Black Acorn Dogs

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Cardinal Rules

As I type this, my right leg is slowing falling asleep due to the fact that there's an 80 pound dog curled up on it. There is, of course, nothing to be done for this until he gets up. He's awfully sweet. But it's the rule of warm furry creatures. If they're extra sweet when they sleep on your lap, you can't move them. It's a law or something.

Whoops... he got up. Nature balances itself.

Friday, December 23, 2005

Sable Magic

I really need to get a recent picture of Roxy (ferret) up. We were just looking at younger pictures of her where she was very dark. Right now, she's so light that she looks silver. It's amazing how much sable animals can change color from season to season and year to year. Aries (Bubba) gets darker and lighter between seasons, but I've never seen any change as dramatic as Roxy's.

Christmas Eve Eve

I had a nice time with the dogs today on my day off. I finished up my remaining Christmas stuff this morning, and then took Indie on my last couple errands. It was gorgeous sunny weather and I didn't even need a jacket.

Indie came with me to return some things at the vet, and then we sat outside in the plaza for a while to watch people walk by. Then we went to the woods for a brisk hike. We ran into two men with two dogs in the woods, and the smaller of the two dogs, a little grey mop dog, chased Indie! He barked at her quite a lot, but she came tearing up and barking in is face, and actually cowed him somewhat. Just goes to show size doesn't matter!

After that, Ebony and I went out to the bike trail for an hour. I threw in a bunch of heeling and fronts after realizing a week or two ago that Rally Obedience title notwithstanding, those behaviors aren't at all proofed. I've got private obedience lesson set up for a week from Monday to work on the fact that her heeling and fronts seemed to have completely fallen apart, but I've been trying to get a head start on fixing them by retraining as though for the first time. So far so good, but it's slow going. Other than that, I was wondering how Ebby would do on the bike trail after developing a bike phobia last year. Traffic was low but the beautiful weather still brought out many bikers, and Eb was very comfortable and did great.

Monday, December 19, 2005

Another picture of Ebby, Kate, and Indie from "Papa Bill"  (I think from last January or February?)Posted by Picasa

Pee Redux

One other funny note on a previous post: after my post on Friday about Ebony going to the bathroom in the backyard, my father called. He said, "Who knew when we first started using the Internet all those years ago that someday I'd be going online and reading about my daughter's dog's pee."

Heh heh.

Deer Chasing and Frozen Lakes

Both dogs got to visit PetSMART yesterday after our hike in the woods. Since the weather turned cold, Ebony has decided that she'd rather track deer than hike politely in the woods, and after one day where a deer went right across our path and she chased it out of sight, we've had to leash her for our walks. Yesterday I used a 15-foot leash instead of her regular 5 foot leash, but she pulled a lot and I don't want her to learn to pull on her collar, so after the walk we bought a harness to try. It's a regular back-hook harness, as opposed to the front-hook "no pull" harnesses we use for regular walking in the neighborhood. (The front-hook harness would be better except that on a long lead, the leash would get tangled in her feet, where the back-hook harness should make it easier to keep the leash from hitting the ground). I'm looking forward to our next walk so I can give it a try.

Inde, on the other hand, is a delight in the woods. As long as you throw his tennis ball for him, he's not going anywhere! He discovered yesterday that it's interesting when the lake freezes. Problem is, it's not nearly frozen enough to be safe to walk on, so we did have to look out for that. He wouldn't have made it anywhere deep, but I really don't want to have to go in after him.

Friday, December 16, 2005

Yay for Pee! (How often do you hear that?)

It's such a silly thing to be excited about, but Ebony has been peeing in the yard!

Normal it's very unusual for her to go to the bathroom in our own little tiny townhouse backyard, but that's a royal pain because it means she needs to be walked every single time she should be going to the bathroom. When we first get up, then after breakfast, then before I leave for work, then when I get home, then again after they eat, etc. After Kate passed, I was hoping that she'd start going out there because of the theory that she wouldn't pee over the dominant dog's pee. After it snowed last Thursday, she's been peeing out back every single day, several times a day. The snow was almost gone from the backyard when we had the slush storm two days ago. I've never been so happy to see snow. I really hope that it keeps up long enough for this to become a habit, because it makes me awfully happy.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Erica, Diane and Katie at "Papa Bill's" house circa 1999. Dad sent this photo over for us. Posted by Picasa

Exercising Their Minds

We got the dogs a "Wiggly Giggly" Ball last week, and it's been a riot to watch them play with it. It's the kind where you put treats in the middle so they roll it around to try to get the treats to drop out of the tiny hole, but it's even more funny because of the sounds it makes when it rolls around. The inside has one of those tubes like the childs toy that makes the sound "whoooooOOOP!" when you turn it one direction and "WHOOOOooop" when you turn it over. (I don't know if that's a good description, but I tried). We had to buy a second one because they both like it so much.

Unfortunately I don't trust them to leave it out during the day because Ebony will crunch up anything she gets her teeth on long enough, so they can only play with it when supervised. I really need Kong to come out with an indestructable treat ball. We had a Buster Cube that I was sure would last a while, but nope... Ebony ripped the opening right apart the first day.

Friday, December 09, 2005

Sneaky, sneaky...

Indie's a real stinker. When we're sitting downstairs, he's taken to going to the sliding glass doors to ask to go out several times a night. Now, when Kate was around, this was her job, and she really did want to out and in and out (and in and out and in and...). Indie almost never wants to go out. Mostly, he uses it as a ruse to make Ebony get up and go to the door, and then he steals whatever bone or toy she was chewing on.

I read somewhere once that "dogs never lie". Hah!

Kate and Diane, 2000 Posted by Picasa

Kate in the water, 1991 Posted by Picasa

Kate and Diane, 1990 Posted by Picasa

Katie, 1990 Posted by Picasa

Katie, 2004 Posted by Picasa

Katie after a bath, 2004 Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, December 07, 2005


Poor Indie has been snubbing his cheese-covered pills this week (vitamin + glucosamine) which was very surprising. He also was walking away from his food half-eaten. I just realized this morning that it's probably a side effect of the other medication he's on: Doxycycline (spelling)? He was diagnosed with Lymes Disease last week, and hopefully it's a fresh case and the antibiotics will kick it. I'll have to call the vet to see if we should switch him down to Clavamox. Poor puppy.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005


This is the letter I sent last week. Katie passed on Saturday, November 26.

I'm writing today with sadness to share the loss of our 15-year old lab mix, Katie. Diane and I had long hoped she'd go one day in her sleep, but after a short illness Thursday and Friday, it was apparent that we'd reached a point where we had to consider her declining quality of life, and had to make that big decision no one wants to ever have to make.

We were very lucky to get to spend some special time with Kate at the end. We all slept downstairs together on Friday night, and Saturday morning she was well enough that we took a last walk at Claude Moore Park before her appointment. The weather was chill but sunny, and her 'last meal' was deer poop that we didn't make her stop eating. She was so excited about it that she even managed one last little hop-skip. At her appointment, she went very peacefully with her head resting in my hand. We brought her body home for the afternoon so the other dogs could see her. I do think it helped them understand, especially Indie. It was more healing for me than I expected, too.

Although Diane and have have gone through the loss of other pets together over the years, we never guessed how hard Katie's passing would hit us. We've had several years where we knew we could lose her to old age at any time, and a number of times where her health was bad enough that we thought we'd reached the end of the line. I truly thought it would, but none of that foreknowledge prepared us for this grief. I won't go as far to say that it's like losing a child, because it isn't,
but we did not lose a pet; we lost a member of our family.

We've spent a lot of time this past weekend reminiscing about Katie's life. Katie always wanted to be on the go, and she went absolutely everwhere with us. Before age slowed her down, the three of us were together for long walks every day, trips to the woods on the weekends, and lots of vacations and road trips. She was happiest when she was going someplace and exploring new territory. When Diane and I met, Katie was 3, and one of the special things Diane and I used to do when we were first together was take the dogs out in the woods. Katie has been a major part of everything we've done in our life together.

We're incredibly lucky that we had Kate for as many years as we did, because we never dreamed that she'd make it to the ripe old age of 15 1/2. It was hard going at the end, but she was still getting out to the lake regularly, and she and Indie got to the W&OD Trail as recently as last Wednesday night. She had a damn good run of it, and I only hope that I can age so gracefully.


A recent shot of all three dogs out in the woods