Wednesday, December 24, 2014

A Pre-Holiday Whirlwind

I've been enjoying the process of getting things done during these weeks leading up to Christmas, despite the additional excitement of an impulsive foster dog acquisition and the time it requires to kiss her and cuddle her to the degree that is proper with a creature such as her.  

We did have time for one new nifty hike discovery, to Fort Foote. Dahlia is great in the car, as long as she can sit on someone's lap. 

Keller is a little more active and some would say, less safe.
This was the first and probably the only hike with all 3 dogs, and they did well! 

It was neat to check out the ruins of Civil War barracks 
and the cannons that remain on this site, one of 68 forts encircling Washington, DC by 1865.  

The fort is also close to the Potomac, so an easy hike brought us to the sandy beach which made Keller so happy she was overcome by the zoomies

Why do dogs get so excited by sand and water? 

Maybe that surface just feels really good under the paws, or maybe being able to see out so far over the water makes them feel joyful and free. 

Kinda the same way we humans feel. 

The fort is close-in and the hike was short and sweet, so plenty of time when we got home to spend the afternoon cooking and making Mom's nutty meatballs and vegan "cheese" balls

And to get ready for a couple of friends to come over to play music. 

When I lived out West, I lived in communities of people who all loved Zimbabwean music and played the mbira, which is how I came to have so many great friends in those places. In the DC area, oddly enough it's been harder to find mbira players than in places like Portland or Taos, NM but finally a couple of old mbira buddies moved to Maryland and we try to play regularly. 

The girls love meeting new people and though I know they probably can't hear a bit of it, 

they seemed to want to be around the music. Maybe they could hear the vibrations? 

Mbira music does seem to be relaxing to many dogs; maybe they were able to pick up on its energy on some level. 

I'm glad they got to experience it in their own ways! 

Having guests over is a bit stressful, and I don't entertain often since my life and house became completely overtaken by unruly dogs. But when I do, I'm always glad I did. 

Now the final run before Christmas and Keller's transfer to the shelter. Will I be able to do it? Time will tell!

Monday, December 22, 2014

Sweetness and Light

Over the years, I've had foster dogs who were with us for 3 days and foster dogs who were with us for 6 months and foster dogs who never left. Keller is the first foster dog who I knew would be with us for a just a short time, before going back to the shelter.

And of course, she's the one I can't imagine letting go of. 

She is tiny, velvety, all white, and incredibly cuddly. 

She always wants to be close to us, and she sleeps stretched out between our heads. 

They're all cuddly of course, but I don't think many are this cuddly.

She can be an energetic wacky puppy pain in the butt,

but there is an innocence and gentleness about her that make her just irresistible.

She loves other dogs, and gives Dahlia as good as she gets with the wacky wrestling and running and romping,

but she is never testy or grumpy and you can trust her completely to play nicely and have a good attitude.
How am I going to bring this thing back to the shelter? I'd rather just scoop her up and not let go.

Sigh, a lesson about how some of the most wonderful things in life are transitory! 

Fortunately, I know that there is no shortage of adorable pups awaiting a foster home, and that my heart is not done being stolen.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

The Only Thing Better than One Deaf White Pocket Pittie

Is two!

As you know, Dahlia is a bit of a handful but also incredibly sweet and wonderful in her own ways. 

I certainly wasn't planning on getting an additional foster dog, not right before the holidays and before we take off on our post-Christmas vacation. 

But when I got the email about Keller, a petite deaf pit bull who was ready to be transferred to a shelter from whence she would be adopted quickly, but needed to be in a foster home for 10 days first to make sure she has a clean bill of health--what exactly was I supposed to do? 

Ignore it? 

Not really an option.

The moment I got her home, she and Dahlia started playing. 

The funny thing is, their play is largely silent. Unlike when Dahlia and Fozzie play, when it sounds like a Tasmanian Devil and a Tom cat are ripping each other limb from limb. 

It's not like they're two little angels. They're smashing into things, getting right under your feet or in your lap or on your laptop as they're playing, and they have to be separated sometimes because they get too intense. 

But they're just much less vocal about it than you'd expect, especially with as much as Dahlia vocalizes when she's playing with Fozzie. 


Wonder what's going on there? Is there some sort of communication that goes on between two deaf dogs, that is a mystery to those of us who can hear? 

Or is it just that Fozzie, because of his exuberant play style that is loud in ways that go beyond just decibels, brings out the loudness in Dahlia?

Nifty to watch. These dogs sure are good teachers.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Getting Into The Holiday Spirit

'Tis the season to retreat indoors for some idiotic family activities and some really good food. 

By "idiotic" I mean dressing up in my sister's pimp coat. 

That was one highlight of Halloween. 

The other was trick or treating at Uncle Johnny's new senior apartment building, where I'd just moved him in after driving down from New York the day before. Yep, Uncle Johnny's here full time now, can you believe it? 

There's quite a few people who are pleased about that turn of events.

Having Johnny around ensures that every holiday will be special. 

This Thanksgiving, we also had the pleasure of my aunt's company as we enjoyed a nontraditional repast.

Mom, whose absence is of course felt all the more acutely on the holidays, used to make amazing appetizers. My task was to replicate Mom's nutty "meat" balls, vegetarian amalgamations of pecans and water chestnuts. I made a vegan version that was a tad lacking in cohesion--but tasty!

And easy to digest as long as you have a specially-designed stomach warmer

Right around Thanksgiving came Dad's birthday, 

and then Mom's birthday. 

We visited her and brought her some champage. 

What a comfort those dogs are. 

How can you be blue for long when you've got a little bald snorting thing humping your leg?

You can't. All you can do is go with it. Cuddle up under the Christmas tree
Enjoy the moment, honor those who have passed and be thankful for what we still have. 

And while you're at it, make out a little. Mom would approve. 

Monday, December 15, 2014

The Changing Face of my Dog Obsession

Funny how my tastes in dogs have evolved over the years.

When I lived in New Mexico, most of the dogs in the shelters were brown dogs, often with black masks. 

They were the reservation dogs, the scrappy desert dogs, the shepherd mixes and Dingo/chow/heeler mixes that were everywhere. 

Something about that black mask just did something to my heart, and I ended up with two of them. 

Then I moved places where other dogs were ubiquitous. In Portland, in New York, and of course in the DC area it's the pits and pit mixes that fill the shelters. 

I still love the fuzzy desert dingo brown dogs, but it's the pit mixes that really make me lose my composure. So much that I've fostered five of them and now have two of them.
 Two that I can't keep my hands off of.

I just love their short fur, their velvety smoothness, their hot breath, their warm flapping tongues.

To see one is to have to make out with it, squish its face, massage its paws. 

Of course I love mine even more than just any pittie I come across. Fozzie, with his enormous body and his stiff paws, his horrifying breath and the way he just likes to lean into you with a big sigh.

And then that little bald pink thing 

So velvety and idiotic and snorty, so compact and kissable and muscular with paws that smell so strongly of Fritos that the entire dog emits that warm, delicious fragrance
Drives me crazy how cute they are.

Not sure why I get so worked up about the dogs who are most abundant. I think once I am in a place long enough to realize the situation, hear some of the stories, and learn who is most desperate, my rescuer messiah complex kicks in and I just need to be around those ones. Pretty weird, huh?

Now excuse me while I go sniff some paws.

What aspects of dogs make YOU unable to think straight? 

Monday, December 8, 2014

Bladensburg Waterfront Park and Patuxent Research Refuge

More partial days available for hiking lately, where we only had a few hours but were longing to get away from everything. 

Who knew that right near our nation's capital this would be so easy? First, off to Bladensburg Waterfront Park. 

Right in the middle of an industrial area characterized by auto parts dealers, scrap metal yards, and a few old factories, 
There's this network of trails along the Anacostia River. The Anacostia is known for its pollution and its occasional dead body. 

Not many people know that it is also features open space, 
lovely boardwalks through wetlands, 

nifty hidden-away piers, 
and the occasional dancing Swiss guy. 

Their loss is our gain, because as you know our favorite dog walks are the undiscovered ones. 
Our next close-in getaway was to the Patuxent Research Refuge

We hadn't been there in a while and I don't think we'd ever discovered the long trail that goes all the way around the lake
There are also some grassy areas 

and a few piers where you can get a good look over the water.

A great place for bird watching.

Remind me to bring our binoculars next time.

After our hike, we put the pups in the car and went inside the really nice visitors center. It's set up with some great educational exhibits on the wildlife of the area, as well as some on broader conservation concerns such as the fact that our planet is being choked by rapidly propagating humans who are filling the oceans with trash and wiping out entire species and transforming rich bioscapes into desolate wastelands and pumping out babies and building and developing and manufacturing crap in pursuit of more more more more MORE.

But they said it a bit more eloquently, and in a way that may change minds and hearts rather than just alienate people.

Never been my strong suit.