Saturday, September 26, 2009


I have a serious weakness for boots. I love them. Casual boots, fancy boots, no heel, low heel, even higher heel (but I never get too crazy with heels). Pointy toe, squared toe, rounded toe. Almost any color (but not light-up boots - I save those for my daughter). And today? I got a new pair of hiking/work boots. They're not sexy, but they're comfortable and have a great weight to them. And of course, my sweet kids got boots too.

Three got another pair of John Deere boots, naturally. Same style as last year - I'm just glad the store still had them! Once he tried them on, he wouldn't take them off, so he wore those boots for the rest of the day (except a brief period in socks so he could play on the inflatables at a birthday party, but he returned to check on his new boots even then).

Big Girl got a pair of light-up boots, no joke. They're really cute, black with some dark pink accents, and she loves them. I'll post pictures, naturally. I admit, I scoffed at light-up shoes a little before I had a little girl who just loves them. They make her delightfully happy, and they're harmless, so I've changed my tune completely on the light-up shoes (but I have not, and will not, change my views on Heelys - they're atrocious). I don't know that I would encourage her to wear light-ups to church services, but for more casual attire they're fun.

I also saw the most divine soft brown boots, tall ones with a slight heel, rounded toe. The leather was so soft to the touch, and they were just beautiful. I did not try them on. I knew better. They were on sale - at the discount shoe place where I love to shop for shoes - for nearly $300. Oh, they were amazing. Even the kids knew they were special. Big Girl's the one who spotted them first and pointed them out to me, and then her brother spent a while petting them. Yes, these shoes were pet-ably soft. Even Hubs oohed over them.

This shoe store is located in another city a few miles north of ours, and I can remember going there as a kid with my parents. It's crowded with shoes of all kinds, all sizes, floor-to-ceiling with narrow aisles in many places. It's like a maze constructed of shoe boxes. Three likes to race around in there, and I have to hurry to keep up with him as he weaves through tight spaces and around slim corners. I think they have almost any shoe - any style, color, size - you could want there. I could become a serious rival to Imelda Marcos if you let me loose in there.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

The Bad, who was really The Felon, now an ex-con

The Man got Patton. On Tuesday, actually - the day he escaped. While I was searching the neighborhood for two days, he was waiting in a cage at the county pound. And they didn't call me because, well, they're idiots, and they never bothered to scan him and find his microchip, and the phone number wore off of his tag. I finally thought today to call them, and ask, just to make sure he hadn't been taken there, and they knew immediately which dog I meant.

And so Three and I had a big adventure to spring him from the joint - big adventure because we had to get proof of shots from Patton's vet (he lost his rabies tag a couple of collars back - he goes through collars quickly), and we showed up with our printout and a checkbook, but they wanted cash, exact change, $25 - which means the ATM is no good, since it only spits out $20 bills. The woman didn't bother to tell me this earlier on the phone. So the boy and I raced back into town to find a bank, go inside, wait in line very impatiently while the slowest people ever were assisted in front of us, cash a check, and scoot back out to the boonies to get Patton before the place closed. Because I couldn't bear to leave him there another night. That place was so incredibly depressing, with all of the dogs barking and calling to us, knowing that many of them - most of them - don't have long to live.

We called in backup (the grandmother) to pick up Big Girl from her class, since this debacle took far more time than anticipated, and we finally got our boy back. In retrospect, I cannot believe the confluence of stupidity that kept him there two days while we ignorantly searched our neighborhood. Some bozo in a nearby neighborhood - not ours, but close - called animal control about him, and told them that he belonged to some new neighbor in that neighborhood, so the dog catcher left a note on the door of that house, and then since they assumed that they had notified the owner, they never bothered to scan Patton for a microchip. Plus our new phone number had worn off of Patton's collar tag, leaving only our old out-of-state number, which was, of course, disconnected. They didn't try to contact anyone with the name listed on his tag, since we have a fairly common last name, I suppose - I didn't press the issue at the time, since I was so relieved to get my baby back. But I feel an irate letter, perhaps even a series of letters, developing.

And I hope I never have to see that place again. We have a great humane society here that adopts out dogs. They get some dogs from animal control, but the latter is basically a kill-shelter, a tiny place crammed full of dogs waiting to die. I don't want to think about what might have happened had my sweet boy been there another day or two. The pound did metaphorical lip service to animal adoption - a couple of posters and a sign listing contact information for the humane society - but I don't think many dogs make it out of there. I wanted to grab all I could and shove them in my van and speed away.

I couldn't - I don't have the space, the money, the time, or the energy to take care of that many dogs the way they deserve - but there were so many sweet faces. So many cute, wagging tails. I hate the pound. I hate what happens there, I hate that there are unwanted dogs, unplanned litters, unfit owners who make it "necessary" to have the pound. I started crying and seething with frustration and outrage as soon as I saw the place (that van was full of rage as I raced to the bank and back to get exact change, in cash, no checks, credit cards, or debit cards). Both of our male dogs are eunuchs, and Katy will be spayed next month, as soon as she's healthy enough for the surgery and finished with her second round of shots. I look around me in this community and often see people doing stupid things - taking foolish risks, engaging in absurd behavior, getting themselves into ridiculous situations - but those whose actions, or inactions, lead to the suffering and deaths of animals seem willfully ignorant, deliberate in their decision not to spay or neuter a cat or dog when taking that action, at relatively little cost, would improve the health of the individual animal and prevent the births of future generations that may not be wanted or supported properly. Ugh.

Nighttime now, and all three puppies are sleeping, at home, where they belong.

The Good, the Bad, & the Ugly

The Good:
Katy went to the vet. She doesn't have heartworms. Her hair loss is likely due to undernourishment and a flea allergy (she had fleas when she showed up but I gave her a bath, vet treated her, and they seem to be gone). She's actually older than we thought, probably close to a year, and she won't likely get taller. She will need to fill out, but it seems that she's a golden retriever mix rather than a golden retriever (only) puppy - though she looks a lot like a purebred golden puppy. She was a very good girl in the car, and after her appointment I took her to visit her grandmother (my mom). She got the usual grandchild treatment - lots of affection, snacks, doting. My mom's very good with kids and animals and they almost all love her immediately. Anyway, my efforts to take a good picture of her remain frustrating, because she won't sit still, won't stop running around me trying to lick and kiss on me, but I'm not giving up!

The Bad:
Patton. He jumped the fence two days ago and hasn't returned. I've walked. I've called. I've whistled. I've searched, driving slowly around the neighborhood (probably looking somewhat sketchy while doing so, but I guess a minivan isn't quite as ominous as a white panel van with tinted windows). He's done this before, and we actually have the stuff to fix up the fence to (hopefully) stop him, but we were waiting for the rains and flooding to stop. And he beat us to the punch.

The Ugly:
The fungus among us. Some really ugly yellow/brown/black mushrooms sprouted in the front yard from all of the rain. Thank goodness we live on a hill, so no flooding in our yard, although other yards in our neighborhood did have some minor flooding, and roads elsewhere in the county were completely covered and closed earlier in the week. I've noticed lots of yards with mushrooms, thanks to the rain, and most of them are cute white ones, or brown ones, but the ones in my yard are just ugly. Ewww. I used a shovel to remove most of them yesterday, but missed a few - and those will go soon.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Yes, she's our problem now!

She's energetic and bouncy and never stops moving like a little furry living run-on sentence. The kids have named her Katy, and I'll be taking her to the vet in the morning, to figure out what she *should* weigh. I know she's extremely thin right now, and I'm not sure if the lack of food alone has caused her to lose a lot of fur, or if there's another cause that will need treatment. When I say that she's a rescue, I mean we literally rescued the poor girl when she wandered through our neighborhood, starving and muddy in the midst of days of rain that caused flooding throughout the area. Katy latched onto us as soon as I called to her, and when I offered her a paper plate full of dog kibble, she made up her mind to stay.

She is so extremely happy, and seems to have meshed well with Quinn,* and the glass storm door to the back deck is covered with muddy little girl dog paw prints. The kids are thoroughly enamored, although my Big Girl remains a little skittish about dogs jumping up on her (not that I blame my girl - she's a slim young lady, and our other two dogs could and have knocked her down in their exuberance). Tomorrow, the vet, which will hopefully provide a few answers such as her approximate age (somewhere between itty-bitty-fluff-ball-puppy and full-grown size, but I'm not sure of anything more specific) and her likely adult size.

*Patton developed a fence-jumping habit a couple of weeks back, and for a while we were keeping him on a very long chain when we weren't outside with him, but I took pity on him during the rain storms and unhooked his lead. And as soon as it stopped raining, the punk jumped over the fence again - sometime yesterday morning - and disappeared. He may be mad at us about the chain. I've walked around the neighborhood calling and searching, and we drove around several times this afternoon calling his name, but so far we haven't seen him. But while he was here, he seemed very interested in Katy, and they seemed to get along well. Honestly I think he was a bit rude to run off, and right after I brought him a new friend who has much more energy to play with him than that large aging fluff-ball Quinn (so fond of his siestas). Well, actually, honestly I'm worried that he hasn't come back. I hope he's okay and really hope he shows up again soon. And we have supplies to make fence-climbing less appealing and less feasible for him, once he's back - since he has been known to climb back in, I don't want to put them up just yet.

Monday, September 21, 2009

We may have a problem.

Hubs and I are somewhat notorious within our circle of family and friends for being suckers for a cute animal. Mostly just dogs for Hubs, although a few years ago he was easy game for a free kitten. That's how we ended up with two cats, which didn't deal well with the Big Girl's arrival. The boys live with my parents now and find the environment much more to their liking - except when the grandkids visit.

So we have serious issues saying no to cute animals needing homes. I've often thought that I would get a big farm and have oodles of dogs with my winnings if I won the lottery. That, of course, would require that I actually play the lottery, but I digress.

We're fond of giving out advice that we can't follow so well ourselves: never to PetSmart on a Saturday. You might come home with an extra dog instead of just some dog biscuits and a grooming brush. That's how we acquired sweet Hank, who ultimately revealed that he had some serious issues with men - due to mistreatment earlier in life - and he had to find a new home.

So Big Girl came home early from school today due to the heavy rain and flooding in our area. Shortly after she came inside, she spotted a dog in the yard across the road, and she thought it looked like our yellow lab. I went out to investigate, since our lab has, in the last couple of weeks, developed a bad habit of jumping the fence and running wild through the neighborhood. I didn't think it looked like our lab, but I called to it anyway, thinking that I could check the tag and see where it should be.

So a leggy adolescent who is mostly, if not entirely, golden retriever bounded over to me. He (I think male) was only wearing a flea collar, and he looks malnourished. Not just in a "I'm skinny because I'm growing up so fast and my legs have gotten ahead of the rest" way, but seriously thin. So (cue sucker for a cute face) I gave the little guy some kibble, and he settled down on our front mat after wolfing down the food.

I was trying to restrain my emotions. I hadn't seen the dog around our neighborhood before, so I called Hubs to run the situation by him:

Me: "There's a golden retriever puppy on our front porch. He's really skinny."
Hubs: "You're kidding."
Me: "No, really. He's skinny and leggy and doesn't have a tag, just a flea collar. And fleas."
Hubs: "Put him in the back yard. Sounds like we have a third dog."
Me: "Really?"
Hubs: "Yeah, our dogs get flea treatments. They'll be fine. Give it some food and water."
Me: "I already fed it."
Hubs: "Good."
Me: "You don't think I should call-"
Hubs: "No. You know what they do to dogs."

I kid you not. The man went from "stray dog" to "we have a new dog" right away. Not even a pause. And he thinks I'm a sentimental fool for dogs, with my Cute Overload page-a-day calendar and photos of our current and late pets around the house? So we have a temporary third dog. I'm not letting myself think that he's here for the long term. I've made that mistake before, many times, when we've taken in animals that have sought out our home as a refuge when they couldn't find their own homes.

What do our dogs think of this visitor? The lab - who was inside the fence where he should have been - thinks this new kid is neat. Our sweet old golden gave me a woeful look. Very similar to the one he gave me when we brought home a peppy young lab to interrupt his sedentary senior lifestyle, which ironically looked a lot like the look our sweet old Brittany (now in doggie heaven) gave us many, many years ago when we had the nerve to bring a tiny golden upstart into his domain.

Did I mention that this little visitor is mighty wiggly? After half a dozen attempts, I gave up trying to get a picture of his actual face.

Thursday, September 17, 2009