Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Oh, Dear

Well, times are a wee bit rough at the Haven. Rudy just had surgery for his tumor (he's doing fine and finally back home after a night at the vet), Roody stayed overnight last night at the vet, too, as he has some sort of tummy bug, Sophia is throwing up, Sadie is sleeping more and more, and Frisbee is off his food. Something has hit us, and it isn't the Swine Flu! This is so hard on the old ones, and I hope we don't lose anyone. If you have faith, please send us some positive thoughts and prayers for these souls to recover (and quickly!). It is also hard on the budget when they are sick. Despite our vet's generous help, the bills are still so high - last month it was over $600 for the two dentals, and the Rudy's bill was $465 today. I'm not sure where the money is going to come from for this round, and I sure hope there isn't more to come. Don't worry - I'd never deny the dogs necessary care. I guess we'll have to shuffle around a few more expenses...

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Treadmills, Tumors, and Turn-arounds

It was a productive Saturday at Hundenruhe Haven. Rudy, our 16-year-old Italian Greyhound, has been battling cancerous tumors on his belly for as long as he's lived with us - about 3 years now. He also takes medicine for his thyroid and for epilepsy. On Friday night, a very large tumor burst open and was giving him some discomfort, so I took him to the vet on Saturday morning. Poor fellow - it looks like raw meat! We decided that Rudy wasn't yet ready for the Rainbow Bridge, so he will have surgery to remove the tumor on Monday. Last month he lost 7 teeth, this month part of his skin! Please think good thoughts for his surgery and subsequent recovery.
Treadmills....my sister-in-law has purchased my treadmill. Hurray! I am too fat and have too much trouble with my joints to take up running again, so the treadmill has been a convenient blanket-hanger for some time now. Since she can't pick it up until Thanksgiving weekend, I managed to haul it out to the porch to await pick-up. Never one to pass up an opportunity to rearrange furniture, I moved a few things around in the dog room yesterday, and I'm quite pleased with the result. The dog room is a bit of a misnomer, as the dogs generally have free reign of the house when we are home. However, when we are away, we try to confine them to one room. All the dogs except for Uncle Mort and New Year are crated for breakfast and dinner to ensure proper medication and nutrition, but only Obie, Skylar, Mimi, Twig, Olive, and Baci are crated when we're away. They are the younger dogs, and are crated for their safety. Thankfully, that's never more than about four hours at a stretch. The older dogs hang out on dog beds or the futon in the dog room, and New Year is in a room of his own. Anyway, the dogs are enjoying a little more space in front of the electric fireplace, which we use as supplemental heating in the cold months. They are loving hanging out in their Bubble Butt Beds from Aunt Chris in Iowa, soaking up the heat coming from the fireplace. A couple of extra crates (a wee bit larger than their current ones) should be arriving this week, so Skye and Obie can have a little more room when their Dad is at work. I am so pleased with the result of decorating this long, skinny room that has to serve an unusual purpose! I love HGTV shows - maybe I could start one that decorates "dog rooms" in other people's houses! Okay, maybe not, but a girl can dream, can't she?

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Turkeys and Snow

Another cold morning at Hundenruhe Haven. When we went out for the first outing of the day, snowflakes were drifting gently down from a gray and dreary sky. Fortunately, they didn't last long, but I have a feeling that they were a harbinger of things to come. The pups aren't thrilled with the chill, but they take delight in the bountiful scents that autumn provides. This morning Obie, Skylar, Mimi, and Tulip were entertained for quite awhile by this fellow. The dogs have been after him all summer (this photo was from a previous squirrel encounter with him!). Tulip's beagle nose scared him up out of a potted plant in the Tulip Garden, and he scampered up the chainlink fence and dove into one of the metal posts. Poor pups! They were so confused and frustrated by his scolding from inside the pipe, which amplified his protests! Their heads were cocked, ears up, listening to what I can only imagine they thought was the biggest squirrel in the universe!
Our other surprise this morning was a flock of turkeys in our Field 2, which can be seen from the house. We've found turkey feathers in the back fields before, but this was the first time we saw the turkeys from the yard. There were two toms, and about a dozen hens. Once the dogs started barking at Mr. Nutkin the Squirrel, the turkeys started ambling toward the hedgerow, and soon disappeared into the long grass. The dogs never saw the turkeys (thankfully!), so we didn't have to deal with the inevitable cacophony that would have followed that discovery! Turkeys are not very smart creatures, but it is so cool to see these huge birds still able to live in their natural environment.
The neighbor's elk are also reminding us that it is Fall. They call back and forth to their mates, and the sound is a cross between an elephant's trumpeting and a coyote's howl. They are just about done with this annual opera, but it has been so amazing to hear their love songs and see these giant shaggy beasts with huge antlers as they move about in their spacious home. We are so lucky to live next to Dennis, his family, and their elk. We get to enjoy the sights and sounds without all the work!
As usual, this weekend will be filled with cooking (for ourselves and the dogs), cleaning, and laundry. Soon it will be necessary to put all of the outdoor furniture and toys away for the season - but I just can't bear to do it yet!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Fall? What Fall?

The leaves are gorgeous right now, so Olive, Baci, and I went out Friday after school to take some pictures. These trees are on our road - aren't they lovely? You can almost smell the musty, papery smell of the leaves as they float gently to the ground to crackle underfoot. It put me in the mind of autumn foods, so on Saturday I made a huge pot of spicy chili and some homemade pumpkin pies. The house was redolent with the smell of cloves, ginger, and chili peppers. Autumn...right? Then WHY WAS IT 22 DEGREES THIS MORNING???? And, WHY DID IT SNOW ON SATURDAY??? It looks like fall, it smells like fall...but it feels like winter! Ahhh, Wisconsin, the land of two seasons - hot and snow. At least it looks pretty. Stay warm, everyone!

Sunday, October 4, 2009


I had a revelation yesterday. When Roody (shown next to Rudy) came to live with us from Iowa, we tried to figure out a way to distinguish him from the other Rudy that we already had - for calling him, for the vet's office, for medications, etc. We decided that since he was so old, we would just spell his name with two "o's", and refer to him as "Roody 2". After awhile, we started calling him Toody for short. Yesterday I realized that it is the perfect name. Why? Because he has the biggest "tude" (attitude) of any dog that I've ever met! He doesn't see well, so we have to approach him gently so that he doesn't startle - otherwise he growls and bites - no teeth to harm us, but not very nice all the same. He also jumps as high as my shoulder and does a little dance when he is happy - more 'tude! And...he sings! No kidding - he has this high-pitched little song that he sings when he wants to be with us. What a character! Soooooo - Toody it is!

Thursday, October 1, 2009


It's coooolllldddd here! I miss the balmy summer breezes, but the chilly nights are wonderful for snuggling and sleeping. I am loving the opportunity to turn on the electric mattress pad warmer, cuddle up with the tinies, and read a good book. I just finished The Lost Symbol, Dan Brown's new novel, and I'm ready to start a period piece, The White Queen. School is in full swing, so life around here has shifted to the other schedule - up by five to feed and out the dogs, off to school to arrive by 6:30, Dan off to pick up kids by six to get them to their various schools, and then he's in and out all day to let dogs in and out. Back home for me after five each day - walks in the field, feeding again, dinner for us, and then a bit of a cuddle in front of the TV before books and bed! Whew! Its a crazy life, but has its own rewards. Happy October!