Tuesday, May 13, 2014

It Was Bound To Happen...

....the 120 cm ball freaking popped. :(

Le sigh.  I brought the giant thing out of retirement because our center wide talent show (which we did a few years back) was in danger of being cancelled.  I agreed to do the giant dog on the giant ball routine, but with a week to prepare, I realized that I should probably practice a little bit with Heffner.  Things have been going great the past few days until last night.  Heffner got up on the ball, things were going fine, and then it just tore.  To be honest, I probably should have expected it.  It's been sitting in my hot garage since I moved in and I haven't inflated it until last week.  The material isn't meant to hold up to that kind of heat stress, even while being stored inside the house after inflation.  This time, I'm not going to bother replacing it.  FitPaws has more than enough fun and new equipment that's more manageable for me with a giant dog, that it's not worth the cost of replacing a ball that size.  In the mean time, the audience will just have to appreciate a giant dog on an overly large inflated peanut. ;)      

In memory of this giant ball, I thought I'd post the links to a few posts that it has so graciously made an appearance in:


The Evolution of the Ball Studio

DVD of the Month

The National Continued - Parades

We're Back!

Darwin's Post on Dane Outreach's Education Day

Our "act" for the talent show is going to be a little different than the last time.  I'm tweaking a few things.  I haven't worked on a lot of these tricks with Heffner in quite some time.  And of course, he and I are getting older. ;)  It's been really exciting getting back into working with the conditioning equipment again.  Heffner and I both missed this fun training time together.  His eyes just light up and he gets so excited!!  Working on some of the "old" tricks has also given me ideas for new tricks that I want to work on, that unfortunately won't be ready in time for the talent show.  It's gotten both Heffner and I up and working on fun things and building on what we already know.  All happy good things. 

Looking back on the old posts, pictures, and videos, I am thankful that I have these memories to happily look back on and relive.  Good memories with my wonderful dogs.     

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Milk Thistle

In my ever ongoing search for ways to keep my dogs happy, healthy, and with me for as long as possible, I naturally turn to supplements.  Barring my finding a sugar daddy who can single-handedly fund research into making my dogs bionic and therefore live as long as I do, I have to work with what I've got. ;)  I've written a few posts previously about the supplements that I was already giving my dogs, but there's one that I've added more recently that I have absolutely fallen in love with!  So much so that I'm actually taking it myself.  This wonderful supplement is milk thistle.

Milk thistle is a hepatoprotective supplement.  Meaning, it helps protect your liver.  You cannot survive without your liver.  And if your liver is damaged or failing, it creates a plethora of health issues that may not immediately seem like they are directly related.  While the liver has MANY functions, one of the more important ones is that it works to detoxify the body.  Without a fully functioning liver, toxins build up in the blood stream and damage the body as a whole.  If you'd like to read more about the function of the liver I recommend going here.

Use of milk thistle has been shown to protect the liver against damage caused by free radicals as well as increasing protein synthesis in these same cells.  A protected liver, and better yet, one that can regenerate it's cells more effectively, leads to better overall health for the body.  Basically, a happy liver, is a healthier, longer lasting body.  Additional studies have shown that milk thistle appears to have some tumor growth inhibiting properties as well.  The sky almost seems to be the limit with the benefits of this supplement.  Not sure you buy into what I'm saying?  Don't trust me, trust some of these peer reviewed scientific papers on the subject!

Silibinin Inhibits Tumor Promotional Triggers and Tumorigensis Against Chemically Induced Two-Stage Skin Carcinogensis in Swiss Albino Mice:  Possible Role of Oxidative Stress and Inflammation

Milk Thistle:  A Future Potential Anti-Osteoporotic and Fracture Healing Agent
Milk Thistle:  Early Seeds of Potential

Silibinin inhibits accumulation of myeloid-derived suppressor cells and tumor growth of murine breast cancer

 Hepatoprotective Effect of Silymarin

You may need to look around on the pages of some of these papers to find the link to the full text version, but they should all be accessible to anyone, I believe.  These are just a smattering of papers that I found on the subject that I thought were helpful.  I'm a fan of science and I'm a fan of work that has been peer reviewed and deemed accurate enough to be published and stand up to public scrutiny.  It's the basis of what I do for a living and I believe whole-heartedly in it.

Now that we've gotten the technical stuff out of the way, lets get down to the anecdotal, which ultimately is what people want to hear about.  There are very few things that I expect to give to my dogs and see a rapid benefit from.  I, personally, am well aware that things like physical activity and staying in shape are something that you build on.  You don't just work out once and expect to wake up the next morning with a body builders physique!  However, I will admit that I noticed some positive changes in Heffner within just a few days of starting him on milk thistle.  I was not expecting that at all.  The most obvious change that I noticed with him was in his ears and his eyes.  I went to clean his ears about two days after starting him on the milk thistle and his ears were clean.  There wasn't really anything for me take care of.  Bess always had nice clean ears.  For the longest time Heffner had one ear that was always clean and one ear that always had a darkish, waxy build up.  Even with weekly ear cleaning, by the time ear cleaning day came around, there was always something to clean.  I never thought too much of it until he actually got an ear infection last year.  The first time that he'd ever had one and it was in the ear that always had the waxy buildup.  After medicating and cleaning the ear, it cleared up.  But I was now afraid that if I wasn't diligent enough with his ear cleaning that he would get an infection again.  While his ears clearing up wasn't a result that I expected, it makes sense thinking about it now.  His liver is in better shape and better able to clear the toxins from his body in a healthy way, so these toxins don't have a chance to build up and cause him issues elsewhere. 

In addition to his ears clearing up (and they've continued to stay cleared up!), he doesn't have much in the way of eye discharge any more.  The discharge was never anything overly concerning.  It was clear and not unhealthy looking, but it was just always there.  Particularly in the morning when he'd wake up after a full night of sleep.  He'd shake his head and it would get flung on the walls, or land on the floors, or he'd do his favorite thing and stick his head between my legs and rub his eye boogers off on my pants.  While he doesn't have overly loose eyes, his eyes were not quite as tight as Bess' and I just assumed that because of this there were goobers that would build up.  Those goobers have almost completely gone away.  He may occasionally still get a little schmutz in one of his eyes here and there, but it's definitely not the regular occurrence that it was.

As for the benefits that are going on within his body, that I can't tell you for sure without taking actual biopsies of his organs and running a bunch of blood tests to get all the parameters.  What I do know, is that my dog seems overall healthier and that's the most important part for me.

To all you skin and fur mothers out there, HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY!!!!

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Don't Let Them Age!

"An object at rest stays at rest and an object in motion stays in motion." -Newton's first law of motion

The past few months Heffner has had some health issues pop up (angry liver and stupid tumor).  Each time it has way laid him from his regular exercise routine of jogging and hiking with me.  Then there's the gradual build back up into shape.  And then he turned 8 and I basically started treating him like a piece of porcelain that would potentially shatter.  In a nutshell, I was letting my dog get old before his time.  

This wasn't necessarily a bad thing when there were two other dogs in the household to keep him mentally and physically engaged.  But now it's just him.  And he and I have both been a little mopey lately.  I had to give myself a firm shake to get my butt back in gear and start taking care of my dog the way he should be taken care of.  Yes he's technically a senior dog.  Yes he is actually starting to age.  But I'll be damned if I'm going to let him get old before his time!

There were a few things that caused me to realize that I needed to make some changes and be more supportive of Heff.  He was letting me sleep in.  Like past 8:00 am without coming to whine at the baby gate across my bedroom door.  He was sleeping all the time.  I could be in the office on my computer and he would just stay out on the couch sleeping, no matter how long I was in there for.  Pretty much the only time he would get up to greet me at the door was when I came home from work.  That is NOT my dog, and I needed to do something to change this.

Due to the various issues that have come up with him and some minor foot issues that he's had, I've retired him from running with me.  So he hasn't been getting the same level of exercise that he's been used to for the past several years.  And yes, it totally sucked when I made the decision to do this, but it's what was best for Heffner.  I had already implemented what I was fondly calling "old man walks."  Instead of going running with me, I'd take him for walks in the evening.  Just he and I.  It was sweet.  But it wasn't enough.  There was only so much variety that I was giving him on the routes that I would pick and that's just not enriching enough.  So I've implemented what I am fondly calling our date nights! (Hey, I've gotta maintain my crazy dog lady status some how!  I'm practically normal now that I only have one dog.  I've gotta do something to amp up the crazy ;) )  Date night involves a bunch of other things, but part of it is that I load him up and we head off to one of the pretty parks in the area, that have some lengthier trails/walkways.  I make sure that I pick places that have softer footing for his feet and joints.  I make sure that there are plenty of places to go so that we're out for at least a half hour.  The pace is set by Heffner (this gets more critical now that the weather is warming up and I don't want him over heating).  If he wants to stop and sniff something, then we stop and he sniffs.  My cell phone is turned off during this time.  It's just Heff and I, enjoying our little outing.  We do this twice a week and he definitely is enjoying it!  We've got some really pretty parks in the area and he LOVES going for car rides.  It's really a win-win situation.  
We're still going hiking, so we've got at least three outings away from home a week that we do.  Spicing up Heffner's physical activity?  Check!  After last year's trip to the Great Dane Club of Northern California's annual specialty weekend, I retired Heffner from competition in all performance sports.  I also basically stopped training him for anything.  That was dumb.  Nothing quite lights up my dogs and gets them excited than when I would do my bouts of daily training with them.  Well, nothing except when they'd lose their little minds as they watched me get the truck ready to take them for an outing. ;)  It's pretty well known that if you keep animals and people mentally engaged, they age slower.  I know this.  And apparently I chose to ignore it.  I know, I have serious moments of stupidity at times.  So, I've started back into training Heffner to do random tricks and behaviors.  I'm back to videoing each training session for each activity.  And I freaking LOVE it!  Even better, Heffner freaking loves it!  He's so excited to be "working" again.  And he's so excited to be getting yummy treats for these activities again. ;)  There's an added bonus of additional physical activity for him that is absolutely helping as well.  I've got a plan for tricks/behaviors to train right now and more to come.  While there are sports that would be friendly to an aging dog competing in, I doubt that we'll actually compete.  But who knows!  Right now we're having fun working together and re-establishing that working bond that I let falter.  I'm feeling re energized and excited and I'm getting my obnoxious boy back. 

My dogs used to jump up and follow me any time I got up from where ever I was sitting in the hopes that it meant I was going to do something with them.  Because it usually did.  Heffner hasn't done that in a while, and it's understandable since I was being a huge slacker.  But now he does!  I'll be sitting at my desk and need to get up for whatever and he's up and following me where ever I go.  As I mentioned, he used to just stay sleeping on the couch regardless of where I was in the house or what I was doing.  Now he's with me all the time, keeping an eye out for when our next activity is going to happen.  He's eager, bouncy, and ready for action!  Even more surprising, while still definitely heat sensitive, that boy is still wanting to play and engage outside, even on the gross 90 degree day that we had recently.  It feels like I've stopped the aging process in him and I've got my boy back.  It feels really good.:)

There's a few additional things that I've started implementing for him (and more that I plan to add) to help with the aging process and to keep him around, happy, healthy and as comfortable as possible, for as long as possible.  I'll be sharing those as well.

Newton's first law of motion is particularly pertinent as our dogs age.  While we do need to look out for them and make decisions that are best for THEM, we also don't need to cause them to age prematurely.  If we want these guys to be around for a long time and stay in motion with us, then we need to do what we can to keep them in motion.  Don't be a jackass like I started to be.  These guys give us everything they have and they stand by us no matter what happens.  We owe it to them to keep them happy and healthy and aging gracefully.

Monday, April 28, 2014


                                            Photo by Stacie Knudtsen

I have tried writing this post a few different times.  No matter what I write, there's no way to put into words what Bess means to me.  And inevitably, it gets more personal than I feel like sharing. 

I did put together a video of pictures through the years.  The majority of it is chronological.  Towards the end of the video, things are a little out of order because I wasn't saving pictures in as meticulous of an order as I have previously, but it gets back in order.  After completing the file I realized that there were a bunch more pictures that I had left out.  Unfortunately, the way that I created the file, it wouldn't be quite so simple to just add them into the bunch, so I left things as is.

I started to put together a video of a variety of clips that I have of her through the years, but that became a VERY lengthy video and honestly, it became something that was only for me. 

Without further ado, here's Bessy:

And the eulogy that her breeder put together:  "It is with great sadness that I let everyone know of the passing of Lindsay's "Bess". Everyone who knew Lindsay and Bess, either in person or as a facebook friend, knew what a special bond those two had.

Bess came into Lindsay's life as an older puppy. Sired by Elizabeth's Diesel (who also, sadly, recently passed over to the Rainbow Bridge) and out of Metta and Karl's Abby, she was sold as a puppy into a home. However, even though the home said they were ready for a puppy, they were NOT ready for Bess! She was returned to me at about 16 weeks of age, and it was evident in the first five minutes that they a) had not done ANYTHING with her and b) she was a wild child!

Because Bess was truly one of my "Great Dane versions of a border collie", she needed a special home; one that could deal with her high energy, prey drive, and also focus all that energy by giving her a job to do. I interviewed several homes--all wanted the couch-potato version.

NOT a good fit for Bess.

Finally, the perfect home-Lindsay with her love of outdoor activities and Danes. If anyone has visited her blog "Living With Big Dogs" you can see how active she is. Lindsay came and visited Bess and the rest is history. Lindsay accomplished much with Bess; many titles in performance events and nice wins in conformation events......but most importantly, a perfect home and a perfect fit for the two of them.

Sadly, that awful killer of Danes, bone cancer, struck swiftly, cutting Bess's life short and leaving a large hole in Lindsay's heart and home.

Sleep sweetly, silly girl. Only Lindsay truly understood your need for speed and now there will forever be only green fields to run in and rabbits to chase."

Monday, April 14, 2014


Okay, here goes.

On Wednesday, April 2nd, Bess was diagnosed with osteosarcoma.

On Thursday, April 3rd, the results of Bess' chest x-rays were back from the radiologist.  The cancer had already metastasized to her lungs.

On Thursday, April 10th, I let Bess go.
I love this dog.  I'm not really okay with using past tense for her right now.  At the time of her diagnosis I could not understand how someone so vibrant and full of life could get shafted like this.  And now I'm missing her happy, uplifting presence something fierce.

I cannot come up with the words to do her proper justice right now.  Her wonderful breeder put out a very touching eulogy of Bess.  When I've had a little more time to put together something more significant, I will share all of that.  For the moment, here's to my little crackhead for being such a fantastic part of my life.

Monday, April 7, 2014

The Midget

You want to eat her face from that picture too don't you?;)  This is a difficult post to write, but it's gotta get done.  I have never felt more like a failure than I did earlier this year.  At the same time that Heffner was going through his surgery and difficult recovery from anesthesia, I called Ruthie's breeder to let her know that I couldn't do it any more.  Things just weren't working out with The Midget.  Because she's a reputable breeder, she took Ruthie back. 

Ruthie went from being in a home where there were a lot of people around a lot of the time to living with my ex husband and I.  Two people who worked full time and also had two giant dogs that were established in the house.  I knew this was going to be a transition for her and I was prepared, or so I thought, for the difficulties that potentially come with transitioning an adult dog into an established household.  At the time, I really thought my biggest hurdle was going to be Heffner.  He HATED her.  That first day I had serious doubts because he couldn't even stand the sound of her.  I had them on different floors of the house and any time she made a peep, it would set him off.  With time, a LOT of effort, and stubbornness on my part, as you've seen from this blog, all three dogs were able to coexist together.  Not only that, but Heffner and Ruthie could be loose in the house on the same dog bed together.  Now THAT seemed like quite the accomplishment!  I think I was so focused on making it work and maintaining the balance that I had found with all three dogs, that I was initially seeing certain things as just an annoyance.  But they were an annoyance that continued to build and not get better to the point that I just couldn't deal with it any more.

There were the constant accidents in the house.  I have never had a dog on SUCH a strict schedule as I did with Ruthie.  I literally could not take a shower and leave her loose in my house without coming out to find some sort of accident.  As soon as I got home for work, I'd rush all three dogs outside in the hopes that I could get her outside before she had an accident in her crate.  While all three were outside pottying, I'd quickly grab collar, leash, and dog coat for Ruthie so that I could quickly get her suited up and out on a walk in the hopes that it would prevent her from having an accident in the house.  I say quickly because it was not uncommon for her to start pooping while I was putting her coat on.  The regimen goes on and on.  Every day, every part of my time at home was centered around this dog and trying to maintain a happy balance that did not include cleaning poop or pee up from inside the house. 

Now add to that the screaming in the crate.  If I was lucky, I could sleep in until just past 7am.  That was her alarm clock regardless of how late I let her out to potty the night before.  I had some nights where I would be out with friends and not get home until after 1am (this was not often.  I'm getting old and staying up late is not my forte).  I'd let her out to potty and to have a break from her crate.  That did not reset the alarm clock.  There was still the blood curdling screaming at around 7 am.  There was the blood curdling screaming if I was trying to take a nap.  I couldn't leave her loose while I slept because there would be accidents to clean up.  But keeping her crated when she knew I was in the house was inexcusable.  The only way I was able to get relief was with a bark collar.  She was stubborn enough that she managed to scream her way through the first two out of five settings.  Even so, she would still periodically test the collar.  And the screaming was always there as I was putting the key in the lock upon getting home from work.  It came from inside the truck as I was unloading the big dogs for whatever outing I took all three on.  It happened during nail trimming (don't even get me started on that half hour weekly ordeal.  I seriously would start drinking before I did her nails in order to be able to work myself up to it).  And it happened during ear cleaning.  To the point where I've had neighbors look over my fence while I was cleaning her ears because they thought someone was getting brutally murdered in my backyard.  To be honest, there were times where I wouldn't have been surprised if I had the police knocking on my door letting me know that they had reports of domestic abuse from my residence.  It was bad.

There were other things as well.  She had burnt out two house/dog sitters because she took so much more effort to monitor than the two big dogs.  I just hit my breaking point where it seemed like no matter what I did and no matter how controlled I tried to keep the situation, it wasn't making a difference.  I hate that I couldn't figure out how to make it work, but ultimately that wasn't the complete problem.

Ruthie went back to her breeder about a week after Heffner's surgery.  Because she's been breeding frenchies for so long and has so much experience, there were things that she was able to pick up on that I had either missed or didn't think much of.  I chalked a lot of things up to Ruthie transitioning from a bustling household to one with two working adults and two giant dogs, to one with only one working adult who was trying to split her attention between three dogs.  Everyone knows that all dogs transition differently when going to a new home.  There are periods of adjustment.  I just kept thinking that this was what she was going through.  Ruthie had some degenerative neurological issues going on.  Potentially a brain tumor.  She was also losing sight in one of her eyes, which wasn't helping.  For these reasons and other issues going on, Ruthie's breeder decided it would be best for Ruthie, to let her go.

And yes, that's hard.  I felt like a failure for this little dog because I couldn't seem to figure out the perfect combination of whatever that worked for her.  And I also missed that there were health issues going on with her that were ultimately leading to some of the behavioral issues that I was seeing.  It sucks.  Life with Ruthie was not easy, but she was a hilarious and sweet little dog.  While there were trials along the way, there were also great moments.  Ultimately, I loved that little dog.  Here are a few parting shots of the Almighty Midget:

Thursday, April 3, 2014

The Heff

In my last post, I alluded to some stressful things going on at that time.  I realized now that if I don't start writing the posts that I've been meaning to write, I might as well just take the blog down, because I know I wouldn't pick it back up.  I will start by saying that I realize that I am very fortunate.  Don't get me wrong.  I have my health, I have a steady job that pays my bills (at least the anticipated ones), I have a roof over my head, and most of all, I have my wonderful dogs.  With that being said, this year has been rough.  To the point that there is going to be a very pissed off post that I plan on writing once I'm all caught up.  The universe is a bitch, and right now, it can go fuck itself.

I mentioned in a previous post that Heffner had a tumor on his back leg that had become problematic.  After a week of solidly wearing the cone of shame except while eating and while out walking or hiking, the tumor was no better.  It wasn't even really scabbing over and would very easily start to bleed again.  While I had become skilled at jerry rigging a dressing on this tricky spot, the dressing wasn't going to cut it indefinitely.  So I scheduled the appointment for Heffner to see the vet and get us all booked for the inevitable tumor removal.  The tumor removal surgery just happened to be the same day as the start of the Snowpocalypse.  It took me over an hour and a half to go the less than four miles from work to the vet clinic to pick him up after his surgery.  I'm incredibly thankful that the clinic staff were willing to stick around until I got there to pick my  poor guy up.  I'm also thankful that the route back to my house was almost completely clear and we made excellent time. 

The surgery went well.  Two tumors were removed.  One of which I had no doubt was a fatty tumor.  The other was the bothersome tumor.  Both tumors were removed with nice clean margins all the way around and were sent off to the pathologist.  Meanwhile, Heffner was having a rough time recovering from the anesthesia.  It was a full 48 hours after the surgery before he was fully recovered.  Because of the location of the tumors, he needed assistance getting up and down and couldn't walk far at all without help.  That first night, when I finally felt he was steady enough to take him outside to relieve himself, he ended up sitting in the snow to pee.  Supporting him while allowing him to pee was tricky and I hovered while he figured out how to go about it.  For numerous reasons, I hope that this is the last anesthesia that my boy will have to experience.  It was just too rough on him afterwards. 

Once the surgery was over and I had him safely at home, a little bit of my stress let up.  Now everything was out of my hands and I just needed to wait for the results to be back.  The tumor that we had thought was a fatty tumor was in fact, a fatty tumor.  Yay!  The bothersome tumor turned out to be a malignant nerve sheath tumor.  Yes, that's right, the scary malignant word.  While the tumor was cancer, it was probably the most ideal type of cancer to have.  This type of tumor does have a chance that it will come back.  However, it's just as easily removed again.  These types of tumors also don't usually metastasize.  So basically, removing the tumor potentially permanently solves the problem.  Ahhhhhhhhh!  I really love the sound of that. 

Heffner's further recovery after that went smashingly.  I actually only had to keep the cone on him for a few days after surgery.  I started giving him bouts of time without it while I was able to observe him and he didn't even lick at his sutures.  Apparently removing the tumor removed the irritation for him and I have a happy boy again. 

Now that I'm well past this, it all seems quite minor and it's hard to think that I was so stressed out about something so relatively minor that had such a great outcome.  At the time, it was wretched.  Since then, things have been put into stark contrast for me.

Two more updates to come.  For now I'm going to go sit on the couch and soak up some precious snuggle time with my pooches.  I hope this post sees everyone out there doing well.  Hug, squeeze and soak up the love that you have around you, in whatever form it may take.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Snowpocalypse 2014

Just in case you've been living under a rock, there's this crazy, nasty thing going on this winter called a polar vortex.  I won't even try to explain what's going on, but the effects are more than unpleasant.  We had one week plus of painfully cold temperatures in our area (much colder than the norm, though not nearly as cold as some parts of the country were/have been getting) back in December and I kind of thought that was all that we were going to see.  After all, this area is pretty moderate on weather normally.  Well, apparently the polar vortex isn't done.  Now enter Snowpocalypse 2014. 

The snow started falling on Thursday the 6th and has continued intermittently since then with the addition of freezing rain yesterday evening.  Before the icy crap came to rain on my parade (I know, stellar pun), I had over a foot of snow at my house.  Keep in mind, the one inch of snow that we usually get once a year is enough to shut down the entire city of Portland and surrounding areas.  Schools get closed, people get sent home from work (if they "make it in"), life as we know it comes to a screeching halt.  For one inch of snow.  Now imagine the chaos from more than that.  This area is just not equipped, and understandably so, to handle maintaining road ways and everything else under this kind of load.  There aren't enough snow plows, gravel, or other supplies or personnel that are needed just to keep the main roads clear.  When you combine that with people who literally lose their sh*t at the sight of this white stuff, and yet still try to drive; it makes for quite unpleasant conditions.  There were people stuck on the major freeways for hours on the first day.  To the point where people were just giving up, getting off at the nearest exit, and hunkering down in a hotel.

Meanwhile, I live relatively close to work, don't mind driving in the snow, have a reliable vehicle with four wheel drive (and carry chains just in case), and had the realization a couple months ago that I should start building up the food in my pantry in case of any natural "disasters" so that I would be okay hunkering down in my house for a little while and not run out of food.  All these things came together for a relatively stress free Snowpocalypse for me and the pooches.  There was one minor blip on the radar on Thursday afternoon while the initial snow panic was happening, but that's a story for another blog post. ;)  All-in-all, it's been a kind of fun time.  I feel guilty admitting that since I know it's been a rather stressful time for a lot of people, but I've been fortunate to be in a good place for this to happen.  Now on to the pictures and video!!

There wasn't much to report on Thursday and I pretty much didn't take any pictures.  I was a little stressed out that day and was just happy to have all of my dogs safely at home with me.  Again, the stressful part is a story for another post.  Friday I was more happy to sit back and enjoy how pretty the snow was and actually start capturing the moment.  I did work a mostly normal shift that day.  And I have to admit, it's incredibly peaceful to be at work when there's a minimal staff around.  I was able to get a lot accomplished because I didn't receive hardly any email and there wasn't a lot to coordinate or questions to answer.  It was bliss!  I took a video of the dogs going out to potty in the snow that had accumulated at that point, once I got home from work.  The weather had been so dry that the snow was really powdery and light.  I had to sweep the area outside the garage door clear enough for Ruthie to venture out because she put the brakes on REAL fast when I opened the door and she saw what was waiting for her.  Heffner is also a little under the weather in the video, so Bess is the only one actually enjoying the snow.

She may be almost 7, but my crackhead still knows how to live it up! :)

Saturday (the 8th) was when the real fun began!  I only worked a half day and got to come home and really enjoy the snow!  First I snapped some pictures of the dogs in the back yard:

Bess was in some serious need of exorcising, so I slapped on my snowshoes and we headed to the fairgrounds near my house.  The area was not surprisingly vacant of people and I was pretty sure there weren't going to be any city personnel patrolling and ticketing for a dog off leash in this weather. ;)  The result was this:
Let me tell you, that was a heck of a workout!  I usually snowshoe along trails that have been "groomed" by snowmobiles.  This was virgin powder that I was tromping through.  It was WORK! 

Once Bess was sated enough to be alright hanging out at home, I swapped out my snowshoes for my beloved cross country skis!  I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE cross country skiing!  And to be able to do it right out my front door??  Heaven!!
I toodled around my neighborhood, around the fairgrounds, and then headed off along one of the main roads.  It was cool just to be able to say that I went skiing down Cornell. ;)  Mind you, I stayed well away from the road.  The other unfortunate part about snowfall like this is that pedestrians seem to think that it's okay to start walking out in the actual road because the snow is packed down.  They seem to have a death wish or not fully understand that these conditions mean that vehicles cannot stop on a dime nor easily avoid them when they're walking IN THE ROAD.  Biggest pet peeve about the weather is stupid pedestrians with a death wish.  Accidents have been caused by vehicles trying to avoid people on foot in the road.  I could continue to rant on, but I should stop. ;)

After my little skiing jaunt, I got ready to batten down the hatches for the impending freezing rain.  Last night the layer of ice that accumulated wasn't so bad.  This morning, it's rather unpleasant.  I'm incredibly thankful that one of the technicians at work lives within walking distance and was able to make it in today and take care of things.  I owe her BIG TIME!!  I'm actually putting booties on the big dogs' feet when I turn them out so that they don't cut up their feet.  Ruthie has become the master of peeing as soon as all four feet hit the ground and then running back inside.  Lets not talking about the pooping.....oy!  My big plans for the day include blogging (check!), watching movies, and doing some exercise videos since going hiking is out of the question.

I hope everyone is staying safe and warm where ever you are!

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Picture Time!

It's picture time!  And because I was complaining about it just yesterday, lets start with the public shaming of my beloved Heffner. ;)  The Cone of Shame has been a smashing success.  At times, this has been literally.  Heff hasn't figured out how to get the cone off, but he has learned that he can use it as a battering ram.  And this is VERY effective when he wants attention.  As it turns out, it's even more effective than when he wasn't wearing The Cone and would head butt my arm.  Here's the picture:

Awwwwww, he's so freaking cute even when he's been driving me crazy!  Wouldn't it be cute if I got a little video clip of him with The Cone on??  Oh wait, I did!

And now for the onslaught of pictures that I've managed to pull off my phone from roughly the past two months.  Here goes!

Of late, Ruthie has been seeking out attention from Heffner.  And even stranger, he's been tolerating her!

I know, ridiculously adorable!

For more cuteness factor, The Almighty Midget doing some cuddling on the couch:

The other night I was sitting at my desk eating some left over pizza when I got the very distinct feeling that I was being watched.....

Random hiking pictures, because we are still religious about getting in at least one hike each week, regardless of weather.

Sometimes I'm able to get my phone out without disturbing the dogs and capture little moments that seriously melt my heart.

No one's really a fan of sharing space with Ruthie when she's a little on the gassy side.

Random sleepy cuteness!

I seriously fell in love with my Christmas tree this past year.  Hands down, best tree yet!  I named her Baby.  She was so full that she took up most of the living room without trimming any branches.  I had to trim her up and stick her in the corner so that the living room was useable.  Which made think of Dirty Dancing and "nobody puts Baby in a corner."

And random cuteness!

I am a very lucky gal to have these guys in my life!!

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

They Drive Me to Drink

As I'm sitting at home this morning, waiting for PetSmart to open so that I can go buy Heffner the Cone of Shame, I figured that I should sit my absentee blogger butt down and write a post. ;)  There's not a ton to update about the dogs, so, since I was in a pretty foul mood yesterday and am still a little on the grouchy side this morning, I'm going to explain why my dogs drive me to drink at times.  Please don't be confused and think that I otherwise don't enjoy alcoholic beverages!  I very much do.  It's just that there are times when the dogs do things, not out of malice, that cause me to want to bludgeon something.  I have found it to be far more productive to channel that rage into pouring myself a very generous glass of something yummy that tends to put things into perspective for me.  It also chills me the hell out. ;)  Without further ado, I shall explain my day yesterday.

It all started at about 1:30am Monday night/Tuesday morning.  One of my smoke detectors had a battery that was dying so it started making that horrific, high pitched noise.  I may be a heavy sleeper, but even I will eventually get woken up by it.  Once I figured out which one it was I casually tried to get to the battery.  Long story short, I had to use a pair of needle nose pliers and a screw driver in order to get the "easy" slide hatch open to change the battery.  Mean while, the noise that the smoke detector makes when the battery needs to be changed absolutely unnerves Bess.  I have no idea why.  Doesn't phase the other two, but she will literally stand there violently shaking because it bothers her so much.  I'm sure that my cursing and thrashing things around in the garage to find the tools didn't help matters any.  Once the battery was changed, I set about settling Bess down.  By this time she was stress panting.  Poor chica.  She calmed down after a bit and I headed off to bed.  Translation:  Lindsay is starting her day at a deficit on sleep.

My day at work was actually quite mellow and a pretty good day.  Everything went as it should and I was able to work on a little side project that I have going.  A pretty good day!  I was a little tired despite my caffeine infusion, but so what.  Then I get home.  Walk in the door and like usually Heffner and Bess excitedly greet me and Ruthie is screaming bloody murder at me from her crate.  All seems normal.  Until I'm setting my stuff down on the dining room table, turn around and Heffner has a steady stream of blood flowing down one of his back legs and splattering all over the kitchen floor.  GAH!!  Here's where I need to take a sidebar.

Heffner has this ugly fatty tumor on his back right leg that has been steadily growing over the last few months.  He managed to rub all the hair off of it and over the past few weeks keeps licking at it.  It hadn't been a huge bother.  I planned to have it removed eventually and it looks like the hair is actually starting to grow back on it.  Except for one portion of it that he just won't stop periodically licking.  Now back to the blood bath, I mean story.

I grab a paper towel, get him to hold still, and apply pressure to the tumor to get it to stop bleeding.  Which takes a little while.  Meanwhile, Ruthie is seriously PISSED that she's still in her crate.  The big dogs are clearly getting all of my attention, she hasn't been let out of her prison (btw, her crate is roughly the size you would put a golden retriever in, so it's not like she's stuck in a crate that's appropriately sized for her) and she needs to go potty!!  I keep meaning to get her screaming routine on video so that I can share it and everyone who hasn't lived with a frenchie can fully understand the murderous sounds that they are shockingly capable of.  Needless to say, it was further fraying my nerves.  Oh yeah, and she decided that then was a good time to poop in her crate.  Super.

The bleeding finally stops.  I get all three dogs outside to pee and start cleaning up all the blood that is splattered on the floor.  I did briefly think about taking a picture of the carnage on the floor, but that was before I found out where Heffner was when the bleeding started.  That'd be on the couch.  Because the couch I have is made out of a material that isn't suitable for anyone who has any pets (or actually uses their couch for that matter), I keep the couch covered with various blankets in an effort to get it to last a little longer before I replace it.  The blanket in the area where he had been laying was just trashed.  I won't go into details, but blood bath is a very good descriptor. 

Once I finally got all of the blood cleaned up, found my various bandaging supplies and got all the dogs inside so that I could make an attempt at covering up Heffner's tumor.  I thought I did a fairly decent job and was pretty proud of myself!  Until he tried to lay down and I realized that bandaging that back leg while he was standing up gave me a different perspective than when he was laying down.  Arg!  I loosened things up in a few areas and decided to just see how long that bandaging stayed on for.  I also put the inflatable Elizabethan collar on him.  I'm a huge fan of that collar as opposed to the hard plastic style.  It's worked well on both danes in the past and I was hopeful that it would work now.  It sort of did.  I redid the dressing before I went to bed and was hoping for the best. 

By the time my alarm went off, Heffner had managed to get the primary dressing off, but the underlying bandage was still intact.  I was hopeful that maybe he would tolerate the minimal bandage and just leave things alone.  I went for my morning run with Bess and came back to an irritating boy dog who had managed to get the bandage off and clearly had been licking at the tumor again.  Even with the freaking inflatable collar on!  ARG!!  Okay, fine.  I gave him several chances and I tried to play nice.  That boy obviously just really wants to wear the Cone of Shame.  Only I somehow must have left the one I already had at the old house.  Super.  Which brings us up to the current time.  I'm sitting here waiting for PetSmart to open so that I can go buy him the stupid collar and he can hopefully leave that freaking tumor alone long enough for it to actually heal and I don't have to come home to blood every where and be in a bad mood for two nights in a row. (do you like that run on sentence??)  And naturally, since I got back from my run with Bess, he's totally behaved himself and been lying on the couch, not even attempting to lick at his tumor.  Little turd.

And all of THAT is how a bottle of wine got magically opened last night and my rage monster got temporarily put to sleep. ;)

I have several pictures of the dogs to share, so I think my next post (which will hopefully be along in the next few days) will be mostly pictures.  I did at least include our Christmas card picture from this past Christmas. :)  I hope everyone is doing well in the new year!