Category Archives: dogs

Pollenation and Pee

We’re growing a tomato plant indoors. It has grown a couple of feet in the past three weeks and it is spindly and loosely tied to two stakes. It flowered for the first time yesterday and my husband learned how to self-pollenate using a brush or ear swab.

Fifteen years ago we had a plant outdoors and it was inundated with bugs and tomato worms. I think we got 2-3 tomatoes all season and not so tasty. We’ll see.

We cared for a challenging young pup last weekend and my husband, old dog Zoe and I have been catching up on sleep! I’ve worked with shelter dogs and feral cats for many years but this is an interesting dog who taught me things I’ve never seen before.

We were out with Zoe last evening and ran into said pup and her dad. When I walked up, she graced me with a “happy pee” on the bottom of my pants and top of my shoes. Graced, I felt. She is teething, bad, but she didn’t try to bite or have relations with one of my legs as I walked. I could tell she wanted to but daddy was there. She was calm and friendly in my arms when she asked me to pick her up. With time, attention and training she will be a great dog for this young, smart couple.

The pants and shoes are already washed and I’ve several pairs of the pants and even more Crocs. I think I’ve graduated from sitter she couldn’t let out of her sight because her parents were gone for the weekend, to member of the family. That’s good, because they’re our neighbors! She shook Zoe up a bit and Zoe had to put her kindly in line several times, saying “I’m an old lady, leave me alone to nap!” That’s what difference over 13 years, and slightly over three months, makes.

That said, I don’t know if I’ve another pup in me to raise, certainly not while Zoe is alive. Before, I had a rescue who was in a no-kill shelter for a year, after a year being raised by an abusive deputy sheriff and having rocks thrown at her over the fence by neighborhood kids. We got over that, starting the day I adopted her. Every kid in the tot lot called out her name at the park and their mothers would let them pet her. When she died all the dog owners and parents bought the city a tree, in the park, in her memory.

My husband arrived on the scene several months later, after 9/11. When we married and moved we decided to get a pup and start from scratch. No more older abused animals for now. Zoe is the best dog in the world, a mascot around here and the neighborhood. She’s like “Cheers,” everyone knows her name. Oh, when our Aussie mix is too smart for her britches, he always says “we should have gotten the dumb one.”

That would be a breed I love, Swiss cart-pullers, the affable and quiet Bernese Mountain Dog. Our lives would have been very different with that choice. Zoe had a hold on her but we filled out all the paperwork with the male Bernese as #2. Early the next morning we got a phone call from the shelter saying the hold was lifted, they didn’t want our Zoe (we chose the name) so we picked her up right away and spent the rest having her hips taken out as a pup. Hey, they don’t call me the dog lady for nada! Such a sweet girl, healthy but getting old.

Please spay/neuter your pets at the appropriate age (ask your vet) and adopt from local shelters. Over the past 30 years I’ve had four amazing pets, two dogs, two cats. I’m not going to “show” them except for a walk in the neighborhood. The dogs, wash & wear like me, the cats cleaned themselves mostly, or I did in case of emergency. No hair spray needed. I do have Dee’s Torture Chamber of Horrors, a plastic bag with combs and brushes and avocado oil spray to keep down winter heat sparks. Be kind, Dee


I’ve a sterling silver Claddagh ring. I actually bought it for my birthday a few years ago, thank you Husband! The hands are for friendship, the heart for love and the crown for loyalty. Mine also has a Celtic knot on the back which means everlasting.

The ring is worn on the ring finger of my right hand, as my left had already been taken over by an 18K gold band, a wedding ring, going on 15 years.

If one is single and looking, the heart is pointing outward and the crown is facing the back of your hand. If one is taken, the heart points to yours. Mine does, and will, always.

To get an 18K gold Claddagh I may have sources. It would mean a trip overseas and would have to be made for me. I do not need that right now. What is needed is to take care of my husband and our old dog. But I just found a men’s one from Ireland. Don’t know the size, though. I’ll look into it and let you know.

I’ve fitted out Zoe’s new handmade Asian silk Martingale collar (two loops, no clasp) that is of a pattern that evokes a computer chip. I also got him a charm for it with an Erlenmeyer flask, a graduated cylinder and a microscope. His roots are in math and science, physics.

He likes the heavy 16′ lead. I like 6′ twisted leather with a gold dragon pattern from the same handmade works for a collar. I’m older and have control of our old Zoe. He does not and is always on the phone, so she gets to eat icky stuff and vomit on our bed. Guess who gets to clean that mess up? Yep. Cheers, Dee

Do Dogs Dream?

Cesar Millan asked this question last week and his site would not allow me to respond. Yes, they do dream. Our 13 year-old Zoe just had one and I hated to leave her to come in here and write this. She’s a herder and will be by my side in under three minutes.

The tail wags, ears twitch, eyes open and close. Then the entire body twitches and the paws run like crazy. Sometimes she awakens for a walk and breakfast, and sometimes the REM phase just puts her back asleep. I like to guess whether it’s a squirrel, bunny or mouse. When she was young and faster she did kill two mice with precision and my husband took each out of her mouth immediately and fed them to the baby birds over the fence in the protected wildlife area. 1,200 acres, five feet away. Moose crashed a wedding and elk jumped the fence and crossed the highway. I used to make our bedroom balcony available for credentialed photographers. What a view.

The baby colts (young Greater Sandhill Cranes) would make sounds at night. I’d awaken and tell my husband that mom was going to the 7-11 to get them something to eat. There was no 7-11, and we didn’t see any this year. Years ago there was a fox that hung out there for hours every day, waiting for the 6′ parents to leave their colts. They never did, “married” for life and raised colts every year. The fox always left, disappointed. Hey, you just chose the wrong prey!

Yes, dogs do dream. She’s never had a thing for any bird, as there is a turkey who lives in our neighborhood and he is pardoned by all of us every Thanksgiving! She just ignores him as she walks by on leash.

She has been with me for 20 minutes and can jump down, just not up. Time for “last chance” and bed. You know who’s the boss now. It certainly is not me. Cheers! Dee

The Best Things

in life are not free. Especially when it comes to taking care of a dog while you’re away from home and can’t take her with you. Heads and tails above the others and affordable was Dog Boys Dog Ranch. She had cattle, horses, and as a pup with excised hips she was placed with older, sedate dogs.

Don’t listen to that. Those dogs did not chase our Zoe around the pasture. They whispered in her ears. She learned so many bad habits it was actually funny. “Tell them you can’t get up to the kitchen counter then eat their steak.” We’re smarter than her but she has messed with our minds for 13 years now. Yes, she did that. She also stole a croissant and needed to bring it to her special place to eat it so it looked like a mustache and she took it right by our guests at brunch and we couldn’t stop laughing. There was no way she would be reprimanded!

We thank Dog Boys for not only taking care of her, but shaping her character through allowing her to interact with other dogs and people. Everyone knew her, she was sometimes in the office. Now she is an erstwhile friend to many in the neighborhood and a mascot around town. Thank you. Dee & Z

When I think of the people we allowed to take care of her over her many years, as a pup she went to Dog Boys and they still remember her 12 years later. Sorry to give this away. I’m writing a piece because I think many dog boarding facilities are sub-standard and our Zoe has been in several. Others charge a fortune for sub-standard care at home. Dee

How Many Dogs?

Yesterday I had about seven, today four. Tomorrow may be three. Not really.

The weather here has been crazy. Cold one day, warm the next. This week the trees started to leave. Seriously. The wind is up and there are leaves all over the place. Homeowners are required to rake the leaves to the street where the city will pick them up with a truck, to make snow clearance easier, as if they do that. Luckily I’ve snow tires.

You’ll love to know that our fine city has had six warm months in which to fix potholes and sidewalks and re-paint crosswalks. They started last week, November. Our tax dollars at work.

About the number of dogs, I’ve two. One real, Zoe, and one her evil twin Chloe who is the one who leaves fur all over the house. I’ve never met, fed or taken Chloe out but like The Velveteen Rabbit I know she exists.

The rest is fur. I’ve been combing her for days. She loves baths but hates the comb-out. With the weather going from cold to warm her body doesn’t know what to do with the undercoat. Grow one and shed? Or keep it? If I had a loom and knitting needles, and knew how to use both, I could have a couple of really warm Zoe sweaters by now. Instead I use my hands, out walking her, and am giving a down comforter to every squirrel in the neighborhood. Then I comb her out.

No, when she passes I will not have a Zoe “bear rug” next to our non-existent fireplace. I would probably be forced to comb that out as well.

There are wrinkles in our weekend plans, health issues of others, that we must deal with. But Zoe will be taken care of. She was interviewed today by A, her weekend caretaker, plus dogs P and L who liked her. She passed the test. It beats being in a kennel with The Commandant.

I always know when we pick her up that she had a good time when she greets us calmly and happily, but not saying “get me out of here!!!” New dog owners need to read their dogs’ behavior.

At a seminar “many years ago” (I always say it, must have been my birthday the other day) a woman said that they just got a puppy and that she and her husband each work 12 hours per day so the dog is in a crate and is acting up. The instructor said “Ma’am, you and your husband do not deserve to have a dog.” Amen to that.

Zoe does not scratch doors, eat shoes or do anything negative. She herds us, and stares at us if she wants something. Out, I know. Food, I know. Precious (her only and indestructible toy), we know as she only plays it with my husband. There’s little else, except when my husband lets her eat chicken bones or a dead bird off the sidewalk. Then she vomits on our bed, her “safe place.”

I just got her off the quarantine regimen this year (extra rabies shots et all for overseas travel) because she’s getting old and unless we’re overseas for months I think the flights would be ill-advised for her.

Avoiding the elephant in the room, I did vote this morning. We’ll all look forward to a new President or moving elsewhere. I look forward to no negative ads and a significant drop in emails from dueling campaigns. Will be in touch, take care, Dee

Good Things

We started on bad footing. The tot lot was closed for construction, and there was a lot of rebar sticking up in there. Kids had climbed the fence and were playing, a few boys who thought danger was fun. I kicked them out. I was the Mad Lady for a while.

Later I came out with my dog and college students had broken beer bottles all around the benches by the tot lot. It was 6 a.m. and I was walking my dog but had to go home and get a broom and dust pan and bag for the trash. After an hour we finished our walk and I got in touch with our Council Person. His staffer merely informed me that leaving Chani on a leash on a bench in our park was a violation to which she would inform Animal Control, and that cleaning up a case of beer shards so that little kids would not be cut didn’t make letting my dog sit up and stay while I helped the kids and moms be safe was no excuse for my illegal actions. That started years of torment for our neighborhood. Three Animal Control trucks caused hundreds of thousands of dollars in irrigation damage going after eight widows and their Bichons and Poodles, miniature Dachshunds and Yorkies. Oh, heavens, what damage those ladies and their dogs can wreak.

Now I would still kick the kids out of rebar park for their safety but my husband asked me years ago if we had a kid, could they go blow stuff up. He is a physicist and software engineer. I said of course, honey, just 1/2 mile from the house and downwind. Have a hose and a fire extinguisher.

These kids ended up teaching me, and I and dog Chani taught them.What amazed me is that all but two neighbors got along. Unfortunately she ran the park, to our detriment and her husband seemed nice but played along. I believe she did not wish to have children, parents, dogs or their owners or even people walking in what she thought was “her”park. Well, we paid the taxes. Our park.

The kiddo park re-opened. Kids were fine. The older ones were branching out with their new fast toys. One day they went to see a neighbor I’d had dealings with. Not good. Police told me she was on meth and selling it and I knew she was up at three in the morning washing her car and singing loudly. She woke me up.

I picked up her dog one morning in the park and delivered him home on my dog’s leash, whereupon she screamed at me and told me never to touch her dog again. The coyotes were organized there, ready to take down a dog, and he was right in their territory. I knew he was in danger and that my dog would follow me, so placed her leash over his neck. I put my dog’s life in danger for his and was berated for doing so.

A few weeks later a few young boys came out of her place with a new toy, a Razr. I asked the boys to come into the conference room, a shared lawn, and told them if I ever saw them near her place again I would be in contact with their parents, and never to accept gifts.

A couple of years later two brothers, they’re probably in or have graduated from college now, came by and asked what kind of dog to get. I lent them an AKC breed book. The first thing they did when they got Sparky (their father’s military nickname, he must have been a radio man) a Jack Russell Terrier was to bring him to meet me. I was thrilled. They also returned my book! It’s gone again…….

When Chani died I went out to the park and got hugs and condolences from all the people there. I didn’t tell the tot lot folks, yet. It was too raw. It was so sudden and I usually dealt with the kids, not the parents so much. It was awkward and I’d like parents to tell the kids.

The boys were outside the bushes. The younger brother, Sparky’s co-owner was called in. He was so brave. I told him Chani was gone. J was about seven at the time. I thought of his dad’s military training when he asked me to tell him exactly what had happened to end in Chani’s death.

While putting it as delicately as was possible, I told him. He cried. As we were about to emerge from the bushes he looked as if he had been crying. I said that before he joins his big brother and friends, I was going to yell at him, so he would cry. I yelled “never do that again!” Whatever “that” was, was nothing. He could never do a bad thing in my or Chani’s book and would love our Zoe even though they’ve never met, are miles away and he’s probably now on Wall Street and driving a Ferrari.

Oh, the brothers introduced this old gal to Google. I’d never heard of it and was still on dial-up until I met my husband.

We have good memories.When our nephew was seven, he wanted to play a game on my husband’s iPhone. He would burst into our bedroom at six a.m. and not ask to play the game, he’d ask “is it fully charged?” I’d say yes and he ran out. Darn, I wish he got dressed and took the dog out.

No wonder he wants to be an engineer. Cheers from Dee

Going Postal

It’s not what you think it means. I adopted my first dog, Chani, in 1991. She had been kicked and hit by her owner, a deputy sheriff, and had rocks thrown over the fence in the yard where she lived by neighborhood kids.

She was abandoned at one of the nation’s first no-kill shelters the same week I began volunteering there. As nearly a year went by, I visited her every Friday, even in a neck brace when I was unable to take her for a walk. There was chatter, and I was told by a former volunteer/staffer she had one more week to live.

She was a danger to men (people in uniform or any man who wore a hat) and children (rocks). I had her home the next day. We got training, formal and individual and I fixed the problems. I started walking over her when she was laying down to show that I would never kick her. Then faster, then running and jumping over her. Her reaction was “who is this strange woman I thought I knew?” Complete calm. Ready for the walk, training 101 and individual training. Our trainer had two highly trained Shutzhunds, German Shepherds. Chani stared. That was not taken kindly. No one stares an alpha dog in the eye. She did not know that.

Our neighbor worked for the Navy and usually wore a t-shirt, shorts and sneakers to work. One day he showed up in Navy dress whites. Chani freaked out.

I said, this is Chris! He reached out. She got it and everything was onward and upward from there. Sadly, Chani died 10 years after her adoption but she had friends.

Zoe is nearly 13 years of age now, an Australian Shepherd mix also from the pound, with no hips. We had her at six weeks, and she loves uniforms, especially postal workers. I don’t know what scientists think but can say two things: she knows a blue pant or short with a dark strip is the postal carrier; and she does sleep and dream about chasing bunnies and goes through REM sleep. Oh, another thing, dogs remember things for more than 45 minutes. Do something fun for Zoe, it is ROUTINE. She loves routine. Food or walk schedule. Routine. And yes, she remembers the routine even if we leave and return.

Lynn was here for a while and Zoe finds her in the neighborhood and drags me across the street to see her in her uniform. It’s funny how dogs are so different. Chani was abused and it took her a year to love kids and longer to love men in uniform. Zoe seeks them out, kids and other people and dogs as well. We formed Zoe, I rehabilitated Chani. Oh, if I met my husband ten years earlier Chani would have loved him and sped up the process.

In the end all the kids in the “tot lot” would call CHANI! They would run up to pet her. We started out years ago with “Mommy Nazis” and dog owners and became good friends. We cleaned up the park when college kids broke beer bottles and everything was OK. They stood by the swings and slide and let their little ones pet my dog. It was a sad day when she left us. Sometimes I got a hi, Dee but never again a shout-out.

Here, Zoe is a bit of a mascot who gets along with everyone. Of late, in an elderly stage, she has a five year-old buddy who wants to toss a ball at the park for her for 1/2 hour and she just looks at my husband and says she’s tired, then goes for the ball again to make the child happy. That’s our girl.

I wish we had children, but we have a dog. A great dog who goes Postal in a good way. She just wants a pat on the head and a “good dog.” Hey, she loves all y’all but still wants Lynn. Cheers, Dee