Thursday, December 21, 2006

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Oh, golly...

A picture of a greyhound that is not mine... (Check out the tags on the picture.)

Monday, November 20, 2006


SEGA continues its efforts in supporting November as Adopt-a-Senior-Pet month. There are two 9-year-olds remaining who need a home, but someone has expressed an interest in adopting them. And we've got a 10-year-old bouncing back to SEGA for readoption; the family has a recently widowed mother-in-law who is moving in with her two cats, and the greyhound is "a cat zapper." SEGA will find him a home. SEGA has placed two 11-year-olds and two 10-year-olds so far this month.

Hugger at home
Hugger at home
11-year-old Hugger's foster parents have flunked fostering. They adopted him.
(Taken from the SEGC message board home page.)

But this comes in the face of some bad news for SEGA members. 12-year-old Teresa had to be put to sleep while her owners were out of the country; they're coming home to five dogs instead of six. (It was a case of owner-of-four-dogs marrying owner-of-two-dogs.) Teresa had been ailing for a month or so. Teresa was a champion agility and obedience dog, and will be much missed. (She was the teacher's demo-dog when Oreo took obedience classes. Teresa showed how the dog should respond after training. Oreo was the demo-dog for how you teach the behavior, since an open-mouthed Oreo would follow the treat anywhere the teacher moved it...and ever-after greeted the teacher by sniffing her pockets.) And 11-year-old Walker died this weekend, too, after a long bout with cancer.

Today would have been Oreo's ninth birthday.

Edited to add an update: Another 9-year-old has been adopted today!

Saturday, November 18, 2006

A public service announcement...

Today: A friend's two greyhounds got out of her fenced yard and took off in opposite directions. Patti called our "Lost Hound Cooperative," which went into action: messages on the Yahoo Message Board, MapQuest maps posted on the Web site, phone calls to SEGA members in the area. Patti grabbed her cell phone and took off after the escapees.

Fortunately, today's weather here was sunny and only a bit cool, and lots of people were outdoors. Area residents spotted both dogs, knew they didn't belong loose on their own, and grabbed the dogs. (It helps that both dogs are friendly, social dogs who go right up to total strangers to be petted.) The rescuers called the number on the dogs' tags. But that number was ringing in Patti's empty house, and people wound up leaving messages on the machine.

Patti got the messages eventually, but if she'd gotten the news earlier, she could have saved herself a lot of worry. So both dogs are home safely. And Patti's getting them new tags...with her cell phone number on them.

Are your pets tagged?

Monday, November 13, 2006

Adopt-a-Senior-Pet Month

November is Adopt-a-Senior-Pet Month. Our rescue group has placed two 11-year-old greyhounds this month, but we still have three 9-year-olds and one 10-year-old looking for homes.

In an effort to spur adoptions of seniors, one placement worker drafted a list of greyhound owners and asked each of us to make a pro-seniors post one day this month. Today was my day to post.

Why adopt a senior?

The edges are all smoothed off. He's been around. He "gets" glass doors, mirrors, slippery floors, squeaky toys, mom leaving to go to work. And he understands the idea of "going out to potty."

He appreciates comfortable routine. He's had the "new boy" experience and is grateful now to just drop down onto that open, available bed and be the least trouble he knows how to be...

He knows that ear-scritches are vastly to be treasured. Kisses on the head are a prize nearly equal to "cookies." And cuddles on the couch are absolute heaven.

But he hasn't seen EVERYTHING. He's still curious about what's around the next corner on your walk. He's wondering if he's allowed to catch squirrels at your house. He wants to know what games you know and what toys you have. He wants to meet your friends and coworkers.

He wants to be YOUR DOG.

And he'll enrich your life far more than you'll be able to enrich his.

That's for Oreo, who would have been nine years old next Monday.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006


You know how in cartoons there'll be someone sleeping, with their lips pressed together, and every time they exhale their lips flutter and vibrate?

Jacey's doing that right now, and it's all I can do to not laugh out loud at her.

Dogs. Nature's stress-relievers...

Saturday, October 28, 2006

This week

I’m home on the sofa, watching King Kong, and I am absolutely beat. (Oh, dear, Kong’s stamping on natives. Would you believe I’ve never seen this movie before? It’s the Fay Wray version.)

Today was Greyfest, the big greyhound festival. I did $145 worth of nail trims and ear cleanings to raise money for SEGA. There was only one dog who wanted to bite; he was fine for his nails, but wanted to take my hand off when I tried to clean his ears. His name was Mr Spock. I’m willing to concede that Vulcans might be fussy about their ears, but logic should preclude biting as a solution. (Oh, dear, Kong’s grabbed Ann out the high-rise window and is taking a stroll through New York…and about to disrupt the subway…)

Anyway, the crocheted greyhound brought SEGA $100 in the silent auction. I didn’t spend much money—just bought the new SEGA cookbook (people-food recipes and dog-treat recipes). In the “Blur of Fur” competition they clocked running greyhounds with a radar gun. The fastest dog today was doing 45 mph…and that wasn’t a particularly young dog: just one who loves to run. (It’s Kong against the airplanes, now, and I think we know how that turns out.) Sam and Jacey didn’t go to Greyfest; I can’t look after them, keep Sam out of trouble, and do nail trims at the same time, so the dogs just had a quiet day at home.

On the way home from Greyfest, I stopped at Costco and spent a fortune: two dog throws, one new dog bed, and a ton of vitamins/supplements: Cranberry pills (Jacey), glucosamine (all of us), flax seed oil (Jacey and Sam), calcium (me), fish oil pills (Jacey and Sam).

(Oh, no. It was beauty killed the beast.)

Edited to add: The Blur of Fur winner was Venus, formerly RC Desert Secret. I just looked her up on the greyhound database. She was born 17 November 2001--which was the day I adopted Oreo: Nice coincidence...

Friday, October 6, 2006

Happy Gotcha Day

I ordered a pattern to make sweaters for the dogs. The pattern comes from the same woman who created the crocheted greyhound pattern. I ordered the yarn, too: "Aran" colored yarn for Sam's, "Cherry Red" for Jacey's. (I get free shipping from Joanns through December 31. That made ordering from Joann's cheaper than ordering from anywhere else.) I also ordered a needlepoint kit to make a Christmas stocking. I made stockings for both my nephews when they were little, and my sister Santa still stuffs the stockings with candy every Christmas. Well, elder nephew (he's twenty-three) has a girlfriend who'll be spending her third Christmas with our family. There's no announced engagement, but that could come any time. (She's in vet school at the University of Georgia, and he is living and working there in Athens to be near her.) So I'm going to make Ashley a stocking...hope I can get it done in time.

Sam celebrated Gotcha Day (on 5 October) by clearing off the kitchen counter. Again. The bread was safely on top of the refrigerator. The bag of potatoes was not. Of course, Sam's muzzled, so he couldn't do anything with the potatoes beyond opening the bag and rolling the potatoes around on the kitchen floor. But he did that very well.

Tuesday, October 3, 2006

The Militant Greyhound

Check out the militant greyhound. (I know, the first sentence of the write-up says Cleopatra was an American. I've resisted my editor's itch and not sent the guy an e-mail about it.) Other breeds are available, but I'm quite sure the greyhound will reign supreme after the revolution.

If he can bother to get off the sofa.

The dogs pretty much are fine. The vet adjusted Sam's thyroid meds two weeks ago and started Jacey on some new stuff for the bladder issues. I'm not happy with the results in either case, although it may just take longer to see the results for Sam. For Jacey, I'm seeing results, and it's not pretty. (You probably don't want to give a dog with separation anxiety something that "might make her a bit excitable.") So I've cut her dose to 25 percent of the original dose, and we'll see what happens now.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Do not overstuff...

It’s done.

Sam and Friend

I haven’t made very many stuffed animals, and I suppose I broke the cardinal rule. (Repeat after me: Do not overstuff.) The dog isn’t designed to stand on its feet. There’s no way that could happen unless you inserted some sort of rigid support system (at which point it stops being a stuffed animal and becomes a potential hazard to unsuspecting persons throwing themselves on the bed where the dog might be). But I stuffed the back legs so that they were pretty rigid. (Hey, I had the muscular Sam’s legs as a model. He never raced, he’s been a couch potato for four years, and he’s still got a nice, tight butt.) Then, when I sewed the back legs together, they stuck out at right angles. Attaching them to the body didn’t fix the problem. So I cut off the feet, unraveled the legs up to the knees, pulled out a bunch of stuffing (but maybe not enough: Do not overstuff.), recrocheted the legs and feet.

I left the front legs alone. The body has a flap that fits between the front legs, so they weren’t going to assume any flaky angles. But they’re undoubtedly fatter than they ought to be. Do not overstuff. For the body, I concentrated on getting enough stuffing in the neck area to make the head stay upright. It, at least, is not overstuffed. And I got the tail right: you put just a bit of stuffing in the top end so it’s not totally limp.

A Pair of Heads

I love the ears, though. The designer cleverly has you crochet over a length of yarn that later works like a drawstring to give the ears their characteristic “curl.”

Sam was wonderful for the photographs. The first one you see here actually was the last one I took. Sam first came over and laid himself down on the throw and put his chin flat on the ground: his usual bored-with-photography pose. The pictures looked okay because I posed the crocheted greyhound around him, and Sam tolerated the head on his, etc.

Can You Tell Us Apart?

But then I moved the greyhound away from Sam for some solo pictures of it. I laid it on its side and draped its tail up over its back leg. Sam looked at the greyhound, looked at me, and perfectly copied the pose.

(And in the background, Jacey moped: “No one wants to take my picture.”)

I'm Being Ignored

The greyhound will go with me to the SEGC meeting Wednesday night. I’ll hand it over to the people organizing Greyfest, and they can place him up for auction at the silent auction. Sam and Jacey will be happy to see him leave. As I was assembling him last night, they spent much of the evening dodging flailing legs. (It didn’t help that I had to redo parts of two already-attached legs.)

I’m moving on to a knitting project—one that doesn’t involve polyester fiberfill, shaped pieces, and a monster assembly operation. If I ever propose making another crocheted greyhound, I hope my LiveJournal friends will try to stop me by reminding me what a pain this has been.

And if you can’t make me stop, at least make me remember: Do not overstuff.

The pattern is available here. Greyfest info here.

Saturday, September 16, 2006


Got up early today to take the dogs to a Meet and Greet. Sam hasn't been to one in years, and Jacey has never been. But Sam dropped right back into pet-me-pet-me mode, and Jacey got it figured out pretty quickly. Today's M&G was at the Marietta Farmers Market. One of the dogs there was the charming--and very tempting--Billie Holliday, the tiny little Oreo look-alike. Billie has been in a foster home for two weeks and is doing well, but she desperately wants her own home and her own person to love. (She's in a foster home where the two live-in dogs don't like her. They don't fight with her; they just totally ignore her attempts to make friends and her invitations to play.) If my condo complex didn't have a two-pet limit, I'd take her in a heartbeat. As it is, I find myself very tempted to see just how serious the complex is about enforcing the limit. (I know at least one condo here with three dogs in it--but they're all small dogs.) I keep telling myself that A--I can't afford a third dog, and B--It would not be fair to take her in and then have to return her because the condo complex did insist on enforcing the limit. I know she'll find a good home if I just leave her in the adoption program and let the system take its course. But oh, what a sweetie...

We got home from the M&G and all three of us collapsed and slept for hours, exhausted by the heat as much as anything. I've been up a while, working on the crocheted greyhound. (About 20 more rows on the last leg to do; then assembly--which probably will be difficult. It often is.) I'll probably stay up late tonight. I can sleep late tomorrow; the Yappy Hour brunch (in downtown Atlanta with the dogs) doesn't start until 1 pm.

Wednesday, September 6, 2006

Jacey at the vet's (again)

Poor Jacey had to have the needle-in-the-bladder experience Tuesday. Three times.

The urine sample I took to the vet's showed signs of a lingering infection, despite two weeks on antibiotics. And it is important to determine whether the infection is in the bladder or not before treatment, so the vet needed a sterile sample from the bladder. Hence, the needle.

He poked once. Oops, that was the colon. He poked again. Still not right. She needed to have a super-full bladder to make it easier to hit the target. (Bless her heart, she just stood there through the whole thing--not a whimper, not a twitch.) So the vet said to take her home, fill 'er up, bring her back in four hours. I could have left her there, but since she has separation anxiety issues, I didn't want to do that. And I didn't want her to associate the vet's office with "the place where Mom takes her and abandons her."

So I took her home. To encourage her to drink, we got nice salty french fries on our way home. She liked that part. But she turned up her nose at water--at first. So the diabolical mom squirted some maple syrup onto the bottom of an empty dish and let her sniff. And start licking. That's when I added water. She lapped faster and faster trying to get the syrup out before the water diluted it too much. (Then Sam came over and drank the rest of the water.) And we did it again. (Sam's part, too.)

Consider: How do you get the dog's bladder full--but not too full--at exactly the right time and the right place?

Answer: You don't.

Before we started back to the vet's, she was whining to go out. Instead, I took Sam out so he'd be okay to leave at home. Jacey, left in the house, decided to relieve that aching bladder. Hmmm. Back to the drawing board.

I took her early to the vet's. And I took more maple syrup...and her dish, and a bottle of water. She obediently drank more water. Then she started pacing, started to whine, started to squat... "No-no-no-no-no!" She jumped up. I hollered to the staff, "I know we're early for our appointment, but you'd better move fast or she'll flood the waiting room." They moved.

Bingo! Success with the needle. And while they spun the sample to get the proper sediment to test, Jacey got to go outside. Three times. The poor, water-logged dog was positively perky by the time she finished.

The test showed that the infection in the bladder has been cleared up. This means it's safe to put her on hormones to tighten the muscles to stop the "slow leak" she developed from taking the Clomicalm (for her anxiety). (You don't want to tighten the muscles and trap an infection inside the bladder, which is why the vet needed to be sure where the problem was. But the minor leak has meant an almost constant presence of urine in areas that shouldn't have that presence; hence, the remaining infection, which won't respond to antibiotics, but will clear up once the leaking stops.)

These hormones are not something humans take, so you can't fill this prescription in a general pharmacy. And the vet can't do it. He knows of one pharmacy in the metro area that can compound the formula. I looked up their address on MapQuest yesterday, so I could go there after work today. MapQuest conveniently neglected to warn me about a critical one-way street. I detoured, I wandered, I circled, I finally found the KenMar Medical Building and pulled in the parking be greeted by a banner that read "The KenMar Pharmacy temporarily has relocated to 55 Whichert Street." I hauled out the map book, re-detoured and re-circled, and found the building. (Free parking for 20 minutes and under. $3 for 21 minutes to two hours.) I found the pharmacy. They filled the prescription ($28). I was back in my car and in line for the parking lot exit--in 25 minutes. The pharmacist said that if I need refills I should call ahead and they'll have them waiting. I'm hoping not to need a refill. This 30-pill prescription should last through Christmas, by which time I'm really hoping she'll be all well. (One pill a day for five days; two pills a week for two weeks; one to two pills a week thereafter.)

Today I took the dogs down to a neighbor's to try to get some nice flower-enhanced pictures of them for the 2007 SEGA calendar. I just timed it right since the neighbor is planning to pick flowers Thursday morning. Between Sam's butt-sniffing and Jacey's "Can I play dead?" pose, you've never seen two dogs less interested in having their pictures taken.

''Can I sniff her butt while you take her picture?''

''Can I play dead?''

But I did get some nice shots. And I have another week or two before the photos are due.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

No longer an e-bay virgin...

I won my first auction on eBay.

"Won," of course, is a complete misnomer since I'm paying for the privilege. And I was the only bidder.

Believe it or not, I didn't order it for the dog sweater pattern. (I wanted the teddy bear pattern.) I found a dog sweater pattern on another site. The largest size--"X Large," they called it--is supposed to fit a dog with a girth (i.e., chest measurement) of 24 inches. Well, Jacey's chest measures 26+ inches; Sam's, 30+. I don't hold out much hope of this book having a sweater that will fit either of my dogs. And my dogs have polar-fleece coats that I made years ago. Jacey will inherit Oreo's Winnie-the-Pooh coat.

Oreo in her jammies:

I'm taking it easy on the crocheted greyhound. Work on it is proving to be hard on my hands (I wind up with aching hands the next day), so I'm only working on it a bit at a time. But I have a couple more pictures of a sulking Sam with bits of his "rival":

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

A flashback

I've been cleaning up e-mails and old stuff on my old computer. I came across a copy of a message board post I made in April of 2004, when SEGA was looking for stories about adopting "bounces"--dogs that get turned in to the kennel after a brief time in an adopter's home:
I never had dogs growing up. I thought long and hard about adopting a dog and was trying to figure out what breed would fit in well with my lifestyle. My neighbor has an Australian shepherd so one thing I knew for certain was that I didn't want a dog that "needed a job."

Then I saw the Animal Planet episode about the greyhound named "Go." (It's the episode with Maggie McCurry.) I started reading up about greyhounds and decided that was the breed for me.

I didn't know of any adoption groups in the Atlanta area, but I got one of those "Clipper" flyers in the mail. At the top of one page was an ad for electric fences. The bottom half of the page was an ad for Adopt-A-Greyhound Atlanta. So I called Carl and made an appointment.

When I got there, there were two females I was looking at. (Too many of the others were barking--a no-no for a condo-dwelling dog!) One was a light fawn named Calypso Pretty, the other was a black 4-year-old named Oreo--a bounce. Oreo's coat was still in good shape, and the idea of a dog that already was used to a home appealed to me as a first-time dog-owner. So Oreo won me mostly on her looks, and partly because I figured the behavioral kinks were already worked out. (It doesn't seem to have occurred to me that she might have been returned because of a problem that I should be worried about. The story was that she was owned by an older couple whose son looked after her, then the son moved out of state and the couple couldn't cope.)

Oreo has turned out to be a prima donna. And a mama's girl. And a delight, with smiles and helicopter-tail-wags for her favorite people.

In looking for a group that had activities I could take Oreo to, I found SEGA. And because Oreo was so well-behaved at home from the beginning, she gave me the confidence to take on fosters who hadn't lived in a home. And because Oreo was so easy to handle--and most of the fosters were, too--I didn't hesitate to adopt a second dog. (See, Oreo? It's your own fault that you've got to share with Sam.)

These days, Oreo is too often in diva-mode, and isn't well-behaved around other females; this means she's missing some outings that Sam gets to go on. But she still meets us eagerly (even frantically) at the door ("Where have you been? Do you know how worried I was, relying on *him* to protect you?"). She wakes me in the morning with kisses if she thinks I'm sleeping too late. When she wakes up from a nap, she comes over and lays her head in my lap for kisses and cuddles (which she just did while I was typing this message).

The people that let Oreo get away don't know what a gem they lost. But I do. And finders, keepers...

...losers, weepers.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Jacey at the vet's

Jacey went to the vet today. She's got either a bladder or a vaginal infection, and my money is on the bladder thing (she's always peed "funny"). So she's on antibiotics for two weeks. If there's not an improvement, she goes in for them to take a urine sample with a needle to determine what the problem is. (Jacey, trust me, you really want to get over this now--without another vet visit.)

The very minor incontinence issue might be from the infection. But it might be a "known minor side effect" of the Clomicalm she had to take. If the incontinence continues once the infection is cleared up, the vet might put her on some hormones that would have the effect of tightening things up "down there."

Meanwhile, she was a good girl at the vet's. And she's four pounds lighter than she was on her first visit, when she was still overweight from her stay at the greyhound kennel.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Greyhound update

The crocheted greyhound has a body (not stuffed as yet; pictures later) and about a third of one rear leg. My hands were very sore after last weekend's marathon crochet session, and since I need flexible hands to earn my living, I've left the crochet hook alone until today. I've adjusted my grip on the hook and yarn--partly to alleviate the sore hands and partly to eliminate the unfortunate corkscrewing tendency produced by too-tight stitches. (I'm planning to redo the front leg I did last weekend because it corkscrews too much.)

Sunday, August 6, 2006


Crocheted Greyhound in Progress

Sam points out he's much better looking than his rival...and he has ears, too.

Crocheted Greyhound in Progress

A foreleg and a Sam-leg.

Wednesday, August 2, 2006


The cornmeal-colored yarn I ordered arrived today. It's going to make a lovely afghan...but it's not a greyhound color. So I'll use yarn the same color as the teddy bear I made for Creeklyn.

One Grey--One Grey-To-Be

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Finished bookmark

I finished the *mumble mumble* without Jacey's help...and got pictures of it tonight. I have a hard time getting the proper color on photographs, and this one is close but not exact:

Bookmark: Granny Squares

Friday, July 28, 2006


I've ordered "cornmeal" colored yarn to make a crocheted greyhound. And I've already bought 40 ounces of fiberfill for the stuffing. I'll take a picture of Sam with the "ingredients" so you can see just how much 40 ounces of fiberfill really is. (20 ounces is about the size of one bed pillow.)

Saturday, July 22, 2006

The bear is done...and has clothes!

I was off from work today. I've crocheted since 6 am (it's 10:30 pm now) and finally finished the bear for KT's niece, Creeklyn. KT works tomorrow, as do I, and I'll give her the bear then. I'll hope to hear some good news about Creeklyn's condition.

Finished Bear 3

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Barnaby Bear Notes

Crochet notes

Note: After wrestling with a skinny C hook yesterday, I broke down and bought one of the fat (and expensive) Clover hooks. It's lovely, and much easier to work with. But the book with the bear pattern translated a 3.0mm hook as a C hook. This Clover hook is labeled "2.5 mm." I'll keep using this hook for this bear, but I may get a D hook for future bears; slightly bigger stitches will be slightly looser and easier to work. But it'd be nice if everyone would get on the same page regarding hook sizes. (Clover hooks here. Ooh! I may have to get this whole set; cheaper to get the set than to buy them one at a time for $6 each.)

Have I started crocheting aliens from Roswell?

Alien from Roswell?

Well, not exactly. The "eye slits" actually are where the ears will go on the teddy bear I'm crocheting. But this is the tiny opening through which the pattern maker expected me to attach the stuffed muzzle, embroider the eyes, and attach the ears:

They must be kidding

Ridiculous! Anyway, I unraveled all the decreasing rows, did all the facial features, then reworked the decreasing rows, stuffed the head, and closed it off.

Now there's a bear

(That's a troll from The Return of the King on the television in the background.)

...with no holes in his head

Now I just have to finish the bear's body {grin}; it's only taken me two days to get through the head! Meanwhile, I've picked up some yarn to make another bear. Sam's napping on it in this picture:

Sam and yarn

The bear is for coworker KT's infant niece, Creeklyn, who landed in ICU Sunday with breathing difficulties. KT only works at our store on weekends, and we haven't heard anything from her this week. If I don't hear from her Wednesday, I'll give her a call on Thursday and see if there's any news. Your continued vibes are very welcome.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Both dogs get into the act

Some crochet notes (documented here so I'll have notes for the next time I work one of these):
I'm working on a teddy bear from this source: Adorable Crochet for Babies and Toddlers by Lesley Stanfield. The book is British crochet instructions, so their "dc" is our "sc." I'm having to concentrate to keep from misreading an instruction. (It's also a bound book, rather than a stitched/stapled one, so it doesn't stay open at the page with the instructions...a real nuisance.)

And the bear is tiny. The head is not much larger than the size of my fist; finished, the bear will be about 10 inches. This is okay, except that they don't give very logical instructions. You finish crocheting the head, leaving a hole the diameter of a nickel; then you're supposed to stuff and attach the muzzle, embroider the nose and eyes, and attach the ears--all of which require you to be able to get inside the head through that nickel-sized hole. No thank you. Tomorrow I'll unravel the whole decreasing-size section of the head (about six rows), do the muzzle, embroidery, and attach the ears (at that point, the opening into the head will be about four inches wide); then I'll rework the decreasing-size part back down to the nickel-sized hole. And, knowing what I now know about the book's instructions, I'll make sure I don't run into the same tiny-opening problems on other parts of the bear's anatomy.

I'm working this in Caron Perfect Match 4-ply knitting worsted, colors "lace" and "winter white," using a C hook (the book calls for DK yarn and a 3.00mm hook). This weight of yarn crocheted with such a tiny hook makes a very tight, firm piece--fine for a stuffed animal, but it would be hell for clothing or a blanket.

While I was working on this crocheting today, Sam and Jacey got into the crochet thread. Jacey took a ball of thread over to her dog bed; Sam came and stole it away from her...but a bit of the thread was stuck to her foot, so the thread unrolled as Sam ran with it. Maybe I need to get these two their own craft supplies.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

A Jacey update

We're still having housebreaking issues, and I try not to let her out of my sight. She's good in the crate when I'm not home, though, so that's a relief.

I'm starting to wean her off the clomipramine. (She came off the Valium in June.) She'll be on a 75% dosage for a week, then 50% for two weeks, then 25% until this batch of pills is gone. It took two weeks for the drug to get to "working strength" in her system, so I'm assuming it'll take about as long before I see any signs of stress as she comes off the pills. But I'd be happy to have her off the pills (for a variety of reasons, including that I could find something else to do with that $60/month), so I'm hoping this goes well. The surest--and easiest to spot--sign of stress with her will be if she starts irritating her feet by pawing at the crate when I'm not home. That was the first sign I noticed--before I even knew she was stressing out.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Craft-y stuff

I'm going to try to post more often, but that means more boring day-to-day stuff, since things are usually not hopping here at Chez Fido. (Hey, I like having an uneventful life.)

Deliveries have kept UPS and the USPS busy today. The letter carrier brought two packages: one from Overstock-dot-com carried the extended version of Return of the King (which I'm watching now) and a book, When Crickets Cry. The other package contained two balls of crochet thread (peach and ecru) that had been on backorder from Herrschners.

And UPS delivered a new order from Herrschners that included a lamp.

Now I'm, um, thrifty. I won't spend $50 on a lamp just because it looks good, if I can find a less expensive lamp that will do. But the new lamp is for craft work, and it's wonderful. It simulates daylight, which is best for sorting thread colors for embroidery, and it's been lovely, just this afternoon, to be working on the mumble-mumble and be able to see it so clearly. And the lamp doesn't burn hot and can be angled to light my work without glaring on my laptop screen or the television (where Return of the King is still running...and running...and running {grin}). Crafters (and readers): Take a look at this. The part that's extended horizontally is the part with the bulb, and it can be at the angle shown in the picture or extended completely straight up. The part that's extended also is the "on" switch; the bulb lights up when the arm is extended, goes off when the arm is collapsed. (The other items from Herrschners: water color pencils for my mother for Christmas, perforated (cream) paper and perforated (clear) plastic for counted cross-stitch. And there's another Herrschners order on its way to me. And I bought some yarn last week at Joann's. I need to shut down that credit card for a while.)

Oh, and I've ordered two new greyhounds. Before you faint--or question my sanity--they're statues. At 63 pounds, they'll weigh about what Sam does--and the size appears to match Sam, too. I'm thinking I might put them on either side of my fireplace. (Yeah, I know: I'm "thrifty"--and I just bought two greyhound statues. But I've wanted a pair of these things for years, this is a terrific sale price [they're often $75 each], and it's a fundraiser for SEGA. But I'm going to have to haul them home when they arrive...)

Jacey takes up crochet...


I took a break from the afghan for Shari's baby to work on a mumble-mumble I'm making as a present for mumble-mumble. I paused long enough to go on-line to Papa John's to order a pizza ("perfect pan" with pepperoni, bacon, mushrooms, onions, and green peppers). The delivery guy called to say he was lost (not unusual in a condo complex where every street name begins with "Cedar," but there are street signs). I put down the crocheting and went out to flag the guy down if he cruised past my street. While I was outside, Jacey picked up my crocheting and went to the door to wait for me. She did not, however, pick up the ball of crochet thread. I found about 10 yards of lavender crochet thread stretched across the living room and into the foyer. And this wasn't new thread unraveled from the ball. My crocheted piece was about 10 yards' worth smaller than when I left it.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Baby Afghans

I got a lot of crocheting done today. The MartiP grandbaby afghan will be heading to Charleston as soon as I get some pictures. And I've started an afghan for my cousin Shari's baby. The afghan for Shari's baby will be the fifth baby afghan I've made this year.

Wednesday, June 7, 2006

Jacey learns squeaky toys

Jacey is learning the joys of squeaky toys.

Jacey Learns Toys

My employer has "Associate Shopping Days" twice a year, when employees can double their normal 15% discount. I shopped yesterday ($156US after the discount): four 40-pound bags of dog food (all I could fit in my car), two 4-pound boxes of treats, two new leashes, and a couple of toys. Since she's been here, Jacey hasn't had any toys that squeak because Sam's killed any squeakers. (Oreo's old gorilla at the bottom of the picture was de-squeaked years ago.) So Jacey got a toy--a reindeer--and I've put it in her ex-pen so Sam can't get it. (He's tried lifting the ex-pen to steal the reindeer out from under it. He's very determined.) The ex-pen is where Jacey retreats to eat, enjoy a Kong, or play with toys without interference from Sam. The throws draped over the sides of the pen are there to give her some privacy and prevent her from being intimidated by the sight of Sam looming over her and drooling.

Of course, Sam got a new toy, too.

Sam Knows Toys

It's a miniature fishing creel (I only know that because there's a fish appliqued on the top), super-stuffed and with a squeaker. Five minutes after I took this picture, he'd ripped off a corner so he could get some of the stuffing out. That makes it easier to squeeze to make it squeak. So far, he hasn't killed the squeaker; he's far more interested in getting his teeth on Jacey's toy (the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence--or ex-pen).

Sam's collar--and new leash--have reflective paint designed to help make the dog more visible outside at night. I don't know how well they'll reflect headlights, but they do a bang-up job with camera flashes. Jacey's got a matching set in red.

Monday, June 5, 2006

Yarns from Georgia (lots of photos)

A fellow greyhound owner has had her first baby, a girl named Lauren Avery S. This afghan, in a pattern called "Spiderweb," is for her.


MartiP's son is going to be a father. And this afghan is in the works--about 35 percent done.


I posted a while back about the bedspread/afghan I intend to make, based on a log cabin quilt pattern tile. This is the bed the afghan is intended for.


(Picture Sam sleeping right where he is, with me clinging to the side of the bed, and Jacey hanging on at the foot. Oh, and I Photoshop'd out my bad housekeeping. {*grin*})

The yarn for the afghan/bedspread has arrived:

Sam's pissed that he lost his spot on the bed to a bunch of yarn (that I won't let him play with).
Displaced Sam

There are more pictures in my Yarns set on Flickr. Also, details about yarns and patterns are in the captions on Flickr.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Happy birthday!

The new girl's three years old today.

And she spent too much of the day in a crate--mom had a long work day.

But she did very well in the crate. Yay!

Happy birthday, Jacey.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Someone had a bad day...

We've been mugged!

I had a nice one, though. Bathed the dogs (thus, their outrage in this picture), took some pictures of views outside my condo (same set as the dog pictures), worked on a baby afghan, watched some movies on TCM (watching Tarzan right now, The Old Maid and Elizabeth and Essex later tonight).

Flickr has redone their site today. The new version isn't bad, but I haven't used Flickr all that much and I was just getting used to the old format.

Jacey and Sam

Monday, May 15, 2006

The letter carrier arrived today.

Instead of parking at the end of the block and walking, as he usually does (my street's too narrow and there's no place to turn around), he drove down to my place to drop off a parcel.

The Contents: Details
Originally uploaded by KF-in-Georgia.
Part of the contents of the Hug Basket.

More photos here.

Thank you very much Alrescate, Deenbat, Texaswren, Bookczuk, Shadie, and Buffra. I'm not entirely certain who sent what. (Alrescate sent BookCrossed books, and Buffra sent a book with a card. And I can make a good guess about the t-shirt.)

The castles in the book from Buffra are beautiful. The photos in Prince And Other Dogs; 1850-1940 have made me teary. (Hey, there's a greyhound on page 25! And there's one grim-faced lady on page 90...pictured with her ancient, stiff-legged, white-faced old dog; the two are sitting about a foot apart, each ignoring the other in favor of the camera, but you know that each of them is completely aware of the other. It's lovely.) The Friends Forever book is charming and a lovely reminder of the friends I've made on-line.

Thank you so much for your kind thoughts. I value your friendship so much.

Friday, May 12, 2006

There but for the grace of god...

From today's Atlanta Journal-Constitution, on-line version:

Alleged serial yarn thief leaves owners tangled

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Published on: 05/12/06

There are a million yarns in the big city.

This one comes with knitting needles.

A 68-year-old woman, described as a serial yarn thief, is facing a felony shoplifting charge in Fulton County Superior Court after what yarn store owners claim has been a long skein of stealing from knitting stores from Cherokee County to Dunwoody to Buckhead.

Audrey Yandel pulled the wool over shopkeepers' eyes for so long because she looked exactly like the average yarn store customer: "A sweet old lady — harmless," said Julie Elledge, the owner of the Dunwoody Yarn Shop who collared Yandel and turned her into police May 1.

She said she recognized Yandel from a photo another shop owner had circulated on the Internet the week before. "I saw her sticking knitting needles in her Louis Vuitton bag," said Elledge.

"They were all double point needles. I guess she planned to knit socks."

Monica Champion, the owner of Why Knot Knit in Buckhead, circulated the photograph of Yandel after Champion said she caught her on April 23 shoplifting $150 worth of ebony wood needles and skeins of hand-dyed wool from her store.

"It's outrageous," said Champion. "I think she has about $2,000 worth of knitting goods from my store alone. She told me 'I have them stacked up to the wall at home.' But police haven't gotten a warrant to search the place."

Yandel's court date has not been scheduled, according to Erik Friedly, spokesman for the Fulton County district attorney's office, who said she was charged with a felony because there's more than one incident.

Yandel could not be reached for comment Thursday.

Elledge said she's not certain what a search of Yandel's home will prove because the woman — whom she described as "looking like my entire client base" — was not just a shoplifter, she was also a devoted customer to her store, and others.

"How will we know what she stole, and what she bought?" asked Elledge.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

The birthday boy

Sam is 6 today.

We've had a lazy, wet day. I was off work, Jacey has been a nightmare, but Sam got to meet a workman at my neighbor's and got petted and fussed over.

We spent a long time out in the rain waiting for Jacey to pee (which she stubbornly refused to do), so a soggy Sam is now curled up on the sofa next to me.

Happy birthday, sweet boy!

Saturday, May 6, 2006

I'll strangle her...

...if she doesn't choke herself first.

I went upstairs to do some chores. Jacey, in full-on don't-lose-sight-of-mom mode, followed. She settled on the dog bed to watch me put sheets on my bed. Then I got out the vacuum cleaner.

Not being totally crazy, I got her off the dog bed and up onto my bed. (I needed to move the dog bed, anyway.) But when I started the vacuum, Jacey decided the bed wasn't safe enough, and she fled from upstairs. I didn't give that a second thought. (My bad.) Almost immediately, Sam came upstairs and bravely stood there and watched me vacuum. I wondered if he'd come upstairs because he was worried when Jacey came down.

No. He was establishing an alibi.

When I came down, I saw evidence that Sam had been in the kitchen. He's dumb enough to take his stolen treasures to his favorite bed--the bed Jacey never goes near. I collected his loot--all items from the trash can--and went in to tidy up the kitchen, right the trash can, get up bits of cellophane. And I went through the kitchen into the breakfast room.

There was Jacey, frantically trying to finish the entire loaf of bread before I caught her. I snatched bits of the last six slices right out of her mouth. I yelled--and the dog couldn't get her legs under her fast enough to flee...

So she went into the crate, and I went out into Saturday afternoon grocery store traffic to buy a replacement loaf. (I just bought the damned thing last night, and it was supposed to be used for sandwiches for lunch starting tomorrow.)

I'm back home. The glutton is sleeping on the dog bed--and I have to watch her for stomach trouble, now. (She could bloat.) I'm sure she's going to be uncomfortable. And she won't be getting much dinner. (I have to give her something because she has more pills to take tonight.)

Let's just say the Valium and Clomicalm aren't leaving her too sedated...

I have lost my ever-lovin' mind...

I had a coupon from Herrschners for free shipping--coupon due to expire on 31 May.

So I took a favorite afghan pattern of mine--one that's based on a log-cabin quilt pattern--and figured out how much yarn it would take to make a bedspread. The sucker'll weigh 20+ pounds--nearly 9 kilos!--but at least you crochet individual tiles, then assemble them, so you're not holding all that weight for most of the work. I ordered the yarn today. Some of the yarn is out of stock until early June, but that's fine. I've still got a baby afghan to finish.

The yarn is Red Heart knitting worsted--nothing fancy. (For this much yarn, who could afford fancy?) The colors are Soft Navy, Country Blues, Dark Sage, Light Sage, Medium Brown, Warm Brown, and Buff, and they're pretty accurately represented in this sample of an individual tile:

Quilt TileQuilt Tile
An individual tile in the bedspread-to-be

There are a few variations in how you can assemble the tiles; you get different patterns depending on how you rotate the pieces. I think this is the one I'm going for:

Quilt-like Bedspread-to-beQuilt-like Bedspread-to-be
The spread will be finished with border stripes outside the patterned squares.

I've guessed at the number of squares I'll need to make (168!); the actual count will depend on the size they turn out when I make them. I'm usually off on the gauge, but I'm not sure I want to increase the hook size too much to hit the correct gauge, because I'm not sure I want stitches that large. (The pattern calls for a J hook--6.5mm.) I estimated 8-inch squares, where the pattern calls for 9.5-inch squares. I'm likely to have a lot of yarn left over, but these are good, standard colors, and I can make something else with them--maybe a mini-version of the afghan.

Thursday, May 4, 2006

Day 7

Day 7: NO BATH! She peed a very little bit in the crate, and it was soaked up by the shredded puppy pad. And she was certainly in a hurry to get outside to pee.

Two Valium, one Clomicalm at breakfast; one Valium, one Clomicalm at dinner. A short day: 10am-7:30pm (9.5 hours).

She's still not using the water bottle, despite another dollop of peanut butter on the nozzle today.

Wednesday, May 3, 2006

Another day...

I finally wrote the letter to the vet insurance company about Oreo. The bills totalled nearly $2300 (not counting the cremation); wonder how much they'll pay.

I was off today, so Jacey stayed uncrated. The poor girl gets baths, now, almost every night. She's starting to dread having Mom come home--maybe that will help reduce the separation anxiety? But I work 11am-7pm tomorrow; I won't get home until nearly 8pm, and that's too late for a bath. (And I work the same shift Friday.) So she'll be able to avoid baths for two nights. I just wonder if I can make her smell clean enough that I'll let her in my bed. (Hint: Rub and wipe her down with a damp paper towel. Then repeat with a damp paper towel that has Listerine on it. The Listerine helps kill any remaining smell, does not leave a strong smell of its own, and isn't toxic if she licks at it. And it's much cheaper than those waterless shampoos...)

Jacey and Sam are enjoying their Kongs, but I've modified the "recipe." If I just mix the cottage cheese and kibble, then freeze it, the mix sometimes packs too tightly in the Kong, making for a pair of frustrated dogs. So now I'm filling the Kong two-thirds of the way with kibble, then just topping it off with cottage cheese, then freezing. (Another hint: Stand the Kong in a coffee cup while you fill it and put cup and all in the freezer...keeps the goodies from falling out of the Kong.) So the dogs get to lick the frozen cottage cheese (which is on the end of the Kong with the bigger hole); then they roll the Kong around to spill the kibble out. Sam's Kong got away from him while we were outside this afternoon (we were outside keeping the birds out of the carport). He was tethered and couldn't chase the Kong, and he was really worried until I went and fetched it back for him. (Sam's the bright spot in the situation with Jacey: he's nice to her--though he sometimes sleeps half on her, and he's behaving himself very well at home just now. Although that praise is probably the kiss of death: he's liable to eat the front door tomorrow.)

Oh, re Jacey: The vet had warned that Valium is a mood altering drug...and that I might not get the mood I wanted. She hasn't turned snappish, or anything like that. But I think I've lost the smiles. She used to come over to me, wagging her tail and smiling--not all the time, but sometimes, in the evenings. That hasn't happened in a while: maybe the Valium, maybe just that she's not feeling like smiling at the woman who keeps subjecting her to baths all the time.

Tuesday, May 2, 2006

Day 6

Another day, another bath. She's starting to hate it when I come home. Is that going to be the key to getting her over her anxiety?

Day 6: Two Valium, one Clomicalm at breakfast. One Valium, one Clomicalm at dinner. A long day: 6am-7pm (more or less).

Shredded puppy pad, she peed (thus, the bath). Still no progress on the water-bottle front. (Gotta call Sidney...) She enjoyed the Kong.

(Gotta find a good whitening shampoo. The poor dog is turning yellow...)

Day 5

Day 5: Two Valium, one Clomicalm at breakfast. One Valium, one Clomicalm at dinner. I was gone from 6am-4pm.

Shredded puppy pad. Urine in the crate and on Jacey. (Another bath with the not-so-great shampoo.) I don't think she's actually rolling in the stuff; it's just there in the crate, with a shredded puppy pad that can't contain it all, and she's getting it on her.

She hasn't figured out the water bottle--as far as I can tell. I'll have to glob peanut butter on the nozzle tomorrow morning.

The Kong is a hit--with both dogs. They spent about 40 minutes this evening working their way through the Kongs before dinner.

She's asleep on the sofa, with her head hanging off the front, nearly to the floor. Sam's asleep on the sofa, with his head propped up on her butt.

I think I need to e-mail Sidney to ask about UTIs.

Sunday, April 30, 2006

Day 4

Day 4: Two Valium, one Clomicalm at breakfast. One Valium, one Clomicalm at dinner. I was gone 9am-7:15pm (10.25 hours).

Shredded puppy pad again. She had pretty well emptied the Kong. (Sam barked at her when I left this morning and she had the Kong; he had nothing since he was muzzled. He polished up the Kong this evening. Tonight I'm freezing three Kongs: she can have one in the morning, and they each can have one in the afternoon.)

I think she peed a bit in the crate, but it mostly was soaked up in the shredded puppy pad. She certainly was in a hurry to get outside. I don't think she understands the water bottle at all. We'll have to work on that.

Saturday, April 29, 2006

Day 3

Two Valium, one Clomicalm at breakfast. One Valium, one Clomicalm at dinner. I was away from home from 6am-4:45pm (10.75 hours).

Shredded puppy pad, up-ended water dish. More urine on her today than yesterday. (And the whitening shampoo I bought sucks...)

I got a water bottle for her crate, so no water dish tomorrow. And I bought some cottage cheese...need to stuff a Kong and freeze it tonight. Maybe she's just bored? But she's not messing with the Nylabone at all: there's not a tooth mark on it.

She hurt her feet some, today, but I'm not sure whether she did that in the crate or afterwards, when I took her outside. I just noticed small amounts of blood on her toes when we were hanging out after her bath (and she could have done something to her feet on the tie-out lines attached to the Dog Anchor at bath-time).

Tomorrow probably will be a long day (10-6 officially--unofficially, god knows). It'll be late when I get home, and it's supposed to be rainy. I won't be able to bathe her tomorrow night, so I'm hoping for a better day tomorrow than today. I don't want to ban her from my bed, but I'm not sleeping with a dog that smells of urine.

Edited to add: If she was worse today than yesterday, I've thought of one reason: the air show at Dobbins was today. She doesn't like the jets screaming overhead, and the show might have produced a lot of extra noise here, today.

Friday, April 28, 2006

Day 2

Second day crated and on meds: two Valium, one Clomicalm before work; one Valium, one Clomicalm after work. Long day: I was gone from 8-8:15 = 12.5 hours.

More pee in the crate, even in her water dish. (Is she using that to pee in?) Shredded puppy pad. Some urine on her back hip, but more like she just accidentally laid in it than the previous rolled-in-it event. I just wiped her down with a damp paper towel, then with a Listerine-damp paper towel. (Too late to bathe her and have any hope to get her dry. I'm due off work early on Saturday, and I'll bathe her then.)

She's had dinner and is sacked out on the sofa. She drank a lot of water after dinner--maybe because what wound up in her water dish in the crate was undrinkable? I'll have to see if there's some sort of water bottle I can use for the crate. Or a dish I can mount and affix to the crate--something she can't contaminate.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Day 1

Jacey's first day crated and on drugs: two Valium and one Clomicalm before work. One Valium, one Clomicalm after work. I was gone about 10.5 hours. (12-9 shift.)

She was noisy, stressed. Shredded the puppy pad. Peed a bit in the crate, but the pad absorbed it, so I didn't have to bathe her when I got home.

All well on the house-breaking front. And five minutes after she finished dinner, she was conked out on the sofa, sound asleep.

But she's more antsy about my being out of her sight. I can't go to the kitchen for a drink without a little jingling shadow tagging along.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Just call her...

…a handful? A problem?

I haven’t posted much about my new girl, Jacey-Kasey. I posted about the pantry raid: I could make that one sound funny. But there hasn’t been much fun or funny in her first 18 days here. I’ve never once slipped and called her, “Oreo.” Every day, in every way, she makes it clear she’s not Oreo.

I tried leaving Jacey muzzled, but free to roam the house. That produced some house-breaking issues (complicated by my long work hours—and really not her fault). And it also meant she had the opportunity to teach Sam about pantry shelves. (I swear, he’s following her around the house, watching what she does, and saying, “Wow! I never noticed that stuff up there! This is cool!” He’s like a not-too-sharp crime boss who’s just learned he’s got a super-smart underling: he likes the new dog’s ideas, but wants to ensure he gets the biggest share of the loot.)

We’re countering the housebreaking issues: lots of trips outside, with kibble in my pocket on every trip. Anyone who pees or poops gets kibble. Sam is making an art-form of this: pee a bit, get a treat, pee a bit more, get another treat. Meanwhile, Jacey is standing there, wondering why she isn’t getting any kibble. She hasn’t made the connection to food-as-a-reward. Once that sinks in, she’ll be much easier to train. (She thinks food shows up when it shows up—or when she raids the pantry.)

But after the pantry raid, I crated Jacey while I was at work. After all, she’s an ex-racer, used to being confined in a small area. The crate is 48Lx30Wx36H—plenty large enough for her—and set up in my bedroom upstairs. The first day, she had a blanket, a water dish, and a puppy pad in the crate. (A puppy pad is the equivalent of a disposable diaper/nappy: absorbent paper material with a plastic backing. Sam pees on a pad when my work day is too long and his water intake has been too high. Oreo never used the things. And Jacey…) Jacey had, literally, a shit-fit. She pounded it into the plastic tray of the crate, she embedded it in the blanket, she kicked some of it out of the crate (where Sam stepped in it, then scratched an itch…), and she rolled in it. When I got home from work, I spent more than an hour bathing her and Sam and cleaning the crate. Then I sat and cried. (I wanted Oreo back. Oreo was never that kind of trouble…)

That work day had been a long one, and I’d been gone from home for about 13 hours. Pooping or peeing in the crate in those circumstances is not unexpected. But the frenzied aspect of her behavior worried me.

I had a D.A.P.—dog appeasing pheromone—in a device you plug into an electrical socket. It mimics the pheromone produced by lactating bitches, and is supposed to be very comforting (effective in 75% of cases). I plugged it in in the bedroom, then went downstairs with the dogs. Humans can’t smell the pheromone, and Sam was completely uninterested. But Jacey reacted when the scent drifted down to us, and went upstairs to find that nursing mama dog. And it seemed to help—some—the next day. But I also worked a shorter workday—home in 9.5 hours—and that made a difference. Jacey didn’t have a blanket (no more blankets—the first one went in the trash), and she completely shredded the puppy pad (I’ve seen confetti pieces that were bigger), but no poop. She still was frenzied when I got home, whining, clawing frantically at the crate, and I don’t know how long that sort of behavior had gone on—too long, judging by the state of her feet. (Oh, and she had a durable Nylabone to chew on.)

Day 3 in the crate: another shredded puppy pad. And a neighbor out walking his dog heard Jacey whining and fussing and thought she might have been reacting to hearing him. I think a big problem is that Sam is not staying upstairs with Jacey—there’s no way I can barricade him in the room to make him stay (it’s a loft bedroom, no door, and only a 3-foot wall on one side, overlooking the living room; I can’t trust my idiot boy not to try to jump the wall if he wants out, because he has no way to see how far he’d fall). So Jacey is suffering from separation anxiety because I’m not there and because Sam is out of her sight.

Day 4 in the crate: I left a thunder-and-rain CD playing all day in hopes of drowning out external noises, so she’d sleep more. (The CD plays all night while we sleep, so she’s used to hearing that sound and isn’t alarmed by it.) I didn’t leave a puppy pad, this time. And I came home to a frenzied yellow-and-black dog. Another bath was required. (And Sam, who ran into her, needed a bath, too.)

So today I went to the vet. He agreed that she’s exhibiting classic separation anxiety symptoms, and they need to be treated before she hurts herself—and before she “trains” herself to panic every time she’s in the crate. So she’s on diazepam (one or two 10mg tablets, three times a day) and clomipramine (one 50mg capsule, two or three times a day). The diazepam (aka Valium) stops after a month or so (we hope); the clomipramine (aka Clomicalm) goes on for three months, at which time we do a liver test and consider weaning her off the drug if that seems feasible. (This is going to cost $3.25-$5.50 a day, depending on how much she needs…and I’m getting the drugs from a standard pharmacist, not the vet’s overpriced supply.) The hope is that after three months she’ll have learned that mom leaves, mom comes home, Sam wanders around, and the world doesn’t come to an end. (Oh, and the vet warned that diazepam is a mood-altering device—and sometimes you don’t get the mood you want. So there’s a risk she’ll pull an Edward Hyde-number.)

Thursday I work a noon to nine shift. I do not want to have to bathe a dog (or two) at 9:30 at night, so I’m hoping for the best.

If the drugs don’t work, we have other options. One possibility is moving the crate downstairs. This is not a good choice since the air conditioner downstairs is broken; the one upstairs works, and once Sam figures that out, he might stay upstairs more. But even if I move the crate, there’s no guarantee that Sam will stay in her sight. And even if he does, she’s still expressing anxiety when I’m out of her sight. So I’m really hoping the drugs can get this under control.

Meanwhile, I’ve got this dog with the most enormous pupils right now. {grin} Just call her spacey Jacey-Kasey…

Thursday, April 20, 2006

For Every Dog An Angel

There’s a lovely little book, For Every Dog An Angel. It came to me on a BookCrossing bookring, and I’ve since bought a copy of my own.

The book says that each dog has a guardian angel who watches over the dog from puppyhood on, helps the dog find a good home, etc. And sometimes a person’s “forever dog” comes back and looks after its person, looks after the new dog, shows the new dog the ropes…

If Jacey’s got a guardian angel—or if my much-missed forever-dog, Oreo, is going to show Jacey the ropes—it had better be soon. Before I throttle her.

I got off work on time today and got home, prepared to relax, spend some time with the dogs—stuff like that. I walked in the door to find…

Actually, there isn’t a good word for what I found. A disaster? A mess? A nightmare?

Jacey is a fast learner, and Sam has taught her to raid the kitchen: open the trash can and hunt for goodies, turn the can over and rake everything out, if necessary, root through the bottom of the pantry, poking a nose in the stash of empty old grocery bags. But Jacey… Jacey cranked things up a notch. Or up a shelf, at least.

She found the cheese/peanut butter crackers. This isn’t real cheese, of course: just neon-orange crackers with peanut butter on them. Both dogs were muzzled, so no one actually got to eat the crackers. (Sam’s muzzle has a muzzle guard in it, so he couldn’t even lick through the muzzle’s holes.) But both dogs pounded those little cellophane packages to pieces, spreading a fine haze of orange cracker dust throughout the pantry…and into the (carpeted) breakfast room. And into the two blue area rugs in the kitchen. And into the (carpeted) dining room. Two canvas tote bags turned orange, too.

But then the dogs hit the jackpot. The mother lode. Two big unopened packages of cream-filled chocolate sandwich cookies.

The cellophane tray, I’m sure, made lovely crackling noises, egging the dogs on. So Sam—but mostly Jacey, I think—battered both packages into submission, then happily distributed all the crumbly cookies through the kitchen, pantry, dining room, breakfast room and foyer. Many of the cookies were opened to expose the cream filling. (How do two muzzled dogs do that? Don’t they need opposable thumbs?) Then the cookies were plastered—generally, cream-side down—on the floor, on the carpet, on the area rugs. Cleaning up the floor was not a matter of sweeping the cookies—it was more like scraping them off the floor. And the crumbs may never come out of the carpet. (Black crumbs. Beige carpets.)

The dogs were hugely disappointed in my reaction to their efforts. (See if we decorate the kitchen again for you, mom!) And Jacey doesn’t know it yet, but she’ll be spending her mom’s-at-work time in a crate starting tomorrow morning. And Sam—who didn’t dream up today’s events, but who certainly acquired new ideas—is going to find himself barricaded away from the kitchen if I can possibly manage it.

But there’s a certain irony to the whole thing. If I weren’t so cheap, those wouldn’t have been no-name cream-filled chocolate sandwich cookies. They’d have been Nabisco’s cream-filled chocolate sandwich cookies.

They’d have been Oreos.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Ripples Afghan

I finished the afghan for KA, my salon manager, who is expecting her second daughter next month. I gave her the afghan just over a week ago, but I'm only now getting around to posting pictures.

Afghan for KAAfghan for KA
(approximately 34 inches by 50 inches)

Afghan for KAAfghan for KA

I've started the third afghan of the year--yellow, this time--for a local greyhound owner expecting her first child.

Jacey--day 3

Jacey's still half-savvy about the stairs. Again, she managed to go up, but got stuck there. I'm off work Tuesday and Wednesday, so we'll work on this. I'd hate for her to try going down and fall or panic, so she needs to be comfortable on the stairs as long as she's silly enough to go up there. (I wouldn't put it past Sam to be luring her up there and abandoning her so he can occupy his sofa in peace.) Jacey's got her first visit tomorrow with Sam's regular vet (who sent a wonderful note in his sympathy card about Oreo). She'll get microchipped and weighed and generally checked-up.

A greyhound rescue group in Florida is having a sale on collars and matching leashes. (Greyhounds need martingale collars rather than any sort of buckle collar because a grey's neck has a bigger diameter than the dog's head. A regular collar that you can "fit two fingers under"--as the usual instructions read--will slide off a greyhound's head if the dog is frightened and backs up.) Anyhow, if anyone is interested in some lovely collars, try here. I ordered the New Wave pattern for Sam and Jacey and managed to get the last two in stock. Oreo's red and blue collar has been permanently retired, and Sam's leopard collar is getting pretty worn (he's been wearing it for nearly three years). The fancy matching leashes will be for special occasions. For knocking around the neighborhood, we'll stick to PetSmart's double-loop leashes, which give me the ability of cinching-up tight and holding the dogs nearby without having to wrap leashes around my arm half a dozen times. Sam can have the black leash, while Jacey gets the blue one. Then I'll know which leash is which when I'm trying to untangle them. Jacey's leash-walking skills still need some work.

Sam and Oreo always were "inhalers" at dinner time. Give each dog 1.5 cups of food, and the bowls would be empty in less than two minutes. Jacey, on the other hand, politely picks up each piece of kibble and chews it. This is making Sam nuts, because he'll finish his dinner while she's just getting started. He thinks any food he sees should at least be shared 50-50, so he keeps coming over to try to help Jacey. She, meanwhile, gets nervous at the sight of Sam drooling and licking his lips, and she backs up and stops eating. So I'm holding Sam's head, talking to him, distracting him, and trying to give Miss Nice Table-Manners time to finish her dinner. I never thought I'd be longing for a "chow-hound." I also need to find some training treats they'll both go for. Sam certainly isn't fussy, but she may be. In the past, those awful turkey-franks have been a hit with Sam and Oreo (for training treats, the smellier, the better). The sooner Jacey starts learning that "no," "come," "stay," etc., are commands rather than meaningless sounds, the better.

Sunday, April 9, 2006

Jacey learns stairs...sorta

How much trouble can a dog who's lived in a kennel all the nearly-three-years of her life get into in one day in which Mom is gone from home for more than 10 hours? And if she's abetted by a nearly-six-year-old who's been in a home for three-and-a-half years and knows where all the goodies are hidden?

Apparently, not that much. But the poor girl went upstairs--probably followed Sam up there--and couldn't figure out how to get back down. Racing greyhounds don't know stairs at all, and the stairs here are spiral stairs--open ironwork, and terrifying even to dogs who know traditional stairs. So I got home, Sam met me at the door, I called Jacey, couldn't see her anywhere, but heard a curious thumping noise from overhead. (It was her tail against the wall.) I went up, took her by the collar, and just said "Here we go," and led her down the stairs. (Down is always more difficult to teach than up.) Now, both dogs are curled up on the sofa, half on each other. Jacey's taking up more of the sofa than Sam. She's learned the joys of a soft bed to sleep on--rather than concrete or rubber-mat-over-concrete--and she's enjoying the sofa.

Jacey is fascinated by shoes, which is not going to be a good thing. We'll have to work on that. But since she hasn't had any sort of obedience training, I'm not sure she even knows what "No!" means. But she is turning to look at me when she hears her new name, so that's a start. I'm going to have to hunt out my clicker and the training manual and notes. I'll work with both dogs, and maybe Sam will finally learn the difference between "Sit" and "Down." (He does one, and if no treat is forthcoming, he'll do the other.)

Okay, now the confession: I'm the one who slept on the dog bed last night. We started out with me at one end of the sofa, Sam next to me, and Jacey on the other end. (I decided to sleep downstairs because of the issue of getting Jacey up the stairs, which I had tried unsuccessfully. I wanted to be near her if she needed to go outside.) Jacey hasn't learned to curl up tight on the sofa, and at one point her head was off the sofa, onto the dog bed that's in front of the sofa, and she started sliding off. She got down, and Sam immediately moved into her space. I told her to lie down on the dogbed, and started to join her there. (It's a big, soft bed, and probably more comfortable for my back than the lumpy sofa.) I put pillows on the bed, pulled down an afghan to keep warm, turned back around and discovered...Jacey had gotten up on the sofa in the place I'd just vacated. And when I tugged on her leash, she nestled down more into the sofa cushions. So I let her stay there, and I took the dog bed. But after her experiences today, I'm going to assume she can handle going upstairs tonight. I'm sleeping in my own bed, and the dogs are welcome to join me there...or sleep on one of the two dog beds on the bedroom floor.

Saturday, April 8, 2006

Oh, dear. Sam learns about karma...

All those times that Sam got on the couch and laid down half on Oreo, despite her protests... Oreo either heaved a great sigh and tolerated him, or she got up and went someplace else to sleep.

So who's on the sofa, stretched out nearly full length? And who got up and moved to the dog bed in the floor?

Her new name is Jacey-Kasey...

...Jacey for short. That's in honor of the Jefferson County Kennel Club, site of her *cough* illustrious *cough cough* racing career. And some name-origin sites give Kasey an Irish/Gaelic origin, so that honors her Irish ancestry.
Jacey-Kasey Jacey-Kasey
Her first day home...
Jacey-Kasey Jacey-Kasey
Her first day... I love her ears: the right one flips back, the left one flips forward.

She and Sam aren't best buddies, but they haven't quarreled any. They sniff each other occasionally, but that's about all. She hasn't settled in yet--she hasn't relaxed enough to nap, although she's on the couch right now (but she's panting a lot). She's tolerated having her ears cleaned and her extra-long toenails Dremeled (the perils of living with a dog groomer), and she's drinking water, but she hasn't eaten anything. (Sam's thinking, "That just means more for me!")

She's very sweet, not nervous about meeting new people, but suffering sensory overload right now, I think. She's never lived outside a kennel, so she doesn't know mirrors, televsions, couches (she needed to be boosted up), squirrels, birds, etc. She's not great on leash, yet; she doesn't pull, but she weaves from one point of interest to another, disregarding what that will do with her leash and Sam's leash and everyone's legs.

Jacey's gotten a bit chubby since her retirement: she's gained 6 pounds (more than 10% of her weight) since her last race (9 February 2006), and Sam--who's taller and longer than she is--only outweighs her by three-tenths of a pound. She has an appointment with Sam's vet on Tuesday--a new-dog check-up, and she'll get microchipped.

Thursday, April 6, 2006


I got Oreo’s ashes back today. I’m going to spread most of the ashes outside in the area where she and Sam and I liked to sit when the weather was good. That way, Sam and I can still sit outside with Oreo. But I’m going to keep a bit of the ashes in a small box I’m painting and putting Oreo’s name on. That way, if I ever sell this condo and move, I’ll be taking a bit of Oreo with me. I’ve got a nice carved chest I’ll put her collar, muzzle, and tags in, along with the box of ashes. And I’m going to take all the messages you guys posted and make PDFs of them. I’ll keep a CD with your messages and e-cards—and my digital photos of her—in the chest, too.

Wednesday night I filled out an on-line application to adopt another greyhound.

Years ago, when Oreo was my only dog, I read (on the local adoption group’s Yahoo board) about the death of a SEGA member’s dog. I remembered what I’d gone through when a cat I had for ten years had died: I kept thinking I spied a movement from the corner of my eye, I whipped around, saw nothing, then remembered Duchess was dead and began to cry again. I knew that when the unthinkable happened and Oreo died, I would do the same thing. I was going to need something fuzzy to hug and cry on.

I promised Oreo that if anything happened to her I would get another dog—as a foster dog, if not a new adoption—very quickly. I’d do it for my sake, but also I’d do it because Oreo was such a wonderful dog that she’d made it impossible for me to consider living without as many greyhounds in my life as I could handle. I told Oreo that by being such a marvelous girl, she’d guaranteed a home for another dog.

Then I adopted Sam. At that point, perhaps, Oreo wished she’d been a bit less “wonderful.” But she tolerated Sam—with many an exasperated glance thrown in my direction—and she continued to be my wonder-dog until her death last week.

So last Thursday night, after she’d died, I made myself look at the page of SEGA’s current adoptables.

I looked at them from the point of view of potential foster-dogs…and with an “inside track” since I get to read the comments of the volunteer kennel walkers, so I know more about some of the dogs than is posted on the public adoption page. (For instance, I know “Tom S Sugarplum” wouldn’t work for my household: Sugarplum’s an Alpha on a mission to rule the world. Sam would be in shreds in no time.)

For several days, I just looked.

But Sam can stand just so many hugs before he starts to get squirmy. (“Hey, Mom, I’m tryin’ to sleep, here.”) And Sam would make a terrible role model for a foster dog. He’d teach a foster to get on the furniture. To invade the kitchen. To raid the trash can. And I’ve got two arms—designed for hugging two dogs. I’ve got enough heartworm preventative for two dogs for the next six months. Same thing with flea preventative. I’ve got three 40-pound bags of Nutro large breed lamb and rice (it was on sale). I’ve got two dog beds downstairs, two dog beds upstairs. (And that’s not counting my bed, which is where everyone sleeps.)

And I’ve got that promise I made to Oreo.

So I filed an application last night, and got an e-mail today. Saturday morning, Sam and I are headed up to the kennel to check out a couple of possibilities: “ICU Tomboy Doris” and “Pinerun Tori.” (You can see pictures at the link posted above.)

Doris is cute, but she’s not cat or small-dog safe. This is a problem since Sam is very high-prey. I can handle one high-prey dog, but not two. If trouble comes scampering in our direction (the neighborhood is home to a brainless Yorkie), I hold both leashes with one hand, and grab Sam’s snout with my other hand. This is adequate if the other greyhound in the scenario stands still and behaves. But if both greyhounds are high-prey, I need a third hand. Also, I’ve checked the racing database for Doris: 160 races, with 20 first-place finishes. I think this girl would enjoy a lure-coursing household.

Tori is adorable, and small-dog safe. She’s a bit younger than I was looking for, but that’s not a problem if she’s a calm two-and-a-half year old. (Actually, I just checked the racing database, and she’ll be three next month-—my god, 16 races, including one in which she “quit / turned back”; she’s less interested in racing than Oreo was!) The inside word is that Tori is pretty vocal, but often greys that bark in the kennel are quiet in the home. She’s also acquired a torn ear since her adoption picture was taken (remember Sugarplum’s mission?), but that just makes Tori even with Sam, who came to me missing the tip of one ear. (I think he’d encountered a dog-on-a-mission, too.)

[The dogs’ names can be changed. These names are registered racing names, not “kennel” names (which we don’t know), so the dogs don’t really respond to them. Tori’s name would definitely have to change since my cousin has a granddaughter named Tori (for Victoria), and I balk at having relatives and dogs with the same names.]

Pinerun Tori seems to have the edge as a match for my household. The more I look at her on line, the better I like her. It’s up to her and Sam, now. Fingers crossed. And start thinking about names.

Oh, and did you see Tori's description?

She's a smiler...

Friday, March 31, 2006

Random thoughts

  • Have I ever mentioned here that Oreo was a smiler? She’d wrinkle her nose, show all her teeth, tuck her head down, wiggle ecstatically, and send her tail spinning like a propeller. Just Tuesday, she was doing that for a friend at work (when I took the dogs in for a bath) and for people at the vet’s office.
  • Sam is doing fine. He and Oreo always were rivals, not buddies: rivals for food, rivals for mom, and rivals for the sofa. Sam’s not sure why his rival isn’t here, but he doesn’t seem worried, isn’t looking for her or fussing. He’s just basking in being rival-less. Little does Sam know: there will be another greyhound in his future, sometime. But I’m going to have to choose carefully, because Sam is no longer willing to be the submissive little boy he was when I first brought him home to Oreo three and a half years ago. Instead of getting a tough Alpha female like Oreo, I may need to get a little submissive female who won’t challenge Sam. (If I get another Alpha female, I could easily wind up with two dogs in the emergency room. Sam twice “tagged” Oreo—one time stitches were required—but Oreo never harmed him.)
  • Sam has, in the past, exhibited separation anxiety. I haven’t tested his tolerance for being alone any time in the last two years or more. I was worried about how he’d do today when I went to work. (And, while I could have taken him with me today, he couldn’t go with me Saturday or Sunday; it seemed wiser to test him today since I was working a short day.) I weighted the scales in my favor—slipped him two Benadryl capsules this morning. In Sam’s last anxiety attack, he screamed like he was being tortured. Today, I posted a note on the front door asking people to call me if Sam got noisy, and I included my cell phone number. I left Sam here while I went to the emergency vet’s to settle bills and arrange for Oreo to be cremated. I came home, but parked at the neighbor’s so Sam wouldn’t hear the car. I tiptoed over and listened, and everything was quiet, so I went on to work. When I came home this afternoon (about 8 hours after I left this morning), everything was fine. He’d explored in the kitchen—as usual—but he didn’t trash the house, which he has done before. (He’s been known to pull every empty grocery bag out of the pantry, tip over the kitchen trash can and rake out all the contents, and other bits of mayhem.) Maybe all the years of seeing me leave, then having me come home, have convinced him that he can count on my coming back, so he doesn’t have to panic. We’ll see if his good behavior holds up.
  • The orthopedic surgeon charged me just half of the original quoted cost. (I didn’t see him, today, but was dealing with his staff.) I told the receptionist to thank him for me—he was making it possible for me to get another dog sooner. The receptionist said the vet techs cried when Oreo died. This is a surgery that fixes animals; they rarely lose one. This practice is next door to—and separate from—the emergency hospital, and generally treats only animals who are in “stable” condition. When Oreo crashed, the surgical practice pulled a vet over from the emergency hospital to try to revive her.
  • I need to write a memorial article about Oreo to be posted on SEGA’s Web site. And I need to find a good picture or two. And there’s other stuff I need to do: file a claim on the veterinary insurance policy (and cancel further billing on the policy); update my profile on LJ as well as on BookCrossing; update Oreo’s page on Maybe if I do some of this stuff, it will start to seem real.
  • Last night and today, Sam has started to eat tissues from the trash can. I finally figured out why: they’re salty. So I’ve got to stop crying about Oreo. Or stop wiping my eyes on tissues. Or just empty the damned trash can.
  • At work today, there was one dog named Oreo, one named Sam (from different households). They were the right colors, but they weren’t greyhounds. I managed not to cry too much at work, but there were a few moments… I still can’t believe she’s gone. A broken leg is just not supposed to be fatal.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Oreo--20 November 1997 to 30 March 2006

The vet thinks she threw a pulmonary embolism. Her heart stopped and they could not get it started again.

Oh, my baby...

Oreo update

Oreo is out of surgery (has been out for 30 minutes), but they cannot get her heart stabilized. The vet has called and he's worried. He'll call back soon.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Oreo is in the hospital.

She broke her right humerus (that's the upper bone, above the elbow). She did it standing in the living room!

I had just gotten home from work and was unloading groceries when I heard her scream. I ran back in and found her standing in the middle of the living room on three legs, dangling the injured leg.

I hustled Mr Separation Anxiety (aka Sam) into the back seat, backed the car out of the carport and turned it so I'd have more room to get her in, left the passenger door open, then went in and carried her out to the car. She sat in the front seat all the way to the emergency room. She couldn't figure out how to lie down, and every time her weight shifted onto the injured leg she screamed again.

Now, greyhounds are healthy, athletic dogs. They don't break their legs doing nothing! And I've been hanging out with greyhound owners long enough to know that many greys succumb to osteosarcoma--which gets diagnosed after a sudden, freakishly broken leg. So I was already a basket case when I got to the hospital--and from more than just having her screaming in my ear. (It's about a 7-mile trip.)

But the x-rays don't show any signs of cancer--no dark specks on the film, no jaggedness to the break. It's a nice (but nasty) break at a sharp angle (like this: "/"). She's doped and immobilized at the hospital, and Sam and I are back home. The break can't just be splinted; she'll need surgery, and I'm supposed to have a consultation with the surgeon on Thursday. (At least I was already scheduled to be off work Thursday.)

I have veterinary insurance, although I don't know how much of tonight's $697 vet bill will be covered. I refuse to think about the surgeon's bill at this point.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

A busy day off

Up at 8am to walk the dogs, so I'd be home to give them pills at 8:20am. (See below.)

On the road about 10am to the store I work in, two dogs along so they could get baths. They appreciate the warm water at the grooming salon (beats the garden hose in the front yard); they're just not nuts about the forced-air dryer. But they behaved well and we finished in about an hour, so that by noon we were on the road to...

The vet's at 1:20pm. It was Sam's annual check-up and shots. He decided he didn't like how much blood the vet had to draw for lab tests and whimpered and whined, which he usually doesn't do. (And I wasn't holding him; the vet tech was. Maybe I'll hold him next time.) Both dogs are on thyroxine, which peaks in a dog's bloodstream 4 to 6 hours after the morning dose. (Hence the pills at 8:20 this morning.) So I'll hear in a few days whether Sam's numbers look right. But we're not going to adjust his dosage unless the numbers are way off, because he's not showing any of the physical symptoms he normally shows when he needs a change in his meds. (His coat will start going thin in patches, especially on his throat and his thighs, and he'll start to put on weight if he needs a change.) A greyhound's metabolism is so goofy that the lab numbers that are normal for most dogs are absolutely wrong for greyhounds, and the T4 (thyroid) results are notoriously unreliable. (Once, five hours after a dose, Oreo tested as if she had never taken thyroxine in her life; we repeated the test three months later, same dose, and the numbers were fine.) This time, the vet is asking for the test to be run twice--once on a sample containing a clotting factor, once on a sample without the clotting factor; he wants to see if that might make a difference in the numbers. Meanwhile, Sam looks fine, has put on a needed two pounds (he's at 64.0 pounds, Oreo's at 57.2 pounds, which is down 1 pound), and kissed the vet after the bloodletting was over. (The vet likes seeing them: they aren't hyper, don't bite, don't have serious health issues, and never need to go on a diet. And the vet likes hearing of Sam's latest mishaps--the poor boy's such a goof!)

Home by 3, and I gave Sam a buffered aspirin (he often runs a slight fever after his shots). Sam's sacked out on the couch next to me, Oreo's sacked out on one of the dog beds (she was on the couch, too, until Sam insisted on sleeping half-way on top of her, which she resents). I'm working on the baby afghan for KA and watching DVDs. (I'll measure the afghan in a day or two, and if it's long enough, I may stop even though I'm not out of yarn. I've been working on this for four weeks, and I've got to get started on the next one. I'm off work Thursday, so maybe I'll finish off then and wrap the thing to give it to KA on Friday.)

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Ripples Afghan

The baby afghan for KA (my manager) is about 40 inches long. The original instructions called for 52 inches; I'm just going to go until I run out of yarn (I'm nearly finished with the third of four skeins I bought), so it should be longer than 52 inches when finished.

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Squares Afghan

I went for a visit at my old store and delivered the afghan to my former coworker there. She's expecting her first child (due 4 October).

Afghan for Courtney C

Afghan for Courtney C--Closeup

The afghan is about 46 x 35 inches (1.16 m x .889 m); each square is about 5.5 inches (almost 14 cm).

Of course, the manager at my new store's grooming salon is pregnant (expecting a girl in May)...and a greyhound-owning buddy is expecting her first child, too. I'm really hoping to get all the afghan-making done before warm weather sets in. You don't want a lapful of yarn when the weather's warm.

Friday, February 10, 2006

Food fight

Yesterday when I got home, I went up to change clothes. I heard Sam rustling around in the kitchen and yelled at him. He, of course, ignored me. He swiped half a package of saltines off the counter, then refused to share with Oreo. Food is the one thing they can get really fiesty about (as opposed to just baring their teeth at each other when one lies down on top of the other). They fought. Lots of growling and snapping as I was flying down the stairs to separate the combatants. As soon as I got them apart, they both went after the cracker crumbs. (And Sam's allergic to wheat.) I got them both muzzled to keep them from fighting as well as to prevent them from "rewarding" themselves with more crackers. I checked both dogs over for blood (hard to see on Oreo), found nothing, then cleaned up the crackers. But when I took off Sam's muzzle, I found where he'd been hurt: on the side of his mouth, back by the corner, where there's a hole that goes completely through from outside to the inside of his mouth. Or does it? The hole is bigger on the inside of his mouth than on the outside, which implies that the boy genius bit himself...all the way through. Anyway, it didn't warrant any stitches. It was a bit puffy this morning, but the swelling had gone down by tonight, and he hasn't seemed bothered by it. (For an antiseptic cleaner, I've used mouthwash on a cotton ball.)

And tonight I found where Sam got Oreo: one small nip on her ear. Dogs' ears have a little flap of skin on one edge, and Sam got that--didn't even puncture it all the way through, let alone rip it. [Correction: The little ear flap is torn--but she doesn't seem to mind unless I mess with it.] (Sam is missing the tip of one ear--an injury he had when he came to me.) This is the second time he's drawn blood from her; once before, she scared him so bad he nipped her to get away--and it wound up needing six stitches. I'm just glad that this incident hasn't required visits to the vet. (Last time, it was a Friday night fight, and I had to take Oreo to the emergency room.)

Anyway, neither dog seems to bear a grudge. And neither dog thought it was a big deal at the time, since they both were more interested in finding more cracker crumbs than in licking their wounds. (Sam gets off better there: Oreo can't reach her wound to lick it.) But they certainly got my heart-rate up. Tonight, I made Oreo go upstairs with me while I went to change clothes. And Sam doesn't know where the rest of the saltines are hidden.

Saturday, February 4, 2006

Squares Afghan

A groomer (CC) at the Woodstock store has learned she's pregnant. I've started crocheting a baby afghan for her. The afghan takes 48 squares; I did the first 8 last night while I watched William Holden get killed (The Bridge on the River Kwai)...and get killed again (Sunset Boulevard). Poor guy had a bad night...