Thursday, May 31, 2012

New Sign for Your Office

For those of you who are still working, here's a new sign.  It cracks me up.  I have it taped to the door of my study.
Bless His Heart

Walter stays right by me wherever I'm in the house, or he's right by my husband.  Bless his heart, Walter even stays right by me when I practice guitar.

The first time I played, he whined a little, but then, he never did it again.  He didn't even whine when I sang, and believe me, I don't have a good singing voice.  But just the other day, when I was practicing,  Walter came very close to the neck of the guitar and rested his whole face on the strings to mute them.  I hope that's not a commentary on how I sound!

Wild Kingdom

In addition to the one dog, four cats inside, and four cats outside, we are visited by raccoons and possums.  We live next to a swamp, so it's really not that unusual.  We are also visited by snakes and alligators, and those have been unwelcome visitors, but that's a story for another post.

We feed the "outside cats" in the backyard - we caught them in "Have-a-Heart" traps, had them tested, vaccinated, and neutered, but they aren't tame enough to bring inside.  Three of our four "inside cats" go outside, but they stay inside most of the time.

Whenever someone asks me how many pets we have, I say, "We have one dog, four cats inside, and four cats outside."  I've always thought that we have five pets, since the "outside cats" are feral - they let us pet them, but they freak out if you try to pick them up and bring them inside.

Recently, a little girl asked me the question, and when I told her my answer, she said, "You have nine pets?????"

In all this time, I never thought I had nine pets, but I guess I kind of do!
LED Collar and Leash

Since I've been retired, I've had time to explore the Internet.  I discovered Groupons, Saveology, and No More Rack.  These sites post daily offers - kind of like the Home Shopping Network.  Anyway, one of the offers was for an LED collar and leash.  It was only seven dollars, and it came in red, blue, or green.  I thought that would be very cool, especially when walking Walter at night.  It came in the mail last week, and I was so excited.  Walter was excited when I put it on him, but he's always excited....
I thought that was the best seven dollars I'd spent in a long time.
As it turns out, the collar LED stopped working, so I contacted the company, and they said they would refund my money if I sent them a picture of it.  I really have been learning all kinds of new technology, and I was able to take the picture of it with "Photo Booth" and upload the picture onto my e-mail.  The leash still lights up and even blinks, but that could give someone a seizure, so I won't use that, but still, Walter looks great, don't you think?
Bad Day at the Dog Park

Sunday, we brought Walter to the dog park.  We've gone before and never had any problems.  Well, Walter was in a mood.  He growled five times and looked like he wanted to get into fights with the other dogs.  He even tried to mount a Bull Mastiff that weighed 160 pounds!  He growled at a dog when he went to the drinking fountain.  We thought he would be so happy to get to run with the big dogs at the park.  In the truck on the way home with him, he wouldn't tell why he was so ornery....
The Baby Gates Are Down

I woke up yesterday morning, and I realized my husband had taken down the baby gates we've had since we brought Walter home.  That means Walter is growing up and he's house-trained!

Friday, May 25, 2012


Walter was trying to go into his crate, but when he approached the entrance, I heard hissing and growling.  I lifted the blanket covering the crate, and lo and behold, Henry was in there, just lounging.....
Cool Moth

 This is what I saw when I looked out the window one day this past week.  Wow!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Piano Dog

One of the many things I want to do now that I'm retired is to learn (again) to play the piano.  I took lessons for five years when I was much younger, and I've played off and on through the years, but you know what they say:  if you don't use it, you lose it.  Same with speaking a language.  I'm having to re-learn the notes on the piano and on the guitar.  It's harder to learn when you're older, I think, but it can be done.  Also, it provides brain exercise, which supposedly delays the development of Alzheimer's.

Well, today was the day that I sat down at the piano.  Walter follows me everywhere I go, so naturally, he sat down next to me at the piano.  He put his paws on me while I was trying to play.  Not sure if that was a commentary on my playing, just like when he was whining when I started playing guitar again.
To help him feel included, I got him to sit in the chair next to the piano, since he wouldn't fit on the piano bench.  Now Walter is the Piano Dog....

Monday, May 14, 2012

Caught in the Act
I caught my favorite cat, the little gray one, Henry, red-handed, or red-pawed, in the act of stealing my pack of guitar picks.  I'm so glad I saw him because no one knows how long before we'd find those picks scattered around the house.

We used to have pens, Christmas ornaments, and all sorts of things disappear, and then you'd walk across the carpet and feel that you'd stepped on something.  Lo and behold, after folding back a corner of the carpet, you'd find the pen you'd been looking for or the ornament that you wondered what happened to it five months ago.  I don't think the cats are playing hide-and-seek.  I'm not sure what they're doing, but you have to laugh, right?
Another Milestone
We're guessing Walter's birthday is in July, so we gave him July 14th as the date of his birthday, which makes him ten months old.  Well, this ten-month-old accomplished another milestone.  He went to the door for me to let him out so he could pee!

When we first got him, he went wherever and whenever he felt like it, so we had to stay one step ahead of him and take him outside at regular intervals.  He's gotten better at waiting, but this was a big step for him....

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

A Milestone

You're going to think this is crazy, but Walter had a milestone moment today.  He lifted his leg!  He's ten months old, and today was the first day he lifted his leg to pee, only a few inches high, but still lifted.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Walter at the Dog Park

Today was the best day ever in Walter's life.  Well, maybe the second.  The first is the day we rescued him.  Today, Walter went to the dog park.  He met so many other dogs and ran and jumped and played.  It did our hearts good to watch all of them playing.

I haven't been operating at my usual "full steam ahead" because my knees have been hurting, so I haven't gotten to take Walter on his first daily long walk.  Wayne has been walking him in the evening, but he needs at least two walks a day to tap all that puppy energy.

Today, he looked like he was in heaven.  There were at least ten dogs his size that he got to romp around with at the park.
Then, at the end of the dog park visit, I used the handy hose to cool him off.  Walter used up a lot of energy today.  I think he will sleep very well.

There's a certain etiquette at the dog park.  People talk freely about their dogs - they tell you their dog's name, size, age, breed, all kinds of things.  No one asks what your name is or what you do.  This seems to be the protocol whenever dogs are involved.  Everyone pets the other's dogs, and you can even ask to hold their puppies.  Everyone talks to everyone, no matter if one person looks conservative, or if another person has head-to-toe tattoos.  They freely offer dog training tips or vet advice.

This was so much fun, I think we'll go back!

Sunday, May 6, 2012

You've Heard of Cat in the Hat?

This is Cat in the Dryer.  I don't know what's so attractive about the dryer, but Henry just loves to jump in there.  Thank Goodness, I know this is one of his habits, so I know to check the dryer.  Sometimes, he jumps onto the warm towels before I can get them out of the dryer.  That must be one of the best feelings in the world to him.  He does the same thing when we're trying to make the bed.  There's just something about jumping all over the bed when the sheets are being put on the mattress.

He also loves to run into any closet when the door is opened.  He has run into the closet without my seeing him, and he has had to stay in there until I realize I haven't seen him in a while, so I start checking all the hiding places.  He's learned to open the French doors in the hallway, and he has actually opened the sliding doors in the guest bedroom.  Good thing he doesn't have opposable thumbs...
Canine Dental Hygiene 101

All the experts tell you that you should brush your animals' teeth.  Luckily, Walter likes the taste of the toothpaste, and he's not too finicky about letting me touch his face.
Are those some beautiful teeth or what?

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Missing in Action

I've been taking guitar lessons.  I played 30 years ago, but I forgot all the notes and chords, so I've had to re-learn everything.  I figure it will help exercise my brain.  The calluses are building up on the fingers of my left hand, and little by little, I'm making progress.

When I was  practicing, I dropped my guitar pick, and the cats pounced on it and then started playing hockey with it.  I cannot find it.  I hope that's not an indication that the cats can't stand it when I'm playing guitar....

Right At Home

Walter made himself right at home on the sofa next to Wayne.  Lately, I've been saying it's a good thing I didn't actually get an Irish Wolfhound.  Walter looks like a miniature Irish Wolfhound, and at only 44 pounds, he's almost too big for the sofa when we're both sitting on it with him in the middle.


Walter grabbed this shirt from the dirty clothes hamper.  He thought it made him look stylish.

James Bond, Jr., is the name I gave one of the "feral" backyard cats - he's a black and white tuxedo cat.  Previously, there was the original James Bond tuxedo cat, but when we caught him in the Have-a-Heart trap to have him neutered and vaccinated, we found out he had FIV and had to be put down.

When I call him, I always use his full name:  "James Bond, Jr.!"  I can only imagine what my neighbors think.  He is friendly, and he lets you pet him, but he freaks out when you pick him up.  Whenever I call him, he shows up, and I think he likes me.
I saw the funniest thing - but there are lots of "funniest thing" moments when you have animals.  James Bond, Jr. was sitting on the chaise lounge on the patio, and Walter was in the backyard about ten feet away.  James Bond, Jr. jumped off the chaise lounge and charged Walter.  Walter ran for his life!  James Bond, Jr. chased Walter around the boat, and as Walter was going around the boat, James Bond, Jr. bolted up the oak tree. It was a beautiful strategy.  It made me laugh out loud.

If you look closely at the picture, you can see Walter at the base of the tree to the left.  James Bond, Jr. is to the right of the "v" of the tree.
Minty Walter

I have some "strawberry pots" on my backyard patio, and I've planted mint in them.  There are little pockets on the sides of the pots, and the plants come out of those pockets as well as out of the top of the pot.  I love mint, so I'm growing several different kinds.

The other day, Walter was running in circles around the mint pots, and because he was touching the mint leaves as he was running around the pots, the mint plants were releasing their scent into the air.  It was the nicest surprise from Walter and the mint plants.

Yesterday, I went to the vet because Zoe had tapeworms! If one animal has it, you have to treat all the animals, so I had to give Walter 4 pills (it's based on their weight) and each of the cats one pill a piece. Walter took his pills in "pill pockets," an ingenious invention - they're little malleable treats with a hole where you insert the pill to enclose it. He thought he was getting treats.
They have feline pill pockets - they're smaller versions of the canine pill pockets - but I had to break up the pills into quarters because the tapeworm pill was too large to give all at once.  I tried giving one pill pocket per quarter to Harry.  He took them by the hardest.  Good thing I clipped all the cats' claws last week...

Next was Zoe.  Did you ever try to give a cat a pill?  You haven't attempted one of the most difficult tasks on earth until to do this.  So I had four cats with four quarters each - that's sixteen pills basically, that I had to quickly shove down their throats while avoiding getting bitten or scratched.  Not easy...

Zoe spit each quarter out at least three times before I got her to swallow them.  Violet was easier than I thought, but she still wasn't happy about it.  Henry screamed like I was killing him.  It was a harrowing experience for everyone but Walter.

Anyway, I had gone to the vet to get the tapeworm medicine, and the women behind the counter at the vet had brought their dogs to work.  One was a Shih-tzu puppy, and the other was a three-year-old Yorkie.  Precious and irresistible.  I played with each of them.

So that got me thinking.  I want a kitten and a Yorkie puppy and a baby rabbit all at the same time so they can all be friends.  I told my husband, and he said, "Not until all of the pets we have now are gone."  I don't know if I'll be alive long enough to outlive the animals I have right now, but I still would love to have a puppy and kitten and bunny raised together.  Something to think about...

Of course, as I'm writing this, Walter and Henry are playing/fighting all over the house.  Walter is a puppy, so he really wants to play with everyone.  Henry is curious and interested, but a little overwhelmed by Walter's size and canine-ness.  Walter chases Henry around the house, and then Henry hisses, growls, and meows loudly when Walter corners him.  When Walter trots off to another room, Henry starts crying for attention.  Then it starts over and over and over.....