Charles for President

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On the campaign trail

Given the Republican primary results coming into the State of Florida today. I would like to nominate Charles the Greyhound for consideration as a candidate for president.

An elder stateshound with a spotted record, Charles has always sported a red collar indicating his support of the GOP.

At the ripe old age of 9 and a half, he is perfect in human years (65) to lead our country. Here he is reaching across the aisle to work with his blue colleagues from the Democratic party. Note the size of his paws, evidence of no problem in that department.

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Reaching across the aisle

And in case of an international emergency,

Greyhounds always know what to do.

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Solving World Problems

In A Vase on Monday -The Bovine Micro Meadow

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Here is another member of my cow family. A real cow vase. I have a matching hand soap dispenser. I bought the set in a store that sells samples. My suspicion is the vendor figured the market for a matching set of cow vase and soap dispenser was limited and stopped with the samples. I have enjoyed these, although the vase is oddly constructed and difficult to arrange flowers in – mostly it sits on the shelf and exudes bovine loveliness.

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The idea for this was based on cows grazing in a meadow. The micro meadow is a tiny representation of what grows in my meadow. The “lawn” in my back yard is truly appalling, so I have many meadow plants. I am not terribly bothered by this as lawn beauty in South Florida is difficult to attain without loads of water and chemicals. Meadow it is. Mown intractable weeds could be another term used to describe the “lawn” My younger greyhound has beaten a perfect racing track into part of it. Flowering meadow plants and sand are for the greyhounds, my gardens are kept away from thundering paws.

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Here is a close up of the plants. There is some Florida friendly Chartruese Sedum at each end (friendly is propaganda from our Extension Service – the plant grows great in a pot with potting soil, if put in the garden a very different story), Sweet Begonia and Spanish Needles in white, the purple and red plants are pretty ( a weed I am not sure I want to identify) but I have been trying to eradicate them and they are frighteningly prolific. Boston Fern and the Wandering Jew (Transcandentia zebrina) just pop up in the meadow. Strange but true.

And my favorite cow family member:

 

My cow dog, Charles the Greyhound, racing name GLO Cornjacker, a dear friend and companion for the past six years; he retired from racing in 2010 and is nearly ten years old.

He hangs out in the meadow frequently and sometimes snacks on it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Heartbroken

My Girl

My Girl

This morning about 5 a.m. my ancient Greyhound, My Girl, woke me. I got up to let her out as this has been going on for a while. Life with a 14 year old dog. I turned on the light and looked at her and was horrified to see her face swollen nearly twice its normal size. Quickly gave her a Benadryl and some pain medication and waited to see if it helped. It didn’t.

About this time my husband got up and I asked him to put her in the car while I took Charles out (our other Greyhound) We bundled her into my Jeep and took her to the Emergency Vet. I had been feeling this was coming as she had been declining for the past 6 months or so. I woke up the other morning from a dream about my other Greyhounds waiting for her at the end of a bridge on a beautiful Zoysia lawn. So, I knew this was coming. You are just never ready.

The Vet, a gracious lady, asked us to think about things she enjoyed doing and if she could still do them. The answer was truthfully no. She didn’t know why her face had swollen up, but it didn’t really matter because it was time to let her go. So, we sat with her for a bit and then the vet put her down (very gently, she seemed to just drift away) while we petted her and talked to her. I am sure my other dogs were waiting for her at the end of the Rainbow Bridge on a beautiful lawn.

My Girl was a part of our lives for 10 years, Farewell, Dear Friend. My heart is truly broken.

My Girl, at the beach in Summer

My Girl, at the beach in Summer

Holiday Hounds

For many years I have held a dream of taking an oh so cute picture of my Greyhounds with Christmas antlers and using it as a Holiday card. Here is the result of my latest attempt.

Charles not enjoying headgear

Charles not enjoying headgear

The cat was asleep so I tried it on her:

Cat not even wearing headgear

Cat not even wearing headgear

A few years ago I tried with two dogs, Bullitt and My Girl:

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And they got bored:

Is there a treat in the house?

Is there a treat in the house?

I finally got one good picture of Bullitt:

Bullitt as Reindog

Bullitt as Reindog

Then realized the antlers should have been behind his ears. After thinking it over, perhaps this is the best solution:

The most cooperative Greyhound

The most cooperative Greyhound

Buy some cards and put the antlers on the concrete Greyhound.

 

Thanksgiving

Charles

Charles

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving in the US. Time to think about what you are grateful for. In my case, it is many things – one is my big dog, Charles. Charles is a retired racing greyhound and my constant companion. He is a big dog, weighs about 90 lbs. I think he is eight years old. He raced for 3 or 4 years and then was retired due to a leg injury. He can be described as a happy go lucky guy who has never met a stranger. Some people are taken aback by him because of his size, but he is a very nice guy.

Larry and My Girl

Larry and My Girl

I am also grateful for the company of my husband and our other greyhound, My Girl, who will be 14 years old soon.

Miss Kitty

Miss Kitty

Another member of the family is the kitty who I inherited from my brother when he passed away – he had inherited the cat from my mother when she passed away. Hence the cat’s name, Sweetie Pie which my husband refuses to use. She is called Miss Kitty and requires a great deal of maintenance.

Thanksgiving is all about food so we are cooking up a feast starting today. Other traditions associated with the holiday are football and shopping. I am a graduate of the University of Georgia, a powerhouse of Southeastern conference college football so we will be watching some football and hoping for Mizzou to lose so Georgia can go to the Championship game. The shopping aspect of Thanksgiving weekend is too much of a madhouse for me. People get up at 4 am to wait for stores to open then fight over bargains. I’ll be grateful not to participate in Black Friday.

We are smoking a turkey tomorrow in keeping with tradition (roasting a turkey is truly traditional, smoking is not) To go along with the turkey I am making cranberry relish, cornbread dressing, green beans, mashed potatoes and gravy. My husband is baking a pumpkin pie tomorrow. All of this is fairly common Thanksgiving fare, cornbread dressing is Southern as am I.

I am also grateful for my blog readers, I have been blogging for a little more than a year and have been really enjoying meeting ya’ll.

Thank you,

Amy

My Girl

 

 

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This is My Girl
This is my girl Greyhound, her name (her actual racing name) is My Girl. She is thirteen years old. Really old for a big dog and Greyhounds in general, she has been with us for years. I am very attached to her. We tried to rename her Faye when we first got her, but she wasn’t having any of that. So, My Girl she has remained.

When I refer to her as my girl greyhound, people get pissy and say “what’s her name, doesn’t she have a name?”

I think this is because our other dog is Charles and is male. My Girl is simply that and she always has been.

She is sitting with her food bowl in the picture because she has taken to eating, lying down, which, really at 80 or 85 dog years who could blame her for wanting to lie down while eating.

Another side effect of a dog of advanced years is needing to go out in the middle of the night. I give her credit for waking me to let her out, but I am not at my conscious best at 3 or 4 a.m.

Hence, the following picture of my foot:

Totaled Toenail

Totaled Toenail

I found out the hard way running into a concrete block wall at 3 a.m. will destroy your toenail.
Eventually my toenail turned black, rolled over at a 90 degree angle, then got infected and had to be removed. Surgically.

Oh, well. My Girl is keeping me company as I sit to prop my foot up. The doctor said it wouldn’t hurt..he left out the part about wearing shoes or putting weight on it. As long as you don’t wear shoes or stand up it feels fine.

Male Dog Syndrome

The first person who coined the term, male dog syndrome, was, in fact a landscape architect, a guy! I worked with who  had a similar sense of humor; he had worked for big and famous firms in the 80’s and had, unfortunately, been laid off multiple times. During the course of all these so called design projects  as a junior staffer he experienced the marking behavior. Oddly enough, this guy has been really successful in his own right and is probably peeing on bushes in the Western United States as we speak.

As a dedicated Greyhound fan, I usually have a couple of dogs around. Dogs do some weird things that would not have occurred to me prior to having dogs. Many of these peculiarities are urinary based.

My first Greyhound, Butler, was a male dog and having worked with men primarily for years in design and construction I was aware of “male dog syndrome” In life and business the last male to pee on the bush is King. And all the princes must pee on it as well. After twenty or thirty years, this gets tiresome in all respects; perhaps not to the men. I feel that, for men this is probably a lifetime dilemma. Even  Gen X and Millenial men must do this. I will have to say this slays me as it is totally counterproductive.  And then there is the ‘measuring’..

At least dogs don’t do that. On the other hand, it could be related.

One cold winter night around 2 am, Butler came into the bedroom, whining a bit and woke me up. I thought “Oh, he will be OK for a while he just went out” He came back in a bit later and proceeded to pee all over the foot of the bed and carpet. Oops, of course, I should have gotten up and let him out, but it was Thanksgiving, my parent’s fiftieth wedding anniversary and we were having 15 or 20 people over for dinner shortly.  I had been trying to live up to my southern cooking heritage all day and was exhausted. Thank God for the enzymatic carpet cleaner.

In the garden Butler had issues with anything Juniper scented. I suppose it it fortunate I detest Gin. My favorite Landscape Contractor had been singing the praises of Hinoki Cypress shrubs for years, so I decided to buck up and buy a big one as they are sort of slow growing. I am usually frugal in the purchase of plant material because, well, sometimes I forget about water and stuff. And I must always cope with my cheap Scotch heritage. This time I paid $150.00 for a really nice shrub not considering Butler’s Juniper issues. It was, in fact, a Cypress.

I suppose I should mention Butler was inevitably so intent on marking everything he often ran out of pee. Which was very frustrating for him, but really comical to watch. He would stand there back leg raised looking down to see nothing coming out and then try again. My husband always found this particularly amusing. Sort of a man thing, I guess.

So, I put the Hinoki Cypress in a place of honor. By the gate into the back garden. Probably a locational error on my part. However, it looked great shimmering dark green in the sun and already 3 feet tall with ferny chartreuse new growth. First time the dog went by, pssst. Second time and most anytime he wasn’t emptied by having been on a long walk. Sigh. Eventually the Cypress began to turn rust instead of green.

The Hinoki was only rust colored on one side, I had hopes for its survival. Then the voles came. I am not really sure I ever saw one. But, boy Butler could smell them and they were under the $150.00 Cypress. Crap. Maybe on some level voles are offensive to dogs; perhaps the male voles are marking?? At this point digging under the Cypress became necessary and the top of the plant began to turn rust

Cat Training

I have a fluffy white cat, she is long haired; an heirloom cat. The cat is heirloom because I inherited her. This cat originally belonged to my parents and then to my older brother, all have passed on – yet the cat is still around. My parents got the cat the year before my father passed on and kitty was my mother’s best friend until she died; then my brother adopted the cat and he passed on. A friend suggested maybe I did not want this cat due to her track record with owners. Me being me, I just couldn’t give her away; she was a good friend to half of my family. I have two additional siblings; both have cats and refused to take her. I was very hopeful when I picked her up that my greyhounds wouldn’t eat her, as she bears a strong resemblance to a rabbit (they haven’t)

The cat had the unlikely moniker, Sweetie Pie. I can still hear my mother with her Southern accent  in a high pitched voice exclaiming “she’s my little Sweetie Pie”. My husband decided having a cat named Sweetie Pie would not enhance his masculine reputation and we began to call her Miss Kitty, which was fine with the cat as long as she was provided with ample treats.

The poor cat, after surviving the loss of two humans and a terrible case of fleas came to our house, half bald and weighing six pounds, and was presented with two very large dogs. I took her to the vet first thing and she was fine, but I wasn’t – she had put her claw through a tendon in my hand as I was (foolishly) trying to comb the dead fleas out and my hand was getting infected. So, I took the cat home and took myself to the human doctor. I was given antibiotics and told to immobilize my hand for three days. Of course it was my right hand and I use that one most.

Coincidentally, I had been wearing an Ace bandage on my foot for an ankle problem and I ended up with one on my hand as well. I saw the vet later and he said I looked like I had been to Afghanistan. No, I had not been to the Middle East. It was a minor skirmish in the kitty wars.

The cat took one look at the dogs and went under the nearest bed. The dogs didn’t seem to bear her any ill will – they just wanted to smell her to see what she was. I think. I was concerned because one of the dogs had tried to eat a couple of small animals (no house pets were ever harmed-a snake had an unfortunate demise being trampled to death by 70 plus pounds of Greyhounds at full speed). Eventually all was well and the dogs figured out it was OK and they shouldn’t bother the cat. The cat stayed under the bed for about six months until we went out of town for a couple of days.

We came back, opened the front door and the cat was there to greet us, yowling. She turns out to be quite vocal to the point I had to put a set of steps up to the bed so she could sleep by my head. She was waking me up 5 times a night yowling so I would put her on the bed. My husband sleeps right through it. I have actually trained the cat to use a step stool so she can come and go as she pleases without disturbing me. Or did Sweetie Pie (Miss Kitty) train me? Hmmm

Here’s the kitty now, she is flea free and weighs over 9 pounds. The weight may just be the fur.

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Indoctrination by Greyhound

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Here is our first Greyhound, Butler in his favored spot. As a new dog owner it had not occurred to me that the dog would even want to sit on the sofa. They were supposed to be floor creatures and sleep in dog beds. I soon found out this was not true. Butler liked to be on the sofa regardless of who else was sitting there. I did not realize the magnitude of my ignorance until it dawned on me that he slept with his mouth open and it was really time to buy a steam upholstery cleaner because it was way too late to get the dog off of the sofa.

I have become quite good at steam cleaning upholstery and recently cleaned the interior of my husband’s BMW. A proud moment for anyone.

Another thing about Butler was wherever I went he wanted to follow. One night it was raining and my husband was painting window trim. I went outside and hesitated, thinking I should take the dog with me because he had a tendency towards mischief. Unfortunately, I left him in the house while I went out to pick some Rosemary for dinner. Bad idea, I came back in the house to find him licking paint off the windowsill. It was late and my vet was closed for the night so I went to read the paint cannot good. Paint contains an antifreeze like component to help it dry and yes, it will poison dogs.

I bundled Butler into the car and took him to the Emergency Vet. He was undisturbed by the entire event and happy to go for a ride in the car. I sat and sat while they administered activated charcoal to the dog. I envisioned Butler funneling fish tank charcoal like he was attending a frat party.  I am not exactly sure how they got the charcoal in him, but they got enough in there soon enough that he would be fine. Somehow charcoal absorbs the poison so the dog doesn’t.

The Emergency Vet gave Butler back to me after I paid a good sized bill, but failed to mention the rate at which the charcoal would fly out of the dog. It was after midnight and raining, we were a mile or so from home when Butler started whining a bit. “Hold on guy, we are almost home.” I said. I pulled into the garage and looked into my (previously) tan Jeep interior. Finding it charcoal spotted. Oops. The good news is charcoal neutralizes odors.

I took the dog out of the car and into my neighbor’s front yard, not intentionally, just came out that side of the garage. I suddenly had a jet propelled dog fueled by fish tank charcoal. He was moving forward with the force of his own intestinal power as he pooped. I was pretty sure at that point the paint was gone; so I called the Emergency Vet to check. “Yep, that is what is supposed to happen, he should be fine tomorrow.”

Thanks for the heads up.

The next morning I looked outside (it was winter and the grass was brown and dormant) to see a 10 foot long black streak in my neighbor’s lawn. Then I looked in the back of my Jeep and was happy I had the steam cleaner.

Like I said, I am good at cleaning car upholstery, although charcoal is a bit of a challenge.

Our Conversion to Dog People

We were always cat people. I grew up amongst felines and had listened to my mother’s diatribes against dogs for my entire life. The diatribes usually involved cleanliness issues; dirty, smelly and they leave “dog stuff” in the yard. Cats, in comparison, cleaned themselves and buried their stuff. Cats going to the bathroom was referred to as “the kitty is going to dig a hole”; my mother coping with being Southern by euphemism. My husband had a cat when we married; Lauren, a chatty Siamese Calico mix, who vocalized happiness with a “Mow” and distaste with “Rhentt”.

One day my husband and I were at the pet store and met several retired racing Greyhounds and fell in love. We decided to get a dog.

We ended up with a red brindle male with the dubious racing name “Fonda Canyon” and promptly decided he needed a new name. We went round and round about the name until I finally talked my husband, the Trekkie, into Butler. Butler was named after Captain Kirk’s dog in the Star Trek movie “The Undiscovered Country”. Captain Kirk’s Butler was a Great Dane.

Adopt a Greyhound Atlanta “cat tests” their dogs to be sure new owners cats aren’t mistaken for the track rabbits. We eventually established Kitty Detente, after numerous “Rhenntts” from the cat and a few scratches on the muzzle the dog passed his cat test. They became friends and would sit on the furniture together. Butler lounging on his back with the cat beside him. Fortunately, we had a Chair and a half with a washable slipcover that would accommodate both of them. Of course they preferred the dry clean only sofa.

We began house training. Or, Butler began human training. I had this strange idea I could get up in the morning and let the dog out and he would do his business in the backyard.  Not this dog. He would hold it until somebody put a leash on him and walked him around the neighborhood to see who else had been around. Unless you left him in the house which was usually not a good idea. I eventually began to enjoy the walk around the neighborhood and met numerous fellow dog lovers that way.

Butler was a charming and handsome dog. Kids would stop to meet him and say he looked just like a tiger. A skinny canine tiger, I guess.  He was a dog who never met a stranger and wanted to meet everyone he encountered, especially those who had no interest in him at all. My mother, the dog hating Southern Belle, succumbed to his charms almost immediately and always called him “Rhett Butlah” and gave him treats (many treats)

Eventually I realized I was more of a dog person. My conversion is highly related to litter box issues and the feline need to achieve Kitty Superiority. Our cats all passed on and we ended up with two Greyhounds.  Twenty years have passed and we still have two Greyhounds, just not the same ones.

Here is Butler in his favorite spot.

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