GREAT LIGHT FOR AN ALL BLACK DOG – Marilyn Armstrong

Great light for an all-black dog 


With two black Scotties in the house, getting a good picture of them is really difficult. If there’s too much sun, the sunlit parts look like white patches. If there isn’t enough light, all you see is a fuzzy lump. We recently got Gibbs groomed and he looks very dapper. They trimmed him tightly — not like a show dog but like a dog you are trying to keep clean during a long, muddy winter.

Good light for solid black fur is bright, but not sunny. A day with a flat gray sky with the pictures taken just before the sun came around to the western side of the house. I think this is as good as it gets from the point of view of light for this picture.

Gibbs really looks like the Wolfman. Poor Larry Talbot!

Gibbs has the most soulful eyes.

With the snow and rain coming in waves and the temperature going from bitterly cold to almost spring in as little as three hours — it jumped 40 degrees today between 8 in the morning and noon — gooey mud is a big issue. So are ticks and fleas because we haven’t had weather consistently cold enough to put them into cold storage.

I figured I’d better take pictures while he still looked good. In another week, he’ll look all grubby again.

BONNIE IS HOME FROM THE SALON – Marilyn Armstrong

I know the dogs are a total mess when I stop taking pictures of them. The Duke tends to look good most of the time, but both Scottish terriers get seriously grubby. They love dirt. They long for filth.

Garry and Bonnie

Terriers — dogs of the earth — love to dig. They love to roll in the dirt they dug and the hole they made. Our front yard — any part of it that isn’t entirely rocky — looks like a missile testing site.

Classic beard!

They race outside and bury their faces in the mud. We brought Bonnie home from “The Bark Ark” where they trimmed her down to something dog-shaped (she needs to lose a few pounds), put a Christmas style bandanna on her and home we came.

I said: “We should take her picture right away — before she’s dirty again.”

Bonnie with Garry

Garry agreed and went directly to the back deck — from which every last bird departed as we arrived. You’d think they’d figure out by now we aren’t planning to eat them for dinner. Never mind.

I had to go inside and get The Good Camera. By the time  (a minute later) I was back on the deck, Bonnie was rolling her face around on the deck and had managed to add a few sticks, twigs, and dead leaves to her beautiful trim.

Sketch portrait of a beautifully groomed Bonnie

I dusted her off, told Garry to please hold her so I could take pictures. She’s short even by my standards. When she’s on the deck, the only way to get her picture would be for me to lie flat and hope she cooperates. That didn’t seem likely. Anyway, getting up from lying flat on the deck didn’t seem like my best idea of the day.

More handsome Bonnie. They actually groomed her like a Scottish Terrier. No puffs on her tail!

Now I have pictures. For Bonnie, this is as good as it gets. And I think we’ve found a new groomer. The price is the same, but they are miles closer to us and don’t have quite the same attitude that they are doing us a favor by grooming the dogs. They are groomers. They are supposed to groom dogs.

Of course, they haven’t met Gibbs or The Duke yet.


A note on local groomers:

Most of them don’t seem to have any idea what a pure-bred dog should look like when groomed. Let’s assume that half the dogs they groom are pure-bred, but aren’t going to be shown (because people who are showing dogs do their own grooming).

It’s hard to show how dark she really is. This is pretty close.

You would think that the groomers would buy a book about dogs and look at the pictures, thereby getting an idea of what this particular dog should look like, wouldn’t you? Even if they aren’t going into a show ring, every breed has some kind of standard.

I’ve gotten my dogs back with puffy tails. With eyebrows and beards shaved off. With tufted ears.

Good grief! A Scottish Terrier with tufted ears and a puffy tail is a travesty.

Two!

These people actually knew what I meant when I said: “Face Scotty, shave everything else down because all that long  hair does is collect more dirt.” They knew exactly what to do … AND because I explained that Bonnie’s eyes are bad and need constant treatment, they trimmed her eyebrows so that they look “Scotty,” but are leaving enough of her face clear so it will be easy to treat her. I appreciate that.

This is the “show ring” version. Most of us skip all the skirts because it’s just more dirt.

Sometimes, when she’s really in her final grubby stage, I have trouble finding her eyes. I know they are there. But where?

MORNING COFFEE AND TOP OF THE WORLD – Marilyn Armstrong

Coffee!


Oh, what a beautiful morning!

The sun is not shining because it rained all night, off and with a lot of lightning and thunder. Although our light dimmed briefly, we never lost power. Oddly enough, we were watching the weather when the main storm was passing. They were saying that the storms hustling south to north through Massachusetts were going to drop the humidity and the temperature.

For the next four or five days, we are going to have normal temperatures in the low seventies with more or less normal amounts of humidity.

Considering it was too hot yesterday to make a simple trip to Garry’s barber and finally get a proper trim for his head — because Garry, who had been outside cleaning up after the dogs — said “It’s just too hot” and that, from Garry is a real statement.

Garry likes warm weather. Garry likes hot weather. But this weather? Technically, it was just 96-degrees yesterday, but with almost 80% humidity, and not a breath of breeze, it felt well over 100-degrees.

Air has been like hot soup. The dogs refused to go out. Too hot.

Bonnie

Bonnie, it turns out, has been resisting going out because she is nearly blind. We knew she was going blind for a couple of years. She has a kind of chronic dry eye that even though we put drops and clean her eyes out four or five times every day, one eye is completely clouded up and the vet says it is unlikely she can see anything through it and the other, while still functional, is rapidly developing a serious cataract and it won’t be very long before she can’t see.

She is 11 years old. We have had her with us since she was a mere 9 weeks old, a rescue from a puppy mill. The better news? She is a bit pudgy, but not excessively. As far as Dr. Marcy is concerned, she is in fantastic shape for her age.


For her age.


I hate that wording. I’m not fond of it when it’s about me, but it gives me the cold shivers when it’s about one of the dogs. She has reached the end when “stuff comes up.” Lumps and bumps. She’s a great eater and basically, a very happy little dog, but she is getting old.

I hate it when they get old. It’s so soon. Wasn’t it yesterday I stood in the freezing, snowy yard at three in the morning begging Bonnie to DO SOMETHING so frozen mama could go back to bed?

She loves the snow. She was tiny, yet she bounced through it like one of those high-bounce rubber balls. She still loves snow. But not rain or heat.

We took in the Duke originally because Bonnie had become so inactive we felt her lack of vigor would take years off her life. She and the Duke have formed a real bond. He goes up and down the steps with her, apparently (on some doggish level) aware that she can’t see properly. No depth perception. He pushes her in and out of the doggy door.

With Duke around, she is much more active. The Duke makes her play with him. She doesn’t just lie on the sofa anymore. She plays and this is a good thing.

Duke shepherds both Scotties up and down the stairs, even though there isn’t a speck of shepherd in his Asian breed mix. He looks like a Shih Tzu, but he’s twice the size and he has a funny squashy, uneven face, one ear up, one ear down. Visually, he’s a dead ringer for a Papillon — except he is very much larger. But he has that face, minus the one downward-pointing ear.

The Duke

Meanwhile, against all odds, he shepherds both Scotties and us. He is always inches from Garry or me when we go anywhere. If it’s the bathroom and we shut the door, he lies across the threshold and waits. If we are off to bed, he settles in on the floor across the doorway. No night visitor will pass him by.

Duke and Bonnie!

Every night. On the wood floor. It is not that he is velcro on us. More like we are velcro on him. I feel like I should put a bed in the hall for him, but the hallway is really narrow. I’d trip and fall over it.

He wants my coffee and muffin, though first and foremost, he wants my muffin. With the lemon curd on it. If I turn my back for half a second, he’s nailed that muffin. Gone. He looks utterly innocent.


“What muffin? Me? I didn’t eat your muffin. Prove it. Show me the evidence.”


Not a crumb remains on his snout.

Drinking coffee in the morning is one part coffee, two parts fending off The Duke. I let him have the crumbs left on the plate few as they are. That level of loyalty surely deserves at least the crumbs — and anyway, he has probably swiped half of it while I wasn’t looking. He is very fast.

DOGS, TOYS AND A HOLIDAY

We gave them three brand new Kong toys … the only ones worth buying because they are the only ones that last longer than a couple of minutes. Of the three, the one that looked like a little Teddy Bear disappeared entirely within minutes of Bonnie adopting it, but has reappeared several times. I saw it as recently as this morning, but when we came back from the hospital, I saw it on the far side of the front yard near the other gate.

We gave the strange birdlike stuffed creature to The Duke and eventually when Gibbs appeared, gave the Dodo to him.

Sometimes missing toys reappear. Others vanish and are never seen again.

Of the original three, one still looks almost newish. It’s identical to its original, the strangely birdlike creature that all the dogs dearly love. So there are two of them — the old one and the new one.

Then, there’s the blue Dodo. It was brand new. Gibbs grabbed it and took it outside. Later, he brought it back. Covered in ice and snow and mud, it was one of the most disgusting items ever brought in from outside. I washed it with soap and hot water and Garry threw it in the dryer. It sat in lonely isolation on the end table until Duke, frustrated by seeing it but not having it, went rogue and got it on his own. It is out in the snow in the front yard now. Maybe it will come home later.

You certainly couldn’t accuse our dogs of not appreciating their new toys. I wish they wouldn’t drag them out into the mud and ice so fast, but they don’t lack enthusiasm. They sure do love the toys. Looking around, one of the two strange birdlike creatures has gone missing. Again.

DOGS WATCHING FOR SANTA?

We have very alert dogs. I know this because they bark.

They bark at cars passing by and even more at a car or truck in the driveway. They bark when someone comes to deliver a package. They get downright frenzied when someone comes into the house. Gibbs goes totally nuts if that someone happens to be my son, with whom he has developed a passionate bond. Duke feels that way about our granddaughter. Bonnie saves all that passion for Garry and occasionally, for me.

This week, they seem to be spending much of their time perched atop the sofa, watching out the window. I think they are watching for one little sleigh, a red-coated elf with a long white beard … and who knows what kind of goodies?

Meanwhile, I’m trying to figure out whether or not there’s any point in wrapping their gifts since I’d have to unwrap them so they’d know what they are.

Maybe I’ll just go with a ribbon?

BUYING A DOOR FOR THE DOGS

Now that the front door and sidelights is ordered, I need to get a doggy door. The one we’ve got is huge. We’ve had so many different dogs, from very small to really big, we needed one door to fit all of them. Now, though, with just the two terriers, we can drop down from the extra-large to a medium. Both dogs are the right height for medium, but if Bonnie gets any more rotund, I’m afraid it’ll be like Winnie the Pooh all over again. Poor Bonnie, stuck in the door!

I measured the dogs. When I was done, I put the tape measure back in its container and looked up Scottish Terriers because you can’t measure a wriggling dog. Bonnie was either 10 or 13-inches tall. Gibbs was maybe 12 or possibly 14-inches tall. Both seemed to be about 15-inches wide, which would make them wider than they are tall … so I went with the breed description.

Medium.

You’d think getting a doggy door would be a no-brainer after dealing with getting the entire front door, but nothing is easy. Initially, I figured I’d get another Pet Safe door since we’ve had them for the past 17 years and they never wear out. You just get a new flap when the old ones gets warped from sun, wind, snow, rain … and being whacked head-first by a charging dog. When Bishop was a young one, he’d leap down the stairs and straight out the door with all the other guys following him.

Whack, thump, bang, whack, whack. Then they all turned around and came back in. More whacks and thumps and bangs.

Dog doors come with and without electronics. With soft and hard doors. They also come with multiple layers of flaps or hard doors  to keep the heat in and the cold out … or the cold in and the bugs out. Some were more expensive than the entire front door and two sidelights I just bought.

I wanted a regular door. Not hard, because our dogs are not used to hard doors and I’m pretty sure getting smacked on the head by a hard plastic door a few hundred times a day might discourage them from using it — not what I want. So soft. And not black. One of the nicer doors comes with a heavy black flap … but Gibbs gets freaked out when he can’t see the light on the other side. I also didn’t want one of the new Pet Safe doors because there are a lot of complaints from people like me who had the older doors and think the new ones are plastic junk.

Crazy dogs!

Eventually, I went to PetDoors.com and had a sensible conversation with their online chat person. She said “Go with Ideal. Better than Pet Safe, not as expensive as Hale.” There were a few others she didn’t bother to mention. A bit pricey. You could buy a Harley for less money.

So, I’m down to two doors. Really, more like one door, but you can buy it in plastic or aluminum. I’m betting we’ll go with aluminum.

All of this took me hours and I’m exhausted. I have spent a lot of money I don’t have and will have to spend another few hundred for all the finishing pieces. Two-by-fours and molding and paint and doggy doors and flooring. Weather stripping. Screw and nuts and bolts and blades for the Sawzall. And, at the end of this, presumably, we will have a door for humans and dogs and I will not have to think about this again for another decade or two.

Just imagine how much more complicated planning health care would be. My mind boggles.

NEWS ABOUT BONNIE AND THE BIG GIBBS BREAKTHROUGH

The dogs don’t much like going to the vet and the dogs’ erstwhile owners aren’t fond of it, either. However, some things you need to do. Routine shots are obvious: rabies shots are a legal requirement and I would make sure they had them anyway. Other things are more complicated.

Bonnie with spring clip

Bonnie has an eye condition that comes and goes. Mostly it comes. Sometimes it goes. Regardless, it always comes back, eventually. I forget the official wording, but it boils down to chronic conjunctivitis caused by chronic dry eyes. She has had it intermittently in both of her eyes for years, now. Most of her life. I too have chronic dry eye which is why I can’t wear contact lenses. As Bonnie’s eyes go into their itching, red stage — especially this time of year when the pollen is high and rising — I am itching along with her. The pollen makes Garry’s eyes itch too, so eye drops are a thing around here.

The post vet resting period

Her eyes are always better in the winter. As soon as the air gets warmer and the floating pollen starts drifting around, Bonnie’s eyes get worse and this time, much worse. To add insult to injury, she has a skin tag on the bottom of the eyelid of the “bad” eye. Which I’m sure isn’t making her feel any better. It breaks open and bleeds a little once in a while, but then it goes right back to growing.

Hard day for dogs

I want it gone. I don’t like the location. I don’t like the irritation it seems to be causing. If it were in MY eye, I know I’d want it gone. Since I think it’s time for another round of dental cleanup for Bonnie, I figured she’ll need anesthesia for the eye, we might as well do her teeth, too. We still need to do Gibbs’ teeth, but I can’t do it at the same time. Really, I can’t do any of it, but at some point, there’s no choice. You have to find a way to do important stuff.

Aside from getting a little fatter with each visit, Bonnie is a healthy girl.

“It’s the treats,” says the vet. Garry looks very uncomfortable and I shoot him a “look.” Because I keep telling him that our dogs will keep eating until they explode and it’s us that has to show control. He shuffled.

Gibbs

“This,” comments our vet, “Is a no-judgement zone. I see people like you going without things they need so the dogs get what they need, then I see people who have everything just ignoring their dogs.” We nod. We know. We’ve seen it too, close up and too personal for comfort. I comment I’d really like to get my own teeth done and the vet nods vigorously. Dentists are expensive.

The good news? Bonnie got all her blood tests in January, so she won’t need new ones. She fat, but fine.

We have to stop being bullied by the dogs. Three biscuits total between the two of us in the morning, then nothing until right before bed. Garry and I are not looking each other in the eye. Although we’ll try to not cheat, it’s tough. Our dogs are hysterical, frantic, wildly amusing beggars. If they weren’t so godawful hilarious, it would be a lot easier. Sometimes when I get up in the morning, it’s like a three-ring circus in the kitchen. They virtually dance on the high wire with umbrellas, all for a crunchy brown biscuit with no discernible flavor.

Two dawgz

We took both dogs to the vet. Gibbs didn’t need to see anyone, but you can’t leave him alone with no dogs or people because he’ll freak out. He was not only good at the vet … and this folks, is a first … he fell in love with a lady in the waiting room. He just saw her and he lit up like a big birthday cake. He performed all his most adorable tricks for her. It was almost too cute for words.

He has never done that for anyone but Garry and I. A real first, probably in his life. Gibbs made friends with a stranger! One year and three months since he came to live with us — and finally, he broke through that “extra wall” rescue dogs have. And he did it in the least likely location — the office of the veterinarian. Go figure, right?

A RAINY DAY WITH DOGS

It’s pouring. Again. Cold, too. Like yesterday and so many other days this spring. 

Our dogs do not like rain. They are fine in snow and a drizzly rain is not an issue. The downpours, though? They don’t like them, not one little bit. Normally, they are solidly housebroken, but when the rain is coming down in torrents, they will look for a place to go. They prefer hardwood or linoleum, for which I thank them. No rugs or furniture. They mess up, but they are tidy about it.

Figuring out when they will need to do their business is our business. Being Senior Citizens, we have a fairly frequent early morning bathroom schedule of our own, so it’s not like we are deep in sleep and can’t make it to the other part of the house.

I woke up at 4:30, but that’s too early. No point in sending them out. I may be awake, but they are sound asleep. They won’t be awake until the light comes up. I do my thing and go back to sleep, awakening an hour later.

Five thirty. It’s light. Morning again. Pouring rain out there. I can see it running down the back stairs from the deck like little rivers. I go out to the living room. “Good morning, kids,” I say, looking pretty perky for that early in the day. “How do we feel about going out?”

The look at me. Dead eyes. Not even an ear twitch and certainly not a wag in sight. “You have to go out.” Bonnie — in slow motion — gets off the sofa and stands in the middle of the living room staring me down. She isn’t going anywhere until I give her appropriately firm (and loud) instruction to do it. Gibbs, on the other hand, has dug himself between the cushions on the loveseat and he is using his super-power to become a fifty pound Scottish Terrier.

“Gibbs,” I say, “I mean it. Go out.” He digs in further.

Over at the couch, without a lot of sympathy (too early for sympathy), I grab the collar, give it a tug. Now they are both on the floor. At the top of the stairs. Awaiting further orders.

“OUT!” I say. Down they go. Bonnie, just a few steps. Gibbs, to the entry hall at the bottom. Then they stare at me. We’ve got a doggy door and they are in and out of it hundreds of times every day. They know what I want. They KNOW. No one can tell me they are unaware of the process in motion,.

“OUT!!” I say, but louder this time. Gibbs makes a graceful exit, but Bonnie is still staring at me, mutiny clearly on her mind.

“Bonnie … ” I say. There’s the warning note that all children and dogs recognize. A mom is getting pissed off. She backs up towards the flap.

“BONNIE, DAMN YOU, GO OUT!” and very slowly, she turns around and finally lets herself out. I wait.

Ten minutes, two soggy dogs return. My first thought would be to dry them off, but I realize that they don’t care how wet they are. They expect payment and they get it. At which point I make a u-turn and go back to bed. I have a couple of hours of sleep awaiting me. Garry is on the next watch.

A couple of hours later, maybe around eightish? Garry is up and the process is repeated. Treats are given, Garry’s back in bed, digging in for a solid couple of hours. There’s no reason to get up. It’s cold and wet and in theory, the sun is up, but you couldn’t tell by looking out the windows.

Big, fat drops are drooling out of the solid gray sky. The dogs are probably back to sleeping too.

About an hour later, I hear growling and a pair of woofs. Bonnie has the deeper woof. The growl is Gibbs. They have gotten bored waiting for us and are destroying some toys. I listen to make sure they aren’t warning me of a delivery, but all I hear are more play sounds. By now, though, I’m pretty much awake and although I don’t want to do it, I might as well get up. I could use some hot coffee. And an English muffin. With ginger curd. It’s just like lemon curd, but derived from ginger. Don’t sneer at it unless you’ve tried it. Chivers is good but I favor MacKay, probably because I can buy it in the supermarket.

It’s still pouring while I brush my teeth. I hear the horn of a truck honk twice and wonder if it’s a delivery, so I hustle to look, but if there was a delivery, they’ve left by now. It’s a bit early for that. We are at the end of everybody’s run, so typically, we don’t see packages or mail until well after lunchtime. But the dogs are waiting for me.

I go to clean up Bonnie’s eye (she has a condition of unknown origin that requires daily cleaning and eye drops), but it looks perfect and shiny and clean. I wonder if maybe Garry took care of it when he was up (no, he didn’t). I give them Greenies, then a brown crunchy thing. Yum.  No idea why they like them … they are dry and tasteless. Finally one of those small stuff crunchies from Milk Bone.

Now, Garry’s up too, so they snag an additional cookie from him. That’s a big morning for cookies. Very big.

They are looking adorable, natty, and peppy. Time for a little play with toys, a bit of snuffling, growling, barking, huffing, puffing. Followed by a good solid sleep. Nothing much to do until the going out thing comes again.

Maybe the rain will slacken. The sky seems a bit lighter. Garry says has to drive into town, too. We’re running low on dog biscuits.

GIBBS’ EARS

One of the side effects of a day at the spa was the discovery that Gibbs ears are not looking good. Bring on the blue stuff! If you don’t know what blue stuff is, allow me to introduce you to the world’s best cure for whatever is bothering the dogs’ ears (other than mites).


BLUE POWER EAR TREATMENT

16 oz. Isopropyl Alcohol (or 16 oz. Witch Hazel if ears are very inflamed or sore)
4 Tablespoons Boric Acid Powder
16 Drops Gentian Violet Solution 1%
Mix together in plastic bottle and shake well.

You will need to shake the solution every time you use it. Purchase a “Clairol” type plastic bottle to dispense solution to affected ears. These bottles can be found at beauty supply shops.

I make half this amount, then I warm it to body temperature in the microwave.

NOTE: If you don’t own one, buy a dropper. The gentian violet does not come with its own.


TREATMENT

If you aren’t absolutely sure what you are dealing with, a trip to the vet is your best start.

Warm the solution and shake the bottle each time before using. Flood the ear with solution (gently squirt bottle). Massage gently to the count of 60, wipe with a tissue. On first treatment, flood the ear twice, wipe with a tissue, and leave alone without massage.

The dog will shake out the excess, which can be wiped with a tissue.

NOTE: Gentian Violet STAINS fabric and FUR! Be careful. The stains are impossible to remove.


Many people ask why this miracle preparation isn’t commercially available. The answer is, it is available. You can buy it on Amazon for $20 per 8 ounce bottle. Or buy the ingredients from your pharmacy, which is a lot cheaper. You used to be able to buy gentian violet in the pharmacy any time. These days, you have to order it and it cost more than it used to. It’s still much less expensive than buying the solution in a bottle. I’m betting you can also get it from your veterinarian. Vets have come a long way in dealing with using non-antibiotic ingredients.

Gibbs

For a long time, it wasn’t available anywhere unless you made it yourself. That never made sense to me. I had hounds with long, floppy ears. Infected ears are extremely common in long-eared dogs. We were back and forth to the vet over and over until someone in my hound group introduced us to the blue stuff.

It worked.

It still works.

Gibbs is a most unhappy dog. It’s not that this stuff hurts. It doesn’t. It’s just the Gibbs has strong feelings about being treated. For anything. Ever. For a relatively small dog, he is surprisingly strong and it is a serious job to hold him still. As far as he is concerned, treating his ears is an insult. He isn’t even speaking to us until he is sure a treat is in the works. He softens in the face of treats — what a surprise.

Gibbs’ thinking about forgiving us. Until tomorrow.

How do you explain medical treatment to a dog? Or any animal? Or for that matter, a baby? I always tell them this is for their own good. Infected ears are definitely worse than any amount of blue stuff, but they don’t listen. Gibbs is seriously upset with us. The worst part of this is we are going to have to do it again tomorrow.

I hope he is still talking to us when his ears are cured.

CLEAN DOGS

Exhausted from a day at the doggy spa, the weary pooches sack out.

That’s right! It’s the quarterly cleaning up of the grubby Scotties. For a few glorious days, they are silky, soft, and they smell good. Probably less this time because it has been raining all day today and it’s supposed to pour throughout the weekend. It seems a bit unfair that we can’t have at least one long weekend of clean dogs, but the weather just is.

After all the years of drought, this is great for the aquifer. It just makes for a pretty dreary spring.

NEW TOY, OLD DOGS

I have finally acknowledged that dog toys are not a permanent solution. You have to get new ones. Regularly.

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It’s like drugs for dogs. Furry toys, squeakers awaiting a good, toothy scrunching. Amazon puts some of these Kong toys up as “add-on” specials, so when I buy something else, I get a new toy.

A rare shot of Bonnie NOT asleep!

A rare shot of Bonnie NOT asleep!

I’ve given up on “regular” toys. Only Kongs. The others look cute, but they are too soft, too fluffy. The soft toys will be dead toys before the day is out.

Please not the excellent quality of Bonnie's beard. She has such and impressive beard they always leave it very long when we bring her home from the groomer.

Note the high quality of Bonnie’s beard. She has such an impressive beard they always leave it long when we bring her home from the groomer.

I always let Garry give them their new toys because he loves the ritual. It’s hilarious. He puts the toy in the basket with the others. Bonnie steals it and puts it all the way in the back of her crate.

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Gibbs waits until she’s busy doing something else, then darts into the crate. Comes out with the new toy and heads for the doggy door — with Garry running after him crying out: “NO, only in the HOUSE.”

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Garry actually stopped everything and insisted I get the camera, too. This was important stuff. I had to take important photographs!

GIBBS – A DOG WHO LIKES PHOTOGRAPHY

In my world, most of my dogs haven’t liked being photographed. Bonnie always finds the darkest place in any room. Black dog, lots of shadows. It doesn’t make much of a picture.

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I have thousands of pictures of Bonnie, but unless Garry is holding her, she’s asleep. Because that’s the only time I can get a shot of her.

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Gibbs is another story. He begs to be photographed. He’s so godawful cute. Moreover, there’s something so sad about his face. He always looks as if the next thing that happens is going to be terrible. He has had a difficult life, but nothing terrible has happened to him for an entire year. I’m counting on him to cheer up.

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Actually, that’s not true. He has two modes. FOOD!!! And sadness.

THE GOOD, THE BAD, THE OUT-OF-FOCUS | FUN FOTO CHALLENGE

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Good and Bad


THE GOOD!
We were heading for the river, just a few miles down the road ... but the sun was setting faster than we could drive. So we stopped and from the side of the road, the setting sun was bright and beautiful against a darkening sky.

We were heading for the river, just a few miles down the road … but the sun was setting faster than we could drive. So we stopped and from the side of the road, the setting sun was bright and beautiful against a darkening sky.

THE BAD!
Do not let his look of innocence deceive you. This creature is bad to the bone. He lies like a dog! He steal food and toys! Bad, I tell you. Bad yet beloved.

Do not let his look of innocence deceive you. This creature is bad to the bone. He lies like a dog! He steals food and fuzzy toys! Bad, I tell you. Bad — yet beloved.

OUT-OF-FOCUS
Out of focus doesn't begin to cover it. I could not recreate this photograph because exactly why it turned out this way, I have no idea. Gibbs moved, but why is he almost transparent? Is this a new super-power of which I was previously unaware? If he can make himself invisible, that would explain a lot of strange goings-on around this house.

Out of focus doesn’t begin to cover it. I could not recreate this photograph because exactly why it turned out this way, I have no idea. Bonnie moved, but why is she transparent? Is this a new super-power of which I was previously unaware? If she can make herself invisible, that would explain a lot of strange goings-on around this house.

cee's fun foto chall

BATTLE AT SQUIRREL PASS – GARRY ARMSTRONG

In Dog Town, possession is 100% of the law.

Showdown!

Showdown!

It’s a standoff right now with Gibbs staring down Bonnie who temporarily has possession of the prized squeaky squirrel. But the drums are beating and troops have been summoned to peacefully settle what could be a violent clash.

Bonnie has the squirrel

Bonnie has the squirrel

The situation has been escalating. It began peacefully enough when the only toys were a pink starfish and a blue octopus — treaty offerings to quell simmering egos.

Gibbs wants the squirrel, but Bonnie isn't letting go

Gibbs wants the squirrel, but Bonnie isn’t letting go

Bonnie and Gibbs initially seemed open to negotiations over sharing of the prized offerings, but positions began hardening. Still, tribal discussions are prone to last minute changes of heart, so a hedgehog was added to make sharing easier, but only seemed to raise the stakes. Gibbs quickly seized the hedgehog, but Bonnie diverted his attention, grinning as she nabbed the new prize and stowed it in her cage. A standoff ensued. Tensions mounted.

Marilyn was overwhelmed with guilt. She had tried to do the right thing but it was turning sour, threatening to erase the harmony of our family. What to do? Sweeten the pot, naturally! Marilyn acquired another starfish, a big green pretzel, and a fuzzy squirrel. Surely with all these choices, harmony would be restored, discord banished.

72-stuffed-dog-toys-09122016_016

The squirrel was a game-changer and took the competition to the next level. We may need a federal mediator to mitigate a worse-case scenario. Following several mad dashes to retrieve the hedgehog and squirrel who were dragged outside by first Gibbs, then Bonnie, Marilyn and I were exhausted. Martial law was considered.

After several bribes in the form of biscuit offerings, a temporary truce was achieved. For the moment, the two dogs have taken up positions at opposite ends of the sofa, each in possession of one or more favorite toys. Gibbs has both the squirrel and the hedgehog — but Bonnie has both starfish. The pretzel has (temporarily?) vanished, into Bonnie’s crate, or the front yard. No one is fighting over the dog and the octopus does not appear to have much traction.

Gibbs, now with both hedgehog and squirrel

Gibbs, now with both hedgehog and squirrel

Squirrel, hedgehog, dog, two star fish, a big pretzel and a bright blue octopus are pawns in an ongoing war between Bonnie and Gibbs. There’s a rabbit in the mail.

Stay tuned for updates.