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. 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!