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Current blog look inspired by and dedicated to Chance, Blaze, Fiona and Zappa who all kicked ass against cancer and liver disease.

Brut Quote

Brut Quote

Thursday, March 31, 2011

The Perfect Dogs

 Aren't we perfect just the way we are??

I watched an infomercial about a magical method to train your dog.

I've seen it before and I walk away in shame every time.  I can't afford the five minute solution, which means I will probably be living with problematic dogs forever.
I don't know why I watch this infomercial again and again, trying to find the magic answer because I always walk away feeling doomed.  I watched with hope as all of these crazy, rambunctious dogs are turned into the perfect dog, over and over.  Those could be my dogs!  They could be perfect too!  My eyes were glued to screen as this mysterious product solved EVERY dog problem there was, in minutes!!  Why I subjected myself to the torture was way beyond me, but I sat there and wanted one of those perfect dogs in my home.
When I finally tore myself away, defeated and hopeless, Daddy was coming home and the dogs were jumping around like crazy.  No where near the perfect dogs on the screen and so far from getting there.  Feeling utterly hopeless, it was playtime and the dogs continued with their insanity until I went out to play with the them.  I had a hard time shaking off the doom I was feeling.  While my dogs ran around wildly, I still wanted one those other dogs that were so perfect.  

Next thing I knew Silver was bringing me her football for a game of fetch and chase.  She teased me with the ball, shaking it in her mouth, while taking off before I could catch her.  Throwing her head back as if laughing with victory.  Then Fiona joined in on the fun, trying to steal the ball from Silver and beat her in the chase for it.  Brut and Zappa were in a mad hunt with Daddy to find the squirrel that just had to be somewhere.  While Chance and Blaze were having a good chasing game waiting for their turn to play with me.  I took a moment to take it all in and I realized I did have the perfect dogs for me.

Six devoted friends that despite all the errors, mishaps, and mistakes I've made, still loved me.  Even with all my shortcomings and lack of experience they were still as happy as could be.  They didn't care that I wasn't perfect and I realized I didn't need the perfect dog either.  I wanted and needed MY dogs and that was good enough for me. 

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Brut Crossings

I don't know how to explain my unique relationship with Brut. It is complex and connected. He teaches me what no human can in my personal struggles. He is my manic dog.  It has been stated that aggressive dogs are like being bipolar.

I understand the haywire electrical currents that shock through his system and wreck havoc on those around him. The hyper insanity, the loss of control, and the misunderstanding. Yet as Brut looks to me, it is really I am the one who learns from him. In a space that is inter-dimensional, spirit to spirit. Today all it took was stopping Brut from beginning a fight he was instigating. When he is in that zone, saying "NO" means nothing. I had already said it three times. He was in target lock mode. It was then I realized, he wasn't going to stop. I used the alpha rollover, he submitted and walked away, without any intention of trying again. (My biggest fear at the time) I was stunned. It had worked. Interceding at that point and preventing the attack was one of the best moves I have ever made. I was calm. I was swift and most of all it was successful. More successful than I could have realized at the time.  It was the first time that I actually had time to respond before a fight happened.  In those seconds something in me clicked and I took action.

We connected a little later after the incident. Brut was calm, his eyes were full. I was in tears over how proud I was of him. I almost can't explain the lesson he taught me tonight. It is something along the lines of never giving up. Don't ever quit trying. When I think something can't be done or is too overwhelming to handle, I find the next key to his recovery. I am still blown away by the fact he didn't try to attack Zappa again. I just can't believe what a miracle that in itself was. I corrected in him in a language Brut understood. Each level taking us deeper into our meaning together. Just when I think the connection had been lost, we find each other again. Spirit to spirit. Heart to heart. Understanding outside of lines, that we were meant for each other.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Unleash the Beast

I never planned on having the world's most perfectly trained dogs.  From the start of each of my dogs lives, I have wanted them to be the creatures they were born to be.  I have only wanted them to be as close to their natural selves as possible.  There is nothing more sacred than an untamed heart regardless of human comforts.  A place where their souls and spirits run with the wind.  Free to claim their stake of the wild within them.  To blossom into their most authentic selves.  The same beast lies within us and needs to be unleashed as well.  Who says that dogs own the rights to that kind of freedom?  :)

*No we don't have any snow.  lol  Photo was taken earlier this winter*

Monday, March 28, 2011

Monday Memories-Misty

I have always been an avid dog lover.  I don't what it is about dogs, but I just seem to connect with them.  When I was 13 years old we got our first cat, Misty.  It was a whole new learning experience.  She was a short hair with a solid grey coat and golden eyes.  She was calm, gentle and very loving.  Though there was something always mischievous about her.  It was that catty way she had about her and I fell in love with it instantly.  She always slept on my bed at night, where we would have great conversations and play fetch with a crumbled paper ball.  I would throw it from my bed and I taught her how to bring it back to me.  I always thought that was the coolest thing she did.  It was our game.

When no one was home I would throw a paper ball and watch her do flips to catch it.  We would play a sort of hide-n-go seek game/chase game all through the house.  I would stay down at her level and mimic her moves.  Each of us trying to spook the other.  We would become completely entranced with each other as we found a level at which we understood each other.  This was my first experience at bonding with an animal at their level.  It taught me how to relate with them from their viewpoint, not mention the emotional and spiritual level that sparkled between us.  Something I have never forgotten and still use to this day.

I never got to see Misty in her later years, childhood abuse kept me from going back home to visit.  My first question to my sister was always about Misty.  I missed her so.  I never knew when she died and it always broke my heart that I couldn't go back to see her one last time. I know she understood this, probably more than I did, as animals always know when there is pain going on in home.  She was always that sliver of light that broke through the darkness and I will always be grateful for the blessings she gave me.  And while the tears flow for that beautiful hearted creature who shared her gift of love with me, I know a bond like ours doesn't die easy and she will always be in my heart forever.          

Saturday, March 26, 2011



Hosted by Life with Dogs, The Two Cavaliers and Confessions of the Plume.

Friday, March 25, 2011

The Wacked Out Family


In this episode we see that Daddy Brut has done it again.  He just had to get his two cents in and Mommy Silver is giving him a piece of her mind!!  All day long she cooks and cleans, raises the kids and he can't seem to pick up the gallon of milk she asked for.  It's only a matter of time before Silver starts hurling those frying pans!
The kids aren't quite pleased with the way Daddy Brut has upset Mommy Silver and start to gang up on him as well. 

When will that boy ever learn?

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Why I Prefer Dogs

A dog doesn't lie.  A dog doesn't hide his feelings regardless if you are there or not.  A dog doesn't run behind you and stab you in the back.  A dog is up front with his feelings, his body language will tell you all you need to know.  A dog  has no fear in being who they are.  A relationship with a dog is based on honesty because he has the balls to stand by you. A dog isn't a friend one minute and then ditches you the next.  Dogs are direct and to the point, they don't beat around with excuses.  Dogs step up to the challenge.  If there is miscommunication, it is on our part.  Humans are the ones who that can't stand up for what they think, say or do.  Humans must confuse the hell out of a dog because dogs can't understand the language of a coward.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

You Are All Invited!!

We Front Dogs rule the kitchen.  Anything we want to eat Mommy leaves on the counter for us to get.  Isn't that nice of her?  We have her so well trained.  BOL!!

We've collected more food than we can eat alone, so when Mommy and Daddy leave we are throwing a dinner party and all of our doggie friends are invited!!  (Except for you, Back Dogs!)

To start with, a cucumber salad.

Then the main course of mac-n-cheese.

Unless you prefer mashed potatoes!

Yes, yes, for you more civilized dogs we have spoons!

Then for desert...


and cookies, of course!

Don't worry about a thing,

Blaze will handle all the dishes!

We really hope you can all come!
Just don't tell Mommy.  This dinner is our little secret!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011


How could you not love coming home to those smiling faces?

I don't know how people live without dogs.  I find it very unsettling not having a constant companion laying at my feet, or nudging my hands or even barking to go outside.  When I have been to other people's houses who have no pets, I always feel like something is missing and there is an emptiness in my heart.  I almost don't know how to act without an animal near me.  I can complain about the dogs all I want, but in all honesty I would be lost without them by my side, or climbing in my lap or jumping up with the thrill that I am home.  How do people live with that void of love?  Their homes seem so bare and hollow compared to the constant bustle of love I have through my home.  I can almost become disconnected without having that furry touch to rely on.

I realize sometimes I take that my dogs for granted, I have been surrounded by animals all my life and it is easy to get frustrated with them or feel I need a break from them, but I'm always so grateful when they are there waiting for me.  I have found over and over despite our troubles I don't know how I would survive without them.  They are a constant reality check and they keep me going when I am down, just as much as they are there for me when I need them.  I do not see how people function without having all that extra love around.  How they live without that comforting touch just at the right time.  Not knowing that level of understanding that comes from those extra sensory cells or just being there when you need to feel life and love.  It is something beyond my comprehension.  I can not fathom my life without animals.  I mean at one point in my life I had a hamster because I could only have small pets where I lived.  I would have felt lost otherwise. 

What do people do without animals?  I find it very sad and troublesome that more aren't able to truly experience the love of having an animal.  Of having that wonderful relationship of such value and trust.  I have let my dogs down many times, but they still lick my face and share their unconditional love with me every day.  Not to mention how much my animals have taught me about being human and a loving being.  My dogs challenge me every day to be a better person as I learn the true meaning of unconditional love and every day I am surprised by what that really means.

And I ask the question again, How do they do it?  How do people live without animals in their lives?  If you are new to having a pet, how has having an animal changed your life?  Have you ever went through a period when you didn't have an animal?  What was that like for you?  What about those of you that have always had animals like me, can you envision your world without them?            

Monday, March 21, 2011

Monday Memories-Surprise!!

Silver and with her first four pups

Before and during Silver's pregnancy I read as much info as I could about the births.  I found everything I could and had piles of information.  I was also in contact with a breeder online to help get that hands on knowledge that can be lacking in written material.  Regardless of how much information you find, it is nothing like the real experience... 

When Silver was ready to give birth to the first puppy to be born we were both in shock when she gave birth standing up and Daddy caught the Zappa in his hands.  We removed the sac that is wrapped around the pups, rubbed him to dry him off and stimulate breathing until he cried and then cut and tied the cord.  I had read plenty about caring for a  newborn after birth, but what I was not prepared for was Silver was more interested in cleaning herself than her newborn pup.  We were told over and over by other breeders that Silver would know what to do.  After Zappa was born I was a nervous wreck, we had nine more puppies to go and it looked as if Silver was not going to nurse or take any interest.

I made a frantic run to the kitchen to throw together formula and a bottle.  Mistake number one, I bought powdered formula.  I was so nervous I struggled with trying to just read the package for the measurement.  Somehow I managed to pull it together and ran with a bottle back to the whelping room.  Only in time for the second puppy to drop in Daddy's hands.  We took care of this puppy as well while Silver took to cleaning herself again. 

We couldn't get the bottle to work.  So Daddy ran to the kitchen to pierce the nipple better, while Silver started to contract again.  As I was calling for Daddy, I caught puppy number three in my hands and had to do the entire newborn procedure by myself.  We were becoming real pros, real fast.  Daddy came running back with the bottle and it wasn't long after that puppy number four was getting ready to enter the world.

A miracle happened before puppy number four was born, Silver climbed in the whelping box and laid down to give birth to Chance.  She took care of Chance and when she was ready, we moved all the puppies in close to her and she let them nurse while she cleaned them.  Silver began to relax for a few minutes and we took a much needed breather.  We cried and laugh in relief as Silver finally took over her responsibilities while we watched in wonder and fear at the miracles that were before us.  Squirming around, crying and suckling on their mother and we still had six more to go...

The rest of the births went smoothly and were spaced further apart so that we were able to breathe a little and prepare as they happened.  The first four births were about 20 minutes apart, which may seem like a lot of time, it wasn't.  By the time we had the new one cleaned up and worrying about how to feed them, Silver would start contracting and we were doing the whole process all over again.

My research and reading paid off in many areas, but there were a few things we weren't prepared for.  Luckily everything worked out, the puppies were all healthy and Silver was being a good mom.  It is interesting some the things we didn't find in the books and internet, like Silver standing up.  I may have read that somewhere, but it was a completely different story when it was happening in front of your eyes.  We were both assured Silver would automatically take care of the pups, so it never occurred to us that she wouldn't and we were only semi-prepared to handle feeding 10 puppies if Silver decided she wasn't going to.  Thank goodness she came back to her senses or instinct kicked in.  As with everything in life, books only teach you the basic, it becomes a completely different ballgame when you actually experience it.  And what an experience it was!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

The Rescue Dogs

In light of the catastropie in Japan, Chance and Blaze felt the need to help their fellow 4-leggers and bipeds on the other side of the world. 

Blaze:  Chance, we have to do something!  So many people and dogs lost and alone...
Chance:  But how would we ever get there?

Blaze:  We can't take a plane or boat...
Chance:  Wait!  I have an idea!

Wonder twin powers...Activate!

Japan here we come!!

Please give if you can and keep Japan in your prayers.


Friday, March 18, 2011

Dear Brut,

How can I actually put in words how I feel when most of our discussions are without them?  How do I describe the force of nature you are that catapults me into action, be it a need for a walk or your controlling nature to have things your own way?  Is there really a way to say how much I have needed you in my life, though if I'd known what bringing you home entailed, I don't know if I would have followed through with it?  For how was I to know I was receiving the gift of a dog with the attitude of a tiger that would teach me the blessings of respect for that fierceness in your heart?  You demanded respect above all else that would force me to rise to a higher level of understanding you and myself.  A respect that can't be measured but that is truly honored.  For you have taught me more about myself than any human could begin to.  It became more than an understanding between us, it was as if we were torn from the same cloth.

I had never realized the depths that a canine and human could have until you came into my life.  We have both been torn by a civilized world and our wild instinct with a desperate craving to be ourselves .  Somehow for those moments when we are leashed together we experience that inner freedom through each other and what some day lies ahead.  Together we posses a beautiful instinct to live, a rare gift when we are able to let the beast in us exist.  We both hunger for the release and the right to express ourselves. 

There are no lies in who you are and it is that raw energy that I fear in you that I also embrace.  You have taught me how to harness that energy without destroying it and I will always love you for that.  There is no comfort greater in this world than you having my back.  You have brought out a strength in me that I didn't know I had.  You have taught me how to use it without force but with recognition.  You are more than just my buddy or pal, you are my canine soul-mate, here for a purpose and reason.  How can I begin to thank you for just being here when everything you have given me has been more than just being here?  What a rare and treasured gift you are and thank God there is only one of you!  :)

Forever Brut, I love you.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

The Secret of the Leaf Piles

 I found the secret with my dogs about their bathroom habits a couple of years ago and it still amazes me every time I go to clean up the yard. 

After having a litter of puppies and finally being down to two, Zappa and Fiona, plus Brut and Silver, I was just grateful they were going outside that I didn't care much where they did it. I also wasn't making any special trips in the middle of a snowstorm at odd hours of the night to teach them to use a particular area of the back of the yard and so I was left with a mine field to clean up. 

I was stumped at how to retrain the dogs to use certain areas of the yard.  Especially the older dogs.  I didn't see much success with them.  When the puppies were a year old, I was raking leaves and we had a burn ban because it was so dry, so I left the piles to sit until I could take care of them.  When I went out to clean up the yard the next day, low and behold, they were using the leaf piles.  A light bulb went off.  So I arranged the piles at their favorite spots and they continued to use them.  The first year was about an 80% success rate and by the second year is was more like 90%.  Now I would say I can count on knowing where to walk in our yard.  I couldn't figure out how in the world I could retrain them and they did it for me!  It still blows my mind when I do my yard duty that I didn't have to do anything, they did it on their own.  I don't have to do anything but rake the leaves from the fall into the same piles.  Fantastic!!

I have no idea if this would work for other dogs or not, heck, I still don't know how it worked for my dogs, but the whole thing has been a life saver and it even works in the winter.  That is just so cool!!  It is equally great that we have a yard full of trees, which means endless leaves , and a forest floor, so there is no lawn or grass to kill.  Somebody up there was listening, because this was one thing I could never do on my own!  Isn't it simply amazing how things just work themselves out?          

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Hell Has Frozen Over!!


Check your calendars!  This rare celestial occurrence may never be seen again.  Brut and Zappa on the same couch as Daddy.  For those of you who are wondering why two dogs laying on the couch with their Daddy is such a strange phenomenon, let me tell you. 

Brut and Zappa are father and son, who continually challenge each other for top dog position and especially for Daddy's attention.  The fact that they are laying contently for these few moments without trying to kill each other is a miracle under these settings.  Every so often there is a whisper of hope that we can't ignore even under what would usually be a tense situation.  

What may seem like an every day happening for someone else, is a quiet blessing in ours.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Silver, Why Are You Crying?

Can you see me cuddling with my best friend Alex?

Silver was an intense dreamer from the time we brought her home.  As a young pup in deep sleep her eyes would flutter, her ears would twitch and her paws would flicker as if running.  Sometimes she gave low growls or high pitched yipes and her tail would start thumping. 

At bedtime, after Daddy would sing her 'Rock-a-bye-Baby,' Silver would crawl into her 'den' under our bed and we'd all fall asleep. 

Then suddenly I would be jolted upright by the sounds of intense sobbing from under the bed.  In a panic I would reach under the bed as far as I could to soothe Silver in her distress.  Her dreams seemed to be a of grave pain as her body would heave with sadness and shake uncontrollably.  Almost every night the cycle would continue until sometime after she had her litter of puppies.  Then they began to diminish.

I have often wondered what she dreamt about that seemed to bring her such sorrow.  Sometimes I would think it was because her best friend Alex was going to die some day.  For I've seen her have 'happy dreams' after he died when I believe she is reunited with him.

I have never had a dog that dreamt so intensely and none of the other dogs do it to the extent that Silver does.  Sometimes it scares me as to what she could be dreaming about that seems to upset her so much.  I wonder if she is having nightmares or if she is 'seeing' something that we can't.  I wonder what it means that they don't happen as often as they used to.  What changed in her little world that brings more comfort than before?  I still believe her dreams were centered around Alex, but like a Tootsie pop, the world may never know.

And for our friends in Japan,  Paws Crossed with Prayers  

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Joy Ride

Blaze:  That Daddy is a crazy driver!
Chance:  I think I'll take it from here.

Chance:  Keys!!  Where's the keys??

Blaze:  I think we've been made!!
Chance:  Next time!!

Join for a ride on the Blog Hop...
Hosted by Life with Dogs, The Two Cavaliers and Confessions of the Plume.

Friday, March 11, 2011

What I've Learned About Dog Sledding

My hero's, Chance and Blaze

From my little bit of personal experience, and with what I've read, seen and heard about mushing, it can be a very physical sport.  Especially in the training phases.  Of course having the proper equipment and trained dogs makes for half the battle. 

You can be constantly on and off the sled, to correct dogs, untangle them or having them change position and quickly having to hop back on before they take off again.  You may have to run behind them such as going uphill or run along side of them in teaching them how to lead.  Since usually you start working with your lead dog first you can find yourself more off the sled than on.

When I take Chance by himself, we work as a team on the tougher parts, especially when the snow is wetter and more difficult for him to pull me through and going up hill.  I either have one foot on the sled and pushing with the other foot, or I am running behind it.

Your lead dog is the most important key to the team.  There must be a strong trust between the lead dog and driver as they must know the commands inside and out.  Lead dogs also must know how to navigate when conditions change and be able to signal when there is danger ahead. The other dogs of the team must respect the lead dog and learn to follow their leader.

Obviously having the right sled can make the difference between a new car and a clunker.  It must be sturdy enough to handle the stress of the pull of the dogs.  Different sizes and kinds are made for the amount of dogs that will be pulling.  It also must be flexible, light and HAVE BRAKES!!  :) 

 We are in the process of buying a used sled from a friend of ours.  I think it will be hard to beat our homemade version made of a chair and skis.  BOL!  The difference of running one dog as opposed to two is tremendous.  I can use my foot to slow down or stop one dog, but find it slips out from under me when I have two.  Which is how I end up using my knees or fall flat out on the snow to stop.  Every musher has fallen or slip off a sled.  It is just the nature of the sport when you have dogs pulling you.  Even being pulled by one dog still in training and you are just riding there is a physical restrain on your body just balancing and hanging on.  We have clocked two dogs pulling at around 30 miles an hour while hanging on to a handle and standing on runners that are thinner than you boots.  It can be quite a feat, but it also a rush.  The sport is addictive.  I always come home more exhausted and sore than I started out, but nothing beats the thrill of it and watching my dogs enjoying the run.  It is hard to give up because of a few pulled muscles and I never get to do it enough. 

We did get snow last night, but the plow, that never comes down our road, took it all away.  I am a little sore, but doing OK.  I felt ready to go if I could have.  What can I say?  I'm hooked.       


Thursday, March 10, 2011

Sledding Thoughts and Liar, Liar Revealed

Thanks to all your comments about our sled dog practice.  Both Chance and Blaze were out of the rest of the night.  BOL  They both popped into shape for walk time today.  While I on the other hand feel like I've bench pressed 142 pounds (Chance and Blaze's combined weight)  about 150 times!!  But it was worth it!!  I am still reeling from beginning to sled as a unit.  As I was relaying the scenario to my husband last night, I realized after I got the dogs harnesses on, they lined up at the gate and waited for me to hook them up without dancing and twisting each other up before we got started.  THAT  was some huge progress.  I am so amazed at the whole experience and that we were actually working together.  Usually it is them against me.  They think they have having a free for all, while I'm trying to control these wild creatures.  BOL  I am blown still blown away that giving Chance the command after calling to him, that he was showing signs of responding and that something clicked in me to start doing that.  What an amazing relationship we can have with animals and the gift they bring.  I am still glowing from the entire ride.

The best part is that we got more snow today, so we may have another chance after all!!  Of course I don't know how my body will take to that, BOL, but it may be a little bit easier if I can dig a little further into getting Chance to respond.  It will help that we just went yesterday and a with a good day or two rest, I think we can handle it again.  My husband will be around, so I'll be sure to get some video!  Then you'll all have a really good laugh!!     

And now, on to the Awards seen here.  Thanks to everyone who voted and now the truth will be revealed...

My style............................My husband's

1.  No country music fans here.  I am into heavy metal/hard rock/alternative and my husband likes blues and 70's rock. 

2.  My husband handles tools like they an extension of his hands.  He is an excellent skilled carpenter and can build, fix, remodel or repair anything.

3. Green thumb? I love plants. Simply put our house is like an inside jungle.

My husband's current woodwork skills and a piece of our little jungle.
5.  Organized?  BOL!  Being organized in this house means only if it is fixed down!  If it can be moved, it never sits in the same spot twice!

The Real Truth is #4!!

Woke up one day to a giant web made by baby spiders that took up half my kitchen table.

I do love spiders.  Then have a special meaning for me.  In some Native American cultures they are a sign of change.  So our home has become a no-kill zone for spiders and I will catch them and set them free outside.  I do it with all insect really, but spiders are just one of my favorites.  My husband shakes his head every time.

Rudy-the dog with a blog, Mr. Pip, Melissa, and Lavi guessed correctly.  You have each won a hug for your dog from me.  BOL!!

Thank you for the fun!  I had a great time with this Award.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

One last time!

Long time readers may have noticed we haven't been reporting on any dog sledding adventures.  There's a good reason, we haven't had enough snow.  We are used to having at least a foot or two, yet this year has been quite lacking.
Last night we finally had just enough snow on the road and I've been itching go out one last time.  Ice and rain is in the forecast, it was now or never. 

I decided to keep the run to the end of our road and back, which is about a half of a mile.  This helps me mentally as the chances of traffic, dogs or people is next to nil. This also keeps the dogs in a contained area that I can handle, as I was nervous.  Running two dogs is my limit as there are no brakes on our homemade sled which means using my body weight to help slow them down. 

Chance and Blaze took off out the gate and I have no idea how I even manage to get on the sled.  They were both cruising, adrenal pumping, when I look up to see three whitetail deer standing in the middle of the road.  I swear they were having a stare down with the dogs!  The deer finally scooted off as the dogs were hurling towards them while I took my first body slam of the ride making sure they didn't follow the deer down the path.  I was laughing so hard, I don't know how I even held on to the sled.  I don't actually know if Chance and Blaze were planning on following the deer, but I wasn't taking any chances!

When we reached the stop sign, I gave the turn around signal.  They complied fairly smoothly with a little coaxing and we headed back down the road.  About half way through I realized two things:  The work I have done with Chance walking and using sled commands, stop, Gee (right), Haw (left) and turn around were starting to sink in while he was sledding.  Second, when I called Chance's name before the command, I found he was listening and responding.  Since we are all beginners at this, that may not seem like a lot but it was like hitting a milestone for me.  The light bulb went off when I spoke to the dog whom I needed to execute.  What a difference!  And when you're working at the speed of two sled dogs, both quite powerful by themselves, it is difficult to think that quickly sometimes in a moment of panic.  Sort of like when you learning to drive and hit the accelerator instead of the brake.  So this was huge on my part. 

We went up and down the road three times.  I was completely impressed with Chance and Blaze and myself.  Even more so because it has been over two months since the last time we went out and I learn something new every time.

There was a sense of teamwork this time by putting my trust and commands in Chance.  A bonding with Chance, that was by voice alone.  Something was catching on for both of us, I could feel it start to click about half way through the run.  Which meant I wasn't handling the entire weight of the ride on my shoulders, literally.  I was able to rely on Chance to take some of the responsibility and he did beautifully for his first time doing that. 

And let's not forget Blaze.  Blaze was following Chance.  Something clicked for her when he started to take control and she also caught on.  My little crazy Blaze was giving up control to Chance and she did fantastic!  We were all starting to work together and it was one of my best rides with them yet.

**If you haven't already, please check out yesterday's blog award, we need your guesses.  Which one is the truth??**


Tuesday, March 8, 2011

A Correction, An Anwer and Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire!!

First I have a correction:  I listed the EAR CLEANSING FORMULA on Doggie Medicine Cabinet that I got from Hound Girl wrong.  I already changed it on the post but, it should be 3 parts rubbing alcohol and 1 part vinegar.  Here is the actual post from Hound Girl about Dog Ears.  

******* ******* ****** ****** ******* ******* ****** *****
Second:  Monday Memories-Where's Chance?
For everyone who guessed the puppy laying down on the left...
You were right!!

I was so impressed with how many people guessed correctly, when I had to cheat to figure it out myself.  BOL!!

And here was Fiona during the white puppy get together.  Sleeping with all her stuffie friends!!
Much better than hanging out with her brothers!!

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And third:  Thanks to Kristine at Rescued Insanity for this awesome and crazy award.

Now I must pass it on to five recipients:

Next:  To tell five facts about yourself.  Four of them are fabrications and one the whole truth.
See if you can guess which one is real.

1.  My husband and I are huge country music fans.  We prefer the older stuff, like Hank Williams Sr. and Johnny Cash.

2.  My husband is lousy with tools.  I have to show him how to use a hammer and he is scared of power tools. 

3.  I have a terrible green thumb, once a plant has entered my house it might as start digging it's grave.

4.  I love spiders.  I won't let my husband kill any in the house. I catch them and put them outside.

5.  My husband is highly organized.  He drives me crazy needing everything to be just so.

So there you have it.  Can you guess which one is the truth?

And thanks again to Kristine for this great and fun Award.


Monday, March 7, 2011

Monday Memories-Where's Chance?

We had four white puppies born into the litter, 3 boys and 1 girl.  We tied different colored ribbons around the boy's neck to tell them apart until they were old enough for collars.  I was around them so much, I was eventually able to tell them apart by their features and behaviors.

These are the boys.  Can you guess which one is Chance?

If you are having a hard time, don't feel bad, I had to look at previous shots so I could see their collars to know who's who!!  After three years it's amazing what was once so simple because I saw them everyday has turned into a challenge for me.  

Here's a hint:  He's one of the outside ones. 

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Aggression Corrections?

I tend to be quite a puzzle solver when it comes to psychological behavior.  I like to figure things out for myself using the least amount of tools and basic theories.  When it comes to dealing with Brut in particular, I have found that I have a natural instinct for handling his aggressions with Zappa.  It has evolved over the course of time, as I've learned from my mistakes, going from pulling them apart in fights to prevention.  I began to learn Brut's signals until gradually over time able I was able to find his warning signs and stop anything before it started.  The results have been dramatically and didn't come easy.  Neither dog has ever been hurt except for a scratch or two and most of the time they ignore each other.

Handling Brut and Zappa has become part of my being.  The trouble is that I can't seem to explain to Daddy how to do it.  Brut has taken Daddy on as a possession, since he has started walking Brut. It has caused a slight riff again between Brut and Zappa again.  Daddy has a soft heart and I have done most of the serious discipline.  I have been watching these interactions, trying to break down to Daddy what Brut is doing and how he needs to react.  It is like trying to describe to someone how to breathe.  So I broke down, went to the library and tried to find a book that could help.

The selections were not the best, but I thought I had found one that might work.  As I read to the main sections I was interested in, aggression between dogs and corrections, to my horror I found this book also believes in negative reinforcement and punishment.

For corrections, they stated using a choke chain or pinch/prong collar.  Two things I have never used, as I do not care for either.  Another correction is the "Alpha Rollover.  I have used this method in order to gain control of a fight.  I rarely use it, but I believe it is safe only because it is language the dog understands.  Dogs do this to other dogs in establishing dominance.  For me, it is a non-violent expression that I won't tolerate this behavior.  Some don't believe in it, but it has been effective for me.

The next correction they list is called the "Shake."  To my horror I read how to grab the dog by the loose skin on both sides of the jaw, lift the dog off the ground and literally shake some sense into the dog until he gives into submission.  Shaking the dog until his neurons are rearranged and the dog is disorient.  I shook as I read this.  I can not begin to understand how or why you would do this or what the dog actually learns from this let alone how effective it's method would actual be.  It was horrifying.

If that wasn't bad enough, there a method called the "Cuff. This is suppose to effective for 'nipping' dogs or if there is no response from the "Shake."  This is knocking the bottom jaw in an upward motion with a fist.  Are you're jaws dropping yet?  And this is in print.  And what is it suppose to mean, if the "Shake" doesn't work?  If the dog is suppose to be disoriented after a shake, why the hell would you need to cuff the dog too?

There were a few other methods, squirt bottles, hanging (picking dog up by collar until front paws are off the ground),  making banging sounds, etc..  All of these methods were mentioned in the dog-dog aggression section.  I achieved the same results that they concluded without "Shaking" my dog or cuffing him or any other method that I saw as violent and disturbing.  I am still flabbergasted by this reading.
It is like giving permission to be abusive to your dogs and you can still look at this book today.  I found it in the library.  It still exist somewhere.  It was copyrighted in 1950, (first clue), but then was republished in 1995.  That I have a very difficult time with.  Haven't we come any further than these barbaric methods?

So needless to say, I didn't need to read anymore.  I didn't need to read what I had.  I ran outside with the dogs to feel the peace of the snow, the mild night, and if I didn't need a pat on the back, I got one.  The dogs ran around showing off for me, Zappa and Brut in their respective places as I witnessed the beauty of these creatures that I have had the wonder and awe in partaking of their lives.  So many times, I am unsure of what I do, uncertain of the gift I have, but a simple reminder puts everything back in perspective again.

Now, if I can just figure out how to teach my husband...BOL


Thursday, March 3, 2011


I think my dogs take care of me more than I take care of them.  Sometimes it is more than the basics care or even the love that is put into it.  There is a constant of well being and protection in every part of the house.  I tend to go through some real rough patches and just the fact that the dogs are there can mean more than any affection they can give me.  It goes deeper than just understanding and knowing, it is the peace that evolves from this place.  To just be.  To be able to just accept and take in that they are there.

In the quiet of the night there have been many times I have taken the dogs out, thinking they want to play.  Instead we find ourselves listening to wind and the dogs barking in the night.  It is in these moments that by following the dogs direction I quiet my mind and listen.  That's when I discover it isn't always about doing, it is about being.  I may not be able to pick up on all the sights and sounds, but by stilling my mind, I get a taste of it.  Becoming in tune with the slightest movements they give signals their focus that leads me in the rhythm of their spirits.

More than often I am engrossed with the need 'to do' and what I am not 'doing' enough.  It is easy to get spread thin with 6 dogs divided.  Yet, every time I hear them howl together,  I find a unique oneness that brings them together and what surprises me more is that they always end together.  I always stop during these howling session to listen.  To listen to all six dogs singing together in their blended harmony.  No matter the strife any of them have with one another, it is the one place where they come together and blend into unison.  It is like magic.  It is a high like no other and often we join them.  For in those moments we are complete.  Putting everything aside to be in that moment.  I never tired of this beautiful demonstration of their love and the simple message to be.  A universal communication that we are all one, despite our differences.  How many times have you listened to a howling dog video and your dogs have joined in?

Have you taken the time to just be with your dog?

You can listen to the Howling Choir on our previous post:  The Sounds of the Hounds

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Sounds of the Hounds

I think the 'puppies' are part hound.  No, really.  It is more than the fact that their noses are on 24/7, especially Chance and Fiona.  I figured out that Silver's father wasn't a purebred Black Lab.  He was not built like a Lab, he had a much slimmer and sleeker body structure.  Silver was built the same way and we had always attributed it to the Husky in her.  Until one day Zappa got on a barking spiel and wouldn't quit, then Silver wrangled in with her Indian War Cry, which then set off Chance's belting from the other side, until all of the dogs had joined in and we had a regular Howling Choir going on.

That's when I began to realize those were not Husky cries or howls, those were the sounds of the hounds!

The Howling Choir is a daily tradition.  We can even start them on cue, although it is nowhere as good when it is their idea!!   Darn independent thinkers!!

Here's a clip from the Front Dogs side singing at the door of separation from the Back Dogs:  Please excuse the sideways glance, we weren't able to upright it.

Listen to Chance get down!!

Now you be the judge.  Are these Husky cries?  Or are they the call of the Hounds?
Or could it be a little of both?

PeeS.  Please don't tell Daddy about that his precious Husky/Lab mixes might be part Hound.  It will break his heart!  BOL

Tuesday, March 1, 2011


With 6 dogs and two cats we do what we can to avoid going to the vet unless absolutely necessary, except for their shots and a yearly check up.  I don't like to give medicines unless I believe it is warranted.  Here are some of our magic bullets in the doggie medicine cabinet.

GINGER-when Zappa was first learning to ride in the car, he would get carsick.  We bought a bottle of ginger capsules and gave him one capsule about 20 minutes before leaving took care of his nausea.  We only had to use it two or three times and he was fine after that.

THERMOMETER/VASELINE-A dog's temperature should be between 100F-102F (38C-39C).  When Silver was pregnant I had to check her temperature once a day, so she definitely needed her own tools!  :)

PUMPKIN-Every fall, I cut up a pumpkin and freeze it.  I learned that it was good for cats that have diarrhea and then later found it was good for dogs too.  

PEPTO-BISMOL-I use this mainly for diarrhea, but my vet has suggested it can be used for upset stomachs also.  I rarely use it any more, as the pumpkin works great, but before I knew about the pumpkin I used Pepto-Bismol.  Giving the liquid form doesn't go down easy and is a mess to clean up, not to mention that most of what I gave my dogs ended up on the floor.  I discovered they have a tablet form and it is as easy as giving a pill.  I think it is one of the greatest inventions they could think of for my dogs.  :)

TODDLER SOCKS-We use these for cuts on the paw or pad and they work great.  We have also cut the toes out for minor leg injuries that need to be covered.  Hence the Boo-Boo Socks.

TRIPLE ANTIBIOTIC CREAM-I use this on any minor cuts or injuries to help keep clean.

PROBIOTICS-I have these in capsule and powder form and use them to assist with any cuts or injuries.  I haven't used oral antibiotics in two years and haven't had any infections yet.

EAR CLEANSING SOLUTION-I got this formula from Hound Girl, who received it from her vet.  3 parts rubbing alcohol to 1 part vinegar.  Works great!  I also keep gauze and cotton swabs on hand for cleaning ears, along with a syringe when I need to flush them out.

BENEDRYL-Works great for bee, wasp or any stinging insect.  Zappa once had one side of his face swell up because of a low-hanging wasp nest.  The vet recommended Benedryl.

These are some our little tricks of the trade.  What are some of yours?

**Disclaimer** Always check with your vet before administering any medications to your pet.  This post is in no way intended to be used for diagnoses or treatment for you pet.  Please consult with your vet for any medical treatment. 

**Note**We are in no way getting reimbursed for any of these products nor are we promoting them.  We just use them because they work on our pets and most were vet recommended.