Monday, February 28, 2011

We're Moving

We've moved to our new blog, Tales and Tails, as of today.  We're doing a giveaway and hope that you come and join us there!

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Saturday, February 26, 2011

The Big Banquet

Bunny here, writing about the big banquet being held in honor of the big race that Pip and I had at the beginning of the month.

It really was a lot of fun, and I was reminded that having friends is much more important that winning anything.  A lot of our friends seemed to enjoy that message a lot and so it was decided that we'd have a banquet to celebrate the big race.   Our coaches, Puddles and Roo were also asked to sit at the table of honor with us by Frankie, too.

I have to admit, I was pretty excited about the whole big day.  I mean, really, a banquet to honor little me?  When my sisters asked to come along with me, I was glad to have them come along with me.  Perhaps I should have known better when Lilac was waiting at the back door with a suitcase.  Still, I was so excited, I didn't ponder things like that the way I should have.  Since there were four of us, I told Puddles not to worry about swinging by in her souped up red  Pinto.  Instead, we decided to travel in style and we chartered the Spirit of Peoria to take us to the banquet.

After a relaxing ride on the river we arrived and entered through the spotlight. After a rather, um, motivational speech by Pip, we were all ready to eat.  There was so much food, I couldn't believe my eyes. I decided to try a taco for the first time, and it was pretty good!

I was a bit surprised as the festivities began to find out that Lilac had brought all her green papers in hopes of getting Bono or some other rock star to get a little closer to her.  I asked Morgan to make sure that she didn't bring one of them home in our suitcase, but she seemed a little distracted.  Blueberry seemed to have ideas about slipping off to the dance floor.  I reminded her to be careful with her splint, but I think I heard her say something about how she thought it was time for it to come off.   I really hope that all my sisters manage to behave themselves at this party!

If you've written a post about the banquet and would like to add it to the list of festivities, please feel free to join in the fun!

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The Greys Of Our Lives

Some days living with four dogs can seem a little like living in a soap opera.  For the most part, our girls are very well behaved, but sometimes it seems like their lives are a lot more exciting than ours.  I'm not sure that they face more drama than we do on a day to day basis, but theirs seem to be a lot more interesting.   I can almost hear the announcer speaking in that voice that makes everything seem like a matter of life and death now.   He could certainly make people want to come back day after day to tune in.

Will Morgan be able to stay awake to perform her regular patrols?  Is that a cat lurking in the bushes or is it one of those sinister plastic bags?  Will she ever learn to just relax?  Will she retain her German Shepherd identity, or will she start to turn into a Greyhound?

How long until Blueberry gets to take off her splint?  Will she finally get to go away on a trip with the family, or will disappointment strike again?   Is there a bath in her near future when the dirty splint comes off?

Will Lilac be able to make another direct hit with poop in the slipper?  Can she come up with something even more dastardly to keep her family on their toes?  What time will she decide to wake them up at on Saturday morning?

Can sweet little Bunny ever get enough satisfaction through petting?  Will she find something else to fill the void?  What will her next big adventure be?

If your dogs starred in a soap opera, what would it be?  What would people be dying to turn in to find out about?

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Friday, February 25, 2011

Poo In Your Shoe

Tuesday nights usually find me enjoying a quiet night at home with the Greyhounds while Mr. Taleteller and Morgan are off at class.  For the most part, it's a relaxing night until the other part of our pack arrives home.  After the initial excitement of being reunited, things usually settle down again.  However, this week was a little different.

I had joked with my husband earlier that I never get foot rubs anymore, and so upon his return home, he sat on the couch beside me to better massage my feet instead of in his chair, setting off a chain reaction of events.  Firstly, Bunny was offended that he sat on our couch uninvited, by her at least, and set out to let him know that he'd better make room for the princess.  She does this by staring at him with her invisible laser beam eyes and if those fail to work, she finds a way to climb into the narrowest possible sliver of available couch space and laying down.  To keep the peace, he simply scooted over closer to me and gave her the whole cushion at the other end of the couch.  Bunny laid down, content that she'd asserted her authority.

Now I should mention that a while back, Mr. Taleteller started the habit of always taking the dogs out when he got home, whether it was turn out time or not.   I warned him that it wasn't a good idea, but he seems to think that he knows better.  Alas, I digress.  Lately, he's been rather annoyed that whenever Lilac sees him come home, she expects him to escort her outside to take car of business.  Telling him that I think he taught her that would probably be unwise.  Anyway, there was the excitement of his arrival, followed by the theft of the bed she wanted by a certain blue brindle mastermind.  Lilac was walking around the living room and  suddenly decided to drop a few turdlets into our life.  My husband jumped off the couch and grabbed a tissue, flushing the offending and stinky thing down the toilet before retiring to his own chair to catch up on his own online things.

I sat on the couch and I could have sworn that I still smelled the offending odor.  Since my spouse had already been...less than happy about the earlier herald of his arrival home, I tried to avoid saying anything.  Finally, unable to take any more, I decided to get up and look around.  That's when I saw it.  A turdlet lay nestled in my new fuzzy pink slipper.  How she managed to poop in my slipper is a mystery for the ages.  "It was a million to one shot, doc," Mr. Taleteller chortled.  I was unable to see the humor in the situation.  At least my husband carried the slipper off to the washing machine before I throttled a certain dark brindle Greyhound.

Me:  Why would you poop in my slipper?

Lilac:  You've got to poop when the spirit says "poop."

Me:  It's not funny!  Don't you have any shame?

Lilac:  Shame?  Is this another one of those complicated human emotions?  I don't trouble myself with those.

Me:  (grumbling)  You're lucky you're old!

Lilac:  It's not the party you make it out to be, but it has a few perks.

Me:  Obviously!

Lilac:   I'll just be over here taking my late evening nap if you decide to start passing out bedtime treats.

I know she didn't do it on purpose.  It's just one of those indignities of old age, and they aren't easy for the aged or those living with them.  I'm praying that it was a million to one shot that can never be repeated.  Still, just to be sure, I'll be watching TV this weekend with my slippers on.  After all the times Bunny has joked about "poo in the shoe" I never thought it could really happen to me.  Still, what can you do besides laugh about it?  Okay, I'll admit, I'd have laughed a lot harder initially if it had happened to someone else.  I'm just glad that we still have her around with us and can laugh about her antics.

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Thursday, February 24, 2011

Pearly Whites

If you're a Greyhound owner, you are probably very familiar with the need for keeping your dog's teeth clean.  Greyhounds are notorious for having bad teeth, although I've never seen a definite explanation as to why.  One of the few things that bothered me about Treat was her breath.  She had really bad teeth and we fought a lot of battles to keep them clean.  It was always really scary for me to have to take her in for a dental cleaning, even though I knew it had to be done.  I put it off as long as I could both for financial reasons and for the state of my heart, but eventually we'd have to give in and bite the bullet to take her in and have them cleaned so that the paint wouldn't peel off the walls.

Bad breath and cosmetics aren't the only reasons that dental health is important for your dog, though.  Bad teeth and gums can lead to heart disease, and if your dogs' mouth is hurting, he's not going to eat as well.  One of the few times, and the worst time, that I was ever bitten by a dog was a sweet little Greyhound who'd been returned by her adopters.  They hadn't taken care of her teeth at all and she had a horrible tooth infection.  When I touched her neck, it was so painful that she turned and bit me.  I saw her again after her treatment and she was absolutely the sweetest little lovebug imaginable.  I can't begin to imagine what kind of pain she'd been in. 

There are a lot of ways to combat tooth problems in your dog.  Daily tooth brushing helps a lot.  We were recently given Science Diet T/D for Blueberry, and while it's too expensive for me to feed four dogs for each meal, it does make a good treat and our dogs are crazy over it.  We also use CET mouthwash that we got from our vet.  When I notice some tartar buildup, I do some teeth scaling on our dogs who will let me do it. 

Another good way to keep dogs' teeth clean is to give them things to chew, either toys, bones or dental treats.  Our dogs love Greenies and if I would give them one every day, they'd eat one every day.  It's several minutes of silence here when all four of them have their Greenies because everybody is busy concentrating on their treat.

February is National Pet Dental Health Month.  The Veterinary Oral Health Council (VOHC) is a group like the ADA (American Dental Association) that is applied to pet products.  While there are a lot of products that claim to be good for your pet's dental health, not all of them are VOHC approved.  The fact that the VOHC even existed was news to me, but it's nice to know that there are people out there overseeing pet products.  They actually do research and testing to see that these products are effective in the breakdown of plaque and tartar. 

There's a campaign by Greenies and the American Animal Health Association to help fund veterinary dental services for needy pets through the Helping Pets Fund.  The fund makes a wide range of veterinary services available to pets that have been abandoned or whose families can't afford them.  We have chosen to help, and you can as well, if you are so motivated.  There are several ways that you can help and get Greenies to contribute to the Helping Pets Fund.

·         For every blog post written about VOHC, The GREENIES® Brand will donate $25 to the AAHA Helping Pet’s Fund
·         For every use of #VOHC on Twitter (either through an original post or a re-tweet), The GREENIES® Brand will donate $1 to the AAHA Helping Pet’s Fund.
·         For every new “like” of the GREENIES® Facebook fan page from February 17—March 14, The GREENIES® Brand will donate $1 to the AAHA Helping Pet’s Fund.

Whether you choose to participate in the campaign or not, I do hope that you will at least take a few minutes to think about your own pets' dental health after you read this.  Your dog may not appreciate having his or her teeth brushed, but leaving them at the vet's office to worry about them all day while they have a dental is worse.  Aside from that, fresh dog breath is a lot more pleasant to smell right before your dog plants a big sloppy kiss on you. 
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Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Searching Out Signs Of Green

Bunny here at the keyboard sharing some of our weekend's adventures with you.

We had plans to go out out hiking since the temperature had risen into the mild range.  It was great to see all that snow from Snowpacolype melting away and becoming a memory.  However, when Dad started checking some of the places we hadn't been to that were somewhat nearby, we started to see a trend.  A lot of the nearest state parks were closed due to flooding.  Darn Mother Nature for giving us this beautiful weather and then making it the very reason we couldn't go to those places.

However, we were not to be deterred.  We decided to go visit Comlara Park which is near us, but it not a state park.  It belongs to the county where it's located around a lovely lake.  I don't think a lot of people know about it, but that's okay with us.  It means we had it all to ourselves.

There was nobody else out there to scare the birds who were singing lovely spring tunes and we are pretty sure there were some deer up in the tree lines watching us as we went through the forest.  It was really muddy and squishy, but we had a great time.

Mom and I were out there to have a nice stroll and enjoy the early signs of Spring, but Morgan and Dad were also doing a little work.  They are having an important evaluation next month and so they are brushing up on some things.  I have my paws crossed for them to make it, because it's something Dad has always wanted to do with a canine companion, and between you and me, it's more work than I want to do.  I'll stick to being a Greyhound ambassador and being a therapy dog.

We had a lot of fun stretching our legs, breathing the fresh air and seeing the first hints of Spring.  I really hope that Mother Nature doesn't have any more tricks up her sleeve for us.  I am definitely ready for warmer weather and longer hikes.  It looks like we're not the only ones who are ready for it, either.

Are any of you seeing signs of Spring where you are?

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Monday, February 21, 2011

Are You There, God? It's Me, Lilac's Person...

Dear God,

I'm pretty sure you have a sense of humor.  I suspect that over the last eight years, you've had some good belly laughs over some of the things we've been through with Lilac.  As a matter of fact, I have to wonder if you sent her here to us for your own amusement.

First, there's that penchant she has for thievery.  When she first came to us, it was mainly trash can raids that were harmless.  That night when she stole all the chili cook off taste cups out of the trash while all of hubby's family was in the basement was an extra special memory that we'll cherish, though.  Dogs and chili do not mix.  Oh, how you must have laughed first as we cleaned up hoping nobody would come upstairs to the mess and then as we tried to sleep through vapors that probably had our whole village glowing nuclear green from the heavens!

Of course, there's that sweet habit she has for showing her appreciation for a good meal, too.  She walks up to us with that sweet adoring expression before belching in our faces like a truck driver.  We fall for it every darned time, too!  I wonder how many times you've slapped your knee over that one.

We also have the secret thrill she gets from chewing up bits of paper, or even magazines, on the occasions when she's suffering a fit of pique, too.  My favorite was the time she chewed the little piece of paper that had those tiny extra elastic strings for my nook cover attached.  Did you laugh until you cried when I had to extract them since they didn't quite make it all the way through?  I have to say, I'm still not too amused by that one myself.  I thought at some point she'd grow out of that habit, but this happened just a month ago.

Then we have that habit she has of waking us up at 3:30 in the morning.  Has that joke not gotten old after two years?  I mean, I could laugh about it back when it was just half an hour before the alarm went off, but we have to get up and go to work.  Maybe it's the sleep deprivation that keeps me from seeing how funny that is.

Along with that, we have the random barking.  Didn't you get the memo we got from the adoption group about how Greyhounds don't bark?  I'm trying my best to keep her happy, but it's hard to tell the "fluff my bed appropriately" bark from the "I need to go outside NOW" bark and the "move the fan two centimeters to the left" bark.  They sound a lot alike and are often barked from the same position in the living room.  Does it amuse you to see me jumping through her hoops to make her happy?

I suppose I should mention those surprise murder scene sites that we become victim once in a while, too.  Why does she always have to break a nail when we're getting home late and tired or trying to leave the house in a hurry?  If this is a lesson in patience, consider it well learned.  Really, we don't need to repeat this lesson anymore.  I promise!

Anyway, I'm happy that we've been able to provide all these years of entertainment for you.  It's been worth it to share the sweet moments in life with her.  I'd forgive her anything when she gives me that devil may care look or presses her head to my chest or wraps around my neck and squeezes.  I freely admit that I've become a better person by sharing these years with her.  I have to be more patient and compassionate than I was when she came here.  I'm just asking for one thing.  You know she's getting pretty long in the tooth.  She's a wise elder in Greyhound years.  I'd like to wrap her in bubble wrap and protect her from everything in the world, but she's still a bossy and independent old lady.   Please, one of these days when the time comes, let her just go to sleep one night and not wake up.  I just don't have the heart to send her into the gentle sleep on my own.  I think that's a fair trade off for all the amusement we've given you over the years.

Lilac's Human Servant

We'd like to send our sincere condolences out to our friend Guinness' dad.  He lost his battle with stomach cancer over the weekend, and really made me think about how short our time of stewardship is with our beloved canine companions.  Our dogs would all be perfect if they'd just live forever, or at least as long as we do.

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Saturday, February 19, 2011

Good Things Come To Those Who Wait

It's been a long week at our house.  Maybe it's getting used to going back to work after having all those snow days.  It might also have something to do with the fact that this was conference week at school.  Thursday night I didn't get home until almost bedtime.  I was mobbed by four happy dogs when I got home, though, which made me feel better.  At least the girls missed me.

After slowly making my way through the kitchen and sitting my things down I was able to kneel down and greet each of them properly.  It seemed that each of them had something they needed to tell me.

Lilac:  I'm hungry, dammit!  Dad didn't arrange my kibble in my bowl the way I like it!  Where were you?

Blueberry:   It was horrible!  Dad took Morgan and Bunny for a walk and left me here! 

Morgan:  Where have you been?!  Do you have any idea how worried I've been about you?  Let me give you a thorough sniff over and see what you've been up to!

Bunny:  I've missed you!  Oh, I had to share a walk with Morgan and Dad and it wasn't nearly as fun as it is with you and I had to eat my food and fight off Morgan and Blueberry and Dad didn't do anything about it and I had to share the couch with Blue and Morgan and I had to sit in the middle with no armrest and I've really missed you!  Promise me you aren't leaving again.

I'll just say for the record that some dogs in our house might be prone to exaggeration.  Mr. Taleteller is quite fond of his girls and I don't believe for a second that any injustices were actually committed.  It's nice to be missed, though, and I was really glad to see them, too.  I made my way to the couch to sit down and unwind a little before going to bed. 

Usually, the Greyhounds lounge about the house during the evening while Morgan goes on patrol.  This night, Bunny was curled up tightly against me on the couch, suddenly stretced out as much as her tiny frame could be so that no one else would be interested in dethroning her.  Blueberry laid down on the bed nearest me, making eye contact with me every time I looked up.  Lilac kept walking over and pressing her head against my chest, making me pet her until her butt was drooping to the floor.  Morgan couldn't decide if she should patrol or keep a constant eye on me lest I think about separating from the pack again.

Friday, I got off work early because I had worked late Thursday night.  Mr. Taleteller decided to take the afternoon off and join me.  When I got home, the girls were more than a little excited.  It was obviously a pleasant change to their routine.

Morgan:  You're home early!  Oh my dog!  Can it really be true?  How did this happen?

Me:  I'm home early to spend time with you girls.  We have a long weekend ahead of us.  What would you all like to do?

Blueberry:  I have GOT to get out of this house!  You have to take me somewhere!  It's not fair that I never get to go with this stupid splint on.

Lilac:  Make sure you feed me!  Oh, and I need extra neck scratches! 

Morgan:  HIKING!  Oh, the sun is shining!  Let's go right now!  Just let me grab my Wolf Pack!

Bunny:  Hiking sounds nice, and maybe a trip to the dog park.  Oh, and I need some snuggle time.  Perhaps tomorrow morning in the bed.  Oh, yes, and I need Bunny time!

Me:  Well, the good news is that we have all of those things planned.  As a matter of fact, we're going to the dog park right now.  Blue, you're going for a ride by yourself later.  Lilac, we'll make sure we scratch you if you can at least let us sleep until when the alarm clock would normally go off.

Lilac:  I can make promises, but my bladder has a mind of its own. 

Me: Um, well, it's the thought that counts.  Can you at least give it a try?

Lilac:  I'll try to only wake Dad up in the morning.  Is it a deal?

Me:  It works for me.

So, our weekend started early with a trip to the dog park.  Bunny and Morgan ran and played to their hearts' content with a young Shepherd/Husky cross until Morgan had turned into a mudball.  Bunny managed to get only her little toes dirty, even while running like a little dervish through the park.  We stopped at the season opening of the local Ice Cream Shack and enjoyed the surprisingly pleasant afternoon.  Bunny and Morgan's spirits weren't even diminished by taking baths when we got home.  I guess the pleasant outlook for the long weekend is contagious.  Sometimes you just have to take time to stop and enjoy the simple pleasures of life.  Early Spring weather has a way of reminding you about those things.  Now I'll just hope that Lilac's bladder will remember her promise to let us sleep in just a little.  May everyone's weekend be pleasant and full of things you've been waiting to do!

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Friday, February 18, 2011

Ah, Romance!

Well, here it is Friday, and many of us are all thinking about date night.  I guess that's one of the good things about getting through the work week.  Since Monday was Valentine's Day, a lot of us may have even had extra romance in our lives.  I know that we've had more than enough romance here.

Mr. Taleteller and I actually went out Saturday night to celebrate Valentine's Day.  We ate out, saw a movie, and just generally enjoyed each other's company.  We agreed that we wanted to stay in Monday night, relax after work and have a nice quiet evening at home together. 

Monday night got off to a good start.  I arrived home to find my husband had taken off work early and had roses and chocolate waiting for me on the kitchen table.  He knew I'd been wanting to get back in the habit of afternoon walks with the girls and he was ready with Morgan so that we could go with Bunny for our usual jaunt around town. 

Things were going really well.  It was a wonderful Valentine's Day, both on Saturday and Monday afternoon.  We got back from our walk and put a pizza in the oven to enjoy while we watched TV.   I sat down on the couch with visions of finally getting a foot rub.  It's funny how often I used to get those before we got married, but I digress.

As I sat in the living room, I thought I heard something.  I cocked my head to listen, and noticed that Morgan had the same expression in canine form that I must have had.  We have a wonderful front porch that was actually one of the reasons we decided to buy our house, but in the winter, it doesn't see much use.  It appears that one of the local feral cats has taken up residence there under the porch furniture. 

I'm not heartless.  I don't mind the cat staying there until it warms up.  This is not the first time this has happened.  Our county has a huge population of feral cats, and I think my neighbors have contributed to the problem a few times when cats have escaped left their house.  They don't stay long, usually just through bouts of bad weather, so there's no harm.

It would be our luck that the cat in residence went into heat on Valentine's Day.  I wish I could say that I am joking, but I couldn't make up something so upsurd.  The sound that started coming from our front porch just as the pizza was done would have woken the dead.  Our trusty Shepherd ran to the front window -- and didn't make a peep.  She stared out the window and made a few whimpers as her ears twitched in curiosity and anticipation.  I opened the door and five cats scattered to the wind.  Morgan watched them go and lost interest after I closed the door. 

As the evening went on, the feline love song continued on.  No sooner would we sit back down then Morgan was back at the front door sniffing the crack, which seemed to be the precursor to feline romance.  Things settled into a regular routine.  We sat down on the couch, Morgan got up to check the door, went to the window, the hell cats began to wail, we got up, opened the door, the cats ran off, we closed the door, and got Morgan settled.  Then we got to start all over.  Those cats were determined to get to know each other and there was no convincing them that a more private venue would foot the bill.

Apparently, cat romance is the gift that keeps on giving, too.  Any thoughts about romance had flown out the window by the time we headed into bed.  We were just happy for blessed silence.  So far, the cats are still playing the dating game out front, too.  I can only hope that the warm weather convinces them to find a more private and secure place to set up the nursery.

So, how did you spend your Valentine's Day?  I hope that whatever plans you have for Friday night turn out to be free of cat romance!

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