Happy New Year!

I must admit that I am more than happy to start the new year.  Don’t get me wrong, for the most part 2018 was just fine… up until the end, specifically just before Christmas week.

Thinking back, maybe I should have taken it as some sort of omen when I had no desire in the weeks leading up to Christmas to decorate the house, or bake, or do any of the usual Christmasy things.

My Christmas decorating this year consisted of bringing in the artificial Christmas tree in it’s bag from the garage, setting the bag down in the dining room, leaving it there for 3 weeks, and carrying it back out to the garage.

I didn’t even listen to any of my usual Christmas CD’s.   I did watch a few Christmas movies, but not all of my favorites, and most importantly, I skipped “It’s a Wonderful Life”.  Yeah, I should have known something wasn’t right.

Then, the week just prior to Christmas, I was slammed with a massive migraine headache.  I haven’t had a doozy like that for years.  It lasted 3 days, and just when I thought I was out of the woods, I got food poisoning (or so I thought).   It seemed to be subsiding, but then OH NO!

Just when I thought I was out…it pulled me back in (thank you, Michael Corleone). It slowly dawned on me that maybe what I actually had was the stomach flu.

Each day brought new and interesting adventures.  What will it be today?  Fever? Nausea? Diarrhea? Vomiting?  Maybe some sort of new combo we haven’t had yet?   Turns out, the possibilities were endless!  Can I eat today? NOPE!  Nice try – hahahaha silly girl, here’s more diarrhea for ya!

Are you feeling ok mom?

I began a very close and personal 10 day relationship with my toilet.  It was there for me when I needed it, every time, without fail.  “Come to me my weary friend, and rest your hot feverish brow on my cool white porcelain.”  I felt I was in good hands with the porcelain prince, and my beloved bed (a.k.a. my sleep nest).  My sleep nest is the only cure when I have a migraine, so over the years we have established a strong emotional bond.  Yes, between the two of them, I was well cared for.  We spent a lot of time together this Christmas season.

This may sound odd, but believe me, given the choice, I’d take the hell of that stomach flu over a bad migraine, any day.   The pain with a migraine is relentless.  At least with the flu, in between bouts of visiting my beloved porcelain prince, and napping, or more accurately, collapsing in a heap in my nest, I could tend to the needs of the dogs, cats, and birds.  I think it goes without saying that house work was LOW priority (but truth be told that’s nothing new).  General messiness, and floating dog hair is just kind of a given around here.

The dogs were incredibly good.  They were quiet, cooperative, there to cuddle when I needed it, and overall quite attentive to me.  Or maybe they just appreciated that I finally figured out what being a member of the pack really means… sleeping as much as possible during the day.  Whenever I would sit with them after stumbling out of the bedroom they would all gather around to carefully smell me.  People kept telling me “Oh, they know you’re  sick and want to take care of you!” 

Uhhh, maybe, or maybe they just liked it that after several days without a shower I was, let’s say, rather pungent…”Mmmm, you smell really bad mom, but you know, in a good way!  Let me take another whiff just for good measure.  Yep, stinky stuff, awesome!  You really are becoming one of us!”

I was still in bed on Christmas Eve, and all day on Christmas day too.  It was the suckiest Christmas ever *cue violins*

My totally pathetic Christmas dinner

POOOOR me.  Nah, not really.  I had everything I needed, including family and friends checking up on me by phone.  I just hunkered down and waited it out.  It was unpleasant, but I mean, it had to end at some point right?  RIGHT! And it did! Whew!  I am happy to report that I am now fully recovered, and it is all just a sad memory.

Lesson learned.  Next year I plan to start decorating for Christmas immediately after Halloween.

 

Everybody loves Nemo

This week we celebrated the 6 year anniversary of Nemo’s “gotcha” day.  The day that I adopted him from Wright-Way Rescue.  I have since adopted several wonderful dogs from Wright-Way, but Nemo was the first.

Nemo’s adoption photo. Awww, how cute and he was so little!

His litter had been given Christmas names like holly, wreath, candy-cane etc.   They must have run out of creative ideas because Nemo’s original name was Ornament…really? Ornament?   Ok, well not really a problem since I always change rescue dogs names when I adopt them.  One of our mottos here in The Land of Misfit Dogs is “new life, new name!”

I’ll admit I did name him after the fish from the movie Finding Nemo.  He was the same colors, and it seemed to fit him.  Nemo is very sweet, and friendly with people and dogs alike.  He is a favorite with people who visit.  You can see the sweetness in his face.

       

Probably the thing I love most about him is seeing how much the other dogs love him.

 

Truly, everybody loves Nemo…

 

Thanks!

I want to thank all of you who conveyed such heartfelt condolences regarding the loss of my beloved extra freezer.  It’s nice to know that in a world that sometimes seems fraught with apathy and unkindness that an appliance alliance prevails.

It’s a bit too soon to know if I will consider another freezer.  Somehow, it seems like a slap in the face to the behemoth.  I may just get rid of the stupid little fridge with the teensy midget freezer, and buy another side by side.  Truth be told, I probably need more time to grieve before I make any big decisions.

In other news…  I have a few new fur munchkins that I will soon share pictures of.  They arrived early last month and have been getting settled in, which includes being spayed, neutered, and updated on other vet care, in addition to acclimating to the pack.  All in all, so far, so good!

To be clear, I was not looking to adopt more dogs, but as we all know, sometimes fate has other plans.  I was contacted by an acquaintance, and told that sadly the owner of several small dogs had passed away, and lets just say, things were not good.  Long story short, they needed somewhere to go.  Not going to dwell on the details.   Remember, here in The Land of Misfit Dogs, we don’t rehash our sad stories of the past.  Instead, we focus on how wonderful life can be going forward.

As I said, the newbies are “littles” and I pretty much always have room for a few more of those.   I guess I have to stop kidding myself when I say I’m not going to take in any more dogs.  I think a more accurate statement would be, I’m not planning on taking in any more dogs.  Yeah, that’s it…that’s the ticket!  I’m not going to worry about it, things always have a way of working out.

For now I will leave you with a photo of my stellar boy, Rex.  I purchased a new camera a while back, and it’s taken me a little time to get used to.  I’m still fiddling around with most of the buttons and settings, but I’m getting the hang of it.  We all know how much I LOVE to take photos of my dogs!  I only have around 5,000 (or more) photos of my dogs.  NO I’m not kidding.   I’d like to get in the habit of posting here more, so maybe now and then I’ll just post photos!!

My happy boy

R.I.P.

I suffered a serious loss this week.  My beloved, quite large, extra freezer died.  It seems like just yesterday we were having a great time together.  Why, only a few short weeks ago, I had stocked it with a bunch of Stouffer’s frozen dinners, pizzas, corn dogs, fries, ice cream, pot pies, White Castle burgers, and just in case you’re thinking I don’t eat healthy, a few bags of broccoli and green beans (but not too many).  It was there when I bought the house, always there, large and beautiful, sitting in the laundry room, humming away.  It gave me great comfort.

On Monday I went to retrieve some bacon and cookie dough from my old faithful pal, and OH NO!  When I opened the freezer, everything was all melty and wet.  The light was still working, so it wasn’t a circuit breaker.  I spent the next half an hour putting soggy, wet, ruined food into trash bags and dragging them out to the trash can. *insert single tear rolling down cheek*

The recently deceased behemoth, rest well my friend

When I think back, it had been making some pathetic, funny noises, but I just kind of hoped it was nothing.  That’ll teach me to ignore a cry for help.  Now it’s dead, and gone forever.  Well, not actually gone, it is just sitting there in the laundry room… large, empty, and haunting me, because now the only freezer I have is the teensy weensy one on top of my refrigerator.  It has about the same amount of storage as a plastic cooler, and even less space for my own food, once I put the bowl of Kong and Tux toys stuffed with peanut butter and treats for the dogs inside.  And we all know, those are an absolute necessity.

Why is it that now all I have is a teensy freezer?  Funny you should ask.  That’s because this summer when my refrigerator died, I decided that since it’s just lil’ ol’ me here, I would save money and buy a smaller fridge with a top freezer.   I mean, after all, I had that HUGE freezer to store tons of food in!

Good idea in theory.  Not so much in reality.  It doesn’t help that I quickly developed a special hatred for that fridge.  I was used to a side by side, and not having to stoop down to reach into the refrigerator.  I kept hitting my head on the handle to that stupid minuscule freezer every time I stood up.  I often still do.  The dogs have started to think that “shit, ouch, dammit!” is just part of my ritual banter while working in the kitchen.  It just adds insult to injury that it is now my ONLY freezer.

The midget, mocking me with its smug smallness

Come to think of it, maybe the big freezer hung on as long as it could, but died from a broken heart after the old fridge bit the dust… I think maybe I need to get out more.

Home For The Holidays

I take the phrase “home for the holidays” literally.  I stay at home on Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s.  I have wonderful, generous friends, and family who always extend invitations to join them in their festivities, but on holidays I want be with my own little furry family.  Sentimental? Silly?  After all, the dogs don’t know it’s a holiday, right?  Right!  Of course they don’t know, but I do.

As I’ve mentioned several times, I have an amazing family.  Like most families, we grew up with holiday traditions.  We all have fond holiday memories, and funny stories to share.  Over the years, as people married, and had children, as would be expected, new traditions were established.  My siblings now have their own families to celebrate with.  During my former life as a married person,  we moved around a lot, and often lived far away from family, so I too developed new traditions.

When I moved back to the Chicago area in 2012, alone for the first time in my life, I’ll admit, the holidays were kind of hard.   Partly because long long ago, in a land far away…I had gotten engaged in December, and married the following December.  That kind of ties a lot of additional memories to Christmas time.

That first holiday season back home, my always wonderful family invited me to share in their Thanksgiving and Christmas celebrations.  I joined them, but I found that seeing my family carrying on their traditions just reminded me of what I no longer had.  It wasn’t anyone’s fault, it just was what it was.  Add to that the fact I’ve always been a bit of a chicken driving in winter weather, and my family is an hour’s drive away, plus my eyes aren’t what they used to be now that I’m a bit older, so night driving is tricky as well.  All in all,  I found that I couldn’t wait to get home to be with the dogs, and stay there.

Can’t you just stay home with us and cuddle?

The next year, I decided to try staying home with my own little furry family during the holidays, and it was AWESOME!  I invited a few single friends for Thanksgiving since I enjoy cooking.   The following week, I blasted Christmas music through the house, and tortured the poor dogs with my off key singing while I put up my Christmas decorations.  I baked, shopped on-line, and played in the snow with the dogs.  I was creating new traditions without even trying, and had the unexpected added bonus of beginning to glimpse some of the same magical feelings I remembered as a child during this time of year.  Feelings that I thought were long gone.

 
Nowadays, my family graciously accepts (maybe with a bit of an eye-roll) that I prefer to be at home with the dogs on the holidays.  They make it clear that if I ever decide I want to join them, I am welcome, which is a gift in and of itself.

 

OOOPS!

So, yesterday I decided to do some blog related housekeeping, and deleted a bunch of photo files.  Turns out I didn’t just delete them from the file folder, I also deleted them from the blog posts…WHAT?!

Then I realized I’d have to upload all of the photos again, and then go back into each blog entry to put them back up on the individual posts.  I thought about it for a while and decided it was just too much to bother with.  I’d rather spend the time creating new posts, which we all know I don’t do as often as I should.

Sorry about that, but going forward I’ll know not to make the same mistake! DUH!

Ferris & Henry

This week we celebrated Ferris’ one year adoption anniversary.  It’s hard to believe we’ve all survived, oh sorry did I say that out loud?  Seriously, he has grown into a sweet, fun guy, even though he really does seem to have a doggie version of attention deficit disorder, and often has a rather endearing blank look on his face.

Huh?

Earlier this year Ferris earned the title of “Destructodog par Excellence”,  when he successfully disemboweled two futon couches, and several dog beds.  We won’t even mention the dozens of stuffed dog toys.

I apologize if the content of this photo is disturbing to any of you.  Just know that the end was quick, and futon didn’t suffer.

I’ve considered pursuing something like obedience, or maybe agility classes to tire out his brain and body at the same time.  Ferris is however, well…let’s just say, not so bright.  Whenever I’ve tried a one on one training session with him, he could not be less interested.  His concentration is similar to that of a gnat, he’s just way too distracted by things like, the other dogs, smells, noises, and, you know, air.  Lucky for me, I have lots of other dogs to help teach him, and while he may not want to learn by typical training methods, he does learn from the other dogs.  They have helped teach him to sit, wait, and get into his crate on command.

As most of you know, I adopted Henry this spring, as a playmate for Ferris.  The plan worked, they love to play together.  Truth be told, to an untrained eye it looks like they love to beat the crap out of each other, but it really is just really rough, loud, rowdy, boy play.  Considering this is the only way Ferris plays, Henry truly is a perfect pal for him, and they have become best buddies.

This photo is a bit outdated, Henry is now the same size as Ferris.

Henry at 8 months old, is still a puppy in many ways, but he is CLEARLY very different from Ferris.  Henry is laser focused on me, super affectionate, and quite bright.  I’d love to take some classes with him, and if I can get him over his car sickness I will.  There’s nothing worse than taking a dog that gets carsick to classes.  They feel like crap when they get to class, so they aren’t super interested in treats until maybe halfway through the class.  Then on the way home they vomit up the treats from training class.  How fun – let’s do that again!!

Having two young rowdy boys in the house has been a lot of work, but also a lot of fun.  I laugh a lot, (when I’m not yelling at them).  They really are pretty hilarious.

I wasn’t aware of how much Ferris had bonded to Henry until yesterday.  Henry is staying at the vet’s for the weekend and getting neutered on Monday.  Ferris has been moping around like a sad little child who’s lost his favorite toy.  Which is pretty much exactly what has happened.  It’s strange to see him all droopy and quiet.  I actually miss the nutty, sometimes exasperating Ferris.  Yesterday he tried to play a little bit with Cubby & Sox, but they weren’t interested in being dragged around like a rag, so it didn’t last for long.  Then he tried to coax Rex in playing, but that didn’t go over too well either.  He eventually resorted to curling up in Henry’s crate to mope.  I think he’s going to be getting a lot of stuffed kongs, and chewies this weekend.

So so sad, missing his buddy

 

 

Where oh where have the futons gone?

A few days ago a very dear friend of mine came for a visit.  We’ve been friends for almost 40 years, and we get together for lunch now and then, which is not often enough, but we do the best we can.

She wanted to come and see the dogs since she had not yet had the opportunity to meet Cubby, Sox, Ferris, or Henry.  She is kind enough to read this blog so she was aware of the Destructodog Saga involving Ferris and his homicidal tendencies toward anything involving fabric and stuffing.  One of the first things she noticed was that the futons were GONE!!

I had forgotten to continue the saga here on the blog.  For those who for some strange reason may be interested, we will pick up the story after I had resorted to dragging the futon mattresses out to the garage to await the 1-800-GOTJUNK guys, and was using the cardboard from box mountain in place of mattresses.  If you are confused, or don’t understand the terms “Destructodog” or “Box Mountain” you need to read some of the previous posts, or just skip this one – I promise I won’t be offended.

——————————————————————————————–

To recap: When we last left our heroine, she had ingeniously dealt with the aftermath of Destructodog by visiting Box Mountain, and harvesting some of its treasure.

  

The magical Box Mountain

The villagers were satisfied with the new, albeit a bit less comfy, futon solution and were happily going about their little furry lives.  

Notice the cardboard underneath the blankets

Destructodog was still on the rampage, but his new focus was disemboweling stuffed toys, dog beds, and pillows.

But alas, after a few weeks our heroine was confronted with yet another doggie dilemma.  In secret, some of the furry villagers took a vote – namely Ferris, Henry and the Weasel Brothers (Cubby & Sox), and decided that racing back and forth on top of the new futon platforms was a really fun game.  This wasn’t really an issue when there were mattresses on top of the futon frames, but dogs bounding back and forth on top of cardboard is LOUD.  In addition, this game meant the blankets were being scattered hither and yon which exposed the cardboard and…you guessed it!  Destructodog was ON THE JOB!!!  Once Destructodog knew that there was hidden treasure under those blankets, nothing would stop him from exposing the treasure to share with the furry villagers.  Dragging the cardboard off of the futon frames resulted in exposing the wire framing which could have been a disaster for little doggie legs.  Our heroine took yet another of several hundred heavy sighs, and resigned herself to taking drastic measures.

The new and improved, futon free, family room!

And they all lived happily ever after…for now.

 

 

 

Ch-ch-ch-Changes…

Once again I can’t believe how quickly the time has passed!  This week (on Saturday) fall officially arrives.

I love the change of seasons, and I’m looking forward to fall – crisp mornings, apples, pumpkins, football games, and of course the beautiful fall colors when the leaves start to change.  I have a maple tree in my front yard that is spectacular when it turns.

I took this picture of leaves from the maple tree a few years ago.

One of the other things I’m looking forward to is NO MORE mosquitoes.  They have been horrible this year, and particularly vicious the past week or so.  It’s like they know their time is limited and they want to cause as much misery as possible while they can.  Little bastards.  This is also boxelder bug time, which I actually enjoy (yeah I know – weird).  I think they’re cute, and they really don’t cause any harm.  I don’t mind having them around, even in the house.  I sometimes find one inside and take it a little drink of water.  If you put a drop of water nearby, they will often uncurl their little tongue and take a nice long drink.  It’s pretty neat.

Overall we’ve had a good summer here in The Land of Misfit Dogs.  I adopted Henry in May, and he has been a wonderful addition to the pack.  I’ve been joking with friends that Henry is my reward for putting up with Ferris.  It’s not completely true, and not fair to Ferris, but it usually gets a good laugh, and I’m not above using my dogs for humor.

Ferris turned a year last month, and has grown up in a lot of ways.  He is still a bit of a quandary, and I suppose he always will be.  That’s fine, it makes life interesting, and he is without a doubt a good dog and I love him, but he is a bit odd.  When people visit, he is polite and friendly, but once he says hello, he really isn’t interested in them anymore.  He doesn’t respond to them calling him over for some petting or to play with a toy.  He basically gives them a sort of “huh?” look, and wanders over to hang out with the other dogs.  He really is a dog’s dog, more than a people dog, which around here is obviously fine.  I always tell people who haven’t met him before that it isn’t that he doesn’t like them, he’s just…well…a bit odd.  In fact, it’s only been recently that Ferris has started to initiate interacting with ME.   He puts his paws up on me to greet me which I normally wouldn’t allow, but because he’s not that big, and he’s actually coming to me for attention, I’ve been happy to let him do it.  Sometimes when I pet him, he will hold still for a bit, stand there and wag his tail while looking off into the distance, and then he just walks away while I’m still petting him.  I should mention that he’s also smart, and endlessly hilarious, always cracking me up with his antics.  Even when he’s being naughty it’s hard to get mad at him because he basically has no clue he’s doing anything wrong.

Ferris all grown up. What a handsome boy!

While Ferris seems ambivalent toward people, when it comes to other dogs it’s a completely different story.  He really needs other dogs in his life.  He loves all of my other dogs, sometimes a little too much.  Before Henry came along, Ferris incessantly pestered Rex and Rudy for attention, and seemed to think that Cubby & Sox were his personal toys, and was often too rough with them.  That’s where Henry has earned his kibble, BIG time.  Henry is a sturdy, reliable, resilient, and willing playmate, and keeps Ferris busy.  They really are best buddies, and I couldn’t be happier.  Ferris has grown up to be a good boy, and I have no doubt that being a big brother to Henry has been an essential part of that process

Even though he’s only 6 months old, it’s already obvious that Henry couldn’t be more different from Ferris.  He LOVES people, and is a huge cuddle bug.  I think if he had his way, when he wasn’t playing with Ferris, he’d sit on my lap all day.   He loves our pack, but is uninterested in any dogs other than our pack.  Henry is all about PEOPLE!!  He greets everyone he meets as if they’re his long lost best friend.  I find it interesting, because I didn’t spend any more time socializing Henry than I did Ferris, and truth be told I really didn’t make a huge effort with either of them, it was basically just people coming to visit occasionally.

I took this of Henry yesterday, his ears are trying to come up.

I find it fascinating how different dog’s personalities can vary.  It’s that age old question nurture or nature?   I’ve always assumed it’s a little of both, and these two are a perfect example.  Henry and Ferris are not related, and they are 6 months apart in age.  They were each adopted by me when they were approximately 10 weeks of age, both came from the same rescue, where they were surrendered with their litter-mates.  Both were raised by me in exactly the same way.  I am certain if I had adopted either one of them as an older puppy or an adult, I would have assumed some of their behavior toward people and other dogs was a result of how they were raised, but in this case I absolutely know different since I raised both of them.

Just another example of how different each dog’s personality can be.  Even after working with dogs for going on 40 years, and living with a pack of at least 15 rescue dogs of all ages and breeds for the last 13 years, I am continuously amazed at how much I learn from my dogs in general, and my pack in particular about dog behavior!  I wouldn’t trade my unique experience living with these amazing creatures for all the money in the world.