Sunday, July 29, 2012

Pepper, part 2

Pepper about a year old
So we got the puppy home and the first problem was her name. Apparently "Phoebe" wasn't as well liked as I had hoped. Names were thrown around and it was finally decided that the puppy would chose her own name. Each of us wrote our #1 pick on a piece of notebook paper, crumpled it into a ball and threw it on the floor. Whichever paper ball the puppy chewed first would be her name. She chose Pepper and Hubby tried not to gloat.

We were a busy family. The boys were in Scouts, one boy had football practice 3-4 days a week and we often spent the weekends on Grandad's farm. It was easier to just pack up the puppy and take her with us than to worry about rushing home to let her out of the crate. She didn't seem to mind. She went camping and hiking and sledding with us. She played with the kids at Scout meetings and kept me and the other moms company at football games. We were having fun. Years later I discovered that we were inadvertently "socializing" her. Cesar Milan would be proud.

Pepper was extremely food motivated. On the plus side, it made training easy -- she'd do anything for a treat. Unfortunately it also caused a lot of headaches. She was constantly in the trash, no matter how we tried to booby-trap the can. She chewed out the pockets of several jackets because a boy left a piece of candy inside. One time she ate half a dozen chicken enchiladas without removing the pan from the stove. Hubby and I each thought the other one had finished them off. Now that's talent!!

I could tell a hundred stories about Pepper. (Don't worry, I won't.) She made us laugh. She was smart too. And she had a deep, scary bark which kept most solicitors away. Even the Jehovah's Witnesses wouldn't come to our house. I guess my soul wasn't worth getting past that dog. We had her nine years before evil cancer took her away.

Its late and I need to go to bed. Before I go, here are a couple more pictures of the late, great Pepper. -- K

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Pepper, part 1

Pepper at 8 weeks
When Hubby and I were dating back in the late 1980's I told him that I liked dogs. He said OK, like it was no big deal. Who doesn't like dogs right? (I have since discovered that many people don't like dogs. Weirdos.) I tried to impress upon him that I really liked dogs -- big, furry, drooly dogs. When we got married I expressed my desire to get a dog as soon as possible. Twelve years later, after two kids, three duty stations (including an overseas tour) and seven moves, I finally got the green light. It was time to get a puppy. There was one caveat: base housing was changing the pet rules to no dogs over 20 pounds; if I wanted a big dog (duh!) I had to get it right away so it could be grandfathered in. No pressure!!

In January of 2000 we had a massive snow storm. Everybody was snowed in for days. Everybody but the base where I lived and worked, that is. While my friends were at home watching TV, I was manning the office. Except for the occasional phone call where I would cheerfully say "Yes, we're operational," I was bored stiff. I spent most of my day surfing the Internet. On I saw an ad for free puppies. I was so excited that called right away. The woman who answered told me that she had eight puppies -- six boys and two girls -- and their eyes weren't even open yet. And yes, I could come see them as soon as the roads cleared. I went home and told the family that we were finally getting a puppy!!

My puppy with the white toes
We drove 45 minutes to The Middle of Nowhere to look at the puppies. (In my excitement I had forgotten to check their address. Hubby was a bit annoyed.) I picked up each puppy and snuggled with it. Most of them squirmed and whined, but the female with the white toes settled down immediately. She was going to be my puppy. I was going to name her Phoebe. For six long weeks I dreamed of bringing home my puppy. I read training books, bought a crate, instructed the boys on puppy protocol. I also called the poor family in The Middle of Nowhere a dozen times to see how the puppies were doing. The day finally came, we could bring home the puppy! When we got to the farm the man said that the other female hadn't been spoken for, so I could have either one. I got down on my knees and called "Here puppies!" They all came running, eight beautiful black and tan fur balls. In the lead was the female with the white toes. It was a sign!

If only I had known that she would totally adore Hubby. Not me, the one who picked her, dreamed of her, loved her before her eyes opened. She was Daddy's Girl. *sigh*

See Part 2 of Pepper's story here.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Puppy Pining

I want a puppy. This isn't an impetuous decision. I've wanted to show dogs for 35 years. I figure I should start soon, else I'll be going around the ring with a walker! About 18 months back Hubby and I were discussing the cost of a quality AKC papered dog. He was floored -- which is funny because the man doesn't even blink at thousands of dollars in drum and motorcycle purchases -- and he made a comment like "Well, you'd better start saving now." (In his defense, he may have been trying to be helpful. I thought he was being sarcastic.) The next day I went to the bank and opened a CD. Every payday the bank moves a little bit of money from my checking account to my puppy fund. The original plan was to make other deposits along the way as well, but that didn't happen often. I suck at saving money (hence Hubby's comment). Still, I should have about $1700 when the CD matures in February.

I've been researching this idea for a while as well. I've been to dog shows, I've talked to breeders, I've read a gazillion books and blogs. I still feel like an idiot sometimes, but I get the gist of how champion points are earned, I can decipher a pedigree, and understand OFA hip and elbow ratings. I think I can do a decent job choosing a puppy. We have a club member* who is planning to breed her bitch. She and I have had long conversations on stud selection, artificial insemination and puppy socialization. She's put a lot of thought into her decision. I like her early puppy handling practices (more on that later). At last month's club meeting I told her I would like one of her puppies. Now we're just waiting on Zasha** to go into heat. With all this planning, why am I now feeling so guilty?

Here are some of the arguments I'm wrestling with. Maybe they won't seem so troubling if I write them down. (Thanks Inner Dr. Phil!)
  • I'm still grieving and worried about "replacing" Logan.
  • $1700 is a lot of money. I haven't been to visit my family in California in 10 years. That money could buy plane tickets.
  • As an animal control officer I urge people to adopt shelter dogs daily. It feels hypocritical to do otherwise.
  • What if, after all this time and money, I decide that I don't like showing after all? Even worse, what if I do like it but fail anyway?
Apparently I have some issues to work out before bringing home the puppy. I guess it's a good thing Zasha's not pregnant yet. And don't even get me started on puppy proofing the house . . . I'm sure that will be a post all its own. Until then, -- K

*I joined the German Shepherd Dog Club of North Florida shortly after we got Logan. I'm on the Board. I'm dog geek.

**Zasha is the club member's dog (the bitch), not the club member (not a "bitch").

I don't why I'm clarifying since I'm the only one reading this!

Thursday, July 19, 2012


Here are a couple of dog poems I found recently. I saw this first one in the vet's office:

It came to me that every time I lose a dog, they take a piece of my heart with them. Yet, every new dog who comes into my life gifts me with a piece of their heart. If I live long enough, all the components of my heart will be dog, and I will become as generous and loving as they are. 

-- Author Unknown

And this one was going around Facebook:

If you can get going without pep pills,
If you can resist complaining and boring people with your troubles,
If you can eat the same food every day and be grateful for it,
If you can understand when your loved ones are too busy to give you any time,
If you can overlook it when something goes wrong through no fault of yours and those you love take it out on you,
If you can take criticism and blame without resentment,
If you can ignore a friend's limited education and never correct him,
If you can resist treating a rich friend better than a poor friend,
If you can face the world without lies and deceit,
If you can conquer tension without medical help,
If you can relax without liquor,
If you can sleep without the aid of drugs,
If you can say honestly that deep in your heart you have no prejudice against creed, color, religion or politics,
Then, my friends, you are almost as good as your dog.

-- Author Unknown

Makes you want to log off and hug your dog, doesn't it? Go ahead, I catch you next time. -- K

Missing Logan

It's been six weeks since we lost Logan. I miss him. He was such a gentle soul. He loved to lie in the yard and play with his squeaky toys. He loved to have his ears and belly rubbed. And he loved me. Yes, Pepper and Roxy loved me, but each was devoted to another family member. Not Logan, he was totally devoted to me. He always met me at the door when I came home and would silently follow me from room to room. If I was watching TV in the living room, he was on the floor at me feet. If I moved to the computer room, he would lie in the doorway. And if I moved to the bedroom to read, he would quietly appear next to the bed. Now the house feels a bit . . . off. Empty, for lack a better word. It's hard to explain. I guess I'm still in mourning. I was going through some old photos the other day and found this one of Logan and his squeaky.

He looks so vicious in this picture, which is really funny. In reality he was a big goofball and a bit of a wuss. Hubby called him "Ferdinand" after the children's story about the bull who wanted to sit in the field and smell the flowers.

I also found this picture of me and Eli: The Best Dog Ever, circa 1977. (Check out that outfit!)

Eli was a great dog, also totally devoted to me. We used to explore the neighborhood together. Just me and my dog. He participated in my make believe games without protest. He kept all my childhood secrets and comforted my childhood fears. Dad didn't allow dogs on the furniture, but once the house was quiet Eli would jump into bed with me. The last few years of his life Eli was too old and arthritic to make the climb so I'd grab a pillow and sleep on the floor with him. He died when I was in High School. I still have his collar. It's in a box somewhere. We stumble upon it every few years during a move or clutter overhaul. I'll cry and say I'm not ready to part with it yet, and Hubby will put it on a shelf somewhere. My kids will probably find it after I die. Logan's collar is still in the trunk of my car. I put it there when we left the vet's office. I can't bear to bring it in the house yet.

Wow, now I'm feeling weepy. Nostalgia has turned into melancholy. Sorry. I hope the next post is happier. Guess you'll just have to log in and find out. -- K

Thursday, July 12, 2012


OK, I promised pictures. This is Logan (standing) and Pepper. Both great dogs that have since passed. They each have stories that I'll share later.

We only have one dog left, Roxy.

Isn't she gorgeous? I have plenty of stories about her too. I bet you're rethinking reading the blog now, hunh? Stay with me. It'll be fun. -- K


This is a blog about me and my dogs. And dogs in general. I have no idea who -- if anybody -- will read this. I plan to post interesting facts, musings and pictures. Lots of pictures. Who doesn't like pictures of dogs?!

This is my first blog -- ever -- so I apologize in advance if it sucks. I hope it'll improve with time. Until then, just look at the pictures. -- K