee

 

Somehow, Rufus found an almost completely intact specimen today.  This is like finding the Holy Grail–it’s rumored to exist, but no one knows where to find it. Where it was discovered, I’ll never know.  Perhaps it was one of Grimm’s secretly hidden discs.  He has a few caches of favorite things around the yard; problem is, he forgets where he places these items.  My guess is that Rufus just happened to stumble upon one of these treasures.

 

Chewing on the Frisbee

 

 

Rufus started to munch on the frisbee, savoring the subtle flavors of the plastic and further mangling its rim.  Of course, his crunching sounds of contentment soon attracted the attention of the current frisbee king at my house–Grimm.

 

 

The Theft

 

 

Grimm:  What’s this?  What you got there, Rufus?

Rufus:  Nothing, I don’t have anything.  Just chewing on a stick.

Grimm:  Oh, no.  I know what chewing on a stick sounds like.  You’ve got a frisbee, don’t you?  Is that one of MY frisbees?

Rufus:  It’s mine!  I found it all by myself.  Just go away and leave me alone.

Of course, now that a frisbee was involved, Grimm had no intention of just walking away.  Where frisbees are concerned, Grimm is like a crack addict.  He would definitely end up as a destitute frisbee whore turning tricks on a corner if I didn’t keep him regularly supplied.  Since stock was running low, Grimm was getting a little edgy about his next fix.  Desperate times call for desperate measures, so Grimm decided to just steal the disc from Rufus.

 

 

Going, Going, Gone

 

Grimm took the frisbee and ran.  The adrenaline sparked by his theft coursed through his veins, providing extra speed.  Rufus’ short legs would never be able to catch him and both dogs knew it.

 

 

Bring My Frisbee Back

 

Rufus was devastated.  He was so mad at Grimm–Grimm was the one who introduced him to the awesomeness of frisbees to begin with!  He felt betrayed, humiliated, and downright angry.

 

 

Zella Consoles Rufus

 

 

Zella tried her best to console Rufus.  After all, she knew what he was going through.  Many a beloved disc had been run into the ground, sometimes very savagely, by Grimm.  She comforted Rufus as best as she could.

 

 

Frisbee King

 

 

They both looked over to where Grimm stood, smugly crunching on the stolen frisbee.  Enough was enough.  They decided then and there it was time to de-throne the self-proclaimed Frisbee King.  Rufus started work on a plan to win back his disc.

 

 

Stakeout

 

 

Hiding behind some sticks (not his best camouflage, I know, but Grimm was paying more attention to his contraband anyways), Rufus observed his opponent in order to find an area of weakness.  Unable to find any, he proceeded to his backup strategy:  act like a crazy, rabid dog and just flat out attack Grimm.

 

 

Kung Fu Moves

 

 

His daring move caused Grimm to momentarily drop the stolen disc.  Rufus jumped and growled and brought forth his best impersonation of an ogre in order to try and gain possession of the frisbee.  Grimm, though, was up for the challenge.

 

 

Epic Battle For The Frisbee

 

 

 

Both dogs proceeded to try to overcome the other.  The epic battle for the frisbee began.  Seriously, folks, dogs the world over will be woofing about this battle for decades to come.  Grimm eventually got too hot to continue warring with Rufus.  No way was Rufus calling a time-out for Grimm to cool off–it was either stay and fight and get heat stroke, or just give up the frisbee already. Grimm decided to go take a swim in the water trough instead.

 

 

Got My Frisbee Back

 

 

Rufus claimed his prize–the shabby, worn piece of plastic.  He went back to his chewing spot and commenced the whittling of the disc.  Grimm, impressed by the littler dog’s courage and fortitude, let him be.  Rufus became the Frisbee King, for today at least.  I better stock up on more discs, and soon, before more havoc strikes my canine kingdom (or Grimm starts showing up on street corners jonesing for a frisbee fix). Maybe it’s time for an intervention.  Anyone know of any good canine frisbee rehabs?

 

 

 

 

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Everybody knows that puppies like–need–to chew, but did you know there was a particular art involved in this skill?  Me neither, until I caught Grimm today tutoring Rufus, the foster puppy, on the ins and outs of gnawing, munching, grinding and chewing.  Apparently, Grimm has some super advanced, PhD degree in this oh-so-subtle canine art form.  Abbreviated “CMM”, it means “Canine Master of Mastication”.  After all the things Grimm has chewed up and destroyed in his young age, why am I not surprised?

 

"Rufus, there are several body positions used when munching an object.  I'm demonstrating the standing technique, while Zella illustrates the prone technique."

“Rufus, there are several body positions used when munching an object. I’m demonstrating the standing technique, while Zella illustrates the prone technique.  Observe closely.”

 

 

First, Grimm had Rufus watch while he demonstrated appropriate chewing techniques.  He discussed textures, shapes, appropriate tongue and jaw placement, body positioning, using paws for object stability and even chewing hazards, including owner anger over inappropriately munched items.  I had no idea Grimm even thought about the possibility of broken teeth or wooden shards embedded in his mouth when he chewed, much less my feelings on the matter.  I guess he really does have a CMM degree.

 

 

"Here, Rufus, we'll start with this frisbee."

“Here, Rufus, we’ll start with this frisbee.”

 

Grimm started Rufus’ lesson on chewing with an already broken-in frisbee.  After the frisbee gnawing was mastered, he moved Rufus on to sticks (both twigs and larger limbs) and then to bones and, finally, pupil’s choice.  Rufus was a very dedicated student and listened intently to his master’s suggestions in order to achieve optimal item destruction.  I’m sort of getting worried–having two dogs with advanced CMM degrees in my house may lead to complete home wrecking.

 

 

"How am I doing, Grimm?  Is my technique okay?"

“How am I doing, Grimm? Is my technique okay?”

 

 

"Grrrr...this twig is chewy and it tickles my nose.  No fear, though, right Grimm?"

“Grrrr…this twig is chewy and it tickles my nose. No fear, though, right Grimm?”

 

 

"What do I do if I get a splinter in my eye? 'Cause I think I got a splinter in my eye.  Do I need safety glasses?"

“What do I do if I get a splinter in my eye? ‘Cause I think I got a splinter in my eye. Do I need safety glasses?”

 

 

"How long should I gnaw on this bone before I just give up?  It's really hard."

“How long should I gnaw on this bone before I just give up? It’s really hard.”

 

 

"For my pupil's choice item, I found this weird papery thing to chew on.  Tastes like wasps."

“For my pupil’s choice item, I found this weird papery thing to chew on. Tastes like wasps.”

 

Finally, after all the munching, Rufus’ jaws were mostly worn out.  Grimm told him he was a quick study and gave him an A+ for the day’s work.  If they keep this pace up each day, I won’t have anything left in the yard to chew, much less dogs with teeth.

 

"Show me your play-bite-and-hold form, Rufus.  I'll be your sparring partner."

“Show me your play-bite-and-hold form, Rufus. I’ll be your sparring partner.”

 

They decided to move on to a different area of schooling–canine play and tackling techniques.  Don’t tell me Grimm has a PhD in canine kinesiology, too (although nothing about Grimm should astonish me at this point)!  I guess I should just be happy Rufus has such an excellent teacher, as I know without a doubt that Grimm is a master at giving affection.  Hopefully, that will be Grimm’s next lesson for his young student (even if his pupil is already well on his way to conquering that skill without Grimm’s help).   I’m optimistic this A+ puppy will continue to thrive–with Grimm as his teacher, he can’t fail.

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Take two days of rain, add in one old dog and three young ones, mix in some outdoor play time and what do you get? If you answered mud puppies, you are correct.  Other answers that would be considered acceptable would include:   dirty floors, happy dogs and an owner wishing for a maid and/or personal assistant.

Soulful Pup

The red pup with no name (yet…I’m working on it) is still here with all the other pooches.  I have to stop and remind myself that he has only been here for nine days and that it can take considerable time for a foster to find a new home.  It’s not that I don’t like the boy (because I do), it’s just that I feel like he is growing up too fast and he is bonding fiercely to me and my critters.  If he finds a permanent home, I think I will feel a bit guilty taking him away from his buddies.

He has become Grimm’s little minion.  They will wrestle and play for a good bit but eventually Grimm gets exhausted.  At this point, I usually find the pup imitating a land shark by hanging off of Grimm’s rear legs by his puppy teeth. Grimm, who is now too tired to care, just drags him around and eventually just sits on him.  The pup never gives up trying to get his big, black foster brother to re-engage in puppy battle.  I never thought I’d see the day, folks, but Grimm seems a bit worn out by crazy puppy antics.

Grimm and the pup race round and round the tree.

Grimm and the pup race ’round and ’round the tree.  If the pup catches up to him, Grimm’s legs become chew sticks. 

 

Zella has set fairly strict boundaries with the new arrival.  When he starts acting the fool around her, she quickly lets him know he is not being amusing.  The pup calmly accepts his rebuttal and goes to find Grimm.  Usually by this point Grimm is already worn out and looks at me for help.  This is when the red pup gets to practice crate training and gets to munch on a tasty kong toy filled with peanut butter and other fun edibles.

 

Zella attempts to hypnotize the pup into submission.  If you look closely, you will see that she already succeeded in subduing a ladybug.

Zella attempts to hypnotize the pup into submission. If you look closely, you will see that she already succeeded in subduing a ladybug.

 

 

Charley pretty much just does the same thing he always does:  sleep, eat, referee when he feels it’s needed, and sleep some more.  The pup definitely respects his much older elder.  He only tried to jump on Charley once and all Charley did was look at him, as if saying, “Really? I am too old and tired to mess with the likes of you, boy.”  The pup seemed to understand and hasn’t tried it since.  He is always on his best puppy behavior when old Charley is awake and around.  Charley is like the godfather in the woofers world.  No one messes with him.

 

The pup can feel Charley watching him and knows not to try any shenanigans when the old patriarch is around.

The pup can feel Charley watching him and knows not to try any shenanigans when the old patriarch is around.

 

Each of my dogs has a slightly different relationship with the new arrival and he is learning much from all of them.  Grimm instructs him on the joys of friendship, Zella teaches him the importance of boundaries and self-control and Charley shows him how to show proper respect.  They say it takes a village to raise a child.  I guess it takes a pack to raise a pup.

 

 

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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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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.

**Sigh.**

 

 

 

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

“AaaaaaahhhhUhUhAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAUhUhAaaaaaahhhh!!!”

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.

“AaaaaaaahhhhUHUHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAUHUHAaaaaaaahhhhh!!

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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.
                                                                                      -Sivananda

 

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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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Since Grimm has been extra mischievous and impish lately, full of the devil as they say, I thought it was only fitting for him to become one for a day.  What better time than Halloween for him to live out his devilish fantasies?

I placed the horns on his head and tied his cape and collar around his neck.  I thought for sure he would then proceed to buck and writhe in an elaborate attempt to rid himself of his constricting garments.  Instead, something strange happened.  The little hellion actually just sat there…and watched me…and then proceeded to parade around the house like a proud peacock.

Can a dog get into character?  Because I swear this one did.  If he had been given a pitchfork, I’m fairly sure he would have started poking and prodding Charley and Zella with it.  I had to look closely–was his tail developing a swelling at the end resembling a pointed spade?  Were those horns really part of the costume or part of Grimm?  I think I saw him looking for the matches and I’m pretty sure I heard him asking Zella what brimstone was.

Grimm:  Come, my minions.  We must venture forth and tempt the righteous and collect the wicked.

Me:  Um, Grimm?  Where are you taking Zella and Charley?  You guys aren’t allowed to leave by yourselves.

Grimm:  Begone, foolish human.  I am the Prince of Darkness, el diablo malo.  I am off to bargain for souls and I need my underlings to help keep track of my converts and to bring the hellfire and brimstone.  Zella, you’re in charge of fire. Charley, you get the brimstone.

Me:  Wait…what?  You are taking this devil business a little too far.  You are not really the devil.  Well, sometimes you act like one…but that’s beside the point. You are only wearing a costume–it’s pretend.   As in NOT REAL.  And when did you start speaking Spanish?

Grimm:  Oh.  So I don’t have to really gather souls and live underground with fire?  Whew.  That’s a relief.  Fire kinda scares me.  I do like having horns, though.  Can I keep the horns?  Oh, and my friend Chico the chihuahua has been teaching me a few words in Spanish.  Did you know that caca means…..

Me:  Yeah, yeah, yeah.  Lose the cape and horns, Lucifer.  I want my Grimm back.

So things have pretty much returned to normal.  Grimm’s happy-go-lucky, devil-may-care attitude has returned.  He even redeemed himself of his wicked ways yesterday when he very graciously donated half a liter of blood to a very sweet, but very sick golden retriever.  I think I may have even seen the hint of a halo around his head when he ran through the sunlight this afternoon.  Angelic Grimm has made an appearance–we’ll see how long it takes for the devil to return.  In the meantime, have a safe, fun and happy Halloween!

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Charles Darwin once said, very poetically,  “A man’s friendships are one of the best measures of his worth.”  The quality of these relationships, not the quantity, defines our character.  If someone can offer us love and respect even when we are not at our best, we have found a friend.  A friend is someone who enjoys your company, listens to what you have to say, helps you in times of need and laughs with you (not at you) along the way.  A person with one true friendship is wealthier than the millionaire with none; all it takes is one.  It doesn’t even have to be another human–canines provide excellent friendship.

I like to think I am a good friend to my dogs but I realize that there are some things that I, as a human, can’t provide.  Just as they can’t give me relationship advice, I can’t really “speak” on the ins and outs of being a dog–I can’t comment on the tastiness of a bone, the allure of an especially rancid roadkill or the sheer pleasure of pretending to attack and eat another of my species.  For those occasions, my dogs need another dog.  Sure, I have multiple dogs who like each other, but sometimes they need a buddy “outside the box”.  After all, even dogs get annoyed at times by their house-mates.

 

Grimm and his best friend Vash hang out behind bars. No, this isn’t some prison love story. They were just being kenneled together at work.

Grimm’s best dog buddy outside of the house is a seven-month old red Doberman pinscher named Vash.  They adore each other.  Vash’s owner and I work overlapping but opposite schedules at our 24-hour emergency veterinary clinic.  The boys get about an hour together on days when we are both working and they make the most of it.  As soon as they see each other, the vocalizations begin.  They literally moan and whine until they get to make contact.  Even if they can’t play, just being able to sniff and lick the other makes them happy.  They jump and box at each other, play bow and wrestle, mouth each others ears, neck, legs and feet and then, when they are utterly exhausted, they flop down together and bask in each others company.

Vash has a sister Doberman named Vena that Grimm also loves–when he is allowed to play with both of them at the same time, Grimm delights at the idea of getting to be an honorary Doberman.  Even though Vena and Grimm were friends first, Vash and Grimm had an instant connection.  They have the same energy, they respect each others boundaries and they play really well together. My friend and I laugh and joke about our dog’s “bro-mance”.

Grimm has other doggy friends, but the relationship he has with Vash is definitely something above and beyond.  He loves Vash as much as he loves Zella and Charley–more of a brotherly love, if you will.  Seeing his friendship with Vash blossom over the last few months has been touching.  Sometimes we forget that dogs are social creatures.  Now, I understand that some dogs, like some people, prefer a life of solitude away from others of their kind, and I can respect that.  But for all the other canines (and humans) out there who seek friendship but can’t seem to find it, well, my heart aches for them.  How many of us have thought we found a friend, only to be betrayed or let down by the same in the end?  All I can say is keep trying.  When a true kindred spirit is found, you’ll know.  Human or canine, make a friend.  You’ll be glad you did.

My three dogs like each other enough to join ranks at bedtime. They love to pile in together, sometimes on top of one another. I’m lucky that they
consider each other friends.

 

 

The most I can do for my friend is simply to be his friend. I have no wealth to bestow on him. If he knows that I am happy in loving him, he will want no other reward. Is not friendship divine in this?” 

– Henry David Thoreau

 

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Halloween is almost here and it is time to answer the all important question–which costumes should the dogs wear this year?  This is more difficult to answer than one might think.  First of all, do I buy off the rack or attempt to put something together?  There are a few (okay, quite a few) problems with me making costumes.  I really can’t sew well–or at all, really–and trying to be creative and come up with something new just isn’t happening.  So, off the rack it will be.

Now, since I have medium to large dogs, finding already made costumes to fit them is rather difficult.  Most of the cute or more original stuff is made for the smallish tykes.  Most times I have to look at children’s costumes to see what is available.  The other option, I guess, is to put girdles on all of them and tell them to suck in.

Zella looked pretty darn cute as a squirrel, although she thought her head piece made a better toy than a hat. She would take it off every 5 minutes and I would find her carrying it around like it was one of her stuffed babies.

Lastly, I have to consider the complexity of the costume.  Charley, my old boy, isn’t fazed by much and I could dress him in the most complex of style without any problems.  Zella is a little fussy about too much head ornamentation so I have to limit her costume to more simple styles.

Charley makes a mighty fine cowboy. Over the years, he has also been dressed as an angel, a convict, a shark, a pig, a devil and a lobster.
I have way too many dog costumes.

Grimm has never dressed up for Halloween before–this will be our first together.  I already know his costume will need to be fairly simple.  Anything around his legs or feet will be eaten in less than two seconds.  I’m pretty sure anything tied around his head will have him rolling around on the ground like a spastic inchworm trying to get it off.  Plus, I have a sinking suspicion he may try to eat the other dogs costumes off of them, too.  Hmmm…I need to incorporate a muzzle into his costume, I think, and all I can think of at the moment that may work is Hannibal Lecter.

Grimm scared Zella senseless when he pretended to be a demon ghost.

Grimm is no help when I ask him what he wants to be for Halloween.  First he wanted to be a frisbee, then he wanted to be a flip-flop.  I explained to him that frisbees and flip-flops aren’t really scary, so he needed to think of something else.

Grimm:  So, I need to dress up as something scary?  Is that the idea?

Me:  Yes, exactly.  The scarier the better.  Think of what is scariest to you to help you decide.

Grimm:  [thinking hard, smoke is coming out of his ears]  Okay, I know what I’m going to be.

Me:  Okay, what?

Grimm:  A vacuum cleaner.

Okay, so maybe I should have clarified a few things for him before we had this conversation.  He is still trying to grasp the trick-or-treat thing.  I can understand his confusion.  For him, it has always been trick-then-treat because I use a lot of food and treats in training.  The possibility of getting a treat without a trick baffles him.  I’m afraid this holiday may turn him into a real monster.  Treats for free from lots of awesome people?  Well, Halloween just may become his favorite holiday.  I may never get this dog out of a costume ever again.

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My very first canine as an adult, or a barely adult as I was only twenty at the time, was a beautiful dog named Roxie.  Being a mix of mostly Labrador and pit bull, with a sprinkling of Catahoula leopard dog for coloration, she was gregarious, stubborn, and smart as a whip.  She showed me how truly extraordinary and forgiving a relationship with a dog can be.  We bumbled along together, learning about life as we went.  She was a singleton for about five months, and then Charley entered the picture, and together we explored the ins and outs of what makes our species so right for each other.  If she were still with me, she would be fifteen today.

My first dog, Roxie, who, along with Charley, started my great love affair with dogs almost fifteen years ago.

Being in college at the time, I probably should have waited a few years before I found a dog. Dogs were expensive, took a lot of time, needed exercise and training.  I knew these things–I wasn’t completely naive–but still, even with a full school load and working two jobs to pay for it all, I felt the joy of having a dog, something sentient that I could call my own and that I would be responsible for, would be reward enough.  Who would have guessed that my twenty year old, inexperienced self would be right?

I found a listing for lab/pit mix pups in the paper–yes, this was before Craigslist and people actually read a paper back then.  They were free to a good home and I thought, what the heck, I’ll call and see if any are still available.  Only one was left–a female–and if I didn’t come by that evening to look at the pup, she would be going to live with one of her litter mates who was on hold for another adopter.

When I got to the address, the lady there took me to her laundry room.  Inside were two black and grey, merle colored pups, tails whipping in unison like a metronome.  She told me the mostly grey pup was already spoken for, so my pup would be the extremely bloated, mostly black with grey.  The lady had taken them to her vet that morning for them to be vaccinated and dewormed.  Momma dog came in to say hello–a very sweet and gentle chocolate lab.  The daddy dog of these pups was the neighbor’s merle colored pit bull, who, in his lust, jumped the fence to father these illegitimate offspring.  Even though he looked all pit bull, his merle coloration spoke of some additional breed and, because here in the south people breed pit bulls with Catahoulas to make more intense hog dogs, he probably had some leopard dog blood.  I really didn’t care what breeds she was–she was a dog, she was cute and friendly, she was free and I wanted her.  I offered to reimburse the lady for her vet expenses, but she just said take good care of her as I was doing her a favor by giving her a home.

One of only a few pictures of Roxie as a pup. If digital cameras had been in mainstream use then, I’m sure I would have had hundreds of pictures of her.

Roxie, I soon found out, liked to chew.  She ate the coaxial cable at the outside cable box, chewed holes in the wooden fence and ate the window frames at my rented house within two weeks of having her.  I soon learned the value of a crate.  She loved her crate and I ended up with happier housemates, less destruction and a house-trained dog.  Like me, she loved food; any kind would do.  She really enjoyed counter surfing and many times ate the bread off the counter when all the house-mates and myself were in the adjoining room.  She could be spooky quiet at times (I swear she held her tags on her collar so they wouldn’t jingle) and carried out her mission impossible re-enactment with never a hitch.  Of course, no one stayed mad at her for long.  Roxie could charm the horns off a goat and never failed to win affection, even from those who didn’t really like dogs.

As she got older, her never-ending chewing stopped but I soon realized just how smart she was.  It became a challenge for me to come up with new behaviors and tricks for her to perform.  After some time (and after Charley joined our family), it was more fun to teach the dogs new tricks than to study for my exams.  There was a definite correlation between my acquisition of dogs and my falling GPA.

I eventually started bringing Roxie (and Charley) to work with me where she made herself the official greeter.  She became such a fixture that clients would ask where she was if she wasn’t up front when they came in.  Once she heard her name, she would grab a toy, usually a rope, run up front, jump up on the gate separating the reception area from the waiting area, and wiggle and sing until she had been thoroughly loved on and the client had played a short game of tug.  Roxie loved people, all people, and was never happier than when children were around.  She would bask in their adoration, even when they were pulling her tail and ears and poking her in the eye.

The only thing Roxie loved more than children were baby kittens.  She ADORED kittens and would come running anytime one came mewling into the clinic.  Many a client has a picture of their new tiny kitten getting thoroughly soaked by Roxie’s tongue.  Roxie was so good with the babies that I decided to foster several litters of homeless kittens over the years.  She mothered them, cleaned them and watched over them like a hawk, earning her the nickname “Mama Roxie”.  She was never really that fond of young pups, curiously enough, but would tolerate them and sigh audibly when they got too annoying.  That was my cue to come to her rescue.  My beautiful, sweet girl had the kindest soul and the biggest heart.  Cruelly, it was her heart that betrayed her in the end.

Roxie liked to lounge on the couch and daydream about baby kittens.

As she got older, she started to develop a heart murmur.  The grade of her heart murmur became higher very quickly, meaning the sound of the murmur was getting louder.  I took her to a veterinary internist for an echocardiogram and soon learned that, besides a leaky mitral valve which caused the murmur, she also had cardiomyopathy–her heart was too big, didn’t pump efficiently, and would eventually kill her.  She was started on several different heart medications to help her heart beat more efficiently, reduce blood volume to keep congestion away and to control her blood pressure.  Her very kind and well-meaning specialist advised me to keep her calm, keep her quiet and to discontinue letting her swim and run.  Roxie loved to swim and chasing rabbits gave her such joy, I had no idea how I was going to implement this plan.  Who was I to take away these very small things which brought her so much happiness?   For me, quality of life greatly outweighed quantity.  I expressed my sentiments to the internist.

“Well,” she said, “I guess there are worse ways to go than chasing bunnies.”

So, with her almost blessing, Roxie continued to swim, run after rabbits, greet people at work and mother orphan kittens.  She would have periods when she would get tired quicker than normal and not eat as well.  Fluid, or ascites, would sometimes fill her abdomen, making her uncomfortable.  At these times, we upped the dosage of diuretics and hoped for the best.  I was lucky her congestion was not in her chest, as that would have made it hard for her to breathe.  Having congestion in your abdomen, though, is bad enough and was causing stress to her liver.  Each time, however, the diuretics did their job and deflated my sweet girl.  I made a promise to her, at the beginning of her disease, that when things got too hard, when life lost it’s luster, I would not let her suffer.

Roxie loved to swim, even up til the end.

One day, Roxie was more quiet than normal and wasn’t greeting clients as enthusiastically as before.  She had been doing this job for well over eleven years and never had a down day in her life.  That same day, she seemed to be bumping into things, so I ran some lab work on her, which was normal for her, and had her veterinarian (my boss) check her heart sounds.  The murmur was about the same and she still had her very regular, irregular heart beat.  Instead of a bu-bump, her heart went bu-bu-bump *swish* bu-bump *swish* and would repeat the same pattern.  I decided to watch her and see how things went.

That evening, she was out with the other pooches and even managed to rustle up a bunny to chase.  She ate well, but after a while, I noticed that she was really tripping and running into things and acting as if she was blind.  Concerned about high blood pressure causing retinal detachment, I rushed her to the emergency vet to have her examined.  Blood and eye pressure were normal, her pupils still responded to light and her EKG was still abnormal as always.  The emergency veterinarian offered to keep her for monitoring, but since I was an experienced technician, she didn’t think she could really offer her anything more there than I could do at home.  If she got worse, I was told, come back.

Later that night, or really it was early the next morning, Roxie seized.  Her poor, weak, worn-out heart was not able to adequately oxygenate her brain–her heart was finally giving out.  Because her heart wasn’t able to move blood efficiently, clots were forming and causing her to have strokes.  She was totally blind by this point and unable to open her eyes.  I could not let her suffer any more than she already had.  I had made her a promise long ago and now I had to honor her by keeping that promise.

Since my boss and her primary veterinarian [oh, how Roxie adored him!] would be in the office soon, I bundled all the dogs into the SUV with Roxie for her last trip.  They seemed to know something was up and snuggled around her in the back.  I cried the whole way.

By the time I got to the clinic, I was a mess.  I was crying, sobbing actually, and cursing God and other beings of higher power for daring to take her from me.  She was still so young!  How could they be so cruel?  Couldn’t I have just one more day?  Even though my heart was breaking and didn’t want to let her go, my brain knew she couldn’t go on this way.  I owed her peace–and besides, I made a promise.

The decision to let her go was the hardest day of my life.  I get upset even now when I think about it.  How do you kill your best friend?  How do you tell yourself that you are ending their suffering even as you end their life?  I never understood how people could compare their dog to a child–one is a human and the other is, well, a dog.  After Roxie, I knew.  She may not have been human but she had feelings, emotions and loves, too–she had a soul.  Because I loved her, I let her go.  Keeping her alive, even though Roxie would have endured the pain to please me, was selfish.  I whispered to her all the ways she brought me joy and tried to convey to her all the love I had for her, all the love in my being, as she took her last breath and quietly, gently, left this world.

This was one of the last portraits of Roxie taken about a month before she died.

It took a very long time for me to adjust to a life without Roxie.  All the places we had been together, all the trouble we got into together, all the friends I made because of her–everytime I saw or thought of these things, the tears would begin to flow.  Charley had a really hard time without Roxie.  He had known her all his life (there was only a three month age difference between them) and relied on her strength in so many ways.  Zella tried to distract Charley as best she knew how, but even though she had some of Roxie’s mannerisms, she still wasn’t Roxie.  He was so depressed that he was actually on anti-depressants and natural supplements to alleviate anxiety.  One day, about six months later, he finally instigated play with Zella and that was when I knew he was healing.  Roxie was gone, but not forgotten, and we had to continue on without her.

These two were the best of friends.

Looking back through some of my pictures today, I came across the last picture I ever took of her.  It was taken only two days before she died, but in it, she is clearly eating a frisbee.  It made me laugh–how easily that could be Grimm (and Grimm had been wearing her old collar which is shown in the picture until he and his Doberman friend decided it would be more fun to eat it).  How cyclical life can be!  Grimm could never replace Roxie, just as none of my dogs could replace the others, but I was reminded that rough times do get better.  I would never give up my memories, even the hard ones, but knowing that new memories are wanting to be made, well, what are we waiting for?

Even though her poor heart was wearing out, Roxie still enjoyed munching on a good frisbee. Sound like anyone we know?

Here’s Grimm, wearing Roxie’s old collar, following in her footsteps. Nothing like a tasty frisbee.

Grimm reminds me of Roxie in this photograph.

 

Memories of our lives, of our works and our deeds

will continue in others.

-Rosa Parks

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I was nominated this week by two separate bloggers for the Very Inspiring Blogger Award.  Thank you very much for the nomination, Geeky Book Snob and Tuesday Night Boyfriend.  I share this honor with Grimm and my other pooches, for without them, I wouldn’t have very much to blog about.

When I received the notifications from both of the above mentioned, very talented bloggers, I was pleasantly surprised.  Knowing that others find my stories and exasperations somewhat inspirational definitely lifted my spirits and brightened my day.  When I told Grimm, you would have thought he had won an Academy Award.  He insisted I take his picture with one of my old trophies to commemorate the event.  What with being Freshly Pressed and now receiving two nominations for the Very Inspiring Blogger Award all within the same month, I’m afraid Grimm’s already big head is getting even bigger.

I would like to thank the academy, GBS, TNB and all those on the Grimm’s Furry Tail team–my good friend and supporting actor Zella, my manager and financial adviser Charley and, lastly, my human and her opposable thumbs, whom without none of this could be possible. So thank you for ….wait….don’t cue the music…I’m not done!

This award comes with a few rules to follow:

  •  Link to and thank those who nominated you.  So thanks again, Geeky Book Snob and Tuesday Night Boyfriend.  I am still exploring both your blogs and am enjoying my reads.
  • Post the award on you page.  Here is my (and Grimm’s) unexpected award:

  • Share seven facts about yourself.  Since this award is as much Grimm’s as mine, I will also list seven facts about him:

1)  I am a vegetarian and have been for the past seven years.  Grimm wishes he could be a flip-flopetarian and only eat flip flops.  However, when I explained that his diet would be horribly unbalanced (and would anger flip-flop rights activists), he agreed to only eat them on special occasions, like when I’m not looking.

2)  I enjoy reading tremendously and read one to three novels a week.  Grimm enjoys eating novels and tries to devour one to three novels a week.

3)  My house is a never ending home improvement project.  Grimm enjoys helping in these projects, but only if performing demolition work (that’s his specialty).

4)  Autumn is my favorite time of year.  Grimm likes all seasons, but especially the rainy part of spring (when we have rain) because he can make mud angels.

5)  Halloween and Thanksgiving are my favorite holidays (which also take place during my favorite time of year).  Grimm’s favorite holiday is Pit Bull Awareness Day, which also occurs in the fall (October 27th, to be exact).

6)  I really like listening to live music and being that I live in Austin, the live music capital of the world, I never lack venues to visit.  Grimm’s favorite band is Journey (he can belt out Don’t Stop Believing like no one’s business).

7)  I blog to entertain myself and share my little piece of the world with others. Grimm lets me air all his deep, dark secrets because, well, he is an attention whore.  He would tell you, however, that he has lessons to teach and you, dear reader, are one of his beloved pupils.  Did I mention Grimm is also very charming?

  • Lastly, but most importantly, nominate other inspiring bloggers and post a comment on their blog informing them they have been nominated.  I picked 7 blogs to go with my seven facts, but others have nominated up to 15.  So, in no particular order, here are some of the blogs I find inspiring and also deserving of this award:

1)  http://conorcullen.com/:  I enjoy perusing his very beautiful pictures and reading his musings.

2)  http://confessionsofapitbulladdict.wordpress.com/:  A terrific read told from both the dog’s and owner’s point of view regarding dogs, rescue and pit bulls in general.

3)   http://godblessimerica.com/:  The adventures of Kitty DrunkDrunk (KDD to her fans) never cease to make me laugh.  Don’t let your cats read about her, though;  she may inspire them to do naughty things.

4)  http://ranchrunamuck.wordpress.com/:  Stories of rescue and life with dogs by another crazy dog lady.

5)  http://breezyk.wordpress.com/:  Funny stuff that never fails to make me laugh–and if you are a female who wants to become a stalker, well, maybe you can relate.

6)  http://themuddykitchen.com/:  Cooking, gardening, country life…what more could you ask for?

7)  http://tryingtopray.wordpress.com/:  This is an inspirational blog that reminds me to be thankful for each day.  You don’t have to be religious to appreciate her message and the grace she conveys.

All of the above blogs inspire me to live life to the fullest, give thanks when able, take care of those who need a little help and laugh along the way.  Grimm and I will do our best to stay deserving of this honor–here’s to inspiration!

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Photographing dogs can be aggravating, as I’ve mentioned before on this blog. They don’t like to sit still, don’t take direction very well and frequently like to eat the props.  Out of every hundred or so photos I take of them (yes, I take lots of pictures of my dogs–thank goodness for digital), only about ten make it to the keeper pile.  Even with the help of image editing programs, there is only so much cropping, sharpening and enhancing you can do to salvage a shot. You have to at least have a decent enough composition to work with.  You can adjust contrast and saturation, cut out distracting background objects, whiten teeth and fill in or delete spots, but you can’t turn an awkward capture into a work of art–some things just aren’t fixable.

I thought I’d post some of my more humorous, bungled pictures of the dogs, along with my original intentions, here for your enjoyment.  If the dogs knew I was posting these less than stellar captures of them here, well, I might never get to photograph them ever again–they’re a little sensitive about some things.

 

THE INAPPROPRIATE YAWN

I’m soooo tired of having to stand here and look pretty.

 

Grimm was clearly getting bored with having to stand still for me to take his picture.   I was actually trying to get a candid shot of him standing and looking into the distance.  In the blink of an eye (or press of a button), he went from having his head turned three-quarters to facing me directly, yawning the biggest yawn ever.  I’m pretty sure that if his head had been lifted slightly higher, we would have been able to see his tonsils, adenoids and epiglottis.  So much for my vision.

 

CENTERING A SUBJECT–EPIC FAIL

Ran too fast for you, didn’t I?

 

I’m surprised I even captured this much of Zella in this frame.  She runs extremely fast and I wanted to catch her zooming through the field. Unfortunately, my zoom and framing were way off (not to mention my slow trigger finger), so the moment was missed.  Although, I must say, this picture still makes me laugh–sort of unexpected to see plain green grass and brush and then–BOOM!–a crazy smiling pit bull jumps out at you in the lower corner.

 

AWKWARD EATING MOMENTS

Nom nom nom. This watermelon is sooo good.

 

Yeah, there’s just so much wrong with this picture.  I don’t know what that plastic thing is under Charley’s cheek.  Furthermore, Charley’s not even completely in the picture, the flash (which I thought had been turned off) fired and made his eye look a bit crazy and his nose shiny and, well, nobody looks pretty with a mouth full of food.  ‘Nuff said.

 

HEADLESS CAPTURES

Look ma! No head!

 

I’m pretty sure cutting off your subject’s head in a picture is a sure sign of ineptitude.  I sure wasn’t trying to capture the elegance of his neck and collar, fine though they be.  Again, when your subject has the attention span of a fly and can move just as quick, you end up with a picture like this–blurry, with key components missing.  Grimm had been lying still, head turned slightly (again with the three-quarters pose) to his left.  By the time I depressed the capture button, everything had changed.  Grimm defies physics–he moves faster than the speed of light (and the speed of shutters everywhere).

So there they are for you all to see–some of my (better) photographic disappointments.  Oh, well, what can I say?  Even though these pictures did not live up to my expectations, these sub par shots remind me to love the imperfections life brings.  After all, life itself is full of surprises.

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Normally in the mornings on my days off, I get up, let the dogs out to do their business, and make myself a giant cup of coffee.  I love coffee–strong, with just enough cream to cut the bitterness, no sweetener of any kind.  Occasionally I’ll sprinkle a little cinnamon on top or, if I have any, maybe some dark chocolate shavings.  No other seasonings, additives or spices are needed, especially not the kind of seasoning I found in my coffee after I left it sitting on the table by itself for a minute:

**Gasp!**  Is that…a hair…in my coffee?  Ewwww, gross, dog hair!  This reeked of Grimm tampering.  I leave my coffee unattended for three minutes with only him nearby, come back to find a black hair floating lazily on my mocha concoction, and what else am I supposed to think?

Me:  Grimm, is that one of your hairs in my coffee?  Why would you put one of your hairs in my drink?

Grimm:  Well, I was only trying to help.  I don’t want to be rude, but you seem a little out of sorts this morning and, well, I saw you rubbing your temples.  I know you were out drinking last night, so I came to the conclusion that you have a hangover and my hair is your remedy.  You’re welcome, by the way.

Me:  Seriously?  Have you ever thought that maybe I was rubbing my temples because you perplex me at times?  AND, my friend, I only had two glasses of wine and half a flute of champagne–I do not have a hangover!  AND hair of the dog doesn’t literally mean I need to consume a hair of the dog!

Grimm:  Are you sure?  Maybe you’re still drunk.  You should drink your coffee to sober up.

Me:  I AM NOT DRUNK!  And I would have if some dog hadn’t put his hair in it.

Sadly, I poured out my contaminated coffee and re-brewed another cup.  For all I knew, several other hairs were lurking beneath the surface, just waiting to surreptitiously enter my body.  Grimm is sneaky…only reasonable to deduct his hairs are, too.

You don’t like how I make your coffee? Fine, I’ll drink it myself.  I get no appreciation around here.

I must admit, this is not the first time I have found dog hair in my drink.  Alas, I have also found a few stray pieces on my dinner plate.  Now, lest you think I am some slovenly housekeeper, understand that I vacuum, sweep, dust and mop constantly.  I lint roll my clothing frequently and brush and bathe the dogs regularly.  I am not completely obsessive compulsive but I would say I wage a fairly aggressive war against dog hair in my home.  No matter how hard I slave, however, some rogue strand still manages to spice my recipe.

Most of my friends also have pets and we frequently commiserate together about the inability to keep pet hair out of our diet and off of our plates.  We have threatened to relegate the furry ones to the outdoors, shave them bald or trade them in for hairless varieties.  We never follow through, though.  For all of us, the companionship these critters bring outweighs the unwelcome seasonings they sometimes provide.  And really, that is the true spice of life.

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What a gorgeous day we had today in Austin!  Perfect temperature, perfect blue sky, perfect pure sunlight pouring down.  My yard, however, was not looking so perfect…straggly, even.  Time to put on the gardening gloves.

First order of business was to pull up all the dead sunflower stalks from earlier in the summer.  Grimm decided he was going to help by bringing me pieces to add to the pile.  Because the dried stalks still have a few dried sunflower heads attached, seeds are still present, too.  To keep the birds happy and to provide a place for the smaller critters to hide, I add the stalks to several brush piles I have strategically placed around the yard.  These piles are nestled in the mini-bamboo forests I have cultivated around the perimeter of my property.  The bamboo makes a perfect natural fence and with the brush hidden inside, my neighbors can’t complain about unsightly brush piles.

Step 1: Bring the stick to the stick pile. Step 2: Drop the stick on the pile. Step 3: Tap the stick into place with your foot. Step 4: Watch the stick carefully to make sure it stays in place.

Grimm was so excited to be able to help today.  I think, ladies and gentlemen, I have found Grimm’s niche:  gardening.  Granted, it took about 10 minutes for him to bring one little stick over (first he had to munch on it to make it the appropriate size, I guess), but he did add, well, five stalks to the pile.  Once he gets his stick fetching skills honed, we’ll have to start on digging next.  Maybe by next month he’ll be talented enough to work the mower.  One can hope, right?

Grimm takes his time finding the perfect spot to place his dried sunflower stalk.

While Grimm worked at collecting sticks, Zella chased a few bunnies.  I was a little surprised that Grimm stayed with me and not with her, but, as a lot of you now know, Grimm is a velcro dog–even the excitement of a rabbit chase can’t get him to truly leave my side.  He watched Zella, though, as she sprung through the tall grass.  Finally, she flushed one his way and he joined in the hunt.  Not to worry, though, they never came close to catching any of those agile rabbits.

Grimm watches Zella chase bunnies in the field next to my house.

 

Getting outside on such a glorious day really lifted my spirits!  The last few weeks have been a little rough and I didn’t realize how much I missed just being able to putter around outside (with the dogs, of course).  Plus, if you’ve been following or reading this blog, you’ll know that I was Freshly Pressed this week. All of your stories about your own critters and kind words of encouragement really heartened my spirits.  I would never have thought that one little story, on one little blog,  about one little (well, okay, big) dog could create such an overwhelming response!

So, thank you.  Thank you for embracing my stories and empathizing with my frustration.  I now know more about all of your toilet habits, too, which is not something many people can say.

Grimm thanks you, too.  He was elated to learn that there are other dogs out there who didn’t read their Rules and Regulations in Regards to Living in the Human World handbook, either.  He feels a little better knowing he’s not the only one with a paper fetish and a strong desire to hang out with his person by the commode.

For now, it’s back to stick clearing duty.  This garden isn’t going to prune itself. I’ll leave that chore to Grimm.  He likes to eat paper, and isn’t paper just pulverized sticks?

Maybe I’ll just munch on this stick for a while. Tastes like chicken.

 

 

 

 

 

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There’s an equation that most dog owners are familiar with:

Boredom + Dog = Destruction

If a dog gets bored, he or she will look for something to do or eat to pass the time.  Older, more mature dogs may just sleep or find an appropriate chew toy to help relieve the monotony, but younger dogs with an excess of energy tend to create their own excitement.  Any rules you may have regarding appropriate chew items go right out the window.

For instance, in my house, Rule #5, subsection C, states:

“Paper products, which include but are not limited to:  toilet paper, tissues, paper towels, magazines, books and mail, shall remain in the area the human places them and under no circumstances should ever enter a canine’s mouth.  The only caveat to this rule is if your human expressly asks you to bring him or her the paper, unmarred by tooth.”

Now, before you begin to think I’m some sort of severe dictator, you should know that, for one, my dogs have more toys, chew bones, comfy sleeping areas and treats than should be allowed and, two, each dog gets his or her own copy of Rules and Regulations in Regards to Living in the Human World when he or she moves in and therefore should know what is and what is not allowed.  No excuses–after all, they get free room and board, free meals, free entertainment, live-in friends, exercise privileges, internet access, unlimited television, etc.

Therefore, you can understand my confusion when I found Grimm today, in the bathroom, eating a roll of toilet paper.

Oh, hey, didn’t see you standing there.

Me:  “Ahem…don’t mean to interrupt, but WHY ARE YOU EATING THAT?  Drop the tp, step away from the toilet, and come with me.  You have blatantly violated Rule #5, subsection C, from  Rules and Regulations in Regards to Living in the Human World.”

Grimm:  “What?  I have no idea what you’re talking about.  What rules and regulations?”

Me:  “Don’t tell me you never read the handbook I gave you when you moved in.  It was the only thing I asked of you–respect the boundaries outlined in this book.”

Grimm:  “Oh, yeah….that book.  Um, I never got to Rule #5.”

Me:  “Well, go get your handbook right now and I’ll go over it with you.  We’re going to make this  a-s  c-l-e-a-r  a-s  p-o-s-s-i-b-l-e.”

Grimm:  “Um, I can’t.  I ate that.  Months ago.”

I was just lying here, minding my own business, when this roll of toilet paper jumped out of the cabinet. It started to attack me! I was only defending myself.

Rainy days like today make me ever vigilant in regard to what Grimm is doing. We can’t get outside to drain his energy and Zella can only play tug and wrestle for so long.  There is another equation I use to determine the amount of mischief Grimm is in:

If Noise = Zero, Then Grimm = Big Trouble

The quieter he gets, the more chaos is brewing.  I don’t know how a dog his size can make such a big mess at times and be so silent about it.  Apparently, he creates his own sound vacuum.  I guess it’s time to get him a new copy of Rules and Regulations in Regards to Living in the Human World.  We’ll start at the beginning:

Rule #1:  A dog may not injure a human or, through inaction, allow a human to come to harm.

Rule #2:  A dog must obey the orders given to it by humans, except where such orders would conflict with the First Rule.

Rule #3:  A dog must protect his or her own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Rules.

Oh, wait.  My bad.  Those are the Three Laws of Robotics and a dog is not a robot.  Like us, dogs are not perfect.  They have wants, needs, desires, same as us.  What they desire, however, and why they want it, may drive us crazy at times, but really, if dogs were perfect, then we’d be bored.  And then we’d be the ones eating toilet paper.

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There’s a term people use for dogs that stay constantly by their owners:  velcro dogs.  These canines are akin to the famous fabric hook-and-loop fastener in that they cling strongly to their person and it can be difficult to separate them. Some velcro dogs will also display separation anxiety and become destructive to property or themselves when unable to be with their favorite human.  I should also point out that some people have separation anxiety from their dogs and actually seek out or encourage velcro behavior.

I, for one, like being able to go to the bathroom without being dogged or hounded by four-legged critters.   Even the terms “to dog” and “hounding” came about from the fact that canines can be hard to get away from.  That being said, I do have a velcro dog.  Yep, that’s right, Grimm is as sticky as glue–Gorilla glue, not the puny Elmer’s variety.  And, alas, if I forget to close the bathroom door completely, private time becomes doggy social hour.  Nothing is more annoying than having a live dog rug underfoot when you are trying to urinate or move your bowels.  No amount of threats or shoving mean anything to a dog when your pants are down around your ankles.  They know a compromising situation when they see it.

Wait…are you going to the bathroom? I’ll come with you. Oh, you’re just throwing away a piece of trash? I better follow you, just in case. I know it’s only twelve feet away from where we are now, but you may need my help. You just never know.

Now don’t get me wrong–I like having a loyal dog.  Loyal as in, “I will warn you of possible intruders” or “I won’t run away with the first person to offer me a tasty treat” or “I will protect you from bodily harm.”  Not loyal as in “I will help you flush the toilet” or “I will trip you when you are cooking hot things because I lay behind you when you are at the stove.”  I like to think Grimm would perform well in all of the first scenarios and I know for a fact  that he can do all of the second ones.  This dog is never more than ten feet from me at all times unless we are outside.  Even then, he will keep me in his sight.

Charley, in his old age, has developed some velcro dog tendencies, but only when indoors.   Really, he is only attached to me when I am sitting down, like when I’m writing or watching something on television.  At times like those, he likes to lay at my feet.  I can deal with that sort of attachment.

Are you fixin’ [Charley is a Texas dog through and through] to sit down? If so, I’m gonna lay on your feet. Hope ya don’t mind, but if you do, too bad. I’m gonna do it anyway.

Zella, on the other hand, is more independent.  She likes to sleep on the couch, away from me and the other dogs, when we are relaxing inside.  She’ll watch me to see what’s up, but won’t follow me room to room like Grimm does.  When outside, she doesn’t run away or try to escape and comes when called, but she doesn’t have to keep me in her sight.

If you need me, let me know. I’ll just be over here lounging on the couch.

George Eliot (who was actually Mary Anne Evans– but I digress) once said:

We long for an affection altogether ignorant of our faults.  Heaven has accorded this to us in the uncritical canine attachment.

While I agree that we, as humans, seek affection from those who would love us despite our short-comings, attachment and affection are not the same thing. Attachment can become co-dependence, co-dependence can become obsession and obsession can become neuroses.  A neurotic dog is not something I want to encourage.  I don’t want to find Grimm turning into the canine version of Single White Female.

For now, Grimm is working on his stays and learning some independence.  To teach independence, I start by increasing his confidence.  To do this, I work him in scenarios that he is not entirely sure of (like walking through ladders, climbing on unstable (but not dangerous) objects, jumping over obstacles, etc.) so that he learns he can do things by himself.  When I leave rooms, I make him stay on his dog bed and reward him with low-key praise when I return (as long as he stays on his bed and doesn’t come to me–I go to him).  So far, he’s doing well.  He shows great aptitude in learning new behaviors.

I owe it to Grimm to help him foster some independence.  I love the relationship we as humans can have with our dogs.  I don’t, however, need an entourage wherever I go.  We don’t have to be attached at the hip.  As Alex Clare sings, “I don’t want to hurt you, but I need to breathe.  At the end of it all, you’re still my best friend.”
“He is your friend, your partner, your defender, your dog. You are his life, his love, his leader. He will be yours, faithful and true, to the last beat of his heart. You owe it to him
to be worthy of such devotion.”
                                                                                                    — Unknown

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Fall seemed to blast into central Texas today.  It was actually cold (only a high of 75 degrees) and raining off and on.  I dread taking the dogs out on days like today because of the mud factor.  The drought has killed off most of the Augustine grass that used to carpet the front part of my back yard, which means that the sparse native grass doesn’t completely cover the clay that is exposed.  With the rain, the clay has turned into the consistency of thick peanut butter, which is awfully fun to clean from dog paws–and by awfully fun, I mean just awful.  I figured, if we’re gonna get dirty, might as well go all out.  So I let all three of them sniff and explore to their little hearts content in the land surrounding my house.

I live in a neighborhood that was developed over old farm and ranch land, so occasionally I find some interesting things when digging in the dirt or when the rain washes some of it away.  Today, Grimm found himself an awesome old bone sticking out of the dirt–the humerus of a cow.  He pried it loose from the dirt and mud and proceeded to parade it in front of Zella and Charley.  Never mind that the bone was old, brittle and dirty.  Grimm had it and they wanted it.  So, the game of bones began.

Zella tried brute strength–she tackled Grimm and grabbed the end of the bone sticking out of his mouth.  They toiled back and forth, but no matter how hard Zella tried, she could not get a firm enough grip on the condyle portion jutting from Grimm’s mouth.  In frustration, she gave up.  Grimm taunted her some more–come on, come get this from me…if you dare!

Since brute force wasn’t in her favor, she tried a new tactic more in character with her sex–intimacy.   She ran up to Grimm, mounted him and thrust so hard against him that she knocked him down to the ground.  Now, I know in dogs this is more about dominance and, in Zella’s case, frustration.  Her assault, however, caused Grimm to drop his bone.  Grimm jumped up, momentarily forgetting the bone, and proceeded to wrestle with Zella.

While this skirmish was playing out, Charley watched from the fringes.  As soon as the bone fell from Grimm’s mouth, Charley watched for the perfect moment to dart in for the steal.  As soon as Grimm went chasing after Zella, sans bone, Charley skulked in and started gnawing on the bone.  Grimm heard the scrape of tooth on his prize and ran back to liberate his haul.  Grimm ran up and wrenched the bone from Charley’s grasp.  The bounty was his!  The game of bones was won!

Watching them struggle to gain the bone was exactly like the canine version of Game of Thrones.   There was deceit, sexual overtures and dirty, grueling battles.  The only thing missing was a dwarf–maybe next time we’ll invite the neighbor’s chihuahua to the game.  I finally stepped in and took the bone for myself and hosed all the dogs down.  I cleaned off the bone and let Grimm have a few moments of kingly glory.  After all, winter is coming–the bleak days ahead will not be favorable for playing the game of bones.

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Once Upon A Time…

…there was a poor pup named Capulin.  He was a sad pup indeed because, as it turns out, he had parvo.   No magic beans (magic beans meaning money to pay for treatment) were to be had by his family.  A curse was placed upon him and he was sentenced to death.    Capulin challenged cruel fate to a duel in order to break the curse, his weapon being his lighting- fast wagging tail.  He wiggled and waggled and danced in circles, but alas, no amount of twirling and spinning and tail thumping could thwart the coming of the Reaper.  At the final hour, when all seemed lost, a wandering Fairy Godmother (that would be me) witnessed his amazing act of defiance in the face of death, and uttered the magic spell that would break the curse– “I’ll take him”.   He returned home with her to her small cottage, where he was welcomed by two others of his kind.  After many magical potions, the parvo was cured.  Because he was granted a new life, he was given a new name–“Grimm”, a reminder of the near miss he had with the Grim Reaper, but also a nod to the fact that sometimes, fairy tales do come true, as relayed by the brothers Grimm [not all of their stories end in death and destruction, and besides, I couldn’t name him Disney].

Grimm the parvo survivor

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