The Long Overdue Gertie Bio

No better time like the present to get Gertie’s bio written.  It will be 2 years since she moved in, after all.

It’s been a long, strange trip for Gertie.

Here’s the short version:

An apparent domestic upheaval split Gert’s original family between Arizona and the east coast.  Further issues occurred with the family  member remaining local.  Gert and Pablo were left(?), abandoned(?), surrendered(?), tied to a tree at a local McDonalds.  They had been there all day when Crabby beat Animal Control in picking them up.  That was June, 2014.

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Let’s pause for a flash forward: Gertie’s east coast family reached out a year later and informed me that Gertie was 13 (then) and not the generic and regular 10 year old estimate of all foundling senior dogs.

OK, now let’s flash back again – to 2014.  Gert Gert was clearly old, was generally sluggish, and had difficulty moving.  For that reason, and those of you who follow this blog will agree, Run A Muck Ranch was NOT the place for her.  You can’t drop a Fine Old Dame on the island of The Lord of the Flies and expect it to end well!  Gertie got a courtesy post on a local senior dog rescue site.  Of course no one was interested.

For my part, I made sure Gertie was well cared for.  She got her 2 squares a day, scritches, pets, hugs and of course her evening Old Lady Plumbing Walks.  All the while I wished she lived somewhere else.  Being Mom to Slugger is a full time job as it is!  Being Mom to Slugger + 11 other Idiots, and Sarah was exhausting.  I really didn’t have the juice to incorporate the special needs of a giant, uber senior into the mix!

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Then came that fateful day in October, 2014.  Gertie was in a bad way.  We were at the vet within 2 hours.  An hour later, the recommendation was to put her down.  Even if we could afford the costly additional tests, chances were (emphasis added) she probably (emphasis again) wouldn’t respond to the treatment.  With dogs in Gertie’s situation (yup, emphasis again), the best thing to do would be to let her go.

Those emphasis statements aren’t exactly quotes from the vet, but they were the general gist of what he said.  I’m not sure what you make of them, but what I heard was Gertie wasn’t worth it.  I then deduced that Gertie had deteriorated to that point because, well, what reason could she possibly have to stick around?  Sure, she was well cared for, but no one cared for her.

I declined on letting Gertie go that day.  Actually, that was the very day I made Gertie my own.  I would no longer be her caretaker.  From that day forward I would be her mom.

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That’s all it took. It’s 2016 now and even with Gertie’s worsening arthritis (especially when I let her get too heavy) she is scores better than she was the day Crabby brought her and Satan’s Cheewawa home back in 2014.

Gertie has forgiven me for not being a mom those first few months. She knows she’s my Lady now.  We have a daily routine for just about everything.  No worries about shirking my responsibilities because if the appointed time arrives, and I am not already making the necessary preparations, Gertie WILL remind me, including but not limited to, the 1:30am, written in stone, does not vary EVER, pee.

Sarah used to be the only source of intelligent conversation for Gertie, but when Sare Bear passed away, it became Gertie and The Horde and she seems pretty content with the situation.  She will play with Morty.  She accepts Marcy’s worship.  She shares dog beds with pretty much all of the others. And she is as mystified as we are as to how someone as stupid as Slugger could possibly exist.

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Gertie is patient, kind, so very loving and has a beautiful smile.  She absolutely loves meeting people, new and old, and has no issues with inserting herself into the personal space of anyone.

Gertie knows she has nothing to worry about anymore, but sometimes if she wakes up and I’m not in the room with her, she gets a little nervous.   It used to be she would shuffle from room to room looking for me, but that got old pretty fast.  Now, she just barks.  She knows 1 or 2 thunderous roars are enough to bring me running.

A few tid bits about The Gert Gert:

She sleeps with her eyes open.  On more than one occasion, I found her in a deep, barely breathing sleep, and thought she was dead.

She is completely deaf. She could be sleeping (with her eyes open of course) and the rest of The Horde decides to start a mosh pit within inches of her and she will not so much as stir.  (And you wonder why I thought she was dead a few times!).

After every meal, Gertie must wash her face.  If there is nothing else available, the closest human leg will do.

I have never known a dog who loved a hug as much as Gertie.  Doesn’t matter who the hugger is, a hug is a hug and Gertie loves it.

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Gertie doesn’t move like a dog.  Rather, she moves like a Standardbred (horse) pacer.  In her mind, she’s racing like the wind, but to the casual onlooker, it’s a little old lady shuffle.  Which brings me to one of my favorite Gertie stories:

Once, while I was talking to a neighbor during one of Gertie’s evening walks, a lady on a horse passed by.  I didn’t pay any attention until the lady called over to me – kid you not:

“Is  your dog chasing us?” she asked, watching Gertie, with great concentration, pacing up the road after her.

“Yup” I said – not concerned that Gertie would ever catch up.

After a short pause the lady called back “Should I slow down?”.

If a person on horseback offers to slow down to allow a chasing dog to catch up, you just know there’s something about the dog.

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There is a serious disadvantage to bringing a super senior dog into your heart:  There will never be enough days.  But there is an even worse disadvantage to not giving a super senior a chance:  You don’t have any days.

We knew going in Gertie wouldn’t be with us very long in the scheme of things.  But rather than focus on time, we focus on times – as in the good ones.

Here’s hoping there are many more to come!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Taming of the Shrew (Meet Marcy)

Marcy’s is an interesting story unlike any I have encountered before.  Born on the street, to parents unclear, in a not so nice section of town, she is a pint-sized girl, a survivor of distemper (per vet observations of her enamel) and despite her small size, a survivor of the street.

I have posted to the Run A Muck Ranch Facebook page, sniglets of Marcy’s life in captivity, and as happens on social media, comments were posted.  One comment to one post stands out the most.  Underlined emphasis added by me:

“Wow, heart breaking to see a puppy sooo scared, but bless you for taking  Marcy in.  Time will heal her and even she will realize how beautiful she is.”

Here’s the thing:  Marcy already knows she’s “All that” and there is nothing in her life that she needs healing from.

Marcy has never been mistreated by humans. She hasn’t had much use for them in her life other than occasional handouts.   It’s kind of hard to mistreat a dog you can’t even get close to.

 

Marcy on the street, before she was trapped.   She looks very young in this picture.
Marcy on the street, before she was trapped. She looks very young in this picture.

 

Somehow, this tiny girl survived on the streets, living off garbage, and yes, food was provided by people from time to time, but for the most part, she was on her own – for around 8 months – and she really didn’t have a problem with it.

Marcy’s tribulations began the day she followed a hot dog trail into a live trap.  Once trapped, she was whisked away from the only life she knew, one of freedom, and one she was pretty happy with, and forced to live in a building, closer to humans than she would ever voluntarily choose, and all the absolute freedom she had, was gone forever.

In 2012, a local organization SOS Project (Save Our Strays), a program of Pittie Me Rescue, realized a need in a South Phoenix neighborhood.  Dogs were dumped there on a regular basis, most, if not all, unaltered.  And the unchecked  breeding created yet more dogs.    Many of these dogs were shot or poisoned by persons unknown, and others were removed by scum trolling for bait dogs.  Those that escaped those tragic ends continued to breed.

SOS, working with the local residents, began a program wherein dogs were trapped, placed in foster care, and eventually rehomed.  Additionally, SOS worked with residents to get their own pets altered.

 

Marcy when she was handed off to me.  She was transported in the trap.  We had to get her out of the trap and a collar on her in a closed garage.  Look at those eyes!
Marcy when she was handed off to me. She was transported in the trap. We had to get her out of the trap and a collar on her in a closed garage. Look at those eyes!

 

All told, in it’s first year, SOS was able to capture 74 stray dogs.  To give you an idea of the scope of the stray dog problem:  These 74 dogs were removed from a neighborhood of less than 4 blocks.  If you do the math on that, that is approximately 17 dogs per block, and those 17 were 17 that survived.

Marcy was #73 of the 74 captured.  She was believed to be the last of a litter born 3 months prior.

So, the question is, did SOS do a bad thing?  Ask the residents living in a 17 stray dogs per block neighborhood, and the answer would be NO!    Ask the 74 dogs that are still alive, the ones that were taken away from a very high probability of death due to unnatural causes, and I would think 73 of them would say THANK YOU SOS!   Ask Marcy her opinion a couple weeks ago, and she would shake her raised paw in defiance and say “My life was just fine before you messed it up! ”

 

 

When Marcy came into our home, we had serious doubts as to whether we were helping her.  Her terror was absolute.  It was worse than the fear an abused dog shows.  For the first 48 hours, she trembled non-stop.  Her eyes and the fear in them was awful.  For nearly a week we had to carry her due to her ‘leash terrors’ and where ever we placed her, she never moved an inch from voluntarily.  It got to the point we started calling her “The Paper Weight”.

At the time, the discussion was had as to whether she would be better off at a sanctuary, away from a lot of physical contact with humans.  We were going to give her a few weeks, and if she didn’t settle down, SOS and/or other interested parties were going to find a sanctuary to take her.

 

 

As we fast forward through the 3 weeks she has lived with us, our doubts are gone.  There is no way Marcy would be happy in a sanctuary, but there are certain tweaks to her new life:

Marcy prefers inside to outside, and she loves a good dog bed.

If Marcy is outside, and she wants inside, where before she used to throw herself against the door, now she scratches, loud and impatiently.

Eating on a regular basis works for her too, though she still won’t pass up an opportunity to launch herself into a dog food bag or garbage between meals if she can.

 

 

Perhaps her most favorite part of domestication is being inducted into The Idiot Group of Run A Muck Ranch.

All that being said, she would still prefer the 2 legged residents move elsewhere.

Yup, though it was 2 leggeds that brought Marcy to a new life, one she seems pretty happy with, she still finds them to be a bother.  Other than the hallway, just inside the back door, (she really can’t get away since the hallway is pretty narrow),  we can’t approach her without her running away.  While the act of ear scratching is heaven to Marcy, in her mind the pre-capture, or the entry into her personal space by a human is Hell.  That Hell being the reason she is not so sure, she really NEEDS ear scratches.

The intent was to tame this little shrew and then rehome her.  Problem is, how many people out there will accept a dog into their family that will scream like a banshee on a leash?  Marcy is absolutely adorable… who wouldn’t want to cuddle her?  Problem is, in Marcy world, humans have only 2 purposes: opening doors for her and feeding her.  Note that picking up, cuddling and petting are NOT on the list.   Not so good on a resume for a dog looking for a home.

 

 

SOS will list Marcy as adoptable, but we are not holding our breath.   We don’t blame the rescue for not knowing Marcy’s condition.  74 stray dogs, in a very small area does not a lot of personal relationships make.  SOS believed Marcy was from a certain litter.  We were ALL stunned to find out she was significantly older.    The fact that this petite little girl survived so long on her own is a testament to her abilities, sans humans,  To be that strong and independent her whole life, who can blame her if she isn’t rushing so fast when 2 leggeds are telling her she has to do what THEY want.

I am not announcing a new permanent resident to Run A Muck Ranch at this time.  Who knows, maybe there is a home out there, with existing fun dogs that will accept her for who she is.  The purpose of The Marcy Chronicles category of this blog are for people who might be interested in her.  I want to show the good, the bad and the ugly so they will know what they are getting into.

But know this:  If no one steps up who wants to add Marcy to their family, she is safe and accepted right where she is.  Good for Marcy, bummer for SOS.  Afterall, who else is going to keep a dog that they can barely touch?  We already have 12 we can’t beat off with stick, do you really think it bothers us that Marcy prefers to stay away from OUR personal space???  I am sure SOS will encounter more Marcys.  If Marcy stays with us, we can’t foster for them.

Some of the videos you have seen were kind of disturbing.  There are some fun ones on their way, all absent any humans.

It’s Happy Hector!

Never before have I met a dog with such well-developed wagging muscles! There is absolutely nothing you can do to alter Hector’s perpetually happy mood.  Needless to say, it is infectious.

Hector is the adventurer of the family.  There is no stone that can be left unturned, no trail to be left unexplored, and no cliff high enough that he won’t jump off simply to get to the bottom faster so he can explore more.  When people refer to a dog being ‘fearless’, usually it means they have no fear of people or other dogs.  In Hector’s case, his fearlessness is absolute.

The very first day we met, Hector didn’t even acknowledge me.  He had been in the pound more than a month, and when brought to the mandatory “Meet and Greet” he was more interested in exploring than in Meeting or Greeting.  No worries, ours was a foster arrangement anyway.   He didn’t need to impress me.

Before Hector could find a home, he had to have his cherry eye corrected, this being the probable reason he remained at the pound for so long.   An appointment was made, and in he went for his surgery.   I tell you what, you have NEVER seen a happier dog in an e-collar.  As I said earlier, NOTHING can make Hector un-happy.  It was one evening, as e-collar clad Hector was happily being tickled by The Crabby Man that Crabby announced “He’s not going anywhere!”.   How could you not want to enjoy the happiness exuded from Happy Hector!  So, when the surgery reimbursement check arrived from Hector’s rescue, as pre-arranged with my contact, the check was torn up and Hector stayed with us.

So many people think Hector is anti-social when they meet him on grounds away from home.  I assure you, that is not the case!  He is actually a very loving little guy, but he can love anytime.  Now is for exploring.   Take him to dog park, he doesn’t even notice the other dogs or the people for that matter.  He will spend hours just sniffing.   When he is on the hunt, even I don’t exist in his world.

But bring him home, and it’s a different story.  He has already conquered all that needs to be conquered here.  Unless a stray lizard or bunny drifts in, Hector has already seen it.  And when his adventurer spirit is not turned on, Hector is a cuddler who loves his Mom and Dad, and especially loves his sister Sarah.

Home doesn’t have to be boring for Happy Hector.  Not at all.  Look at him and the tail starts wagging.  Say his name and Hector gets happy.  Say his name in a high-pitched voice and he goes into a Mega Happy Fit.   Take off his collar and try to put it back on and Hector goes into a Turbo Happy Fit.

Hector’s all over body happiness does have  a negative.  His cherry eye fix didn’t take, so he needs to have his tear duct removed.  Problem is, once this is done, he will require eye drops twice daily for the rest of his life.  Can you imagine trying to pin a happy, squiggly Hector down for twice daily eye drops when just making eye contact is enough to make him happy?  Not an easy task, so we wait until it is absolutely necessary.  Hopefully by that time Hector will mellow a little.

How Hector ultimately came to us needs a little further explanation and a certain Kudos needs to be given:

If not for the amazing and selfless efforts of Amanda Chilcher, the stars would not have aligned to bring Hector and us together.  Amanda, we were, are and forever will, remain in your debt.

To follow Amanda’s work, please visit

http://www.examiner.com/animal-welfare-in-phoenix/amanda-chilcher

It’s Emmi!

Of all the kids that have darkened our doorway, none were as sick or broken as Emmi.  Not before, not after, and hopefully never again will I ever look into the eyes of a dog who had so completely given up.  She wasn’t scared.  She passed scared long before we ever met her.  Emmi was to the point she knew everyone was going to hurt her, she knew she couldn’t stop it, so she just lowered her eyes and waited for the inevitable.  It wasn’t as if she could run away, she could barely walk at the time.

The first day I met her, I believed Emmi would never make it to the Ranch.   There were two reasons for this: First, I wasn’t sure she would live.  But she did.  Second, she was so delicate, so wounded, so far away, I thought our home, even as a foster home, would be too rough on her.  My bad.

Within minutes of moving to the Ranch from her quarantine foster home Emmi’s eyes changed.  She began looking up.  The tail began to wag, though not as a normal dog wags, and she came to life.  And she played, boy did she play!  She had never played up to that point.

This is the part where you are thinking:  “OK, here it comes.  The Crazy Dog Lady is going to talk about how well she and The Crabby Man work with dogs.”  Sorry, that isn’t the case.   The humans of the house had absolutely nothing to do with Emmi’s changes – it was the other kids who did it.   Being reunited with her brother, Slugger the Stupid, and a larger pack of welcoming K9’s  buffered Emmi from direct human contact and allowed her set her own pace.  If we the humans did anything to help Emmi emotionally, it was to leave her alone and let her come to us.  I am not so sure the outcome would have been the same if we forced ourselves on her.

It was I think a couple of months before Emmi did her first people cuddle, and it was with The Crabby Man.  Yup, I took a picture. It was a monumental event.

Emmi’s first cuddle

Before this, though she accepted us, she still had her doubts, and for that reason, we didn’t push her.

Emmi latched onto The Crabby Man long before she decided I was kind of nice to have around.  Maude was the original Daddy’s Girl, but Emmi…  Emmi could write a book on the subject.  Despite not being as organized, punctual and neat like Maude and Franky, Emmi has a power over The Crabby Man the likes of which Maude never had.  Please note:  Emmi in no way nudges Maude off the Daddy’s Favorite Girl pedestal, but Emmi has innate powers over The Crabby Man.  Maude had to figure out how to train him as she went.

Emmi is wild, yet loveable.  She is adventurous and fun.  She will accept any dog into the fold on their terms, but if they aren’t cuddlers, they better learn to do so in a hurry because Emmi loves dogs, and she likes to show it.

Emmi is Slugger’s biological sister.  We say Emmi got all the smart genes, Slugger only got the pretty ones.   Where Slugger couldn’t get his own head out of a paper bag, Emmi wouldn’t have gotten her head stuck in the bag to begin with.  Standing side by side, it is hard to believe they came from the same litter, but if you look close, they both have the same butt hump and the same floppy pig ears.  Slugger is delightful in a stupid way, Emmi is just delightful.

We did try to rehome Emmi, but in December 2011, x-rays revealed that Emmi’s past and her Valley Fever had left her bones riddled with problems and she will require a lifetime of treatment.  If people were reluctant to adopt her over her Valley Fever medications. costing $40 a month, chances were no one would manage her health issues overall. Therefore, on Christmas Day, 2011, on a Family Desert Walk, Emmi got the promise that we were her forever family.   So far, Emmi hasn’t raised any objections.

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In closing, I need to give a little dedication here.  Emmi’s name was originally Hope.  When she got the promise that she was staying with us, we realized “Hope” had to go.   You tell me what we sound like calling out “Sarah!  Gracie!  Hope!”.   Way too puritan for our tastes.

There came a time when I was introduced to The Puppy Rescue Mission, more particularly the story of an Afghanistan stray puppy named Emmi, loved by a US soldier.

It had been the soldier’s hope to bring Emmi to the United States where she would be loved.  The soldier’s plea for help and her story about Emmi really effected me.  Sadly, Emmi died before she could be saved.

War Zones and Third World Countries don’t corner the market on cruelty.  Our then Hope was proof of that.

Two defenseless little girls, worlds apart, with similar lives.  One died.  The other carries her name.  Neither will be forgotten.

To help soldiers bring home their battle buddies, please visit

http://www.nowzad.com/

http://www.sacfund.org/Pages/default.aspx

http://www.thepuppyrescuemission.org/

To all soldiers, past present and future:  Thank you for your Service.

Franky the Favorite

By the time Franky presented himself  to us, we knew no one would be looking for him so no attempt was ever made to find his original people.  We also didn’t to try to rehome him either.

Actually, why would we try to send him elsewhere?  He was housebroken, quiet, his color blended with the background, and he was relatively small.  People always tell us “What’s one more?  You won’t even notice!”.  In Franky’s case,  that statement was true. But, there were not as many back then as there is now either.

Franky is a cuddle bug, and the all he ever asked for is someone to cuddle to, and of course, regular meals.   As far as the other kids, well, he needed a roof, the roof came with other dogs, ergo, he assimilated.  However, dogs outside the home, or dogs that came in after Franky…  he doth protest from time to time.  Franky is the beacon of order in the mass of chaos that is the rest of the pack.  He can be spontaneous as long as he can schedule it ahead of time.   I don’t think I have ever seen Franky play with a dog toy, but he is an expert with a tennis ball.

If you remember, I have said a few times that under the radar, low-key and no pressure are the trick to get under The Crabby Man’s skin.  Franky was and remains the master of those techniques and more.  Therefore, he moved to the top of the favorite chain, second to Maude, in short order, in The Crabby Man’s book.

Me, I rotate dogs that sleep on the people bed.  The Crazy Dog Man, he reaches for Franky almost every night.  Before Emmi moved in, only Franky and Maude ever got cuddle time with him on the couch.  Maude enjoyed a certain tone of voice when she was addressed by The Crabby Man.  I never heard him use it with any of the other kids…  until Franky.  I am not even sure if The Crabby Man has ever chastised Franky for anything… then again, I am not even sure Franky has ever done anything wrong.

The Crabby Man had to wear braces as a kid.  Maybe his affinity to Franky is dental related, maybe it is just that Franky is probably the most point and shoot dog that has ever walked through the door.  Whatever the case, Franky’s status as Most Respected Dog was almost immediate.

Let me give it to you metaphorically:  My truck – well, unless you have your shots, probably best not to get in it.   All seats but the driver’s seat are covered, and I think there is something living under the dashboard.  The Crabby Man’s vehicle:  put it this way:  I swear he irons the sun visor.  Until Franky, only Maude showed any indication of preferring  organization and adherence to rules.  I guess like attracts like.

Because Franky lives within the lines pretty much at all times, I am not sure there will be a lot of stories about him.  From deviants come stories.  Good dogs become favorites of The Crabby Man.   If you don’t hear about Mr. Franky that much, just know, it isn’t that he is any less loved than his brothers and sisters, it is just he prefers the background.

Slugger is as Slugger does

Of all of the kids, Slugger’s is the hardest bio to write.  It isn’t a case that I can’t think of anything to write, it’ that there’s just too much to write, and I have no clue how to keep it cohesive.

A few tid bits about Slugger:

He once got stuck in a corner.

He eats 1 kibble at a time, and must chew each one thoroughly before swallowing.

He can jump into and out of the Waggin’ Waggon,  as well as on and off the couch, but he can not jump onto or off the people bed.

If something gets stuck to his butt, he circles endlessly in an attempt to get at the sticky object.

He absolutely, positively, can not remain clean for any period of time.

He is highly flatulent.

I can’t remember what it was, but once when something scared him.  His reaction was to run behind DASH!, DASH! who is only a fraction of Slugger’s size.

He used to be afraid of bunnies.

If you plant a flower, Slugger will follow behind you, and with great care and concentration, remove the flower from the plant, with no damage to the plant, mind you, then chew said flower thoroughly before swallowing.

I could go on…

I have never encountered a creature like Slugger, ever.  We thought Hector was mentally challenged, until  DASH! made him seem intelligent.  Compared to Slugger, DASH! is a genius. Trust me when I tell you, that isn’t saying much for DASH!.

I’m not saying Slug isn’t the brightest bulb on the tree – that would be giving him too much credit.  Slugger is the bulb that failed quality control so it never left the factory to be put on the tree to begin with.

Let me give you an example of what we are dealing with here:

Let’s pretend Slugger has the ability to hold a crayon.  You give him a piece of paper, hand him a box of crayons and leave the room.  When you return, Slugger has colored on the wall with the red crayon and he is so proud of his artwork!  Now Slugger really does, even as his doggy self, want to be a good kid, so when you tell him coloring on the wall is wrong, he gives you his sad face while promising never to do it again.

The next day, you set him up with his paper and crayons again and leave the room.  You come back and see that he has removed the red crayon from the box and moved it far away from his person so as not to use it improperly.  Problem is, he has scribbled all over the wall with the blue crayon.   But he is so proud of himself!  He didn’t use the red crayon, just like he promised, and Golly!  Look at the pretty picture he drew, all by himself!

Do you see where I am going with this?

How long it takes to get the message through depends on how many crayons are in the box, and lest we forget, most rooms have 4 walls.  Each color of crayon and each wall presents a different situation.

It’s not that Slugger is a bad kid, it’s that he needs direction, constantly.  Once you show him right from wrong, he remembers the lesson.  You don’t have to yell, or rant, or get mean in any way.  Just tell him “No” and the behavior will never happen again.  Problem is, with every “No!” you get the sad face.

Here is the disconnect: While the rest of us live in a world of black and white, Slugger lives in a world of an infinite number of shades of gray.  Our challenge is to anticipate all possible shades of gray a situation may present before Slugger does.  Let me tell you, it is not easy.

To many, if not most, people, what I have just described sounds like a dog that would be unacceptable in most homes.  Actually, it is quite the opposite.  Despite his mental short comings, and our exhausting efforts to be good parents, even when he is being ‘bad’, Slugger is irresistible.  Some people are glass half full, others are glass half empty, Slugger’s glass perpetually runeth over, and this is why even when he’s “bad” all you can do is shake your head and smile.

Morty is a great kid, don’t get me wrong, but a part of me is both jealous and resentful of him.  Slugger immediately latched on to him and never let go.  Because of this,  Morty is changing my ‘special’ little boy.  Though lifting the leg while peeing didn’t stick – Morty has taught Slugger other things I am not pleased with.

i.e.

Slugger used to twist, contort and do all that was required to avoid getting his belly wet in the pool.  It was quite the show.  Absolutely hysterical watching the many positions he would assume to get as wet as possible, without getting a drop on his tummy.   Morty showed him that full body submersion is better.  Now, not only does Slugger fully submerge, he practically snorkels.

and

It used to be that Slugger absolutely, positively could not standup and walk on the people bed.  He would slither around like a snake.  But Morty showed him that walking was easier.  My Slugger Snake is gone forever.

There are many more examples, but I am getting misty just thinking about my pre-Morty Slug-Nut.  My only hope at this point is the fact that Morty, a loud and proud Leg Lifter when he moved in, has become a Slugger-like stand and squat slightly pee-er.  Perhaps maybe, just maybe, Slugger can convince Morty that the ways of the world are too complicated and it is better for all concerned if Morty convert to Slugger-ways.  Maybe then I will get my Slug-Nut back.

Slugger is the biological brother to Emmi.  We say that Emmi got all the smart genes and Slugger only got the pretty ones.   Emmi got the promise that this was her forever home on Christmas Day 2011, shortly after we found out she would be a lifetime medical dog.  Slugger was still going to adoption events.  He did not get his promise until March of 2012.

I don’t know why we waited so long to give Slugger his promise.  He knew at our first hug, when he was a mangy emaciated piece of trash that he was home. I like to think that home to him isn’t the ground he now lives on, but the arms that held him when no one else would.

I love all the kids equally, but there is something about Slugger…

If you are ever in the Phoenix area and are scoping the local attractions, be sure to look up Slugger.  He, and I hate to admit it, more than all of the other kids combined, is worth the trip.

Vito the Protector

You know those people who really annoy you by preaching something while they themselves do exactly the opposite?  For example, a person that says not to judge a book by its cover yet they are the first to judge?  Well, apparently, I am one of those very people.

Vito came to us as a foster, and when he was handed over to me, I confess, I was disappointed.  We are relatively fun people!  We want fun fosters!  What about this says fun?

Not a darn thing!

What you are seeing is a foo foo that should  have his own wardrobe of clothing, painted nails, resting on a doily, with a name like Pookey.  This guy, all 8 pounds of him, wasn’t going to last a minute with the kids at the Ranch!  Fortunately, there are a lot of Grannies and Great Aunt Harriets that would be looking for a posh pup, so I figured we wouldn’t have him very long.

I took the little purse pet home and started to acclimate him to the other dogs, ready to jump in and rescue him at what I thought would be whimpers of disdain when he saw the uncivilized nature of the pack.

Wanna know what his first order of business was?  He pegged Sarah, the Pit Bull,  as the toughest of the pack and proceeded to attempt to remove her nose.  Poor Sarah, all 74 pounds of her, was defenseless.

Then he realized there was space to run – a whole half acre in which to stretch his legs.  The boy had quite a bit of pent-up energy.   He just wanted to run like the wind, which he did, longer than I ever thought a dog of his stature could.

Once inside the house, he was not the little lap dog I envisioned, not even close.  Elaboration will be for other Blog entries.

Turns out, the probable reason this little blonde, soft as a bunny creature found himself without a home is that he refused to comply with the stereotypical role dogs of his appearance are expected to live by.  He wasn’t a Pookey.  He was a scrapper!  Not only is he a scrapper, but a loyal one at that.  He didn’t know his living situation with us was supposed to be temporary, maybe if he had known it would have made a difference,  but once he moved in, he lived by the creed:   No one messes with the family.  NO ONE! Hence, the name Vito.

Given Vito’s highly protective nature, it’s no wonder he became personal bodyguard to the weakest link in the pack.   It’s not a case that Slugger isn’t the brightest bulb on the tree.  It is more like he was one of the bulbs that didn’t pass Quality Control at the factory, so he never made it to the tree to begin with.  At the time Vito came in to foster, Slugger was afraid of bunnies.  Fortunately, Vito, who was smaller than some of the bunnies, was there to protect Slugger from the long-eared demons.   But it didn’t stop there.

On their very first jaunt to Dog Park together, Vito ran off to play with the big dogs (note his preference!)  while Slugger hunkered behind me.  A bulldog, bigger than Slugger began picking on him.  At the first girly yip from Slugger, a tiny blonde blur came out of nowhere and proceeded to bloody the lip of the bulldog.  As I said NO ONE messes with the family! Not when Vito is around.

There have been other incidences where one of the other kids or I have been in mortal peril of some sort from an outside entity, and the *only* reason we survived our ordeals was because of Vito’s quick action.

We ended up keeping Vito, as if we needed another dog.  Thing is, no fun people who would let the little ganster be himself were interested in adopting him.  Only doily people contacted us.  Maybe it was just us not giving other people enough credit, but eventually we just convinced ourselves that while Vito could live anywhere, he could only be truly alive being himself with us. Maybe we needed Vito more than he needed us, but in the end, Vito isn’t complaining.

According to Vito, the most threatening of entities to us are lizards.. er, I mean dragons.  He will run through fire to chase one.  Though Vito believes he is faster than lightning, in reality, not so much.  It never occurred to us that he would actually catch a lizard.  Imagine our shock and surprise when he finally conquered one and brought it in the house.  Thankfully, that particular dragon was alive and unharmed.   He was fast  too when Vito dropped him on the floor, but not as fast as The Crabby Man who would have run right through the South Wall of the house had I not caught the lizard before it could do whatever it was The Crabby Man thought it was going to do.  (You think his reaction to a lizard is bad?  I should tell you some of the spider stories sometime!).  The lizard was released in the front yard, away from the danger of Vito, incidentally.

Vito is a tough little guy who I sincerely believe will defend his family to the death if it came to it.  But he is also very sweet and playful to anyone he encounters, K9 or human.

What you are about to see can NEVER get back to Vito.  If he finds out I posted a video of a weak moment (he really wanted up on the people bed) to the Internet, he may never forgive me!  The only reason Sarah was allowed to witness the pitiful display is that she knows what will happen to her if she says anything.  The only reason DASH! is permitted to live is that he was already forgetting what was occurring while it was going on.

In closing I leave you with this:  You want to give us trouble?  You have to get past our Chihuahua first!

For the Love of Sarah

Sare Bear was initially the easiest of the “pass through’ dogs we have ever had.  I brought her home on a Monday.  The very next day she was rehomed to a friend with 3 children.  Lucky for us, and for Sarah, she was returned to us a day or 2 later.   It never occurred to me that the adoptive family would bring home a pit bull without checking with their landlord first.

So, the cat is out of the bag:  Our Sarah is a Red Nose Pit bull, brought into our home with other dogs.  We knew nothing about her before then other than she needed help.

Psssst!  Little known secret:  Pittys aren’t the problem. People are, whether they feel the need to force a pit to make them feel more manly or they are just prejudiced based on the selective press that appears on our television screens.

I mentioned that it was lucky for us that Sarah was returned.  This is why:  She is an absolute angel, adored especially by the little dogs, appreciated by Maude, our old lady (for the ability to hold intelligent conversation), and best girlfriend to Emmi.  She was about 2 years old when she came through our door and in the nearly 2 years she has been with us, she has never made a mess in the house, listens the first time, and offers us a lot of comic relief.  She is an absolute love, loved not just by us, but by several of my landscape clients that borrow her from time to time.

Sarah is one of the 3 stars in the following Public Service Message:

Sare Bear is a beauty, isn’t she?


I also said coming back to us was lucky for Sarah.  This reason is heartbreaking to us:  Sarah is a Hospice dog.  She will never get old.  There are old neck injuries that didn’t heal right.   There is a surgical option, but the cost is prohibitive, even if she was our only kid.  If we had the money, it is only 50/50 that the surgery would save her.  To us, it is quality and not quantity that is important.

Under the direction of our veterinarian, we are managing Sarah for pain, when it occurs.  A pre-set threshold has been set on her medications, and once that threshold has been reached, we will let her go, her Mom and Dad holding her as she leaves, and she will be buried with the brothers and sisters she didn’t know, as well as one she did, another little one that adored her.

It took us almost a year to find out what was wrong with Sare Bear, mostly due to the fact her condition was blamed on Valley Fever.  At the time we got the devastating diagnosis, January 2012, we were given maybe 2 years at most.  Though there have been some bad days, Sarah has not needed full medication since March.  We have not even gotten through the first filling of pills!  Initially,  the full script, with 2 refills was *hopefully* to get us through the first 6 months.   In the time since January, despite tripping more, she is actually scores better in all other respects.  While that is good news, accredited to the treating of the Valley Fever, the underlying problem won’t go away.

The number of people out there that would keep Sarah, knowing that she would be leaving too soon, are few.  The number of people who would have put her down immediately given her diagnosis are far too many.  I personally only know of one family other than us that would have.  The family that adopted her; they would have put her down immediately.

It doesn’t matter if it is a day, a week, a month, any day spent with Sarah is a treasure.  Many tears will be shed for her when the inevitable happens, but when it does, we don’t need sympathy for our ‘loss’.  Not at all.  We are the luckiest people on earth that the stars aligned to bring this beautiful and loving soul to us, no matter how long we can have her.

We promised Sarah that we would never let her get to the point of suffering.  But we also promised her  we wouldn’t let her go until it was time.  It’s about her life, not our emotions.  Until then, there will be stories to be told, of a wonderful girl who is loved by many people.  I am sure you will grow to love her as much as we do.

If I do this right, at least one reader that follows Sarah’s progress will offer themselves as a family and home for a hospice dog in need.  One reader who otherwise wouldn’t have.

Angus – He’s Sexy and He Knows it!

This is my hottie, Angus.

If he were human, Angus would earn the Sexiest Man Alive title every year.   I know it, everyone who knows him knows it, and more importantly, he knows it.    No picture really does him justice.

We didn’t pick Angus because of his looks.  I told The Crabby Man to pick the pup out of the litter of tiny tan and white blobs.  He pointed to the one closest to me and said “That one.  Can we go now?”.  Either The Crabby Man has some kind of gift, or we just got lucky.
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Thing about Angus, he LOVES the ladies.  Doesn’t matter what species, if you are female, Angus checks his breath on his paw and saunters up with a “How YOU doin’?”.  Kind of like Joey on the sit com Friends.  If you are female, doesn’t matter what species, you will respond to the flirting.
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Angus used to get loose from the yard to go visiting and in doing so gained a pretty sizeable fan base.   No one ever called on his tags, or responded to our posters, for quite a while after Angus arrived on their doorstep.  Nope, they would visit with him for a while first.  When having to say good-bye to him after the arrival of The Crazy Dog Lady, every last one couldn’t resist just one more grabbing of a handful of fluffy chest hair.
Because even hotties have embarrassing pics sometimes!

Flirty as he was, and with all the groupies he had, all related to his personality, he was also cursed with near perfect Corgi-ness.  His vet told me Angus was an excellent example of the breed and would make a great stud.  What I  heard was “I get to be a Grandma!”.  For that reason, he was not neutered as I searched for the perfect mother to my grand puppy.  With all of Angus’ fans, Momma Corgi could have a litter of 12, and having 1 stay with us, the others would have to be placed by lottery or to the highest bidders.  Many people had already said that if he was bred, they wanted a puppy.

Fear not readers!  Despite his escaping, there was not one case of stumpy legged coyotes and no posters or advertisements  for free stumpy legged mutt puppies.   The area was relatively small back then.  If Angus had puppies somewhere, I would have known about it.
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One fateful day, The Crabby Man brought home what we were pretty sure was a dog he found wandering down a dark road in the predawn hours.  It was a new female, species unimportant, in Angus’ house, so of course he set about working his magic.  Only problem was, she was unspayed and in heat (Hey, in our defense, we didn’t realize it until we got home from work!).  Way too much temptation for an unneutered Corgi.  No one claimed the unidentifiable female creature, and she remains with us as our Gracie.  She was spayed with all the professionalism, compassion  and care as can be expected in a veterinary office, while Angus was neutered in the back of a box truck mobile clinic called Nip and Snip.  It did not go well.  Angus spent the next week lying on his back with an ice pack sitting where his manlies once were.

Gracie is the most submissive of all of our kids, unless of course we are talking about Angus.   He is no longer permitted to flirt with females of any species in her presence.  If he even thinks of getting out of line in that respect, Gracie WILL put him in his place.  In other words, the one and only time Angus got lucky, he got neutered, had to marry the girl, and she is bossy.

I can’t give you a video blurb of Angus because Gracie wants him modest.  We can’t get more than a second or 2 of the camera on Angus before Gracie runs over and starts humping him.

Because of Angus’ roaming ways early on, his misfortune at the box truck butcher shop, and a more recent adventure that will be the subject of its own blog entry later,  he is not able to boast the same ‘easy life’  that Maude can.  But like Maude, the minute he became one of us, he became one of us forever.  He just has more stories to tell.

I want to end this bio with a couple of disclaimers:

Never again will we seek out a purebred puppy.  If I had it all to do over again, of course, I would go back and get my Angus. But looking around at what is laying at my feet at this very moment, there is no reason to promote breeding when there are so many Perfection Hounds (A little bit of the best of everything) needing homes.

Also, at the time Gracie came in, I was actively seeking a Momma Corgi for my grandpuppy.  But grandpuppy didn’t have to be purebred, so if Gracie was pregnant, from her would come my grandpuppy.  But we had another problem:  What do to with Gracie?  No one claimed her.   No one wanted her.   If we were actively looking to get a grandpuppy, then by definition we were actively looking to add another dog to the family.  The grandpuppy was not here, but Gracie was.  End of story.

PS:  Gracie was not pregnant and no puppies resulted.