Sunday, October 31, 2010

My Annual I-Hate-Halloween Rant

It's that horrible time of year again - greedy noisy kids, overpriced candy (has anyone else noticed how the mini chocolate bars are approximately half the size they were two years ago, yet the price has increased?), firecrackers, lost dogs and cats who bolted when their careless owners gave them accesss to the scary outside, vandalism, UGH! Halloween is my least favourite time of year. I hate it even more than I hate a month of nonstop rain, three feet of snow, or anglers who leave all their trash behind at the river.

What??? You mean I got all dressed up for nuthin'????

I haven't quite figured out the logistics of handling tonight. The will start showing up around 5 PM ,and the last will trickle through about 8 PM. Three dogs in the house, two of which are reactive to anybody daring to walk down the street, let alone up the driveway to the door (Sadie and Lucy, are you listening to me??) will add to the excitement. And while I customarily put my own dogs in the gated mudroom so they can't storm the door each time someone comes, Lucy can leap over anything. I may have to try crating her with a stuffed kong or a sweet potato chew tonight - though she is not a fan of crates unless the crate door is wide open.

My plan was to sit in my carport with the goodies. But over the last two days I have finally got the puppies on some semblance of a workable schedule, feeding at 6 AM, noon, 6PM, and midnight. Each feed takes approximately one hour as it requires supervision to make sure all pups eat AND there is considerable clean up of poops and pees both before and after the feed. (I go to bed around 9:30, pups wake me up for the midnight feed, and then I get to sleep for another five hours before the pup alarm tells me it is morning. Works for me.) do I feed pups at the same time as hand out goodies and/or prevent kids from ringing the doorbell/knocking at the door?

Hmmm....I might have a solution to all my problems. Pop a puppy into the first ten treat bags, and eat the chocolate myself.

Foster mama, you wouldn't!!!!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

The Cat in the Tree

Last week, I made the decision to have my rotten, diseased, bug-infested apple tree removed. My tree pruner and I had discussed several options for trying to save it, but the decision became clear when he pushed on the trunk and it nearly toppled over. My water-logged, clay-based
backyard had likely created root rot for a tree whose feet were constantly soaking wet.

The surprise, however, came when the pruner bucked up the twisted, mangled, rotten trunk. There, in the middle of the wood, was..... a cat!

Can you spot it in this photo?

It's here:

At least, that's what it looks like to me, though I think the pruner questioned my sanity when I made him stop work so I could photograph it.

Next spring I will have some landscaping done to incorporate bushes and other low-maintance cover for the birdies who liked to sit on the apple tree's branches.

And the cat in the tree? The tree is being chipped up for recycling - and the trunk section is being turned into apple chips for smoking fish. fish! Very appropriate, I think.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Ain't NOTHING gonna stop me!

(The pup is four weeks old today and stands about 6 inches tall when on all fours; the barrier is eighteen inches. This boy takes after his mama - can escape out of anything! The time is 2:30 AM - hence the out-of-focus photos!)




Gone! I'm outta here!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Midnight Mayhem

(So far, so is still working despite its unintentinal cold water bath).

The late night/early morning feedings around here never seem funny at the time but I suppose to an outsider there would be some humor in seeing an arthritic bedraggled woman in pjs trying to deal with ten starving, pooping, peeing, screaming, climbing, barking, scrambling pups.

The first challenge is to get inside their pen. What makes this challenging is that one or more of them has ALWAYS pooped right inside the gate, and all ten of them are crowding the gate (and dancing in the poop, which is usually being liberally smeared all over their little feeties) clamouring for attention - or food - or freedom.

The pen has a one foot board across the bottom of the gate opening, so I can leave the gate open for Lucy (on those rare occasions when she feels like checking on her babies) and me to hop in and out easily, but so the puppies cannot spill out all over my kitchen floor and onward to the rest of the house. Unfortunately, night before last I discovered that a one foot high board isn't high enough. As I stumbled into the kitchen, I literally tripped over a bundle of fur.....four of the little monsters had escaped. At three in the morning, I am fumbling around with peg board and zap straps, making the barrier higher.

The second challenge is to clean up all the mess. Ten pups left unattended while one grabs a few hours sleep can pretty much demolish every piece of newspaper in the pen, first soaking it in pee, then coating it with poop, then having a midnight rumble to ensure that every square inch and every puppy becomes a soggy, stinky mess. The challenge is made more exciting by the fact that the pups have only one thing on their mind - FOOD. And as Lucy doesn't feed them (especially when they are all screaming and clamouring for food), I become the object of their attention.

I quickly clean an area large enough for their food trays (no easy job as the pups are standing on the very sheets I want to remove) and hop back out of the pen to get the puppy formula and kibble mixture which has been warming in the microwave. I slop it into their bowls, which are lined up neatly in wallpaper trays, and face challenge number three: getting back into the pen with the trays without stepping on a pup, a poop, or a piddle.

Mission accomplished, I place the trays down and watch as all ten pups rush for one bowl. I quickly grab their little bodies and line them up along the trays to ensure each pup gets his or her fill, and while they are eating I snatch the damp bedding from their box and replace it with dry quilts and towels. Though all of the pups seems to leave the box for their bathroom duties, somehow the bedding still gets soaked.

When the pups have had their fill, I gather up the trays and retreat to the kitchen to wash up their dishes and set them out on the counter ready for the next feed which will occur as soon as the dogs and I get up to begin our day. Meanwhile, the pups are having another round of poop-pee-play, so I pop back in to clean up the poops as soon as they hit the floor. Ten little backends make a lot of mess.

As the pups stumble their way back to bed, tummies swollen with their early morning repast, I stumble back to my bed too.....where Lucy is stretched sideways across my pillows, sound asleep.

Monday, October 25, 2010

A quick Head's Up

I just dumped a half bottle of water all over my computer. If you don't see any new posts in the next several days, it means I fried the darn thing. A new one is not in the budget for a very long time.

I am learning...

To tolerate more mess in my house;

to sometimes ignore puppy squeals and let them just go back to sleep;

to make puppy formula efficiently and wash up the dishes immediately afterwards;

to get back to sleep after 3 AM feedings; and.....

To take better puppy pictures!

Here's my favourites from this weekend. The pups at three weeks old:

Sunlight on pups


Trio in Sunlight

Reverse Brindle Boy

Pups at Play

Pups meet Ball

Pablum-Faced Puppy

Puppy Portrait

Kissy Face

Kissy Face Again

Duo in Sunlight

Lone Pup and Ball

(c) 2010

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Lucy's Song*

I'm too sexy for my pants,
Too sexy for my pants,
So sexy I could dance.

And I'm too sexy for my collar
Too sexy for my collar
It makes me wanna holler.

I'm too sexy for my jeans,
Too sexy for my jeans,
I'm just so full of beans.

I'm just too sexy for this blog!

* With apologies to Fred Fairbrass, Richard Fairbrass, and Rob Manzoli, the authors of the original "I'm too sexy" lyrics.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

A Tranquil Interlude

I am not even going to begin to blog about what has been going on here the past two days, other than to say that Ms. Lucy can breech every barrier ever placed in her way; wants nothing to do with the babies; can leap over 48"; still has lots of discharge which is now on my bed, my rugs and my clothing; and I am at my wit's end. And please don't offer any suggestions - I assure you I have considered every possible solution and right now, at this moment, I'm not about to engage in a discussion of why various things aren't doable. I simply don't wanna talk about it. Nor am I going to post cutsey puppy pictures, even though they were three weeks old yesterday. I am just not feeling that kindly toward any of them.

Instead, we shall all take a few moments to breathe deeply, relaaaaaax, focus on the beauty around us, and enjoy these moments on Crofton beach where Charley, Sadie and I walked on a misty morning earlier this week. Enjoy.

Leaf on the beach

Spider's web on a misty morning

Sea birds in fall

Take off

Dead flowers and new blossoms

Spider's web on the seawalk

Misty morning at Crofton Beach

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Losing Lucy

I keep losing Lucy. While most of the time she is a velcro dog, sticking right by my side, every now and then she goes off for a little solitude. Yesterday it took me half an hour to find her hideout - behind the sofabed in my office. Today it didn't take as long - only two or three minutes. I checked the pup pen.

I dunno where my mama is!

Me neither!

Hasn't seen her

Not since last night

If ya find her, could ya tell her we're hungry?

I checked the living room.

Nope, not here. Is she in dis picture?

I checked the kitchen and bathroom and mudroom.

Meybe she went outside?

The last room I checked was my bedroom, as I have not allowed Lucy in there (she still has some discharge and I don't want it on the new carpet). I found her there - being careful not to mark my carpet:

I have no idea how such a short-legged dog can get up on my bed - it is quite high and so is the cedar chest at the end. Even Sadie, who is twice Lucy's height, has difficulty. But there she was - very, very comfy and not inclined to move.

I left her alone. For one thing, it's nice to be able to do housework without tripping over her. And bedding can always be washed.

[Lucy is looking for a forever home where she can sleep on the bed with her human. She promises not to hog the blankets, and she only snores a little.]

May I send you something?

Like – um – ten puppies who make annoying noises and a lot of mess, one strange-looking short-legged dog with huge soft poops and an ADHD personality, one eleven year old collie mix with the liquid runs, one thirteen year old dog who thinks she’s Eeyore and looks at you like you are the meanest mom on earth, and one cat with an anal gland abscess and an attitude?????

I will name you as beneficiary in my will. You will inherit my shopping cart, my garbage bags of clothes that no longer fit, some bags of dog food that the dogs won't eat and cans of cat food that the cat won't eat, and several tons of dog hair. Oh, and a bottle of Excedrin. If there's any left.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Why I'm getting nothing done today




I'm gonna hide behind this sofa in foster mama's office - she'll nevah find me here!

Monday, October 18, 2010

What's good for the goose....

.... is not always good for the gander.

I am NOT a gander, I am a CAT ! And Lucy may be silly, but she is not a goose.

The new pen seems to be working well for Lucy and her pups - Lucy is spending a bit more time with them and is happy to be able to hop in and out at will, and even the pups seem more settled. Sitting in my living room near the pen can, at times, be aggravating as ten pups sucking sounds rather like a kindergarten class full of annoying little kids with colds - sniff, sniff, sniff, sniff, sniff .........AARRRRGH! But for the most part, things are good.

Allie, the gander..., however, is another matter. She showed considerable shock when she saw the pups and Lucy in "her" space, their pen very close to the buffet on which her food is placed (to keep it away from certain catfood-eating-long-nosed-collie dogs who shall remain nameless).

I wouldn't have a clue who that would be!
(Photo by Red Dog Photography)

Me neither. No long nosed collies around here!

Allie puffed up her fur, her eyes grew big, her ears went back, and she started a low growl. Now, she is hiding out in my bedroom, fur still puffed. She will not eat, she has not used her litter box since yesterday morning or earlier (even when I carried her to it just now), and although she ate a few Temptations and drank a bit of water when I offered it to her, she has refused her regular food. More to the point, she did not come barrelling into the kitchen this morning or last night as she usually does when she hears the treat jar open. She just stays curled up on the bed. She did try to jump to her kitty condo this morning, but missed it and fell scrambling to the floor. She is decidedly out of sorts.

Perhaps there is something else going on - she has not had any of her usual cat grass for the past month as I am unable to locate any here (except the kind you grow yourself which I never have any success with) and I cancelled my trip to the mainland last month so was unable to replenish my supply. I have given her some hairball guck in case that is the problem, but if things aren't moving (cat, pee, poop) by tomorrow morning she'll be heading to the vet. It's so hard to know if the timing is just coincidental or if she is really that upset by the changing household.

I'z sick. But NO VET. I hates vets.

Oh, and Lucy's runny poops and straining is back. Perhaps from the stress yesterday. I hope that's all it is, because I can't for the life of me figure out why she would be fine for three days and then, without a change in diet, back to sh*tsplosions.

As for me, I ran out to pick up more formula fixings for the puppies and decided I better stock up on Hallowe'en treats so I don't forget. I have one piece of advice: if you are feeling stressed, don't buy the box of 50 yummy little chocolate bars until Hallowe'en afternoon. 'Nuff said.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

A Moving Day

Lucy the Dog

The day began with an email from Janice at Hearts on Noses - a three year old female piggy on the island was in need of a home. A couple of emails later and the problem was solved. Pat, who adopted Neezer earlier this year, was willing to take on this piggy too. I phoned the people with the piggy, told them what Pat could offer to the piggy, and everything is a "Go". If all goes as planned, Pat will travel up island Wednesday and bring home the little girl pig --- whose name just happens to be LUCY!!! I hope Lucy the Dog can find her forever home as quickly as Lucy the Pig did. Thank you, Pat, for stepping up to give another pig a great home!

Next, two SPCA volunteers came to help me create a larger space for our Lucy. With such a large litter, all of whom are now walking and barking and looking around them, they had outgrown the 4x6 whelping box/x-pen I had made in the mudroom. With two hairy dogs of my own and the rainy, possibly snowy, month of November just around the corner, I needed to keep some mudroom space available so mucky dogs could dry off without destroying the living room carpets. So the only alternative was to move Lucy and pups into the dining room area. I moved the furniture into the bedroom, office, mudroom, and living room (aaackkkk - I hate cluttered, crowded rooms!). Bob and Doug arrived with an endroll of lino, large tarps, wood, another x-pen and other supplies. We lay the lino over the dining room carpet, two layers of tarp over that, 2x4 tarp-covered frame all around, three x-pens fastened to the frame and each other, some peg board for reinforcement where necessary, and - voila - Lucy and pups now have an area approximately 9x10 all for themselves. Thank you, Bob and Doug!

The mudroom had been the perfect space for the first couple of weeks when the pups needed a very warm environment (I have electric heat only, so could heat the mudroom and still keep the rest of the house as cool as I like it to be), and when Lucy and pups needed lots of rest and freedom from intrusions by visitors and my own critters.

But now the pups need socialization through gradually increased exposure to the everyday sights and sounds and smells of a household and eventually to visitors coming to say hello. They also need room to play, and soon will need to be introduced to the idea of a potty area, either on newspapers in one corner of their new pen, or by frequent forays to small side yard via the patio doors on one side of their new space. And Lucy is happy to be able to have more personal space and freedom, both in the pen itself and via one low doorway which she can hop over to join me any time she wants (except at night when it will be gated). The old whelping box has been moved into the new space, so the pups are once again in their familiar canopied bed, which they can easily clamber out of to check out the rest of the pen.

I don't cope well with chaos, so I spent most of the rest of the day setting my house back to order as best I could. My friend Else brought me a care package from today's SPCA potluck as I was too busy (and too stressed) to attend, so I had a great dinner of salad, casserole, meatballs (the best I've ever tasted - whoever made those better share their recipe or they may find ten puppies on their doorstep!) and other yummy stuff - oh, and apple pie for dessert. Thanks, Else!

And now the pups are sleeping, Lucy is content - AND, by the way, her poopy problem suddenly resolved itself day before yesterday, and she is now happily eating large amounts of Sweet Potato and Venison kibble with just a small addition of rice or oatmeal and chicken or lean beef! Yay! I'll hold off giving her puppy food, with its much higher fat content - she's likely getting a much better diet than 90% of pregnant dogs, anyway.

A busy day, a stressful day, but a day full of good friends and wonderful critters.

An exhausting day!