Dogs on Thursday: Dogs Who Love Cats

I do believe that if Chloe and Abbie had their choice that they would become cats. Since the time I adopted each of them, they will lay down close to Criquette or Bitsy, head on paws, gazing with adoration. The cats, of course, totally ignore the dogs, and seem to think they are big goofballs.

Since we have fostered kittens, they are even more besotted with kitty-love, and spend long hours laying outside the door of the kittens' room (which doubles as Mr. Criquette's office).

When we let them in for visits, it is obvious that the kittens are equally
infatuated with the dogs.

What I didn't photograph is that in exchange for their services as kitten playgrounds, the kittens allow Abbie and Chloe to herd and smell them to their hearts' content. It's a win-win situation.

These days, there is one less kitten for Abbie and Chloe to obsess over.

The divine Miss Chicory (who has been renamed Chickory), has gone to live with a wonderful new mom and a new kitten sister, who is also black and white. Her new mom originally thought she wanted an orange or tabby male kitten, but could not resist Chicory's charm. She sent us an email yesterday to update us. After a couple of days of hissing and fussing, Chick and her new sister are now the best of friends. It was hard to let her go, but I'm really happy with her new family.

For a total change of subject, if you are a Mozart lover like I am, be sure to pop over to Yarn Over Manhattan because the multi-talented Sophia is having a contest. Let her know your favorite Mozart composition and you will have a chance to win some very yummy yarn. Do yourself a huge favor and while you're there, spend some time perusing her blog and enjoying the beautiful confections she knits.

And speaking of knitting, I will actually have some knitting show-and-tell in my next post. And I heard a rumor that there may be a contest. Stay tuned...


Kitty Kaboodle

At last, my camera software is working again, I just had a 4-day weekend and I can catch up with my life. And give you an update on the kittens. They've all pulled through and are happy and healthy little fluffballs. The 3 girls (Chicory, Mocha and Frappachino) are bigger than the 2 boys (Kona and Java). So last week they met the weight limit and were spayed. (The boys were too little so will have to wait until they weigh more.)

So the girls are officially up for adoption this week. To get them ready for the real world, I've taken them on "field trips" every day since last week. Sometimes they get to hang out with me in my office, or Mr. C in his office. They got to spend 2 mornings on the porch getting used to outdoor noises and things like birds swooping by. They were initially nervous, but soon got used to it all and ended up having a great time. Here are a few of the pictures that got taken:






They played so hard, they all wore themselves out,

with the exception of the Energizer Kitty!

But I didn't just lounge around with kittens during my 2 days off. I made some snuggles for the shelter:

learned the Turkish cast-on and started my first pair of socks:

and frogged my first pair of socks (numerous times, actually):

The socks will remain in the frogged position until I either take a class or make something else with the yarn. I was knitting and making gauge, but the toes were so big that had I kept knitting, the socks would have fit a professional NBA player.

I'm disappointed that I didn't get to knit socks while I had some time off, but I am not afraid to know when to throw in the towel.
So for now, I will content myself with the little projects I have been dabbling with these past several weeks and lounging around with the kittens. Life could be worse.

Speaking of life being worse, did it ever occur to you that you could be struck by lightning while knitting with Addi's? Me neither. But it has occurred to fellow dog-spoiler Grace (who seems like a sane, level-headed knitter) and to some of her commenters, so maybe we should take heed. And do take heed of her fun and whimsical contest and take a few minutes to answer her question and write about it your blog.

I used to be terrified of lightning. And then our house was struck by lightning during a storm 9 years ago, which set our roof on fire. It felt and sounded like a bomb had gone off. Thank God we were home and that the firefighters responded so quickly and did such an awesome job and kept our house from burning down. There's nothing like surviving something you fear so intensely to help you get over the fear. So I guess I'll keep knitting with the Addi's through storms and sleet and tornadoes and everything else Mother Nature decides to throw at us. But I promise I wan't laugh if you decide to do something safer, like hide in the closet.


DOT: Old Dogs Can Learn New Tricks

My sweet Chloe is 9 years old this year. Chloe is the smartest dog I've ever had. I attribute this to her Border Collie genes. She can do 13 different tricks, almost all of which she learned within 3-5 attempts. She's such a ham and loves to show off for people. She could have learned more, but I ran out of ideas.

She also understands an amazing variety of words and non-verbal body language. The other day she was "cleaning the floor" after I spilled some cat food (I think every dog knows how to do this trick) and I saw she had missed one. So I said (with only the smallest head nod), "Chloe, you missed one over there", and she immediately turned around and scarfed it up. I was impressed.

When I'm looking for Mr. C, I'll tell her, "Show me Daddy" and she will take me straight to him. If he's outside, she takes me to the window closest to him.

She is also incredibly obedient. We've never raised our voices with her ever since we first got her, because we quickly learned even a stern "No!" would have her peeing on the floor. (I guess she's taught us lots of tricks, too.) She's just obedient because she wants to be. She will sit in our front yard and if we tell her to stay, will stay in the exact spot until we give her a release command. We can go off on a walk around the block and come back and she still will not have moved. She never gets up on furniture without permission, always comes when called, stays out of the cat food and cat box - well, you get the picture.

Unfortunately, her sister Abbie Bad Beagle does not come close to Chloe's intellect or compliance. In fact, Abbie is the complete opposite of Chloe in these ways. It's a good thing she's so damn cute, that's all I can say.

Lately, Chloe has picked up a new behavior that I find fascinating because she has figured out how to break a rule while not breaking it at the same time. She has learned to be devious, while not technically breaking the rules.

We give each dog a Science Diet bone after they potty outside in the morning. These are medium sized bones. Chloe belongs to the "eat it now" school of thought, whereas Abbie likes to save her treats for later. One day we noticed Chloe going about her usual doggy routine of trotting around looking out windows, checking out the cats and following us around, but her mouth was partially opened. It just looked weird. Mr. C realized she had something in her mouth and told her to drop it. Normally she will immediately obey, but this time she was very reluctant, just like a little kid who thinks they're about to get in trouble.

It turned out to be one of their treats. We knew she had eaten hers and figured out it was Abbie's. We gave it to Abbie, who finally ate it and that was that. Or so we thought. It started to become a regular occurance. Chloe never got in trouble, but she was never rewarded by getting to eat the treat, either.

Last weekend, I thought it would be fun to see how long she'd carry the treat around without eating it. The answer: all day long. She did put it down (in her treat-eating spot under the dining room table) to eat her dinner and hid it somewhere when she was napping, but otherwise, that treat was in her mouth! She didn't take even a little nibble from it, although it was kind of mushy on the surface. She knew she wasn't supposed to eat it, but nobody ever told her she couldn't carry it around, so technically she was following the rules.

Who knew that dogs could figure out how to push the envelope?

Mr. C and I had a good laugh over this, and decided to let her have the treat. And realized that nobody can be perfect all of the time, not even the world's smartest dog.


Summer Doldrums Busters

I'm so excited by a couple of things, that I just had to make like Oprah and tell you about them. (Too bad I can't make like Oprah and give all of my peeps freebies!) The first is my brand new knitting book (sorry, Nichole, I'm not trying to move into your book reviewing turf!) that has the most beautiful patterns that even a basic knitter like me can knit. It reminds of Mason-Dixon Knitting in that way. It also has lots of interesting reading, on topics covering the gamut of the social aspects of knitting. The book is "Knitalong: Celebrating the Tradition of Knitting Together", by Larissa Brown.

Here are pictures from 3 of the gorgeous projects in the book:

Not only are most of the patterns on my list of favorites, but it's also an interesting read. Do whatever you have to do to get this book - it is worth it!!!

That takes care of the eye candy, now for the ear candy. I just bought this cd by Amanda Shaw, a New Orleans girl who is a music savant. Turn on the volume and listen to 3 of the songs and I dare you not to tap your toes.

Her music is a mix of Cajun, zydeco and New Orleans blues-rock. Her latest album just makes me want to dance and eat boiled crawfish and drink some ice cold Abita beer and call everybody cher.

If you go to iTunes, you can hear samples of all of the songs on the cd. They're rather diverse, and she does a great job of capturing the variety of music that characterizes south Louisiana. Listen long enough, and you'll start calling everybody cher, too.

And now that summer has finally arrived, here is my current favorite summer song.

It reminds me a certain summer when I was in college, many many moons ago, with someone who wasn't husband material but was just the kind of bad boy we all need at least one of when we're young and foolish. We went our separate ways that fall, but there were some memorably good times. (happy sigh)
I feel like I'm 19 again. Well, except for the wrinkles, 20lb. of extra fluffage and hot flashes.

So now it looks like I'm catching up on my life and blogging. I did get some knitting done as well as some other little projects, which I'll hopefully get to write about in the next few days. Have a great week!


5 Reasons I Haven't Been Knitting and Blogging

Here they are, my 5 little excuses:



Java (aka "Baby Fruit Bat")


Chicory (in her healthier days)

Frapp and Mocha are 2 lucky girls - they have both managed to stay healthy and as a consequence are about a 1/2 lb. bigger than their siblings. Java was the first to get sick, just a couple days after I brought them home. His eyes started running a lot and then he got such a stuffy nose, he couldn't smell his food and stopped eating. So he had to leave Kittenville to go to the sick kitty ward in the downstairs bathroom, where we set up a humidifier and a very comfy nest in which to recuperate. I had to stay up into the wee hours one night, feeding him a few drops of kitten replacement milk every hour. He was the first one I was afraid we'd lose. But like I told him, "No kitties are going to die in this house." I can be very bossy when I have to be.

He was perkier the next morning and ate on his own, having decided that chicken babyfood and KRM were worth coming back to life for. By the next day, Kona started having symptoms, so I got him into the kitty ward, but he went through the same severity of symptoms as Java. Another late night of kitten nursing. He didn't bounce back quite as quickly, but he was the runt and not as hardy in the first place. So just as he was recovering very nicely, his sister Chicory developed goopy eyes and a little sneezing. She went into the sickbay with her brothers. The vet had us bathing her eyes and putting in drops, but the next day, her eyes were half-closed and she was clearly not feeling well. Mr. C called me at lunch to tell me she had eaten and played a little but by the time I got home that night, she was limp and unresponsive and had a fever. She also couldn't open her eyes.

I get a weird kind of reaction in crises. Part of my brain is wigging out, but the other part is totally calm and focused. So at the same time I'm shaking and thinking "no no no!!", I called Mr. C, who was at an Animal Haven board meeting and had him ask the vet, who was also there, what the fork to do. I put Chicory into a carrier and dashed off to the emergency clinic, which is thankfully not far from home. I talked to her all the way there, telling her she was NOT going to die and that she WAS going to be fine. And did lots of praying. One of my favorite authors is Anne LaMott. She has said that her 2 favorite prayers are "help me, help me, help me" and "thank you, thank you, thank you". I use these a lot, especially when I'm too distraught to think clearly enough to compose my own.

When I got to the clinic, Mr. C was there, and I just broke down crying. I didn't realize how attached I had already become to this scrappy little furball. We were the only ones there, so saw the vet right away. She had started perking up at this point, especially when they took her temp, poor thing. She had a severe eye infection which she probably picked up from her mother. In addition, she had started sneezing, so also had the virus Kona and Java had. She got some antibiotics and some super-strength eye ointment. They wanted to see if she was able to eat before they sent us home. Whatever they gave her brought her all the way back from the dead and she scarfed it down like she had never seen food before. Lucky for her, otherwise she would have spent the night in the hospital.

She still couldn't really open her eyes, and we were told that she might lose her sight. She was still so weak she could barely stand up. When we got home, we gave her more food and the medicine and tucked her into her nest. By the next morning she seemed to be feeling better and could walk and even open her eyes a little bit. She's gotten progressively better each day. Her eyes are open all the way again and she can obviously see because she's chasing and tackling her sibs again. The boys are feeling better although they both still have a little of the sneezing. We're still keeping close tabs on Chicory as she has developed the stuffy, sneezy nose virus too. She's still eating like a truck driver, though, so I'm keeping my fingers crossed that there won't need to be anymore long nights and bossy lectures about no kittens being allowed to die in my care.

I'm so grateful to have an extra day off this week. I've taken care of kittens, done several hours of much-needed gardening and now am going to sit and knit on the porch for a couple of hours before going to our neighbors' for a barbeque. Have a happy Independence Day!