Saturday, May 10, 2008

Trash Can Trifecta

In response to Oliver the parrot's good mood, I decided to take the big dogs for an early morning walk yesterday. We did a pretty fair job of doing a mile with minimal tangles, no tantrums and a brillaint, if slightly skitterish, three dog pass of a loading trash hauler.

None of this was obedience quality work, but day to day life doesn't require perfect form, and sometimes we (I) forget that. Greta is the least formally educated, but has the most desire to please of any dog I've ever owned, and is the easiest dog of all to take on errands. With her limp and faulty hip, competition is not possible, nor is the rigourous training, but for a stroll or a car ride, she is companion par excellante!

Grave little Ollie is showing the same skills. A desire to be with his human or his pack, a desire to please and follow orders, true delight at praise.

Cody embraces the spectacle of the walk more than the other two. Tail high, he struts and makes eye contact with the other, less fortunate dogs who are not able to walk down the street. A little large for the show ring, he has the perfect demeanor for it, aloof, but wanting to be noticed. Yet, because he doesn't like cars or crowds, strolling down the street with his pack is the perfect show venue for him.

A city dog needs the emotional release of a walk. My backyard can provide the physical exercise for my small dogs, but nothing but the act of strutting can provide the emotional release that is equally important. I am pleased to see more suburbian dwellers walking their dogs in the evening. A backyard really isn't enough for them or for us.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Early Bird

Oliver was up a full hour early this morning to explore the tonality of his new bell. He dismissed his usual waking routine and got right to work, chuckling happily. This new bell is silver-his other, beloved cowbell is brass. He examined the inner workings of both, played them both, played them both upside down before waddling over for a morning seed. Then it was back to the bells.

When the other lazy birds finally woke up, he joined their chorus with an exhuberance usually reserved for mid afternoon.

I'd really like to get him a small keyboard, and yes, I probably will.

I DO need to work on howling "Quasimodo Quasimodo" when he swings on his bells-it isn't a dignified accompaniment for the master of the bells.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Tidying Up at The End of a Day

The sun is setting and dogs are settling in. The doves are cooing their last and going to roost wherever it is they go to roost. Oliver the parrot is clanging his new bell a few more times-he loves his musical instruments, and he loves a clean cage and peanuts, and getting all within the space of an hour is just birdy ecstasy. The dogs are worn out because they got rawhides to destroy this evening. All is well.

I went in to clear a path to my bed so I can go in tonight without turning on a light and waking up the early birds. As I was walking out Oliver coo'd "I love you Oliver"....ok, maybe the words are not quite right, but I get the drift.

Perspective Into Each Life Rain Must Fall

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Big Boy

Ollie is going through his second fear period. There is nothing really exaggerated about Oliver in any way, so his fear period is fairly mild.

Last night we went for a long walk without a warm up walk with one of the older dogs first. He was a little apprehensive at first, making lots eye contact as if to say "are you sure about this?"

As he relaxed into the walk he became very proud of himself. I picked a loop that had no scary things at first then we walked by the herd of chihuahuas (another one, not my pack) and lo and behold, their cousin the pit bull was visiting. Oliver was a little unnerved, but we kept on keeping on. Then we paused at some construction going on across the street. Finally we walked over to Mom's front porch for treats and a visit. He was a fine little citizen, accepting his treats solemnly and then stretching out on the front porch while we chatted.

I give all my dogs one on one time, because if something were to happen to me it is unlikely someone would take the entire pack. Therefore, as a responsible dog owner, it is up to me to make sure each member is well behaved and social with people and other animals.

I love all the drama and chaos and upheaval that comes along with living with a group. But I also cherish the solitary walks and the road trips with a single good friend.

Whenever a member leaves and returns, there is always good and excited energy throughout the entire pack. They roll around with extra joy and no jealousy, glad to be together again.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Rain and chicken feet

Yesterday I baked chicken feet so the dogs could have a chew. This morning it is raining, but will hopefully dry out early afternoon so they can romp.

Chicken feet are a hug hit in my house-enough bone to gnaw on, but not enough to be daunting to chihuahua jaws.

I just toss them in a pan in a hot oven if they are frozen, then cool them in a slow oven for an hour or two. I've never been successful at drying them out completely for indoor consumption, but the kiddos seem to enjoy them best as a messy outdoor treat.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Don't Mess with Big Mamma

I've never had Gerbil agression before in my house, but there is a first time for everything. As near as I can put it all together, Big Mamma, tired of Big Daddy spending time with Little Momma, destroyed a newly pregnant LM. Big Mamma is more heavily pregnant and I guess she was securing resources for her litter.

I'm going to do some more research before moving forward with my planned Gerbil colony, compost offerings sometimes snake food project. I thought gerbils would be a lower volume compost source than rabbits, but I didn't take into account the agression factor and frankly, I've never seen it before.

I have heard of it running in rodent families though, so Big Mamma and her offspring will probably be moved to the perimeter of the colony and watched. The fiercest Momma animals are often the best Moms, so I will just watch what happens.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Exciting and Random Trivia

1. Cody has a verifiable waistline again! Yay Cody!!!!!

2. Ollie is now the tallest dog by about a quarter of an inch! Yay Ollie!!!!

3. Bitty is the oldest dog by quite a bit....Yay Bitty!!!!!!

4. Lily is struggling with her leash training-still. Go Lily!!!!

5. Greta still tries harder than any dog I've every had-Yay Greta!!!!

6. Prissy has the most self esteem of any dog on the place. Whoopeeee Prissy!!!!!

7. Pasht is reigns supreme as the cat goddess-all hail Pasht.

8. Oliver the parrot is still a hoot. His country and western tape came on today at 12:00-he likes it so I just leave it set to go off. Today when when Willie started singing he waddled over to the window, looked outside and said "yeah, looks like snow, heh heh heh..."......well, allright then Oliver!