Monday, August 23, 2010

Beauty in Simplicity

This is a wonderful video that brought me great joy.  I think you'll like it.  It was posted on a wonderful blog:
The direct link to this video with the photographer and choreographer credits are here:



Here in Texas, we are hopefully going into the final days of a heat wave that would singe Satan's eyebrows.  Yup- it's really hot here.  I've lived in quite a few different places in my life both in the north and the south, and had grown accustomed to the heat of the day eventually giving way to the relief of an afternoon storm.  Like lifting the top off a pot of boiling water, the heat slips away, only to start building again early the next day.  This was the natural order of things, or so I thought.  Not so in Texas.  I had a lot to learn.

And learn I did after the 75th consecutive day of heat that climbed to over 100 degrees this summer.  Ok, well maybe not 75 days, but that's what it feels like.  The heat here is the kind that you have to take a short breath after a regular breath just to fill your lungs properly.  Feeling light-headed happens fast and you seek shelter in any structure with a/c as fast as you can.  Not to be an alarmist, but this heat is really dangerous.  Crime-inducing, even!  I, for one, am having treacherous thoughts about the weather man...

The girls pant away in the afternoon, feeling the heat outside bake the sun-drenched facade of our home.  I've found Nyxie in the bedroom, panting away in relative darkness, tongue lolling out of her head, trying hard not to move.  Poor Arwen has simply stopped moving at all in the afternoons.  Her eyeballs still follow my movements, but even they are hot.

While watching TV this evening, Arwen was laying on the ground in front of the couch a seat away from mine.  Nyxie was laying on the couch just above Arwen.  I leaned over to love on Nyxie and discovered the most lovely, cooling breeze on the back of my neck.  The air vent behind us was blowing directly across Nyxie's cushion and eventually onto Arwen's spot on the floor.  They had positioned themselves right in the coolness path!!  Those little stinkers!  Meanwhile, I am not totally uncomfortable just a foot and a half away, but still perspiring slightly.  Well, I suppose if I wasn't smart enough to sit in the cool spot to begin with, I'll let them have it.

Wait a minute.  Nyxie's spot was where Matt was sitting just a few minutes before...No wonder he's always getting to the couch first!

Saturday, August 21, 2010


Many of you who've read my blog and know me, know how very neurotic I am about my dogs.  I'm also sure many of you can sympathize as you, too, are as wacky as I am.  This being said, I know that the standards I hold for my dogs' care may be a bit high - they're food is the best I feel I can offer, home prepared with love.  Their bodies are canvassed daily for any anomalies, lumps, holes, etc.  They're included in all family activities, taken on lovely walks, and enjoy sleeping on the bed (actually all the household furniture).  A dog's life in our home is pretty plush.

There are some dogs that come to the clinic that make me a bit sad.  They're not mistreated, but their owners seem a bit distracted, preoccupied.  I think their priorities are different than mine, or maybe I'm being judgmental, I suspect a bit of both.  I can't help but wonder why certain creatures end up living where they do.  Does that habit of whistling at the dog annoy it?  Do the owners realize their dog's lameness is painful?  Some of observations are my job to clarify or shed light on, but others are just people and animals whose personalities may conflict.  I know a girl whose dog refuses to kiss her, won't do much for her at home, but loves her friends.  The dog actually snaps at her but no one else.  Is this dog like some sort of prisoner in her own home?  Imagine having a family that you despise, or are utterly annoyed by ALL the time.  

I'm not sure that I'm looking at this the right way.  It's said that for every old shoe, there's an old sock that goes with it.  Maybe these dogs are thrilled to have such delightfully aloof humans.  Maybe some dogs would consider me a smothering whack-job.  Maybe our girls think I'm a smothering whack-job...

I'll just go bake them some liver treats to make them happy..."Walkies, girls!?"  

Sunday, August 15, 2010


Thanks so much for the awards!  It's so wonderful to know that my ramblings are not only entertained and deemed worthy of your time, but that you actually like them!  I've been slow to get on here and pass on my awards and thanks, so here goes...

Special thanks go to Lauren M. Davis Folk Art! , Pup Fan and House of Carnivores for your awards, also to twinkietinydog for giving me the opportunity to be heard on your blog!  I've met so many wonderful people and furkids here, that I look forward to reading here every night.  Please keep those comments coming, they really make my day!!
Seven things about us, huh....?  Here goes:

1) I used to be a tremendous cat person.  LOVED cats.  I still do respect and love cats, but dogs are my passion!  I was never allowed to have a dog of my own until after college when I met Matt and had my first dog, Tank.  She was a German Shepherd rescue that stole my heart.  I was hooked.  She passed away entirely too young from distemper.  (vaccines are NOT full-proof)  I think right around this time, I realized that I wanted to become a vet tech.

2) I'm a veterinary technician.  I get to spend my days doing something that I love.  Sometimes it's hard, sometimes it's easy, but giving care and compassion to a animals is paramount.  What could be better than that?

3) I'm a mom.  And not only to my furry beasts.  I don't think the term "motherhood" should be solely reserved for women who care for human children.  There are those that care for their pets as graciously and patiently as a mother should a child.  Sadly too, all mothers are not moms, as my poor T knows.  After a brief yet difficult separation from us, my step-daughter, T, now lives with us again.  She and the girls are my daughters.

4) Arwen and Nyxie are our two best blended dogs.  They love each other deeply and respect each other beautifully.  We're so lucky to have wonderful dogs that compliment each other richly.  True sisters.

5) Arwen loves ice cream.  Flavor is irrelevant, as long as it's cold.  She also loves spinach, popcorn, carrots, meat of any variety, beer and wine.  Ok, she really likes food.  Any food really.  Many items on the preceding list were accidental discoveries, by the please don't think I'm just feeding my girls any old scrap!    Nyxie is not a big fan of alot of things that aren't meat.  She loves meat.  Any and all meat.  I dropped a bit of spinach while cooking once and it took her a trillion tries to chew it to realize it was not meat and therefore, not edible.  Arwen has convinced her that ice cream is meat though.

6) My two dream jobs (besides what I already do) are to be a dog behaviorist and/or a writer.  I believe that people are the ones who need the training to be effective canine guardian/moms/dads, not for the dog to be trained.  Knowing this, I'm not sure I'd be a very good people trainer...I would LOVE to be published and one day hold a copy of my own book.  I'm not sure what it will be about, but most likely dogs will be involved.  Big surprise...

7)  We could be considered gypsies, I suppose.  Matt and I have moved around quite a bit together and before I met him, I lived in several different places myself.  Experiencing new places and people is exhilarating.  You never know what "the new" will bring - food, sights, friends.  Most importantly, though, the "new" tends to enlighten.  It pushes you out of what's comfortable, forcing you to strengthen and survive.

I need to add a #8 here...

8)  My Matt is my perfect fit.  He's the best man I know and I love him for it.  If I could choose anyone in the universe to have an adventure with, and spend the rest of my days with, it's Matt.  There's not a whole lot more to say about that here, except that I've been very lucky.  He loves his crazy dog lady!

So that's us in a nutshell.  A nutshell all covered with dog hair...
And my awards go to: *drumroll*

Pup Fan
♥♥♥ The OP Pack ♥♥♥
Lauren M. Davis Folk Art!
House of Carnivores
Hound Girl
Shawnee the Shepherd
Khyra And Sometimes Her Mom
24 Paws of Love


Yesterday morning I woke early to feed and walk both dogs before work.  Although Matt and T were still home and sleeping in, I didn't want the poor girls to go hungry and wait to have to pee until everyone was awake (most probably many hours later).  So they enjoyed First Breakfast and a little stroll for business around 6:30 am.  Yes, I did say "First Breakfast"

I went off to work, comforted in the knowledge that all the fuzzy creatures were cared for and content, surely back to bed with Dad.  Work was uneventful, and I was on my way to an early afternoon appointment at which point I called to check in with home.  Matt asked me if I had fed the dogs and when I said that I had done so before I left, he laughed.  Why?  Because he and T had just fed them Second Breakfast.
"Did you walk the dogs before you left, too?"
"I sure did!"
He tells me that they seemed desperate to go out and pee, so they had also taken a second tour of the outside.

Apparently they saw the opportunity and took it!  We had to laugh.  For the girls, this was a sure sign of an upward trend.

"Maybe every time we wake up, they'll feed us!"

Now I know why they were so eager to nap with me later that afternoon.  In their wildest dreams, they could only imagine that following the nap, they'd be served First Supper...  

Saturday, August 14, 2010


Like humans, each dog falls into a certain spot on the intelligence continuum.  There are those that we consider "smart" and those that are...well, "vacant".  You know the difference when you see it.  For example, there are those dogs that seem to hang on your every word (like Miss M in this blog post from Two Pitties in the City: and watch everything you do and can seemingly interpret every word, nuance, movement and look.  They are quietly taking it all in and processing.  These are the uber-intelligent dogs.  Those that we tend to trust with jobs like life-saving.  The same dogs that we have to keep our cookies away from, tucked away on the top shelf.  The other "duller" dogs are those who's lives are spent almost solely on panting, scratching, licking , zoning-out.  Rinse and repeat.

See, I don't believe it's only about trainability, or desire to please.  Having two incredibly intelligent dogs, I'm at an advantage for observing this in action.  (Some might call me a victim...)  I love watching these 2 very different dogs process the world from totally different perspectives.  

Nyxie, the German Shepherd - the ultimately trainable dog.  The dog that will ask "how high" while in mid-air if you tell her to jump.  Anything to make you happy.  And it really only takes one or two instances of repetition, and she's got it down.  "It" being just about anything.  Really.  She's that damn smart.  She's always watching, taking everything in and observing.  You'll look across the room and find her staring.  "What's next, Mom?"  Her emotional link is unmatched, too.  She can pick up on even the slightest variation of mood, and will react accordingly.  Genius, you say?  I agree!

And then there's Arwen.  Arwen, the Siberian husky, has a more primitive intelligence.  Her eyes track you, too.  Every move, sound...thought?  Arwen is the first one planted directly under you while you eat, laser-beam eyes intent on canine telekinesis..."Drop that bit of pork, damn you!"  She'll initiate indoor romper-room play bouts which eventually end in Nyxie getting in trouble for being loud as Arwen looks away, laying quietly on the floor.  Only her panting gives her away.  And when I think they're settled and turn my head, she'll play- bite Nyxie on the butt, resetting the game.  (It took me awhile to figure this one out, I was sure Nyxie being the youngest was always eager to initiate playtime.)  Arwen is even a better hunter.  She'll watch a rabbit from a few yards away, slinking low and then containing her burst until the last minute.  (Nyxie will have torn onto the scene barking)  One day Arwen's sure she'll shed the dead weight on the other end of the leash and actually catch one.  This isn't the dog that has any desire to return a tennis ball, or chase anything without a beating heart.  "You threw it, you go get it".  There is one exception to this rule - she has an orange "Chuck It" ball that is her favorite toy ever.  This she chews on.  No catching or returning thoughts at all.  She has this uncanny way of getting you to pet her, too.  She watches you and then suddenly flips over, demanding belly rubs.  Genius?  Yes!  

So here are two amazingly intelligent dogs.  One wants to please and the other to cuddle.  One hopes to learn a new trick today and the other hopes you'll drop some pizza.  One will bring over the ball for a head pat, the other will cuddle up and make herself irresistible to scratch.  Which one is the most intelligent?  I can't answer that.  It's like being book-smart and street-smart...who's to say which is superior?  I'm just glad they're smarties...I think.

"Honey, where those cookies I left on the top shelf?"

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

First Light

The title of this post is misleading.  Many of you will think it refers to those first dim moments as the sun tips the scales in the sky, vanquishing the darkness.  In most cases, you'd be right.  Not today.  I'm referring to the first light that my eyes take in before I realize it's way too early to be awake.  If I stir, or even sigh, I'll give myself away.  Yawns and scratches are right out.  I'm bookended by two very observant creatures.

On my days off, I have to dupe them with all the acting ability I can muster to simply stay in bed undisturbed for just a few minutes longer.  Sometimes I get a whole extra hour!  Rarely, though.  Arwen will be strewn about somewhere on the floor, usually spilling luxuriously out of her bed.  Nyxie will have moved to Daddy's pillow next to me.  This will happen before Daddy has actually made it to the bathroom.  She keeps an eye on "her spot" as he struggles out of bed, like a canine pillow pirate.  Arwen will take her time with moving.  She prefers the foot of the bed, closest to the fan.  (Did I mention that it was 104 degrees today?  Concrete is cracking, folks...)  She'll sprawl out, crowding Nyxie, who loves being near Big Sissy.

I'll feel their movements, the jumps onto the bed, the circling and settling.  Nyxie will tuck her snoot under my arm or pillow.  It's a long nose, chilliness happens...And then we'll have a few more minutes, maybe an hour or two (even more rarely) of the softest, cuddliest sleep imaginable.  The stillness will break as their tummies take over, breakfast calling and The Giver of All Good Things needs to shake a leg.  These are some of my favorite moments.

But I've fooled them!  I got my extra sleep, and they had no idea I was awake!  I don't think they saw me peeking at them...or maybe, they look forward to sleeping in as much as I do.

Thursday, August 5, 2010


Nyxie has a fascination with sprinklers.  Obsession, really.  We have the kind that magically and unexpectedly pop out of the ground.  The kind that get sucked down into the earth with a foot tap.  Each night they come on and she seems restless to seek them out, hearing them with her satellite ears from inside.  If we're outside and they're on, her ears rotate  forward, her shoulders stiffen, and she pulls toward them like they're a slab of bacon.  She'll play bark and dance about, desperate to get to them.  She wants to bite them.  There's something about the water splashing in her mouth that gets her wonky.

The first time she showed interest in them, we laughed and let her investigate the sprinkler heads.  Then the attraction intensified.  Now, a walk is further complicated by errant sprinkler heads that haven't automatically been pulled to their earthly depths.  I can reset her with a yummy freeze-dried chicken treat (of course my girls aren't spoiled).

I was talking to a client at the vet hospital just the other day, who was explaining to me how she walked and jogged with her 2 Australian shepherds, one of whom is newly adopted.

"Well, it's not without incident", she revealed.  I couldn't help but laugh like a mad woman at this understatement.

This morning, my daughter slept in, tired from a late night and still enjoying the last few weeks of her summer vacation.  I quietly fed the girls, which was a challenge with Arwen's "WOO, WOO"-ing at the edge of the kitchen.  I slipped on my workout clothes, grabbed my phone, poopy bags and treats, and out into the great unknown we went.

When I take the girls out, this is our time.  My mind is focused on the terrain, the breathing of 2 creatures bonded and in sync.  We take one step at a time, eager to explore "our" domain, as the girls most certainly believe it is.  We are doing the most primitive of acts.  This is what people have done for a trillion, billion, gazillion years.  I'm quite sure poopy bags and clothing were not involved, the idea of a leash absurd in any truly pack-oriented, symbiotic relationship.

No two walks are ever the same.  They are never "without incident", good or bad.  Something new is always experienced, whether it's watching Arwen do her balancing tightrope walk on every short wall, or Nyxie's careful, gradual approach to giant construction equipment.  Something new happens, hurdles are surmounted, new poo is sniffed.  All urine-sprayed signposts are read.  And all this has a sense of urgency - we race the rising temperature of the Texas heat scorch.  (It went up to 105 today)

And for just a brief exhale in my busy life, I am one with my two wild things.  It's all simple for a moment.  They are working with me on the common purpose of movement, exploration, protection.  We return spent - the girls in full panting mode, me dripping in sweat.  They lay about exhausted and calm, content.  

My day is just beginning.  I need to check my email, get some coffee, "oh, honey, you're awake!..."  And a new day unfolds, surely "not without incident".  I suppose that's what it's all about.    

Thanks and welcome!

Arwen, Nyxie and I would like to thank everyone for visiting and posting comments on this little blog.  This is all fairly new to us and the girls are excited to share their adventures and infamy with everyone.  I marvel at the thought that there are so many of us that love our beasties in such a fanatical way as to share their lives with others of our ilk.  The more of you I meet here, the more I think how fun it would be to bring everyone together in one place for a festivus of sorts.  I know this would be nearly impossible, but still a fun thought.

Hugs to you all and ear scritchers to your furkids!

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Stress Relief

My arrival from work is greeted with much jubilation and exultation.  And sniffing.  My entire person is sniffed thoroughly, every inch of my scrubs thoroughly examined.  As some of you know, I'm a vet tech, or veterinary nurse, so just being at work covers me with smells of all kinds.  They range from the soft, soothing aromas of puppy breath to the harsh, fearful smell of anal gland excretions.  It's nothing if not glorious, folks.

Really though, I love what I do.  I love being able to provide comfort to the pets in my care.  At times they're scared, anxious, hopeful and sometimes painful.  Every last, little one of them wants to be well.  Every last, little one of them is a fighter.

When I was a social worker, I found myself lending my ego to the patients in my care.  Human brains are experts at behavioral rationalization.  We can explain away our mistakes and flaws - blaming anything from timing, parents, our environments, to our astrological moon and sun signs.  I'd come home exhausted and spent, frustrated by the poor choices of my patients.  Not now, though.  My furry patients are tough.  They're little warriors.  They just want to keep going -  eating, drinking, scratching, playing - living.  Even pain is masked when possible.  Impressive.

So I come home wearing all these odors.  I'm some kind of other-worldly pet ambassador, as far as Arwen and Nyxie are concerned.  In a single day they don't even see that many other animals.  What must they think?  All I know is both girls are riveted by these smells, taking them all in usually with tails wagging wildly.  The tails wag more slowly when there's a particularly sick patient I've held that day.  As though excited to "meet" them, but sad for their predicament.  They just know.  But how?  I suppose it doesn't really matter.

I've learned from the girls to live in the moment, so that stress stays at work.  And it feels good to be reunited with my family, furry and otherwise.  The girls greet and then examine me with such ardor - I'm kind of like their super hero.  But stinkier.