Category Archives: dogs

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


White Peaches

I bought a bunch today, had one and it was succulent and flavorful so gave one away as my husband prefers nectarines.

There’s another “peach” that’s been on the bed for hours. Zoe, our dog we got as a pup has hips she grew as a pup from cartilage after we had to have hers removed, and has passed her tests but is never away from me for longer than a few minutes. She actually has the coloring of the skin of a white peach. I doubt that in the morning sun she will allow me to take a photo of them together as she just doesn’t like camera and flash.

Today she heard children outside and was desperate. Yes, this gal who’s nearing 90 in “people years” who loves people, kids, dogs and sometimes even pups if they do not jump up on her. Then she’ll just do a harrumph (I believe it means “excuse me, I’m older and more experienced” in dog) and the pup will scale it down. No barking or biting for any. Zoe is kind of a mascot around our neighborhood.

I love summer, peaches kids visiting their grandparents. Not having to wear winter boots, coats, hats. Taking care of my husband and our old dog is a joy and having kids around is a bonus. I think they’re here for the weekend and grandma and grandpa are our dear neighbors. Perhaps the kiddos can toss her ball or make her do tricks for treats sometime tomorrow.

Cherries. Every weekend when they are in season. I’ve yet to do a”cold dinner” for my husband, which he likes. Baked Black Forest Ham, aged cheddar, hard-cooked eggs, tomatoes, blanched green beans, potato salad. A great loaf of bread, I even some compound butter in the freezer from our community garden, and perhaps cornichons. He’s allergic to fish so cannot do a Nicoise salad. He thinks that because dinner is served cold it is not time-intensive however it takes much longer than to place a pot roast in the oven for three hours and cook pappardelle noodles. While I take the dog out! Cheers and happy summer from Dee.

A Lot

First, I hope you enjoyed the holiday weekend. We did, quietly and went to a lovely dinner with former and current neighbors last evening. I got to make my usual trifle for dessert. We were home before the fireworks started, to take care of our old dog Zoe and assure she was not afraid of the noise.

Our friends F and M often make a great deal about dinner and appetizers. Last night F did a lot of work to make a true American feast. We had BBQ baby back ribs, potato salad and grilled corn on the cob. He never lets me work but allowed me to shuck the corn. Now that they’re a few blocks away we only see them a couple of times a year and it’s always a treat.

We’re going off on a trip to celebrate my father’s 85th birthday. Tomorrow we’ll trim Zoe’s nails (with an expert groomer, not me but I’ll be there to assist and keep her calm). Then she’ll try a couple of hours in open daycare with the older dogs and we’ll see how she does. A couple more of these half-days and I think she’ll be ready for an overnight. Yes, we’re leaving her there for a week. There are many phases to planning the trip, Zoe must be taken care of by the best people we can find.

As to vision, Zoe has an appointment for nails (no polish, thank you) and fun, and I’ve one to get a new lens for my new, expensive glasses I use every excuse not to wear. I’ve only had them for a month. They’re top of the line and there is a sweet spot on the right eye where I can actually see.

The problem is that I was born with a congenital defect. Certain vertebrae did not fully form, a fact I found out 30 years later. When I hit the “sweet spot” on the glasses they cause me spine issues. I’m more worried about my spine than I am a pair of glasses. It’s my first pair of gradiated bifocals and is taking time to learn to “follow my nose” as Zoe does, and use them. It is frustrating.

There’s another matter. Should we prop up my computer and television so I can hit that sweet spot on which I recently had surgery for a growth and was just diagnosed with a tiny cataract. I think the proof is in the pudding. Why keep glasses in the case all the time and use cheap readers for computer, cooking or television? I say make these work and have my old ones work as well if the new prescription is a winner. Old ones will be single vision, not bifocal.

I’ve many visions as to life and world and would love to see them through my eyes as well as my brain and heart. Cheers! Dee