Dispatches from the Swamp – the ‘weird dog’ edition

There is no way to put this nicely – we have weird dogs. The origin of their weirdness is probably something that we have either encouraged or allowed. Another factor is that all dogs have very different personalities, which can change over time as they age.

"I am so damn cute!"

Sawyer is downright weird when it comes to eating. He won’t eat on his own. For a while we were hand-feeding him, which was just stupid, as he really wouldn’t eat then. He seems to well when he thinks other dogs are trying to get his food. He is currently in Sienna’s x-pen eating. He seems to be happy to have someone watch him.

As a puppy, Sawyer was so well behaved. Then, one day, he woke up and it all changed. He chews anything he can find. Most people can put flowers on the dining room table, not at the Swamp because Sawyer will eat them. He has chewed 3 out of 4 corners of the table. I have lost count of how many pairs of sunglasses he has chewed. I am pretty sure we are into double digits now. Basically, if you don’t want him to chew it, it has to be up high.

See, I even look weird!

On to another weird dog: Molly. Molly basically spins everywhere she goes. She spins out of the house, and down the stairs and then spins back in. You kind of have to see it to believe it. She does not walk like a normal dog. She also has these little routine she does for attention. She stretches her back legs out, one at a time. She does a downward dog pose. Sometimes she lays on her belly with her legs splayed out and she barks. She is an odd little dog.

Piper also has a dog butt fetish

I have already discussed Piper’s dislike of the morning – even when the morning is actually in the afternoon. She must be wooed out of bed gently, preferable with long belly rubs. She also goes wild when there are dogs and other animals on the TV. Our Apple TV   is photographs of all the dogs. She recognizes them as dogs and starts barking and looking for them. She looks behind the TV and she goes outside to check too. She watches TV and is actually able to discern the animals on the screen.

"Don't I look goofy!"

Check back in a bit for the other 3 members of the Swamp’s Canine Family!

Dispatches from the Swamp – the ‘grief edition’

  • It has been quiet here. Things are very different without Madison’s presence. She was the matriarch of our dog family. Almost all of the dogs had a relationship with her. Piper and Sawyer were like her babies. She would make sure they were clean and that they behaved. Sienna loved Maddie but Madison would growl at her after a while. Molly and Clio loved to cuddle with her. Kiefer is probably the only one who didn’t have a relationship with Madison. Unlike the other dogs we have lost in the last 13 months (Mackenzie, Tucker, Gemma, Kirby), Madison died at home. The other dogs watched and seemed more able to process what had happened. This was an altogether different situation.
  • I got approval for a crap load of dental work I need. Three root canals and more crowns. After that we will look at some cosmetic work and a partial plate for the top 4 molars I am missing. At least this work will be done under conscious sedation. I really like the dentist who is going to do the work. She was able to give me freezing and I really did not find it all that bad. Normally when I am given locals for dental work I cry as a matter of course. This time I did not. I was amazed.
  • My hemoglobin is way down again. I am very tired and I really feel like I am struggling. Clearly I am having difficulty taking enough iron again. My ulcerative colitis flare has calmed down a fair bit which is good and it means I will be losing less blood.
  • Have any other Mac users noticed that Safari has been incredibly slow for the last couple of days? I thought it was just my computers until I noticed it on my work computer too. I am switching back to Google Chrome until it is fixed.
  • Oh and this post is the last for the month of November. I have successfully completed NaBloPoMo! I will finish the year out too. I may try again to do a whole year. I think I only missed 3 days in 2010.

Dispatches from the Swamp – the Zero Food Waste Edition

Molly, the Pilates Queen, has started to cough again. This is not a good thing. It is hard on her physically and it is crazy making for us. Luckily we still have some of the prescription cough medicine for her.  Hopefully, if we get right on it we can nip it in the bud.

Piper continues to amaze me as she matures. She is 5 this year and she is such a solid dog. Her toilet training is solid. She is loyal and affectionate without being needy. Many times in the day she will sit on the floor and sort of lean on my leg. It is very comforting.

We generate a lot of left overs here. I am not sure why we are incapable of cooking only what we need but it is a reality. The dogs love cooked food. In thinking about this, I realized that we share all of our food with the dogs so why can’t we they eat the leftovers? This Saturday, we decided to put everything together and cook it up. It was definitely a ‘dog’s breakfast.’ The dogs loved it. All we could hear was the slurping sounds as they sucked it up. Happy, happy dogs!

It would appear that my ulcerative colitis is starting to flare up. This is a very bad thing. I am hoping that it is just because of the stress of last week. I do see my GI in a couple of weeks. I can tell as I am having increased rumbling in my intestines and other issues that I won’t go into as it crosses into the “TMI” area.

Our drainage work is done. It seems good. We don’t seem to have so many ‘lakes’ in the yard. Once the grass grows it should be back. I am going to do some research and see if there is some kind of local grasses we can seed that will be durable in the winter with all the rain.

Dispatches from the Swamp – the Beef Stew Edition

You know it is autumn around here when I start making stew. Personally, I am not a big stew fan because I do not like all the root veggies that Deb does. I hate turnip and parsnips in particular. Plus she likes it really thick which I do not. Anyway, I do make good stew. We picked some blade roast at Hopcott as it was on sale for $3.99 a pound. Their beef is so tender, it does not seem to matter the cut. The beef is melt in your mouth good. The best part is that it is local, no antibiotics and humanely raised.

I made a video (I hate how I look on camera!) for the ‘It gets better’ campaign started by Dan Savage. The hope is that LGTB adults will make videos letting queer teens know it does get better. The purpose of the project is to talk to teens about what they are going through and letting them know there is help out there and hope for the future. Please spread the word.

Our yard is continuing to dry out. We are very hopeful about this process. Our contractor ensures us that we will have a useable lawn once he is done. We have decided not to hog fuel the yard when he is done. All of this is very hopeful!

I thought I was coming down with a cold. I had a really bad 7 or so hours and then it seemed to get better. However, my face is all broken out no doubt as a result of the virus. If you watch my video you will see what I am talking about.

I have to say that the last couple of days have been horrific pain wise. I am not sure why this is happening but I need it to end soon.

The dogs are all good. Madison has been getting a little more anxious lately. She pretty much needs to be with someone all the time. Closed gates really upset her and she takes it out on the drywall. Sawyer is continuing to mature and he is turning into a lovely little dog. Mollie is doing well. The cough medicine worked for her. Bella is also much improved. She seems to be back to her normal self. She is eating like a horse so I am hopeful she will put some weight back on and hopefully re-build her muscle mass. She is not giving Deb or Angelina any grief when they pill her. I got her some grain-free wet food as she was allergic to the other stuff.

Dispatches from the Swamp – the I am exhausted edition

I had a 2-day work thing over Friday evening and all day Saturday. It has exhausted me. I slept until noon and then I fell asleep in my chair. I guess Monday’s blood tests will tell me what is going on.

Molly’s cough is virtually gone. She is only coughing occasionally. No more than she normally does. This makes us all very happy. It is hard to watch an ancient dog cough all the time.

Bella also seems to be doing better. She goes for a re-check in a couple of weeks to make sure the medication is at the right level. Hopefully she gains back some of her muscle mass and weight. She did not have a UTI or crystals in her urine. If I have already blogged about this see above.

Dexter is on in 15 minutes. Gotta run!

Dispatches from the Swamp – ‘the give the dog narcotics’ edition

So I was off in search of statistics to buttress my pro-long gun registry position. I remember reading somewhere that of the women killed in domestic violence a high percentage of them had been killed by long guns. I found this lovely quote*: “She said access to guns is one of the top risk factors is spousal murders and 88 per cent of Canadian women are killed with a shotgun or rifle.” Clearly 88% of Canadian women are not killed with a long gun. But I digress. I am confident that weapons in a domestic violence situation spells disaster for the woman. I believe that the registry is important to not only protect women but also first responders whether they be police, fire or paramedics. These people need to know what kind of situation awaits them. I think politicians have a responsibility to make prevent disaster if they can. In typical, histrionic fashion the Harper Conservatives are making this a wedge issue. As it stands now I believe there are 2 or 3 votes in favour of keeping the registry. If it is kept it is clear that politicians will need to address its flaws and streamline registration so that it is not onerous on the part of law-abiding citizens to register their guns.

Watching DWTS this season I need to know what Jennifer Grey did to her face? Seriously? WTF? She looks nothing like her former self in Dirty Dancing.

Well the first new series has been eliminated from our DVR recordings. Mike and Molly was so completely offensive that it lasted a grand total of 3 minutes. This was too bad because I really like the actor who was playing Molly. I liked her when she was Suki in the Gilmore Girls too. This is the first time I have watched a sitcom since Roseanne. Clearly there has not been any improvement.

Me to A when she got home: “Please give Molly the narcotic cough medicine cause I can’t take it anymore.”

*Here is the link

Dispatches from the Swamp – The I feel ripped off edition

First off I will give you the pet updates. Molly is doing much, much better. She is coughing much less. We did not have to use the narcotic cough syrup. I was reluctant to use it as it could depress her breathing which would have been dangerous at her age.

Bella did so well at the vet. She is now on her medication and will have her re-check in 3 weeks. At that point we will do another blood test to see if she is on the right amount of medication. She is really coping well with being pilled too.

So now for the ripped off part. I was driving home the other day and I saw a sign for “Art in the Swamp.” I am sure they must have gotten the idea from my blog!

In other news, I have been finding the humidity completely oppressive the last week. I come downstairs after my shower and I begin to sweat. Going out to do errands is also a sweaty adventure. I am sure it will be better soon.

Next week project ‘drain the swamp’ will begin. Our engineer neighbour drained his similar lot and he has ideas for ours. We will have 2 ponds when he is done. There will be a pond at the south-east corner of the front of the lot. That will drain the water from under the house. Then there will be another pond in the middle of the backyard, close to the eastern edge of the fence line. This will drain the septic field. The back half will then just be drained into the swamp at the far back of the lot. I am hoping and praying this works.

A Small Update and Some Geek Stuff

Molly’s cough has improved significantly with non-prescription cough medicine. We are listening to a whole lot less barking seal. It is bizarre that she can make as much noise as she does when she coughs. I am glad for her that she is getting some relief. I really did not want to give her hydrocodone cough syrup as it could depress her breathing. At only 8 pounds the dose was ridiculously small and I was quite apprehensive. Maybe we won’t need it after all. At least we will have it on hand for next time and we will know what to do as soon as the coughing starts to pick up.

I am trying to transfer my iTunes library to the network. I hooked up a 1TB drive to house it. Well, I have had nothing but network headaches from the time I started this last night. I had to completely re-configure the Time Capsule. Then this morning I had to re-configure the Airport Express that I use as a network extender. It was a little bit of a shock to everyone here that the network was down for a little while. I have never had a network be so stable as the one hosted by an Apple Time Capsule or Airport Extreme. It is just always up.

I am having trouble moving the whole iTunes library because it is 224 GB. I have moved it to other hard drives before. I am thinking if it does not work this time I will have to take the hard drive off of the network, move the library and then re-connect it to the network. I don’t really want to have to do this because no doubt I will have to re-configure the network again. This is why it is always best to do these kinds of things when you are on vacation.

I am still thinking about trying to install Ubuntu on my laptop. I am a little intrigued about the idea of using all free and open source software. I am addicted to my mainstream operating systems and office-type software. Since switching to the Mac, I have moved away from MS Office but I have to say that I am a little intrigued by what it has to offer with the new version. Although I am equally choked by the fact that there is not an upgrade option. I purchased this version of Office just over a year ago and it seems pretty shoddy practice on Microsoft’s part to not offer an upgrade package.

Woo hoo! Just checked the progress of the iTunes library and we are passed the 17 MB place it kept choking. Maybe it is going to work after all!

Dispatches from the Swamp – the dry hacking cough edition

I took Molly to the vet today. She has always had a coughing issue. Sometimes it will get worse but it always resolves and goes back to a baseline level after a while. Perhaps it is because I am home this week but her coughing seems really bad. So, wanting to give her some relief I took her to the vet. At 21 she is healthy. Her coughing issue is due to a collapsing trachea. The vet also said that the more she coughs the more irritated her throat gets and the more she coughs. So we will try a hydrocodone cough syrup. Dosing is difficult because Molly weighs just under 8 pounds. We had to get a liquid because it is too hard to get a pill in sixths. Liquid medications and Molly are not a great mix. Oh and she has yeasty ears. Not bad for a 21-year old dog!

I have to say that I am completely and utterly in love with my iPad. I cannot believe how long the battery lasts. It does not seem to lose much of a charge when it is idle. Reading blogs and books is definitely a low-intensity activity. I am still playing some Plants vs Zombies. I have not found another game to replace it yet. I really enjoy having it at my finger tips whether it is to check email, read blogs, check the weather etc. It is also extremely versatile, for example, it will play my the .wav files that Shaw sends me every time we get a voice mail. I really enjoy playing Qrank in the morning to engage my competitive nature. We have a household competition going!

It has been a year since we made the big switch here. You know, the from PCs to Macs. I have to say it has been a great year in the Apple world. Both my iMac and my MacBook Pro are as zippy today as this time last year. I still have my PC knowledge and can fix them when necessary like my mother’s computer or the ones at work. However I have to say that I much prefer the Mac OS. It wasn’t until I bought a Mac for work that it really sunk in. Now every time I sit down at a PC to do something it seems to take a very long time. Plus the seamless integration with so many other Apple devices along with the superior hardware enhances the Mac experience in a way that Microsoft can only dream about.

I cannot believe how freaking cute our dogs are! See the evidence below:

Beautiful Madison at 18 - she gets more beautiful as she ages
He is so proud of his little bad self
Doing the pug slouch - she is the expert!
The adorable Miz Molly!
Very handsome
Sawyer all flaked out.

The conundrum that is our Molly

Molly when she first came

We adopted Molly from SAINTS over 3 years ago. Molly is a Pomeranian who is ancient. When she came into SAINTS she was aged at 18 years old. This is likely due to the fact that her teeth were horrible. She ended up having to all of her teeth out. She came to us a week or after this procedure. We thought she would be with us for a couple of months tops. Clearly we couldn’t have been more wrong!

Molly after we shaved her one summer because she was too hot. Not all of her hair grew back!

Molly is a force to be reckoned with. Weighing in at 7 pounds, backed up by her crazy shark attack routine*, no one bugs her. Even the 135 pound Newfoundland dog is deathly afraid of her. Molly is a hyper-vigilant dog. Being so small she has to make sure that no one steps on her – canine or human. Even the cat is like 3 times her size. She spins everywhere she goes. She spins to the right this is likely due to some strokes she had long before she came here.

Molly sleeping! She has the best belly!

Molly’s health is excellent. She has a cough, all the time. She does not have cancer or heart disease. Her cough comes and goes. Sometimes she seems to cough when she thinks she is not getting enough attention. She has been to the vet for the cough several times. One time it was kennel cough – which I could hear because her cough was wet. Other times they can’t find anything wrong with her so we have just carried on. Today we were at the vet’s with Clio and the vet explained that some of her coughing may be related to her trachea collapsing from time to time. I wonder if that is what is going on with Molly as it never gets worse.

So here is the conundrum. If we age Molly, like we normally would, on New Year’s Day then she would be 22. Which sounds way too old for a little dog. I think we should hold her steady for next year and she can be 21 again and then we will reverse age her. This way people won’t get this look of disbelief on their faces when you tell them her age. Ok, well they might until we get back to the teen years!

Molly being cheeky!

Thoughts? Comments? All welcome!

*The shark attack routine consists of Molly barking and growling at the offender, Molly will then rush out with her jaws flapping and snapping. The recipient dog backs off really quickly!