Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Bring On The Christmas Tree

Bunny here at the keyboard, writing about part of our weekend adventures.

I suppose you read what Mom wrote yesterday about our trip to the dog park.  I'd just like to state for the record that I did not lead Morgan into that tree on purpose.  I just thought that everyone could turn on a dime.  Now I know differently.  Anyroo, part of the reason we went to the dog park was that we were also going to the Old Dairy Barn Christmas Tree Farm to pick out a tree. 

Last year, it was just me who went with Mom and Dad.  This year, everyone except Lilac went.  She put on the brakes at the van door and refused to go, plus it was pretty cold, so she stayed at home.  We had to drive quite a way to get there, but that's okay.  I enjoyed the drive.

Soon, we were at the tree farm.  There were trees everywhere.  It was really hard to choose a perfect one.  I'll admit that Morgan and I were a tad distracted by the rabbits and deer smells all over.  Still, we finally found one that we liked and Dad got to work cutting it down for us.  We carted it back to the barn and they shook the loose needles out and put it in a net, then we loaded it in the back of the van.

On the way home, Mom and Dad like to stop at this old house that is now a giant Christmas ornament store.  It's pretty impressive from what I hear.  They don't allow dogs inside, but after seeing the pictures, I am okay with that.  I'd be afraid my tail would get caught on some of the ornaments.  People come from all over to see the store, and from the pictures I saw of the inside, I can see why.  Dad was proud to find a German Shepherd ornament to add to our little dog tree.  Mom found a few for my fancy little pink tree, too. 

When we got home and they brought the tree inside, Mom and Dad realized that the tree was a little bigger than they'd realized.  It still fit inside, though, and Mom is pretty happy with the new Christmas tree skirt we got from my stepgranny.  We think we made a good choice after seeing the final product.  Now we just have to wait for Santa to come and bring some presents!

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Monday, November 29, 2010

Watch Out For That Tree!

Thanksgiving weekend is a crazy time for us, as I'm sure it is for many.  We have two family dinners to go to, thankfully not on the same day, and there's Christmas shopping and getting the house looking festive to do as well.  However, we are still a family with dogs, and some of those younger dogs have needs.  These needs must be met if we to ensure peace and quiet in our home.

Since we were a little too busy to hit the hiking trails this weekend, we decided that before we headed out to get our Christmas tree that we'd take the girls by the dog park so they could stretch their legs and have some fun outside time.  Since it's getting rather brisk here now, and because Saturdays can be rather busy at the dog park, we decided to leave Lilac at home. 

It was pretty much a day like any other autumn day when we've gone to the dog park.  There were only two other dogs there when we arrived, and three more came in behind us.  It was a lovely, sunny afternoon.  Of course, the cooler it is, the more Bunny is possessed to run.  The more Bunny is possessed to run, the more intent Morgan and the other dogs, excluding Blueberry, are to chase her.  Bunny loves this game, and this time, she wasn't holding back at all.  She was giving the dogs a true run for their money. 

However, we now realize that German Shepherds don't quite run the same way that Greyhounds do.  Of course, that seems to be stating the obvious, but what I mean is, Greyhounds hunt by sight.  Their eyes can see things from a mile away, and that is literally, not an expression.  Bunny runs and turns on a dime based on what her eyes tell her.  She's taking in all the information that her eyes are giving her as she goes.  Morgan, on the other hand, was only watching Bunny as she chased her through the trees.

Yeah, that was a tactical error!  She isn't seriously hurt, and as a matter of fact, she wouldn't even stop playing to let us have a look at it and make sure it was okay.  Ah, our puppy's first battle scar!  A thing to remember!

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Saturday, November 27, 2010

Games Shepherds Play

I believe that I have mentioned in the past how Mr. Taleteller has always dreamed about having a German Shepherd.  Since Morgan has joined our pack, for the most part, Mr. Taleteller believes she can do no wrong.  For the most part, I have to concede that Morgan is a very well-behaved young lady.  There are a few things she does that I feel need some correction, but these are things that I mostly attribute to her youth and inexperience.  They're things I know she'll grow out of, as long as we shape her behavior towards what we want.  One example of that would be NOT leaping over the baby gate and sounding the intruder alert right in the Schwann's man's face.  Unfortunately, we haven't seen him back since we found that puddle on the front porch, but I digress.  Suffice it to say, most of the things Morgan does that I prefer she not do, she does out of love and a desire to protect us. 

In the mornings, Morgan is particularly exhuberant in her greetings.  Sometimes, I meet her at the gate in the hallway and have a little chat with her over the gate until I feel she's had enough time to take in the splendor of seeing my face again for the first time since the night before.  There's nothing like a Shepherd in your life to make you feel treasured, let me tell you!  After she's regained control of herself, I cautiously move through the gate and then her calm façade vanishes and she has to pounce on me until she's had a chance to wash my face with her tongue.  Yes, I fall for it every morning, but the alternative is not getting my bottle of water to start the day, so I start every day with my first face wash before turning on the bathroom sink.  Now that I've gotten used to it, though, I have to say, it's nice being greeted with that much enthusiasm every day.

Mr. Taleteller is known to play games with Morgan, moreso than I do.  We have our hide and seek time, and she does bring me her toys to toss, but more often, she does a little wrestling and rough-housing with my husband.  They both enjoy these little sessions, and Morgan needs them to burn off steam.  One thing that we've learned about Morgan over the months is that she's a knitter.  She likes to nibble on Mr. Taleteller's hands like she's eating an ear of corn.  It's rather cute, but this is her one behavior that he doesn't appreciate.  While I find it rather cute, he does not.  Of course, she never knits on me! 

The other morning, I was finishing my make up in the bathroom mirror.  Mr. Taleteller had finished his shower and gone into the bedroom to get dressed.  I noticed that he put the baby gate up so that no one could get into the bedroom with him.  Morgan stood at the gate, looking very wistful.  I gave her a little brain massage and then put the gate down.  The next thing I knew, I heard a rather girly scream come from the bedroom.  I leaned out the bathroom and asked my husband if he was okay.

He informed me that not only had Morgan stuck her cold nose to his derriere, she'd decided to nibble on his butt cheek as well.  I will spare you all the images of that horror.  That's mainly because I was laughing too hard to get any sort of photo of the event.  Suffice it to say, I really love having a German Shepherd.  Life is certainly never dull when they play their games!

We'd also like to wish George the Lad a happy birthday today.  Here are our steps for you.  May you have many more happy years and stairs to climb ahead of you!

We also wanted to let you know that Blueberry's auction is open if you want to check it out or bid!  The link is attached to Blueberry's picture in our sidebar, too.  We owe a huge thank you to everyone who has pitched in to help with this!

We're also participating in this Saturday's Pet Blog Hop, hosting by Life With Dogs, Two Little Cavaliers and Confessions of the Plume.  If you'd like to participate, please follow the rules and follow your three hosts, add your blog to the Linky and copy and paste the html code into your html editor.  Thanks again to our hosts for putting on the hop!

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Friday, November 26, 2010

Guarding The Pie

Yesterday was a big Thanksgiving celebration for us.  Mr. Taleteller and I went to the house of one of his sisters to enjoy dinner and time with family.  In Mr. Taleteller's family, we usually all agree to bring a few dishes so that no one person has the responsibility of cooking for the entire herd.  This year was no different. 

Well, I take that back.  One thing was different.  If you've followed our blog for a long time, you might recall that Blueberry has a certain penchant for pie.  The girl just can't seem to help herself.  Actually, the dogs usually do get very excited when they see us start to bake, because often we do bake treats for them.  Last year, I recall the cookie baking we did was very closely supervised by three Greyhounds.

This year, while I whipped up the Caramel Apple Salad, I was closely watched again, by Morgan.  Lilac, Blueberry and Bunny didn't smell anything particularly interesting at that point, so they'd gone back to the living room to rest until things got more interesting.  Morgan, however, stayed on duty.  She even stayed nearby as I began to make the Pumpkin Cheesecake.  I found an added benefit to having a German Shepherd during this holiday, though. 

That's right -- Morgan deemed herself protector of the pie.  She let me know that I could retire to the living room with no worries and that she'd keep things under control.  It sure is a relief to know that the pies are safe.  It's probably for the best that dinner wasn't at our house.  Morgan would have been forced to keep everyone from eating the pie.  That might have been more of a burden than she was prepared to shoulder.  Ah, if only she could have kept Mr. Taleteller from dumping the pie on the floor when we got home from our dinner! 

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Thursday, November 25, 2010

The Story Of Us

Bunny here at the keyboard again, conducting an interview with my sisters.

We were asked to so a post today about our adoption stories.  However, all of our adoption stories have been told, and we didn't want to make this post read like a novel, so I thought I'd intervew my sisters about our adoptions and maybe let you learn a little about us that you might not have known before.  Here it goes!

When did you finally know that you were home?  I know that speaking for myself, I knew it about two minutes after I'd walked in the door.  There were friendly hounds, people who fussed over me and kept petting me and a giant soft dog bed!  I miss that bed -- Lilac, I wish you hadn't torn it up!

Lilac:  I had my reasons!  Anyway, I knew as soon as I saw Mom that she was mine.  I really felt like I was home, though, after my famous Easter Candy Heist when Mom and Dad watched me even more closely than Treat and Hawk to see if I'd get sick.  Even though I'd been a bit bad, they didn't bring it up and just looked after me.

Blueberry:  Hmm...  Well, I wasn't so sure at first, but then they took me on vacation with them.  I had so much fun at the beach, and my mom was already living the life here.  The lady who first adopted me didn't want me back after she had surgery, and it turned out I was allergic to her cats when they took me by for a visit.  I knew that wasn't the place for me!  Plus, pretty early on, I became very attached to Dad.  I worried and worried for a long time that they'd send me back, but then one day Mom got a piece of paper from the adoption group president, and she said that it meant I was never leaving.  I slept much better at night after that!

Morgan:  Oh, I knew as soon as I met you when you came to see me!  I quickly realized that all of you have no clue about how to stay together and that you needed me to look out for you and keep you in one spot.  I felt like I was home from the very beginning!

What's your favorite thing about living here?  I know for me it's that they understand how special  I am and they take me out for adventures and always have time to pet me.

Lilac:  Well, I'm very fond of my fan.  I like that they move it to the spot I want.  I also like that I've finally got them trained the way I want.  Don't any of you go messing them up!

Blueberry:  I like that they can't say no to me.  I don't ask for things that are extravagant, but I'm sure if I did, they'd get it for me.  They fuss over me very nicely, too, and I love that!

Morgan:  Oh, a favorite?  That's tough!  I like that Dad takes me to class, and I like hiking, and I like waking them up in bed, and I like chasing the rabbits here with Dad on the other end of the leash, and I like...

Morgan, we only have so much time here!  I'm sorry, but we've got to move on.  Where did you live before you came to our house?  I lived on a farm in Iowa myself, and then after schooling, I went to the adoption kennel in Iowa for a couple of weeks before I came here.

Lilac:  I lived a few places, but the last place I lived was on the dog farm in Kansas where I'd just weaned my last litter of puppies before getting on that hauler and driving through the cold January night to get here.  I came here as a foster dog, but I knew that I wasn't going to leave, and I was right.  Then again, I'm always right!

Blueberry:  I was born on the same farm in Kansas, then I went to schooling, then I tried out racing in Florida, but it wasn't for me, so I packed up my collar and muzzle and came back to the farm.  I traveled on the same haul with Lilac to get to Illinois, but I lived for about six months with another lady before coming to stay for a while at our house.  I wasn't supposed to stay, but the longer I was here, the more I hoped I wouldn't have to go back.  Now I'm so glad that I got to stay!

Morgan:  As a little puppy I went home with another family, the same family that took care of you, Bunny, for a while.  There were some problems there, though, and they felt that it would be better for me to live with a family that has other dogs and give me more time.  I have to say, I love it here.  We go on hiking adventures and Dad and I go to class and Mom plays hide and seek with me and life is just about perfect for me, as long as everybody stays together.

Alright, here's my last question.  What do you want to get for Mom and Dad for Christmas?  I was thinking maybe I'd order them some t-shirts with a picture of me on them so everyone would know they belong to me.

Lilac:  Presents?  Aren't they supposed to get me presents?  Meh.  I might let them sleep in an extra half hour!

Blueberry:  Oh, where to start?  I'd like to get them some soft pillows, turn off all the alarm clocks, a million dollars and a personal masseuse!  I hear people like that.  Oh, and Mom wants one of those color nooks.  If they'd let me in the bookstore, I'd get that for her, because she's the one who always gets Dad to let me go places.

Lilac:  Suck up!


Morgan:  I'd get them body alarms so if there was danger nearby, they could alert me and let me know!

Good answers!  Well, there you have it, our Christmas list for Mom and Dad.  I hope they don't read this and start figuring out what's going on with the magic plastic!
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Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

An Honorary German Shepherd

Bunny here at the keyboard again, writing about a very exciting adventure we had on Sunday.

Mom and Dad surprised us and got up early Sunday morning, saying we were going on another hike.  This time, they told Blueberry she had to stay home, and after the whole hike, I have to say that it was for the best.  It was a very long hike with a lot of hills, creeks and bridges.  We also met a group of other dogs, mostly other German Shepherds.  There was also a Golden Retriever, two smaller mixed breeds and a Siberian puppy.  At the beginning of the hike, everyone was in love with Gunner, but by the end, he was a little mudball.  I have a feeling Rusty from The Thundering Herd might have looked a bit like Gunner when he was little. 

Morgan and I were the only ones there on leash, but I didn't mind.  I'm not sure how Morgan felt about it, but I am used to staying with Mom and we both agreed that it was safer for me that way.  Morgan has not earned off leash privileges and Mom says that it will be a long time before she ever does.

Our hike was at Black Partridge Park, which is pretty near where we live.  We hiked for over three hours, so it was a pretty long hike.  Even though all the leaves were off the trees, it was very pretty and fun.

Along the trail, we ran into several creeks.  A lot of dogs stopped for a water break, but we stayed out of the water because it was rather brisk.  One of the girls on the hike kept asking if we were almost done.  I am pleased to report that I had a spring in my step the whole way until we got to that last hill coming back to the parking lot.

One thing you have to watch out on when you're on the trails there is mountain bikers.  We all had to get together and get off the trail when we heard them coming.  Two of them stopped and warned us that they'd seen a guy with a gun on one of the trails.  Hunting isn't allowed there, but we saw a deer stand set up in the park and heard a lot of gun shots.  We're not sure if those came from inside the park or the farmland that's around the park.  We did see several deer.  I am proud to report that none of us dogs gave chase to any of them.  We like to have fun, but we're not crazy!

About halfway through our hike, it started to drizzle rain.  I was glad I had my jacket on then.  Mom had taken hers off, but she put it back on to try to stay dry.  The bridges got really slippery, too, but I never lost my footing, like a few other dogs.  Mom said I was fleet-footed.  I was proud that I maintained my dignity through the entire hike.

On the last stretch up the hill, Dad almost got a rude surprise.  A squirrel jumped out of a tree and almost got his head.  It landed in the leaves and took off running.  Morgan and I offered to teach him a lesson, but Mom and Dad said it wasn't necessary.  Another one of the dogs, Shiva, chased after it, but she came back to the trailhead empty-mouthed.

We had so much fun this time on our hike.  I really hope we get to go back.  Mom says she hopes to be a little more prepared, too.  Next time, Morgan and I will even have our own bells!  Oh, and one more thing -- please visit our friend Frankie Furter today.  He's set up an auction to help raise green papers for Blueberry's surgery, and the things that are going to be in the auction are SO nice!

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Monday, November 22, 2010

A Family That Hikes Together

Bunny here at the keyboard to tell you about our Saturday hike.

As soon as Mom started getting ready, Blueberry ran to the back door and gave Mom her doe eyes.  Mom and Dad immediately caved and said Blueberry could come with us this time.  I told Blueberry that I was going to have my Christmas list done by the end of the weekend and that I'd appreciate it if she passed it along to Mom and Dad for me. 

Anyroo, we headed off for Kickapoo State Park, but when we got there, the trails were closed for deer hunting.  Phooey!   So, Dad said there was another place nearby that he read about and we'd go try that one, since it wasn't too far away.  We headed over to Forest Glen Preserve, which is actually four nature preserves together in one park.  They have Duffin Woods, Forest Glen Seep, Howard's Hollow Seep, Doris L. Westfall Prairie and a twenty two acre savannah restoration area that I don't think has a name. 

Mom packed our tummy warmers in her backpack and Blueberry and I were glad she did.  It was a chilly day and we were shivering in no time.  We got our fleece on and then we were ready to hit the trail.  One of the first things we saw was an old fire observation tower.  Shawnee, you and your mom might want to look away from the next couple pictures.  That's because Mom and Dad left us at the bottom of the tower and climbed all the way up.   It was seventy five feet tall.  Mom says there was a great view of the Vermillion River from up there and she and Dad said they'd like to come back in the spring to see it again when the river is higher. 

Fortunately, it was pretty brisk up there and Mom and Dad didn't stay too long.  They collected us and we set out on the trail.  We walked down to the Vermillion River and did some exploring.  To get down there, we had to climb down the riverbank, which was a little challenging -- well, for Dad it was.  He says he needs to find some new hiking shoes that actually have some tread on them.  Still, it was worth the trouble to climb down there.  We could see wildlife trails along the opposite bank.  Actually, we heard a lot of wildlife, too, but we didn't see anything more than a squirrel, unless you count the deer we saw sauntering across the road while we were in the van.  There was another family down by the river exploring, and we offered to take their picture all together. 

We didn't see any boulders, but I did scale this fallen tree.  In my heart, I was climbing boulders for Miss K, though.  We're hoping she's feeling better soon. 

Morgan, however, had something else in mind.  I can't blame her too much.  That hill was steep that we had to hike back up.  Still, I'd like to point out that we Greyhounds made it up without having to sit down and rest.

Soon it was time to head back.  Mom didn't want Blueberry to get too tired.  Blueberry was having a grand time and she took it all in stride.  She never looked tired on the trail to me.  When we got home, it was a different story, though!

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