Archive for February, 2011

New and Fluffy

There has been a steady influx of puppies to the rescue all winter. This is not standard. Yes, some puppies are born year round, but there is a tendency for cycles to have it be a much lower birthrate during the colder weather, because this weather is harsh. Not only have there been a lot of puppies, but they are all coming from further up north, where it is even colder.

Like, one mother dog was turned in with a litter of three puppies, but she had originally had 9 puppies and 6 had frozen to death.

Anyhow, another puppy was transported in yesterday. An orphan, probably a half week older than our batch were when they came in. Since they develop at such a fast rate, that half a week makes a big difference. He is the only surviving member of his litter. Because he is alone, we’ll try to get him some time with our orphans on a regular basis so that he gets proper dog socialization, even though it will be a bit thrown off by their age difference.

He is adorable. A puffy ball of fluff that right now looks a lot like a Burmese Mountain Dog mix, but probably isn’t, since that breed is not common in the area he is from.

Anyhow, V stopped by yesterday to pick up supplies because mine are not on bottles anymore, and she stopped to let me meet him. She gave him a bottle here, which he took eagerly. Yay! Hopefully no feeding tubes will be needed for this one. After he was full and checked over for skin conditions, we let him meet our three.   He wasn’t really interested yet, he is a little young, but they sure were. Darby was the first to rush over to him, which I love, because I’ve been saying she needs to go to a home with another dog. She hurried over, body posture as friendly and enthusiastic as can be, “Hi! We should play! Let’s Play!” The other two soon followed. Mindy also was all friendly body posture, but more tentative, “Hello. How are you?” Webster was all boy dog. His stance was strong, and he wasn’t unfriendly, but he definite wasn’t friendly either. “Hello stranger. What are your intentions?”

Unfortunately, all too soon the new little one proved that he has a serious case of diarrhea, so we quickly separated him from my gang, and did a bunch of cleaning. I then got out the precious stash of magic white powder that had stopped the onslaught of poo water from our gang, and passed it along.

I’m glad nobody asked me to take him, because once I saw him, I couldn’t have said no, but I am still not getting enough sleep even though these are weaned. I’ll try to get photos of him soon.

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Cuteness Saves Lives

My precious babies have all reached the Piranha Puppy stage of development.

Too bad I am not into body piercings.

It is a very good reminder why I do not want to keep all of them myself, even though I kind of still want to keep all of them myself. Luckily, even if I went insane, the rescue would keep me from making that mistake.

doggy bag.

Mindy

I am really, very fond of each of them.

Mindy is very sweet and full of snuggles. She likes to play with toys and her litter-mates, but is usually the first to break off and head for lap time.

Darby is the most adventurous of them. She is clever and a bit demanding. I think she’ll do best with an experienced dog owner, and would also do better in a home with another dog, to help keep her from getting bored.

Webster is a Zen Apprentice puppy. Mind you, he has not mastered Zen, for he is still very much a puppy, but there is a little stream of calm that appears to run through him. He is very food motivated, which might explain his size and pleasant plumpness.

Unfortunately all three pups have loose stool again.

Meh.

What? You thought you might escape without a poo comment? Wrong blog. So, back to the food tweaking for me.

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Trash Talk

One of the major WTF?s when I moved to Minnesota was the fact I needed to choose a garbage collection company. Everyplace I’ve ever lived before, there was just one company (or the city directly) that serviced any particular area. Some places we got a bill, other places it was included in our taxes, but there was no choice involved.

Here, you choose a company. There are several different companies that service our neighborhood, and on trash day there are a stream of trucks from various companies that wander our streets. Sometimes people from other companies knock on the door and make special offers for switching companies. It is annoying and I don’t think it is very efficient, but hey, competition does keep prices down, and if you are willing to switch often, you can probably get really good deals because of the X amount free offers.

We use Suburban Waste Services. This week, Monday was President’s Day. When there is a holiday before your trash pick-up day, everything shifts by one day. So, we (and many neighbors) put out our trash one day later than usual. Our trash did not get picked up. At that point I went to look at their website (yes, I should have done it BEFORE) and discovered that President’s Day was not one of their holidays this year. I had missed trash day. From what happened with neighbors, it seems like some companies servicing our area shifted, and some didn’t.

This was totally my fault. They send out a schedule at the start of the year. I had multiple ways to verify when our trash day was, and I failed. It super sucked though, because we had A LOT of trash. Like, 5 person household, instead of our normal three, all the puppy related trash. Our trash can was overflowing, and overflowing with things that did not smell excellent.

We sent Suburban Waste Services an email explaining that we had messed up and put trash out on the wrong day, was it possible to arrange for a pick up still?

“We can get you picked up today, just leave it out and I will send a truck over.  No problem, have a great weekend!”

Awesome. That is why I don’t switch to get free X when people knock on the door with offers. Suburban Waste Services has always responded quickly to our email queries, and they’ve always been helpful about any requests we’ve had.

They showed up so quickly to handle the missed trash pick-up, that I didn’t even have time to take out yet another bag of puppy gross. That will have to wait for our normal pick-up day next week, which we’ll be sure to get right.

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So Much to Type About

Puppies!

We still have them. They are up on petfinder now, but they are not available to go to homes until after March 9th, so we still have a couple more weeks of puppies.

I believe that I can declare all three puppies weaned now.

I’ve now fed gruel to orphans. I feel so Dickensian.

No surprise, Webster took to it right away, “”Please, Sir, I want some more.” Darby was also enthusiastic, “More NOW dammit!” Mindy would eat a little, but mostly still needed the bottle, “Hmm, interesting. Okay, bored, where’s the bottle?” We got a couple of days in and it looked like we’d be able to do all meals as gruel, with no formula bottle supplementation, but then Darby wasn’t feeling well, and her appetite dropped off. So, back to the bottle for her. Then she was feeling better, but turned down the gruel. I tried a couple of different recipes, and finally hit upon one she was willing to eat. Now all three are eating enthusiastically, and I get to keep adjusting what I am serving them to move them closer and closer to eating just plain regular dog food.

They are super adorable, but also a lot more active, which means a different kind of work. At first it was all about getting food in them and cleaning up massive amounts of poo. Now there is still making food for them and cleaning up after them, but there is a lot of keeping them occupied and doing the beginning stages of teaching them some puppy manners, mainly, quiet cuteness will get you more attention than OMG NOISY SCREAMING. This is where it really becomes quite clear (just like with Corbin and Laney), why it is not a great idea to get puppy pairs. One puppy at a time is so very much easier to train quickly, of course for these young ones keeping them with siblings is good. It helps to keep them warm and helps them become better dogs, but when it comes to permanent families, one puppy at a time is best.

It has been endlessly fascinating to me to watch them change every 6 hours or so. They are advancing and changing so rapidly at this stage. They arrived here total squirmy wormies. Their eyes were open but they weren’t really seeing anything and connecting it to their brains in a meaningful way. It has been amazing to watch them turning into small dogs, step by little fuzzy step. I find myself overwhelmed by the feeling of “I MADE THIS!” which totally cracks me up. “You did not make a puppy, crazy lady. Go sit in a corner and be quiet.”

Auxiliary Teen and my mother were both scheduled to go home on Sunday. Instead we had a massive snow storm. So, they both went home yesterday. Now it is time to find a groove of managing the puppies without my mother’s help. Last night was a little rough, but today is going better. Of course, as I type that, I realize I forgot to get kibble soaking in prep for the next meal, so I had better go do that now before I forget.

Okay, kibble prep done. Once the puppies are hungry it is best to need to do as little prep as possible. Because they are rapidly changing, it isn’t quite a matter of regularly scheduled mealtimes. As they mature they can eat more in a single meal, and have more time pass between meals. I am glad to not be feeing them every 4 hours, like I needed to at first.

Today we took the puppies outside. First they were “Oh crap, what is this?!” Then they became quite fascinated, and then they became cold and pathetic and we had to go back inside and get warm. The harder I play with them, the harder they sleep. Puppies sleeping is good. Let sleeping puppies lie, for sure. Sleeping puppies mean human naps, or human showers, or human meals…  hmm I think I forgot to eat lunch today.

The house is beyond disastrous. We are doing some cleaning every day, but it never seems like enough. Puppies are messy and energy draining. There has been SO MUCH LAUNDRY. Anyhow, house is just plain embarrassing, and people are arriving in 8 minutes, and I am trying to be arctic fox about it.

People came and went. We talked some webstuffs and then they visited with the puppies, because who could come to my house and not visit with the puppies? The puppies were excited to see new people, which is great. I am glad they are nice and  social still. They are not vaccinated yet, too young, so I can’t go dragging them to places like Petsmart so they get exposed to more people.  After some playing and interaction, they were ready for a nap and all three came right over to pile on me, or next to me. They know the difference between visitors and food provider, that’s for sure. Food provider is a good source of warmth during naps.

Trying to shift their sleep and eat schedule a little bit tonight.  Wish me luck.

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la fleur de Not Sonic

On Friday, I was at Lakewinds. I stumbled exhausted around the store and gathered a few items so that I could cook something for dinner.

I’ve been having a lot of headaches lately. Some migraines, some sinus pressure headaches. I went through a stretch many years ago, where I had a headache which lasted well over a year. This is not THAT bad, at all, but still, it hasn’t been fun.

Anyhow, on Friday, I’d been having a particularly crappy day. I haven’t been getting a lot of sleep since the puppies came, and the weather has been up and down, which would be fine, if it didn’t bother my sinuses so much. That day in particular, I’d been battling a migraine, and I wasn’t really in the mood to cook, but I certainly wasn’t in the mood to go out, particularly on a Friday night. So, while I wanted to crawl into bed and be left alone, what I needed to do was shop for things I could use to prepare a nutritious and reasonably tasty dinner.

I got into line with my selections, and the person who was doing the bagging asked how I was.

Now, I actually HATE that question. It is pretty much my least favorite question. I know, I know, how terribly unfriendly of me. I grasp that it is standard in this society. Two people interact, and one person makes a “HOWAREYOU?” noise with their mouth, and the other person is supposed to make a “FINE” noise with their mouth. It’s like two dogs meeting and sniffing butts. It’s just saying, “Yes, I am a human and not an alien (or Replicant) and I know how to do the human things.” The problem is, I am an alien. I hear the “HOWAREYOU?” noise, and I think about what the words actually mean. I can’t not think about it.  I hear it, and I find myself considering, Self? How are you? Whatever it is that I am trying to get done is interrupted for a bit of self reflection and overview of my day to determine the answer to the question, which is being asked 99% of the time by a random person who doesn’t care how I am in the slightest. Then, I must throw away what I’ve thought of, and force myself to make the “FINE” noise, even though it is a lie. I hate being pushed into lying. So, yeah, I am not a fan of this societal nicety in any way, shape, nor form.

He asked, and while I resent the question, and society in general for making it a common question, I don’t resent the asker, they are just doing as they’ve been taught. However, I didn’t feel good enough to bother with lying and I replied, “Horrible,” because I felt horrible.

He blinked.

The cashier rung me up. He bagged my stuff. I paid. He gave me my bag.

Then, the cashier said, “Are you in a hurry?”

Now, this was not a phrase I was used to as part of the end of a transaction, so even though I heard the words, I did not understand.

“Excuse me?” I inquired.

“Are you in a hurry?” and when I stills stared at her beautiful face blankly, she tried again, “Do you have a minute?”

“Yes?”

“Okay, hold on just a minute,” and she ran off.

I waited, putting pressure on my head trying to keep the comparably low grade, but still very noticeable, migraine pain from making something pop.

Soon she ran back with a bouquet of flowers and handed them to me, “You said you were having a horrible day, so I wanted you to have these.  I got them for my sister.  I was supposed to see her tonight, but I just found out my plans changed, so I’d like you to have them instead.”

That is how I came home from my trip to the grocery store with groceries, flowers, and a story to tell my family.

Now, this was an act by an individual. It isn’t a Lakewinds company policy. Yet, it is still customer service. I was a customer and an employee was interacting with me. A company chooses who to employ. Those choices reflect upon the company.

It was a surprising and spontaneous gesture, and it really put a different spin on my totally not looked forward to outing to pick up some dinner groceries.

It is in very stark contrast to a pleasant outing gone wrong due to the personal interaction of the sort of person that Sonic Drive-In chooses to employ. More on that thought another day.

 

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