Who’s afraid of the big bad…..cold?

As Fiona has gotten older she has become more sensitive to sounds…thunderstorms, high winds and the house creaking, settling.

With this recent cold snap (very recent as of last night) she is beside herself.  Despite the walls of our house being concrete blocks our inner walls, ceilings and roof are wood.  A couple of years ago during a cold snap we noticed Fiona would get agitated as the house contracted in the cold.  However, last night was the triple whammy-the high winds, the house contracting from the cold & the CO detector went off-….for some unknown reason after I went to bed (she followed me into the bedroom) the CO detector in there went off, levels were fine but we wondered if the high winds were forcing gases back down the chimney since it only went off once.  But that started it, Fiona freaked out at the high piercing sound.  Fred told me she then started pacing.  He tried taking her out but she ran from him as if trying to get away from the noise of the wind.  Then as the temperatures plummeted the house started to creak (loud popping noises actually.)  When he came to bed Fred mentioned Fiona had been shaking and going to her safe places for the past 4 hours (in the bathtub, in the corner of the living room behind the furniture).

I got up and gave her a Benadryl which seemed to help, then invited her up onto the bed with us where she laid getting her belly rubbed for awhile.  When my alarm went off she followed me into the kitchen and is currently under the computer desk because (you guessed it) the roof creaked again.  I feel like a mother with a sick baby, don’t know what to do to soothe her and keep trying different tactics without only temporary success.  On top of it all I have an evening class to teach today so I won’t be home until early evening leaving Fred to have to deal with Fiona’s anxiety (and we all know “dads” just don’t’ have the same level of compassion at times as “moms”).   I have instructed him under NO conditions is Fiona to be let out loose (as we normally do) because I am concerned she will run in an attempt to flee the “big bad house.”   I can only hope this cold snap won’t be as long-lived as predicted but I think that hope is in vain.

Fiona in warmer weather!

Fiona in warmer weather!

Just whose bed is it anyway?

The "bed of honor"

The “bed of honor”

With 3 dogs needless to say we have several dog beds around the house; 2 in the kitchen with a crate that Gypsy feels belongs to her exclusively, 2 in the living room in addition to the couch which Phoenix feels is his while Gypsy sleeps under the dining room table (we have an open floor plan and the dining room is just off the living room forming an “L”) as well as 3 dog beds in the bedroom.  Gypsy and Phoenix like to sleep under the bed while Fiona likes to sleep on our bed (one side or the other OR across the foot of the bed warming both sides for our feet).

Despite all the available places to sleep there is always a competition to see who can claim the bed between Fred’s chair and mine in the living room.  Fiona thinks this is her place, Gypsy thinks she should have priority and occasionally Phoenix gets in the act to claim the spot too.

Last evening I had to chuckle to myself as Gypsy was laying on the bed, Fiona then faked her out acting like she wanted out, when Gypsy got up Fiona doubled back so she could lay down on the dog bed.  Later Phoenix got off the couch to get a drink of water, Fiona followed him into the kitchen AND he doubled back to claim the “bed of honor”.   We don’t know what the attraction of this dog bed is but it sure is the place to be in our dogs opinion.

Who’s been sitting in my chair?/Lap time

So, I was traveling for work earlier this week (YES, I FINALLY GOT A JOB AFTER 8 MONTHS OF UNEMPLOYMENT!!!!!) which meant Fred was home alone with the dogs.

Normally Phoenix will lay on the couch, the floor or a dog bed but Saturday evening while I was sitting on the LaZ-Boy he came over to me and started nudging my knee.  Since the dogs had just finished dinner I presumed Phoenix was trying to tell me he needed to go out.  So Fred took all 3 dogs out, Fiona went into the brush between our house and the neighbors, Gypsy wanted to walk further back on the property (now that we are down to 4 inches of snow from the 12 inches we had on Tuesday, spring-like temperatures on Saturday—the winter solstice—and again today, Sunday) and Phoenix just stood on the step of the porch.  A bit later I got up to go to the bedroom to change into my lounging PJs; when I came back the LaZ-Boy was occupied!  Phoenix had climbed up and made himself comfortable, head on the armrest, legs tucked under him and eyes starting to droop closed as he started to doze off to sleep.  Apparently he didn’t want outside but wanted me to get up so he could sleep on the chair.  I chuckled and Fred came back to the livingroom wondering what was so comical, told him he had to see it to understand.  When Fred looked Phoenix opened his eyes and wagged his tail.  In my absence Phoenix decided he would sit where I normally do and wasn’t ready to relinquish the chair back to me.

Fiona, on the other hand, missed me as well.  BUT Fiona will “share” the chair with me, meaning she likes to lay on my legs while I sit in the chair—her lap time.  Friday evening she was on my lap for the majority of the evening, same thing Saturday morning which is not normal.  Usually she will climb up for a short period then decide it’s time to lay on her dog bed—not this weekend, she was into some SERIOUS lap time.

You may wonder what Gypsy did; well, she just wanted belly rubs and for me to pay constant attention to her when I first got home.  She did do some snuggling when I went to bed on Friday because, you know, she is our “snuggle puppy.IMG_0034

Doe – a deer, a female deer…

OK, thank you NBC, I now have an earworm from the Sound of Music commercials you have been airing.

What does that have to do with dogs you may ask….well, when I get an earworm I start making up lyrics that have to do with our dogs to go with the melody.  Last night, the commercial came on, Fred (my hubby) came in from taking the dogs out — it was dusk and he said there were 4 deer which the dogs saw on the path we take them on toward the back of our property.  The song kept going through my head and I started changing the words.  Then Fred walked into the kitchen and heard:

Doe, a deer, a female deer.

Phoenix, he’s the golden one.

Fiona, her name,  the big brown dog.

Gypsy, she likes to run and run.

Roll, what dogs do in deer poop.

Bath, it happens after roll.

T, that’s “T” for their dog treats.

and that brings us back to doe, oh, oh, oh.

3 dogs

My apologies to Rodgers and Hammerstein.  Now let’s hope I don’t hear “It’s a small world” anytime soon!

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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