Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Don't Call Me Corn Dog

For those of you with a greyhound with corns you know how painful they can be for your pup. If you don't own a corn dog, thank your lucky stars and knock on wood. These nasty little hard spots often cause lameness in greyhounds and only greyhounds for some unknown reason.

Seka has two corns, one on each of her back feet. Most of the time she manages okay on carpeted floors. It's on any hard surface that she has problems, which includes asphalt, tile, hardwood - pretty much any floor that doesn't have a rug on it she will limp or totally refuse to use one of her back feet, depending on which one is hurting the most that day. I equate it to walking around with a rock in your shoe that you can't get rid of.

We've tried a lot of home remedies to soften the corns including using wart remover and covering her pads with duct tape. Some people have used Abreva (an over-the-counter cold sore medication) with some success. We put a nightly application of Bag Balm on her pads to keep them as soft as possible, but nothing gets through that hard, calcified tissue. Many vets turn to coring out the corn with a special dental instrument, which basically pops out the hard part of the corn from the pad, but everyone who has ever had this done to one of their corn dogs will tell you that they come back nine times out of ten. So, there's not a lot treatment options available to our corn dogs.

In October, the corn on Seka's "lucky foot" (the one with three toes) fell off while coursing. I figured it would come back, but (knock on wood) it hasn't reared its ugly head yet. I attribute the switch to feeding raw to keeping this corn at bay. The way I look at it - no binders and fillers in her food, mean nothing for the virus to bind to in her body.

But the corn on her good foot kept getting bigger and bigger, and last week it mostly fell off. Usually when the corn gets so big that it falls off it offers her a few weeks of comfort, but not this time. In fact, she steadily got worse and even stopped using her foot all together on the carpet on Tuesday. So I called Dr. Hottie's office and worked ourselves into their schedule at 10a that morning to get Seka some pain meds to help her through the holidays.

Now, Dr. Westmoreland and I had discussed using his laser to remove the corns on Seka's feet, but I kept putting the procedure off due to our coursing schedule and the potential price tag (anything with the term laser in it has to be expensive, right?). Using a laser allows the vet to take off more of the infected tissue than an old fashioned surgical tool would and hopefully get low enough to completely get rid of the virus so the corn doesn't grow back.

As we hopped into the vet's office on three legs at 10a I kicked myself that I hadn't done something about this stupid corn earlier. But after the vet took a good look at her and made sure it wasn't any other kind of soft tissue injury, Dr. Westmoreland had Seka's toe numbed up, and his trusty laser aimed at the offending corn, blasting away like he was playing Space Invaders. Seka is pictured above, happy and relieved after he was all done. Her corn-less toe below, post-procedure.

As we walked out of the vet's office at 10:45a to pay our bill of a mere $110 (the procedure was only $35, the rest was meds, numbing and exam fee), I almost cried looking at my dog who was standing firmly on all four legs for the first time in at least two years. We go back in two weeks for a recheck to be sure the spot is not growing back as a corn. Fingers crossed that Seka will no longer be a corn dog, at least for a few months.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Cookie Monsters

When I was little, ok up until the age of about 10, when my family went out to dinner, my parents had to monitor how much sweet tea (the table wine of the South) I would drink prior to eating my meal. Why? Well, I had a tendency to drink so much tea without anything in my stomach that it would make me puke, which would quickly put an end to our family dinner out, usually before it actually started. I just couldn't help myself - it was too good to stop, no matter how sick I felt.

I think today many of the 31 greyhounds who attended our first ever Howl-a-day Cookie/Treat Exchange might be able to relate to my childhood habit. Greyhounds of every shape and color were treated to an afternoon of fellowship and festivities at the Five Seasons Brewery beer garden. Many were decked out in their holiday finest. There were of course the traditional reindeer antlers, as we all know greyhounds make the perfect substitute to pull Santa's sleigh, well - as long as they can wear coats. Seka even trotted out her antlers, but refused to let me take her photo.

There were Santa hats and even a full Santa's Little Helper costume, with a boa collar and beard. I saw a few elf hats with pointy ears, made especially for those greyhounds who don't have the type that stick up by themselves. But I think everyone in attendance agreed that the camel costumes took the cake. Who would have thought that greyhounds would make fantastic camels? Fawn colored ones sure do, especially when you put dangly tassles around their ears. These guys were the camels for the three wise men in their church nativity last weekend. Oh, and that's Dr. Spock sporting that costume - his ears naturally do that all the time, so it was perfect for his camel head dress (no greyhound ears were injured in the wearing of this costume).

But of course we were there for the cookies. Everyone enjoyed exchanging a sampling of our favorite homemade dog treats, along with the recipes. My girls loved Luke's Mackerel Smackerels. I mean, who doesn't love a good ol' fashioned fish cookie? Click here if you would like our recipes for Roxy's Gingerbread Bones and Seka's Kissable Garlic & Cheese Balls. It's our holiday gift to you!

Seka totally enjoyed herself. She just layed on her bed and requested that her treats be placed next to her face for consumption. Roxy, on the other hand, was too nervous about the roof falling in on her to appreciate what was going on. In fact, at one point the poor thing was shaking and drooling so bad that she crawled in my lap and just shook like leaf for about 15 minutes. This was her first outing to a greyhound event that was held indoors. We need to do a lot more work with her at places like Pet Smart before we do another indoor group event again (insert cry to Jen for help here).

The loot the girls came home with looks more like a trick-or-treat bag instead of Christmas candy. And if left to their own devices, they would still be eating out of the basket right now. But just like me, they've had to learn that a little goes a long way when it comes to some things that you like - or at least if you do have to get up from the table and puke don't tell your parents or you'll have to leave the Western Sizzlin' without going to the soft serve ice cream bar.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008


If you told some people that you were driving/flying across country to meet a complete stranger that you simply chat with online, they would think you're crazy and then take down all of the information about where you are meeting, when you'll be there and when you should be home (well, if they like you they do that). But people who are a part of an online community or social network really don't think much about it. In fact, they think it's cool. Even cooler if the person you are meeting lives on another continent.

So when I heard that Katy (aka: I Hate Toast) of Needle Nose fame, would be in the states for the holiday season to visit her yank family I made it a point to schedule a business meeting in Dallas so we would have a chance to meet up. Boy I'm so glad I did.

Now I've lurked on Katy's blog for well over a year before I began commenting on it. I love her writing style. I love the way her mind works. I love her sense of humor and the way she looks at her dogs. She cracks me up. But you always wonder if that person behind the computer is the same in person. The great part is, Katy is even better in person.

We had a great dinner of baby-sized burritos (minus the appendages) and compared notes about our greyhound groups, showed pics of our dogs, and already started making plans about an east coast tour of greyhound dogs, er "cousins" the next time she is in the states. So, all of you east coast bloggers, we'll have to start planning for Katy's next visit and have some sort of gathering. I'm thinking we should peer pressure the Virginia bloggers to host since Trina and Gyeong are always showing off those fabulous greyhound parties they are having :)

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Tonight's Top 10

The nightly David Letterman "Top 10 List" bit never gets old to me. Some nights it's funner than others, of course. But it's always entertaining to see how he delivers the content. Whether he simply sits behind his desk and reads it from a card "old school style" or invites a guest to read the list for him, its his signature piece and not an easy thing to come up with every night of the week.

I ought to know. I tried my hand at making my own Top 10 list on this really cool networking site called DemoListic. This site allows people to create all sorts of lists - Top 10 Most Boring Things Ever, The Worst Taste in Music, Best Cat Postings on Craigslist. Then as a member of DemoListic, you can create your own list on the same topic and the system then creates a consensus list. If you don't want to create your own list, that's fine - you can just make snippy comments about what others have ranked instead.

Be warned - you will get sucked into the vortex. There is plenty to look at on there. Some stuff great. Other stuff, not so great. But it's a lot of fun and a great way to waste time! So, why not start with the first greyhound list on DemoListic! Let's debate the Best Greyhound Color to Own!

While our topic may not end up on Dave tonight, we can entertain ourselves and be famous in our own minds. Just imagine Paul chiming in as you write your comments.

Monday, December 1, 2008

The Curse of the Orvis Dog Beds

Have you ever been shopping and seen someone wearing something that they are selling in the mall and you think to yourself - "wow, that looks really awesome!" You don't really pay much attention to the fact that the person wearing it is 10 years younger and 20 lbs thinner than you are. Those, let's say, leather pants, must be found and must be had.

Well, you look around for those leather pants. You may even take the time to try them on. While you study yourself in the mirror in the dressing room, you say under your breath, "damn, I look good." Just forget the fact that all department store mirrors are really fun house mirrors in disguise. Those pants make you look hot.

You get home, put the pants in the closet, all tucked away, ready for your big night out on Friday. Friday night gets here, and it's finally time for you to slip into that sexy number. When you take a look in your own mirror what's staring back at you resembles a teenage wannabe, who's thighs look more like her mother's than Gisele Bundchen's in those hideous excuse for a pair of trousers.

I've bought my share of "leather pants" during my shopping tenure. And sometimes they have nothing to do with clothing. The latest such purchase was a pair of Orvis dog beds for my girls that I bought just two weeks ago. These beds have little foam beads inside as stuffing instead of normal polyfiber stuffing, which offers little support for their bony bums. My girls have tested out beds just like these at Patti's house and seemed to enjoy them while we were there. They even raced the other dogs to see who would get to the bed first. In my head, they had thoroughly tried them on for size and seemed to be pleased with what they found.

So when the beds arrived, I was disappointed in the girls' reaction to their new snuggle beds as I placed them on the floor for them to break them in. Not only did they not immediately run to them, dig and nest on them until they were perfect and then plop down on them for a nap - they wouldn't go near them. In fact, they wouldn't touch them with a ten foot pole.

I e-mailed Patti and asked what I should do. She told me to take out some of the beads inside of the beds so they would be a little less firm and that should remedy the problem. After unintentionally spreading some Christmas cheer throughout my house with little white foam beads (stupid static electricity) I successfully deflated one of the beds and found that the second bed was actually damaged (that one was returned to Orvis the next day with no problem). Still no interest from either of my two princesses after all that work.

I then decided that maybe they didn't like the way the cover smells and that maybe they would like it better if it smelled more like me. After all, they covet sleeping between me and Kev every night. So, I spent the entire day using the bed as my personal bean bag. I'm sure we were quite the site: me, sitting on a dog bed, laptop and spreadsheets all around me in the floor, while there are two hounds sleeping peacefully on the sofa behind me. Not really the commercial Orvis would want for their dog bed, I'm sure.

Now worries - the next day my sister and her two dogs would arrive for Thanksgiving. I thought for sure that her two pups would claim the new dog bed as theirs, which would cause Seka to become a giant cranky pants about it and then take sudden interest in the evil Orvis bed. So much for that plan. Both visiting dogs would rather lay on the hardwood floor in the kitchen than on that bed.

So the slightly deflated Orvis bed continues to lay dog-less in our living room floor. I've thought of a few solutions that could help with this dog bed of doom dilemma. I believe it is the sound that the bed makes that freaks them out so much and has them avoiding it at all costs. So, I wonder if I add some polyfil stuffing in with the beads to cut down on the rattling if it would help? I even thought about shredding up some of Kev's old underwear that are in the rag pile and put them in the stuffing, since that would kill two birds with one stone. The cats seem to like it as is, but that doesn't satisfy me. I've posted a poll to get your feedback on this topic since I'm really at my wit's end on this subject.

At this point, sending the darn thing back isn't an option in my book. I'm the kind of girl that even when the outfit looks like a mistake in the mirror just before you leave the house, I stick with the decision I made and let the chips fall where they may. That's why I rocked a pair of black leather pants and a purple sweater with black fur trim in Vegas just six years ago.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Fad Diets

Think about the last time you were in a school cafeteria. As you looked around at the tables riddled with milk cartons, wadded up napkins and plates of cold food, you might have noticed a group of boys all gathered around their leftovers concocting a nasty mix of butter beans, pizza, burnt french fries, salsa, and mayo and looking for someone to eat it. I refer to these kids as the mad scientists and their only goal is to create the nastiest pile of goo out of whatever was served for lunch that day. If you happened to miss them the last time you visited a elementary-, middle school- or high school-aged child, be thankful.

I couldn't help but think about these mad scientists as I was making the final preparations for my girls' big diet switch this week. Yes, I've come to the dark side and today we officially moved to a BARF/Raw diet. For my non-hound readers, this diet consists of feeding the girls 50% raw meaty bones (chicken backs, chicken necks, turkey necks, beef ribs, etc.), 20% raw muscle meat (pretty much any meat that doesn't have a bone in it and beef heart is considered muscle for some reason), 20% veggie mix, and 10% raw organs (liver, green tripe, etc.).

So, why in the world would I do this? Isn't kibble easier? (yes, especially when I feed them at 5:30 am) Isn't this expensive? (not compared to the premium kibble I feed) Aren't bones bad for dogs? (not unless they are cooked)

Really the main reason I decided to make this change was seeing the physical difference in the many dogs at coursing events who are fed raw (I would guess 90% of them are). Their coats are shiny. Their teeth are amazing. Their breath is non-offensive. Their weight is perfect. They have tons of energy. In general they are the picture of health. I could really see a big difference between what my dogs looked like and what their dogs looked like. After a lot of research and a lot of reading, I decided to take the plunge.

Right now we don't have a big freezer to hold a bunch of frozen meat for the girls, so I can't really buy in bulk, but I did purchase 35 lbs of chicken backs and necks on Sunday and spent the evening weighing and packaging them into individual portions so it would be mindless no matter who is feeding them. Some seasoned raw feeders may call me a wuss because I wore a glove to handle all that raw chicken, but I just didn't want to get it all under my nails. I don't mind touching it, just not 35 lbs of it all at once.

Then on Monday I spent time making the veggie mix, which will make up 20% of their diet. Dogs do not digest the nutrients in veggies unless they are pre-digested or broken down in some way. So in order to replicate the way a dog would eat the stomach contents of it's prey (which is how they would get these nutrients in the wild) you whip out the handy dandy food processor, pretend to be a mad scientist and mix a bunch of raw veggies together and throw the goo in the freezer. I had to take a picture of these radishes that I got to pulverize into the goo for the girls. Aren't they lovely?

Now, I hated sitting next to those mad scientist boys when I was in school. It always made me sick to my stomach to watch them mix a bunch of crap together on their plates. Heck, I hate going to those giant southern buffets that serve fried fish, spaghetti, tacos, collard greens, and ham all right next to each other. The mix of smells kind of put me over the edge. I was a tad bit concerned about how I would handle mushing up all those veggies, but I did okay until I added a bit of tuna to make it more appetizing for the girls. That almost made me lose it. I think I made enough for at least a month, so the next time out maybe they will like the veggie goo without the fishy smell.

The girls thought mom hung the moon as I went to the fridge at 5:30 am to serve breakfast. They handled their chicken back meal easily. It took them about 5 to 7 minutes to finish and they have been satisfied all day so far, something I was a bit concerned about. Also, no upset tummies. This is the first day of a lifestyle change and not a fad diet.

Maybe my mastering of the veggie goo will allow me an honorary membership into the mad scientists club. While I won't sit with them at their lunch table, I'm thinking my stomach may be more iron-clad after a few more weeks of feeding raw meat and organs. Then again, let's revisit this if I ever get the nerve to serve up a plate of green tripe.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Sweet Dreams

I was eight years old when the movie Gremlins was released. For weeks prior to the opening night of the movie I cuddled with my fluffy Gizmo at bedtime and enjoyed my books on record (which came in my Hardee's kids meals) on my Fisher Price record player. I couldn't wait to see this film. Well, 1984 suddenly became the year of sleepless nights for my family thanks to my night terrors which ensued after seeing this horror movie which was so keenly marketed to children. To this day I cannot watch this film without having a bad dream.

It got me thinking the other night about my girl's dreams. If your greyhounds are like mine, they are vocal dreamers. When they are dreaming there are little yips and barks that creep out of their bared teeth. Their ears flick up and down. Their legs twitch. Their tails wag. Their eyes roll around inside their heads (See Seka's demon look to the right). Upon occasion, their dreams have awaken me from a dead sleep.

I always assumed that my pups had only good dreams. That all those dreamy barks came from their visions of chasing bunnies through fields of clover on a sunny day. I suddenly realize that this may not be the case. Seka could easily be dreaming of me trimming her toenails. Roxy could be reliving whatever it was that makes her do that submissive thing she does. I can only hope that all the wonderful and fun things that I do with my girls day in and day out provide more good dreams than bad.

The first step in having sweet dreams is being warm and snuggly. Most of the time, Seka sleeps bed with us. But Roxy sleeps on her bed in the floor and we keep it a bit cool in our house. I ordered little miss skinny mini a pair of four-legged jammies from Pam at Cozy Coats and More. These arrived in the mail today and I immediately put them on our tiny girl for a fashion show. Roxy was a flash of pink as she celebrated her new found warmth with a speedy lap around the backyard. Like a little kid in a new favorite outfit, she won't let me take them off of her. Seka keeps looking at Roxy as she prances around the house with mixed emotions - a tad bit jealous and a tad bit happy that she isn't wearing them.

While Gremlins is forever banned within 500 feet of my personal space, I am going to have to assume that the girls' dreams so far have been good. There's not been any jumping up and screaming in the middle of their naps. Running into my arms in a blind fit of terror in search of protection from the imaginary creature lurking in the room. Nor have they flat out refused to go to bed in fear of what they may find behind their eyelids. Unless the bunny in their dreams turns around and begins to chase them, I think we should be okay.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

I Wana Be Sedated

Every greyhound person who has ever taken their pups out in public has heard crazy comments - and usually it's directed toward their dog.

There are the classic comments including, "What a beautiful great dane?" and "I've only seen gray greyhounds."

The less tactful usually say to the dog itself like, "Don't they feed you enough?" - this one is obviously directed at Roxy in our family.

And who can forget my all-time favorite comment that came from a nice mountain man as we walked Seka on the Greenway Trail in Boone, NC, who plainly asked - "Is that there one of them high-speed dogs?" Why yes it is.

I thought I had heard it all when it came to comments about my greyhounds from strangers. That was until the Steeplechase at Callaway Gardens this weekend. SEGA has had a Meet n' Greet booth at the Steeplechase for several years now and this year we had 18 greyhounds in attendance. This event is a lot of fun for both humans and hounds. Food, wine, lots of people who love to love on the dogs, wine, a beautiful location, wine, incredible horses jumping hedges at incredible speeds - did I mention the wine?

I think it might have been the wine that lead to one of the most unbelievable comments about our dogs. Our SEGA tent was set up next to the Terrier Races. Yes, 30 or more Jack Russel Terriers barking, yapping, jumping, going nuts in general for about 4 hours straight and all the while our dogs are just relaxing and napping or greeting people without a sound. So as you can imagine, it was quite the juxtaposition between the two breeds.

While talking to a couple about our dogs, the woman said, as plainly as if she was asking if they had fur, "Do you guys have your dogs sedated?" I had to ask her to repeat herself, as I was afraid I misunderstood her. I mean who would think 16 people would drug up 18 dogs and bring them out in public? But she repeated her question and anxiously awaited an answer.

I almost told her that the only sedation that occurred here was for the owners, but I took the high road (don't ask me why). Maybe she just wanted to be as relaxed and carefree as our dogs. To be laying 20 feet from yippee dogs without her nerves standing on end. To nap for hours as people peek at her in a little pen. Maybe she wanted to know what we sedated them with so she could get some for herself. Why else would someone ask such a question? Congratulations, lady - that one will be recorded in the greyhound book of stupid questions!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Dog-tor Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

The story of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde was never really one of my favorites and the reason is a silly one - I could never remember which one was the monster and which one was the good guy. I remember making myself a little reminder note on my bookmark as to which one was which so I could refer back to it when necessary. Even as I write this I'm not really sure I remember correctly.

This weekend was the ASFA Greyhound National Specialty in Moreland, GA. This was a big deal in the coursing community and it was exciting to see more than 30 greyhounds, some from as far away as Colorado, out in an open field, running their hearts out, on a glorious fall day in Georgia.

Leading up to the Specialty, I really didn't plan on running Seka. She was gimpy after running in the backyard and didn't seem to be getting much better. I really hadn't been walking her like I should to build her endurance due to her injury, which could only lead to more injuries or just an embarrassing fat dog on the coursing field. But I decided to take her to Dr. Hottie on Thursday for a few x-rays on the leg that she seemed a bit gimpy on. Once we had the all clear, there was no going back. I can't take Seka to a coursing field and not let her run. She might eat the ex-pen.

That's where Mr. Hyde (I think he's the bad one) comes into play. Lures are just white plastic trash bags tied on a line. Nothing special. No special rabbit scent sprayed on them. No squirrel tails tied to the bags. No special sound for the dog to follow. Just three plain white Hefty bags all tied a few feet apart. So why do white plastic garbage bags flip the switch in so many sighthound brains and turn them into some maniacal, crazy killer who will do anything for a taste of some plastic?

Some say it's the sound that the lure motor makes. It's high pitched to our ears, so it must have some sort of higher frequency to the dogs. Maybe so. But during the group picture on Saturday morning, I accidentally let go of Seka's leash for .1 seconds and she ran over to the non-moving, plastic bag, showing all of her competitors what she planned to do when she caught that "bunny" and embarrassing her mother at the same time. Thank goodness the loose dog fines weren't assessed until the lure was officially in motion or else that stunt would have cost us more than just my pride!

The funny thing is, while Seka is getting all wrapped and preparing to run she is in Dr. Jekyll mode. She lays down on her side and allows me to wrap her legs and pads without any problems. I can touch her toes without a struggle. It's like she is in her calm happy place. When we walk up close to see the lure, she gets excited to see the others run, and her back legs begin to shake. She knows what's going to happen, but still reserves her energy. When I take her to the paddock to wait for our turn, she can hear the lure and even see it if she wanted to, but she calmly lays down. You could equate this to Dr. Jekyll singing "This is the Moment" toward the end of the first act, if you prefer your classics in a musical format.

When we get to the line for our turn to run, she's a bucking bronco. I've not figured out the best way to slip her yet (we use a special slip collar to release them to run). She likes to take a step back before she springs forward, so I've got to get in a position that allows for this, but doesn't all me to slip her too early causing us to be disqualified. This will come with practice and watching other, more experienced handlers.

So tonight, after a long weekend at the field, my second place singles champion greyhound (she tied for second among a field of six), is laying next to me on the sofa in total Dr. Jekyll mode. I wonder what she will do when I unpack the groceries tomorrow night. I better ask for paper, not plastic.

All of these awesome photos were shot by Daniel Gauss, Shot On Site Photography

Tuesday, October 21, 2008


It's been established that I'm a horrible housekeeper. Cleaning has never really been on the top of my priority list. But lately I've been on a cleaning tear. It's like I've been storing up all of the cleaning to-dos on my list and I'm now vomiting them all out in some sick bulimic cleaning binge.

Roxy likes to try and help. She enjoys cleaning up the pieces of cat food that the cats refuse to eat off of the floor. She loves to help me unpack the groceries out of the un-environmentally friendly plastic bags and rip them to shreds. She likes to lay on the warm clothes fresh out of the dryer. She's a regular Hazel on four-legs.

Like most greyhounds, Roxy has a high nesting instinct. She has scratched and clawed holes in many blankets and beds in her short eight months in our home that it is a bit astounding. It doesn't matter how short her nails are. The power of her clawing is the problem. She has to get it just right and when she gets into a zone, you have to do a lot to correct her.

So the other morning while I was working on an article for a client, I could hear Roxy upstairs on our bed. I knew what she was up to. The longer she was up there, the more damage I knew she was doing. When I called her name she appeared at the top of the stairs with that look on her face. You know that look. The, "What? I wasn't doing anything," look. I knew better, so I grabbed my camera and went to investigate.

This is how I had left my bedroom just an hour before:

This is how I found it:

The conclusion: greyhounds do not make good housekeepers.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Love & Marriage

When Kev and I got married eight years ago this month I was the first of all my girlfriends to tie the knot while Kev was the first of all of his guy friends to do the same. It seems within the last year, the rest of the stragglers have finally decided to take the plunge and we've been on a nationwide wedding tour ever since.
There was the Jewish/Catholic wedding officiated by both a priest and rabbi. There was the wedding where the bride decided to play a Shaina Twain song during the ceremony, but I don't think she or her husband realized how long a four minute song could be when all you were supposed to do was look deeply into each others eyes. Then there was the wedding where the
preacher announced to the 350 people in attendance that the couple were at the alter both "sexually pure." Nice.
But so far, no one has used their animals in their wedding. No horses. No dogs. No parrots. No
cats. No guinea pigs. Now there were a few who had some groomsmen who might have passed as some sort wild animal with their behavior, but no furry friendly attendants. It's a bit disappointing.

This past week Kev and I had two weddings to attend in one week. My little sister got married on Sunday, September 28 to a great guy, which in my husband's book equates to a true Red Sox fan. Check out the amazing pics on my cousin's blog if you're the type that love awesome
wedding photography, no matter if you know the people or not. These are the type of pics that make you want to do your wedding all over again, just so you can have your pictures redone.

Seka and Roxy came along with us; however, there were no doggy members of the wedding party. We did have a doggie visitor the morning of the wedding and he left his own gift outside the bridal room. I guess all the bagels I was feeding him didn't agree with his stomach.

Wedding number two wasn't nearly as emotional. It was in south Boston and New
England in the fall is just beautiful. The cool weather and the leaves turning can really make a girl think that she might want to live there. And then she remembers the last four Christmas vacations she spent there snowed in and -35 degree wind chill, and realizes that was just a moment of craziness. We were able to spend quality time with Kev's family, and most importantly with our niece and nephew before the wedding on Saturday.

This ceremony was for a guy Kev grew up with, who is the youngest of four boys. It was a full Catholic mass, so lots of standing and sitting, then lots of wine with dinner at the reception. It was nice to catch up with friends who we usually see once a year at the holidays.

The girls didn't make the flight to Boston. I really can't imagine flying two greyhounds. I know it happens, but I just can't think about kenneling them
and having them loaded into the cargo hold of a plane without having them heavily sedated.

For the first time ever, we boarded our girls. They usually stay with friends or family, but it was Greyfest weekend and not really a great weekend for anyone to take on two extra dogs. So, I made the drive to an all greyhound boarding facility in Canton, Ga., called Too Many Hounds Inn. It was FABULOUS. The girls had so much fun and I truly believe they needed a week to recover from all the activities they did there. I mean at what other boarding facility do you have nature walks, stuffy hoarding contests, and playing dress up every day? Just check out a few pictures Kate sent home with us. I really didn't expect to get a picture of Roxy with a beret on when I picked her up, but she was just celebrating our family's french heritage I guess! It was totally worth the four hour drive round trip.

The next weddings on the docket are scheduled for May and June of 09. One in Georgia and another in Charlotte. Seka is available if anyone needs a black and white tuxedo dog to play ring bearer. She will do anything for marshmallows, which is more than I can say for any four year old I've ever seen in a tuxedo carrying a pillow down the aisle.

Teddy Update: No one has responded to my numerous calls about Teddy. No lost dog ads in the newspaper. No frantic calls to the vet offices. No panicked calls from the animal control office. No tearful reunions in sight. In a nutshell, no one wants Teddy - well except my mom. He has stolen her heart - well, I have to admit mine too. When I go to visit, I want to just put him in my purse like Paris Hilton does and take him with us when we shopping. He had a nasty case of kennel cough that's currently being treated. Who knows where that came from? So he's still sporting that impressive set of noogies. Those will be gone in two weeks after he's all clear of his illness and his shots are all in check.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Frogger Dog

My husband claims that I must have a lost/injured animal homing device in my DNA. Maybe he's right. Somehow needy cats, kittens, puppies and dogs often find their way to me in some strange twist of fate. Sometimes they stay only for a meal or for just a dry place to rest. Other times they are here until they need a forever home. One time we had 11 cats in our house! It was a bit overwhelming to say the least, but a lot of fun with all the babies running around.

I guess my homing device was turned up in high gear on Monday morning as my mother and I drove home from Boone, NC after a very long weekend of wedding festivities. While driving down highway 221 south, my mother spotted a little white, fluffy dog attempting to cross the five lane highway as numerous logging and transfer trucks whizzed by. The little pup made it across the right lane and I had enough time to slam on my breaks as he darted out in front of my car before heading to the safety of the turn lane.

Now, there wasn't much a decision to be made here if you ask me. It was just a reflex, I guess. I just opened my car door, put the car in park, jumped out, called the little guy to me, and swiftly put him in my lap. I just looked at this scared little puff ball and said - "well, little one, you're headed to Georgia."

Did I mention Seka and Roxy were in the back seat of the Honda when I brought the white fluffy thing into the car? They were perfect ladies, only sniffing the little man a couple of times and then totally ignoring his lap bouncing for the next 5 hours.

Teddy - well, that's what I'm calling him, is a blond, mini pomarnian, who is approximately 5 years old based on his dental inspection by our vet. He's not neutered, weighs 6 lbs, and he didn't have any identification on him (no collar, microchip, wallet, passport, etc.) at the time of his very dangerous game of frogger. He doesn't have fleas and he has been groomed with a lion cut within the last 6 weeks. He LOVES to be held like a baby and prefers to sleep on his back. He doesn't play with my mom's dogs like I thought he might. Instead, he prefers to just hang back on a lap and cuddle. In a word, he's a LOVE.

So, there is no doubt in my mind that he is someone's lapdog and someone is missing him. I spent all morning yesterday calling every vet, dog groomer and animal control office in Marion, NC giving them my information and a description of Teddy so if anyone called looking for their pup giving a similar description, they could pass along my info. But so far, no one has reported a dog of Teddy's description missing and no one has called me about him. It makes me sad for him.

There's no worries about Teddy finding a good home. We already have 3 people interested in adopting him. I think both my mom and I will have a hard time giving him up. He's such a heartbreaker. Maybe we should have called him Elvis or Brad Pitt instead.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Word Inspiration

I look for inspiration for my writing in the little things. Most of the time it's there in front of me. Other times I have to go looking for it. Tonight I was catching up on my blog reading after being gone for a few days for my sister's wedding (more to come on this subject later), and I saw this awesome tool Amy found and posted on her blog. I had to try it out myself. What you see are the results of my first Wordle. I can see myself using this as a tool for inspiration in the future. Try Wordle. You'll like it.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Intestinal Fortitude

My Junior year in college I went on a cruise with 11 other girls to the Bahamas. It was a five-day, four-night cruise, full of the typical cruise-like behavior: drinking, over eating, drinking, sunbathing, drinking, flirting with boys, drinking, drinking and more drinking. You find out a lot about each other living in close quarters, even if it is just for a few days. One of the girls, Sharon*, who eagerly partook in the festive behavior throughout the week refused to go to go "number two" all week while we shared a bathroom. She called it "poop fear." I called it impressively painful.

I realized this weekend, as we walked the girls among hundreds of visitors to the Ocmulgee National Monument for the Ocmulgee Indian Celebration, Roxy may have the same poop fear that Sharon suffered from. In a dog, I think this is an admirable quality. It doesn't force me to walk around with a smelly bag, looking for a trash can. She politely holds it until we get home. When we travel, it's not an issue. She potties on a leash perfectly. But she has a sixth sense of knowing that there are 1000 people around watching her every move and she prefers to be more lady like.

And boy, were they watching our every move. The fall weather (anything under 85 degrees is considered fall in Georgia) had everyone outside, looking for something to do, so the festival was very crowded. Seka and Roxy were pretty much the only dogs there, and certainly the largest. We walked among the vendors, carefully keeping their noses and mouths away from the beautiful fur pelts that were on display. We really couldn't go more than about four or five steps without someone asking to pet them and as proud parents, we were certainly happy to show them off.

There were beautiful costumes, horses covered in tribal war paint, lovely beaded jewelry and amazing pottery on display. I guess I didn't think about the other Native American-oriented things that would be a part of the day, like drums and black power rifles, both of which were present and both of which almost ruined Roxy's day right from the start. But she pulled it together and was a big girl. Treats help calm your nerves when the thunder gods are chasing you.

Both girls enjoyed all the attention they received. Seka stood quietly and received her petting in true greyhound fashion. Roxy was a bit over stimulated at first. Even while sitting to receive her love, she whined a little. She got used to all the strangers loving on her pretty quickly, and after a little while she started seeking out love herself. I'm telling you, the girl's got a sixth sense. She could tell who was going to bend down and give her attention just by looking at them. She would suddenly sit down and wait for the approaching person, who I wasn't even looking at, to come up and ask me to pet her. It was really funny.

Seka proved that she does not suffer from poop fear. We couldn't even get out of the car before she was marking on everything. However, she did hold her poop until we got to the burial mound, so she could show everyone just how big and gross it could be. I've threatened her with getting a vest that has pockets on it to make her hold her own poop bags until we can find a trash can, but I don't think they make them with pockets big enough.

To end the day on a sweet note, we took the girls for an ice cream. They were so tired, they barely made it out of the car, but as soon as they got a whiff of the waffle cones, they got their second wind.

Maybe it was the four hours we spent out in the sun. Maybe it was lactose intolerance. Or maybe it was just the fact she was in the comfort of her own back yard, but as soon as we made it home, Roxy's display intestinal fortitude was over. It reminded me of Sharon when we stepped off the plane in Atlanta and she went running, no sprinting, to the ladies restroom. So much for her no public pooping rule.

*names have been changed to protect the constipated.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Ode to Opposable Thumbs

Oh, the appendages I dream of.
Flexible falanges of fate.
The key to unlock the secrets of the cookie jar.
My glass no longer able to hold hostage the bottom-dwellers.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Swamp Things

I've become obsessed with Stephenie Meyer's Twilight series. I liken my new found love to that of the excitement everyone else seemed to have for Harry Potter - a fever of which I never caught. I couldn't understand why the world was so crazed about some boy sorcerer. But the story of an 18 year old girl who falls in love with a vegan vampire while maintaining her relationship with her best friend who just happens to be a werewolf, now that's intriguing.

I've never read a fantasy book until this four-book series, but I can't but them down. Like reading under the covers until 2 a.m., can't put them down. Who cares that these books were originally written for teenagers? I've totally created my Team Edward shirt and I will be wearing it at midnight on November 21 when the movie opens alongside all the other adult women who love this book as much as I do. Oh - I've also discovered a few great podcasts as well. OK, obsessed is a bit of an understatement.

Maybe my girls realized my sudden fondness for monsters. After all, they are the ones most annoyed by my late night under-the-cover reading (Kev's snores the whole time). We've just started back on our training regimen in preparation for fall lure coursing. I walk both girls on a 1.5, 2 or 3 mile trek every evening. The varied distance helps me to see how well their stamina is building up. We only do the short route once a week and the long one twice. Most evenings we do 2.5.

We typically walk in the evening around 7-ish. It's around 85 degrees by then. Sure it's still a sauna outside, but at least the sun isn't beating down on you. I got the bright idea on Saturday morning to take the girls out at 9 a.m. It wasn't all that hot out and somewhat overcast. What I didn't plan for the weather phenomena where the sun rises as the day gets goes on, burning off the clouds, and increasing the temperature ten-fold. So here we are, 2 miles in, GBD is about to croak from heat stroke (drooling really isn't her best look), we've slowed to a snail's pace and I'm wondering how many phone calls to the house it's going to take to get Kev to wake up and come and get us in the car.

And then the girls uncharacteristically pull me to their sanctuary - our neighborhood pond. It's rather large, but my two girls ran toward it like they had been swimming in it for years. We found a somewhat safe edge for them to wade into - Seka just gets in enough to lay down, while Roxy walks in all the way up to her chest instead of laying down in the water. After a 10 minute soak, they emerged covered in pollen, muck, dirt, algae, and who knows what else. Needless to say we went straight home, being chased by a swarm of bloodsucking mosquitoes the whole way (half a mile or so), so the girls could get a good rinse off with the garden hose.

Now on every walk my two swamp monsters want to take a dip, no matter the temperature. I remind them that the swamp is there only for emergencies and maybe for their Halloween costumes if they want to go as the Swamp Thing. However, I think they both would make really cute vampires.