Monday, November 17, 2014

'Tis (nearing) the Season

Yes, here we are again.  We're right on the heels of Thanksgiving which leads right into Christmas.  It is an incredibly holy day for us, but we love to decorate and to find just the right gifts for people.  We like to give gifts - in fact if I could give 1% of what I wanted to, we'd need to have a million coming in annually.  Hub says he loves that about me, but I have to question it.  I mean, we're on one income and one disability check with 2 human mouths and 4 furry kid mouths to feed.

One big decision: to Christmas tree or not to Christmas tree.  Pre-kitty twins and doggies, we had a tree (usually live) in the living room and one 3' artificial one in our bedroom holding the extra special ornaments... the ones we got when we were married (a popular gift when you marry in December), the ones we get every trip we take, the ones we have for the first year in our home and for anniversaries, plus the ones for all of our furry kids.  Needless to say it's time to get a bigger tree for those ornaments.  BUT, we now live with twin kitties who have pulled down a curtain.  There is no way they can be trusted alone with our special tree.  The dogs...  well, the year we got them we were only home for a couple of weeks before Christmas arrived.  Last year I was stuck in our bedroom after some surgery so we had no tree.  I do have to add to that to let you know that hubby got me a "Charlie Brown tree" (which it was officially called as evidenced on the tag) and my Mom picked up a small metal tree because I was so upset about not feeling like it was Christmastime.

So, I think we have to eliminate the upstairs tree.  This is crushing - both for obvious reasons and because we would always leave it lit Christmas Eve when we left the radio on with Christmas carols all night long, so we'd wake up to it.  It's also crushing because I'm not sure exactly how I want to handle a downstairs tree.  Or other decorations for that matter.  We have enough boxes of decorations to have every inch of this house covered.  It's been years since we've gone all out.  I've not been feeling all too well lately, so we're basically faced with the tree vs. no tree debate.

The pups would never be alone with it.  They have not proven themselves trustworthy to be out of their kennels when we're not home.  With our very open floor plan, they'd never be more than around a corner from us seeing them.  We're considering an artificial 4' tree which we already own.  But what about the other stuff.  I neglected to mention that the nativity is a no-brainer and goes up every year without fail.

So, tree?  No tree?  Live (I'm sooo afraid that Casey would want to "mark it" as his own)?  Artificial?  Eeeeep!  Help a girl out here!

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Brains and Beauty

We have recently established that Poly, while smart when she wants to be or when it involves food, isn't the brightest bulb in the box.  She is not a good problem-solver.  For instance, when we unlatch the two slides on her kennel she still thinks she's locked in.  Casey, on the other hand, can actually break out of his kennel and, after we undo just one of the hooks, pushes his head halfway out.  I had re-configured the furniture for an afternoon and Poly wasn't able to find a path to get onto the sofa.  Casey didn't think twice about leaping over my legs one time and simply going around the furniture a different time.  She just can't figure certain things out.  It's a darn good thing she's cute!

Of course Casey is pretty adorable himself!

The weather has been absolutely beautiful here.  It's been in the mid-60s to mid-70s with a breeze - we're talking unbeatable!  Casey and Poly think so, too.  While Casey only wants to go out and enjoy the gorgeousness with his people, Poly is content being out there all day, mostly "guarding the shed."

Let me go back to the last time it was so incredible outside.  Hubby has just fixed the screen on the slider that goes out to the back yard.  Both dogs like to scratch at screens when they want something.  At the back door it's usually to go outside.  As for the front door, well, let's just say there is a lot of excitement when Daddy comes home from work!

Ok, well with a lot of scratching at the door it was time to replace the screen.  Keith got the stuff and voila, all better.  The very next time we opened the screen in the sliding door, Poly didn't realize it was there and ran right through it.  Right through.  It tore about a foot up one side and a foot along the bottom.  Well, then came the heat and we turned the a/c on, not giving it another thought.

Mr. Smarty-pants, Casey, quickly realized the tear was there.  Just this week, I heard him come up the steps to the back door so I went to let him in.  I turn the corner into the kitchen and there he is --- IN the kitchen!  I go hunting around for duct tape and go outside to tape up the rips.  A couple hours later he and Poly ask to go out, so I go marching back out to the kitchen only to find that he has let himself out!  This is not a doggy door!  Of course Poly didn't exactly realize she could do the same.  Anyway, I got down on the floor and taped the corner of the screen from the inside.  Here is the only duct tape we have in the house:

It's quite the sight.

The next night, we headed to the home improvement store and ordered a new door.  We'll have Minnie Mouse keeping an eye on Casey for the next 2-3 weeks until it's installed.

Love my big kids!

Monday, August 4, 2014

Good Girl!

I've mentioned a bunch of times that Poly is our stubborn challenging problematic difficult demanding ... what is the right word?  Ok, I'm going to say it... Poly is sometimes downright impossible.  Don't get me wrong, I love her to death.  I mean, who couldn't love this face?

No need to go on and on about her tough side.

We've had continual problems with her thinking it's ok to "go" in the house.  We've done our best to teach her that she cannot do that.  However she isn't getting the message.  Just last week I stepped onto a wet spot on a rug we have in the foyer.  I didn't know it was there and... squish.  Yep squish.  Yep, gross!  Sometimes she goes into the powder room to let us know she has to go out.  GOOD GIRL!  Other times she will have been barking at Sir Groundhog so we don't know if she needs to go out.  Sometimes she'll scratch at the sliding door when she has to go.  She'll often already be in the kitchen "sun-bathing" and doesn't alert us to her need.  There isn't anything consistent and since she feels it's ok to use the house as her potty (#1 only, thankfully!) it's hard to catch her at just the right time.  I've tried an array of different things but in the end, just when I think she's got it down, squish.

MrB is usually the person to spend the mornings with them, since he has to get up to go to work anyway (I do my part on the weekends and if a need arises).  Recently he's been leaving me notes on my nightstand letting me know whether or not  she "pee-d."

That brings us to today.  I woke up to a note saying that MrB didn't know if she went.  So, out of her kennel and right outside.  One of the things I've tried is holding onto her leash until she goes and then setting her free to stalk groundhogs or secure the shed.  When she finally had it and was consistent for a couple weeks, I stopped going with her.  She would tinkle first thing before running around the yard.  Especially in the mornings she really needs to "go" first thing.  Don't we all?  Sometimes she'll stop when she's run around to a place where she's hidden from us.  Today was one of those days.  Today I got the "I don't think..." note.  I took her out twice before calling MrB on the phone.  He said he was pretty sure that she had... just not certain.  I told her I was taking a risk and trusting her and let her have free reign like usual.  Here I was, sitting innocently and Poly went into the kitchen.  I heard her get a drink and lay down to sunbathe in front of the sliders.  This isn't new; she does it virtually every day.  Suddenly I hear it.  A bark coming from the kitchen.  Did I really hear it?  Casey was in here with me and he doesn't really bark anyway.  It was Poly!  I went out with her and as soon as she found just the right spot, she squatted and the rest is history.  Now, I can't have false hope her... I can't let her play with us so we gain confidence and get sloppy.  But for today... GOOD GIRL!!

As an added note, what the heck makes a dog decide one spot is better to use than any other.  And why do some dogs (Poly) feel the need to run in a bunch of circles before finally squatting?  I find this curious.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

And here we go again

It's storming.  Again.  Thunder, lightening, horizontal rain -- the whole thing.  And the dogs are exactly the same each time.  Actually that's not entirely true.  Poly has gotten SO much calmer when there are storms.  She still shakes sometimes, though not all the time.  At least one of us is with her, as best as our schedules allow.  At this moment she's curled up in a ball, breathing somewhat deeply but no shaking.  I keep praying that this means she feels safe here... with us.  It's been a few years since she and her brother arrived.  I'm glad to know that after all she's been through, she considers this her HOME!

 I may have told these stories before and if I have, please forgive me.

Poly's life started in Georgia where she somehow wound up in a "high-kill" shelter.  Actually she spent her entire life in a shelter.  She never had a home.  Never had someone to let her sleep on the sofa.  Never had people care for her, and snuggle with her.  It makes me sad just to write that.  Fortunately, after her traumatic beginnings, a rescue picked her up and brought her up North.  She was fostered for about a millisecond before we grabbed her.

Actually we were hooking up with someone from the rescue to meet Casey!  He was in a high-kill shelter as well.  We know little about his history other than that he was adopted with his brother.  That adoptive family felt overwhelmed loving both of them.  I can't imagine how, but they gave Casey (then known as Wesley) back.  Again, this was our blessing and we have the privilege of loving him - and spoiling him!  So, we went to meet Casey and Poly (then, "Wendy").  She hadn't been up North very long but seemed to have bonded with Casey.  The two of them were romping around and playing together like they'd shared their entire lives together.  Then Poly snuggled up to MrB and that was that.  We'd been sucked in.  We were now the parents of TWO dogs....

So we are in the midst of a pretty awful storm.  Casey is just hanging out.  Poly plopped herself on the ottoman next to me after Daddy left for just a minute.  She remains there... here:

Now is that adorable or what?  I guess I'm taking advantage of her storm snuggles since she usually pays the most attention to Daddy.  She's doing ok now.  Deep breaths and snuggling against my leg.  I'll take it!

Before I end with the poem below, please remember


I have absolutely no idea where I got this and apologize that I don't have a name to reference:

Tail tucked between your legs,
Confusion in your eyes -
I know it's hard to understand
That someone heard your cries.
When loneliness is all you know
And pain is all you feel
And no one can be trusted,
And hunger's all too real...
That's the time the Lord sees you
And lets you know He's there
That's when He sends His messengers
The hearts that love and care.
Yes, rescuers are angels
You cannot see their wings, 
They keep them neatly folded
As they do their caring things.
The medicine to make you well
Good food to make you strong,
And finally to help you learn
That hugs are never wrong.
The perfect place then must be found
The home where you can live
Secure and safe and happy
With joy to get and give.
When you reach your Forever Home,
Your place to feel whole,
The Angels smile, and off they go

To save another soul.

Monday, July 14, 2014


It has been storming a lot here in the Mid-Atlantic.  I mean a lot!  There are flood watches and warnings as well as actual flooding.  Many of the storms have had thunder and lightening.  I think I've mentioned before that Poly is not a fan of "thunder-boomers" (as they were called when I was a scared little one).  Firstly, our little Princess doesn't like to get her paws wet.  Heaven forbid.  You have to time it just right where she actually has to go, the grass isn't wet, there is no mud AND right before the storm starts.  She is one high-maintenance pup.  We love her a lot.  I mean a lot!

Poly could be a weather-dog if we taught her to use the green screen.  She shakes with storms.  Often she senses they are coming before we're even aware of an impending storm.  Poor little girl wants to be cuddled up next to something -- usually someone.  We've tried the ThunderShirt (which I know to be very successful with other pups, just not our Poly) as well as some holistic remedies.  Nothing works for our little girl except some love and cuddling.  No problem!  I read one article about how you shouldn't give your pet extra attention when they're shaking during storms because it just teaches them to shake more.  Ok, hold on just one minute!  I have a degree in psychology and behavior modification was my favorite topic (I'll have you know I got an "A" in training my mouse, but I digress).  I understand "Classical Conditioning" where you give a reward with a desired behavior occurs.  I just don't think this applies to FEAR!  C'mon, would you do that to a baby who's afraid of something?  Yes, you would totally give the baby love and attention.  Why on earth would someone say you shouldn't do as much.  Argh!  People frustrate me!

Storms: Casey.

That's basically the extent of it.  Or he'll snuggle with us, but that's what he does a lot of the time.  While he can be a bully, not wanting his sister to get attention unless he is -- or instead of her, he's a big lover.  We love him back... happily!  Well, that's the extent of our big kids and storms.

 The little ones (our two kitties), well, unless they are here (see left) they are under the bed or in the tub.  Ok, so Bert might be in the tub; he's the one on top.  Tori will likely be hiding under the bed or in the spare bedroom.  They're pretty "chill" when it comes to thunder storms.  Thankfully.

Here's hoping praying the basement is dry!

Friday, July 11, 2014

Long Overdue

There is no excuse.  None.  At all.

However, I'm going to offer one up anyway.


Life is crazy busy.  You know it.  It's true for you, too.  It seems to be true for everyone these days, doesn't it?  Work.  Cooking.  Shopping.  Movies.  Dinner out.  Family Visits.  Friend visits.  Cooking for said visits.  Phone calls.  Life.

The dogs are loving life right about now!  They are sound asleep.  Poly spent most of the day outside, getting annoyed when I would force her to come in, cool off, and get some water.  Poly was in quite a "place" where she loved what was going on, but it totally set off her ADD.  Wishes (at least that's what we call them here in the Mid-Atlantic) were flying by and Poly couldn't help but chase after them, either with her eyes or by running after them.  At the same time, she was on the lookout for birds to fly overhead so she could chase after their shadows.  Meanwhile, Casey couldn't decide if he wanted to stay outside, where he could periodically eat some branches/grass/dirt or he stays inside with his people - or person, as it were.

Sir Groundhog has reared his ugly head.  There has been quite a raucous around here.  I've taken a few videos and I'll share one with you.  Oh, by the way, it seems Sir Groundhog has developed a relationship and they are both eating the clover taking over our backyard.  Ugh!

Here is where I tried to load a video of the pups going crazy over Sir Groundhog.  Casey definitely provides great entertainment.  However, I'm sure you noticed the word "tried" and that gets the idea across.  I thought I finally had it... the box with the first screen and the arrow.  I was so excited (the dogs were sleeping at the time).  Then I clicked on it and nothing.  Noth-ing!  Perhaps I'll figure it out for another video entry.

We've taken oodles of pictures of these big guys.  Unfortunately I can't  post them right now.  I promise I'll get them up as soon as possible.

MrB and I had several engagements the weekend before last.  This meant that the dogs were alone.  I was feeling incredibly guilty about that.. I can't imagine I'm alone in that, right?  So, I grabbed my jammies and slept on the sofa.  Two nights in a row.  Now that makes for a couple of happy dogs!

Casey is a champ when it comes to behavior, paying attention to us about 99% of the time.  Poly, on the other hand, still thinks it's ok to pee in the house.  Really?  She's 3 yrs old!  We've tried everything!  For a long time now I've taken her outside myself and stayed with her (she was on a leash) until she finally went and then she was free to romp, run, and play to her heart's desire.  It was working for a while.  That "while" came to an end.  Just this week, while she was barking her head off, she was presumably barking at one point to go outside.  I do hope that's what happened because I stepped in a wet spot on an area rug in our foyer.  At other times she'll go 16 hours without going (like during Hurricane Sandy).  She's a very confusing dog.  She has gotten really good at coming in when she's called from outside.  She's usually in front of the shed, happy as a clam.  It's almost a straight line from the shed to the back door.  She's a tricky little thing, though because she'll head towards the door and then veer off to the right, heading back towards the door at the last minute.  Now that we know she does that, it makes us laugh.  She really is one smart cookie!

I'll get quiet now.  Hopefully not for too long.  There are plenty more antics here with the "B" critters.

Thanks for reading!

Friday, April 4, 2014

Our Babies

Wow, I cannot  believe it's been since JULY that I've written!  I knew it had been awhile, but 9 months?  Now that's just neglectful!

What have the kids been up to since I last posted?  Well, they stayed with "Mr. Jim" twice while we went away.  The husband and I went away twice.  Once was to Disney World for to Night of Joy.  The other was for a relaxing and (mandatory) un-plugged anniversary (18th) away.  Hub's job was super stressful, to the extreme that he was angry, yes ANGRY at not being able to reach Keith for that long weekend... 3 days of which he was already off for holiday time and the other day was vacation time.  I could easily go off about this, but I'd rather talk about my birthday trip.

We are HUGE Disney fans and we are Christians who love contemporary Christian music.  Night of Joy is the perfect combination of these things.  It sounds like a Christmas celebration, but it's in September...every year.  We got to see concerts from Stephen Curtis Chapman, Michael W. Smith, MercyMe, Matthew West, The Newsboys (others performed, too)...  AWESOME lineup for 2013.  Ok, I got off a little bit and I apologize.  Back to the pups!

While it is boarding when they stay at Mr. Jim's, he is incredible and takes such good care of them!  They come home exhausted!  It takes every ounce of energy, after their rush of seeing us, to get in the car.  They are happy to see him when we drop them off.  I had surgery in December (the day after our "un-plug" trip) and wasn't able to properly care for the dogs.  Rather than worrying, Mr. Jim was more than happy to accept a couple of last minute daycare friends.  He has told us that he never lets any dog on his chair.  Poly, however, stole his heart and she is permitted on the chair.  Poly and only Poly!  She steals hearts pretty easily.  Casey is darn good at this himself.  He is a big lover if ever there was one.  He jumps all 4 legs in the air with a vertical jump because he is so excited to see someone he knows.  Kisses.  He LOVES kisses and will give them to you, even if he doesn't know you.  He will sit next to you and hand you his paw, or both paws, and wants you to pet under them until he slides down the sofa and wants belly rubs.  Such a lover!

As I've written before, Casey and Poly are rescue dogs.  We completed an application with interest in Casey.  They accepted our application, did a home-study and interview and checked references - adopting a human doesn't seem so extensive (kidding...just kidding!).  We'd gone through a different rescue to adopt our kitties, Victoria and Albert (aka Tori and Bert).  So, Casey seemed to be a good match for us so we met him with his foster Mom.  Immediately we knew he had to be part of our family!

I mean really -- look at those eyes (even though they're half closed) and those ears - oh my goodness!  He had us at "hello!"

Well it turns out that the foster Mom was also caring for a dog, a Vizsla (what? you ask, what is that?).  Well, we had no idea either, we just knew she was a cute, sly little thing!

She knew how to work the situation.  "Hmmmm, if I curl up in a tight little ball right between the two of them and let them feel how soft I am, maybe, just maybe they'll take me home."  And while we're at it, big guy, let's play together and then take a nap right at their feet.  That'll really suck 'em in!

Well, she was right.  A few days later Wesley and Wendy because Casey and Poly and were deemed members of our family forever.

Ok, so, Poly...a vizsla.  The video will show you how beautiful this breed is.  She is not pure vizsla, of course, but she sure does have many (MANY) of the qualities of them.  Basically what I tell people when they ask is that hubby and I had never heard of the breed before Poly and that she's a Hungarian hunting dog.  That pretty much sums it up from this end.  This dog can dig like nobody's business and regularly tries to get under the fence on both sides of the yard.  Yep, she's a digger!

We've had a rough winter here in the Northeast//MidAtlantic.  These guys were not so sure about all of the snow.  Poly tries to catch snow flakes and gets upset when they fall to the ground, getting lost in the inches of snow on the ground.  Casey had it when the snow reached as high as his belly.  Neither were very fond of this after a while.  Prancing through the snow with their legs sinking it at every step got old pretty fast.  Fortunately, hubster and I took video I can now share it with you so we have it for prosperity. (dumb upload)

Mr. Casey has had a hard time this winter.  He seems very depressed and has started licking one of his paws to the point of being red and raw.  We have a spray meant to help it clear up; he licks that off almost immediately despite our best efforts.  He's also taking a med with the thinking that he's doing it due to stress.  There has been a great deal of stress here, but with hubby starting a new job, some of that should be relieved.

I guess that pretty much sums up what's going on with us.  I know I say this every time, but I'll try to keep on top of "Two Dogs" better!