Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Teaser: New Dog

001_winner_day1 (Click to enlarge)

Susan and I brought this guy home on Sunday May 6th.  Just over 5 weeks old (a little early, as it turned out, but all has worked out OK).  He is a charcoal Labrador Retriever, bred to the English standard.  Somewhat rare, from what we've learned.  A really cool little guy.

His name: Bogart.  BTW, this photo won Bogart first prize in the 5th Annual Pet Contest at Shopdexter.com (link)

More soon.

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Monday, May 09, 2005

A Little Numb... (Rest Easy, Part II)


More bad news today. Seven days after having to put my 13 year old Yellow Lab Watson to sleep, his 14 year old companion Judy went to join him today. I feel so completely empty inside right now that I don't know what to do. My friend Susan is on her way to visit and keep me company.

I could not tell whether Judy missed Watson or not. I understand the concept of the anthropomorphic fallacy, but I'd like to think that she noticed it, and did miss him. It took a little bit of adjustment for her. On Wednesday, she got sick in the afternoon, and I noticed that it looked like she had eaten a stick. Grateful that she got rid of it, I did not mind cleaning up the mess. But, when she got sick again on Sunday, and twice this morning, the warning bells went off. So, after another emergency trip to the vets, and more blood tests, kidney failure was confirmed. My vet came in to the room with tears in her eyes, and I knew what had to be done. So again, seven days after Watson, I got to sit on the floor and hold my sweet little black pup and feel her take her last breaths.

So, the house is empty now of pets, and I think it is going to stay that way for a while. Not forever, mind you, but a while. I can't help but think and hope that I did the right thing by both of them and sent them off without pain and suffering or prolonging their lives for my benefit.

Rest well puppies, and know that Dad loved you both as much as he could.

Thank you, readers out there for your kind comments and emails. They were appreciated.

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Monday, May 02, 2005

Rest Easy, Old Friend

Watson_bear(Click to enlarge)

I lost a very dear, sweet, gentle old friend this afternoon. I had to have my 13 year old yellow Lab Watson put to sleep a few hours ago. I kind of knew that it was going to happen soon, but I still was not prepared for it. He had been in for routine surgery at the vets about two weeks ago (dental cleaning and some benign lumps removed), and he didn't bounce back they way he normally does. He was off and on his food, he seemed very tired easily, and just recently he was whimpering when he got up in the morning. I'd doubled his arthritis meds two weeks ago, and it seemed to have little effect. I took him in to the vet today, and when I realized that the vet seemed agitated, that something serious was wrong. Blood work and X-rays confirmed two maladies, a pancreatic tumor and severe spinal column arthritis. She offered a course of narcotics to alleviate the pain, but I could not put him through that, as it was only a palliative, and would not fix the problem. I held him on a blanket on the floor of the office and wept as he took a last couple of breaths and his head sank to my thigh. We had been together for over ten years. He was a goofy, loud, obnoxious affection hound, often pushing my older Black Lab, Judy out of the way whenever someone was petting her. He was the alpha canine, second only to me in the pack.

Judy knows that something is wrong, but I have no idea if or how it will sink in. She is 14 years old, deaf as a post, and has been slowing down quite a bit over the last two years. I know in my head that her time is coming soon, and I will make the same decision as I did with Watson, but she seems to be as hale and hearty as an arthitic old geriatric can be. She is watching me now, and wags her tail if I glance her way. I think she will miss her pal. I know I will.

Rest easy, Watson. You were always a good boy.

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Sunday, September 26, 2004

Rest in Peace, Ozark.


I got an email from my ex-wife this morning letting me know that her dog, Ozark, had passed away in her sleep on Friday night. 'Zark was a mixed breed dog that we bought for Ellen back in 1994 when we were still married. Ellen was going through some tough times, and part of that was due to our failing marriage. Ellen wanted the companionship, and Ozark was just the ticket. I remember going to the pet store down in Maryland and seeing her for the first time in that cage. Ozark was never a tiny pup, but this black and silver furball caught Ellen's eye, and pretty much entranced her from the get-go.

Ozark was never in any way "our" dog. She belonged to Ellen. I was just kind of "there" as far as the dog was concerned. But Ozark was a pretty cool animal. Other than a pair of somewhat mangled brand-new Reeboks, we pretty much coexisted peaceably until Ellen moved out and got a place of her own.

It was good to know that Ozark passed in her sleep. Having to make the decision about when to end an aminal's life is horrible, one that I've unfortunately had to go through, and will probably have to go through soon with my two elderly Labs. Ozark must have known that decision would be very hard on Ellen, and was able to spare her that pain. Ellen has people and animal friends around her now to help her with the inevitable sadness, and for that I am grateful.

Rest well, little girl, and know that you made an incredible and fundamental difference in one person's life.

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Thursday, May 13, 2004

Mom Brings the Funny: "If dogs were teachers"...

If a dog was the teacher you would learn stuff like:

When loved ones come home, always run to greet them.

Never pass up the opportunity to go for a joyride.

Allow the experience of fresh air and the wind in your face to be pure ecstasy.

When it's in your best interest, practice obedience.

Let others know when they've invaded your territory.

Take naps.

Stretch before rising.

Run, romp, and play daily.

Thrive on attention and let people touch you.

Avoid biting when a simple growl will do.

On warm days, stop to lie on your back on the grass.

On hot days, drink lots of water and lie under a shady tree.

When you're happy, dance around and wag your entire body.

No matter how often you're scolded, don't buy into the guilt thing and pout...run right back and make friends.

Delight in the simple joy of a long walk.

Eat with gusto and enthusiasm. Stop when you have had enough.

Be loyal. Never pretend to be something you're not.

If what you want lies buried, dig until you find it.

When someone is having a bad day, be silent, sit close by and nuzzle them gently.

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Sunday, March 21, 2004

Another Dog's Diary

A good e-mail funny crossed my inbox this morning. Reminded me of the post I did a while back: The Diaries of Dogs and Cats. This one is from a slightly more literate, but still somewhat clueless canine. Enjoy.

A Dog's Diary

5:30 am: Started the day as a hero! When the sound of the newspaper hitting the driveway roused me from my deep slumber -- the impact indicating the paper was much heavier than normal -- I realized that no one in the house was yet awake! I roused my master by licking him in the face. He appeared very angry with himself for having overslept, shouting and waving his arms. His ill temper even seemed directed at me a bit, which is silly since it is I who saved him from being fired. Funny thing though: He didn't go into work, but spent the morning leafing through the large newspaper and drinking coffee. He seems to do this once a week, and I don't know why.

7:30 am: Invaders! The people who live next door came out into their yard, obviously getting ready to lay siege to our house. Snarling and barking, I let them know in no uncertain terms that I was prepared to tear them limb from limb it they came any closer, and was able to repel the invasion. This is an almost daily occurrence; you'd think they'd learn. My master added his voice to the fray as well, yelling angrily. I am sure the people couldn't hear him, but it was nice of him to lend his support.

10:00 am: I was forced to move, as the patch of sun in which I was lying had, for some reason, slid over a few feet. It's not easy being a dog.

1:00 pm: I have the most thoughtful master in the world! While it's true he left me alone in the house for several hours, he did set out a treat for me on the kitchen counter. It was even gift-wrapped, a courtesy I wish he'd skipped, since it led to me having a lot of plastic in my teeth. The roast was delicious, though frozen in the center. I don't want to seem ungrateful, but crunching through two inches of rock-hard beef is hardly my idea of a delicacy.

2:00 pm: Most unpleasant experience when my master returned home and was furious that I had not eaten the plastic wrap, which had been covering my present. He kept pointing at the small pieces of
Styrofoam and other debris and raving in a most irrational fashion. I'm sorry, but he should know that
I can't eat that stuff; it makes my stomach upset. When he began rolling up a newspaper I realized he'd lost all reason and bolted for the front door, which was fortunately open just a crack.

4:00 pm: Spent the afternoon with the girls. A most productive day; I was able to mark territory for two blocks. "Drip 'til you drop" is our motto. We had a small snack at an outdoor cafe we like, with meat scraps and bread served out of circular containers with easily displaced lids. Ran into that rogue Sebastian, who lifted his leg with irritating nonchalance -- does he think I don't know about his obsession with Muffy, that snotty schnauzer from down the road? Last month there wasn't a male in the neighborhood who couldn't be found outside her fence, and Sebastian was at the head of the pack. I let him know I want nothing more to do with him.

5:00 pm: What a treat! On the way home a flock of ravens drew my attention to a squirrel that had been flattened by an automobile. After several days in the sun, the aroma was so delicious it made my nose quiver. I rolled in the wondrous fragrance for several minutes, and when I stood up I positively radiated eau de roadkill. Let Sebastian drool over Muffy -- he doesn't know what he's missing.

6:00 pm: Of all the times to get a bath! My master, still in a foul mood, made me stand outside in the chill air while he shampooed and rinsed me several times. Every time I shook the water from my fur he, too, became drenched, and in the end he was shivering. Why in the world does he do stuff like this?

9:00 pm: Time to sleep, though I am not allowed on the bed whenever anyone's home. Ah, the life of a dog.

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Thursday, March 11, 2004

Random Drive-by Dog Photo

(Click image to enlarge)

Just a random pic of my boy Watson, caught when tinkering with my digicam and he was not paying attention. As he has gotten older, the shading in his coat, while lightening, is becoming more complex. Grey, White, pale butter yellow, and tan.

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Monday, February 23, 2004

On Dogs as Human Companions

Found via: GeekPress.

The Economist has printed a wonderfully interesting article on canine behavior: Sensitive Souls: How Dogs Became Man's Best Friend.

No one, not even cat owners would (or should) dispute that no other species on the face of the Earth has made the same sympathetic/empathetic [and copacetic :)] connection with humankind as the canine. Yes, I know I am leaning strongly towards anthropomorphizing (sp?) the relationship, but hey, I've known several dogs who were/are friendlier and more interesting characters than a lot of people I know.

Back to the point, the article reports on a study that shows evidence that dogs understand and/or interpret social cues from humans more readily than other species, including chimps, who are thought to be much smarter. The article (not necessarily the author of the study) makes the connection that because of this, man has readily adopted the dog as a live-in companion. Read the article for more info on the study.

I think this is very interesting, and from having lived most of my life with dogs as pets, I have much anecdotal evidence to support the assertion.

My two current canine pals, Judy and Watson, are very good at understanding my cues. Especially Judy, my 13 y.o. female Black Lab, who has grown considerably deaf over the last year. She can no longer interpret verbal commands (unless I yell, which is extremely rare) or even any verbal inflection, but she and I have worked out quite a set of hand cues, and other signals. She knows to come to the door when it is dark outside if I flicker the back door light. She comes when I flex both hands, retreats to the bedroom when I make a "shoo" motion with my left hand, and knows tha clapping means "Good Girl", as her whole body wags.

Watson, my 12 y.o. Yellow Lab will follow hand signals when we are outside playing fetch. If I throw the dummy and he does not see it fly, I can direct him. If it is in tall grass, he'll look to me for a "hint". He certainly understands the words "suppertime", "cookie", "walk", and "Go get a baby", which is his command to find one of his stuffed plush toys for the two of us to play with.

Not exactly the same verbal cues the researcher looked at, but they work for me.

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Thursday, February 19, 2004

Too Funny...The Diaries of Cats and Dogs

From Will's place, via IggyKatt. A little cross species humor.


8:00 a.m. Oh, boy! Dog food! My favorite!
9:30 a.m. Oh, boy! A car ride! My favorite!
9:40 a.m. Oh, boy! A walk! My favorite!
10:30 a.m. Oh, boy! Getting rubbed and petted! My favorite!
11:30 a.m. Oh, boy! Dog food! My favorite!
12:00 p.m. Oh, boy! The kids! My favorite!
1:00 p.m. Oh, boy! The yard! My favorite!
4:00 p.m. Oh, boy! To the park! My favorite!
5:00 p.m. Oh, boy! Dog food! My favorite!
5:30 p.m. Oh, boy! Pretty Mums! My favorite!
6:00 p.m. Oh, boy! Playing ball! My favorite!
6:30 p.m. Oh, boy! Watching TV with my master! My favorite!
8:30 p.m. Oh, boy! Sleeping in master's bed! My favorite!

Read on for the cat's side of the story...


Day 183 of My Captivity: My captors continue to taunt me with bizarre little dangling objects. They dine lavishly on fresh meat, while I am forced to eat dry cereal. The only thing that keeps me going is the hope of escape, and the mild satisfaction I get from ruining the occasional piece of furniture.

Tomorrow I may eat another houseplant. Today my attempt to kill my captors by weaving around their feet while they were walking almost succeeded; must try this at the top of the stairs. In an attempt to disgust these vile oppressors, I once again induced myself to vomit on their favorite chair, must try this on their bed.

Decapitated a mouse and brought them the headless body, in an attempt to make them aware of what I am capable of, and to try to strike fear into their hearts. They only cooed and condescended about what a good little cat I was. Hmmm, not working according to plan.

There was some sort of gathering of their accomplices. I was placed in solitary confinement throughout the event. However, I could hear the noise and smell the food. More importantly, I overheard that my confinement was due to my power of "allergies." Must learn what this is and how to use it to my advantage.

I am convinced the other captives are flunkies and maybe snitches. The dog is routinely released and seems more than happy to return. He is obviously a half-wit. The bird, on the other hand, has got to be an informant, and speaks with them regularly. I am certain he reports my every move. Due to his current placement in the metal room, his safety is assured. But I can feel it, it is only a matter of time.

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Thursday, January 29, 2004

Sometimes You Get the Bear...

(Click to enlarge)

...and some times you let the dog get him. My friend Sarah snapped this photo of my dog Watson "mauling" his toy bear. I couldn't resist putting this one up. Ya gotta feel sorry for the bear. Most days Watson picks him up by the arm or leg (and he reminds me of Dennis the Menace), somedays the head (and he reminds me of Cujo), and occasionally when he is a bit grumpy, the bear gets crotched (and I am never quite sure who/what he reminds me of)...

Edited to crop photo.

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