Saturday, December 31, 2016

Rug Rats

As soon as we stepped foot in our new house, we immediately began ripping out the carpet.  If you've ever done this, you totally understand how disgusting carpet really is.  Yes, you can see the pet hair on our hardwood floors all of the time, but I'd rather see it than hide it.  Plus, we didn't want to constantly be cleaning carpets when the dogs tracked in mud - or worse.

Fast-forward three years, and we have some aging dogs that sometimes have difficulty getting (or staying) on their feet on those same hardwood floors.  We have been solving that problem, one area at a time.  First, it was a welcome mat (with dog bones, of course) next to the couch to assist traction when the "running" start failed to boost Andy as much as he expected.  Instead of having his back legs end up underneath him (and the couch), he was able to stay on his feet and make a second attempt.  Next, it was a large outdoor rug in the middle of the living room to help Andy get on his feet when he wakes from his nap on his bed.

Now, we have added another rug in the bedroom for the same reason, a mat by his food bowl so his hobbit feet don't slide out from under him as he eats, a runway of rubber mats and bathmats from the rug in the bedroom to the back door, and another mat behind his bed in the living room for when his back end slides off.  My Sweetpea had already built a ramp off the back door, which also has welcome mats screwed to it for traction.

Our house is starting to look like a remnants sale at a carpet and flooring store.  If our visitors don't like it, I'll happily pull the welcome mat out from under their feet and find a more suitable spot inside for the old dogs.  Problem solved!

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Pup Tent

On a recent hike with two of our four dogs, we decided that it would be fun to take all of them on a camping trip.  This is something that we've never been able to do, mostly because camping also usually involves hiking.  Not all four dogs are physically able to hike anymore - especially Andy.  Our walks in the neighborhood are limited to going a few houses down the street and turning around.
A plan was hatched.  We would camp close to home.  REALLY close to home - in our backyard.  We got home too late that night to set up the tent, since there needed to be a thorough poop pick-up first, and it was already dark.

The next afternoon, the tent went up and was filled with a queen-sized air mattress and multiple dog beds.  We left the flap open for the dogs to come and go as they pleased.  The firepit was lit and we all shared s'mores after sunset.  (Now that I think about it, the graham crackers could have contributed to the increased dog flatulence.)

As we settled in to the tent that night, Andy decided that his massive couch-sized dog bed - complete with doggy sleeping bag on top - wasn't good enough.  He immediately climbed up on the air mattress at our feet.  I tucked the sleeping bag around him and he was cozy all night.  My Sweetpea's feet were his pillow, while my own feet had to hang off the mattress or be curled up so as not to disturb Andy.  It reminded us of the old days when Andy could still jump up on the bed.  I think we should camp in the backyard more often.

Monday, October 3, 2016

Campin' Jack

Packed Jack
Back in April, we took Jack on what was probably his first camping trip ever.  For this special occasion, we chose Great Sand Dunes National Park.  It is one of the only national parks that allows dogs in places other than your car or the campground.

We chose this particular weekend because of the full moon.  What we forgot to check was the weather - specifically, the wind.  Jack could have used some doggles, for sure.  When the wind really whipped up, I would scoop Jack up and try to shield him from the sandblasting as much as I could.  Good thing that he totally loves to be cuddled like a little baby.

April nights at the dunes are still a bit nippy.  We brought a doggy camping bed for Jack and some blankets, but he refused to stay in his bed.  Eventually, I would give up and just tuck him under my blankets with me.  It didn't help that his sister, Sky, was with us and isn't a fan of being anywhere but her house after dark.  By the last night, both pups (and people) were so exhausted that we all slept soundly.

While we were in the area, Jack and Sky got to meet some other animals.  There is a local alligator tourist trap (not recommended) where dogs are welcome.  The gators didn't deter the puppies at all, but Jack was terrified of their giant tortoise.  Well, it WAS bigger than him, so can you blame him?

Stay tuned for another doggy camping adventure - this time with ALL of our pups!
Pretend that you see leashes

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Rabies and Foster Failure

Fourteen years ago, I received a call to foster a puppy that had been dumped in the country in Guthrie, Oklahoma.  He had been squatting under a porch at a home with four other dogs.  When I arrived to pick him up, the husband crawled under the porch and retrieved a terrified, 6-month old, 35-pound furball.  His velcro fur was studded with leaves and twigs and whatever else that was under their porch.  This was not the little puppy that I had in mind.

Sad for the pup, and hating the sucker in me that kept falling for calls like these, I drove home with the "puppy".  He didn't make a sound the whole way home, I didn't either.  I got him home and he proceeded to pee himself every time I touched him.  Not only was he NOT a puppy, but he was black, he was part chow, and he was a nervous pee-er.  There's a long waitlist for people wanting dogs like these, right?

I named him "Anderson" for the road where he was dumped.  Andy's eyes were crusty, so I made an appointment with my vet.  The vet immediately suspected distemper.  His prognosis was not good.  I was told that it was extremely contagious, especially for my other foster dog that may not have been vaccinated before I got her.  Distemper is almost always fatal, and if he happened to survive the disease, then he would likely have seizures and other serious health issues for life.  The recommendation was to euthanize.

I asked what my other options were.  In the end, I took him home and quarantined him in the bathroom for the next few weeks while dosing him with antibiotics.  Quarantine proved to be difficult with two dogs of my own and a foster or two.  At one point, we were under direct threat of a tornado.  I had my own two dogs and couple of cats in the hallway in crates.  One foster dog was on a leash in the hall with me.  I kept picking up Andy and putting him in the bathtub with a blanket over him, but he kept jumping out.

Three weeks passed and Andy's eyes cleared up.  He never developed any other symptoms of distemper.  We went back to the vet and I had him neutered and vaccinated to prepare him for adoption.

Every two weeks, Andy and I would go to the adoption outreach.  Every two weeks, Andy and I would come home from the adoption outreach - unsuccessful.  This continued for the next few months.  Finally, I made a pact with Andy on our drive to the outreach one Saturday.  I told him that he needed to either get adopted that day, or I would just need to keep him.

That day, Andy did his usual and hid under the tablecloth at our adoption table.  Occasionally, someone would notice this teenage puppy and would inquire about him (as he peed himself).  My answer was consistent that day - "I think he has rabies."

I sure got some funny looks, but at the end of the day, Andy went home with me for good.  He was my first "foster failure", but not my last.  I have no regrets.

Monday, April 4, 2016

A Friend Indeed

Sir George Boogers and Anderson are an unlikely pair.  There is the significant age difference - Boogers is just seven months and Andy is 14 years old.  Their activity level is at opposite ends of the spectrum.  Andy doesn't always make it up on the couch on his first try, or second try.  Despite their differences, these two are inseparable.  A good friend sticks by your side.  A GREAT friend tries to bury your poop when you have an accident in the house.  Thanks, Booger-buddy!

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Hack-y Jack

While taking a walk around a local lake with a friend last week, Jack discovered something irresistible.  My sweet friend thought that Jack was feasting on some ice cream that someone had spilled on the sidewalk.  No such luck.  Only Jack would be interested in snacking on an incredibly large puddle of some other dog's lung cookies.  That's right.  A foamy glop of phlegm.

This week, Jack has kennel cough.  Only our dog would dive right into a puddle of sick.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Puppies at Heart

Everyone knows that old dogs are really just puppies with a few less dance moves.  To honor their inner puppies, here's a fun timelapse that we took at the Puppy Bowl photo shoot at Foothills Animal Shelter last week.  Enjoy!

Monday, February 1, 2016


This past week we met an old dog that deserves a mention here.  Daisy was hiking down from Squaw Mountain with her people, finishing a second lap for the day.  Squaw Mountain is 4.1 miles round-trip in the wintertime, and 1,014 foot elevation gain.  I tend to notice dogs before people, and the first thing I noticed about Daisy was her white muzzle.  The second thing I noticed was that she was blind.  Her people confirmed, but let us know that the inability to see doesn't slow her down a bit.  She wasn't even on a leash, and didn't appear to have any trouble following the trail.  When I called her name, she made a beeline for me for some lovin'.  She posed for pictures, then continued on her hike.  It was easy for anyone to "see" that her lack of sight didn't limit her.  Enjoy your hikes, Ms. Daisy!

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Miracles Do Happen

It's true.  I witnessed it first-hand.  All four dogs came back in the house through the same door, at the same time.  Praise the lawd!  This is usually a half-hour process of going between the three outside doors, calling the dogs (even though one is basically deaf), trying not to let any that came in earlier escape again, trying to keep the cats from sneaking out, and begging and threatening pleading with Jack to come inside.  Oh, and Happy thinks that you can't see her if she hides her 70 pounds of whiteness behind a skinny tree. 
Guess they just love playing outside!

Wednesday, January 13, 2016


The past couple of days have been balmy in the mid-40s.  I was really hoping that the sun would stay out a little longer today while it was above freezing.  There has been snow on the ground in our shady backyard since probably Thanksgiving.  With three large dogs and one snack-sized pup, I wouldn't recommend eating the snow.  In fact, there is quite the poo-lasagna building layer upon layer in the snow.  I've tried chiseling the glaciers of poop, but just manage to spread it further if it moves at all.  More snow is in the forecast for Friday - yea.
Poop Parade

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Old Dog - New Tricks

Our new/old dog has some serious trouble trusting his people.  His recall skills are worse than non-existent.  When we have let him off leash, he just takes off.  If he even stops when we call him, it is just to look back at us, squint, and clearly say "no thanks" and continue on his merry way.  He has gained the nickname "Jackass" for this stunt.

Last weekend, we took "Jackass" and his youngest sister for a hike.  There were very few people out, even less dogs, and it was already getting late in the day.  We decided that we would try this off-leash thing one more time.  This time, I was prepared with a pocketful of gold-star treats.  Before he was untethered, I gave him a little treat.  Made quite a production over it, too.  Off came the leash and another treat was rewarded, accompanied by lots of treatbag crinkle.  For the next few miles, anytime "Jackass" started to get too far away, out came the treats and he came running back to us.  At one point, he was already a little distance away before a couple and their large dog crested the hill in front of us.  I called for Jack and he stopped.  He looked back at me, then back to the oncoming dog, then back to me.  Crinkle, crinkle!  That did it.  Jack came running back for his dessert and received a ton of praise.  Who knew that you could actually teach an old dog a new trick?!?

A couple of happy dogs - and humans!

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Night of Epicness

Epicness started at 2:30 this morning.  That was when one unnamed dog started in with lovely sounds of puking.  Apparently he just ate too much.  Two hours later, the epicness continued.  Unnamed dog number two needed to number two.  Unfortunately, the cats had conspired and knocked over the laundry hamper, trapping him on one side of the bed.  We woke up to the sound of his Alzheimer-ish footsteps in the corner of the room, followed shortly by the aroma of poo.  "Dear Jesus..."  Epicness culminated in the form of kitty hork a little while later, courtesy of Sir George Boogers.

Guess we might as well get up and take some pups hiking.  Hope that we aren't encouraging Round 2 for tonight.

Friday, January 8, 2016


Do all old dogs burp a lot?  Not sure, but Andy sure does.  Not only does he burp like a man, but he will wake up from a dead sleep (we are never sure if he is sleeping or taking the big sleep) just to sit up and burp.  Good thing he's cute.

Monday, January 4, 2016

Happy (Uneventful) New Year!

Hope that your new year is full of dog mis-adventures!  We kicked off 2016 relatively uneventfully, thankfully.  Three years ago, when we first started dating, that wasn't the case.  With champagne glasses in hand, we were all set to cheer in the new year and our newfound love.  Then, came the undisguisable sound of dog hork.  At the exact stroke of midnight, Sky was purging the contents of her belly, which just so happened to be an entire row of homemade cinnamon rolls that she helped herself to earlier in the day.  Wishing you less barf, more bark!
Always an adventure with Sky the Horker