Tuesday, January 27, 2009

A Picture Says a Thousand Words

If that's the case, what does a painting say? Well, if you're Twitter friends, it's no more than 140 characters, but those 140 characters can build meaningful relationships, like the one I've built with the very talented artist Leigh Jackson of Noisy Dog Studio.

After numerous late-night chats about our pups (she has the most adorable Boston Terriers), she asked me if she could paint Seka. Leigh had instantly fallen in love with her eyes. Who knew a greyhound's eyes could be a muse?

I think the end result really captures Seka's spirit and especially her dreamy eyes. I can't wait to get my hands on the original painting, but I'm sure she'll be happy to sell you a print if you ask her. Check out her blog and submit your dog's picture for her to paint for possible inclusion for her calendar project.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

I'm It

I stunk at freeze tag when I was in elementary school. I might have been the tallest girl in class, but I was also the clumsiest. My long legs and big feet always got in the way. What can you expect from a girl who wore a size 9 shoe in the fourth grade?

I much prefer this form of blogger tag, as Scott and Katy both tagged me for photo sharing game where we are to post the sixth picture in our sixth picture file on our computer. So according those specs and iPhoto, you are looking at a photo taken on my Palm Trio on November 7, 2006 as the GreytBlackDog snoozed the evening away with the ruler of our house, Sam - aka the Peep-a-Nator.

It really isn't shocking that the random picture had an animal in it. It shouldn't be a shock to many of you that 97% of the photos in my file have animals in them of some species.

Now, it's my turn to do the tagging.

Patti, Jen, Britt, Denise, Maria, & Zan - post the sixth photo from your sixth photo file on your computer and tell us all about it. Maybe one of you won't be as predictable as I am.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Blame It On the Dog

Cutting the cheese. Breaking wind. Blow a gasket. Let a butt burp. Cookin' some eggs. Crop dusting. Splitting the seam. Blowing a trouser trumpet. Tooting your own horn.

You know what I'm talking about.

Everyone has done it and if you have a dog, you probably blamed it on him or her if he or she was in the room.

Today, we went to Dr. Hottie today for annual check ups and any required vaccinations. This year we started a limited vaccination schedule as my research found that it isn't necessary to vaccinate your dogs every year as long as the titer levels are kept at a normal level. After discussing this with my vet, he agreed that we could go the "alternative" route with everything except Lepto and Rabies (for this year) as he has seen many cases of both in our area within the last three months and he would prefer to do these two and titer test for the rest. I agreed.

Seka went first. She stood up on the examination table like a champ, even though her leg shook the whole time. Dr. Westmoreland took a look at her corn foot and peeled off the hard scab that had formed over the surgical area. The area under it is soft and still tender, but the good news is we don't think the corn is growing back! Seka had blood taken for her snap test and her shot like a champ. No big whoop.

Roxy was up next. Now my vet picks up my girls one might pick up a goat - one arm under the belly and one arm around the chest. It makes it easier to get all four of those long legs on the exam table. As soon as Dr. Westmoreland picked up Roxy, she let one rip that was so loud that Seka hid her head in the corner behind me in embarrassment. The vet tech actually thought the vet had "let one go". The vet thought the vet tech had "dropped a bomb." And Roxy just hung her head in shame as she stood up on the exam table as the whole room exploded in laughter. Roxy isn't the silent but deadly type.

It was one time that the dog tried to blame it on the human, but unfortunately for my tiny girl, it didn't work.

Friday, January 2, 2009

The Nose Knows

Do you remember when you were in elementary school and the local fire department came to your class and taught you all about fire safety? They taught you how to do the life saving, Stop, Drop and Roll and made you practice in between the desks. Well, everyone had to do it unless you were one of the prissy girls who wore a dress to school that day (without shorts underneath), then you were excused from Stop, Drop and Roll practice and were marked for life as a person who could possibly burn to death in a fire due to your inability to Stop, Drop and Roll in a classroom. The firemen also taught you about the importance of having a working smoke detector in your home because if a fire started in the middle of the night you wouldn't be able to smell it until it was too late. It was this factoid that I learned in second grade that I instantly remembered on Monday night as I awoke to the result of one of my biggest kitchen blunders ever.

I decided that in the New Year, I would do a better job of selecting or making natural treats for my pups. Our switch to the raw diet has been awesome, so it only seems like the next reasonable step is to look for better treat options for the girls outside of their normal meals. While they will still get their mushy (marshallow) at night before bed, I'm going to lay off the grains and cookies if I can help it at all. I'm stuffing their kongs with chicken and rice soup, yogurt, and ground beef. I've stocked up on cans of pumpkin for the days I don't remember to freeze the kongs. There will be peanut butter upon occasion, but it won't be the staple in their kongs as it has been in the past. We're turning over a new leaf here in 2009 at GBD and I hope the girls don't mind too much.

So as I was planning my new healthy treat menu, I remembered that I had a food dehydrator that was stored in the closet where all random small appliances go to rest. Now seemed like a good time to rescue it and use it after all these years (eight or so). And what would be the first thing most anyone would want to dehydrate right out of the gate? Bananas? Nope, too easy. Apples? Nope, Seka hates them. How about liver? Perfect! That's exactly what we should make - dehydrated beef liver treats. I don't feel like I give the girls enough organ meat anyway, so making some liver treats would be a good way to give them a bit of what they are missing.

Off I go to Publix and get a pound of beef liver, because if you're going to go - go big, right? They only sell that stuff frozen for a reason, because it is so bloody and gross, so I had to let it thaw just a bit before I could start working with it. You would think that during that time I might have changed my mind after looking at what I had to put my hands in, but no. I start slicing and dicing and loading up the screen trays with the smelliest stuff you can imagine. Again, you would think I might have taken the hint. But no. I continue until the trays of the machine are totally loaded and I turn on the fan. I note the time - 8p. In 12 hours, my girls will have tasty liver treats.

At 4am I wake up unexpectedly. No, it wasn't a house fire, but I thought about lighting a match and setting it a blaze myself thanks to the rancid smell that was coming from my kitchen. What in the world could that be? And then I remembered - the liver treats. Well, I wasn't the only one who smelled the treats. Roxy and Seka were both at the bedroom door wanting to explore the exceptionally stinky smell downstairs for themselves, so I decided that I would escort them myself.

I came downstairs to my kitchen to find three cats, all standing around the dehydrator just waiting for the chance to taste a piece of what was inside. Even the cat that lives next door was outside of my kitchen door crying, hoping he would also get some. The two dogs were doing the cookie dance at my feet hoping to sample the stinky goodness that was roasting inside that noisy machine. All of this was going on as I was trying not to vomit and looking for something - anything - to get rid of the smell that had taken over our home.

The good news was the liver was drying like it ought to. The bad news was it still had four more hours to go. I'd come this far and I wasn't about to abandon this project now. As I went back to bed with two very disappointed pups at my feet, I wondered what I should store the finished product in. And then, it hit me like a ton of bricks. My biggest mistake in this whole stupid project. I didn't spray the trays with Pam! I fell back to sleep with visions of my dogs licking the dried liver treats off the trays themselves for the next week.

I turned off the machine at 8a the next morning after spraying down the house with OdoBan (something every pet owner must have in their home) and lighting every candle I owned. After the trays cooled, I checked the finished product. Like I had feared the liver had dried itself to the tray. Scraping had zero impact on these smelly clumps of organ meat. So, I emptied out my freezer and stuck the trays inside for awhile, as I crossed all of my fingers and toes. After spending three hours in the deep freeze, I was able to poke them out of the trays with minimal effort.

The treats aren't pretty, but the pups could care less. They do love them. They look a little like chocolate in this picture, don't they. However, the smell of all that dried liver in a bag triggers a gag reflex, so I'm not sure I can get over to make them again. Besides, I don't have a secured and sealed room that I could put my dehydrator in to keep the stench safely inside while they cooked. I've already gone out and bought sweet potatoes, bananas and apples to dehydrate this week. Maybe they won't stink up the house.

This whole experience made me realize that maybe fire fighters should change their education brochures. It probably should read - you may not smell the fire in time to wake you up, but if it is burning raw liver in your kitchen, don't worry - you will run from your house in plenty of time to make it out safely.

Stop. Drop. & Roll. - here's your liver treat.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

In With the New