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Scout 1

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Somehow, Scout has a marshmellow on his ear.

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The markings, the color, it should have been obvious…Scout is a Norwegian Elkhound.

The DNA results are in. Scout is MOSTLY a Norwegian Elkhound . His DNA also shows Scout is part Staffordshire Bull Terrior.

I was so sure Scout was mostly  German Shepherd. Nope. There is not a trace of German Shepherd in our boy. Despite Scout’s size and mean bark, Scout has to be the worst guard dog ever. We have to pull Scout off of guests the same way the officers on “Cops” pull their dogs off of felons. But, it is to protect people from muddy paws and kisses, not bites.

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Scout at 11 weeks.

 We did the DNA cheek swab.

 We’re anxiously awaiting the results.

Since adopting the abandoned puppy, we’ve been wondering what he is. We are pretty sure one of Scout’s parents is a german shepherd. But, what about the other parent?

At first we thought Scout was all german shepherd despite his droopy ears. Every german shepherd puppy has droopy ears for 8 weeks. But, by 4 to 7 months the ears should be erect. Scout’s ears never quite came up.

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Ears coming up? Scout at 4 months.

Not that Scout didn’t tease. When Scout was approximately 12-weeks-old one ear starting going up. Then the other. They got 3/4 of the way. Then at five months the ears headed south.

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Scout, 70 lbs. and 7-months

Scout is now a 7-month-old. And he has changed even more. He weighs 70-lbs. His tail curls over his back like a pug. He seems to be getting jowels.

Is he part mastiff? Pit bull? Bulldog? Pug?

 It takes 6 to 8 weeks for test results. We are on pins and needles. How can Maury handle the suspense 5 days a week?

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Scout’s doggy DNA kit

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Dinner rolls minus one roll.

Last night I dug out my tattered original handwritten recipe, scalded, mixed and kneaded. I left the dough in a covered bowl overnight. This morning I shaped and set the almost finished rolls out in the warmest part of the kitchen to rise.

Buster watched.

When I came back into the kitchen later to check on my rolls, the towel that had been covering  the rolls was on the floor. A roll was missing. Buster was innocently sleeping on the rug in front of the stove.

He didn’t so much as blink when he saw me checking the rolls to see if any of those remaining were “obviously” licked or sniffed.

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Roll? What roll?

“Best in Show” Dinner Rolls

Along with homemade mincemeat and pumpkin pie, my grandmother and mother made these rolls for holiday dinners. As a teenager, I  entered them in the County 4-H Fair and won “Best in Show” in the yeast bread category. 

Warm 1/4 lb. butter, 1/2 cup sugar, 1 cup milk until lukewarm (scald milk, turn heat off, let butter melt then add sugar)

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Scalded Milk is milk that has come to a boil. There will be a skin on the top of scalded milk.

Mix yeast in lukewarm water.

Beat 3 eggs.

Mix milk and eggs and add yeast.

Gradually add 5 cups flour and 1 tsp. salt.

Let rise overnight in a covered bowl.

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The dough is ready to be rolled or shaped and set out to rise again.

In the morning knead a little. Shape your rolls. Let rise until evening.

Bake at 350-375 until golden brown.

Besides bringing dinner rolls I am also bringing a Sour Cream Apple Pie and Paula Deen’s Gooey Pumpkin Butter Bars to our family’s Thanksgiving dinner.

NOTE: If Buster had managed to snatch more rolls, it could have been fatal. According to this article,, a dog’s stomach is a nice warm, moist environment, so, unbaked dough can expand to many times its size when ingested. With Christmas just around the corner and holiday parties in full swing, keep in mind any four-legged family members, who might be waiting for “opportunity”, and take care not to leave “people” food out the way I did.

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I have been tagged by paperseedblog of http://paperseed.wordpress.com/ and asked to post 7 honest things about myself. It sounds easy,  but I’ve been putting it off. Until now.

I am a homebody. Crowds make me uncomfortable. I hate shopping malls and supersized “one-stop” groceries. Give me a little shop anyday. I dread parties. My home is warm and cozy. It has my husband, my animals, my books, my computer, my hi-def tv and all of my favorite foods. I love my house and being in my house.

 I hate small talk. I am not good at it. I feel awkward and tongue-tied. My mind drifts. When I was single I suggested movies for first dates to avoid conversation.

 With  friends and family or when talking about things I care about, I am a chatterbox. My poor husband sometimes has to wait to get in a word edgewise.

I like old things better than new. I have a passion for antiques. Only I want to use them instead of storing and preserving them. I read the old books, display the arrowheads, work with the kitchen tools and stir my cakes in antique bowls. These items have a history and I like adding to it.

blog-pictures-001.jpg I don’t love all of my animals the same. I secretly love Abby and Simba the most. I love Abby because she has become my dog. I love Simba because he smells so good and because he snuggles. Simba would rather be DH’s cat, but sometimes he bestows himself upon me and purrs and cuddles. I love smelling his fur and hearing his purr.

Sometimes, when DH asks me to go for walks I say no and make excuses. There is always something else I’d rather do. But, “if “I go, I am always glad I did. A walk through our woods is more relaxing than a tranquilizer.

“All the Critters” has a quiz (http://allthecritters.wordpress.com/2007/10/05/take-this-quiz-to-find-out-what-animal-you-are/) to find out what kind of “animal” you are.

I took the quiz.

I am a “pale giraffe” — an introvert. Imagine.

What kind of animal are you?

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Kitty is trying to kill himself.

It’s a dangerous situation.

Kitty is so happy when he thinks his people are coming home he runs under the front wheels of every vehicle pulling into our drive. If you look for him, when it gets dark he’s hard to see.

We don’t know how to break Kitty of his new habit. Some of the visitors to our house are older and have enough trouble negotiating around our trees, shrubs or the barn to consider watching out for our little cat.

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Kitty’s about to throw himself beneath a jeep wheel. Notice the tire tracks where he’s walking.

This week our horses kicked holes in the barn. We don’t keep them locked inside stalls. They can go inside or out at will. They’ve got free access to a big round bale of hay. They have a fan inside the barn. They have bug zappers. They have a drinking fountain.

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The kicked out side of our barn.

I think the horses and Kitty are missing DH.

DH loves having a farm and spends his days as if he were a paid hand. He mows, works in the barn, trims trees, cleans up trails, fixes fences and as he does chores, the horse’s noses are right up his back or over his shoulder. When DH is outside their pasture, the horses watch his every move from the closest fence corner.

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The not very remorseful barn kickers beg for treats.

Kitty lived wild and feral in DH’s woods for an entire year before DH was able to get close to him. He still spends most days outside. Only instead of being the cat that walked and lived alone, Kitty now follows DH like a dog. He is up and down ladders, running ahead of DH on paths in the woods and springing out from behind weeds to grab DH’s legs.

Lately though, DH has had obligations that have prevented him from being as available outside for our animals.

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Simba’s found a sack and total bliss.

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Biggs enjoys her favorite chair.

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The newest member of our family, Scooter, the hummingbird, sips nectar and entices Biggs who is watching out the window.

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Buster and DH greet Mr. Miller, the repairman who will be fixing our barn. The children soon are petting our horses although Mr. Miller said their horse is a new one. According to Mr. Miller, the new horse isn’t very well trained and behaved badly on the drive to look over our barn.

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It’s that time of year and animal hair is everywhere. Abby watches me sweep.

It is shedding season and over the past week with my daughter visiting, every day was a reminder that I really need to check out the animal Dyson vacuum cleaner. Dog and cat hair were everywhere and clinging to our clothes everytime we left the house.

 Our pets are a lot of work and a responsibility. They aren’t cheap with vet visits, expensive and endless desires for Fancy Feast, hay, treats, toys and barn destroying. But, their joy, when we come home, is so overwhelming you cannot help but know it’s love in its  purest and most unselfish  form.

Simba may mostly be DH’s cat, but this week it was my face he snuggled up to every night. And in the mornings  DH made coffee and Abby came and nuzzled my arm so I’d wake up right before it was ready. Somehow, someway, those pets instinctively became nurturing and extra affectionate.

Are our pets worth the inconvenience and expense?

Absolutely. We don’t miss or think about their cost in time or money.

But, we’d sure miss them.

More dog stories:

Two dogs and a cat go to the vet

My Big Fat Animals

“Bad Boy Buster” and Dog Whispering

More cat stories:

Two dogs and a cat go to the vet

The Cat Box

Cat Ladder

DH’s Cat Ladder Goes International

More Horse Stories:

Give me a kiss

Horses , Skipper Rears

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Macho, tough Buster, chaser of cats and bully of Abby, is scared.

“Collars are cruel,” said DH, “they make dogs choke. Before we go to the vet, I’m getting harnesses.”

And he did.

But, it was as if Buster had ESP.

“Isn’t Buster pretty,” we said. “Good boy, Buster, beautiful Buster.”

Our talk didn’t fool Buster one bit. He cowered and shook with fear. He seemed to know what was coming.

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Buster is so upset because of the harness, I had to hold his head up to get him to look at me. He was also plotting his escape.

Buster wasn’t going sit and let it happen either. At the first opportunity he bolted through the dogdoor and hid in our backyard. DH had to go out and get him and carry him to the jeep.

In the meantime, I was in charge of putting Biggs in the cat carrier. 

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Biggs inspects the cat carrier.

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Then Biggs strolls on in.

I had only to shut the cat carrier door after Biggs went in on her own. Abby proudly let me put her regular collar on, strutted out to the jeep and hopped in. Except for Abby getting carsick and drooling and Biggs meowing, the ride to Maplecrest Animal Hospital was uneventful. 

Once we got to there, Abby practically drug me into the front waiting room. Then, DH signed everyone in and Buster retreated to hide in the corner with his head under a chair.

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Buster is still wide-eyed. Abby is calm, but soon drooling from carsickness.

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Buster hiding in the corner of the waiting room.

There was a different veterinarian in the office today, Dr. Jeff Longenbaugh. He won Abby and I over when he said her weight was just fine. Biggs didn’t fare as well. Eleven and a half pounds is a lot for such a small boned cat. But, despite all the talk about her fatness, Biggs purred contentedly through the examination and her vacinations.

 Buster didn’t recognize the vet and clung to him avoiding DH and I. I think Buster was remembering past times DH and I had betrayed him in the examining room. Once the vet took out the syringe to draw blood, though, DH had to help hold Buster down.

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Biggs purrs through her embarrassing weigh-in and vaccinations.

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Abby had an old scab from a tick bite.

No fleas, ear mites, heartworms or signs of problems. Everyone got a clean bill of health. DH paid.

We will be back again next year. In the meantime, I would like to thank the veterinarian, Dr. Jeff Longenbaugh and the staff at Maplecrest Animal Hospital.

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Maplecrest Animal Hospital’s staff is hard at work.

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The dogs lie low on the way home.

Other posts about Buster, Abby and Biggs include:

http://jolynna.wordpress.com/2007/08/14/my-big-fat-animals/

http://jolynna.wordpress.com/2007/08/02/bad-boy-buster-temptation-and-dog-whispering/

http://jolynna.wordpress.com/2007/07/09/the-cat-ladder/

http://jolynna.wordpress.com/2007/06/10/the-cat-box/

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Abby by the garden. She’s a lab/border collie mix with eyes that radiate love.

“Don’t forget to call the vet to make an appointment for Abby and Buster.”

DH reminds me of the card we  just got in the mail announcing it’s time for our dogs to get their yearly checkups and shots.

“OK.” I wonder how long I’ll have to get Abby’s weight down before I have to face the vet.

Abby officially became a senior dog this month. Because of her advancing age, last year I was told to restrict her diet to take off  her extra weight. I did mean to take Abby on more walks, not to give her treats or to give her leftovers. But, nobody appreciates my cooking more than Abby.

 By default she’s my dog. Prevented by Buster from getting near DH or getting exercise from chasing a ball, (Buster gets to balls first and they are HIS)  Abby stays by me, where she can have bones and toys, without them being stolen. Rawhide twists, pigs ears, old socks with a knot in them, the sound of Abby’s gnawing is constant. She is a chewer. I hear her chewing as I type on my laptop, read, watch tv or drift off to sleep.

I’ve been taking Abby to the garden with me. It is our special time.  All I have to do is put on my old tennis shoes and Abby’s eyes widen, her ears go up.

She is asking.

“You can go,” I say.

Abby’s eyes shine, she smiles, her tail wags and she prances as we go out the door. Once outside she hurries to sniff the groundhog hole by the compost pile. She digs a little. Then she settles down in the shade and watches while I weed. Without her partner in crime, she doesn’t run away.

 But, even more than the garden, Abby likes being with me in the kitchen. Pie dough’s her favorite of favorites. It turns her into a greedy begger–one that barks if pie crusts are rolled out and no trimmings come her way.

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Poor Abby has to go to the vet and be WEIGHED.

However, Abby’s chubbiness pales in comparison to Bigg’s bigness. I don’t know how long it has been since Biggs has had a checkup or vaccinations. So she needs to go to the vet, too.

And she will be weighed.

In all fairness, the cat was not small when my daughter gave her to us. DH and I said, when we first saw her, that Biggs lived up to her name. But, despite my daughter’s instructions to feed Biggs limited amounts of dry cat food only twice a day, Biggs quickly discovered Simba and Kitty only eat Fancy Feast. 

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Biggs is mad because there’s hard cat  food in her bowl.

She was a quick convert.

She not only swats Kitty and Simba away from the Fancy Feast until she polishes off as much as both of them used to eat combined, she meows and rubs against DH when he puts whipped cream on my coffee with cinammon…until DH gives Biggs her own little pile of whipped cream. 

Biggs hasn’t slimmed down under our care.

Pie dough, whipped cream, the cans of Fancy Feast, why are the things which give loved ones the most pleasure so often what you have to deny them?

 I am cringing at having to face those scales. And the vet.

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Whipped cream with cinammon on sweetened coffee.

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Handsome Buster loves DH and going after cats, deer, racoons and rabbits.

“Buster doesn’t chase,” says DH, “he’s part Australian Shepherd. He herds.”

DH talks about the time he saw Buster “herd” 23 deer. According to DH, Buster  flat-out ran after them yipping his deer yip and drove them into our woods.

“I wish I had a camera,” DH says. “Buster was so proud.”

Unfortunately, Buster could someday pay a price for his happiest moments.

Neither Buster, or our other dog, Abby always come when called. Deer, rabbits and squirrels are too enticing. Interesting trails are also irresistable.

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Temptation…notice the deer tracks on the trail in our woods.

Sometimes it’s a long time before the dogs come back.  We worry. There are nearby roads and neighbors protecting livestock.  In the fall there is hunting season and hunters.

Oh, and the smell. Our dogs roll in deer poop. They eat horse poop. Smelly marsh muck clings to feet, legs and bellies. Which makes their indiscretion all the better. The dogs practically smile as they pant.

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Buster and Abby run through the willows.

Buster is not only a hunter, he is also a natural herder. Part lab, with a little border collie and a lot of Australian shepherd, Buster often does the snaking neck and goes into a herding crouch. His  “stare down” is intimidating. As jealous as the most suspicious wife Buster guards DH. His “look” effectively keeps rivals out of the same room.

“Buster…noooooo,” I say, gathering up a cowering Abby or cat wanting to be with us.  Buster retreats still sneaking in his glares.

“Mom, why does Buster act so nervous around you?” my daughter asked on her last visit.

“Because, I’m training him. He’s learning to walk on a leash,” I told her. Which didn’t adequately describe the experience of a gagging, gasping and squealing Buster trying to escape.

“Awwwwww, poor Buster, you’re choking him,” said DH.

“Don’t say awwwwww in front of him. We need to act like this is no big deal. Maybe if he can’t see you…”

Miraculously, that worked.

 Soon after DH went into the house Buster  was walking at my side in a way that if it wouldn’t make Cesar proud, was at least respectable. 

Our other dog, Abby, took to the leash as if  she had gone through obedience school as a pup. Even when visiting the vet, she prances and her tail wags. 

Sadly, more often than not, snap on a leash and Buster’s head goes down, along with his ears and tail. His eyes are mournful and sad. He looks at DH pleadingly.

“What have I done to deserve this abuse?”

I have had to compromise on leashes.

The dogs are tethered by our voices during the day on walks. After dusk, when the deer and rabbits are out, DH says we will use leashes. He also agreed to leashes during hunting season.

Admittedly, my insistance that we  use leashes in the veterinary office makes them more horrendous for Buster. He hates the vet. Before leash training, Buster once got away from DH and crawled under our jeep in the veterinary parking lot.

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DH, Abby, Buster, our woods and our trails.

Today, on our walk, temptation again won out over training. We hadn’t gone far before the dogs smelled something and took off.

Fortunately, Abby wasn’t gone long. And DH had an idea.

Instead of calling and calling for Buster, and then going into the woods trying to find him,  DH turned the other way and headed toward the house.

As he walked, he praised Abby, “Good girl, Abby. Good dog, Abby.” he said loudly, ” What a good Abby…I like Abby best.”

Guess who came running?

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“Beautiful Buster”

Other posts including Buster are:

http://jolynna.wordpress.com/2007/07/09/the-cat-ladder/

http://jolynna.wordpress.com/2007/06/10/the-cat-box/

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Work in progress …

DH has been working on a solution to our “cat box” problem. He’s been at it most of the day.

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It’s almost finished.

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Biggs braves the heat to lend support from the sidelines.

The “cat box” is gone.

Biggs goes to the door and asks to be let out. And sits in front of the door and waits for someone to come along to let her in.

But, if Biggs used the dog door, she could go in and out without our help. DH thinks that’s what Biggs should be doing. Only using the dog door means going into our fenced-in backyard. Which is dog territory.

Our other cats DO use the dog door. Then they race up the fence posts to escape from Buster chasing at their heels. Most of the time. Sometimes, when Simba, the orange tom, isn’t in the mood to be chased Simba just lies down. Buster  gives him a disappointed sniff. And that’s the end of it.

DH is right. Buster IS just playing. And, DH HAS been trying to train Buster.

Only DH’s “Buster…no”, in my opinion, is said in too nice of a voice. I think our pack needs meaner  more assertive leadership. Because Buster only stops sometimes. Other times, he pretends not to hear.

To make up for DH’s over-niceness, my no is extra stern and usually followed by a psstt hiss, dog whisperer style. I point my finger, like Cesar, for emphasis. Only, as I am in cat protection mode, I end up doing assertive without the calm part. Which  sends Buster slinking up against DH’s legs like he’s been whipped.

The looks Buster gives me are reproachful and accusing.

Biggs stays as far from the situation and dog door as she can.

Today DH worked on resolving things and built a “cat ladder” for the cats. Now they won’t have to climb the fence and can instead zip up the ladder before Buster has a chance to get outside. Using a ladder won’t be new. Our cats are up and down the ladder to the hayloft all the time.

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Kitty inspects the “cat ladder”.

UPDATE: The cats were suspicious of the “cat ladder” at first. Only kitty would sit on it long enough to have his picture taken. BUT, today, only one day afterwards, every cat has successfully gone up and over, come in, been fed and gone back out to the barn. Without being chased.

DH’s “cat ladder” is a success.

dsc00196.jpg Biggs contendedly gives herself a bath after using the dog door  to go outside.

Bigg’s story and everything you ever wanted to know about the “cat box war” between my husband and I is here: http://www.turkeycreeklane.com/?p=48

dsc00020.jpg   DH is upset.

He does not want a cat box in our house. But, Buster , HIS DOG, is preventing our new cat from using the dog door and going outside.

We didn’t want another cat. We had two cats already.

But, no stronger crusader for saving downtrodden animals exists than my daughter. Biggs, the cat, was down on her luck. And Heather was determined to save her.

Biggs, had been Heather’s grandmother’s ( my ex mother-in-law’s ) cat. She had a good life.  The food bowl was always full. Biggs had toys. Biggs had catnip. And her antics made her the center of her elderly owner’s lives.

Then my ex mother-in-law entered her final stages of cancer. She became confined to a hospital bed moved into her living room.  Biggs became a permanent fixture on the corner of the bed. Hospice workers and family and friends came and went. Biggs was admired and petted by all. But,  Bigg’s life was about to take a turn for the worse.

My ex mother-in-law died. My ex father-in-law’s health deteriorated and he had to go into a nursing home.

Poor Biggs, at the age of five, after spending all of her life in a loving comfortable house, was given to a duck farmer and tossed outside to make her own way. My daughter lives in California. But, she worried about Biggs and looked her up every time she visited. Overjoyed to  see one of her people, Biggs never failed to greet Heather as a long lost friend. She would crawl into my daughter’s lap and purr and purr and purr…when Heather left, Biggs tried to follow her crying.

Things did not get better, either. 

Biggs found a way to get in the machine shop to stay warm. Soon she was covered from nose tip to tail tip with black grease. The duck farmer was given a  black lab named Buddy who barked, chased, bit and mauled poor Biggs.

Heather’s pleaded for DH and I to take Biggs. I was stubbornly saying DH and I had enough cats and that her “father” should take the cat when Biggs got her tail caught and broken in a machine shop machine. That did it.

DH and I caved.

Biggs spent her first days on our farm, in our house,  upstairs on one side of a door with her new cat brothers, Kitty and Simba, sniffing and growling and hissing on the other side. Buster and Abby, our dogs wanted no part of a cat fight. They stayed as far away as they could. 

I worried that we had made  Bigg’s life even more miserable by bringing her into a house full of  animals. Kitty and Simba behaved as if DH and I had committed adultery by bringing “another cat” into “their” home. I was sure if they met Biggs, face to face, fur would fly.

 The slightest bark downstairs would send Biggs up the nearest piece of furniture. It didn’t look as if she would ever get over her “bitten-by-Buddy” trauma.

Fortunately, cats and dogs are  resilient and forgiving. They don’t carry baggage or harbor grudges the way people do. After only a few weeks,  Biggs is now coming downstairs with Simba and Kitty in the room. They will get a swat across the nose for sniffing or getting too close. But the growling and hissing has stopped. To get to the food bowl, Biggs walks past the dogs. If they are lying down, that is.  

We  have only to resolve the cat box situation.

DH thinks Biggs is ready to learn to go out the dog door.

I don’t.

Buster has a quirk. Cats that are inside are family members. Cats that go outside through the dog door get chased up a back yard tree. Buster lives for the sound of the dog door flap.

DH says he will train Buster to stop chasing cats when they are outside. Then he says that even IF Buster DOES chase cats it is all a game and that Buster would never actually HURT a cat.

I don’t care that Buster won’t actually HURT a cat.

Poor Biggs would be traumatized if she were to be chased. She trusts us. The poor cat has been through too much already.

DH says the cat box makes the whole house reek.

And so the lines have been drawn.

(The picture at the top of this post is of  Biggs (cat on the bed) & Simba (cat on the rug).

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