Sunday, November 25, 2012

Birthday Catch Up

  I've been woefully behind on celebrating the dogs' birthdays!  Mosby turned 11 in July, Gemma and Ref were 2 in September and Claire turned 9 at the beginning of this month.  While I wished them all "happy birthday" on their special days and gave them extra attention, I didn't bake them birthday treats.
  Yesterday, I got caught up and tried a new recipe I had been saving for the occasion.  With my granddaughter's "help", I made Peanut Butter Dog Treat Balls.  It is a super simple and fast recipe to put together--even with a toddler by my side!
   The dogs got their treats this morning and it was huge success!  I think this recipe will be used for holiday gift baking for my dog walking clients.
  Claire's birthday celebration isn't quite finished.  She will be coming inside for a bath, then will become a house dog. I miss having a dog inside, now that Ben and Sophie are gone.  I had planned on making both Claire and Phoebe house dogs this winter but will have to make do for awhile with just one inside dog.  Even though Mosby is older, his coat is always so thick that he would find it hard to adjust to the warm house.  I'm keeping an eye on him though, and Lauren, too (who will be 9 in January).  Maybe if the forecasters are correct and we have a snowy and colder than usual winter, they'll be ready to be full time house dogs, too!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Country Life

  Signs that winter is around the corner are all around! (and I haven't finished my fall chores yet!)  The trees are pretty bare, the deer have their dark winter coats, the bucks are posing in the field with their impressive antlers and the foxes have beautiful, vibrant red coats.  I rush to feed the dogs before the early darkness hits but do enjoy being lazy in the mornings while I wait for the sunrise.
  For the last couple of weeks, just as there was a nip in the air, I could see that something had been digging outside Jackson's kennel.   It was a small hole, which I covered up every time it appeared.  Sometimes, there would be a corresponding hole inside, which I would also refill.  Jackson didn't act like he was sharing his kennel with any stray creatures, but still I don't want wildlife in the kennel with their fleas and diseases.  Rodent bait is on the shopping list for the next trip to Home Depot.
  Yesterday, the hole had appeared again.  Once more, I filled it in, checked inside Jackson's kennel but no holes there.  I set about feeding the dogs their breakfast and checking on their water.  The last kennel, Gibson's and Gemma's, had a surprise!  A mouse in the water bucket!  Either it had attempted to escape from the dogs or it was very thirsty but for whatever reason it had climbed in the bucket, it wasn't able to get back out.  I had the unpleasant task of dumping the water with a floating body in it.
  However, it wasn't easy to do!  When I shrieked (pretty loudly, I would have thought one of the neighbors would have shown up to see what was the matter!) Gibson immediately came over to see what was wrong.  A pat on the head convinced him that I was o.k. and he could go back to eating breakfast.  I wanted both dogs to go outside while I picked up the bucket, but they could tell I was a bit agitated and wanted to be involved in the clean up operation.  I was afraid they'd either knock into the bucket, sloshing the dead mouse onto the ground, or try to grab it from the bucket.  Since David normally changes water during the mid day, the dogs took my picking up the bucket as a sign that they were going to be playing in the yards.  There was a lot of jostling as they tried to get out the gate with me.  Again, I was afraid they would knock into the bucket, but I didn't want to lift it above their heads, which would put the contents on eye level to me.  Finally, I shut my eyes, lifted the bucket and pushed myself in front of the dogs and out the gate.
  I've lived in the country for most of my life and I can deal with most aspects of it.  I work around the deer eating my landscaping, I don't mind my sleep being interrupted by fox calls, I don't even care that the overly fat raccoon eats the food we leave out for the feral cat.  But, two things I can't deal with are snakes and rodents.  It's something about their sneaky ways and surprise appearances, I guess. Or maybe it's because I don't like dealing with the aftermath of meeting them in water buckets, under the tractor, in the garden's bird netting.  Wonder if there's "an app" for that???

Monday, November 5, 2012

My Favorite Brushes

  A few years ago, I received a pin brush from the Collie Health Foundation as a show trophy.  I knew many Collie people like the brush but didn't think it could be that different from any other pin brush.  After only one use, I became a fan and like so many others,  it quickly became my favorite! 
  When my brush broke last year, I dug out one of my old brushes from my tack box.  The dogs didn't like it and I was reminded why I liked the Collie Health Foundation brush so much better.  It's easier to handle, it goes right through a collie coat and easily works out those little tangles behind the ears and in the feathers.  I bought two more brushes so I wouldn't have to worry about going without should I lose my brush at a show or break after years of use.
    Actually, since this past summer, I don't have to worry about going without one of these great brushes for quite a while!  I'm now the promos chair for the Collie Health Foundation!
  When I retired, I wanted to do some type of volunteer work, preferably with dogs.  I was thinking about and would still like to be involved in therapy work.  I wanted to be more involved in the Collie Club of America and also the Collie Health Foundation but wasn't sure where I could be of the most use.  The Foundation's promos position opened and I thought I would just be working on a committee.  Somehow, I ended up the chair!  But, it's not a big time commitment--though between the promos and my job, the blog isn't getting more frequent updates--and it's fun to fill orders and very soon, order new inventory.  Sometimes, I feel like I'm "playing store"!  But the funds that are being raised have a very serious and important purpose--to fund grants to worthwhile organizations for research in breeding, genetics and health issues in all dogs with primary emphasis on the Collie.
  So while a corner of the dogs' room is filled with pin brushes, lanyards, mutt matts, decals, ear rings, catalog covers and (hopefully, soon) new, exciting inventory, I hope I'm giving something back to the breed I love so much.  Amazing what one pin brush can lead to!