Tag Archives: Dogs

No pedigree, just a heart of gold.

Sammie didn’t have a pedigree.

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She was really too young to be taken away from her mother when she came home with Dad. Her mom had a pedigree: Brittany Spaniel. What is known of her father is that he was a good fence jumper and the source of her lab-like coloring and shape. The mother’s owners were appalled since they wanted pedigree. I won’t give details…or share my opinion about such people,  but Sam came home with Dad at seven weeks old because staying with mamma wasn’t an option. A tiny, by turns timid and energetic ball of mostly black fur with a white tummy and a heart of gold.

She used to worry when Dad went out in the boat, running back and forth along the bulkhead barking. She wouldn’t get into the boat or swim. She also worried when he climbed ladders.

She went everywhere with Dad.

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When she was young she was so fast that she actually grabbed a bird out of the air, a wren I think. Chasing birds is a young dog’s sport and as she got older she discovered fishing. It took us a while to catch on to what she was doing: she would wade along watching the bottom and every so often jump. Watching carefully we realized that, as she waded along she would startle the bullheads and occasional flounder into moving then try to pounce on them. She spent hours at it.

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She even caught one once, it had been injured by a seagull, but she was very proud.

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I’ll probably say more about Sam soon. We had to say good-bye to her last week and I have a big hole in my heart right now.

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Puppy Friends

I usually try to only make one post (if any) to the Daily Post Photo Prompt for the week. But, on Sunday we took Ginger and Asta over to see their friend Sam. When Ginger and Sam saw each other they started running and came together in something a lot like a hug. It made me think about how friendship isn’t just for humans.

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These two have been friends since 2010. Sam is my Dad’s dog and Ginger belongs to my Grandma.

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Ginger was born  in 2009 and they met in early 2010.  They spent time together in the desert when Dad went down for the winters and on the beach in Puget Sound when Grandma and Ginger came up during the summers.

In 2014 my uncle passed away and his dog, Asta, joined the pack.

Now everyone lives in the Seattle Area. Sam with my dad on Vashon island and Ginger and Asta with me in West Seattle, where they visit Grandma a couple of times a week.

The three of them are as close, possibly closer, than many sets of human friends. When I say to Ginger and Asta “we’re going to see you friend Sam Dog”, they are at the door ready to go (humans are so slow).

All three are mutts. All three came from situations where they weren’t wanted*, but they are cuter than buttons and our human family will never let them go now we’re all together.

I am by both nature and circumstance a loner and sometimes I envy the close friendship between this trio of dogs.

*A bit about the “kids”:

  • Sam (the biggest black one) was adopted from a place where they wanted to breed pure breds from her registered Springer Spaniel mother, but her dad was a good fence jumper and they didn’t want the impure pups.
  • Ginger (the middle sized white one with gingery spots) was obtained by some friends of my grandmother for their grandchild, but the parents said “no way”. So she was going to be sent off if grandma didn’t adopt her.
  • Asta (the small cream colored one) was adopted from Coachella Valley animal shelter by my uncle: she had been found wandering the streets in Palm Springs CA in the summer.

A wet and fluffy day

Is wet and cold a texture? It rained all day today and since it was below 40 degrees F most of the day it was pretty chilly too. I tried to capture the essence of this day with a picture:

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Wet and unseasonably cold: notice the tight little flower buds, usually this tree is blooming by now, sometimes it will even have a flower or two in January. My umbrella is on the ground below because I couldn’t hold it and manage the camera. The raindrops on my lens are there because I couldn’t manage the umbrella, but  I like the effect.

The day was fluffy because I took the pups up for “two-fer Tuesday” at the Wash Dog. So they are clean and fluffy for visiting Grandma tomorrow…all I have to do is keep them clean and dry-ish until then.

I hope you enjoy my textures. To see more interesting ones check out Tuesdays of Texture.

 

Puppy Love

It has been a stressful week. Grandma’s dogs, however, are resting easy knowing that they are so cute they will be well cared for. We took them in to visit her last Friday. As always they spread cheer among all who saw them.

Every time she has been in a skilled nursing facility (this is the third different facility she has been in) they have allowed pets to visit. It is pretty cool that places recognize the value of wagging tails and puppy dog kisses.

Just FYI: we don’t allow dogs on the couch…Richard caved first. A little puppy love and his heart melted.

Dog days of summer

I am jaded in some ways and spoiled in others. My Eyes, like yours, see what they see, but through a lens filter created by past experiences.

For some people summer is a time of great joy. I don’t like it.

Being a native Seattlite, on hot days I use a passive-aggressive anti-solar plan, as we have no air conditioning: I try to get the house as cool as possible by opening windows and doors early in the morning, then, as the sun starts to warm things up, I let it know that it is not welcome by closing doors, windows and blinds.

This works pretty well most of the time, because the Puget Sound area usually has an on-shore flow from the rather chilly Pacific Ocean, night temps are usually in the low to mid 60’s. If the house gets below 70 degrees before I shut it up it will generally be 75 or less in the evening, for free. Occasionally we get an off-shore flow and things don’t cool down much at night. That throws a spanner in the works as I can’t get the house down below 70, I do the best I can but it is still warm.

I have two choices about what to do after closing up: I can stay home in the dark and try to minimize metabolism so I don’t generate heat, or I can go somewhere else. The first choice is why I tend to get depressed in the summer time: it really is not an upper to sit in the dark trying not to exist. I can’t read or sew, I do play with the computer, although I sometimes think I shouldn’t have anything on that generates heat. I have to do something and I have a theory that the semi-hypnotic state that the computer induces burns fewer calories than even sleep does.

When I don’t have a commitment and am not feeling too down in the dumps, I usually go over to my dad’s, as it is generally 10 or so degrees cooler at the beach.

Today was an off-shore flow day and the hottest of the year so far. For many 95 isn’t big news and we shouldn’t complain: We don’t have wild fires like they do in California, we don’t have flood waters filled with nasty things (alligators, snakes, sewage) like they do right now in Louisiana. I do truly understand how good we have it, but, through the filter of life in Seattle, 95 is pretty hot.

Today I thwarted my summer induced depression by heading to dad’s. Grandma was tired and couldn’t join in, but I took the pups. We all splashed in the cool water. Ginger went deeper than usual, poor thing really feels the heat. So here is a view of the Dog Days of Summer, through my eyes:

The dogs all had fun; I kept my cool; and Ginger won the Olympic gold medal for muddiest belly. Tomorrow will be another scorcher so we are in a

if No_commitments = true
repeat Beach_fun
until On-shore_flow

loop. I wish you all such pleasant loopiness!

May Day at the Beach

May Day, last Sunday we went to the Beach for the first time in a while. I had just arrived home from a trip to China, where the weather wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t truly clear, except the one day after it rained (see  Kites and Umbrellas about the rainy day and Kites and Kids to see the clear day).

In the Puget Sound region we take a lot for granted, beautiful scenery and clear, clean, extremely breathable air come immediately to mind.

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Are we there yet?

We picked up our friends, Ginger and Asta, and took them over to visit their friend, Sam, who lives on the beach with my dad. It was more like July than May, in town I think the temperature got over 80 deg F, but there was a nice breeze at dad’s place.

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Brave little Asta.

Hard to believe that one year ago little Asta was so nervous that she always got car sick and had never, to our knowledge (she was a shelter dog), been out of the desert. She hit the beach running after the two other dogs when she arrived in Seattle last May, but now she heads out on her own. Not afraid of anything: she even will chase a Great Blue Heron (more brave than wise). I have sometimes pondered whether she somehow senses that my uncle’s ashes were spread on the beach there and it somehow makes her feel at home, he was her person).

Richard went sailing, the dogs and I explored the tide flats, Dad mowed, Sam went fishing. A one day slice of paradise for all!

My new car seat cover earned its keep:

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Tired dogs are happy dogs!

Happy May to all.

Velvety Dog Ears

My touch obsession is velvety dog ears.

I love texture and touch everything. I walk along touching things.  I am very particular about the feel of my clothes. I sew and part of the therapeutic benefit of sewing is touching the fabric. There are many wonderful textures in the world.

But some dogs have the most velvety ears and I can’t keep my hands off of them. My niece Dory was one of these dogs. Sadly, she  recently passed along to that tide flat in the sky where someone is always ready to throw the bumper for her and she never gets too stiff and cold to keep swimming after it. (I hope this is what dogs go on to after this life anyway.)

In memory of Dory:

Labrador Retrievers have especially velvety ears. The good thing about this rather strange obsession is that most dogs don’t mind having their ears rubbed, even by a stranger. Yes I have been known to rub the ears of dogs I meet walking down the sidewalk. Dogs seem to like me. They somehow sense that I am the kind of doggie auntie who likes to rub ears and sometimes has a treat or two in my pocket (clean up bags too). I try not to freak out their people  too much.

I don’t know when I started rubbing dog ears. My childhood partner in crime was a black lab named Misty.I was very young when Misty came into my life so the obsession may have started back when we were both puppies.

This post is a response to the Daily Post prompt: The Power of Touch.

 

My Managerie

Pets wrap their furry little selves around our hearts.

Black Labrador retriever with pheasant.
Misty
Siamese cats.
We are Siamese if you please…

I grew up with pets. we had my faithful partner in crime Misty and three to seven cats, depending on whether there had been kittens lately. Most of our cats were Siamese and I don’t recall that we ever had problems giving away kittens. In this day and age it would have been considered totally irresponsible to have as many kittens as we had.

I am a responsible pet owner (or servant, depending on perspective). We prefer to have only one pet (my husband grew up in a household with no pets). We live in the city and our first pet was Star.

Obese Sheltie
Star on arrival.

We got her from Pet Protectors, She was a beautiful black and white Sheltie, who had been brought to the vet to be put down because she was obese. She weighed a bit over 50 lb, and should have weighed 20-25 lb.

Black and white sheltie.
Star

She was about 8 when we got her and her tummy rubbed on the grass when she went off the sidewalk to go potty. It was pretty sad that anyone had let her get so fat, she loved to walk with me. But  by the time we had her the excess weight had damaged her knees, so she walked very slowly, even when she was down to ideal weight, she maxed out at about 1 mile per hour. One time when someone called my husband told him that I was out “standing the dog”. It took about a year but with diet and exercise she got down to 25 lb and remained there for the rest of her life, she was about 16 when she passed away, so she had several happy years with us. She had a really sweet personality.

Our one period of having two pets was because I tend to be a bit of a softy and agreed to take care of my youngest sister’s cat for three months in 1992. This was to keep peace in the family while she stayed with my dad and allergic-to -cats stepmother.

Silver tabby cat with flowers.
Kitten.

She had named him Allan and for some reason I never cared much for the name, he was about 6 month old so I called him “kitten”. The three months turned into 17 years and I always called him kitten and he actually came when I called (weird for  cat). He was a grumpy, fussy bachelor who did not care much for kids, taking swings at my nieces when they got too close. He was fastidious about going outside and not using his litter box unless it had snowed, then not letting us rest until the box was clean.

Tabby cat exploring.
Inspecting the new realm.

About a year after Kitten left for the sunny garden spot in the sky I came home from a trip and felt sad to have no one home to welcome me. My son and I went to the Humane Society the next day and came home with our Empress.

Someone had, in one of those unfortunate kitten naming events, given her the moniker “Binky”. She had grown to an elegant and substantial brown and black tabby. Since she had already been chipped as “Binky” we gave her a title, The Empress, and licensed her as “Empress Binky”. We call her The Empress and Your Highness mostly. There was a wink at PG Wodehouse and the Empress of Blandings in the name, because she has an eating disorder and was off her food when we brought her home. Like the Empress of Blandings, she got over her stress and we now have to keep a close watch on her diet.

While the paperwork we got from the Humane Society said she lived with other cats and dogs, she says that is not true and her delicate temperament is unsuited to any role other than only pet. She snuggles us into submission to her every whim. My husband, who never even let Kitten on the bed, sleeps with the empress. If I could photograph them without waking them up, I would title the picture “The Other Woman”, but it might be too racy to publish with both of their heads on the same pillow!

I also have puppy friends: here are Ginger, my Grandma’s dog, and Sam, my half sister (we have different mothers, can you tell? ). We all like to walk. Sam is also an avid fisher-woman.

Two spaniel mix dogs: one corgi-lier(King Charles Cavlier) and one sprig-ador.
Double trouble.

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Menagerie.”

Walking Dogs in the Desert

Another metaphor: which way do we go? Ginger wants to head north, Sammie wants to head south.  Both directions have good things to smell, jack rabbits to chase. How do we choose?

For me either direction is fine…so long as we all go in the same direction. As long as we are leashed together we need to add that component to any decision, or we will wind up wrapped inelegantly around the creosote bush. The way we generally choose is whichever dog pulls the hardest picks the path.

This often happens in my life. I am more about process than direction. I can see the advantages and disadvantages to both sides and I get pulled along in whatever direction someone else wants to go, usually working as hard as I can to keep us from getting tangled up in leashes and creosote bushes.

This past year I traveled to Desert Hot Springs, California 6 times. My grandmother lives there. I flew round trip in January to take my grandmother to have a kidney stone removal procedure…the second procedure that didn’t work. I flew down in March to be there for her birthday, then drive home with my father who had spent a month or so down in the Palm Springs area. I drove round trip in July to bring grandma (plus dog, Ginger) up to Seattle to visit family during the hottest part of the year. Another driving round trip to take her back in late August. Two more flying trips this fall, the first to check on her after she came out of rehab for a broken arm and the second because my uncle was dying.

I feel a bit like I am wrapped around the creosote bush.  The question is not just which way to go, but how to untangle myself first. Do I cut the leashes and not worry about the others (or, perhaps more accurately, worry but try not to care overmuch) or patiently (or not so patiently) untangle things? Once free, I need to figure out which way to go.