The Truth Comes Out

Today we finally received Royal’s vet records and needless to say, they were very enlightening and confirmed a lot of what I suspected. We didn’t get a pig in a poke but, some of the “facts” told to us were maybe a bit misleading. Not that it would matter, because as soon as Royal crossed the threshold, he became a member of the family, here to stay for the rest of his life.

The biggest fallacy was his age. I had thought Royal had led a rough life because he didn’t get around as well as Orso. His teeth are not in the best shape either for a “six-year-old” dog. One front fang is broken and the other fang is chipped, like a dog that has been living on the streets. We were told that Royal will be six years old this year, in actuality he will be nine years old this month. I guess they thought if someone knew his real age, Royal would become unadoptable. That makes him closer to Orso’s age now, who will be eleven years old in August.

Another factoid we read was that in 2013 he was diagnosed with hip dysplasia. That explained the way Royal would go up and down stairs. At first we thought he had never been exposed to stairs. That was the case with AJ, our black lab. When we brought AJ home the first time, he had no idea how to go up or down stairs, we had to teach him. We thought it odd the way Royal would lie down, either on his side or if he was on his stomach, he would adjust himself so that his legs stick out behind him, like a puppy does. But no, Royal just has hip dysplasia, another check mark against someone wanting to adopt him. Good thing I bought a huge bucket of joint supplements.

We had decided that Royal is a bit overweight, not having the stamina of Orso now two years his senior. But we know he is almost nine and has hip dysplasia, we can work on a better regimen, diet and exercise, to help him feel better. With the vet records in hand, we can work with our vet to get his shots up to date and a good dog food. We’ve already talked about this year we will be taking them swimming more. Another reason to get a kayak.

So for whatever time we have left with Royal and Orso, it will be a gift and a treasure everyday.

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Taking the Leap

Well call us crazy or not, we took the leap and jumped off the cliff. After we received the reprieve from the woman asking for two weeks to try and work something out with her landlord, we breathed a sigh of relief. We told each other that it was for a reason that we didn’t get the dog. That maybe later on in the future, we would start looking for a dog. Guess what? Two weeks to the day, we received an email, asking if we were still interested in meeting Royal. We said yes, but now due to prior commitments, we couldn’t take him for another two weeks. We also said we would understand if they couldn’t wait for us.

Oh no, was the response, they would be more than happy to keep him for another 2 weeks. They just wanted to make sure he had a good home. I wasn’t sure how she “knew” we would be a good home, since we had only traded emails to date. We agreed to meet Royal the following Sunday, and see how he would get along with Orso. All week, I kept going back and forth, are we doing the right thing for Orso? If we take Royal, would that be the right thing for him? Talk about making myself crazy, I must have waffled back forth enough to have worn a groove in my brain.

Sunday morning, we loaded Orso up and headed out to meet Royal. We got there early and wandered around the school grounds that we had agreed to introduce the two on. Neutral territory, that way no one felt threatened or possessive of the space. A car pulled into the far side of the parking lot and watched as a man got out with a large dark brown dog. Nope, not Royal, we thought, because it was a Doberman and we were expecting a lab/mastiff mix. The man and the dog headed off in the opposite direction so we were pretty sure, they were just out for a stroll in the drizzle.

Another car pulled in and parked. A woman and a teenage girl got out of the car and the woman turned and opened the back door of the car. Out hopped a fawn colored dog with blackish brown ears. Royal came trotting over to us, quite unafraid and eager to meet us and Orso. He was as tall as Orso and a little bigger in the chest than Orso, maybe about five to ten pounds overweight. He was super friendly and just wanted to be petted. He was also a leaner.

After introductions, we watched the two get to know each other, sniffing butts, peeing on top of the other’s pee spot and running around the grass. Orso tried to jump on his back a couple of times and each time Royal would turn and give a warning bark growl, but never showed teeth. I was quite impressed with the dog, and ready to jump over the ledge. Mitch asked a few questions, did he have any ailments, eating issues, were his shots up to date, etc. All of our questions were answered quite positively, and I couldn’t help but wonder about his owner. It would take dire circumstances for me to even consider having to find a home for Orso and not keep him.

We asked if any others had responded to the ad and the woman said yes, she had gotten eight offers but only took one other offer seriously. After meeting the couple, she told them no they couldn’t have Royal. It seems the couple had a pair of pit bulls with them that were quite beat up and kept asking her what the mastiff side was capable of. She told us that she felt uneasy and worried about Royal’s safety.

I took the first leap, looked at Mitch and said that we would love to take him, but because family was coming into town, we couldn’t take him until the following Saturday. That seemed to be quite workable, so we said good-bye, loaded up Orso and headed home. Saturday morning, we picked up Royal and brought him home. We left Orso home for the pick up so that there was no tension in cramped spaces. As soon as we pulled into the driveway, I jumped out and leashed up Orso and the four of us went for a nice long walk.

We are now a week into back being a two-dog family and so far, so good. Maybe it’s because both dogs are older, Orso will be eleven and Royal is almost six, both are very calm sedate dogs, pretty much couch potatoes most of the time.

So for now, life is good, just a little more cramped on the couch, but quite relaxed. I’m sure once Royal gets comfortable and realizes the once he crossed the threshold, he was here to stay, things will get back to my normal chaotic life.

State of Grace

The description, “She walks with fluid soft grace, she almost floats” has been used to describe me NEVER! You will never hear the words fluid soft grace, when someone talks about me. I have an uncanny ability trip over thin air, lose my balance when doing the simple task of standing or fall up or down stairs. I’m quite an accomplished professional faller. I also find new ways to either cut myself on the most mundane object. Case in point, I sliced open my knuckle on a piece of aluminum foil the other day. Who gets a paper cut from aluminum foil, me that’s who.

I can’t blame this ability on getting older or some strange side effect from the gravitation pull of a full moon. I’ve been this graceless from childhood and the phase of the moon has no effect on me. My mother even sent me to Charm School when I was budding teenager. I learned how to set a proper table, to sit with my ankles crossed and how to stand with a book on my head. And do you know what happened at the graduation ceremony, I tripped walking across the stage to pick up my diploma. Poor mom, couldn’t get a refund.

I have fallen off the side of the road and face planted in the ditch without any help from the dogs. I’ve crashed and burned falling down a hill carrying a four-foot step ladder. I burn my hands on oven racks almost weekly. (Hum, maybe I should quit cooking) And as I mentioned above, I have lacerated myself with aluminum foil, paper, knives and forks.

Last night I reached a new level of clumsiness. I was cleaning the huge mirror in our bathroom and couldn’t reach the top of the mirror standing in front of the vanity. I know what you’re thinking, I climbed up on the vanity then fell off. You would be wrong, not that I didn’t consider it. Nope, I went and got the small rickety wooden step ladder from our closet, so I could reach the top without falling off the vanity. I set the step ladder up and climbed up to reach the top section on the left side of the mirror. But because the mirror spans the length of the room, I had to move the step ladder to the other side so that I could clean the top right hand side of the mirror. As I set the step ladder down, I placed one leg on the toe of my right shoe, then proceeded to climb up on the step ladder.

Yes, I knew I set the ladder on my shoe and still stepped up on the ladder, I don’t know why I continued, but I did. Needless to say, I crushed one toe so badly it bled in my sock. I hopped off the ladder cursing and hopping around the bedroom. I know what you’re thinking, “What kind of moron would put a ladder on her foot and then step on it?” I don’t have a good answer for you, except I think I move faster than my brain. That sounds as good of an explanation as any, or I’m just a moron. That would work too.

So now my options are I can only use ladders when supervised by an adult or hire a mirror cleaner.

Orso – The New Spokesdog

I have the perfect job for Orso – Spokesdog. Not just any old spokesdog, but a spokesdog for UPS. UPS would be lucky to have him for their mouthpiece as a satisfied customer. Though I’m not sure how to approach UPS and pitch Orso as their spokesdog. It’s perfect when you think about it, Orso is a great big chocolate lab and the UPS official color is brown, it’s a match made in heaven. A big brown dog standing in a big brown truck, and who doesn’t love a big brown slobbery happy dog? Talk about PR perfection, it’s a marketing dream.

Orso loves the UPS man and his big brown truck. Orso knows the sound of the diesel truck coming from a long way away. He will jump up from a dead sleep to run to the front door to watch and wait for his favorite UPS driver. It helps that our regular driver brings large dog biscuits with him and gives one to Orso with each delivery.

When Orso hears the truck, he runs to the door and watches with great big hopeful eyes, and if the truck stops, he will cry and whine and bark this shrill bark, showing his total impatience at how slowly the world turns while he is waiting for the UPS man to climb out of the truck and bring him a dog biscuit. Because we all know that Orso NEVER gets any treats, only the ones the UPS man gives him. Not.
As soon as the driver gets out of the truck and starts to walk to the front door, Orso is standing on his hind legs barking loudly and frantically, as if he has just found his long-lost boy. It’s a bit embarrassing and I must admit to a bit of jealousness, because I’m not so sure, Orso wouldn’t just go with the UPS man. After all, he has food and Orso is a lab.

Orso has become so obsessed with the big brown UPS truck that if we’re out on a walk and he hears a truck, any truck with the telltale diesel engine, Orso will stop and search for the direction the sound is coming from, then turn and wait until the noise gets louder and closer. God forbid he sees the truck while we’re walking. That turns into an Aflac claim just waiting to happen. Twice this week the UPS truck came up the street while we were out on our morning walk. Orso turned and started barking at the truck hoping to get the driver to stop, which he did right there in the middle of the street.

Our driver, then turned the truck off and climbed into the back of his truck, just to get Orso a biscuit. Orso had already climbed up into the truck and was waiting for the treat. Our UPS driver told me that Orso was the only dog on his route that gets so excited to see him. I think that the driver gets as big a kick out of seeing Orso as Orso does when he sees him.

It’s a sad day when the truck doesn’t stop or if our regular driver is off and there is no biscuit. Orso doesn’t understand why not every delivery person that comes to our door is as prepared to meet a happy hungry lab. I guess I should keep a stash of dog treats by the door so if someone comes empty-handed I can save the day.

Orso – Spokesdog for UPS, has a ring to it don’t you think?

Mother Nature Didn’t get the Memo

I don’t think anyone would dispute the fact that we have had the oddest winter across North America. There have been record rainfall in places that don’t get much rain, record warm temperatures in states that usually worry about the wind chill factor instead of heat index and states that normally have snow measured in feet have had to contend with inches instead. Someone forgot to let Mother Nature know how winter is supposed to work around here.

Here in the Pacific Northwest, the weather west of the Cascades is typically the rainy season, with temperatures sinking only to the low forties and maybe a few high thirties thrown in here and there. Not this year, no, we have had temperatures dip to the twenties, with consistent lows in the thirties. Our high temperatures are normally in the high forties and low fifties, but this year we’ve not seen too many days that get up to fifty degrees. Adding insult to injury, we’ve recorded more snow than Chicago, Illinois and Minneapolis, Minnesota. Talk about a slap in the face.

Part of the appeal of coming to the Pacific Northwest was that we don’t really have super hot humid summers or cold cold winters. Well the first year I got out here, we were in the middle of a drought with temperatures in the eighties and nineties, and the apartment complex we lived in didn’t have air conditioning. Now this winter, we’ve had a real winter, with cold temperatures and that four letter word, snow. Talk about a rip-off, I’m beginning to think I’m a jinx, that or maybe Mother Nature has it in for me.

Mother Nature, if you’re out there, come off vacation and get back to work. You have a whole country that is out of whack and needs your guiding hand. Please open your emails.

Note to Self – Don’t Do This Ever Again

We moved here almost two years ago, but for all intent and purposes we don’t have a clue how to get around well in areas we don’t travel to regularly. Case in point, last fall one of my son’s and his family came out for a visit. We planned a day trip to go see the Space Needle and Pike Place Market. We not so brightly parked at the Space Needle went up to the top, then walked across the street to eat lunch. Consulting my trusty cell phone, the distance from the Space Needle to Pike Place Market didn’t look that far. After a consultation among four adults that didn’t have a clue how to get around well in downtown Seattle, we headed off on foot.

The walk to Pike Place Market wasn’t so bad, it was an all downhill mile long walk. The walk back to the car was a different story, a mile long walk uphill, did I mention with two children under six? It wasn’t until about a month later, I found out there was a monorail that goes from the Space Needle to the Pike Place Market area. I’m surprised my son still speaks to me.

We have more family coming to visit soon and we want to avoid a repeat of that fiasco, so we decided to check out the light rail system from the airport to downtown Seattle. This weekend is hosting the Spring Flower and Garden Show at the Washington State Convention Center and we thought this would be the perfect opportunity to check out the rail system and how it works. We wanted to see how hard it would be to get to Pike Place Market, the Space Needle, the aquarium then back home and if will be worth the effort.

Since Mitch works at the airport and has access to free employee parking, we thought that would be a perfect parking place. The only hitch is that only badged airport employees can ride the bus to the airport. That meant Mitch would have to drop me off at transit station stop, go park the car, ride the bus to the airport, then walk to the transit stop to meet me. Mitch pulled up to the curb and I jumped out of the car. No sooner had I pulled my left foot out of the car to step up on the curb, did a police siren go off. Right behind us was a transit police officer, and I thought what did we do? I stepped back and Mitch waved me off so I walked farther away out of earshot so I couldn’t hear what was said.

As I walked up the stairs to the train, I kept watch hoping the police officer would just give him a warning, but it didn’t look that way. Less than five minutes went by, the officer walked back to our car and handed Mitch a piece of paper. I was pretty sure, it wasn’t a coupon for Starbucks.

Yes sir, it was a ticket. It was a ticket for violating the HOV lane. The second I stepped fully out of the car, Mitch was violating the HOV ordinance, can you believe it? If I’d just stayed in the car, we would have been golden, but for the split-second I was out of the car and before Mitch pulled away from the curb, we broke the HOV law. And now evidently it is not cheap to break the HOV law, one hundred thirty-six dollars for a split second. Talk about an expensive day trip.

Note to self – find another drop off spot.

Going Down the Rabbit Hole (Almost)

We almost brought another dog into our lives, almost. We were so close. Mitch saw an ad in the Saturday paper, “A lab/mastiff mix, 6 years old” and then the magic words, “FREE TO A GOOD HOME”. Mitch was hooked. Even though he knows, there is no such thing as free. Nothing is ever free. More importantly, Mitch has been the hold out, saying over and over, “Not another dog, yet.” But there it was, Mitch urging me to send an email, asking about the dog. I reminded him of our last experience with a “lab mix”. As much as I loved Charlie, he was always a bit off. We were “on guard” with him always, because he was animal aggressive and sometimes very explosive.

So, I called his bluff, I sent an email, asking how big he was, did he get along with other dogs, etc. The ad said he was good with cats and children, but didn’t mention dogs. I got a response, that yes, he was good with other dogs, they had three other dogs, four cats and four children. A very full house. He also weighed a hundred pounds, so a good size match for Orso. Now I was curious as to why if they had three other dogs, four cats and four children, why was this dog singled out to be kicked to the curb. Why not get rid of the cats? Four cats to one dog, seemed like a fair trade.

I sent the question back, “why are you trying to find a home for this dog?” I phrased it very diplomatically, instead of saying, “why are you getting rid of this one, as opposed to one of the others?” I wanted to know the real reason for the ad. What was wrong with him? Was he a biter, a fighter, what? Why was this one getting the boot? Because the answers would determine our next step. I was still very gun shy about getting back into a situation where Orso would be victimized ever again.

We were straddling the fence, not sure which side to fall on, dog or no dog. I almost called our best friends to ask what we should do, but I already knew their answer, “Get the dog.” They have three medium to large size dogs, and are not unbiased. By the time we went to bed, we had decided that no we would pass on the dog. No dog yet.

Her email response came in the morning. The answer was not what I expected at all. The owner had gotten the dog as a puppy and now after six years had to give him up because she had to move to an apartment wouldn’t take dogs, especially large dogs, so she took him to her friend, who promised to look for a great home for him. The friend had placed the ad, with three other dogs, four cats and four children already had a full house. After reading her email, I was ready to get in the car, drive to wherever he was and bring him home on the spot. Sanity returned and I waited for Mitch to wake up.

We talked some more, pros and cons, talking ourselves out of the dog, then back into the dog. I finally sent an email back asking if we could meet with Orso to see how they might interact. I got a response saying that was a great idea and when could we get there. I asked if noon would work and waited for her response. The reply came back letting us off the hook – sort-of. The owner was not handling the separation well and asked her friend if they would keep him for two weeks, until she either found another place or could win over her landlord. But could they keep our email, “just in case.”

My heart went out to the woman and her dog, because I know how I would feel if I were forced with the same decision. I answered back that of course, they could keep our email address, and that I understood completely. I even offered to “foster the dog” for the woman if she wanted to on a short or long term basis, if the need arose.

We almost fell down the rabbit hole, not quite, but we’re teetering.

A Wet Nose

Do you have any idea how shocking a cold wet nose can be, especially when it touches the back of your thigh? Let’s just say that it’s a really good thing I am only five foot two inches tall on a good day. Otherwise I might be sporting a concussion and submitting an Aflac claim.

I had just gotten out of the shower and was drying off. I had my back to the door, (huge mistake it seems) and didn’t hear the door open. I had neglected to pull the door completely closed so there was a small gap, evidently big enough for a nose to fit through and push open the door. I was bent over drying my shins and feet when a cold wet nose ever so gently touched the back of my thigh. I guess Orso was checking to make sure I had used soap. Anyway, I stood straight up and jumped forward about two feet, narrowly missing the lighted makeup mirror that was mounted on the bathroom wall.

I sucked in my breath, grabbed the towel, wrapped it around me (too late to protect my exposed skin) and turned to face my attacker. Orso was standing there wagging his tail looking like he had just accomplished some huge feat of skill, looking very pleased with himself. At least I didn’t scream or squeal and wake up Mitch, not that he would have heard it, because he sleeps like the dead. I have no idea why Orso decided to get out of bed to come and check on me, something totally out of character for him. He normally climbs back in bed after our morning walk and sleeps until I fix breakfast.

I reached out and scratched his ear, then Orso turned around, walked out of the bathroom, jumped back up on the bed, laid down and went back to sleep. I stood there and mentally scratched my head wondering why and getting no answer.

What a way to start the day.

The dangers of certain brands of peanut butter.

I don’t usually reblog posts, but this one is super important if you feed your dogs peanut butter.

Learning from Dogs

Please read this and share.

(This was first posted on December 8th, 2016. It is being republished because of the mention of peanut butter in the article presented in my post that came out an hour ago.)

ooOOoo

Keep peanut butter away from your dogs!

Because it could kill your beloved companion.

Fellow author Judi Holdeman sent me an email that contained a warning that had been in a recent health newsletter from Jeff Reagan. Here’s the essence of that warning (and my emphasis in parts):

If your dog is anything like my dog, they probably love a good scoop of peanut butter.

As I’m writing this, my pup Ellie is actually snuggled up next to my leg and going to town on her peanut butter filled Kong. She’s in heaven…

But I want to warn you about a NEW problem with dogs and peanut butter.

There’s been…

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