Archive for the 'Animals' Category

Took My Breath Away (Part I)

The massage therapist knowingly nodded, and said several of her clients complained of similar symptoms.  “The body remembers,” she continued, “even long after the triggers are gone”–which is what baffled me.  When I went to her, the week after Christmas, I should have been a model of health and tranquility.  I had started working out at least three times a week, had no major deadlines or responsibilities, and the things that had me so stressed out were months behind me, or at least at the point where I’d done everything I could to make things right and had no personal regrets.  I had wholeheartedly resigned my fate to a higher power, feeling certain that not only what will be will be, but will be for the best.  Yet I still had trouble taking in a good deep cleansing breath.  I was hoping she could rub out some of the knots in my back that seemed to be blocking the air from fully reaching and filling every bit of my lungs.

Hosting foster children is something we had thought about doing for a long time.  Big Daddy seemed to be more apprehensive about it because he was worried we might become attached  to a child that we would have to give back.  I was less worried about that because I expected from the start that it would be temporary and was OK with that.  I only wanted to be a safe port in a child’s stormy life until things calmed down.  In fact, I like temporary arrangements.  I love my two-month a year job.  I prefer open-ended contracts.  I figured we’d provide some fun for a child that needed to laugh and then he or she would return home after a few months.  I had no way of knowing how challenging and unpredictable this choice would be.

We had planned, and splurged, on renting the beach house in July.  One of the reasons was so the girls could see the ocean.  But all along, we never knew for sure if we would still have them by the time July rolled around.  We hoped…but that is the nature of foster care.  We rented a house that slept 8 just in case, though, figuring we wouldn’t have much trouble filling up the extra beds if something happened.  Then J came home with his horribly crushed leg…and with only a couple of weeks to go, we faced the possibility that none of us would be going on vacation.  We spent days keeping his leg iced, helping him with everyday life, and watching helplessly while he dealt with pain that even his prescription pain killers couldn’t dull.  The girls were so sweet, tiptoeing around quietly and trying to help by making ice packs and bringing him water.

Although we had to watch for what could have been gruesome developments, J’s leg seemed to be improving enough that we decided to make the long drive to North Carolina.  J stretched out in our old van that we luckily never sold while Youngest Son did the driving.  J’s girlfriend and my 15-year-old niece rode along with them.  Big Daddy and I took the girls with us in the SUV and we kind of followed each other.  We had a great time there–even though Big Daddy had to lose a full day at the beach shopping around for a competent repair guy–miles from the little island we were staying–to replace the muffler that had decided to fall off the van two days before we had to leave.  Meanwhile, Youngest Son had been struggling all week, long distance, to find out why his car was still sitting untouched and unrepaired back home when he had left it a week ago.  They still hadn’t gotten the part they needed and Youngest Son was stressing big time about having to start med school in less than a week with no car to get him there!  All of these annoyances were quickly forgotten, however, when Big Daddy took a call on his cell phone the night we were packing up to leave for home.  The guy that was watching our beautiful 7-year-old Boxer dog, Sky, called to tell us that he was rushing her to the animal hospital with what appeared to be Bloat, which is a twisting of the dog’s stomach and which we knew immediately was a very bad thing.  We waited teary-eyed and in stunned silence for further news, and our worst fears were confirmed when he called to say she hadn’t made it after suffering from two heart attacks, one while en route, and the other at the hospital.

RIP Baby Girl

 

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Fools for Phil

The old saying goes, “Be careful what you wish for.”  You might actually get what you wish for, and you might find out it’s not as good as what you already have.  What is even more unfortunate is when someone else wishes something for you, even pushes for these changes, but you’re actually quite happy with the way things are.  This is happening right now in the life of a Western Pennsylvania icon.

Punxsutawney Phil is the most famous groundhog in the United States, and probably the entire planet.  He has an entire day devoted to him, local dignitaries handle him with kid gloves and an entire town springs to life in the middle of the cold winter.  Hollywood even made a movie about his special day!  The media arrives at this small Pennsylvania town each February 2 just to perhaps catch a glimpse of Phil to report whether the critter has seen his shadow.  Legend has it that if he does, he will be frightened by it and scamper back into his hole, dooming us to 6 more weeks of winter.  If he does not see his shadow, we can look forward to an early Spring.

This fuzzy little groundhog has it good.  People love him even if he does see his shadow.  He has air conditioning in the summer and a heated pen in the winter.  He lives year round in the town library along with three other little buddies in a well-kept pen.  His food is brought to him; he does not have to risk the wrath of Farmer Brown or any other gardener armed with BB guns.

Unfortunately, someone is trying to ruin Phil’s gig.  Gemma Vaughan, an animals in entertainment specialist for PETA, wrote a letter to Phil’s handlers urging them to use a robotic rodent to replace Phil.  She believes it to be “cruel” to have these shy creatures on display, adding that they get stressed when being handled by humans or facing large crowds.  I wonder how she knows so much about what these critters really want?

Seems to me a pretty nice arrangement for Phil.  One morning of “work” nets him some comfortable digs for the rest of the year, and it doesn’t even matter if anyone likes the results of his efforts.  He and his buddies are treated like celebrities, and don’t have to risk their lives foraging for food.  I think even a shy critter could warm up to the humans that take care of them like that.  And I think Phil would tell PETA to stay out of his business if he could.

Punxsutawney Phil and human

Chocolate Covered Bacon

The Fayette County Fair may have its BIIIGGG HAIRRR, but ours has something even scarier.  Chocolate covered bacon.  Each one, standing alone, would rank as two of my favorite foods.  Only the most creative of caterers would consider combining the two into one artery-clogging food item.  Here are some other culinary treats you can buy:  healthy delights

Today was the last day of our county fair, and like most years, it was the day of the horse-pull event.  For the same reason, I suppose, that he plans an entire week of vacation around the televised Tour de France, Big Daddy looks forward to the yearly horse-pull event.  It obviously doesn’t take a whole heck of a lot to get the old guy excited, which is why I’m not too worried about the extra weight around my middle.  I usually tag along with him to see the displays, ooh and aah over the animals, and get a yummy greasy gyro with some fresh squeezed lemonade.  I have to admit, I’ve even grown to enjoy the horse-pull.  The animals are beautiful and majestic, working as a team to pull some big-time weight. strong team

They called for an all-day rain and we were worried the event would be canceled.  It did rain right after the light-weight horses finished, but it was a quick downpour and ended up to be a beautiful sunny day.  We did have a long wait, however, while they scraped the mud and resurfaced the arena for the heavy-weight horses.  clearing the mud

As we were leaving the fairgrounds, I got a glimpse of what I might look like if I ate like this every day.  I didn’t bother to ask for the chocolate bacon recipe.too much fair food

If you love animals like I do, you might want to check out some of these cute pics on my Facebook page.

A Beauty Queen In Boots

Sky's New Boots

Sky's New Boots

Even though they’re not cheap, we broke down and bought someone else’s brilliant invention, little Velcro dog boots.  Our gorgeous little girl has an uncanny talent for getting as much mud and gunk jammed between her toenails as possible.  She’s even mastered the art of finding every poo pile we haven’t picked up and stepping in it.  Obviously, it’s easier to wipe this crap off these smooth little boots than to stand out in the cold and scrub four little paws.  I just have to show off my little beauty queen in her new booties.  A mom’s gotta brag!

Sky's New Boots

Sky's New Boots

I'm One Hot Pup

I'm One Hot Pup

You Can Quit Staring Now

You Can Quit Staring Now

_

I Thought I Might Get Rich

We had snow on the ground for a few days.  I’m not fond of snow.  It’s cold, makes walking and driving hazardous, and limits my shoe choices.  But the one advantage it does have is that it covers the mud in our yard that covers the paws of our dog whenever she goes out to pee.

I have spent — no lie — a good 10 minutes each time she goes out digging dirt and mud out of her little toenails.  We even got an empty coffee container, filled it with water, and dipped each paw in it before we wiped them with an old towel.  Part of the problem is she doesn’t just go out to pee.  She has to run around like a maniac, lunging at delivery trucks or people walking up the street while tied up in the front yard.  So the mud gets ground into her little paws in every crease and crevice.

Big Daddy and I brainstormed for a solution to this problem.  Who wants to stand on a cold porch several times a day digging mud from a pet’s paws?  He mentioned that she needed boots or something that we could remove.  The next day, I dug out some old socks and put them on the dog before I released her into the yard.  I thought we were pretty darn clever, maybe onto a marketable idea.

Well, the little angel had no problem with me putting the socks on.  But unfortunately, they didn’t stay on for long.  The back two came off before I even tied her up.  The front socks ended up laying in the front yard where she lost them after freaking out over the mail lady.  I was thinking about ways to improve on the idea by maybe making fasteners on the foot covers when Oldest Son’s friend, Sheri, mentioned that you could buy little booties with velcro fasteners at the pet store.  What a great idea.  Why don’t I think of these things first??

Sky in socks

Sky in socks

Wow, Am I Dumb.

There was a phrase that Big Daddy(my hubby) and I used to use, back when we were younger, referring to older women that wandered around aimlessly in grocery stores, drove 30 mph in the left passing lane without getting over, and just generally meandered glassy-eyed through life.  “Middle-aged crazy,” we’d chuckle, shaking our heads.  Now I’m not laughing anymore because not only am I middle-aged, but I may be stepping into the realm of the Middle-Aged Crazies.  Example One:  I really thought that was a picture of my dog Sky that I posted yesterday.  It was, after all, on our computer.  It is a boxer with very similar coloring.  In fact, even though I couldn’t recall the floor it was standing on and I didn’t think she ever had a purple collar, the fog just didn’t lift quite enough for me to grasp the reality until I picked up Youngest Son from college.  He asked me why I posted some random dog on my blog when he had sent me so many good pictures of Sky.   Wow.  Then Thunderbolt Number Two–and this one is disturbing.  I never realized that little lab rats, after performing their duties for science, were then euthanized.  This new knowledge just upset me immensely.  Not that I’m overly fond of rodents.  I wouldn’t want to find a rat in my house.  I don’t know where I thought they would go.  I guess I just never thought about it which makes me feel really dumb considering my age and all.  So, about that tax return I’ve been working on.  I think I’ll check it over several times before I send it off into cyberspace.  I’m feeling kinda dumb today.

A Day Off

I know. I just started back to work on Monday and here I am with a day off already. It’s still early for our tax clients and the work usually is still trickling in at this point. In a couple of weeks, we’ll be buried in it. And the timing works out perfectly for me to be off today. I had an envelope to send to Soldier son, so I got up early and went to the Post Office. When I came home, our boxer, Sky, was all excited because I had my coat on–which she immediately interprets as TIME TO PLAY! So, even though it was snowing out, I took her out to play. Boxers are full of energy. If you don’t tire them out and keep them busy, it’s like torture for them. And torture for us. If you get too busy to tire her out, she randomly will growl at you, usually when you’re right in the middle of something. And then you’re not sure if she needs to relieve herself, lost a ball under the furniture, or just wants to go outside to play. So you stop what you’re doing–and find out she doesn’t have to peepee and didn’t lose a toy. So the best thing is just to get her good and tired. Like they say, a tired dog is a good dog. And she needed some attention. I think she was moping around the past few days while I was at work and no one was home with her. I’d come home at lunch to take her out and she wouldn’t pee. But that was probably because her food and water dish were left untouched. She wouldn’t eat until we got home! She must have thought we were abandoning her. One of her toys, a great big yellow felt jack, was dropped in front of our bedroom door like she had been tracking us down to play with her. It was kinda sad.

Later today, Youngest Son is actually coming home for the weekend. We suspect he was trying to “punish” us the past couple weeks for not letting him take the truck back to school with him last time he was home. He not only didn’t come home, but he was rather stingy with the text messages. But, maybe he was just busy getting A’s.

In the meantime, before I have to pick Youngest Son up, I will be glued to this computer trying to finish up our tax return. Wish me luck!boxers.jpg


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