Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Bloggers' Quilt Festival!

Thought I'd join in this time, as I always enjoy looking at everyone else's quilts.  Here is a link to the festival, so you can see everyone else's quilts.  

I've decided to share a quilt I made last fall, but never showed on my blog.  I call it Autumn Crush.

I chose this quilt because I love it, but also because I can share a lot about myself in the story of its' making.

Some friends of ours were getting married last Labor Day Weekend, in the town where we used to live (and that we hope to move back to one day).  As soon as I knew they were engaged, I knew I'd make them a quilt.  But hey, Labor Day was a long way off, so I didn't have to worry about it yet.  Two days before we were supposed to leave, I finally decided to get serious about making the quilt.  I needed inspiration, quick!

Well, it was turning into a lovely fall, and we were traveling north, to Jackson, WY, where fall was well on its way.  I had a fat quarter bundle of Anna Maria Horner's Innocent Crush, just begging to be put to good use.  Great!  Now, a pattern.  It needs to be simple to cut and sew, because, oh yeah, it should have been done a week ago.  I can't remember where I got this idea, I checked my flickr favorites and folder of ideas, but couldn't find it.  However I'm sure I lifted this off of someone else's blog, so thanks, whoever you are.  Love your work!

So I sliced and sewed, added some Kona Bone and Burgandy, and basted.  And then...it was time to get in the car and drive 8 hours.  With 3 dogs and a sewing machine.  We were staying with friends, and the minute I got there I took over their dining room table and started quilting.  I had some orange variegated thread that I love, and I just did a simple, loose, meander over the center of the quilt.  I wanted something a bit different for the border, but wasn't really sure what to do.  In the end I took a hint from the shapes in the quilt, and did rectangles of different heights.  It looks almost like a city skyline-possibly a weird choice for my friends who live 5 hours from the nearest sky scraper, in the wilds of NW Wyoming.

This pictures is not great, but gives you an idea of what I'm talking about.  It really did look better when seen on the whole quilt, I promise!  

Once I finished quilting, I machine bound it using the same Kona Burgandy and a zig-zag stitch.  That left me just enough time to shower, get dressed, and have a quick take photo shoot (because, again, I love this quilt).  Here a few of the other pictures.

My friends have a lovely home, both the little you can see here, and the rest.  And they have flowers!  That aren't dead!  (I don't).

Now, from the above you have learned that I like autumn colors and Jackson, WY, and that I tend to procrastinate.  The other thing you can learn about me comes from the following gratuitous puppy pictures.

I am a crazy dog lady, and in addition to being momma to three dogs, I foster dogs and puppies.  This is Moses, who was called Cameron or Fluffy at the time this picture was taken.  He is my favorite foster dog ever.  He was tiny and cute and fluffy and had such a personality!  He was, and still is, a gremlin.  He lets you know in no uncertain terms when he is not happy.  However, when he is happy, which is most of the time, he is just delightful!  Look at how alert he is, watching me in that photo.  He weighed about two pounds in the picture above.  He now weighs about 8 pounds, and his momma tells me that he rules the roost, ordering her two boxers around and NEVER sharing the couch.  I had him and his littermates for a month and a half, from the time they were 6 weeks to the time they were 12 weeks.  All three of them went to fantastic homes.

This picture isn't quite as cute, but you see Moses with my 6.5 lb pommie mix, Sirius.  Sirius' leg is shaved because he had broken it about a month before, but he is now fully recovered and back to his normal bouncy self.  Sirius' coat probably inspired my love for that variegated orange thread I mentioned above.  This picture isn't his greatest angle, but he is one beautiful boy.

Seen here sunbathing.

Hope you enjoyed!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

A Motley...Post

So, wow, there are many things to say.  Let's start with photos, shall we?

Sirius got new sunglasses, and a backpack.  He looks cool, no?  He's er...getting used to them.

We kept a puppy!  He is cute, and awesome.  He is about 17 weeks and weighs 38lbs.  His name is Polaris.  I think he's a St. Bernard mix.  Here is he pretending to be Daemon.

He and Sirius are close.  They play.  He loves Daemon way more, and follows him everywhere, but I haven't got any good photos.  Polaris wants to be Daemon when he grows up.  Could be a lot worse.




Kisses again.

Polaris Sunday, after his first visit to a dog park.  We took a black and white dog in, and left with a gray and white dog.  He met a Great Dane pup, and they had a fantastic time.  Polaris slept for the rest of the day.

"Momma, leave me alone...I trying to sleep."

We watched Piper, who was Teal that we fostered before.  Our friend adopted her.  Polaris thought she was the best thing since sliced bread.  He is a dogs' dog.

Then she had to go home and he was sad.

We fostered a boxer.  Daemon was terrified of her.  She got adopted Saturday and I got no pictures.

We ordered a tag for Polaris on Etsy.  It is completely adorable.

I made Polaris a collar.  It was easy and cheap.  There are so many girl collars out there, but not many boy collars, so this way I can make him whatever I want.  I ordered the hardware, it was around $7, and I'm sure you could get it cheaper if you looked around, or got plastic, but we are uppity around here.

I am making good progress on my terrain quilt.  Not so good progress on the quilt for my sis, but I need to just do it, and if it's not perfect, so be it.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Four Dogs Down!

EDITED TO ADD:  I started this post a month ago-3/19/12.  I can't believe its been that long, I only had the pups for two months and now they've been gone for a month.  Time flies, when you're having...hmmmm.  New saying: "time flies when you're not picking up shit all the time."  I only have adults right now.  It's great!

Four of my babies (well, Brownie's babies, really) were adopted on Saturday.  I think they all went to great homes, and I have already gotten emails from two of the homes telling me how well the kiddos are doing.  They also said the pups are almost house-trained?...could have fooled me.  And the rest of them are still doing a good job of convincing me they aren't house-trained.

The remaining three were almost adopted, but one fell through (refused to buy health insurance?!-seriously, $30/mo tops) and I told the other two they couldn't have my babies.  Yup, I'm a hard-ass.  But it really sucks to raise and love these guys and then regret/worry that you sent them to the wrong forever home.  I've only done that once, but I still feel guilty about it and worry about her life. It'll never happen again, no matter how mad I make people who want to adopt.  One person just gave me the heebie-jeebies, the other said she couldn't be bothered to get out of bed and let a puppy out at night, yet she wanted to keep the puppy in a crate.  The general rule is that a puppy can be expected to hold it for their age in months, plus one.  So my 8 week old babies would be able to go 3 hours without a potty break.  Any longer than that is asking too much, and could force the pup to pee or poop in their crate.  This goes strongly against their instincts, is cruel, and can set back house-training by quite some time.

One thing that is really great about the rescue I work with is that I get to interview people wanting to adopt my babies, and I have veto power.  People often ask how we can let them go, saying that fostering would be too hard for them.  Given that I haven't thought this through thoroughly or edited it very well, these are my answers.

1-I know from when they come into the house that they'll be moving on-it's a different perspective
2-I truly want to save animals, and I'm doing it.  That has huge rewards.  It brings a lot of meaning to my life, and that is very important.
3-I don't love all the dogs who come through the house.  I mean, I care for them and give them affection, and I have compassion for them and want to help them but I don't fall in love with every dog.
4-I can save a lot more dogs by fostering than adopting.  And, if I adopted all the ones I really like, I would soon be too full to foster.
5-Puppies, especially, are cuddly, adorable and fun to play with, but they are also messy, destructive and have not developed their full personalities.  I find it easier to let (most of) them go than adults.  There are also less people who will foster puppies because of the aforementioned mess and destruction.
6-There is a huge opportunity for education through meeting these dogs' eventual adopters and just talking to  people about why I have so many dogs.  I love to give people new information, and hopefully it makes their dogs' lives better

There's a beginning to why I foster and how I let the dogs go.  I'm sure this list will be added to.

Holding Pattern

So, again, nothing new to report on the quilting front-am I lazy? bored? scared of the next project?  I don't know.  Let me know if you do.  However, two things that never quit around here-dog stuff, and trouble.

So, dog stuff-we still have Starla and Brownie, and I don't see that changing any time in the near future.  That's OK, though, as fosters go they are pretty easy, except for Starla's bitchy attitude with newcomers.  Brownie is spending more and more time in the house and is actually approaching me to be petted around the head and neck!  I think having all these adult dogs around is good for her.  They set her an example of how dogs should behave.  Starla has started staying in the house more, and is sleeping in a crate in our bedroom.  She is being quite good.  There's got to be a dog lover out there who's looking for a dachshund with a chihuahua personality.

The adorable lab puppies did go quickly, and the families who adopted them are getting some awesome dogs.  Tulip (in the front) went home on Saturday the 7th, and we were able to keep Orchid until the 11th.  She was adopted by the cousin of one of our fosters, so I should be able to keep in touch.

Pretty Cute, huh?

We got a new boy on Monday.  His name is Clay and he is out of a shelter in New Mexico. 

He's a very striking boy!

This shelter is right outside of a reservation, and unfortunately a lot of dogs get dumped there after terrible suffering.  The shelter has very little money, and more than half of the dogs surrendered there are euthanized.  This guy has a better tale than most; he was left with a letter saying that he was a good dog but that the owner couldn't give him enough exercise.  Now, it seems like the owner didn't think this through, right?  I mean, a 50% chance of death, rather than figuring out a way to wear out the dog?  Walk, bike, play ball, hire someone else to do those things?  A lot of people don't realize what happens in shelters, I think, or they choose not to.  This guy probably has some bully breed in him, in addition to the obvious Catahoula Leopard Dog.  That could have been very bad news for him if was adopted directly from the shelter.

There is a wonderful girl/woman/whatever the proper term is doing Teach for America on the reservation, and she has taken it upon herself to help these dogs.  I really admire her.  I wonder how many of us (meaning me) would think "oh this is terrible" and do nothing about it.  She drove about 60 dogs up overnight on Sunday.  I chose this boy because of his looks and the letter that came with him, but it turns out I really helped him out.  All of the other rescues who took dogs were located in cities with breed specific legislation (BSL), which means they can't take any dog who might be a bully breed mix.  So it was me or no one for this guy.

He is a great dog, and I'm so glad we are able to help him.  He is a lover, always wanting to be with me or Tony, and he is very well behaved in the house.  He is great with the other dogs, and very submissive, which is good, given his looks.  Any aggression on his part could lead very quickly to an early death.  I was walking him yesterday and a group of little boys ran up.  "Is he a pit bull?"  "Maybe." I responded.  "Does he bite?"  "Nope."  So they petted him and swung their toy swords at him, and he wagged and licked and was generally awesome.  His only problems are that he chases kitties and he has never been leash trained, but those are easily overcome and we are already working on it.  He's sleeping on the couch right now, and he will make someone very good companion.  If we had unlimited money and time, he'd stay right here.  He's a good one.

If you are interested, look up BSL and find out why it doesn't work to lower dog bites/attacks.  Dogs should each be judged on their individual merits, not their heritage.  Vicious dog legislation is reasonable, BSL is not.  Be an advocate in your area.  That's not where this was supposed to end up, but there you go...BSL makes me mad.

OK, the "trouble" part.  This is what my car looks like now:

Yes, a deer ran out in front of me while I was going 75 mph.  Legally, might I add.  Luckily, Sirius and Daemon and I are all OK, but the car is on the edge of totaled.  So, either they decide to fix it and I am car-less for a while, or they total it and I have to buy a new car.  Which is a giant pain in the ass.  But!  Also!  The police were called to write an accident report so the insurance company wouldn't think I drove into the side of a building after 2 bottles of wine, etc.  They did the whole rigamarole which included running my license.  Turns out, my CODL has been suspended since December of 2010.  Which is interesting, because I got a WY license in  the summer of 2010.  I also switched insurance companies so Tony and I were on the same policy.  Turns out, Pro-fucking-gressive decided it was their job to report to the state of CO that I was driving without insurance.  The story is longer, but that's the abridged version.  So, thought no fault of my own, and without ever being notified that my license was suspended, I am the proud recipient of a ticket for driving on a suspended license.  I have to go to court to defend myself, and I have to wait 2-3 weeks and pay $95 for the DMV to get off their asses and fix their mistake.  Lovely.  Now I have a chauffeur, albeit an unwilling and very busy one.  But, we'll see how he likes running all the errands-ha!  Plus, we retrieved the deer-it was very, very dead-and butchered it to feed to the dogs.  Yup, that's right, we butchered a deer in the backyard.  Tony did the really gross parts, but still, living in Wyoming for 2 years made a different person out of me.  I'm a real cowgirl now!  I dunno, just looking for an upside.  Sigh.

The dogs are really digging the venison.  If you have some to spare, let me know.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Only the Momma

So, first off,  a picture of Starla, who has been living with us since 3/10.  We thought she might be pregnant, but she wasn't.  However, she did have kennel cough.  That meant two weeks of antibiotics and being separated from other dogs.  We are a bit lax around here, because I feel there isn't any chance of true separation, and I know that my dogs, with their minimal vaxes, raw food, and no chemicals, are very healthy, and unlikely to get sick.  So, I put the babies inside whenever she was outside, and vice versa.  She slept, and still does, in Tony's office to keep her separated.  Now she sleeps there because she is used to it and she likes to mark, so I have to keep a close eye on her when she is in the house.

This is by far the cutest picture I have of her.  She is a chihuahua/dachshund mix, and though she's not the most adorable dog in the world, she is not nearly as ugly as my picture taking makes her look.  She weighs 13.5 lbs, is very cuddly, and can live with or without walks, so she will be a great dog for a retired person or couple.  She would probably do well with kids, too, though, she wouldn't mind being dressed up or pushed around in a stroller.  She does think it is fun to play chase though, and has run up the street twice, so her new owners will have to be careful about that.  I hope she gets adopted soon, as she is not getting the attention she needs/wants here.

Brownie is doing very, very well.  She seems to have realized that the whole house is her "area" and has only had one accident in weeks.  That one looked like there was no choice, if you know what I mean.  Her babies are all gone, so while she loves our other dogs, too, she is able to relax more and focus on humans.  She curls up on the couch regularly, and I even caught her in our bed yesterday!

She goes for walks with us now, and even went to the big (100 acre) off-leash park with us the other day.  I didn't intend to let her off leash, but she slipped her collar, so I let her stay off leash, and she walked with us and let us put her back on leash at the end of the walk.  She does get a bit carsick, so we will work on that, and her eventual adopter should take her for lots of short rides to get her more used to the car as well.  There has been some talk of transferring her to a different foster home.  This makes sense, as it will help her get used to more and more people, but honestly-I'll miss her.  However, there are no firm plans, so I don't have to worry about it right now.

I also have two adorable purebred black lab puppies. (Oh, and on another note, I have been looking at breeders' website, mostly for poms and mals-what? yes, those are very different dogs, and I plan to have at least one of each in my lifetime-and some of them spell purebred wrong "purebread!!!"  Seriously people, if you are going to the trouble and expense of putting up a website, get someone to proofread it.  Especially if you are an idiot!)  They are both girls, and their names are Tulip and Orchid-lovely spring names, don't you think?  I need to get photos of them tonight, because I am pretty sure they will both be gone tomorrow.  They are so cute, roly-poly, not biters, and pretty clean.  They will be great pets for someone!

PS-Happy Birthday, Sis!

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Heirloom Skipping Squares Quilt

Coming in at 96" by 80" before washing, this is by far the biggest quilt I've ever made.  It was hard to photograph, too.  What's going on up there is my boyfriend and a friend are each holding a pole with the quilt clipped on the top of the poles.  It was that or climb on the roof! 

The quilt is based on Skipping Squares by Allison Harris of Cluck Cluck Sew, which is so far my favorite quilt pattern ever.  I just added one extra row of blocks vertically and horizontally, and then a border that will finish at 10" for a queen sized quilt.  This will go on my sister's bed.  She said she wanted colorful, but with pink, so I hope this makes her happy.  

Since I can't imagine trying to quilt something this big on my little machine (it's a Bernina 440, and I love it dearly, but it only has 8" of throat space), I laid it all out, and then sewed it up in quadrants with a backing of plain Kona Bone, quilted those individually in a large meander-in purple of course-and joined them together.  Now I have to add the backing fabric and bind.  I'm planning to back it with Joel Dewberry's Heirloom Rose Bouquet in Sky.

Picture from fabric.com

I figure, this way, it could be turned over for a different look every now and then.  I am thinking just some stitch in the ditch quilting to make sure there is no shifting.  I hope this doesn't completely destroy the look of the meander on the front, but apparently I'm all about finding out the hard way.  Fingers crossed it all works out!

I'm trying to decide whether to bind the quilt in green or the same Kona Eggplant I used for the front.  I'm leaning towards the purple, for the continuity and for the hope it won't show dirt.

See those flowers by the bottom of the quilt?  They are just some of the beautiful flowers in our yard, and they smell wonderful.  I claim no credit for this, it's all the landlords' doing, but I do enjoy it.  This weather is crazy...it was 79 degrees out today.  And it's still March!  I dread to think what will happen come July and August.  I may have to drive up to 9000 feet and camp just to stay cool.  Luckily, this place does have central A/C; a lot of houses don't around here because it just didn't used to get that hot.  A swamp cooler would do fine for all but the few hottest days of summer.  Climate Change, people...it's all our fault.  

My last three puppies, the ones I've had since January 25th, were adopted today.  They were 10 weeks old, and I hate to admit it, but it was a relief to see them go.  I finally have my kitchen back and I can walk around without dragging teething monsters on both legs.  It helped that I feel that all the pups adopted to day went to absolutely fantastic homes.  I am positive they will have great lives, and hopefully their new owners will keep me updated.  Several of the adopters of the pups who went two weeks ago have contacted me already, and they love their pups dearly, and tell me they are all doing great on house-training.  (They weren't when they lived here!).

I still have Brownie, their mother, and she is doing quite well, all things considered.  She deserves her own update, and I'll try to do that soon.   I also have Starla, a 1.5 y/o chihuahua/dachshund mix.  She's sweet with people, but not house-trained and a bit growl-y with other dogs, so we're working on that.  I imagine I will be getting a few new pups this week, as well.  Hopefully they will be sweet, cuddly, quiet and not destructive.  What?...it could happen.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Go Gators! or something

So, remember that post I made a while ago...goals for February?  Hmmm, well, most of the way through March I'm finally more than halfway done!  A friend of mine has a son who is obsessed with University of Florida.  My Mom went there, too, so I am familiar with the rabidness of Florida fans.  Never make the mistake of calling my parents' house during a game, really, your hearing will never be the same.

When my friend asked me to make the quilt, I thought, OK, an orange and blue quilt.  But it turns out I'm not the only one looking to make things with a Florida theme.  There are at least 7 different Florida fabrics out there.  I bought the 5 that were in stock.  Then, she wanted a "simple quilt, just squares, for a boy."  Believe it or not I have never actually made just a plain old patchwork quilt...weird huh?  They just sound boring to me, especially since there would only be 3 colors in this quilt.  The birthday in question was being celebrated on March 17th.  So, being that I'm a procrastinator and I was waiting for inspiration to strike, I only started on the quilt around March 9th.  I cut out the pieces, made some four-squares and log cabin blocks, and put them on the design wall while the dogs were outside.  Yep, the tail of the big one can make a mess of a design really quick, plus the crazy freakin' wind blows everything around.  I got the top together, and then stalled a bit when my cat got so sick.  I basted late on the 14th-thank god for spray basting-and quilted, bound, washed, dried and over-nighted on the 15th.  Whew!  Why do I do this?  Everyone out there who is more mature than me, feel free to share your secrets.

I'm pretty please with how it turned out, mostly squares and a few other blocks to add some interest.  Then some loopy all-over quilting.  It's pretty big, 60" x 80" before washing.  I was in too much of a hurry to get it in the mail to measure afterwards.

I'm told the room will be re-decorated in an all-Gators all the time theme after he gets the quilt.  I really hope he likes it.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

One for ME?

So, where were we?  At last count, we had Brownie and babies, and Blynken, right?  Well, in the meantime, we had Scarlett (who was adopted out as Wreath) for a week.  She was adopted out in January and returned to the rescue on March 2nd because one of her new parents was severely allergic to her.  It sounded like they had made a sincere effort to overcome this problem, but her doctor eventually said that she just couldn't live with Scarlett.  Scarlett looks a LOT like Blynken, just a tiny bit bigger.  In the week that they lived together, Scarlett and Blynken got on like peas and carrots.  They played, they wrestled, they tumbled, they chased, they collapsed and slept, they played some more.  I wish I had photos, but I was too busy enjoying their antics to search for the camera.

Isn't that ear adorable?

I mentioned that I think the adopters made a sincere effort to keep Scarlett, so perhaps their hearts were in the right place, but they returned Scarlett to us with some problems.  She is a submissive/excitable pee-er, is not socialized well with other dogs or with people (though she is young enough that we can probably remedy this), is majorly food-aggressive, and is cat-aggressive.  These all could have been easily nipped in the bud by the adopters, because she was a tiny baby when she went out, but it just goes to show how little most people know about dogs, and how little effort they take to learn.

We can begin to deal with these fairly easily in a short time at our house, with the exception of the cat aggression.  We will not risk the safety of our cats to foster dogs.  One of our cats, while she can probably take most dogs, gets pissed and disappears, which makes us worry, and one is (well, was, she passed today and I will dedicate a post to her soon, but I am not ready to talk about it right now) too old to have to deal with that kind of shit.

So, Scarlett was with us a week and left 3/10 to go live at another foster house; one with no cats.  However, also on 3/10, Blynken FINALLY GOT ADOPTED!  Remember, she had lived here since January 4th, so we had grown quite attached to her.  I knew someone was interested in her, and when I found out it was a 21 year old guy, I was all set to dislike him.  However, he came in with his mom and the new pup was to be a birthday present.  He had lost the dog he'd had since was was 6 in November, and it was time for another one.  He had found Blynken online, driven over an hour to get to the event, didn't want to look at any of the other puppies, didn't care that I really didn't know what breed she is, and promised all on his own to send me photos, since I'd had her so long.  He also said he was all about positive reinforcement and said hands were for affection, not hitting.  I think she went to a great home, and I can't wait to get updates on her life.

You may have noticed, though, that it's hard for me to come home from an adoption event with fewer dogs than I went with.  So, Starla and Pepper Jack came home with me.  We brought in 11 new dogs from 2 different places during the adoption event on Saturday.  It was a long day, to understate things.  I don't have a picture of Starla, but she is a small dog, maybe a chihuahua mix? who has a cough and sneezes frequently, and may be pregnant (Shhh...I haven't shared that with Tony yet, so don't tell him).  We are having to keep her separated from the other dogs, since she might be sick, but she is a sweetheart.  She loves to cuddle and is very bouncy.  She's also house-trained!  Hooray!  That doesn't happen often.  This...

Is Pepper Jack, otherwise known as Fluffbutt!  He is 9 weeks old and weighs 13 lbs.  He also (knock on wood) has not had any accidents in the house.  I think he is St. Bernard and Border Collie.  I want to keep him.  Tony does, too, but he is fighting himself.  He's probably wise, and says we don't "need" a dog.  But what a thing to base getting a dog on.  Who "needs" a dog?  Especially if they already have one.  Maybe a blind or disabled person, I guess.  Anyway, he was a little shy at first, but he has made himself right at home over the past few days.  This is last night.

He's taking up Tony's entire side of our very colorful bed.  He also likes his new "siblings".

One of these doesn't belong.

Brownie even lets him nurse with them.  She is such a pushover when it comes to other dogs.  Anyway, I need to go work on a quilt, but I will keep you updated!

Monday, February 27, 2012

Comes with fur sewn in!

We're coming down to the wire people, and I have another project finished and ready to be mailed!  Three to go?  In three days...hmmm.  Oh, well.

The pattern is Anna Maria Horner's Sidewalk Satchel, and I made it with an Art Gallery print on the outside and plain cream on the inside.  I am not wonderful at sewing things that aren't quilts (you know, straight lines, very little pattern-following), but I like this bag a lot and it's worth it even though it takes me forever.  I hope my sister doesn't mind that her Christmas present is a lot late and a little bit used.

I don't know where they are headed, but they will get there in style!  

Dogs are much better models than children, from what I understand.  All you need is roasted chicken, and they will do anything you want, provided you can get them to understand what that is :-).  They never get embarrassed or roll their eyes.

I feed my dogs (and cats) raw, prey model, specifically.  I'm sure I'll write more about this later, but for now suffice it to say that after much research and thought, I am absolutely positive that it is the healthiest way to feed them.  I have a local source for grass-fed beef, pork, lamb and llama/alpaca.  I am working on a source for poultry, but for now Whole Foods provides my sourcing, because I can choose animals that weren't factory farmed.  This is important for health and conscience reasons.  I eat the same meat my critters do, by the way.  It's good stuff.  So, anyway, in prey model you give your pets large pieces of meat and let them rip and tear and chew and gnaw.  This is all well and good for 103 lb Daemon, you say, but 6 lb Sirius?  Surely not.  He's so dainty!  And fluffy!  And cuddly!

Well, as it turns out, he is the less picky of the two, always ready to tear right in.  Here is a progression of tonight's dinner.

Is that Daddy getting dinner ready?  (Notice Loki in background and painting of 21-year-old Tiger on the wall-crooked of course.  We are very animal oriented around here).

Yum, turkey neck.  I am a good boy and will stay on my towel.

Open wide!  And Crunch-lots of bone in there, good for bones, teeth and making firm poops.

"Grrrrr!  Sirius' turkey!"
Even though we are right there, he is very concerned that someone else, Leda in this case, might want his food.  He is doing well here, protecting it with a paw on it, but usually he leaves his dinner and darts towards the offender, leaving it wide open for a co-conspirator to abscond with his treasure.

He's finally learned to use his paws to stabilize his food, the better for him to rip and tear.

The end of this, which I did not get a photo of, is at least half of that turkey neck still left, "buried" in the towel, with Sirius napping, but still on guard, beside it.  Meanwhile, Daemon whines at him and us..."please, brother, pleeeeeeeease.  Daemon still hungry.  Daemon always hungry."  I wish I could come up with the letters to put his whine into print.  It is hilarious, and always the same three syllables.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Escape Artist! (Caution, poop is mentioned far too many times.)

So, Brownie, being basically feral, has probably rarely or never been inside before, and clearly is not house-trained.  She has no idea that while we humans do our business inside, we really prefer that our critters keep it in the great outdoors.  What she did know however, from thousands of years of evolutionary training, was that she must not soil the "den" (a plastic baby pool inside a crate) where her babies were.  This would attract predators and risk disease.  In fact, momma dogs eat their puppies' poop and lick up pee, keeping their puppies and the immediate surroundings immaculately clean.  Brownie is great at this, and the pen stayed pristine.

I was letting her outside regularly during the day, but who knew what she was doing out there, since she immediately removed herself from my sight by going behind Tony's detached office, or, if I walked back there, to the side of the office.  OK, yes, we went in circles and she never stopped to potty at all unless I gave her some privacy.  Dogs really can control our behavior.  So, I would leave her out for 5-30 minutes, and then let her back in, hoping that she had emptied herself out.  Umm...this wasn't working too well.

Dogs who are feeding seven puppies must eat and drink a lot.  Since kibble is mostly fillers, which the dog cannot use, it just...passes through.  Thus, they poop a lot, too, and these are not firm, small, innocuous poops. They are the exact opposite, and that is all that needs to be said about that.  Brownie and the babies were in a two and a half foot tall pen.  Brownie would jump out to go potty elsewhere in the office, and never on the newspaper or puppy pads.  Luckily, the floor is concrete, so it was easy to clean up, not a huge problem, at least while Tony was out of town.  The main problem at this point was that Brownie could not seem to get back into the pen after she jumped out, there was too much risk of her landing on the babies, maybe?, and the babies should not be without momma for so long at this age.  I figured if I could keep her in the pen, she'd hold it and we wouldn't have a problem.

The first thing I tried was covering the pen with a tarp and zip-tying it on.  Yeah, she tore a hole in the tarp and escaped, probably right after I closed the door behind me.  More poo to clean up.  Thank god for Nature's Miracle.  So, I stepped it up, and got a cover for the pen-it's made of the same type of mesh, and just lays on top.  I used some clamps to attach it to the top of the pen.  Nope, she jostled the pen around and got a corner loose that she could escape through.  So then, I tried two pens, attached to each other, one for the puppies and one for pottying in.  Nope, jumped out of there, too.  Last try, I put her in one pen and zip-tied the top on.  (I had moved them into the kitchen at this point to get them out of Tony's space and into a place where she'd be around people (well, me) more.)  Anyway, I thought "ha, I win-she'll just have to hold it."  Oh no, that was a huge mistake.  I went to work and Tony was out in his office.  When he came in to check on Brownie, she had jumped around and jostled the pen so much that she had lifted it up and set it down on one of the pups.  That girl was squealing her head off, so luckily she was alive.  Tony rescued her, and though she was totally freaked out, she walked and pooped and ate, so everything appeared to be OK.  We are taking no chances of that happening again.  The current (and possibly permanent while she lives with us) solution is to put her and the puppies in the kitchen at night and leave the door to the pen open so the puppies stay in and momma can potty in the kitchen.  Not the best for us, and none of you will ever! foster a dog, but I just do a lot of mopping and keep those babies alive.  We will continue to work on her socialization, leash training and house training in the hopes of making her adoptable.

To end on a more fun note:

Puppy in a can! 
(Sorry about the poor photo quality, but you can't stage these things in good lighting)

It took some doing to get her out of there, her head was really wedged in!  She wasn't at all concerned either, just licking away.  We have better secured the recycling bin to keep this from happening again, even though it was the highlight of my day.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Updates for February

Ok, so first order of business...projects.  No real progress there except I have been cleaning and organizing my sewing area, which is a step in the right direction.  Surely you all have experienced how difficult it can be to work in an area which is piled high with other crap.  So once I do that, it will be time to buckle down!  9 days left in the month.  The dress is supposed to be for my sister and she is refusing to send me her measurements.  So the ball is in her court on that one.

Second, Brownie and her babies. Picking up where we left off...when I got home from work that night, Jan 25th, Brownie was in the pen nursing her babies.  Good.  One week old puppies need a lot of nursing, and I don't want to be the one to do it!  I like to sleep.  There are 7 puppies, 2 boys and 5 girls.  I stepped into the pen, careful not to make eye contact with Brownie (that is very aggressive in dog language and I didn't want to intimidate her) petted the babies and held out my hand hoping Brownie would sniff it.  She cowered and looked away.  I gave up for the evening, but I had to force Brownie to go outside, in hopes that she would potty.  I opened the door to the office, left the door to the pen open, and got behind her and lifted her up.  She made no aggressive move toward me, but headed for the door as that was the easiest escape route.  As far as I know she just cowered behind Tony's snowmobile, but I knew she wouldn't move if I watched her, so I went inside to play with the puppies-well, played is a strong word, they are basically furry lumps at that age, so I cuddled and baby-talked to them for a while, then I cracked open the door to the office, left the door to the pen open, and went inside the house.  As I watched from the back door, the cries of her kiddos drew her back to them.  I went back out, gave her more food and water, shut the door behind me, came inside and took care of the other 5 dogs and 3 cats in my care and went to bed.  

The next morning when I went out, the food was gone, the water was dumped, and there was poop and urine all over the office.  OK, so this is good in some ways, bad in others.  At least she isn't too traumatized to eat, but thank goodness Tony is out of town.  I let her outside, cleaned everything up (thank goodness for Nature's Miracle), then went inside to get some canned food while she got back in the pen with her babies.  I climbed in the pen with them and, with my body and eyes turned away from her, offered her a scoop of the canned food on my fingers.  It took her several minutes and a few false starts, but she finally took it, and quite daintily, too.  Again, no hint of aggression.  Goals for that day were: bath, getting rid of ticks and fleas, worming and figuring out how to keep her from shitting all over Tony's office!

First, I went over momma closely, removed several ticks and saw no fleas.  I gave her strongid (a de-wormer) by syringe, and again, she let me do it with no protestation other than a wild look.  Then I picked her up and carried her into the house and put her in our tub.  Luckily it has sliding doors as opposed to a curtain, so dogs can be contained.  I have learned though experience that the easiest way to bathe a dog who doesn't want to cooperate is just to get in the shower with them.  Brownie curled up against the back of the tub, acting like this was another new experience, but let me manipulate her to enough to wet, wash and rinse her.  She was still covered with the messiness of birth, and of course, still bleeding, so there was quite a bit of washing to be done.  I dried her off as best I could, and put her back with her kiddos to settle down.

For the next two weeks we were in a holding pattern, trying to accustom Brownie to our presence, entering the pen to feed and pet her, handle the pups, take photos and doing a complicated dance to get her in and out of the office to potty outside (well, ideally, anyway).  Next time, the complicated process of trying to house train Brownie or at least not give her the opportunity to potty in the house or office.  Sounds thrilling, huh?

Monday, February 6, 2012

One Down

Ok, so I listed things to get done in February.  The first one was the mug rugs for my sister.  Sooo...here they are!

She lives in St. Croix with 3 roommates, so here is a mug rug for each of them.  I wonder if they'll fight over which belongs to who.  Gotta love Valori Wells, huh?  Those elephants are awesome.

Enjoy, guys.

Brownie and Babies

I have 11 dogs and 3 cats at my house.  Yup, you read that correctly.  Here's why.

Brownie came in to the Rescue last Wednesday with her seven one-week old babies.  The shelter we transferred her from said she was "a bit shy".  I wasn't at the intake when she arrived; I already had 3 puppies, but I was told she tried to bite someone when they tried to take her out of her crate.  She was obviously terrified, and quite reasonably, was protecting her babies.  She was supposed to be taken by a foster who was brand new to our organization.  However, this is a lot to ask of someone the first time around.  Sooo (you see where this is going, right?).  That's right!  It was 5:30, I had just finished walking Daemon and Sirius, and had time to shower and get some dinner before leaving for work at 6:00.  I was going to be somewhere on time for once!  Emma, who runs the rescue, called, and I answered.  I never answer.  Those who know me can vouch for this.  She tells me Brownie's story and asks if I can come get her.  So, like someone with no sense, I say, "Sure, no problem!  I can handle this."    

I quickly set up a pen in Tony's office, he was out of town by the way, turned up the heat, and jumped in the car.  When I got there, Brownie and her babies were in a huge pen in the rescue wagon.  There was no way that was going to fit in my car.  Everyone at intake, was, as they should have been, dealing with the other 13 or so pups who came in.  Time to improvise!  Brownie had calmed down in the van alone, so she let us take her pups out of the crate, though the person who did it wore bite gloves.  We were worried that Brownie would panic and squish the young 'uns, so I looked for a suitable way to transport them.  I found a tupperware box labeled "rice."  That'll work!  So we nestled the babies in a fleece blanket in the box (no lid) and put them in the back of my car next to the crate where we were going to put Brownie.  Now, Brownie had to change cars.  Like I said, I'm not sure what had happened earlier, but everyone was reluctant to touch her.  They got a slip lead around her neck and pulled her out of the crate while she fought to stay where she was with all her might.  They dragged her the 5 feet between the cars and then practically hung her getting her into the crate in the back of my car.  I'm ashamed I didn't interfere, but I was a little shocked and didn't know what was going on.  So I left for home in a hurry, calling work to say I would be late.  I brought the pups in first, put them in the pen and then carried in the crate holding Brownie.  She can't weigh more than 35 lbs or so.  I didn't have time to sit and coax her out, so I put the crate near the pen with the puppies, left the door open, and went to work.  I wasn't going to drag her around by the neck again, and I really didn't want to use the bite gloves that were sent home with me.  

There's bound to be more to this story, lets hope it has a happy ending...I'll let you know. 

Friday, February 3, 2012

Oh yeah, quilting/sewing

I have been a little remiss both in my quilting and my blogging about it.  However, I am making a commitment to do better.  I have several goals for February.

1) Finish group of rug mugs for sister-DONE!
2) Start and finish quilt for my friend Theresa's son Alex-DONE!
3) Finish the quilt my mother is !paying! me to make for my sister's bedroom at my parents' house.
4) Make a bag for my sister (a very late Christmas present)-DONE!
5) Make the Maxi dress by Art Gallery-I think I'm giving myself a pass here...can't get the putative recipient to give me her measurements, and I am not going to guess on something like this.

These are the musts.  There are a lot of other "would like to's."

Will update with photos and progress.

Puppy Progress (yes, I'm bad at titles)

The lovely Teal is now Piper!  What a wonderful name.  She was adopted by a good friend of mine, so I will get to see her often as she grows up.  Sirius will also be so pleased about the puppy playdates.  

My three babies, Wynken, Blynken and Nod, went up for adoption last Saturday.  They were supposed to wait another week, but they had grown up, even with the rough start to their lives, and were so ready for their own homes and new owners/guardians/parents (what is the best term?  not sure).  They needed more attention than I could give them (more on that in another post).  They were ready to start learning commands, walking on leash and bonding with new families, away from their sibs.

Nod, the small brown and black one, got adopted right away, during the first round of interviews for the day.  His new family is awesome, its a woman and her 24 year old daughter.  The mother works from home and will be with Nod all the time.  He will be happy and house-trained in no time.  They had also been watching some dog training videos and are very excited about training her themselves.

At the very end of the day, a family, mom, dad and toddler, showed up at the adoption event.  They were "just looking," but they fell in love with Wynken.  Easy to do!  So he found a great home as well.  They have been posting pictures of him on our facebook wall.

"Poor" Blynken, came back home with me...why?  Is it a black dog thing?  Is it a girl dog thing?  Hmmm.  Anyway, true to form, when a puppy has always been with their sibs and suddenly finds herself alone, she cries, and whines, and howls-a lot.  So she has ended up in the bed with us, no accidents, no problems.  Why  do people say dogs shouldn't sleep in the bed?  It's easiest for everyone, in many cases.  She experienced her first snow today, and will be back up for adoption tomorrow.  There is a lot for a puppy to learn and experience about life.

She's gone from this:
To this:

It only took four weeks!  Who wouldn't want to take this home to love and snuggle with?  (And also, sigh, "My, don't they grow up fast?").  Her face is so expressive.  I think it's the ears.

So, while Blynken has been enjoying being part of the family, irritating the cats, playing with Sirius, trying to steal Daemon's food and bully sticks and just generally being underfoot.  Like a puppy!

Wish her luck tomorrow!