Traveling Dog Lady: January 2015

Saturday, January 31, 2015

52 Week Snapshot Challenge, Week 5: Winter #52Shapshots #PBSG

52 Snapshots of Life, week 5
This week's challenge topic for the 52 Week Snapshot Challenge (hosted by The Lazy Pit Bull), is WINTER.  Well, living here in Massachusetts, the subject matter for photos this week was a no-brainer!  Winter Storm Juno unloaded 34 inches of snow in our back yard.  We even closed our office last Tuesday -- something we have only done a couple of times in the three decades we've been operating from our barn up on the main road.  It's not stopping there:  today we have dangerously low temperatures and howling wind, Monday there is expected to be another foot of white, fluffy stuff!

Just five of the EIGHT Subarus driven by me and my co-workers, in the driveway at our office.  Mine
is the black one, 2nd from left, with all the dog magnets on the tailgate.
Note reflection of humongous snowbank in barn window.  We love our 1850s farmhouse and barn!

Ho-hum, I've seen it before... this is still "nothing" compared to the Blizzard of 1978.  And when I say that, boy, do I sound OLD! I was a senior in high school when the '78 blizzard happened, and I always remember thinking "Some day, when I'm OLD, I'll be telling people about this."  Well, here I am.  Sigh.

I took so many photos this week, and already posted many on social media, but here is my selection of faves from the Blizzard of 2015.

This one makes me laugh every time!  Cooper's head bobbing out of the snow, like a seal at the ocean!

The shoveled "tunnel" is higher than Hobie
Good grief, Charlie Brown!  Are you eating snow?

Glad for the soft, fluffy snow... otherwise, they'd be able to just walk right over the fence.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

52 Week Snapshot Challenge, Week 4: Dream #52Shapshots #PBSG

Here we are on week number four of 52 Snapshots of Life, a weekly photo challenge hosted by The Lazy Put Bull.  Already?!  Week four!!

This week's photo topic is DREAM and I happened to have noticed this was coming up a couple weeks ago, so I took some photos of Hobie sleeping while I had the chance.  He's so old and hearing-impaired now, that when he sleeps, he is practically comatose.  It can be quite disconcerting, and I find myself checking to be sure he is breathing quite often these days.  He also falls asleep with his eyes open, which is kinda creepy.  Sometimes, I'll find him with his tongue hanging all the way out of his mouth, sound, sound asleep, as if he is on anesthesia, or something.  Ah, I just love the ol' guy. During this photo shoot, he didn't even know I was there, taking pictures of him.  I hope my readers and followers enjoy the photo gallery this week for....


I cut his nails later on that same day!  Horrified!!  lol

Sound asleep, with one eye open.

Bonus pic!!  The pack, sound asleep! 

Monday, January 19, 2015

5 Tips for Surviving January Thaw With Your Pets

Wouldn't you know it?  After a week-long deep-freeze (the opposite of a heat wave!), we entered into January Thaw yesterday here in Massachusetts.... and then came the rain!!  

Last night, it poured buckets of rain.  The entryway to Hobie's new "apartment" became flooded, so instead of stepping on a sheet of ice or snow when he takes his first step outdoors, it was ankle-deep water.  Ankle-deep for a human, I might add, so he was submerged up to his legs!  I took the snowshovel and made a lame attempt to "bail" the water, as if we were in a sinking ship.  To no avail.  But, this morning, it had all dried up overnight, and everything is chilly again, but not a deep-freeze.  Normal winter temps today.  

This all got me thinking about January Thaw here on the lake in central Mass., home of wait-a-minute-it'll-change weather, hockey players, ice skaters, ice fishing enthusiasts, and snowmobilers.  Here are a few things folks should keep in mind for their pets during January Thaw (or early spring, which is just around the corner!):

  1. The Lake Is Not Safe.  As my brother, a retired police officer, always told us, "The lake is NEVER safe."  Well, last week, in the deep-freeze, that could have been debatable (but who wants to be out there in those temperatures?!).  But once we get into a thaw with temps in the 40s, the lake begins to thaw just like everything else.  All the snow in our yard is gone from the rain overnight.  The lake has visible patches of slushy areas.  My rule is, I never, ever, ever let my dogs out onto the lake (heeding my dear brother's advice).  Ice fishing enthusiasts have argued with me, "The ice is safe".  They can do what they want, but the dogs are staying behind the fence at home, thank you very much!  We have lived here for 30 years, and, yes, a few neighborhood dogs have fallen through the ice -- some have not survived.  You don't want to be "that guy" whose dog-falling-through-the-ice story ends up on the evening news.  Not to mention that a dog with access to the lake can easily run to the other side of the lake, those woods, those other neighborhoods, and poof!, he's GONE.  I can't count the number of unknown dogs who appear on our doorstep, having wandered across from the other side of the lake in winter.  Are you going to run across the lake, into the woods on the other side to try to catch him?  Probably.  Don't get yourself, or your dog into that situation.**
    You mean, if it was frozen, I could go over THERE?!
  2. Ice, Mud, Salt, Sand...and Poop.  That oasis you call a back yard has turned into Poop Soup!  All has been revealed!  And you thought you were doing such a good job cleaning up after your pooches.  It must have been the holidays... the task got away from you... yeah, that's it.  You let your senior dog out to do his business and he has all of these things to contend with.  He slips on the ice, or mud (or both) and down he goes.  Your cat gets salt crystals on her foot and starts twerking trying to shake it off.  Your young, enthusiastic hound drags gobs of sand into the house, and your three-legger hops into the house and plants single footprints of mud all over the brand-new carpet.  What's a mother to do?!  
    My new hobby? Stamping!! all over the floors!
  3. Loosened Fences and Wobbly Gate Latches.   When temps rise, after being so low, fencing material can buckle, shift, or even collapse.  Walk around your yard and check all gates to be sure the latches are still holding securely.  One lunge onto a fence at a passing dog or car and whomp! an entire section of fence can fall over.  Think I'm exaggerating?  It has happened to us!  Inspect all sections of fence for stability.  If a section feels wobbly, keep an eye on it, or twist a bungee cord onto that section to hold it up until spring.  Full-on repairs may not hold because of continual weather changes (especially around here!), so unless it's crucial, try not to repair or replace until spring when the ground is more stable.
    Note loose wire at bottom of fence.  Photo from last spring.
  4. Cold little paws! After being cooped up for so many weeks, it seems like a grand idea to take the dogs for a walk, right?  Keep in mind that roads and sidewalks can still be slippery, with either mud or ice, and sand or salt-covered roads are a real concern.  Use doggie mittens or shoes for your pup if you absolutely have to take that walk.  (And don't forget to wear shoes with good traction, yourself.) If you don't have paw coverings, be sure to wash off Rover's paw pads with a paper towel soaked in warm water when you get home.  Ahhhh, it will feel just like a spa treatment!
    I could just stay out here all day, I love it so much.  Cold paws?  Me?
  5. Bring Your Pet Indoors, Anyway.  If your cats are like mine, they can't wait to go outdoors, and are usually climbing the walls, swinging from curtains, and tearing up toilet paper rolls in an effort to be thrown out!  While a January Thaw can seem inviting for them, it's still chilly out there, especially at night.  Don't let your outdoor-loving pets stay outside too long.  Even if they seem to be enjoying themselves, they can get chilled quickly.  [Our cats do have a safe place to retreat to in the event they refuse to come in... it's a small cubbyhole in the roof rafters of the guest cottage on our property (pictured above). Just the right size for the kitties, and they glean the heat from the cottage!]  It's always nicer to have them snuggled on your lap by the fire, no matter how much they try to tell you otherwise.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         **how come cats know enough NOT to walk out onto the lake?!

This post is part of the "Keeping Your Pets Warm" Collaborative Event hosted by Felissa, Davinia and Indiana at Two Little Cavaliers! We hope that you will drop by and visit all of the other posts participating in this event. The linky will be open through Friday 1/23/15 in case anyone else would like to join us. Please only link up a post if it focuses on Keeping Pets Warm. Your post can be tips, tricks, ideas, DIY projects, Crafts, or anything that will help pets or feral animals stay warm during this really cold winter!

Saturday, January 17, 2015

52 Week Snapshot Challenge, Week 3: Joyful #52Shapshots #PBSG

This week's theme for 52 Snapshots of Life, a weekly photo challenge hosted by The Lazy Pit Bull, is "Joyful".

Our house isn't exactly joyful, it's more like stressful!  I'm just JOKING!!  I'm kidding!!  Here are our furkids expressing their joyfulness.

l-r Cali, Newman, Cooper and Hobie find it JOYFUL to hang out with Mom while she works and sips her morning coffee.

Charlie Brown's favorite joyful activity is treeing Mr. Squirrel in the back yard.  No matter what the weather, he'll locate his friend Mr. Squirrel every morning, chase him up a tree, and holler about it until I go outside and congratulate him.  I think Mr. Squirrel likes the game just as much as Charlie does -- he plays every morning, too!

He's up THERE!

He's down THERE!

A-rooooooo!!  Squirrellllll!

And now, from a different perspective.

Last, but certainly not least, is our somewhat anti-social kitty, Tux.  His passion for joyfulness centers around food, food, and more food.  Secondarily, he likes to sit on the desk while I'm (trying to) work!

No, don't work!  Play with meeeeeee!

Friday, January 9, 2015

52 Week Snapshot Challenge Week 2: Music #52Snapshots #PBSG

We're taking part in the photo challenge, 52 Snapshots of Life, led by our friend Christina at The Lazy PitBull.

This week's theme is Music, and so it was super easy for me to know what I was going to photograph. My favorite musician is Tori Amos, so that part was easy.  

How to include the pets in the photo was the question.   It was a toss-up between Tux watching Tori Amos videos on my computer, or Charlie Brown watching Tori Amos on the TV with me.  I chose the latter.

YouTube video of Tori's show in Boston from 2011 -- I was sitting right near the person who filmed this video, so watching it on YouTube, on the flat screen, is very close to being there all over again.  And yeah, we had really great seats!

Charlie often watches TV.  This time with a rawhide bone in his mouth for extra oomph.

Almost like being there!

What we were really looking at - and yes, he really watches!!  He's been known to watch a whole movie with us!

Friday, January 2, 2015

52 Snapshots Challenge, Week 1: New #PGSG #52Snapshots

Blogging to you from our NEW room in a NEW year, it's me... and my faithful sidekick, Hobie, who turns 15 years old in just a couple of days!!  We're taking part in the photo challenge 52 Snapshots of Life, led by our friend Christina at The Lazy PitBull.

Over the spring and summer, I not only injured both of my shoulders carrying Hobie up and down the stairs, and also realized he was living in a 5-foot world which seemed mightily unfair.  The poor guy was using our gorgeous deck as his bathroom, and basically had no activity other than to pace around in circles between our very small living room, our not-dining room (ha ha, that's a joke), and kitchen. Everyone in the household was becoming increasingly sad about this, most especially the Hobester himself.

I was not happy living in a five-foot world :(
I hear tell that the next big thing is "Tiny Houses".  Well, lemme tell you, I am an expert at living in small spaces.  We've had a tiny house for a long time -- a few of them, actually.  A couple years ago, we had begun renovating portions of our basement because the floor was falling apart.  The further we went along, the more it became clear that the remainder of the basement just looked yucky in comparison to the new parts, and quite honestly -- we needed more space!

This is what the laundry room used to look like.
It also became increasingly clear that I was never going to sleep again unless I started living on the same level of the house as Hobie, since I had been up half the night, nightly, carrying him up and down stairs each time he had to relieve himself.  Old dogs can't hold it in like they could in their younger years, you know; and besides, I'd do anything for my dog... anything.

On October 17th, I saw (and met, and got my picture taken with) Cesar Millan "The Dog Whisperer" for the third time.  Such a thrill -- he is such a nice man and he puts on a terrific and very funny show onstage!  The next day, the room was finished and the new bed was delivered.  I carried Hobie down the stairs one last time and into our NEW room on October 18th!!

Charlie "claiming" the bed!

Ma! I like my raised bowls in my NEW apartment!

This pic is blurry, but... Look, Ma!  No stairs!!

I've been sleeping down there every night since, with Hobie, the other two dogs, and sometimes a cat or two.  Hobie once again has full access to the back yard, and we feel it has added significantly to his quality of life.  He now goes out for "walks" around the yard as often as he wants (yeah, sometimes in the middle of the night!).

As a matter of fact, I've gotta go let him out now.... he's doing the Ol' Dog Pace.

Until next week!  Happy NEW year!!