Today's post was going to consist of my reflections on 2010 and my hopes and dreams for 2011. Five Red Dogs have deemed it otherwise.
UHM is in Pasadena, CA, this weekend watching her beloved Wisconsin Badgers play in the Rose Bowl. I dropped her off at the airport at 5am yesterday and she will be home around 4:30pm on Sunday - if all goes as planned. In the meantime, I have the care and feeding of the entire Horde.
I don't think I've ever mentioned the fact that the Horde don't all get along with each other. Sam cannot interact with Bogey or Georgia, at all. Moira and Georgia don't care for each other either. Dog movement within our home is a carefully choreographed dance of opening and shutting doors and baby gates to move groups of dogs from one space to another. It's fairly easy to accomplish with two people. Alone, you are in an almost constant state of motion to keep everyone fed, pottied, happily engaged with appropriate items to chew, etc. You would think that night time would be the easiest. Sam, Ginny & Moira sleep in my room with me. Bogey and Georgia sleeping in UHM's room - alone.
Our dogs are crated during the day while we are at work. For that reason, I am reluctant to crate them at night - even in circumstances like these where there is a lack of supervision. I should have crated Georgia last night.
Georgia has a history of chewing on inappropriate items. Even as a little puppy she and her siblings destroyed a cell phone. She's chewed a variety of inappropriate items since she came to live with us with plastics being a favorite: the dog sitter's BlackBerry being the best example. UHM had "Georgia-proofed" her room though and I made a second pass before bed last night. Everything was secure.
Moira got me up at 4 this morning. I let her, Sam & Gin outside and checked on the baby dogs. One of UHM's pillows was on the floor, sans pillowcase. The pillow was fine. The pillowcase was shredded. Ok. Picked everything up, brought the big dogs in, secured them in my room, let the baby dogs out. Eventually got everyone back in the house and secured in their appropriate rooms. Then tried, unsuccessfully, to go back to sleep.
6:45am, I heard a 'thunk' in UHM's room. I didn't bother to investigate because, what could they possibly have gotten into?
7:15am, the big dogs want to go out again. I let them out and then check on the baby dogs. This is what I found....
So, I'm up now. Bogey and Georgia are in the living room. Bogey is quietly working on a chewie - he's such a good boy. Georgia is barking at nothing. Sam and Ginny are in the office with me. Moira is in the front room, barking at nothing because Georgia is barking. Everyone needs breakfast. It's going to be a long 4 days.
Now that the holidays are almost over, I have a little time to share a great shopping find that UHM made. The company is Best Friends Studios and they have some super cute pet-centric items that can be customized and personalized.
The thing I was most impressed with is the fact that after UHM contacted them about a Cardigan silhouette, they actually returned her email and added a Cardi to their line up. Talk about great customer service!
I hope you all will repay their willingness to expand their product line by shopping with them.
Today was one of THOSE days. It started innocently enough with Moira getting everyone up at 5:30, as she always does. UHM and I went through our usual routine of getting ready for work, although UHM needed to leave a little earlier than usual. She left and I finished up with the dogs - letting everyone out in shifts, filling water buckets, etc. And that's where things went awry.
When I went to crate Bogey and Georgia, I realized we were out of treats. Horrors! I grabbed a few pieces of kibble to use as treats and called the youngsters into the room where their crates are. Georgia went in her crate, then Bogey went in his. As I gave them each a couple pieces of kibble I noticed that someone had spilled a bunch of water in B's crate. That really needed to be mopped up before I put him in there for the day. I trooped back to the laundry room, with Bogey following me to get a towel. I mopped up the crate, trooped back to the laundry room with the wet towel and then got a new towel to go in his crate. B went in his room and I moved on to getting the rest of the Horde in the house and crated.
Late this afternoon UHM calls me and asks, "Do you know what YOUR puppy did today?" That's always a bad sign. Apparently, in my distraction over the lack of treats and wet crate, I forgot to latch Georgia's crate. She took advantage of the freedom to wander the house, raid the litter box and spread litter and clumps of cat pee all over the house. This was discovered when the dog walker arrived midday.
When I got home this evening I avoided all the piles of kitty litter scattered throughout the house, let the big dogs out in the backyard, changed my shoes and got the baby dogs out of their crates. While I was in my room changing shoes, I realized Georgia had been in my room earlier in the day and pottied herself on the rug. GREAT! Something else to clean up. I took the baby dogs out the front door for a quick potty break and then headed back into the house to start the clean up. But first, I needed to take a bio-break myself.
While I'm in the bathrooom, I hear the unmistakable sounds of Georgia chasing/harassing Grace the cat. Grace is elderly and can't move as fast as G so I jumped up, hollered at Georgia to "leave the kitty", struggled to get my pants up and bolted out of the bathroom intent on saving Grace.
While I'm hollering at Georgia and trying to catch her so I can crate her until UHM gets home, I hear someone say my name at the front door. Thinking it was UHM needing help carrying in groceries or something, I responded with a rather loud and nasty "WHAT!!!!!"
It wasn't UHM. It was one of our lovely neighbors, her husband and their teenage son, who is home from college, coming by to deliver a Christmas gift to us. I'm standing in the living room, screaming at both the dog and my neighbor with my jeans unzipped when I realized just who was at the door.
Of course I pulled my sweater down over the unzipped jeans, apologized profusely, accepted their lovely gift, got the jar of homemade chocolate sauce out of the fridge that was our gift to them and promised to see them Friday evening at a get-together at their house. I wonder if my blush will have faded by then?
This is our third winter with UHM. One of the things I love about this house is that it has a fireplace. There is just nothing better than sitting in front of a fire on a cold day. When we've lost power it has been the sole source of heat in the house, as well as the oven for baking potatoes. When we want a special treat, we toast marshmallows in it.
Of course, with fire comes a certain amount of danger. Yes, we've had holes singed in carpets and blankets from popping coals. And there was one incident w/a flaming marshmallow and Ginny - don't worry, she didn't get hurt but she did have to spend some time licking melted marshmallow out of her coat.
This year Moira has decided the fire is truly, truly dangerous. Moira is well known for taking the smallest thing and blowing it way out of proportion. For example - "The water bowl has moved! I can't come in that room now." The fire phobia is puzzling and really extreme though.
The fire has never bothered Moira before. She's been oblivious to the snapping, popping and dancing lights. To my knowledge, she's never touched a burning spark or been hit by one either. This year though she will literally try to climb the walls to get out of the room with the fireplace. When she does get out of the room, she retreats to the other end of the house, preferably UHM's bathroom, and barks nonstop. We've taken to calling it the Panic Room. As is, "Where's Moira? Oh, she's in the panic room."
Anyone else have a dog with this kind of phobia? What have you done about it? Moira is pretty immune to Rescue Remedy and even 5mg of Valium barely touches her. Thoughts blogosphere friends?
I was just looking at the calendar and then at Sammy and realized that it was 5 years ago this weekend that we embarked on his career as a show dog. Well, we'd been to a couple shows prior but this was the weekend when we finally put some big points on the board - back to back 4 point majors at the shows in Worcester, MA.
That Friday night I drove Sam up to Michele Neubauer's house to be bathed and groomed by Lori Kopreski. On the way home, I saw a shooting star and thought, "Maybe that's a sign." Turns out it was. If I remember right, it snowed like crazy that weekend too. Lori was frantic thinking Sammy's coat would go berserk with the humidity. It didn't - we were able to brush the snow right off and you couldn't tell he'd been out in it.
On Saturday, an unknown Canadian judge pointed to Sam for WD and BOWs. Then on Sunday Mr. Lester Mapes found him for WD. For all but one point, Sam was handled by Lori Kopreski.
It's also been five years since my dear friend, Sam Gardner Sr., passed away. He died, unexpectedly, just 4 days after Sammy got his majors. I was so pleased he knew when he died that Sam was on his way to becoming a champion. He and Sammy were buds and it was thanks to Big Sam that Sammy came to live with me and stayed with me - even when Marla wasn't sure I would be able to handle the big, red dog. To this day, every time I or one of my dogs enter the breed ring, I send a little message up to Big Sam. I ask him to help me be a good handler, to help my dog to behave and to help the judge find my dog when it comes time to hand out the points :)
Next weekend Sam's youngest daughter, Georgia, is heading to shows in Winston-Salem, NC. There are 3 point majors both days. Maybe she'll follow in her father's footsteps and take the points both days. I'm watching for a sign and frantically sending Big Sam messages.
"All knowledge, the totality of all questions and all answers is contained in the dog."
- Franz Kafka
About Me, UHM and The Horde
Me: I'm a 40-something dog mom. I never intended to live with five dogs and a cat, it just happened. Funny thing is, I can't imagine living any other way.
UHM (Understanding House Mate): She didn't even have a dog when she was a child. FIVE dogs and a cat!?!? Now you know why she's understanding. She loves the dogs as much as I do. The cat, not so much.
The Heathen Horde: Sam, Ginny & Moira are the original Horde members. In the last two years Bogey & Georgia have been granted full membership status. Everyone is red & white - that way the neighbors aren't sure how many dogs we have :)