Falling Squirrel Zone

If I haven’t mentioned it before, Gypsy LOVES to chase squirrels.  Our back porch is enclosed (more like a mud room) and we have a full view storm door as our outside door.  During the summer the glass is replaced by a screen but right now it is a glass pane from top to bottom. Gypsy likes to lay on the back porch (when it is warm enough) and look out the back door.

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Before she goes out she looks around the backyard to see if there are any beings she needs to “guard” against. She has been amazed when we open the inner door and there is a squirrel sitting on the back step looking at the house.  Gypsy stares as the squirrel as if sizing it up and the squirrel stares back like it is daring her to try to catch it.  We make a move to open the door and the chase begins always ending with the squirrel reaching the safety of a tree before Gypsy gets to the foot of the tree.  If she could I think she would climb up after it. Many times, like once last week, she will take off up our back hill into the woods and normally she is chasing a squirrel.  We have learned to look around the backyard as well to make sure there aren’t any deer or the neighbors chickens out there but when it comes to squirrels they aren’t as easily seen by us humans.

But I digress.  Recently one morning I went to put the dogs out, took a look around the yard before opening the back door and didn’t see anything.  However, Gypsy did:  halfway up the hill and midway between the start of the tree line and the path to the back of our property she ran.  I saw the squirrel dart up a tree and there she stood at the bottom of it.  Then to her surprise, CRACK, down came a branch on the side opposite her and up jumped that squirrel (either he was hefty or that branch was weak).  Gypsy stood there looked confused while the squirrel jumped up and ran to another tree.    She then circled the bottom of the 2nd tree as if expecting another squirrel to fall from the sky! The squirrel survived to tease her another day.

It took a couple of minutes but she finally decided the excitement was over and came back to the house looking a bit disappointed.  Gypsy hasn’t given up, she still checks out the yard before going out the door to see if she can chase any other squirrels up a tree.

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Anticipation, an-ti-ci-pa-a-shun, I’m making ’em wait, keeping ’em wa-a-a-iting

Yes, they are waiting, have been since yesterday when all 3 watched me take the turkey out to defrost.  Gypsy was right there, nose up even though I find it hard to believe she could smell anything off a frozen turkey.  If today’s preparations go anything like those of past years I will have Fiona sitting next to me watching every move while I make the stuffing and all 3 of them coming into the kitchen when I open the oven to baste the bird.

I have to admit they are well-behaved during my preparations, just standing there, noses in the air for a whiff of whatever is going on.  It probably helps that there is a turkey broth that will be simmering all day to use for making gravy.  They are also extremely well-behaved while we eat our Thanksgiving dinner but they lose their patience when it comes time to clearing the table and putting the food away.  Then it appears they think whatever if leftover from the bird should be given to them.

The first Thanksgiving we had at our current residence was one that really tested how well the dogs we had at that time were trained.  My parents came out and my mom brought the turkey with them to be cooked.  The night before my dad wanted chicken so we bought a rotisserie chicken and had leftovers. On Thanksgiving the turkey wasn’t quite defrosted but I started to roast it anyway (mistake).  The bird didn’t finish roasting in the allotted time so we left it roasting and opted for the leftover chicken instead.  I put the chicken on the plate and the plate on the table.  I SWEAR that plate JUMPED off the table.  We had 3 other dogs (Dusty, Emery and Mandy) as well as my parents dog (Annalisa).  All 4 of them just stood there looking at that chicken lying on the floor, NOT ONE made a move for it.  To this day we don’t know if they were in shock or being EXTREMELY thankful because their wish for dinner was granted!  Needless to say the humans had just vegetables for dinner and then turkey leftovers for later in the even but boy did those dogs enjoy their Thanksgiving chicken dinner.

Well, I better make sure the turkey for today’s dinner is completely thawed and start prepping my side dishes (of course with oversight by Phoenix, Fiona and Gypsy).  Happy Thanksgiving!

Tis the season for…..”poop”sicles

Not every dog owner has had the pleasure (?) of finding out how much their pooch likes “poop”sicles.  For those uninitiated, a “poop”sicle is frozen dog feces and these are only available at a certain time of year (once the temperature dips below freezing for an extended period of time).

“Poop”sicle season started about a week ago in our geographic area.  At first it was only for a day or two until the temperature warmed back up to the 50’s but the season has since resumed and will probably continue now until spring thaw.  It caught me unaware and when Phoenix was caught munching on a “poop”sicle and I yelled at him to drop it at first he had a guilty look on his face but he did drop it (good dog!).  That was when Gypsy realized “poop”sicle season had started and she went out to look for some for herself.  Again, once her name was yelled and she was told “drop it” she did but not before enjoying a bite or two.  I am not saying Fiona is immune to eating “poop”sicles she just does it on the sly.

What can be done about avoiding/eliminating the munching of “poop”sicles you may ask.  Well, one can keep the waste picked up; however, there is a phenomenon dubbed “autumn turds” which makes it hard to find the waste if there are leaves down in the yard which hides the waste to humans but because of their strong sense of smell the dogs can find them.  I have also been told to give the pooches pieces of pineapple which apparently, once digested, makes the “poop”sicles unappetizing or put meat tenderizer on their food which has the same effect.  Needless to say over the past week, since we don’t have any pineapple, I have used meat tenderizer on their food once a day.  Is it working, I think so, at least for dog “poop”sicles but there is another gourmet treat out there that I have no control over—-chicken “poop”sicles and chicken poop is even harder to find since the droppings are not large.  We are hoping once the snow covers the ground we won’t have to worry about chicken “poop”sicles cuz the chickens probably won’t be able to make it over to our yard.
For those of you who live in climates in which the temperature doesn’t often fall below freezing…..be grateful that this is one aspect of dog ownership/parenthood you don’t have to experience!

Our daily constitutional

We walk daily, 1-2 miles depending on which direction we turn at the road.  Yesterday was a 2 mile walk, we didn’t think it would be that long but the weather (temperature and wind) were favorable to a nice stroll so rather than turn around after 1/2 mile we continued down the road.  Not that we were given much of a choice, when we reached the spot that we thought we would turn around the dogs kept going straight.  When we stopped and said “time to turn around” no one paid any attention, Fiona looked up at both of us and whined a little so we relented and kept going.  A couple of houses down the road one of their dogs ran out to the road and barked at us, we had seen this golden before just never saw her run (she is missing her front “passenger side” leg).  She stayed on her property and once we passed she turned around and went back to the house.  On our return trip past the same house we heard a bark, this time it was the black lab that resides there.  He made a bit of a fuss (his owner was outside with him, I think he was making a show for the owner’s benefit.)  Phoenix wanted to cross the street and say “hi” but I think he wanted to say hi to the owner not the dog.  One thing you need to know if Phoenix thinks he is the welcoming committee for the neighborhood; he feels he needs to meet any and everyone he sees on our walks.  Being part hound, Phoenix also bays, not just barks.  He has started baying at other pooches he sees walking when we are out for our exercise, then he keeps looking back over his shoulder at them until they are out of his line of sight.

As if seeing the neighbor dogs wasn’t enough, when we got home the chickens were over visiting.  Luckily we have learned to listen for the rooster to determine where he is from where we hear the crowing so nobody was let off their leash although Gypsy would have LOVED to get and give some exercise by chasing them.  Once again it is sunny out today and the forecast is for fairly mild temperatures, needless to say the chickens are out of their coop and this means the pooches will be happy because they get to watch them again.

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Just short postscript to the chickens being out today, Gypsy wanted out (it’s been a while so I thought she might need to “pottie”.  She ran up the back hill into the woods, not thinking anything of it (she chases squirrels up trees) until I saw chickens start running back toward their own yard.  Don’t worry, she was a VERY good girl and came back when I called rather than chase after the chickens.

Now about the baby of the family—-Gypsy

Gypsy happens to be the only dog we have adopted that is not part Labrador.  She is 1/2 golden retriever and 1/2 german shepherd.  We didn’t know what we were getting into when we adopted this mix.  Not complaining, just up until we got her all our pooches weren’t very vocal.  Gypsy, however, feels it is her duty to alert us whenever ANYTHING and I mean ANYTHING moves outside.  She can appear to be in a deep sleep and all of a sudden she is up, running to a window or door and barking.  When she hears a large vehicle coming down the road she will start to growl before she gets up to bark at it through the window.  When out in the gazebo she will growl at any movement in the yard, the neighbor’s yard or in the road.  When called by security companies attempting to sell us systems (i.e. ADT) we tell them we don’t need one, already have one it is D.O.G.

I stand corrected in her age, Gypsy was actually 5 years old this past October.  We were on puppy alert while visiting family in Indiana, waiting for a call that the pups had been born.  In fact, every time my cell rang our nieces and nephews asked if it was the “puppy call”.  That call never came, what actually happened was I called the individual with the pregnant dog one morning to see if the pups had been born and was told she was delivering a pup at that moment.  I stayed on the phone with them, asked if the pup was male or female, was told it was a female, asked if there were any distinguishing markings and it was the only pup with any white on it, the back toes were white so it was decided that would be our pup.

gypsy 8 days old

We had been naming our dogs by following the alphabet (OK, OK, Phoenix came pre-named and Mandy just looked like a Mandy) but when it came to this new pup we were up to G.  My husband came up with Gypsy.  And a Gypsy she is, free spirited and a bit wild at times.  She also likes to roam around the property despite not being allowed to go far.  My husband tells her to “stay in the yard” and she “stays in the yard” almost as if she knows her “yard” consists of 7 acres.  She LOVES to chase squirrels and has attempted to chase the chickens when they come over for “palooza” but will come back when we call to her.  She also likes to perfume herself in eau de deer poop, particularly at this time of year.

Gypsy is also a snuggle puppy.  She likes to jump up on the bed and nuzzle under our chins while we rub her belly.  She is really a sweetheart.

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Sun’s out, neighbor is home—must mean CHICKENPALOOZA!

I wondered why suddenly all 3 dogs wanted out.  Luckily we now do a quick check of the yard before letting Fiona and Gypsy out loose because we are having a “chickenpalooza” day, perhaps one of the last of the year since once the snow flies I don’t think they will be able to make it over to our yard.

Anyway, it isn’t easy to see the chickens now that the leaves are down when they are in the woods but boy can the pooches see them.

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Gypsy was staring at something in the yard so I followed her line of sight and there they were, in the woods, just behind the garden plot.  Once out Phoenix spotted them and it didn’t take long for Fiona to see them either.  The 3 of them watched as the birds made their way to the compost pile, did some scratching then worked their way back toward their own yard so everybody came in.  Just a few minutes later there was clucking on the side of the house so Gypsy ran over to the side window to jump up and look out because now the chickens were near our cars under the lilac bush, coming up to the outside water bowl (we’re nice neighbors, it is so convenient for them that there is a water bowl they can drink from) before going back into the yard to scratch for bugs.  Really, it is sort of fun having the chickens come over to visit/look for bugs.  The dogs LOVE to watch them and they haven’t had many ticks/fleas this year because of the chickens.  Over this summer the chickens have been over so often all we have to do is say “Palooza” and Phoenix comes from where ever he is to look.

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Well, now there is clucking in front of the house so let “Chickenpalooza” continue!

And it’s—FIONA DOG, the big brown dog

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Fiona was adopted from a local SPCA.  When I first went to see the available pups I thought we would adopt another black dog; however, when we took the 2 dogs we currently had to meet the pups (there were 3, 2 black and one brown) the one I had originally thought we would adopt wanted to boss around our matriarch at the time and Fiona interacted with them better thus she was our choice.

Fiona is also known as Princess Fiona as well as Gazebo Dog.  She is Princess Fiona because when we first brought her home she was an angel during the day but once the sun went down she was a little monster.  We happen to have a decent size gazebo and Fiona really likes to sit/sleep out in it—even in winter with snow on the ground she wants to stop and go in on the way back to the house after our walks.  She also has her own wading pool.Fiona is also our lapdog.  When I sit in the EZ-chair she comes up to me, puts her feet on my lap, scoots her backend close to the chair and I am supposed to pull the footrest lever so she lays on my legs.  Then she nuzzles and likes to have her belly rubbed.  About 6 years ago she had surgery on the ACL in her left leg.  Poor baby had to have that entire leg shaved as well as the left side of her rump

1st day post op June 2008

(naked butt dog).  Don’t worry she has recovered and is none the worse despite the embarrassing picture.

Fiona has slowed down in the past year but still likes her walks.  Yesterday was gorgeous and probably one of the last warm days this year so the pooches got an extra long walk (have to say u-squared when we talk about walks prior to leaving or the excitement in the house is uncontrollable).  The original plan was to walk about a mile, just down to the Y-intersection and back but no one wanted to turn around so we just kept going.  When we got to the next cross road and said let’s turn around, Fiona started to whine and looked further down to road to keep going.  She forgets the way back is as long as the way there.  Once home it was into the gazebo and all 3 laid down for their naps.

PS – when she needed her bath after perfuming herself in deer poop last week she took it like a good dog and just stepped into the tub.

She is one of our love puppies.

UMMMM Chinese

(enjoying the Chinese food takeout container)