A Synopsis of Gertie’s Hugging Expedition Today

Work, Emmi, an incident with Gracie (don’t worry John, she’s fine) were already enough to keep me in non-regular-blog mode. The Cutest Pet Contest we entered Gertie in sucked up the rest of the time.

Do you have ANY idea how hard it is to keep up with sharing contest entries on social media?  I even took a foray into Craig’s List, Backpage and a few other less than desirable sites on this!  Thank goodness it’s only a 10 day contest!

The result:  We’re in the lead by 100, contest ends tomorrow.   Gertie just may grace the cover of the May issue of 85086 Magazine and gain publicity for 1,000 Hugs for Gertie yet!

A truly awesome result:  The publicity Gertie is getting for her campaign is incredible!  Though they don’t count toward Gert’s goal of 1,000 physical hugs, she has received virtual hugs from as far away as Italy, Russia, Spain, and Japan, to name a few.  Many of these virtual hugs being accompanied by photos of elder dog family members of the hugger.  If Gertie’s mission accomplishes nothing else, it has provided a forum for people to strut their senior dogs.  That’s a pretty good accomplishment if you ask me!

Anyway, this week is Arizona Bike Week.  Gertie had great luck collecting hugs from bikers in the past, so we decided to try again.  It was going to be less than 80 degrees outside, and Cave Creek, a biker hot spot, is very close.

Heather, hug #16, introduced Gertie to several of her friends in the Desert Souls Brotherhood at the Roadrunner back in December.  I should have realized then that bikers are the best huggers.

So off we went, at 11:30 am this morning:

Gertie knows when she’s loaded up and her vest is near, good things are on the horizon!


You’re never too old to hang your head out the window!  Sorry about the water spots on the mirror.
First parking location.  Can you hear the crickets?  The place looked completely abandoned.

Cave Creek is not known for it’s reasonable parking accommodations on a good day.  On a day with hundreds, possibly thousands of bikes, we knew it would be especially problematic.  The original plan was to park at the Post Office after it closed, then walk to the festivities.    The Barkista Mobile was as big a flag as we could wave to Facebook people who went to Cave Creek to hug Gertie.  See the car, know we’re here.  Want to find us?  My phone number is on the front corner panel.  Just call me and we’ll find each other. Also, the Waggin’ Wagon isn’t as nimble as the Barkista Mobile.  If parking was at a premium we needed nimble!

2 problems with this original plan:

1)  Despite living here for 20 years, AND at one time being the Assistant to the Town Engineer of Cave Creek, I was clueless as to the distance from point A to B.  It was too far for Gertie to walk.

and, even if Gertie could go the distance

2) There was a sheriff deputy posted nearby to make sure no one interloped on the Post Office Parking lot.

So we went right into the belly of the beast, parking in Gateway Park, with a relatively short walk to the festivities.

And then were were there:

This was just the eastern edge of motorcycle parking.  They went forever!

Gertie got her first hug within seconds of walking into the vendor area, then her second, then her 3rd.

Gertie made a canine friend, the beautiful …  I’d tell you her name if I could read my own writing!  It starts with an M and ends with an “a” or a “u”.  My bad!

By hug 6, minutes after arriving, we realized we had a problem:  Too much heat was radiating from the pavement and it was quickly taking it’s toll on Gertie.

So she lay down in the shade of one of the trailers, and the hugs kept coming

Hug # 50, Vonda at Bike Week, 4/9/16

In the shade of another trailer came more hugs.  Under the shade of a booth, yet more!

Group Hug!  Ashley (r) was hug # 55.  This is hug # 55.5 and 56, with Small  Block.  Is this not a great pic?

At this point only 15 to 20 minutes had passed, and I don’t think we had made it 100 feet since entering the vendor area, but we had to call it quits.

Gertie had no problem with the crowd.  Actually, I honestly think she would have preferred we took the leash off so she could mingle more freely.

The motorcycle and other loud noises were not an issue either – keep in mind, Gertie is completely deaf!

The problem was, despite it being less than 80 degrees, so much heat was bouncing off the pavement, Gertie was uncomfortable and not having fun.  Remember, the most important part of these expeditions is that Gertie have fun.

So we had to turn around, which is when we met Eric, Hug #60.

We ran out of water within 5 minutes due to the heat effect.  Eric gave Gertie a bottle on the way out.
Which lead to a great wet spot to lay in!

The exit was just on the other side of this trailer.  We found a tree to sit under for a few minutes to help Gertie cool down a little more, then we did the only rational next move.

A stop at Dairy Queen for a little more cooling therapy

Where we met

Linda, Hug #61 at Dairy Queen.

All told, Gertie collected 19 hugs in, at most, a 1/2 hour at the Bike Week Vendor area.  If the heat hadn’t gotten to her so bad and so quickly, I have no doubt we could have collected 100 easily, probably more.  But Gertie’s comfort is more important than hug count.

Weather permitting (there’s a storm coming in), I may try to see if I can take her back tomorrow morning when it’s cooler.  I don’t have to work, so I can get there earlier.

Both from the experience at The Roadrunner back in December, and the hug collecting expedition of this morning, I can honestly say, bikers by far are the most open and welcoming huggers. Bike week only comes once a year, and it would be very disappointing to lose so many hugging opportunities.  Cross fingers conditions tomorrow allow for more hugs.

From the bottom of my heart, I thank all of you who hugged Gertie this morning.  You made an old lady very happy.

My personal favorite:

Duchess, hug # 58.  She kept on hugging Gertie long after the camera was put away.  Gertie would have stayed in her arms all day, if not for the heat.
I’ll be ready for more hugs after a nap, Ma!  Can we go again?  Huh?  Can we?

To see all of Gertie’s collected hugs, go to The Photo Album on her Facebook page.  I’ve set it to public so non-Facebook users should be able to see them.



Facebook Anyone? Gertie Needs Your Vote

I apologize to those of you sane enough NOT to have a Facebook account since you can’t participate, but for those who do:

Gertie has been entered in the 85086 Magazine’s Cutest Pet Contest.  Is it because she is a cute pet?  Nay I say!

Gertie has her own facebook page, 1,000 Hugs for Gertie, where she is trying to get 1,000 hugs before she dies.

Gertie, all decked out to receive hugs. 

Gertie absolutely loves meeting new people, and believe it or not, loves getting a little too cozy with them.  It kind of came to me in a dream that we should see how many hugs she can get from unique huggers.   1,000 Hugs for Gertie sounded so much better than 75 Hugs for Gertie or 128 Hugs for Gertie.  Ergo, the campaign 1,000 Hugs for Gertie was born.

That was the easy part.  I swear I could find more participation if I were begging for money!  At least then I’d be normal!   But I’m not asking for money, I’m asking for hugs for Gertie.  That makes me one of the reasons people carry pepper spray!   I guess people aren’t used to Crazy Dog Ladies asking people to hug giant, geriatric dogs.

In 4 months we’ve amassed a whopping 38 hugs (see them Here.  Unfortunately, I don’t think you can see them unless you have Facebook.)

As promised, we removed the people bed since jumping on or off of it was a danger to Emmi. Problem is, the mattress remained just long enough for Gertie to think all of her dreams had come true:  A people bed she could get on.  So, while the people are relegated to the floor on camping mats,  Gertie and siblings now enjoy the luxury of  a pillow top mattress, with free linen service.  We didn’t have the heart to take the mattress away from Gertie. 

Back to the Contest:

85086 Magazine is a magazine with a target area of those residents in zip code, you guessed it, 85086.  It is distributed, free, to all residents and businesses in that zip code – a number exceeding 50,000.

What zip code does Gertie live in?  85086.

A win would get Gertie the cover of the May 2016 issue as well as a feature story.  That feature story couldn’t be written without mentioning Gertie’s goal of 1,000 hugs.

A feature story about a furry old lady looking for hugs would connect Gertie with a hundred or 2 huggers close to home and make other people less likely to call the white suits on me, pan handling for hugs.

So, can we get your vote?

Like 85086 Magazine (click here to go there) on Facebook, then click the “85086 Cutest Pet Contest” tab (to the right of the photos tab).  Find Gertie’s photo

This is the one they are using for the contest

And vote for her.

You can vote once a day.

Blessedly this is only a 10 day contest, so voting ends on April 10.

A vote today could mean many hugs for Gertie in the near future.

The lengths we go to here at Run A Muck Ranch to keep The Horde happy.


No Respect

You’ve all seen the pics of poor, gimpy Sare Bear being used as a mattress for Emmi, Hector, Franky and DASH!.

Let’s add one more to the list.

Slugger the Flatulent has now decided Sarah makes a great pillow.
Slugger the Flatulent has now decided Sarah makes a great pillow.

You can tell from the look on Sarah’s face she’s just THRILLED with the situation.

Poor Sare Bear can’t get any respect.

Once Again Trauma Strikes Run A Muck Ranch

Sarah’s nails are getting a little long, so I decided to trim them.   She’s is one of the easier kids to give a mani/pedi to, rarely even waking up for it.

As easy as Sarah is to work with, only a moron could possibly quick her.   I would be that moron.  The event was traumatic for both of us.

The toe was cleaned, flour applied to slow the bleeding, and Sarah given a cheese transfusion to help her make it through the shock.


It looks worse than it appears.  I used flour to stop the bleeding.  Anyone who's ever used flour for this purpose knows you're just creating red paper mache.
It looks worse than it appears. I used flour to stop the bleeding. Though it does the trick, it ends up becoming red paper mache and makes it look like you chopped the entire toe off.  I assure you, all Sarah’s toes are in tact!


Anyone who has ever trimmed nails has at one time or another quicked one.  In all these years of toe wrangling, I have never seen a bleeder as bad as Sarah.   It seemed like she lost buckets.


We're losing her!  We're losing her!
We’re losing her! We’re losing her!

Once the bleeding finally slowed, I bandaged the foot.


Feet are never fun to bandage.  Put it on too loose and it falls off.  Too tight and the foot swells up.
Feet are never fun to bandage. Put it on too loose and it falls off. Too tight and the foot swells up.


As you can see, Sarah is still very weak from the trauma.

Once bandaged, Sarah was forced to spend the rest of the afternoon confined to the couch.


As you can see, couch confinement was a bitter pill to swallow.
Couch confinement was a bitter pill to swallow.



It's a terrible life.
It’s a terrible life.

At one point Sarah seemed to be in distress.


Gasp....Need chickin!
Gasp….Neeeeed chickin!


So a piece of chicken set aside from the people dinner was administered.


That's better.
Able to relax again!


An hour or so later, we decided it would be a good idea for Sarah to ambulate, so I helped her off the couch.


Groan.... too soon Mom!
Groan…. too soon Mom!


I think a little something in the way of a late evening snack might help me gain my strength back.  Just sayin...
I think a little something in the way of a late evening snack might help me gain my strength back. Just sayin…


Just what the doctor ordered!
Just what the doctor ordered!


After the strength injecting mini meal, Sarah was able to go outside to relieve herself and chase some hoo doos.

Upon return to the house, however, she hadn’t the strength to get back on the couch, or should I say, fight for her spot which had been taken by Morty, Gracie, Franky, Hector, Emmi and Pablo.  She had no other choice but to just go to bed.


Sarah being tended to by Nurse Marcy.
Sarah being tended to by Nurse Marcy.

And for the record…  the bandage is STILL on, even after an outside romp!

One by one the other Run A Muck Ranch dogs are quietly paying homage to Sarah, thanking her for taking one for the team.  Because of her sacrifice, it is highly unlikely I will attempt a toenail trim on any of the other kids any time soon.




Word to the newbies:  Unless there is food involved, a walk, a ride somewhere, a visitor, or a bunny in the back yard, Sarah isn’t the most motivated of creatures in the world.  The photos you see are not of a dog suffering, but a dog in her natural state.  I did 2 other nails before I realized I quicked her.  She didn’t even bother to wake up when it happened.

On Crazy Dog Ladies in Denial

With the advances of digital photography comes the curse of date stamps on photos. This curse reared its ugly head during a recent trip down memory lane.


Hector after his cherry eye surgery, December 31, 2006.
Hector after his cherry eye surgery, December 31, 2006. He came to us a foster dog about 2 weeks before.


We can’t remember how old Hector was at the time he moved in, but he was at least 2. For some reason I think he was estimated to be 3. Now let’s do the math: 2015-2006 = 9. 9+2 = 11. Hector is at least 11 years old. If my recollection is correct, however, he’s 12.


DASH! the day he met Crabby, January 8, 2008.
DASH! establishing some ground rules the day after he arrived, January 8, 2008.

DASH! never shared his age when he first graced us with his presence, but he was an adult. My recollection is the vet estimated him to be the generic ‘between 1 and 3’. Let’s do the math again:  2015-2008=7.    7+1 =8. DASH! is at least 8, but he could be as old as 11.


When the harsh reality hit, I lamented to Crabby that I thought The Boys were around 5 or 6 years old.  According to Crabby I’ve been saying that for years.


Somewhere along the way, as misfits moved in and others passed away, Hector and DASH!  not only got older, but became seniors.


I choose not to see seniors.  I choose to see My Boys as they truly are:


Hector, December 2014
Hector, December 2014


DASH! August 2014
DASH! August 2014


I have decided to stick to my claim that Hector and DASH! are around 5 and 6 years old, for now and for the foreseeable future.


Sarah’s Something Special Day

Recently, we instituted mandatory Something Special Days.   Once a week, each dog is to be separated from The Hoard for 100% attention.  No cell phone, no distractions, just 100% attention focused on one dog.

Today was Sarah’s Something Special Day.

As an added bonus, she had both Crabby and me there to share it with her.

Does this look like a happy girl to you?



Poor Droopy Faced Emmi :(

Emmi’s face swelled up today, so off to the ER we went.  Turns out, she had an abscess, poor thing.

The abscess has been drained and flushed, a bravery hamburger administered, and Emmi will be on pain killers for a few days and antibiotics for a week.

Is it possible for anyone to look at this face and not feel her pain?

Poor Emmi.  To make matters worse, she can't go on Sunday Family Desert Walk tomorrow.
Poor Emmi. To make matters worse, she can’t go on Sunday Family Desert Walk tomorrow.