Decisions, Decisions

Sometimes you can head off a decision you’ll regret by looking into your heart and finding regret already there. ~Robert Brault, American author

Gee, can’t a dog get any sleep around here without somebody sticking a camera in his face??

After spending two full years sitting on the fence over whether to keep Monkey or return him to his breeder, I’ve finally made a decision.

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Happiness is a warm puppy. ~Charles M. Schulz, American cartoonist and creator of the Peanuts comic strip



One day you’re

A little pup —

Weak, needy, clingy.

And then I blink my eyes.

You’re all grown up. Beautiful,

Full of energy and ready

To take on the world (or your back yard)

You’ve become a lean, mean, Sheltie machine!

Experts say you’re fully grown at one year;

However, I’ve learned that it takes more

Than twelve months to grow a Sheltie.

You still need to learn to mind

And never poop indoors.

Now please settle down

And take a nap

So I can

Have some


Note: This poetry form is Double Etheree.

Another Monkey Update

Happiness is a form of courage. ~American proverb

When I lost my beloved Dallas, I told myself I didn’t want a replacement.

That no pup would ever take Dallas’s corner of my heart.

So I looked at breeds other than Sheltie. Considered Shelties that were anything but sable and white. Thought about switching to a female pup.

Then I found Monkey.

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Time to Count Blessings Again

They say a mom always knows when something’s not right with one of her kids. I think that holds true for “fur-kids” as well.

Case in point: my Sheltie.

First off, he’s a big boy. He was bigger than his two sisters from the get-go and over the past almost-six years, he’s packed on the pounds.

This, despite my careful measuring of his food, supplementing with green beans and raw carrots, regular walks, and lots of “Fetch” and “Chase.”

I tried to tell myself he was just big-boned. That he takes after his “substantial” mama. That his profuse coat is what makes him appear big.

But you can only deny the figures so long. And the scale wasn’t his friend.

So I went on line to learn about weight gain in dogs and found that Shelties tend to have problems with low Thyroid. This condition is often undiagnosed, but it results in a less-than-luxurious coat, frequent ear infections, skin allergies, and weight gain.

Hmm, sounds like my doggin, I thought.

At his checkup in early September, the vet pointed out that he’d ballooned to almost 40 pounds (on what should be a 30-lb. frame!)

So I asked to have his thyroid levels checked. ‘It’s a simple blood test,’ they assured me, before drawing blood from his forearm. “We’ll send it to a lab in Michigan and have the results back in about a week.’

“Cheer up, mom!”

I waited. And worried.

And one day my fears seemed to take over.

What if something was seriously wrong, I wondered.

How could I live without my “soul dog?”

Well, the answer came in, and it was as I’d thought — low thyroid.

I’m glad to have a diagnosis.

I’m glad to have been right.

But mostly, I’m glad it’s not fatal. The Sheltie has to take a pill twice a day, morning and evening, probably for life.

It could be so much worse.

Dogs Get Sick, Too

Just in time for My Favorite Domer’s return for summer break, the Sheltie has come down with a urinary tract infection.

“Mr. Piddles” wet his little bed last night. He was rather damp when I let him out for his customary Good Morning hugs, but I didn’t think too much about it.

Must have been hot, I told myself — until I saw a wet spot on his mat. And felt said spot. And sniffed my damp fingers. And smelled pee.

Trying not to react too negatively — he’s got delicate feelings like other Shelties — I greeted him and sent him outside.

I went over the check-list of his bedtime routine. Yes, he’d been out. Yes, he’d pottied. No, he hadn’t had any water.

So why had this dog who’s normally as tidy as a nun suddenly soiled his bedding?

I asked Mom, who kept him while I traveled to Notre Dame to fetch the Domer, how he acted during my absence.

He missed you, she told me. He drank a lot of water. And slept a lot.

How was his appetite? I asked.


Hmmm. The pieces of the puzzle were starting to come together.

I called the vet’s office, explained everything to them, and asked if dogs can get kidney or bladder issues.

Of course, they said. We’ll need a urine sample for the lab to analyze. Either bring him in or have him pee in a container.

Oh boy. I live for first-time events like this.

As I was trying to decide which option was more doable, Domer showed up wanting breakfast.

I need your help, I said, having decided against hauling a wet Sheltie anywhere in my clean car.

We’re going to what? Domer asked.

Shrugging, I dug out a Styrofoam cup. Domer leashed up “Mr. Piddles,” and we all went to the back yard.

He’s not going to do it, Domer said, as he and the dog sauntered through the grass.

Sure he will, I countered.

Eventually, “Mr. Piddles” lifted a leg, and I was Johnny-on-the-spot, shoving that Styrofoam beneath him to catch the stream.

All right, Domer said.


I wrapped the cup in tin foil and took it to the vet’s office. Ten minutes later, we had the results.

And the sulfa drugs to treat the infection.

I’ve spent more time than I care to admit cleaning “Mr. Piddles'” bed today. Washing everything, Clorox-ing the wet spot, airing out his mattress.

And hoping I don’t have to do it all over again tomorrow.

Should be a wonderful upcoming ten days.

What are you looking forward to in the next week?

Bunny Tales (or should I say, Tails?)

I hate to say this, but when God was handing out brains, rabbits were in another line.

Oh, they’re cute, all right. And they can hop and run fast. And I’ve never heard of one attacking anything (except, perhaps a veggie garden!)

But why are mama rabbits so dumb?

I mean, we have a large, fenced backyard, perfect for the Sheltie to run. We have trees and bushes, where the Sheltie can lounge or play hide-and-seek.

It’s not a yard where anybody would be dumb enough to drop their litter of babies, then run off and ignore them for hours on end.

Backyard bunny nest

But leave it to an as-yet-unseen Mama Bunny — that’s just what she did.

The other day, I watched from a window while the Sheltie went out to potty. He doesn’t get a cookie reward unless he accomplishes something, and I’ve known him to fib!

Well, he kept nosing around this one spot, circling it, examining it, curiosity written all over his furry face.

He’d found something.

Having just proofed an article on rabies in wildlife that a friend had penned for the local newspaper, I feared the worst.

A dead animal. With rabies.

So I braved the outdoors to check. What I saw was a patch of rabbit’s fur on the ground, and the fur was moving!

Mama Bunny had thrown caution to the wind and dropped her babies right in my backyard. Right where the Sheltie could get at them, if he was so inclined.

Now every time he goes out, I’m having to remind him to keep away from that bunny hole. So far, he seems to understand.

But he’s mighty curious. And every time the door opens, he high-tails it outside, right to THE SPOT.

Where he watches. And listens. And sniffs.

I can only hold him off so long. When those babies pop out of that hole, he’s going to have a field day herding them around the yard!

If the neighbor’s cats don’t get them first.

Easter Egg Hunting

Sad to say, My Favorite Domer learned from an early age that Easter Egg hunts aren’t as much fun as they’re cracked up to be.

When he was but a young’un, Domer signed up to participate in the annual YMCA egg hunt.

There would be prizes. And candy. And a visit from the Easter Bunny. And fun.

Or so we thought.

The day of the hunt dawned cold (typical Midwest weather). We arrived at the park, registered, and were shown which fenced-off area the kids in his age group would comb.

So far, so good.

When the whistle blew, the kids were off. Problem was, so were the parents.

Yep, the adults got involved in a kids’ Easter Egg hunt. They mowed down the fence and muscled their way toward the hidden eggs, knocking down little kids right and left.

Kids were crying and screaming; other parents were hollering.

Nobody had much fun.

Especially Domer, who, like his mom, doesn’t particularly like crowds.

Or aggression.

Our Easter Egg hunts then became more tandem affairs. I’d hide the eggs; he’d find them. When he got older, he’d hide the eggs and let me look for them (but mostly, he just couldn’t stand not telling me where each one was!)

Fast-forward a few years. Domer was fifteen when a darling Sheltie came to live with us.

Too old for egg hunts.

So we decided to hold an egg hunt for the dog.

We took some treats (broken bits of Pupperoni work especially well!) and inserted them into plastic eggs. One of us went outside with the dog while the other hid the eggs in plain sight inside.

With the hiding completed, we let the Sheltie inside to search.

He LOVED it! Amid much clapping and laughing and encouragement from us, he raced around the house looking for the eggs with the treats. Finding one, he’d bust it open and scarf down the tidbit.

So that’s become our Easter tradition — a dog’s egg hunt.

No pushing, no shoving, no screaming. Everybody has fun, and isn’t that what Easter Egg hunts are supposed to be like? Here, take a look at a few of this year’s hunting photos:

Finding a pink egg

Finding a yellow egg

Domer helps with the blue egg