Rabu, 29 Desember 2010

Happy 6th Birthday to Brew

Rain, Sleet or Snow, nothing stops the Beagle Man and his beagles.

Brew celebrated his birthday this morning with a walk in the snow.  
Every morning, Kevin and the beagles walk to the coffee shop in downtown Fall City.  
Brew started out with his booties on.  But on the way home, Brew decided he didn't need those stinkin' booties anymore.

On another note, Lesley just informed me that Brew as of Sept.2010 was the 6th top Obedience Beagle in the nation.  Have to check where he ends up at year end.
Way to Go Brew!

Selasa, 28 Desember 2010

Confessions of a Volunteer Junkie, or, Would That Be a Junkie Volunteer?

Confession is good for the soul and this leads me to coming clean with the fact that I make lists of what to blog about, as if it matters. Sometimes the logic behind such a list proves to be a clearinghouse - getting rid of clutter on my mind, things you could not possibly be interested in reading. Admittedly there are topics listed which escape me when I return, prepared to turn them into eloquent and clever deliverances.

But my favorites are the lists which have topics unrelated to each other and I have before me a challenge or two - how to tie them all together, if need be, and how to connect them to the basis of the blog: the paws to love gig. Then, does it really matter? In the big scheme, probably not.

Therefore I just go with it.

Waiting for my 4 hour assignment at Barnes & Noble, where I'll be wrapping packages for Illinois Humane (helps dogs and cats), I am alerted to the presence of a Lost Boy. He appears to be about 6 and is lingering and looking around in the coffee shop area which is frequently inhabited by readers who don't buy anything to read, drink or eat. They need parking meters for those people. I digress. But, please note, I did get the paws reference in already so have a modicum of pride, which, in time, may grow. Back to the boy for now.

Leaving my Santa hat and purchases I approach the boy about the same time another concerned woman did. We thank each other for being so darned observant. I established myself at eye level with him and asked if he is lost. Of course, it's his mother who is lost. We go directly to the Nook Ladies. As they begin to search for a roving clerk to help, his mom and sisters show up. He got a talking to...but I swear he did nothing wrong. I think she was just stern but not raving mad. The girls, so obviously without flaws, lauded it over him. I think he was saddened for his shoulders slumped. Hopefully by Christmas morning Santa had let all this go and stuffed his stocking. Poor little tike.

Same Location, Different Day - For some reason, B & N draws us in and while my husband's hunt was for a potholder making kit (really?) and while he was at the craft store next to B & N (really?), sensible I went for a peppermint mocha, recommended by a fellow wrapper from the previous excursion. And, there I sit, taking in the story being relayed at the next table over. Do NOT tell me this is not a part of what you do when you are in close confines and others are chatting away. You listen. I know you do. I read blogs full of stories repeated by blog writers. Such funny or meaningful things cannot happen to each of you. You're repeating what you hear. Well, seated at this particular table were a mom and two grown children, let's say in their late 30's or early 40's. The mom and daughter had been somewhere and were sharing the tale with the brother/son. Where they had been required some knowledge of food items so perhaps they'd been shopping or at a class. Regardless, the big joke, such as it was, comes in handy for me as another reference to paws, for they were chortling over the mom trying to locate "canine peppers". OK, it was funny to them.

We know our way to B & N, clearly. On occasion we go out on adventures. My husband has a GPS but I do not. He leaves his in the house, perhaps sensing he may need it there, although the house is relatively right-sized for us and we have lived there for 16 years, not to mention that there's not suitable outlet to plug it into. Besides if your starting point and destination are one and the same will you get any useful results or will the voice you've selected merely snicker? Well, ponder it. In the meantime, we're off somewhere and looking for a store we've heard about. We've been to a couple of other places first. He heads for his vehicle (which does not have the GPS inside). I inquire, "Are we driving?" Seems a reasonable question to me. His response was, well, I suppose typical: "Yes, since we don't know where we are going we're driving". Go ahead, make sense of that.

Let me clarify the title of this submission, please. You probably got the reference to wrapping gifts as being a volunteer effort. Well, later that same week we also traveled to receive a truckload of pet food which was later distributed to pet owners a bit down on their luck and unable to afford food. How freaking (not freakin' - really freaking because it makes me want to scream) sad. The objective is to keep pets in homes by helping their owners feed them. I cannot imagine not being able to put down a bowl of kibble but rather having to take my pet(s) to a shelter where who knows what will happen to them, and then returning to complete loneliness. Sometimes the love of a pet is all a person has.

We saw further proof of this when we delivered Christmas dinners on Christmas morning. One 90 year old woman received hers and talked about her cat. It's her cat she spends every day with - she has no one else. For some people it's a bird or a dog, but a pet makes all the difference in the world. Love. Unconditionally given. Wow.

If you can, see shelter pets through the eyes of their past owners - loved enough to give them up, hoping a good home will be provided, worried that time is limited.

If you can, buy cat food or pet food, or make a cash donation to a pet food bank.

Start your own journey as a junkie volunteer - get hooked on doing good things!

Senin, 22 November 2010


Congratulations to Patty who earned her championship this last weekend.  Finally tally was 18 points and 3 majors.  Maribel and Alberto are very proud parents.

Patty (formerly Maria) spent a month with Team Beagle a year ago before she went off to her forever home.

For more pictures of this cute girl check out:

FAR OUT Sunday

The moon last night was spectacularly eerie; clouds stretched across it made it so. This shot was as early as 6:30 and it felt like midnight! Getting the photo taken meant making a body tripod just to avoid blurring. The whole thing was neay to see! Helped me realize, again, what a wonder this universe is! As far away as the moon is, it is a relatively close neighbor and remains a mystery to most of us. When you think about it - and do think about it sometime - the changes it makes, the way it impacts tides, which in turn impact so much else...kinda the butterfly flapping its wings progression. Hmmmmm.

Then, to bring everything into perspective, aka reality, I found Thanksgiving dinner for the dogs when I went to the pet store yesterday. They will dine in style. Maybe I'll cook some rice for them to step it up even more. We are, after all, very thankful to have them and our kitties with us, day in, day out. They bring us joy, challenges, exercise, and loads of love. We're a little shaken now, by the news that at least dogs are discriminating - they do not necessarily present unconditional love as we have thought all along. So, maybe I'm gearing up for this big dinner on Thursday, for them, just to keep on their good sides!

Minggu, 21 November 2010

ThankYouEveryDay not just one Thursday a year

Brimming is the word for the day. It may be the word for the rest of the year for my life is brimming with all sorts of wonderful outcomes. Much of it seems to rest on the pure joy of contentment but also on being able to ENjoy what surrounds me - terrific people and places. So indulge my sharing. Afterall, it is now when we offer our thanks.

First, I yanked the image of God and Dog off an email or link someone sent to me and it just makes me feel happy to see it. Having gone through the recent behavioral ordeal with Harmony I was so relieved to find something as simple as a calming collar would make a world of difference to her. Life has been borderline blissful since she received hers and we will gladly replace it in four weeks to maintain that mood for her and her "siblings". God, karma, fate - I did PRAY a LOT - it took! Much as I sometimes dislike FaceBook and how mean/nasty/snotty we all get on it, I do appreciate there was an ad for a calming collar and I was prompted to read up on them and ask the angelic office manager at my vet's about them. Got one. Put it on. Three hours later, Harmony was back to being her sweet self. Me too.

9 days ago I attracted a virus. It was a humdinger and I don't recall ever being this ill. Down. Out. So I slept for many days. The human body can survive on a little water and no food for several days. I did sufficiently well - rested and bounced back although the tum-tum still churns at times.  Anyway, this leads to my "release" on Friday to go out on a road trip. My fellow troublemaker and I have been making the most of the trend to "shop local", visiting small towns with the strength and might to fight back on negativity and the economy. This week we tackled two of them! These photos are of a place that has intrigued me for months and it just seemed like a great place to go on the way home from Virginia, IL. The 3-legged Dog Cafe, in Jacksonville did not disappoint! Here's the entrance - an understatement to be sure. Inside was spectacular. We treated ourselves to a late afternoon coffee and juice (not mixed together, no, silly). And, we each purchased flannel jammie bottoms because we are just those kinds of girls. We will NOT be wearing them in public. At least I won't be wearing mine in public and I won't go anywhere with her if she has hers on.

Before we landed there we did reach our original destination. This is an even longer story and does bring dogs back into the posting. See, I do pet transports most Saturdays, http://sites.google.com/site/animalrescuetransport/who-we-are and sometimes there are what is called cross-postings from different rescues or shelters who are wanting a home inspection done before a pet is placed into a home. It's not always a place close by. And, so it happened that a place in northern Wisconsin, needed a home visit done in Virginia, IL. I'm a whole lot closer than they are to Virginia so I said I'd go. Then the prospective new pet owner had an emergency so we re-scheduled. Then I became ill. I did what I had to do. Buckled down and sent my loving husband (who took over several volunteer assignments for me while I was wimping away in the recliner). Those people should not have to wait! Nor should Teddy.

And, here's how this trip all comes together: He discovers they live above their business which turns out to be EXACTLY what I love, a coffeehouse/restaurant/wine store/selective art items and tee shirts offered.http://www.dr-ugs.biz/. So, on my the Friday drive our first stop was at Dr.Ugs for soup, a roll, and I got myself tee shirt and a print of Venice for my driver. Then Saturday I went on transport and stopped at my favorite jewelry maker and left a message that she should connect with the good people of Dr.Ug's and display some jewelry there!http://www.facebook.com/pages/Elkhart-IL/The-Copper-Rooster/195676258214 

That felt so good. Why have Thanksgiving just one time a year? Isn't it an EVERY DAY opportunity?

Rabu, 10 November 2010

Input Requested...but wait, there's more....

We have 5 dogs. That lovely little white dog (35 lbs) has developed a nasty behavior - she barks aggressively and appears to have severe separation anxiety and jealously. I've got a tee shirt on her. She has a calming collar. AND, she's taking a calming pill. She goes from wound up really tight (shaking, teeth chattering) to barking to crashed. Having attacked our oldest dog 4 weeks ago, in front of me, she can no longer be with the other dogs except when she's crashed and the oldest is in a covered crate. Then it is as if nothing happened at all - everyone is fine.

I'm the pack leader and they all know that. This one has been with us 3 years and although she argues with me she knows her place. She's the alpha.

She's been to obedience school, is extremely smart, loves to play "bring it" - our version of fetch.

She and a younger male dog stay in crates at night.

She gets walked (and does beautifully) daily.

She is wonderful in public - anywhere, with all people. At least she was until this started. Now I'm not sure.

I've switched her food gradually - all of them. No one else seemed bothered but the old or the new but now in addition to her dry food I have to give her some canned in order for her to eat. I know the pills cause panting and loss of appetite so watch her for water and food consumption. I do not free feed any of them.

It could be neurological or some other physical thing. I just don't know.

Any ideas?

Early morning, breaking news. Of all things, there was an ad on FB for calming collars so Saturday I asked our vet's wife about it as she manages the practice and we were busy decorating a Christmas tree (more another time). Tuesday, after exhausting pill options and reading about the collars, I bought one. It went on yesterday a.m. At first I didn't think it was making a difference and we had a terrible morning. By 2 p.m. "H" was back to her gleeful, frolicky self. The collar wins. We win! She will gladly be wearing one at least for two months. For those of you who may have a pet who suffers from an anxiety/fear/extremely negative energy - ask your pet doctor about a calming collar. These dispense pheromones for about 28-30 days. Day two begins and we are almost as normal as other people!

Minggu, 10 Oktober 2010

And, so fall arrives...

It's hard to believe from the images included throughout that we're having a busy time. We've kicked off fall with inviting a couple of friends for dinner which means the house is clean. No one DARE drop a hair anywhere! In addition, there's a new foster in town...we've had 3 in the last couple of months. The group shot is all the anxious hosts and hostesses awaiting her arrival.
Fostering is SO rewarding! We toy with the idea of adding another dog to our family and Abner (http://abnerwisdom.blogspot.com/) was the last one. Perhaps we will some day.

For now it's a joy to offer temporary respite, continue with transporting - especially on the wonderful days such as we're having right now! I call this photo "3 sissies" as the Boxer's name is Sissy. She's come from the western edge of IL and is headed to the northern states, to a Boxer Rescue group. Lucky girl!

The current visitor is Casey Maxine, as seen in this photo, getting a tall, cool drink after a midday romp. We'll probably have her a week, allowing her time to be accepted by a rescue group. Unless of course someone contacts me and says they'd love to adopt her. She's 6 months old (approx), good with other dogs, probably Lab/Shep mix. We've only had her one night and one day and she's been "good" but we've had her outside a lot and in a crate at night. She loves people and seems to have a wonderful personality.

See how infectious this is? Don't you want to just help? You can! Transporters are needed. Fosters are needed. Financial support is needed. Find a shelter, rescue group or transport team. Check 'em out. Help out.
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Rabu, 06 Oktober 2010

Team Beagle has a Great Day at Beagle Nationals

Beginning Obedience Scores
Novice Obedience Scores

Brew and I had a really good day as we got High in Trial!  Yes, hard to believe but we did!  We competed in the Novice Obedience and got a score of 182.5 which turned out to be the highest score.

Brew Novice Obedience B

Brew and I also competed in Beginning Obedience but NQ'd on the recall - still trying to run out of the ring. Luckily for us in the Novice Obedience the recall was away from the exit otherwise it might have been the same outcome.
Brew Beginning Obedience

Rally judging wkst for Brew
Rally Advanced Cours
Brew and I also got 1st in Rally Advanced, however we were the only ones to compete in that group.  Our run was not that great but we still qualified.

Brew Rally Advanced

Bob and Jo also competed in three events - Novice Obedience - he did wonderful (I mean outstanding) on all the exercises but NQ when he got up from the sit stay
Bob Novice Obedience B 

On Beginning Novice, also NQd due to the recall.  He ran top speed right out of the ring and over to where we had the crates.  Everyone at the show had a good laugh.
Bob Beginning Obedience

Rally Novice Course
Rally judging wkst for Bob
 Then Bob and Jo competed in Rally Novice and they got 1st with a score of 98 out of 100.  It was an awesome run.

Bob Rally Novice

Go Team Beagle!

Senin, 04 Oktober 2010

CWBC Obedience and Rally at Nationals

Judge's Score sheet for Novice
Brew (#339) and Bob (#337) competed in three obedience and rally events today.  In Novice Obedience, Bob sniffed his way through the course and then on the recall he ran toward the gate only to be stopped by the stewards.  In which Bob's reply was bahrooooo!  He made it through the sit stay but not the down stay.  He started whinning and the eventually got up and ran to Jo.  So Bob NQ'd.  Brew did awesome in his Novice Obedience until the recall in which he decided to run toward the gate instead of me.  So we NQ'd too.  Brew did great on the sit stay and down stay and didn't move even when Bob got up to run to Jo.

 Bob Novice Obedience

 Brew Novice Obedience

Judge's score sheet for Beg Obed
Next event, Beginning Obedience - Bob qualified and 2nd with a score of 191.  Brew however NQ'd because of the recall again.  However it might have been my fault this time.  It looked like he was going to make a break for it again so I called him again and then moved but at least that resulted in him coming to me.  Don't want to make a habit of this running toward the gate.

Third Event - Rally Advance for Brew and Rally Novice for Bob.  Brew got a 1st (ok so there were only two of us in the class).  This was our first time in advance which is off leash with a jump, some harder and more signs.  I did lose his attention several times but I guess he did better than the other beagle.  Bob got 4th in his group.  Actually, Jo and Bob did awesome.  Bob kept his attention on Jo the whole time but they lost 1 point for something and 10 points for incomplete of sign.  We are not sure what happened since the camera card ran out of memory near the end of their run.  The only thing we can think of is that either Bob didn't down all the way or Jo didn't stop - the sign was a Stop and Down.
Brew Rally Advanced B

Rally Advanced Course

Judge's worksheet for Brew
Bob Rally Novice B

Rally Novice Course
Judge's worksheet for Bob
Overall not to bad for beagles

Selasa, 28 September 2010

Gig Harbor/Shelton Weekend Show

Bob's Rally Score
Rally Novice Course-Saturday
Next time I will read the fine print - for some reason I got the impression that this was an indoor show - well it was for some of the conformation events but not for obedience and rally.  Needless to say I got the "stink eye" from Jo.  Saturday was a gorgeous day with the temp around 77.  The rings for obedience/rally were located in the back of the fairgrounds, next to the sky jumpers take off and landing and the motorcycle park.  Luckily, these did not prove to be too much of a distraction for the beagles.
Jo went into the Rally ring 1st and other than lots of sniffing by Bob they got a qualifying score for Rally Novice (96) and 2nd place. Not bad for a beagle outdoors!
Bob Rally Novice
Brew and I were next and while he was doing lots of sniffing as well I thought we had a good run until when the judge called everyone back into the ring and he didn't call my number.  Right there, I knew that I must have missed a sign and thus NQd.  Sure enough, I had blown right past the sit/down walk around sign that was located right after the figure 8 weave.  This is no excuse but the sign was located off to the right and not directly in the path so when I came out of the weave all I saw was the sign at the end of the ring (a left turn).  In the future, I guess I will have to start counting the sign numbers to make sure this doesn't happen again.
Brew Rally Novice

Both beagles already have their Rally Novice title but practice makes perfect!
The beagles were also entered in Obedience Novice B for the first time.  Yes, we were going to attempt off-leash activities with a beagle outdoors (I can hear all you beagle owners saying "Have you lost your mind!").  Bob's turn in the ring did not go so well and after an attempt at the stand for exam when he decided to sniff his way out of the ring, the judge very kindly asked Jo if she wanted to be excused which Jo very promptly replied YES!  We have to laugh because the score sheet says "not under control - NQd". 
Bob Novice Obedience Part 1 Click on picture to watch video
From AKC Shelton Sep 25-26, 2010
Bob Novice Obedience Part2 - Click on picture to watch video
From AKC Shelton Sep 25-26, 2010
Here is the big surprise, Brew qualified (182.5) and got 3rd place (so what if there were only 3 dogs that qualified- I got the ribbon that says 3rd LOL!)  While Brew was not perfect, I think he did pretty well for a beagle outdoors.  In fact, I think his off leash work is better than on leash work.  For the sit and downs, he was between two large dogs but he stayed right there with only an occasional sniff here and there and a look around.  Will post video later.

Rally Novice Course-Sunday
Sunday turned out to be very wet and the rings were soaked.  The Rally course was redesigned to avoid the lake in the middle of the ring.  Both beagles qualified -Brew got 89 and Bob 87.  So again, we qualified but no placement ribbons.  The score sheet had lots of marks off for slow to respond (str) and poor sits.  I ended up redoing the 1,2,3 sign because I couldn't remember if I had done the 2nd step correctly and then the judge marked me for another redo on a 270 left because Brew ran out in front of me past the sign so I had to call him back.  I guess the judge took that as a redo.

Bob Rally Novice Sunday

Brew Rally Novice Sunday

Bob and Jo then entered the Obedience Novice ring.  While they still NQ'd they at least made it through all the exercises except they were excused from sit/down stays.  On the recall, Bob decided running outside of the ring would be more fun.  Brew and I also NQ'd - on the heel free when the judged yelled Fast, Brew decided it was time to run past me and out of the ring.  The judge was nice and let us do the recall anyway.  So I sat Brew down, left him, walked to the end of the ring, called him - Brew took off running toward me but about halfway through decided that whatever was near the gate was more interesting so off he went out the ring (well the stewards were ready this time and caught him).  Both beagles were very interested in the stewards area since they both ran that way or maybe it was the gate to freedom that attracted them.
Brew Novice Obedience Part 1- heeling, figure eight, heel free exercises

Brew Novice Obedience Part 2- recall exercise

Jumat, 24 September 2010


Meet Miss Chastity. Her eyes look different, right? True, they do not match but there's more. She cannot see.
Chastity is a D-O-L-L! And, she has a home now.
No, it's not here; we're at our limit.
But, small world that it is, especially when one participates in animal rescue AND social media...A friend I've never met but have crossed paths with in the world of adoption, foster, transport, etc. has (as it turns out) moved out of state, to Iowa of all places. Well, he saw Chastity's photo after inquiring about special needs kitties. And both he and his fiance' were smitten by the year old kitten.
Here's how it's going so far:
Chastity has been spayed and is up to date on stuff, thanks to Benld Adopt-A-Pet, http://www.benldadoptapet.org/ . I brought her home with me on Thursday. She was going to stay at Forever Home Feline Ranch http://www.felineranch.org/ for a week and a half if need be, but we were able to do a reverse transport http://sites.google.com/site/animalrescuetransport/who-we-are thanks to the Hancock County/Quincy rescue team that runs each week. Her new family will meet her tomorrow and she'll settle in for life.
Right now she's in temporary quarters, sharing space with our cats but kept away from them as they don't appreciate visitors!
If you ever wonder if it makes a difference that you are involved or that you donate or support rescue - look at this sweetie from time to time. You know, had she been turned out on her own, she would have wandered without hope or help. Who knows what would have become of her.
Envision her - safe, happy, cozy - that's how her life will be.
Happy endings do occur in a world where people are connected in ways they never imagined. Think about how you can connect and make a difference. Think about letting one life, one other being, know that they matter. Do it.

Rabu, 22 September 2010

Jo gets in the RING @ the Wentachee show

Yes, I know this is a shocker but Jo finally decided to show Bob herself. And as I predicted Bob did much better in the ring with Jo than me. We entered in three events on Saturday in Wenatchee- Beginning Novice Obedience B, Pre-Novice Obedience B and Rally Novice B. Jo showed Bob in the Obedience ring and I showed Bob in the Rally ring, but she is studying the signs and next week will take Bob into the Rally ring as well.

This was a challenging show on two fronts - 1) an outdoor show - need I say more with a beagle and 2) The beagles had had no training or practicing for the last two weeks prior to the show while we were on vacation. Instead they had been on their own vacation at the Hiltz's place having a blast running around playing with all their beagle and whippet friends. I guess Bob took a liking to Abby and Brew thought Sophie was pretty cute.

In the Obedience ring
In Beginning Novice Obedience B, there were 5 dogs. Jo and Bob (#1851) took 2nd place with a score of 193.5 of out 200. Brew (#1852) and I took 3rd place with a score of 191.5. Beginning Novice Obed is basically all on lead except for two variations: on the sit stay you drop the lead and then walk around the whole ring and the recall is off-leash from 25 ft away. Jo had to go out first (although I had ask that they switch us but I guess the stewards forgot to do that). Luckily, Jo had watched the Beg Novice A group so she kinda knew what was going to happen. The judge was very friendly and helpful.

Bob & Jo Beg Novice Obed

Janet & Brew Beg Novice Obedience

The 2nd event was Pre-Novice Obedience - the exercises are all on lead plus group sit and down stays. Before the group exercises, both beagles weren't doing too bad (Bob lost 16 points and Brew lost 8.5 points). Although, I think the beagles were getting tired as their performance was better in the Beg Nov Obed. There were 7 dogs competing in this group.
Bob and Jo got a 124 out of 200. The group exercises were their downfall. Bob hasn't had much experience with these exercises. On both the sit and down stay, he got up so he lost all the points for those exercises (60 of them) and he tends to whine especially in the down because it was 3 mins long. He kept looking at Jo saying are we done yet and where is my treat. I'm suppose to get a treat after every exercise, what is wrong with you people? Brew was great as when Bob got up, he just stayed in place. Go Brew. Brew got 3rd in the Pre-Novice group with a score of 191.5. Hmmm, that score looks familiar, well at least Brew and I are consistent.

Bob & Jo Pre Novice run

Brew & Janet Pre-Novice Part 1

Brew & Janet Pre-Novice Part 2 (camera mulfunction so here is the last exercise)

Rally Rally Rally - not one of our better performances. I didn't get a chance to walkthrough the course before hand as we were in the obedience ring when that was going on. So I studied the course map and then went for it. I was afraid I was going to miss a sign since I didn't get to practice and the beagles were not on their best behavior. Additionally, another dog had peed in the ring so that was another obstacle we had to contend with on the course.

This was Bob's first outdoor show so he was more interested in smelling than paying attention to me as well as looking for Jo - poor sits (really out of position), lagging and the handler messed up the 1,2,3 step sign (too many steps) resulted in score of 78 out of 100.

Brew did much better, he got a 92. However, he was completely distracted as well. At one point, another dog outside of the ring caught his attention and I thought it is all over with now - thank goodness the next sign was a 270 and that got us going in the opposite direction of the distraction. Right at the end of the course, I seem to have gotten his attention back and even managed to cross the pee spot without him sniffing (hooray).

Bob & Janet Rally Novice

Janet & Brew Rally Novice B

Selasa, 21 September 2010

WHOOSH! Lady exits the house but stays in the neighborhood

Just when we thought she MIGHT be staying, Lady got a wonderful home about a mile from us. She'll live with Rocky, who looks like our Tripp, and two humans, have a similar home to ours and loads of love! We're moping around a bit but it was really "right" and we're delighted for her. They were waiting for a dog to come along and thanks to our vet clinic - there was Lady!

Now, for another awesome dog who has been pulled from the local animal control facility and placed in a foster home for adoption - Dakota! She's a Staffordshire Bull Terrier, age 2, housebroken, friendly as all get-out, and calm when she should be but energetic when she can't help herself! I had her at an adoption recently and was blessed to spend the day with her. She deserves the best. We cannot have her here as she's most likely an alpha - our Harmony Victoria has that slot all to herself. But, wow, she'll be a lucky catch for some deserving dog lover.

So it goes - there's always a dog or cat needing a home and never enough humans around to help them find them or to take them. A friend recently told me I chose a tough area for volunteering. Trust me - it is tearful at times but those tears are both for loss and for joy. I wouldn't trade it, ever, for anything. I hope I have a good 10-15 years left in me to do this! Then I'll be content to have pups and kitties visit me and sit on my lap to be socialized while I nap!

Minggu, 19 September 2010

So Much For The Kitchen

It's up and running and the more I use it (and am glad to be able to) the more it suits me. In order to acquaint my husband with where things are we play "You're getting warmer..." Eventually he does find what he is looking for and I am able to uncurl myself and stop the giggling.

This will be a bit of a catch-up blog. Life is getting back into the proper order with both of us finding that being able to move from room to room without knocking into dishes or jars of food (we had 12 jars of beets) makes life together more agreeable. In turn that means we do more that needs to be done so we're out and about more. Would I do the kitchen thing over again? No. I might have done new countertops and an appliance or two but no, not the entire thing. Would I use the same people and would I recommend them? Yes, but. Yes, but I would want to shop local for the countertops. Am I glad it's over? Yes, of course.

On to the wonders of life though! This is a blog about pets, and wannabe pets. Let me return to and stick to the topic.

The week has been remarkable, nothing less. An email arrived from a friend in a town a few miles away. Her cousin, another few miles away, had taken a young, female Lab away from the neighbor's property, not away from the neighbor but away from the property, because the neighbor had moved. Circumstances had recently changed. NOTE: "recently" is not 3 years - the actual time the dog had been ignored. He must have forgotten he even had a dog you think? No, he was going to come back for her and have her killed. Granted, she has heartworm but whose fault is that? OK, I'll get off his case and on to the remarkable stuff. The email arrived and the cousin and I were connected. I sent out a plea for someone to take the dog. Success came from the people for whom I do transport. They are 2 1/2 hours away. They had checked with a Lab rescue in one of the Chicago area suburbs and that group was willing to take the dog, treat her for heartworm and find her a perfect home. In three days a dog went from not knowing love to being loved by countless individuals. She will live on, happily, and rewarding all of us by celebrating her life fully with whoever becomes hers.

While that was going on, yet another friend, one who I've never met but is a kindred spirit, emailed about a blind kitten. Can you say "Adopt-a-Less-Adoptable-Pet Week" is being kicked off in great fashion? So, he asked about a kitten and I made a call asking that he be called but also told him of another one available soon. That response and reply came more quickly and he fell in love with her when I sent photos. Count little Chastity as "adopted" as she will be spayed this week and come back here, go to Forever Home Feline Ranch for a couple of days while we make the arrangements to get the kitty to her guy. Did I mention the kitten is an hour from me and the guy is six hours? We do what it takes!

Closer to home, right here actually, we have our very own story developing. We have a 6 month old foster, a femail Pointer/Lab mix who is a beauty. Shiny, sleek, completely black, personable...all right I'm inclined to go on and on but it's all true. We would keep her, with our 5 dogs and 5 cats as she is fine with them. The issue is that the chances of her outliving our ability to give her  wonderful life are really good. Hubby is on the edge of leaving the 60's (his decade not the one we all shared) and therefore it will fall more and more on me to do much of the "stuff" that has to be done. Yes, he's fit as a fiddle and that's now. At this point we have to consider 2020-2025. We could take our chances but if we did we would not have a slot open for a "....Less-Adoptable-Pet". So, this little lady is looking for a home to allow us to help others. She should be able to get one easily, once you (yes, you) are past that she is a black dog - they don't adopt out easily - and she's going to be a large girl.

That's her in the pink collar with our Baxter-boy; he's smitten.

Keep your fingers crossed for us. We're hoping she can get a home and we'll help another, soon.

Thanks Lesley and David

Thanks Lesley and David for taking care of team beagle
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Kamis, 16 September 2010

The Best Places To Buy Stuff 'Round Here

I've got secrets about where to get the best deals. I don't spend like I used to, but with the creativity I've put into finding what I need (ok, want sometimes), I still get a shopping fix here and there. ;) I will note now, if you are thrift store phobic then stop reading now. You wont like it... but I tell ya sometimes it feels good to slum.

Which brings me to store #1:

Goodwill Outlet (at the end of Casino Rd near Airport Rd- I know I saw one in Seattle once too...).

Oh my this store is something and I think I'm addicted. It's slightly embarrassing. It opened up maybe 6 or 7 months ago I believe, and it sells stuff BY THE POUND. Cheaply by the pound I might add. Now you have to be in treasure hunting mode or else don't waste your time- everything is dumped into giant bins and you have to dig through it (and I will say, some of the characters you come across there are slightly psychopathic- wonder if they think the same of me?) But when you find a pair of designer jeans for $0.75, you will know the high I speak of. So here are the things I recommend buying here:

1) Clothing. The stuff that goes to this store is the stuff that doesn't sell at the normal Goodwill. Think: Originally Stupidly Overpriced (you know you think this when you go to the normal thrift store anymore. Stuff's cheaper at Ross). I have found SOOOOOO much amazing clothing for myself, Jake (less for men unfortunately, far more stuff for women), and the kids.

2) Electronics. Oh you'll die when you see the prices on electronics. I should mention that my children have a tv in their room with a dvd player. I am not the sort of mom that hovers, and so unfortunately we have gone through a shit ton of dvd players. I'm serious. Like at least 10. Seriously. So anyways, dvd players are $2 or $3, they always have them. TV's are about $5 maybe (you wont find that flat screen- but trust me when I say for kids this is good. We put a $500 flat screen in the kids room. It now lives at the local dump. They're not sturdy enough for kids... like mine anyway). (Ahem- just remembered another funny little blog called Shit My Kids Ruined http://www.shitmykidsruined.com/)

3) Furniture? This is iffy, but you can sometimes find great things. I got what appeared to be a brand new highchair for $6. I like to repaint and do random art projects with my furniture, so better on a $5 table then a new one ;)

4) Books. Soft covers are like $0.25 and hard covers are like $0.35. I will give you all fair warning, don't try to buy books when they put out the new bins. People are insane, stand far away.

5) Toys. I promise your kids wont die if you buy them used toys- wipe them suckers down with some bleach water and let the kids go at it. I am picky, but plastic is plastic. If it's beat to shit or is missing pieces it's a no (to Eli's misfortune on occasion). I have found a light saber and a blaster that probably didn't cost $1 together- this was an hour after Eli was panicking in Target that I wouldn't buy him the $30 light saber in the toy section (it was the same EXACT one), all models of plastic noisy things that kids like and are normally at least $20 each, I just today got Eli this Robot that was OVER $100 last Christmas at Target (probably cost me $1- that bitch was heavy), we've gotten tonka trucks, train sets, etc etc etc.

(Found another cool blog with a story on "the bins"- read here: http://www.chic-steals.com/2010/04/goodwill-outlet-store-aka-bins.html)

It's not glamorous, but damn it's kinda fun.

Store #2:

Dollar Tree!!! (They're everywhere!)

I looooooove me some dollar tree! I shit you not, I go 2 or 3 times a week. If you've never been to dollar tree, you are spending too much on stuff you shouldn't be spending too much on. Now I'm not talking any old dollar plus store- I go into those occasionally, but I always return to dollar tree. Here are the things I regularly buy there:

1) Candles. They burn slow, they don't stink, whatev. I bought some at Ross the other day and lit them all, and the Ross candle was dead by the end of the night, but the Dollar Tree candle was burning strong! I will sometimes branch out and get candles elsewhere, but this is my go to place for stock candles.

2) Cleaning products. Oh hallelujah it is so much cheaper to buy cleaning products at the dollar store. I get basically everything there for cleaning minus garbage bags (you just really don't want to skimp on garbage bag quality).

3) If you have animals, they have animal stuffs- food, collars, toys etc etc.

4) Light bulbs, batteries, tools, that sort of thing. Superglue! I desperately needed superglue the other day and was about to buy it at Albertsons (God I hate Albertsons with a fiery passion, avoid shopping there if possible). It was $5 at Albertsons for a one pack, and next door at Dollar Tree it was $1 for a three pack.

5) Kitchen towels, utensils, foil, tupperware, etc etc.

6) Holiday things! Just spent $20 getting everything I need for Halloween. I will be back to stuff stockings during Christmas and buy all of my wrapping paper, tape, etc there.

Did I mention they have pregnancy tests? I've sure been through my share of those puppies. I'm going to start telling people we're Catholic.

And good golly you wouldn't guess what I saw there the other day? Go on guess.... warming lube! I was trying desperately to find a photo online to post here, but instead I found this review on yelp for dollar tree:

"What about warming lube? That shit costs more than cocaine if you go to Target or The Leather Den. You want to know how much it costs at Dollar Tree?


Now a last note on Dollar Tree- I have thus far been a snob and not bought food there. I was speaking to the lovely sales girl yesterday though, and it turns out that because they are corporately owned and operated that everything has to follow protocol (not like some of these tiny dollar stores with expired food- barf). I may go out on a limb and see what I see for food next time I'm in- I did notice they had Oreos last time I was there... :)

Store #3:

Target. Ok gahhh, I've heard a bit about them supporting some anti-gay agenda. I am quite annoyed and hope they fix this problem quickly. I did some research during the last presidential election about which companies supported liberal politics and which supported conservative politics so I could buy accordingly, and I remember Target supporting liberals so this is like a punch in the face! I don't want to put my face down and pretend I didn't hear anything, but I do like Target :( Anywho, assuming you can stomach spending money there any longer, here are the things that are priced best at Target:

1) Paper Products: Toilet paper (I like Charmin Ultra Strong!), garbage bags, Target Brand diapers (they are as good as Huggies and better than Pampers imho), diaper wipes (only Huggies wipes for us- they're much thicker than any others). Paper towels if you must, but also remember it's not too hard to use a rag instead and save a bit of garbage. One cleaning product you might buy here over Dollar Tree is laundry soap (but still get your dryer sheets at Dollar Tree). I normally go for either Arm and Hammer concentrated or All Free and Clear. If you have infants, please stop wasting your money on Dreft and just get All Free and Clear. It has no dyes or perfumes in it. Problem solved.

2) Food. Not all food, only some foods. Soda (which I'm not allowed to have anymore, whine), and cereal are the first two that come to mind. Much less pricey here than the normal grocery store. Sometimes if they are out of a product, they'll give you another similar product for something like 50% off (they normally have the little red tags under them). What I do is I'll just do a quick scan down the aisles to see where the red tags are and take a looksee in case the alternative is something I'd like to purchase at half off. Don't ever buy dairy products here- terribly overpriced.

Store #4:

Fred Meyer. There's not a ton of raging deals here, but one close to my heart comes to mind.

1) Salmon. Cheapest place in the world almost ever to buy wild caught salmon. If you buy an entire fish and have them filet it, it's oftentimes $2.99 a pound. You wont find a better deal anywhere else.

Now Fred Meyer will try to suck you in with it's constant sales. These sales are rarely worth wasting your time. I will scan the additional 50% off housewares (if you need house paint, look at the shelf of mis-tints), but don't bother with their overpriced clothes most of the time. You can find kids clothes cheaper. Now *sometimes* they go take an additional 75% off, and this would be the time to dig around and see what you see. I'd say mostly don't waste your time with the overpriced furniture either, and good god don't buy picture frames here.

Store #5:

Ross. This is if you of course can handle the lines, the mess, and the screaming children. Some days I can, some days I can't. Try to use the bathroom before you get there- ick.

Things to buy at Ross:

1) Clothing and shoes and housewares. Obviously.

There's not much else to say about Ross, but something I will throw out there that I've just recently come across is that they have a good amount of organizational stuffs for super cheap! I got this thing that goes under my bed and stores my shoes (freeing up the entire upper shelf in my closet- hurray!), and these other doo dads that hang over your doors and have pockets (in my office I keep my scissors and tape and all that jazz in one of those guys). I never had looked through that stuff before, but I'm nesting with a vengeance and I'm glad I was able to find good prices on such things! They're quite a bit more at Target.

Store #6:

Pawn Exchange. This is a new one for me, but darnit if I haven't found some great deals on things that I've in the past spent ungodly amounts of money on. Namely:

1) Video game consoles, games, and controllers. I bought a Wii controller there a bit ago for $20, and the Wii controller I bought at Target a few weeks prior to that was something like $75 with the nun chuck. No seriously. Games are anywhere from $5 to $20, never more. The reason I've found this all out started the day I was going to light Game Stop on fire. Eff that place. Rapists, all of them. I literally bought a $60 game, and once it was beat a few weeks later I went to trade it in for something else. They gave me $10, and turned around and sold the used copy for $50. That's bullshit in my book.

Anyways, moving on:

2) Musical instruments. Self explanatory. They're in reasonable shape, you don't really need a brand spanking new guitar most of the time. We've gotten some good deals.

3) Tools. I have personally never bought a tool here, but if I needed an expensive type tool, here is where I would go.

4) Vacuums? I just bought a vacuum there for $30 that would've cost me $150 at Target new... works great.

As far as full on grocery shopping goes, I stick with Safeway for many reasons that aren't all price related. They're cheaper than some (Haggen, QFC), but they have competition in their price range as well. The ambiance is nice, the people aren't ghetto (cough Albertsons cough), I like the shopping carts, there's almost always a Starbucks inside... you get the idea. I used to make the random trip to Grocery Outlet (or Ghettoville as Carly and I used to call it about 10 years ago), but even they seem more pricey than they used to be.

I get the feeling I'm forgetting some good places... but this should start you off on your treasure hunting experience! Share any secrets you know in comments!!!