Showing posts with label dogs. Show all posts
Showing posts with label dogs. Show all posts

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Our Dog Mercy

She has a need to be alone. It is her primal nature, for she was bred in the north, Calgary, where the cold wind blows. She was meant to stay in solitude for hours in small spaces and to keep quiet, the perfect condominium animal, bred over twenty generations for solitude and minimal barking. Keeping still and silent is necessary for some animals, the owl, the snake, the wolf. Now it is in her genetic makeup as well.

In her essence: a she-wolf. She observes, focuses, and is a watchful waiter when human food is being consumed. Patient, patiently watching and waiting until that last bite, knowing it is saved for her,  is gratefully taken with intense poise into her gentle mouth. It is almost a kiss she gives when taking her small treat. Her mustache is smoothed down with a light human touch, and she is told she is loved.

This is her day: a short walk led by the man of the house, a bit of play time, kibble and water, and then sleep. For sleep consumes the majority of her day. Snuggling down into the pillows on the bed, uncovering the bolster if necessary in order to reach her master's down pillow, her favorite, she takes time to make her day nest. Here she will stay for hours, only nature's call for elimination of fluid urging her out of this nest that only she inhabits. The others in the house, her sister animal friend and the humans, do not inhabit this space of hers called the peoples' bedroom. Those others stay in their own dens doing whatever it is they do during the daytime hours...reading, knitting, cooking, talking. But here, on this bed and on the once forbidden pillow, she stays.

Occasionally, when dreaming, a slight whimper will come from deep within her throat. It is not unlikely that she yelps. Perhaps a play date with her sister dog is in her dreams, or maybe it is one of those pesky UPS men ringing the doorbell and making her jump to attention, shaking her from that sleepy lethargy. Whatever the cause, those yips and slight low growls sometimes can be heard from farther rooms when she is deep in slumber. Her distant presence is made known.

Now the night comes. The people in the house retire to this, her place, at night. At first she welcomes them, and snuggles down, this time at the foot of the bed, into the old down comforter throw that is kept just for her, although the feathers are slowing disengaging from the seams, and little white fluffs can be found on the bedspread beneath her silky throne. With the lights off, now surrounded by these human masters of her universe, she again settles and sleeps.

After two or three hours of this nighttime darkness, she awakens and feels the presence of the humans and realizes she is, indeed, not alone. She jumps from her downy nest on to the wooden floor, her toenails making a soft, padded sound. She yips, awakening her masters. They interpret the yipping noise to mean that she wants out to pee, and the one called Gene cooperates, reaching for his flashlight at the headboard of the bed, pulling himself up and out of slumber, releasing her out into the cold night air. Upon command, she performs her duty, and both the human and she return into the room.

Circling round just the right number of times, she replaces herself on the nest. She again sleeps. But I often wonder if what this canine really craves is to be alone, again, on the bed she calls her own. Sometimes, when the owners correctly interpret throaty call, her name is sternly called out in the darkness to return to bed. Reluctantly, she comes back to her rumpled place at my feet. Perhaps she woke to realize she has others in her space. Her primal need was again calling her to solitude.  All she really craved was to be alone.

Friday, December 26, 2014

Thread Painting, Needle Painting

There is nothing new under the sun.  That Old Testament saying definitely applies to what I though was a "new" technique of painting with thread.  And here I thought that drawing my pup with embroidery stitches was going to be a state of the art gift for my husband.

Several years ago I painted our nine year old shih tzu Mercy, and the husband has been asking for a companion piece of our eight year old dog Libby Sweetpea to hang up in his office over his computer.

Mercy in Oils, 2006

So I decided to try and embroider the second dog using just threads to make her portrait (as a surprise Christmas present).

Half way through the project of stitching Libby Sweetpea's face in white wool threads, I found all sorts of references to thread painting.  Even an e book is available free from Quilting Daily entitled The Art of Thread Sketching: Free Thread Drawing and Thread Painting Techniques.  Just join Quilting Daily and you can download the book without charge (no charge to join Quilting Arts, either)  Excerpted from that e book:
Think of thread as you would paint: you can make dots, smooth strokes,or long, sinuous curves. Like paint,you can apply thread sparingly or very heavily.  Going over an area with several layers of thread can create wonderful texture, but you need to make sure our surface is sufficiently stabilized to support these layers without puckering. 

Pinterest has beautiful images of thread work, but does not allow for copying of their images.  If you log in, you can see stunning needlework pinned by others under the category of "needle painting" or "thread painting."

Here is a half baked version of Libby, and no, it was not completed in time for Christmas.  Still need to work on her eyes, nose and little buck tooth.

Wonder if Libby approves so far?

Updated December 30, 2014 (yes, after Christmas)...

Friday, June 27, 2014

Last Week of June Review

Sweeping off the patio is now my full time summertime obsession.  I feel like the old man in the cartoon from years past who in the fall tracked down every fallen leave from his lawn and bagged it immediately, even desperately catching them as the wind blew them from the tree, leaf by leaf.  The husband thinks the old cottonwoods out back perhaps need more watering, so he has taken to that task of the evening.  The dogs tool around in the back looking for squirrels and I putter with the sweeping as the sun lowers in its sphere.  And the days are now getting shorter, so I hear, making earlier bedtimes easier to explain...people don't understand when you lie down before the sun does.

Liking an entertainment area free of dead cottonwood leaves, this week we will have entertained with friends and a few repasts.  A luncheon, a neighborly get together, and a couple friend tonight: all outside on a fairly leaf free patio.  Tonight I will be making a new salad with sweet potatoes and a rice vinegar dressing that is tossed together with the sweet potatoes and grilled corn cut from the cobs.  The cobs were grilled last night and are safely tucked away in the fridge for their glorious debut today with the sweet potatoes, black beans and a cilantro vinegar dressing. I'll let you know how it turns out.  One other sort-of recipe for a tea punch that was refreshing and tasty was equal parts brewed tea, pineapple-banana juice, orange juice and ginger ale.  That went down fairly well.

Powerful Mary Kay

On the fishing front, we caught nothing this week other than a photo of a blue heron that let me get pretty close to where he was scouting trout.  There are lots of these blue herons around the water.  Last week I caught a 12 inch trout, my largest haul so far.  And he was delicious!

This morning after her walk, Libby SweetPea and I will be making our hospice visits.  Here is an older picture of Miss Libby posing.

She is on a walk right now with her sister Mercy.  Every morning the routine is that they dance around, pulling and tugging at their leashes, waiting for their old dad to get on his hat and retrieve his walking stick. Libby gets the leash in her mouth, and it takes a bit of cajoling to get her to release it so the walk can commence.  Once the 25 minute exercise is finished, she is ready for a nap.  But today she has to gear up and make her visits to her assigned patients.  Two are in an Alzheimer's facility and two are in a nursing home. Libby is pretty easy to handle on her visits since she is an old pro at being quiet and sitting on my lap while being petted; that and she is already worn out from her prior walk.  Staff people at the facilities usually comment on her good behavior, but they have not seen her at home where she tools around like hell on wheels, barking at every neighbor she can view out the front door window.

On the knitting front, I have now ripped out the lace scarf at least three times.  This will not get the best of me.  Here it is in progress, yet again.

Disappointment from Sunday last (this post): that beta test was a semi-ok trial, but it only allows 15 pictures per slideshow on Photosnack.  I am still trying to get pictures downloaded from the Cloud to my computer, following all instructions to the letter, but just cannot get albums downloaded back on my computer.  After googling many answers to this question, the process is still not working for me.  It seems that once they are in the cloud, they stay there.  And there is no putting more than 15 pictures at a time on a slideshow or movie if they are not still residing on your computer's hard drive.  Any feedback on this issue would be greatly appreciated.

And for Paint Party Friday, the Sun is finished:

Ya'll have a great weekend, ya hear?

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Cornbread, Cardigans and Canines

A few days ago, I shared some cornbread with a friend.  The recipe had absolutely no flour in its list of ingredients, so I figured it would be good for her "no gluten whatsoever" current diet plan.  Warning her that it would be very filling and loaded with calories because of the butter and cheese involved in its makeup, she willingly took it. Click for recipe.

The next day she e-mailed me and said something like "thanks for the cornbread...very light and delicious." Thought that was hilarious as she obviously had not even taken a bite of that dense cornbread.

On to my cardigan knitting, the Delancey Cardigan found here. It has stripes that point downwards with a chevron stripe motif which makes it a flattering style.  Thinking I had memorized the pattern well enough to continue knitting on and on, I later found out (and too late!) that I had missed a "slip two, knit one" at the beginning of the side, so had to rip out an hour's worth of work.

It actually could have been worse, since when knitting the Delancey I was watching the latest episode of "Downton Abbey", not really paying much attention to the knitting.  Friend Jan said the Brits were a bit up in arms about that episode with Anna Bates being victimized.  You can see an interview with Anna (Joanne Froggat) at this link as both she and writer Julian Fellowes discuss the episode. It's a wonder I got even a stitch made since the episode caught me in its emotional and visual grasp.

Of course, I was using my shrinky dink Downton Abbey knitting markers with the tv up loud and clearly empathizing with Mr. Bates.

I do have a few markers left from when I made them last year, so if you want two, I'll send you them postage paid.  Just leave a comment telling me your favorite actor from the series. Will draw from comments for the winner if there is more than one reader interested.

And the canines?  They are an expensive pair this month as BOTH had to have their annual check ups, vaccinations and dental cleanings.  We are not the first to think the IRS should give us a tax break on their medical expenses.

"We are cute and our teeth are clean."

Reading The Gravity of Birds, courtesy of sister Pam.  Sewing on a Vogue Pattern ( 8731).  What are you up to?

Sunday, August 4, 2013

A Wolf in Sheep's Clothing

Just finished my second Fair Isle knitting project.  It is rams and sheep designs knitted into the fabric to make a dog's coat.

Fun facts about this project by Kate Davies, with the pattern cleverly termed A Wolf in Sheep's Clothing:
  • Nine different colors of wool are knitted into the pattern
  • Each of the nine colors is from a different type of sheep that are raised on the Shetland islands
  • Learned how to knit in the traditional Fair Isle style this summer in Scotland
  • I bought the kit while visiting Jamieson & Smith Wool Brokers over the summer in Lerwick
  • It was so much fun to knit that I finished it in ten days
Although I made only one sweater, each of our dogs can wear it.  In order to lessen their jealous streaks, I'll be making a second sweater.  There is plenty of yarn left over in the kit.

Some modifications were made because our dogs are a bit smaller than the size given.

Our models:
Libby Sweatpea has her ears back and looks embarrassed, doesn't she?

Mercy has attitude, right?  She thought it was a bit warm to be modeling this coat in August, but what is a girl to do when she is being featured on the runway?

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

What is Happening Today

1.  Corneal abrasion two weeks ago on Libby Sweetpea's right eye with emergency call visit.  Not healed yesterday, so 2nd vet visit.  A plastic lens on the eye to hold in strong antibiotics with an Elizabethan Collar of Shame that has to be worn for four days.  But OUCH, out came the plastic lens in the middle of the night, and a 3rd visit to the vet again this afternoon for another lens stain and abrasion.

2.  A baby sweater being knitted up for Jackie who is in her third trimester with Jackson.  Jackie is a huge Denver Broncos  football fan, and I am sure she will be ensuring Baby Jackson will be also. This is almost finished:

Orange and blue buttons, of course, with a contrasting grosgrain ribbon to back the buttons.  The self striping sock yarn came all the way from New Zealand, hand dyed by Stray Cats.  The shipping was costly, but where else have you ever seen orange and blue sock yarn?  The pattern is Beyond Puerperium, by Kelly Brooker and is an ingenious little knit.

3.  An outdoor decades old rocker that needs a re-finish.  Sanded and ready for new stain:

The stain mix: an ounce of oil paint, a scant cup of turpentine, a scant quarter cup of boiled linseed oil.  Stay tuned.  A previous post here explains it all.  Also this post gives a true recipe for wood stain.

4. Chicken Tikki Masala for dinner. The hub will grill the chicken and likely make the recipe if I can convince him that I am still refinishing that rocker.  (He does NOT like painting.)

Linking up with  Tami at Work in Progress Wednesday

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

The Haps in the Household

What is happening in your world?  Mine, not so much.  Mainly the Mr. and I have been involved in taking care of our wounded pet.  Wounded neither by man nor beast, but by her own exhuberance and increasing age.

Libby Sweetpea, therapy dog and healer of the mind, had a torn ACL.  At six years of age, this is not too uncommon.  She took a flying leap off the back step, as usual, but that one leap ten days ago left her in pain with the liklihood of permanent disability if she did not have surgery to repair the tear.

So she underwent a tightrope procedure and spent one night at the animal hospital.  She probably did not miss us near as much as we missed her.  This was her little shaved leg a few days ago; she was recuperating on the lap of the Mr.

This is how Libby's dad remembers what to do for her and when to do it.  I thought it was cute that he wrote it all out.  She does not mind doing her range of motion exercises too much, and just whimpers a bit when it hurts.

Libby this morning:
I am feeling much better, thank you.

This is a pair of Faceted Rib Socks in progress:

linking to Tami at Works in Progress Wednesday

Tomorrow I am heading out to Las Vegas to play in a Scrabble tournament at the Riviera Casino and Hotel. There will be 56 competitors.  Can you find me in this listing?  Please wish me lotsa luck!

Take at look at 313 five letter J words here that I will be studying today to prepare for the tournament.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Dog Friendly Aspen

Happy PPF!

This handsome fellow owns a group of guys having adult beverages outside a cafe in downtown Aspen, Colorado.  He posed so beautifully that I just HAD to try and capture him in watercolors.  So the picture in the upper portion of the post is my submission to Paint Party Friday.

And this picture is just one showing a proud fellow having cocktails with his family at The Little Nell.  The waitress brought him a bowl of water (can you believe it?) and on a tray, no less.  I wonder how much was tipped to his server.  Since the average cost of a room there is over $600, just the tip given for his bowl of water was probably more than my friend and I paid for beers that afternoon.

I counted five dogs around the Little Nell pool that day.  His face is obscured in order to preserve his true identity.  (You never know, he might be a celebrity.)

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Eyelashes on Dogs

The question is: DO DOGS HAVE EYELASHES?

The answer: YES

And our other dog Mercy has very long lashes:

from Nancy's Floral Art Blog

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Favorite Email of the Week

Have you seen my lipstick?

Why would you even ask me that?
I am so insulted!
Every time something
goes missing around here,
everybody looks at me!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Friday, September 17, 2010

Therapy Dogs and Getting Ready for Dog Work

Just an update on Libby and her Therapy Dogs International visits: she has been awarded a new certificate for 250 completed "official" visits with clients requesting her pooch services of dog licks and cuddling.

This is her previous certificate.
Her "new" certificate is in the mail.

(See video on sidebar for Libby's Work Day)

Friday, July 23, 2010

GoD and DoG

Over two million people have viewed this on YouTube.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Therapy Dogs

Let's talk about Therapy Dogs International.

When friends and family ask about therapy dog and owner responsibilites and what we do, the same questions are often asked.  Here is a rundown of typical questions and answers:

Q: What are the requirements to have a dog certified as a therapy dog?
A:  The dog (and owner) must pass eleven requirements in order to be certified as a "therapy dog".

Q: So what are the steps?
A: see photo below (click on highlighted area to enlarge)

Q: Can all dogs qualify for training?
A: No.  The dog must allow petting and be unafraid of strangers, loud noises, and differing situations.  One of our dogs was not a good candidate for TDI training, and one pup was willing to be trained.

Q: How do I get started in the process of training my dog?
A: Any obedience training program is the first step in teaching your dog to comply with the requirements.

Q:  I have a yappy dog; can she be trained to work for her kibble?
A: Yes, we have a b*tch of a dog when she is at home, loves to bark and jump, etc. (sorry to have to admit this)...but on the job, she is a behaver.

Q:  How much time does this take?
A: As much time as you are willling to give.  Practically any nursing facility, hospital, hospice, school (Wagging Tails is a separate program tutoring kids in reading), special care housing, assisted living, hospital or medical clinic is willing to entertain the idea of therapy dogs.

Q: What are my responsibilites in visiting with my dog?
A: Be open to the person you are visiting.  Remember that the visit is not about your and your dog, it is to meet the needs of the person whom you are visiting.  The person you are helping generally does not want to hear about your stories or life history.   The dog facilitates conversation and contact with the client, and helps to engage the client with distraction and productive time.

If you have any questions about how you might volunteer with your animal fur friends, feel free to contact Therapy Dogs International via email or call them at (973) 252-9800.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Eye Staining on White Dogs: Using Systane Eye Drops

In conversation with a patient at our local hospital with therapy dog Libby Sweetpea, the gentleman we spoke with gave me a great tip. Surprising what great ideas crop up in conversations with new people in different situations! This patient had formerly bred Pomeranian puppies and was familiar with eye staining problems, especially on dogs with white fur.

He suggested that I buy an over-the-counter lubricating eye drop called Systane and place a few drops of this product into the corners of Libby's eyes. His ophthalmologist had recommended it for humans with dry eyes AND for dogs. (I bought a two pack, one for my dry eyes and one for Libby's stained eyes.)
Well, it works! I have tried using baking soda mixed with water for a paste and Angel Eyes, but this solution seems an easier tact to follow to keep the pup's eyes clear of stain. Just saying...

Friday, June 12, 2009

Preparing Fleece for Spinning: Dog Hair and Alpaca Blend

In knitting-with-dog-hair, written about a year ago, the subject of knitting with dog hair was discussed. It was then I started saving my pups' fur for knitting into a new project. Like the book says, "better a sweater from a dog you know and love than from a sheep you'll never meet". The book Knitting with Dog Hair can be purchased at this site on Amazon. It is on my reference shelf, and is full of information about this rather esoteric subject.

Once the fur was gathered from our two dogs and their home-style groomings over the past 18 months, the obvious next step was what to do with it to get it into shape for spinning. It would need some other fiber to mix in with the fur in order to make a good blend.

Luckily, here in western Colorado, there is a farm with 14 alpacas on it. Shearing time was last week, and new acquaintance Cori Elam saved me enough alpaca fur (all white) for the blending. We rendezvous last night at our first weekly summer Farmers' Market in Grand Junction, and I gave her my bag of saved dog fur. It looked like this, and I had about a pound of it:

This fur will be mixed with Cori Elam's alpaca fiber. Cori's website can be accessed at Cori's Western Colorado Alpacas. She has all kinds of alpaca products for sale. Many of her alpaca fibers are imported from Peru; beautiful products were on display at her booth last night.

Back to the preparation process of the fibers: from the site how to prepare fleece for spinning, easy and concise information was gathered regarding the next steps:

Step 1 Take a chunk of fleece about the size of a basketball. Fill your sink with hot water and some dish soap. Step 2 Put the fleece in the sink and let it sink. If you are impatient, you can gently push it down. Slowly move it around but do not "agitate." Agitation will cause it to felt, making it useless for spinning. .... further steps .......remove the fibers and you are ready to spin.

Another website packed with information about using animals' fur is Spinning Straw into Gold. Take a gander at that site if you are interested in reading about one person's vocation with animal fur products. It is amazing.

But what would a knitted project with dog fur blended with wool look like? Sure enough, that source on the internet Ravelry with over 400,000 members world-wide was my best source for tracking down someone who had pictures AND and an explanation of her process of collecting fur. New friend Avedaggio on Ravelry from Boulder says about her dog Mulan's fur:

My mom has a shih-tzu, whom she keeps long-haired. Mulan’s fur is about 8 inches long. To keep her from becoming a matted mess, mom combs her every day and gives her a bath (complete with blow-dry!) every week. Since Mulan was a puppy, mom had been saving the fur she combed out in little plastic bags, and a couple years back she and my dad took it to the Estes Park Wool Market and got someone to spin it up (this was before I learned how to spin). Then I got 1200 yards of 2-ply Mulan yarn for Christmas! It smelled like Mulan right after the bath. It was so funny when we put a skein on the floor to let Mulan investigate– she sniffed and sniffed, and then picked it up, carried it to her favorite corner and curled around it as if it were a puppy! So cute. I ended up knitting a lap blanket for my mother out of it.

So the next steps of blending the alpaca and dog fur are in process. After the washing, carding, and spinning steps are completed, there should be more than enough yarn to whip up something as special as a Mulan's lap blanket shown above!

(Thanks, Avedaggio, for the use of your picture and your entertaining story.)