Category Archives: Amazing Animals

Renovation

I just finished cleaning out the aquarium, adding some of the things we used to have in the hummingbird bird bath we built that we finally took down. The hummingbirds – and no one else – seemed to want to take a bath there. The sound of the water was nice, but I was having to clean it out a LOT and it was a big – at least half a day – job.

My fish aren’t unfriendly, but they aren’t good conversationalists. I have no clue if they LIKE the renovation of their tank, or wish I would put it back the way it was. The water is clean now, with a fresh filter cartridge, so they should be happier with the state of life in general, if nothing else.

The only thing they show interest in is their twice-a-day feedings. When they see me coming, the four of them gather in the corner of the tank, wriggling their tails as fast as they can and opening and closing their mouths. I speak to them, but it’s hard to come up with new and different things to say about feeding time.

 

I DID notice them checking out the woman in the bathtub, though, noses downward as if they were sniffing….

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Rich in Doggies

My husband and I have long deluded ourselves, thinking we’re smarter than our doggies and that we’re training them to live in our home, behave when meeting someone, etc.

Amber is in the photo above. She is a yellow lab, now 16 months old, weighs 92 lbs, and we’ve been told that she’ll continue her ‘puppy-ish’ ways until she’s at LEAST two years old. We’re working on all the regular commands, plus a few particular to our home, but Amber is very independent and will do almost anything to get her way.

Example: We have taught her to bark at the door when she would like to come in or go out. Amber has ‘learned’ this, but has embellished the lesson to include us. We now respond quickly if she either sits beside us and then says, “BARK!” so loudly that we jump straight up in the air, saying ripe words and moving quickly to let her out. A creative alternative to this is that she sits beside me when I’m on the computer and then puts her nose into my left armpit and then routes around, harder and harder until I laugh, get up and let her out. We are now trained to get up and go to whatever door she has decided to go to. Not only that, but she has taught us to reward her for barking to come in with a cookie. If we’re distracted or try to ignore her – she follows us around and then, when we’re least expecting it, yells “BARK!!”

She knows what time it is and starts running around the living room like a mad thing when it’s time for us to feed her in the evening. She won’t be put off, either, adding routing around, trying to climb up in the chair with us, or the dreaded, “BARK!!!” until the humans do what she wants. She herds us to the kitchen, waiting impatiently as we feed cats in the garage, fish in the tank, and then make food for her and Molly. She DOES go to her eating place and WILL sit until we put the food down and tell her “OKAY.”

 

This is sweet, elderly Molly, a cocker spaniel/schnauzer cross whom we adopted many years ago to cheer up our pit bull. She is now about 13 years old. Her mission in life is to make us laugh or say, “AWWWW!”  She has been a treasured member of our family, and she’s now finally adapting (mostly) to her bull-in-a-china-shop ‘sister’ who regularly runs right over her and considers her a personal chew toy. Without our doing anything, she has picked up on the bark at the door behavior and then demanding a cookie upon entering the house. We have dubbed ourselves ‘doggie doormen,’ not knowing what we did with ourselves before we were letting animals in and out. She growls and yodels to add to the furor surrounding dinner time, thinking she is one fierce doggie.

We are very rich in doggies, and they are DEFINITELY smarter than we are.

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Companionship

Smoke apparently was up much of the night catting around. She isn’t saying much, but plopped herself down on my calendar this morning and seems not inclined to be particularly sociable until further notice.

 

She just allowed me to pet her. We have two cats, Smoke and Abby, neither of whom purr worth spit. They seem really happy and spend a lot of time either beside us, being companionable, or sitting on us when they get the chance, often for hours if we’ll allow.

We adopted Smoke from our vet’s office. She was in a cage with some others when we brought one of the doggies in. I went over to the cage and she came right up, rubbing up against my hand and much as she could with the cage between us. My heart melted, but we already had a cat, plus two dogs, and really didn’t need another cat. That night I dreamed of her and named her Smoke in my dream. I told my husband. Being a ‘keeper’ as far as husbands are concerned, he agreed that we did, indeed, have room for another.

This is Abby. We adopted her through a newspaper ad, describing her as a ‘lap kitty.’ It actually took us a day and a half of trying to calm her down in one of our bathrooms before she warmed up to us. In the end, the ad was more than correct. She is now fat, sassy, and a wonderful cat. Smoke is the head cat, though, even though she was adopted second. Abby defers to her in all things.

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92 Pound Greeting

This is Amber. She is 16 months old now, weighing 92 pounds at last weigh-in at the vet’s.  Words to describe her include, “energetic, sweet, exuberant, loving, boisterous, cute, unrelenting, playful, and ‘watch out!'”

Each morning I come down the stairs half asleep. My husband usually makes it downstairs before I do, letting doggies out and starting to feed animals. Sometimes Amber greets me at the bottom of the stairs. Other times in the living room, or the kitchen. I’ve learned to ‘brace for impact’ as we TRY to teach her not to dive-bomb us.

This morning she caught me as I was going to my recliner to retrieve the shoes and socks I had left there last night. She caught me from the side, causing me to almost fall onto the couch while I was trying to sit down in my chair. I took some time to love her, rubbing her all over and cooing to her, trying to get her to calm down. She’s like a volcanic eruption, though. It’s hard to contain all that love and enthusiasm.  (I held my feet up off the floor while greeting her, having learned the hard way that allowing her to step on my toes results in soreness and bruises.)

 

I got her calmed down, only to have to start over when I tried to stand up. She finally heard, “SIT!” and complied – just long enough for me to get completely up and around the chair. She circled around, over and over, tail wagging madly, as I made my way carefully to the kitchen. I finally got through one of the dog gates and closed it between us.

I AM smarter than this dog – I THINK.

We WILL get her to SIT and STAY one of these days ‘real soon now….’

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Are Fish ‘Affectionate?’

I’ve been told that goldfish are ‘dirtier’ than most aquarium fish and take  a lot more care in keeping their bowl or aquarium clean. I’ll have to agree that it seems I need to completely change the water every week or so, even with a good filter with a cartridge I change twice as often as the box suggests.

My husband keeps suggesting that the fish are too much work, that they don’t ‘love’ us, aren’t affectionate, don’t do tricks or anything – just make more work for us. I just look at him when he starts this. He finally shrugs and gives up. I’M the one who is doing the work, after all.

My fish don’t have names. To be honest I can’t tell the three more regular goldfish apart. I have a white one with a gold spot who could have a name, but I don’t want to treat that one any differently than the others.

I don’t know if my fishies are ‘affectionate,’ or not. The only thing they do that melts my heart is that when I come up to the glass to feed them twice a day, they see me, bunch up in the top right corner of the aquarium and wriggle their little bodies as fast as they can go, mouths opening and closing.  I don’t really know why I find that ‘sweet,’  but I do.

 

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Defurminating the Dog

Amber is miffed at me because we went out onto the screened porch with a trashcan and a ‘furminator’ tool and I proceeded to try to thin her hair. She’s been panting like crazy in this heat even with plopping herself into her kiddie pool almost every time she goes out. I even gave her a cookie after she had taken all she was going to tolerate, but she’s still miffed.

furminator

This started when I was watching the news today and Amber sat down on her bed which is right under the TV. She plops, rather than sitting more elegantly, and this resulted in a cloud of hair flying in all directions.

After getting 1/3 of a large trash can full of hair today, I’ve decided that we’ll try to do this at least every other day. Even though I’m not winning any popularity contests with this, it will make her more comfortable and it will help MY mood. I’ve been vacuuming a LOT (for me) and each time end up with a canister full of dog hair and YUCK from our floors. Maybe I’ll feel that I’m making more progress in this as we thin Amber’s coat a little.

Meanwhile, she looks at me, huffs, and lays her head down again – on the floor because she can’t fit into Molly’s bed. :0)

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Fierce Doggie!

Amber thinks she’s a fierce doggie, alert to all comers.  She weighs 92 pounds and is like a bull in a china shop, bulldozing her way around inside and out.

Today I was in our guest room going through books for possible sales and Amber pushed the door open with her nose. She came in happily, looking all around the room, licking me on the arm. Suddenly her hackles rose on her butt and on the back of her neck. She saw this –

 

She jumped backward and barked, looking very upset. I laughed and tried to pet her. She was still upset, hair still standing up as she moved closer to the dog, sniffed, and then backed up again, over and over.

Finally, I picked up the pile of books and called her to come with me. She did, but reluctantly – keeping a close eye on the intruder…

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Happiness is Lips Blowing in the Wind

I don’t have a picture of Amber’s joy at putting her head out of the window so that her lips and tongue blow in the wind, but this is a pretty close picture of what I see when I look in my rear view mirror. All we have to do is look like we’re getting up to leave, or say the word, “CAR” and she’s in. It doesn’t matter where we’re going. It doesn’t matter what the weather. She doesn’t like it when we LEAVE the car, but is happy when we return and the trip continues.

Today we took her to a yard sale on the way home from errands. She had already smiled at people who talked to her at Walmart. I can’t tell you how much I enjoy having a dog who isn’t growling or looking quite serious if people speak. The only thing I worry about now is that she wants to go with everyone! She goes right up into the truck of our UPS and FEDEX delivery people, and happily greets anyone coming up the driveway. The greeting is a bit exuberant, and we have to warn people that she doesn’t realize how big she is and might bowl them over…

She greeted people sitting under a tree at the yard sale with her usual smiling face. She started to whimper when we went to look at things quickly. We didn’t want to stay long because we had Amber – and a container of cottage cheese – in the car and it’s in the high 90’s, with a heat index of about 103. We hurried, and she was happy when we came back to the truck, each with goodies in our arms.

My husband got a really pretty lavender cylindrical glass vase and two votive holders he thought I would like. (I did!)

 

I fell in love with this handmade birdhouse! It’s made of real wood with something sturdy used as ‘shingles’ for the roof.

 

I think I’ll hang it up near a larger one on the porch so it doesn’t fall apart in the weather. I just love it!

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Amber’s Pool is Clean-ER

Our yellow lab ‘puppy’ is now is almost 16 months old. She weighs 92 pounds (officially on the vet’s scales) and to say that she loves water is the understatement of all time.

I try to clean her pool every 3 days or so, and I have to say, it’s a big job. When it’s half full, as it is in this picture, neither my husband nor I can lift the edge to try to empty it. We tried it together, with both of us on one side, and still can’t do it.

What we’ve finally come up with is to push down on one side, in effect, crumpling the plastic, pushing down hard as the water flows out. Then I take the car broom (long handled and really soft brush) and scrub it out with the rest of the old water. Then I crumple the side some more, getting as much water out as possible. THEN I’m barely able to lift one side as the rest of the water goes out.

When empty, it’s a simple thing of using a cleaner spray, scrubbing with the broom again, and then lots of rinsing. When the pool is clean, we put the hose on full blast with the thingie on the end that keeps the water flowing whether you’re holding it or not and put it in the pool with two bricks on top. When the pool is about half full, the job is done.

Today my husband wanted to help and insisted we bring Amber. He immediately figured out that wearing his socks and sandals wasn’t the best for dealing with LOTS of water, so he stood back.

Amber took my messing with her pool to mean it was play time and she kept trying to get into the pool with the yucky water. As I got the water out, it of course forms mud all around the pool, since the place my husband wants the pool now is in the shade and out of the way of the mower. Amber thought it was great fun to play in the mud – laying down in it at several points, and then trying again to get into the pool.

I finally got the pool half full. My husband got Amber to sit and I hosed her off – with her trying to bite the spray from the hose.

She jumped into the pool as we hung the hose back up on the end of the house, probably putting a bunch of mud into the freshly cleaned pool. I just ignored it, not wanting to see the damage so soon.

At least the water in the pool is clean-ER and cool now. I won’t cringe – at least for awhile, when Amber drinks it as she walks around the inside of the pool before plopping down in it.

  • Addendum – just now she barked at the garage door wanting to come in. I got her toweled off enough finally that I could let her in. She headed straight for the big dog bed in the living room for a well-earned nap.

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Two Mollys

FUZZY MOLLY

 

SHORN MOLLY

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Going to the Dogs

Fuzzy Molly

We just recently got back from taking sweet, Fuzzy Molly to the groomer at the vet’s office to be shorn like a sheep.  Molly is a cocker spaniel/schnauzer cross and is 13-1/2 years old. She is a happy doggie, making all of us smile. We’re having a bad year for ticks, so we’ve had to keep doing more and more to keep our animals as safe as possible. We use the squeeze-on-the-back-of-the-neck stuff from the vet once a month, but this year we also got flea collars for the two doggies and our two cats. (The fish in the aquarium don’t seem to be bothered by ticks. :0) )

Our vet got a new groomer who started at the first of this month. She has some 23 years off experience, so we’re lucky to get her. Today was the first opening the groomer had, so Molly has gotten really fuzzy between groomings. I’m having more and more trouble finding the pesky ticks and now she’s coming in covered with little tiny burrs. I’m glad that we could get an appointment today. We’ll pick her up at around 2:00 this afternoon.

Since we were going to the vet and Amber loves going ANYWHERE in the car, we took her, too. She now understands “CAR,” “GO,” “GET READY” and all sorts of other words shared – or not MEANT to be shared – with her, so it’s difficult, if not impossible, for us to get out the door without either a “LET’S GO” or “NO, you can’t go” discussion.

Amber is a Yellow Labrador Retriever. She is now 15-1/2 months old. In an older post I told you she weighed 95 lbs. I misspoke. She only weighs ninety-TWO pounds. My husband put the no-pull collar and leash on her before bringing her into the vet’s office. She was a perfect lady, even though it had been months since she had worn the collar (which gives her a shock if she suddenly pulls on it, letting up when she does). She hadn’t been on a leash in that amount of time, either, so she has a good memory.  We weighed her quickly and then left.

The first thing Amber did when we got home was run around the side of the house and jump into her pool. With the storms we’ve had the past several days, the water was yucky. That didn’t stop her for one minute. She splashed around, drank some of the water (yuck!) and laid down, saying, “AHHHHH!” and looking very pleased with herself. She is now snoring in Molly’s small bed.

I hope that, if you aren’t lucky enough to have a doggie of your own right now, you have access to someone else’s dog so that you can smile for awhile today.

WOOF! SIT!  STAY!!!!  GOOD DOG!

 

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A Committee of Vultures

“A GROUP of vultures may be called a ‘cast,’ ‘committee,’ ‘meal,’ ‘vortex,’ ‘venue’ and even ‘wake.'”

 

My husband and I were surprised to see something we’ve never seen before on the way to shop for groceries today – SEVERAL buzzards or vultures in one area NOT because they had found something to eat on the road. There were some sitting on the ground, others sitting on a fence nearby, still others on a big boulder – all at the entrance to one home that is down the hill from the road.

They were just sitting there. They weren’t flying around, playing in the wind currents, squawking, or anything. It was really strange.

Stranger still, on the way HOME after we had finished shopping, we saw them AGAIN, still sitting there…

As the sentence at the top says, one can call a group of buzzards or vultures by several names. I like ‘committee,’ of vultures, in that I’m reminded of politics….

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An Owl Always Makes It Better

Loralee Lewis and Covia JeffJett

I love owls. There is something about them that speaks to me. I collect them. I try to draw and paint them. I have owl earrings and a necklace. I’m drawn to them everywhere I go. I realize this might be weird, but seeing one lifts my spirits. This lovely owl created with feathers  by Loralee Lewis and Covia JeffJett I think is simply stunning.

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It’s a Dawg’s Life

Amber took advantage in the rain let-up for a minute to take a swim in her clean kiddie pool, thanks to my scrubbing it out yesterday and refilling it.  She is now wet and happily sprawled out in the foyer, taking a nap.  I took some pics last night that I wanted to share. She has taken to sleeping upside down, back legs sprawled, half-on and half-off her bed n the evenings while we watch TV or a movie.

She won’t let you come up to her, no matter how soundly she seems to be asleep. I even had to turn on the camera in the office and get the flash ready before I came out to the living room to get these pics, but she will stay like this for a LONG time, very comfortably sleeping.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

She has such a hard life. Don’t you feel sorry for her?

 

 

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Admiration?

Email from Bill Lites

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Why Does a Dog Have So Many Friends?

email from Bill Lites

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And, Speaking of Cat Beds….

Amber in the Cat Bed

We have two large dog beds that are about 3 feet x 4 feet and another that is about 2 feet x 3 feet.  We also have two cat beds – one is 13 inches x 20 inches, and the other is round a quite a bit smaller.

Everyone loves the bed above – the cat bed that is 13 inches by 20 inches. I’m not sure why, when everyone seems to travel from bed to bed or just sprawl wherever it seems good at the time all over the house. The picture above shows 95 pound Amber in the cat bed. She has to really work, going around and around and pulling all parts in to even TRY to get into this bed, but she was doing it this morning while Smoke was sprawling all over my writing area and calendar beside my computer.

 

Here is Molly sprawled out now in the same bed, snoring. While the doggies are vying for this one, the cats sprawl out in the middle of each of the humongous dog beds, daring the dogs to try to share.

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The Best Psychiatrist

Ben Williams via email from Bill Lites

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New Cat Bed?

 

We got a new food and water bowl set up, and then put a tray under it, trying to get Amber to give up her ‘play-in-the-water-dish’ game. So far, it has worked pretty well. Having the water bowl up in the air seems to take it out of the toy category. Fingers are crossed that this continues. Meanwhile, Smoke decided this morning that this was a grand new place to sleep! She even stayed there as Amber stuck her head down through the hole where her food dish goes to check Smoke out.

 

I would think that having Amber slurping water right over her head would be disconcerting, but Smoke didn’t seem to be bothered at all.

 

Maybe this allows Smoke to be trampled by the ‘playing-dog-fight’ between Amber and Molly t one less time during the day.

 

 

As I walked to the office after taking these pictures, Smoke followed me and is now asleep on the shelves beside me, on top of my calendar and to-do list…

 

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Sweet Companion

email from Bill Lites

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Can Fish Smile?

I really like my fish. They don’t do tricks. They don’t say anything. They’re even quite a lot of work, since I’ve been having trouble coming up with a filtering system that was the right size to fit nicely in my aquarium and do the job it’s supposed to do. I enjoy speaking to them, especially when I feed them twice a day. The four fish all get in the upper corner on the right side when they see I’m ready to feed them. They wriggle like crazy and I swear they smile as they anticipate the fish flakes coming into the water.

That said, I bought a different design filter today. This is for aquariums from 5 to 15 gallons, so I’m at the extreme low-end of the scale. I took EVERYTHING out today, including all the gravel. I completely drained the water, washed the inside of the glass, scrubbed everything that went back in and then filled the tank again with the treated water I fix for them so that my tap water doesn’t bother them.  (I have 4 gallon jugs of treated water that is room temperature.) I put in the new filter pump with a new filter cartridge.

The newly cleaned tank has been running for about an hour now and is looking pretty good. The fish seem happy, and were even trying to convince me that it was time to feed them – gathering in the corner, wriggling, and smiling.

I don’t mind changing the filter cartridge more than once a month, but I don’t like having to change it every three DAYS as I was before, and it wasn’t even keeping the water clear! FINGERS CROSSED that what I did today results in the water staying clear for longer.

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Heart

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Wet Amber

Ambrose Bierce via Email from Bill Lites

 

We got a kiddie pool for Amber last year. She was a cute MUCH SMALLER puppy last summer and was a little intimidated by the water. We finally got her to walk around and drink some of the water, but she didn’t want to actually swim in it much.

 

Now, since the weather is so beastly hot already here – and it’s not even officially summer yet – I let Amber out and she comes back sopping wet. She heads for the pool immediately, leaps in, walks around, drinks some of the water, then lies down in the middle, saying, “Ahhhhhh!” She may do this several times while she’s out. Then she barks at the door, wanting to come in. She’s 93 pounds of bull-in-a-china-shop wet puppy – and exuberant in her (1) wish for a cookie for barking when she wants to come in, and (2) wish to snuggle with her people.

I now keep dog towels at the front door and at the garage door so that I can at LEAST keep her from dripping all over everything. I’ll make this a routine until our weather cools off – hopefully in October – scrubbing out and refilling the pool every 3 days or so. She LOVES her kiddie pool now. She really doesn’t understand why we don’t care to snuggle with her until she dries off….

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Best Deal Ever Made

M. Facklamemail via Facebook/FortheLoveoftheDog via email from Bill Lites

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Dog Fact

Andy Rooney via email from Bill Lites

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My Goal

sent to me via email by Bill Lites

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In Training

Corey Ford via email from Bill Lites

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“Musical Dog Bed”

Our pets play “musical dog bed” as we used to play “musical chairs.”

The dog bed is technically Molly’s.

Molly-June2018

This is a small bed. Molly is about 25 lbs. She is a Cocker Spaniel/Schnauzer cross. She often gets run over or chewed on by our 93 lb Yellow Lab Retriever, Amber, and needs a break.

I just took this picture of Abby, one of two cats who love this dog bed, too. Abby takes great joy in spreading out as much as possible so that neither Smoke, our second cat, nor Molly, can share.

 

Earlier today, Amber decided that SHE wanted to get into the bed, but was only able to manage her back half.

 

After working at it quite a bit, she was finally able to get most of her into the bed. The picture doesn’t show it, but Abby sat a few feet away, watching, and Molly spread out on the bare floor next to my computer chair.

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Treasures

Roger Cares via email from Bill Lites

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Happy Fish

My goldfish seem happier with the new filter. Even though the filter itself is smaller, the design of the pump with a tube basically sucking the water through the pump seems to be working well.

 

The fish didn’t actually SAY anything, but they’re swimming around with great enthusiasm. Can fish smile?

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Dog Wisdom – Communication

Jean Little – via email from Bill Lites

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