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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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Simba bringing me a present.

Furry little animals are my favorite gifts.

Usually.

Last night, Simba brought me a present. He’d caught his first mouse and was excitedly meowing with every step. Unfortunately I didn’t know what Simba’s calls meant until it was too late.

 Proudly, Simba dropped the mouse at my feet and waited to be praised. Only when the mouse ran toward me, I went the other way.

Undaunted, Simba recaptured the mouse and followed me into the next room. Maybe he thought I needed to learn to hunt. He was calling me the way mother cats call their babies.

Which is how we ended up playing cat and mouse.

Patiently, Simba again dropped his mouse, making encouraging chirps and looking at me hopefully.

Simba was proud of his catch. His eyes gleamed. He looked fierce, like his name. But still, he was giving the mouse to me.

 I swept the mouse outside with a broom.

Simba ran out the dog door.

I like to think the mouse escaped and found his way back to the barn. And that the little mouse had a glorious reunion with his family.  

But, this morning, I didn’t kiss Simba.

More cat stories:

My Big Fat Animals

Two dogs and a cat go to the vet

The Cat Box

Cat Ladder

DH’s Cat Ladder Goes International

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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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Simba helping DH play the piano. 

One of DH’s most treasured possessions is his mother’s piano. Although he only took a few lessons, he spent many an hour, growing up in his parent’s home, playing whatever tunes were popular on the radio. Simba, our big orange tomcat, also has an ear for music and hurries to join DH at the sound of a piano key.

Not that he is especially wanted.

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“Jolynna, I’ve got a small problem on my hands,” says DH, “can you come and get him?”

“He won’t stay with me,” I respond.

And it’s true. Although Simba was my cat before we were married, Simba is DH’s cat now. Simba meows and scratches the bathroom door should DH be so rude as to close it. Simba follows DH inside. He follows DH out. When DH takes an afternoon nap, usually all three cats join him.

I tease DH about his animal magnetism. And all of the (ummm…) cats he gets.

But, actually, DH’s love for animals is the reason we met.

When I first moved to the midwest, I checked out the Yahoo personals. Just to look. Although I had moved into a rural area, there were 900 men in my age range on Yahoo. But, it was the “must love animals” in DH’s ad that caught my eye. (That and he is nice looking.) I joined Yahoo personals immediately, composed my own profile and sent DH a response.

“I am looking for a man that is macho enough to know how to fix the things that break in my  house, and sensitive enough to hold my hand during scary movies.” I listed among my requirements. But, there was more…

It took DH three long days to check his e-mail and answer.

“Yes,” he said,” yes I have a barn. And yes, I will get you a horse.”

We were married within three months.

jolynna.jpg My Yahoo personals’ profile pic. It is still taped to the back of our bathroom mirror. That’s where DH put it when he got the first e-mail.

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DH’s cat ladder.

DH’s cat ladder is on the Swedish blog, http://katt-trappa.blogspot.com/.

Katt-trappa is Swedish for cat ladder. The site is a picture gallery and a tribute to all of the fantastic cat ladders of the world. It features 331 cat ladders. That is practically one for every day of the year.  Some are unbelievable!

Here are a couple of the cat ladders. There are many more at http://katt-trappa.blogspot.com/. There’s even a video of a ladder-climbing cat.

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This cat ladder from Zurich, Switzerland is probably one of the tallest cat ladders in the world.

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A cat from Germany climbs his ladder.

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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).

summer.jpg I pinch myself every single day because I never believed it would happen to me.  My marriage of more than 20 years ended. I was thrust into dating. I was overweight, jobless, and pushing the dreaded 50. 

What to do? Well…drastic times call for drastic measures. I restarted my career at the lowest of basement levels. I starved. I had liposuction. I had lasik eye surgery and got rid of the glasses. It took awhile, but it worked. After 8 years of going steady with men who couldn’t get to the “I do”,  I met the love of my life and remarried.

I will be sure to post ALL the gory details of those eight years in future posts.

Nowdays, as an officially married retired lady for over three years, I’ve taken to a life of doing nothing like a duck to water. I spend my summers participating in the Nothern Indiana flower wars. I am experimenting and trying to find a way to successfully garden without doing any weeding.  I have piles of books to read. And a new art box filled with paints, pastels and pencils and watercolors. I really AM going to draw or paint something. Soon.

Our little farm includes two horses, two dogs and two cats. I adore them. But, they prefer my husband, DH, in a most insulting way.

 Buster, the black lab/border collie mix, mournfully howls as  DH leaves. He seems convinced DH is never to return as he paces and nervously cocks his head. He’s hoping he’ll hear DH’s Jeep motor noises. I try to get his attention, but Buster’s busy, he can’t spare me a glance. If I were to go outside or upstairs, Buster would be on the kitchen table in a heartbeat. That way he’d be high enough to look out the windows and see the drive. The cats are outside.  Nobody is in the house to make being inside worthwhile. Only our good natured, sweet Abby dog dutifully lies at my feet. But, she’s listening.

Until the wheels of  DH’s jeep hit our driveway. Then the dogs writhe with joy. They wag their tails so hard anything left where it shouldn’t be is knocked over. Skipper the white horse, whinnies across the barnyard. The cats poke their heads out from the sunflower plants beneath the birdfeeder and run for the backdoor.

I smile, too. DH is home. It’s all good.  

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