Monthly Archives: February 2009

You can teach an old dog new tricks.


     Dear Hubby and I thought it would be fun to teach the pups to raise their paws in the air when we say, “stick ‘em up.”  Patty caught on in no time.  Gavin is still working on it.  He hasn’t the balance that Patty has.  Maybe it’s his bottom, could it be that his is more round than hers is?  Gavin tries but we usually end up accepting a paw shake from him instead.  He can’t seem to get both paws up at the same time for more than a fraction of a second.  However, he’s the best darn paw giver out there.  He’ll give a paw to anyone who has a cookie.

     In contrast, Patty has decided that ‘stick ‘em up’ is more fun than giving a paw.  She’ll throw her paws into the air with great enthusiasm sometimes stretching them up so far that she nearly tips over backwards.  I say not bad for a five-year-old.  When Patty first arrived as a rescue four years ago, we thought she might be a little slow on the uptake.  We were wrong.  Once she’d settled in here, she proved to be the smarter of the two dogs.

     Mind you, Gavin is no half wit.  He’s quite bright but he’s also ten times as stubborn as she is.  He was the most dominate puppy I’ve ever dealt with in the twenty eight years I’ve had Bull Terriers.  It took a full year for him to accept that Mom was top dog.  Both dogs think of DH as another sibling.

My neighbors think I’m crazy—writing dialogue

     When the weather is warm, I can’t resist the impulse to be outside in the yard.  I take my Alphasmart and settle into my favorite chair under the magnolia tree.  I will merrily type away for hours and wave at a passing neighbor or two.  Sounds good doesn’t it. 

     It works well, unless I’m in the process of writing dialogue when someone walks by.  Then they see me talking to myself.  At which point they are almost certainly thinking that I’m a crazy lady.  What I’m doing is acting out the parts and yes, it looks and sounds crazy.  However, it works for me.  The last thing I want is for my characters to sound stilted and unnatural.

     Dear Hubby prefers that I write dialogue outside in the nice weather.  I do tend to drive him up a wall all winter long with my characters’ recitations.  I tell him it’s just as bad for me when he talks to the TV while I’m writing so we’re even on that score.

Characters, where do they come from?

     Writers are often asked where their characters come from.  I find that my characters come from many places.  Some of them are fusions of people I know and others are complete inventions. 

     I have one character that frequently appears in my writing.  She’s a combination of my maternal grandmother, a couple of aunts, a few neighbors, and the odd friend or two.  She’s a real hoot.  However, she will never be a main character.  I don’t know why but she prefers to remain in the background.  On several occasions, I’ve tried pushing her into the limelight only to have her beat a hasty retreat.  She does make a great background character though so I’ve learned to let her do her own thing.  I’ll leave you with that much, and when my books come out, you can guess which character she is.

     I base my dog characters on Bull Terriers I have owned or known and that list is long.  I usually pluck my bad guys from the air and my imagination.  One or two began from seeing someone who fit my mental description and then imagining the worst case scenario.

Stitch free and happy not to have to go back there


     Gavin jumped into the car as eager to go for a ride as always.  When we arrived at the vet’s office, we could see the ‘oh no’ expression on his face.  Dear Hubby waited in the car with Gavin while I went inside to let them know we were there.  It wasn’t long before they told me to bring him inside they were ready for him. 

     To say that Gavin is embarrassing in the vet’s office is an understatement.  In the waiting room, there were two dogs, a Westie, a Chocolate Lab, and an invisible cat in a carrier.  Now one would think a sixty plus pound Bull Terrier would walk in anywhere with an air of confidence.  Not Gavin, he paused to lift his leg on the bottom step of the porch, trotted up the stairs, walked through two doors, and then all confidence ceased.

     Down went his head, his tail tucked under him, his front paws splayed, and he stopped dead in his tracks.

     “C’mon Gavin.  Cookie.”  I dragged him forward a few inches.

     Westie woman said, “Aw isn’t he cute.”

     Gavin flattened to the floor like month old road kill.

     “C’mon Gavin they’re waiting for you,” DH said.

     Gavin scrunched his eyes closed.  {If I can’t see you, you can’t see me.}

     The Chocolate Lab man started to chuckle.

     I waved a cookie under Gavin’s nose.  “Let’s go.”

     He opened one eye.

     “Gavin, you’re making a scene.  Get up.  You’re not going in front of a firing squad.  They’re only going to take out your stitches.”

     The lady with the invisible cat looked away and stifled a giggle.

     In his best Shakespearean tragedy performance, Gavin stood and skulked to the exam room.  Once there he cringed in a corner, waiting for heaven knows what. 

     It took the technician only a few minutes to remove the stitches from Gavin’s ear.  When it was over, he gave her his paw several times for several cookies.  DH opened the door to the exam room and Gavin couldn’t get out of the room or building fast enough.

     I went back inside to pick up heartworm medication for the pups, and as I was leaving, I told the gals in reception, “Bye.  Hope we won’t be seeing you too soon.”  With Bull Terriers, you never know.

E-collars, BTs, and feedback

     One of the two E-collars I’d ordered arrived today.  Glad we don’t need them now but I’ll stash them away for any future ‘just in cases’.   With Bull Terriers you never know and these cost me half of what the vet’s office charged.

      The feedback I’ve been getting on the blog’s new look has been great.  So far, everyone likes the change.

     Is it me or is everyone feeling as though this has been a VERY, VERY long winter?  It was so blustery cold today that Gavin and Patty weren’t eager to go out unless they absolutely had to go.  I’m ready for the warm weather to get here and stay for more than a day or two.

Back into the swing of things

     Dear Hubby’s mother is showing  marked improvement each day,  much to his joy and relief.  She’s a fiesty old gal.   We have no idea how long Mom’s recovery will take, but she’s already getting antsy to get out of there, so I’m betting on her.  She’s determined and working hard in PT.

     I’ve managed to do some writing  the last couple of days now that we are settling into a routine.    Housekeeping chores are getting done too, they suffered during the uproar.   This also means I’ll soon be back into full swing on the blog .

     The pups are  getting used to the ‘new’ schedule and don’t seem to mind the changes.  They’ve begun to listen for DH’s truck to pull into the drive in the afternoon, and they let me know he’s home.

New look

Anyone who knows me knows that I have a habit of changing things.  I do hope you all enjoy the blog’s new look.

Navigating, procrastinating, and moving forward again

    After adding the categories widget today,  I spent a few hours setting up categories in hopes of making it easier for everyone to navigate  my blog.

     I admit it.   I was procrastinating.    I knew I had to write a few bad guy chapters for my book, Doggoned Dead and I was feeling a bit overwhelmed.  I hadn’t had time to sit down and and write for a couple of weeks and was at a loss as to where to begin. 

     I decided the best thing to do was to drag out the print out I’d done a few weeks ago and reread it.  This is the same one I’d taken to Borders and had marked it up with highlighters. 

     Eureka!   By doing that I began to remember where I was when all hell broke loose here.  I  managed to pound out two pages of one chapter and do many of the corrections I’d marked in the manuscript. 

     (It also helped that  Dear Hubby was off visiting his mother and the pups were snoozing together on the couch.)

     I came up with an idea of another thing to do to my bad guy.  Thanks to mystery writing peer, Dave I even had the right vehicle to use.   The book is moving forward again.

Happy pups and a Red Tailed visitor

     It’s been nice to have a couple of days where I didn’t have to shuffle dogs.   I could tell Gavin and Patty were happy with it too.  They sure did miss being in direct contact with each other the last two weeks.  How could I tell?  They spent a great deal of time snuggled together on the couch today. 

     During one trip outside Gavin and I were visited by the neighborhood Red Tailed hawk.  The hawk chased a small bird into the next door neighbor’s maple tree and missed catching it.  Then he looked over, spotted us, ruffled his feathers, and settled down on the branch as if to say, “I meant to do that.”   It’s something I’ve seen cats do, but never a bird.    We watched him and he watched us.  I was wishing I had my camera.  

     The hawk looks well fed.   I hope that means  he’s taken advantage of our huge population of rabbits and squirrels.  We won’t miss them around here since our gardens are often overrun with the critters .  Mr. Red Tail wasn’t in any hurry to leave.  When I took Gavin in and brought Patty out, he was still on his perch.

Glorious sleep and other updates.

     Without the E-collar on, Gavin slept peacefully last night.  I finally slept in my own bed after spending the last 14 days downstairs on the couch or in my lounge chair so I could keep an eye/ear on him during the night.  Boy, did I sleep! 

      Dear Hubby’s mother seems to be doing well.  He goes over to the Rehab hospital every day and stays with her while she is doing her PT.    He says they have her walking on a strange contraption rather than the parallel bars, her shoulder pain is improving, and she gets stronger each day.

     Patty is so happy to have her brother’s company again that her tail didn’t stop wagging all day even when she was napping on the couch with her Daddy.    

     Things are slowly getting back to normal around here.

Stitches still but no more Buckethead

     Gavin was delighted to leave the vet’s office without them doing anything to him.  Our vet decided that although Gavin’s ear looked great, the stitches should remain in for another week.  He said that Gavin could go without his E-collar and could play with Patty under supervision.  As if they play any other way.

       Patty was tickled to get out of her crate at the same time that Gavin was out of his, and she made sure he got a thorough sniffing.   The two of them jumped up on Dear Hubby’s chair with him and snuggled there until DH complained his legs were numb. 

     Both dogs are now asleep in their crates and for the first time in two weeks Gavin is snoring, a good sign that he’s comfortable at last.  I’m sure the E-collar wasn’t very comfortable to sleep in.

When is an E-collar not an E-collar?

     When it is sitting in the back of the crate and isn’t on Gavin.  I went to take him out of his crate this morning and to my surprise he was sitting there with no E-collar on.  Sometime in the 3 hours when I slept last night, he managed to shred it off his neck.

Happily, Gavin hadn’t touched his ear, the stitches were intact.  I couldn’t duct tape that collar back into shape it was a lost cause.  I pulled out the other damaged collar, taped the crap out of it, and he’s wearing that one again.  I hope the new one gets here tomorrow. 

     If we’re real lucky the vet will remove the stitches on Tuesday, but I’m not holding my breath since he did warn us it could take as long as three weeks.