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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

Friday, March 29, 2013


Every night I sit here writing and talking to you out there after the dog house shuts down for the night and everyone is in their beds.  Silence, peace as the homestead breathes in sleep, I am up sharing about the furry lights of love that make up our family.  And except for Princess Leia (my little Siamese) squeaking and squawking for her last bit of loving for the night, all is quiet.  And this is where I reflect on my day with the dogs and find those juicy nuggets that filled my heart to share with you.  The same reasons we started this blog still fuels me today almost three years later.  For the love of  a dog.  For the ways they change your life.  The best friend that is just waiting to come out and be there for you.  The lessons, the gifts, so many I'd need an encyclopedia to fill.  And how sometimes words can't describe a thing about a dog, being so definitive and limited that photos only fills in half the gap.  A tender kiss, swallowed whole by their eyes into pools of love and affection, some days I just drowned inside them.  Where their fierce protection embraces me to never let me go.  And I curl up inside them and breathe again.  It is mystical the pull these animals can have on your life.  It never ceases to astound me.  And as we are drawn in with the magnetic force bringing us closer as one we are and are becoming the 24 Paws of Love.      

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Brut security

can't shake the uncertainties,
or doubts
that are vibrating my brain
that's where you come in
my protector
where I can hide my face
from the world
wrapped in your strong love
i am safe

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Nature vs. Nurture: Chance and Fiona


Chance and Fiona two of the white dogs from our litter.  Fiona was kept from birth, steady love, attention, and care.  Chance on the other hand went to a new home at 9 weeks old and was returned to us at almost a year old.  His ribs were showing, he was scared and kept looking for the boy that had abandoned him.   Two completely different backgrounds, yet both Chance and Fiona have similar personalities and traits that make you wonder about nature vs. nurture.

They both pull their partners tail during play.

They were both scared of being brushed.

Both are quiet dogs by nature and it has taken a long time to teach them how to "speak" on command.

They each love to run.  I mean really, really love to run.

Chance is the largest male by weight and size and Fiona is the largest female.

They are both love to steal food.

Both are always trying to get their partners to play with them.

And they are both afraid of the vacuum.

Considering that Chance was gone for almost a year except those first nine weeks from birth, you'd think they would be much more opposites, or at least that's what I would think.  I think it's the tail pulling and not liking to be brushed are the ones that stand out the most for me.  Interesting isn't it?

Monday, March 25, 2013


After what I thought was a good walk with Brut, I woke up the next day with the right side of my neck, shoulder blade, all the way to my lower back and hips screaming in pain. And it wasn't just because of Brut, it was an accumulation of all the dogs.  I'd had enough.  It took several days to heal from what felt all my back muscles being pulled through my arm and I decided to invest in my resting time from walking the dogs wisely.  Training them to put on and use the E-Z Walk Harness that my wonderful friend Pamela suggested.  She had mentioned it before but I wasn't sure a harness would work for the dogs because they pull sleds.  But I was willing to do about anything at this point.  As much as it was hurting my body to walk the dogs it was nothing compared to the mental torture I was going through being pulled by them.

So far it is working great.  

I've tried it with Fiona, Zappa and Chance.  My easy pullers.  I have yet to try it on Brut and Blaze uses a Halti-like head halter already and is pretty skittish about the harness right now, so I'm waiting with her.  And Silver doesn't need one.  

I've always used a clicker method that you stop when the dog pulls, wait until the dog looks at you and then continue on, repeating as you go.  Well I've done this, though not so greatly, with Brut since he was young.  Six years of trying the same thing and getting same results.  See I always hated stopping and stopping and stopping that I would just give up and give in.  It drove me crazy.  And I was trying this method on Fiona with the harness and she finally sat down, looking exasperated.  She sat for about five to ten minutes before we heading home.  Somewhere in the pause, I realized to let the harness work for me.  It is suppose to turn your dog and many of you have told me to keep turning your dog and they will learn to follow you, so that's what I did.  And it's working.  I'd much rather walk in circles and back and forth than constantly stop every two steps.  And I think the dogs like it too.  On that same walk I took Fiona back out on the road after her long stop turning this way and that and she was walking next to me in minutes!  

My biggest problem is that I'm so used to having tension on the leash I don't realize it soon enough.  But I am trying my best to be more aware of the strained leash and more importantly I remember how sore I was after that last walk with Brut and how I don't want to be there again.  

So for now Brut is getting his walks from Daddy as with the rest of the dogs where they can walk any which way they want.  But when they come with me, we get to use the harness.  And so far, we're having a pretty good time.

This post is dedicate to Pamela from Something Wagging This Way Comes, who suggested I try this and it had helped her with her dog Shadow.  Thanks so much Pamela.  Maybe this time will be the time!  

Friday, March 22, 2013

The Gentle Beast

I was just sitting watching Brut and thought, I wish all of you could get to know him like I do.  He isn't the monster I once thought him to be so long ago.  Some may never get past his aggressive behaviors with other dogs and I understand that.  I used to be like that.  But one on one with someone he trust tends to break all those rules of what this awesome dog is like.

When I really take the time to get in tune with him and he feels safe and unguarded Brut is a spectacular being.  He has a very expressive face.  He can show you humor, disregard, or sarcasm with the quick switch of his facial muscles.  But it is Brut's eyes that set the stage.  Full to the brim with love, security and a burning torch that sets his face ablaze as each emotion flickers through.

And as I sit with this magnificent being on the floor as he wrestles my hand for more face rubs, I think of what that terrible trainer/behaviorist said to us about Brut's aggression;  we were just managing it.  As if to say that we should be changing the behavior.  But from what I've witnessed about Brut for the last six years isn't a behavior problem.  I honestly think he has some form of brain damage from before we picked him out.  The similarities between Blaze, Chance and Brut's attention span is short and their emotional growth is slow.  All of them have anxiety and fear that can sky rocket..  And I know for a fact that Blaze and Chance were hit and I know that Brut was too.  And I find myself constantly grouping these three together as they are set apart from the other three dogs.  Brut, Chance and Blaze are a little bit special in a familiar way that goes deeper than just being father and children.  For if anything Brut should relate more to Zappa and Fiona (the two pups we kept from the litter), but it is their siblings, Chance and Blaze who left and were returned to us abused that I see Brut relates to the most.

So while I get to see a different side of Brut than most, I appreciate the whole package he delivers.  He's taught me things no human could have done in my own recovery and for that we have each other's back.  He used to scare me quite a bit, I never knew what to expect from him and now we have found an understanding that lies between and within us.  And full blooded love.


Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Happy Spring??

Up here we have a different kind of spring!

(On YouTube)

Happy Springtime!

Love, the 24 Paws of Love

Monday, March 18, 2013

What are some of your other interest?

Since I'm dealing with a bit of writer's block, I thought I would try something creative and veer off the topic of dogs for a while and into gardening.  My second favorite thing next to dogs.

I usually just concentrate on veggies, I don't mess around with flowers except I like to plant sunflowers all around the front of the house.  So I will start veggie seeds indoor this week, as we usually aren't able to plant until the first of June (hopefully) and with the short growing season of about two and half months those seedlings need all the help they can get.

I like to keep things easy and affordable or it's no fun.  I don't like to fuss over the garden.  Like compost, I used what's on hand:  leaves, ashes from wood, straw and duck poop.  So even Luigi does his part!  Duck manure is considered a hot manure and needs sit for a year before being ready to use.  So I have a small compost pile that I rotate from spring to spring

The main veggies I plant are:   tomatoes, cucumbers, green and hot peppers, onions and carrots. Each year I try to plant something new and different I haven't planted before or try another veggie again that didn't succeed very well.  Last year I tried broccoli, which turned out great and I'd like to do again. The dogs loved it!   This year I'm going to try again at growing lima beans.  I had some luck with them last year, but I started my seeds too late to get a good amount.

I only have so much room as my garden is small raised structure that hubby built where it has the best possible sun, considering the amount of trees we are surrounded by.

I use a method called "companion gardening," an age old method of growing certain plants together to benefit each other.  It helps in warding off insects, disease and helps each plant grow.  Two things I've learned:  put radishes in your cucumber hills and you'll rid yourself of the cucumber beetle.  (May work for squash as well) and that peppers grow great next to broccoli.  The cucumber beetle was actually sucking the life out of my newly planted cucumbers because I'd been lazy about planting the radishes in them.  When I finally did my cucumbers came back to life in a jiffy.  And I'd heard conflicting results about putting broccoli next to green peppers, but my green peppers flourished next to them and were some of the biggest and best I've ever grown.

I love gardening.  I am always amazed by the miracle of the seed and the power each hold within them, that with just the right conditions becomes the impossible.  It still boggles my mind.  There's nothing like just connecting with the Earth.  And no better excuse to play in the dirt!  And of course the dogs love eating out of it just as much as we do!

So what are some of your other interest?

Friday, March 15, 2013

It just makes us sick!

Brut wasn't happy about the news either.

Another site of animal cruelty that tug on our heartstrings as we watched the local news.  40-50 Husky mixes that may have been sled dogs at one time.  Malnourished, underweight, cover in their own feces with at least one young litter or two that were still nursing.  And it just breaks your heart over and over again.

This time though it really got to my husband and I as we watched.  We were still talking about it the next day, that's how bothersome it was for us.  Beautiful dogs being hurt and the fact that they may have been sled dogs pulled on us hard.  Sled dogs need to eat more, high protein and fat diets to maintain their weight they work off and being able to maintain their condition for living outdoors.  

We wanted to save them all.  Some.  Even one.  And it was another time we could do nothing but pray.  

I hope they pay for what they did to those dogs.

You can read about it HERE.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

They need to be taken care of

 Oh, I can never get this just right!

I was brushing my cat Boxer, which I don't enough because he gets too excited and claws my lap, but I needed a distraction from the leg pain I was having.  Later putting everyone to bed that night the thought struck me:  Pets are designed to be taken care of.  Boxer can surely take care of his grooming necessities, but that extra care of me brushing him helps take care of himself even better.  Since he has a nervous habit of excess licking sometimes, when I give him some TLC it helps in ridding of excess hair, stimulates his oil glands and slows the excessive licking.  The comfort of the brushing massage helped calm Boxer down and the purrs of heat he generated calmed me as well and helped with my leg pain.  

And this is just one example.

Domesticated animals are created with a need for humans, but that is not always the other way around.  If thrown in the wild to care for themselves, how many of them would make it?  More times than not they are hard wired to be with humans.  And this is the thought that struck me:  Pets don't grow up and become more and more independent.  They don't eventually learn how to do things for themselves and leave home to start their own lives.  Pets are dependent on us humans to help them with their needs.  I believe it is in their genetic makeup to be drawn to humans for the care they need.

I'm sure there are exceptions, but I believe that would be at the hands of hurtful humans where their spirits have been broken and may never return.  I once had a discussion with someone who thought if she let her dogs loose, they would gladly return to the wild without a look back.  And I disagree with that.  I argued that even if they didn't come back to her, they would still seek out humans for help.

What do you think?  Would your dog gladly leave to return to their roots or would they find someone to help them get home?  Do you think that pets have the genetic makeup to be cared for and seek us out or not? 

      Send them all loose!  Let's see how long they last!!

Friday, March 8, 2013

Why Brut didn't make the cut for the Iditarod

There's a reason Brut pulls firewood and helps me haul it in on the sled.  
Because on the road, Brut + Sled = Brut's the boss.

(Watch on  YouTube)

Guess we'll have to try out again next year!!

*BTW-that was the first time Brut has ever done that with the horses.  He saw his chance and took it!  

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Absence makes the heart grow fonder...

Where are they?  Don't they know it's past dinner time?

We were on our way home from an out of town appointment that's close to about four hours round trip not including the office visit.  About an hour from home, I start to worry a bit about the dogs.  Hoping they are OK, knowing it is past dinner time and I start to get excited about seeing them again.  It's then that I start thinking, I don't know if I could ever do an overnight trip without the 24 Paws, because about an hour before getting home or by the fifth hour we're away I start worrying and thinking about how much I can't wait to see them.  Sure I can't wait to take a break and get away, I've even dreamed of taking vacations, but really I can't stay away from the dogs for too long.  They are my sanity, security and comfort that I start to long for when we do leave for short day trips.

Not to mention the wonderful woo-woo greetings we get and how happy we are to see each other.  How do people live without that?  Or how about the dog owners that completely ignore that enthusiastic welcome?  It is too precious and sweet not to rejoice in reuniting with each other.  I don't even get up from my chair or leave the computer when hubby comes home after a long day of work.  I should be so passionate in my hello to him like the dogs are.  :)

Your home!  Your home!  Your finally home!

It had been a long day for everyone so I took a little special time with each dog to tell them how much I loved them.  Belly rubs, hugs, scritches, kisses to thank them for being the great healers they are for my body, soul and mind as I got them ready for bed.  And my day was complete.  Couldn't ask for better.  It was just great to be home.  Home with the 24 Paws of Love.

Does anyone else feel like this?

Monday, March 4, 2013

Self teaching dogs?

Now just do as I tell you Zappa!

So do you have dogs that do this?  Fiona and Zappa are the only two that have figured out how to practice their own training AND get extra treats.  

So lets say Fiona goes over to the door to bark at Blaze from behind the door, I catch her and tell her "leave it," she turns, gives me eye contact and walks away from door towards me.  Click and a treat.  Then she turns around and goes back to the door, so that I have to tell her "leave it" again.  And we run through the same scenario   This also happens when there is food I want her to leave alone. 

 Shhh...just play innocent!

And I don't know if Zappa figured it out before Fiona or learned from watching Fiona, but he will do the exact same thing.  And they are the only two that do that.  When I have treats out, the rest of the dogs won't walk away to get another one, they sit right there without moving.  Now who's the smarter ones out the two groups?  :)     

It's comical and frustrating at the same time.  Because here I am after one "leave it" and having success, I look up and Fiona or Zappa is going back for more.  Guess I'd better work on my focus and getting their attention for a little longer.  BOL!  Yes, they are always teaching me and keeping me on my toes.  And I love them for that!

On another note:

I'm starting to get bummed.  This was our third weekend of no dog sledding.  Just when we were starting to get in the groove!  The roads are too icy and I know March weather makes it ify to sled with all the freezing and thawing, I was just hoping with the snow and the cold it would hold off just a little longer.

So we took extra walks this weekend to make up for it.  I can tell Silver's back legs are starting to get a little stiff from not being able to sled.  But all hope is not lost, we live in Michigan and as we say "Don't like the weather?  Wait 5 minutes and it will change."

I hope we can get out just one more time...

And on the cat blog we're asking...

How does your cat handle going to the vet?
go HERE to read and comment

Friday, March 1, 2013

Grumpy's Story

Look at that "Grumpy" face!

A year ago on this date we got a call from a girl who owns one of our puppies to tell us Grumpy was in her care.  She wanted to give him back to us, as he had been "surrender" by both his owners.  Grumpy was the 6th born in Brut and Silver's litter.  This was the post I had written that day after the call.

Every night when I watch the news,  I am always keep an ear open for our “lost” puppies.  The ones we lost contact with after the first year.  The new owners were young and have went out of their ways to avoid us.  Even with a signed contract.  Every so often I check out the local Humane Society by chance that they may have ended up there. 

One puppy that we called Grumpy we haven’t seen since he was 6 months old.  We have pick up pieces of info through the last four years and heard how he has been shuffled from place to place.  We were always just out of reach of being able to connect with him.   

We got a call today from a girl who has one of our pups to tell me that Grumpy was in her care.  The original owner had ditch him, the girlfriend couldn't keep him and was ready to take Grumpy to the pound.  That’s when this girl called us.  For now Grumpy is in her care and is doing OK.  We are going to see him tomorrow and figure out what to do.

I've been in tears of relief and sorrow.  We have never given up on seeing him again, but not under these circumstances.  

I've made many mistakes with this entire breeding thing, one of the biggest was not understanding socializing.  You can label me anything you want, but one thing I always done long before conception was love every single one of those ten puppies.  And with love comes a responsibility that I never took lightly or for granted.  And even though I messed up, I have never questioned or backed out of my responsibility to every puppy in that litter.  And while because of my screw ups, we are in a position that is difficult to say the least and I don’t know exactly what we are going to do, but Grumpy is not going to the pound. 

So I’m asking for your prayers and the power of the paw to helps us find Grumpy a good home.  Whether it be with us or some wonderful person who will love him forever.


We went to see him the next day, not at the girl's house as originally planned, but at the owner's house.  

It took some time for him to remember us.  Slowly the pieces were coming together for him.  Touching Grumpy was like something out of dream.  My heart wanted to squeeze him in a big hug, but my hand just barely stroked his fur.  Three and a half years of never knowing, not seeing, I was afraid to breathe.

At one point we were sitting on the floor together, Grumpy and I, as I lightly petted his back, he turned and gave me a kiss and our eyes met.  I just melted.  My Grumpy was OK.

My husband just laid on the floor with him as they gazed into each other's eyes.

During our talk with the owner, we found out he had been shot within an inch of his life the previous fall.  Literally.  The bullet went in an inch from his heart and came out an inch from his jugular.  He was being watched over or we would have never seen him and the beautiful dog he became.

We made plans to pick him up that Saturday.

I was falling apart every which way when we left.  We were both so elated to just see him.  Now came the tough part of bringing him home.  We had some things to do before that which is why we planned on Saturday.

Saturday came and the entire town was shut down due to a freak snowstorm.  A couple feet under heavy, wet snow.  We were without power.  Everything was closed.  Something I've never heard or seen of and we have had our share of heavy storms.  Mother Nature was giving us a sign, we just didn't know what is was yet.

My heart was broken and relieved.  We still had some time to prepare.  We would find a way, some way any way to make this work.  We called.  Left messages.  Sent texts.  No answer.  No response.  Nothing.  With no contact, we didn't chance stopping at the house.  Everything was up in the air and left there until October of last year when we made a stop to talk to the girl who called us in the first place.  After Angel died we wanted to get in touch with the other puppies just to touch base.  That's when she told us that the owner had Grumpy put down.

And just like that it was all over. Grumpy was gone.  Our sweet little boy was gone...

He did father two litters, so there are little Grumpys out there somewhere, but the boy we knew as Grumpy was still gone.

We are both so grateful that  we were able to see him that one time and for what ever happened in the cosmos to make it happen, we did get to see our beautiful boy as an adult before he was called home.  And nothing can take that connection away.  It is treasured deep in our hearts for the love of a puppy named Grumpy.

    Rest in Peace my Sweet Grumpy