Saturday, June 30, 2012

BYE, BYE, AUNT CHERYL!

We had to get up early this morning to say goodbye to Aunt Cheryl.  She is on her way home to Austin now, and we won't see her again until maybe next year.  Ever since the cactus conference got over with, Mom and Aunt Cheryl have been busy running around every day, going to thrift shops and garden centers and estate sales and all sorts of places.  We dogs mostly stayed home and took naps because it has been really, really hot outside, and the best thing to do in this sort of weather is to stay inside and sleep.  At least that's my opinion.


So here is some other exciting news about us.  When Mom went to pick up our foster kitties, she found out that the two kittens, Binty and Akeela, got adopted last Saturday!  A family with twin boys adopted them, because they wanted two kittens, one for each boy.  So Mom brought Latifa, the mama cat, home, and she gets to run around the house wherever she wants to go, just like our other cats.

As soon as Latifa's milk dries up, she can get spayed, and then she can get adopted.  We thought her milk was drying up okay, but then she started getting all lumpy, so Mom took her to see the vet yesterday, and now Latifa has to take Clavamox, which is an antibiotic, because she might have something called mastitis.



Meanwhile, guess what!  We got 4 new foster kittens on Thursday!  I haven't got to meet them yet because Mom is keeping them in the back room with the doors closed.  There are 3 boy kittens and 1 girl kitten.  They are all sort of a dilute tabby color, except one of the boys is a darker color.  Mom has not taken any pictures of them yet or even named them, but she has a "short list" of names that all start with "W."  The girl will probably be called Waverly, but Mom hasn't decided on the other 3 names yet.  Also, Mom needs to figure out how to tell the kittens apart.

Today Mom is going to a DivaPets adoption event at PetSmart, and they are going to have 23 kittens there to be adopted!  Frankly, I think this is way too many kittens for anybody to even think about, let alone adopt, but that is just my own opinion.  There are lots more kittens that Aunt Tania's group couldn't take in because all the foster homes are full.  And all the shelters are full, too.  So we don't know what is happening to some of those kittens that don't have anyplace to go.  We don't even like thinking about it.  We just wish more people would get their kitties spayed or neutered.


Okay, well that's mostly all the news for right now except that Mom told me I lied to you when I said she didn't take any pictures at the cactus conference.  She took exactly 3 pictures, and they were all of plants she bought there.  So now I am going to show you these pictures, but don't expect me to tell you anything about these plants because I don't know anything about them except that they do not seem like anything I want to eat!


Thursday, June 28, 2012

AMERICAN CROWS

This summer we have a whole bunch of crows in our neighborhood.  I don't know why, since this has not happened to us before.  Well, sometimes we see one or two crows, but this year we have a regular murder of crows hanging out here.  My own theory is that a few crows came here to scout the place out, and then they went and told all their friends that this was a nice neighborhood to live in, and everybody came here.



Anyway, I got curious about crows, so I decided to learn more about them.  What I would really like to do best is to eat a crow -- which is not the same thing as eating crow -- but so far I haven't been able to catch one.  Mom says I would have more luck hunting crows if I spent more than two minutes at a time outside, but that's just long enough to potty, and then I prefer to go back inside where it's air-conditioned and cool.

So now I will tell you some stuff about crows.  Most people know that crows are black, so I don't have to tell you that.  Almost anyplace you go in the world, except for South America or Antarctica, you will find some type of crow.  The American Crow is called Corvus brachyrhynchos, which is Ancient Greek for "short-billed crow."  Crows are related to a bunch of other birds in the corvid family, including ravens, magpies, rooks, choughs, jackdaws, and jays.



The average crow is 16"-21" long and has a wingspan of 33" to 39".  The feathers are iridescent black, and the feet, legs, and bill are also black.  A crow's bill is about 2" long.  Crows are very talkative, which is how you can always know if they are around.  They say "caw! caw!" a lot, but they also make a bunch of other sounds.  Sometimes they mimic the sounds that people and other birds make.  In the wild, crows live about 7--8 years, and in captivity, they can live as long as 30 years.



Crows like to eat all kinds of stuff, including seeds, eggs, nestlings, invertebrates, carrion, grains, mice, frogs, nuts, acorns, and scraps of human food.  They often go to landfills or get into people's trash, looking for food.  Their favorite food is corn, wheat, and other crops.  Farmers find this annoying and are always putting up scarecrows and doing other stuff to try to keep the crows out of the field.  But the good thing that crows do is they eat up a bunch of insects in the fields while they are there.

A crow named Betty who figured out how to bend a wire
into a hook to use to pull food out of the glass tube.
When crows want to get to some food they can't reach, they can usually find a tool to use.  Or they can even make a tool, like by bending a wire.  This is pretty amazing, since not many animals can make tools, especially animals that don't have opposable thumbs.


Crows mate for life.  They build big nests in trees or in large shrubs.  The nests are made of twigs, branches, bark, moss, hair, twine, cloth, and other soft stuff.  The female crow lays 3--6 eggs and then sits on them for about 18 days. The baby birds get all their feathers by the time they are 35 days old.


A lot of animals like to eat crow eggs and crow babies.  Like, for instance, snakes, raccoons, ravens, and domestic cats.  Sometimes the adult crows get preyed on by owls, hawks, falcons, and eagles.  Another thing that attacks crows is a disease called West Nile Virus.  In 1999, this virus got introduced into North America from Africa.  Since then, the population of American crows has fallen 45%.  Luckily, crows can't give the virus directly to humans.


When the baby crows grow up, they still live with their parents for a few years.  Family groups start hanging out together in roosts at night.  Crows like to do this because they are very social birds.  By the time winter comes, there might be hundreds or even thousands of crows.  In the daytime, they break up into smaller groups to go out looking for food.  Then at night they all come back to the roost.  When they sleep together like that, they can stay safer and warmer than they could if they roosted alone. Roosting spots are usually located in groups of trees, and near water.  They can be used for many years.


Okay, well, that's all I know to tell you about the American Crow today.  I will just add that sometimes people get "crow's feet" around their eyes, which I think must be caused by letting a crow walk across your face while you're asleep.  So I would recommend not letting crows do this to you, unless you especially like the look of crow's feet.



Monday, June 25, 2012

WE SURVIVED! YAY!

Mom came and rescued us from Pooches' Paradise yesterday afternoon because the cactus conference was all over with, and she and Aunt Cheryl were home again.  So we dogs got to come home, too, and we took naps all evening in the nice, air-conditioned house.  We helped Mom and Aunt Cheryl watch "American Pickers" on TV, and we got to eat supper out of our own bowls.

The cats are not home yet, and we like it that way.  Even Mom says that a house with only dogs in it and no cats is easier to deal with.  Sadly, Mom is going to go pick up Charlie and Chloe and Jason this morning after breakfast.  Then later, Mom and Aunt Cheryl are going to drive to the Humane Society and get our foster kitties from Aunt Tania.  I tried to talk Mom out of doing this, but I was not successful.  Sigh.

Well, about the conference, Mom says it went well, and she had a good time, and she is really happy that it is over with.  Mom took her camera to the conference, but she never took a single picture.  Which is why I don't have any pictures to show you right now.

Mom bought a bunch of plants -- 18, but who's counting?  She spent over $300 on plants and books about plants and also on pots for plants.  This seems like a terrible waste of money that could have been spent on dog food.  But no one asked me, as usual.



Here is one of the books that Mom bought.  She is wanting to get busy repotting a bunch of her plants, but she might not have time to do this until after the other convention in August.

Anyway, the mainmost point I want to make is that my brothers and I survived our stay at Pooches' Paradise, and now we are home where we belong, which makes us very, very happy!


Thursday, June 21, 2012

THE CACTUS CONFERENCE IS HERE!

And Aunt Cheryl is here, too!  She got to our house on Tuesday morning.  I remembered her right away, but Barry forgot it was okay to let her come in the house and walk around without barking and lunging at her.  Then after a while, he remembered that Aunt Cheryl is a very nice person who loves and understands dogs, so he started behaving more nicely.

Mom has been going sort of nuts, trying to get everything ready to take to the conference.  She had to pack all our doggy pills and our food and all sorts of important stuff like that.  Also she had to make a whole bunch of forms and signs and things on the computer and print them out.  And then finally, she had to pack her clothes, because she didn't want to walk around naked at the conference, which would be illegal anyway.

So that didn't leave much time for my blog, and that's why this entry is going to be really short.  I hate it that Mom and Aunt Cheryl are going away and making us dogs and cats go and get boarded.  It's just not fair, if you ask me.  But nobody asked me, of course.

Anyway, I won't get to write again until maybe Monday because I can't use the computer at Pooches' Paradise.  So I hope you will not stop thinking about me and my blog while I am in prison -- I mean, at the boarding kennel.  Because when I get back, I'm going to write a whole bunch of stuff, and I think you'll like reading it!

Monday, June 18, 2012

ALL THE LATEST NEWS

Well, first of all, Ingram the kitten got adopted!  He went to his forever home last night with a very nice couple who just moved here from Indiana.  This is the first place they've lived where they can have a pet, and the man wanted a Manx kitty because he had a couple of them when he was a kid.  These people are also thinking about getting a small dog, which I believe is a very fine idea.




Oh, but guess what!  Ingram got two more applications yesterday, so he is very popular, which doesn't usually happen with a black cat.  We think maybe everyone likes his cute little bobbed tail!

Meanwhile, we still have Latifa and her kittens, Akeela and Binty.  Mom hasn't got around to taking any more pictures of them, but she will sometime.  The two kittens are eating a lot of canned food now, but they are also still nursing.  So they are not exactly starving to death!  After the cactus conference, Mom is going to work seriously on weaning the kittens, but she doesn't have time right now.  Aunt Tania will take care of our foster kitties while Mom is at the conference.

Yesterday afternoon, Mom and Aunt Jeanne went to a concert by the Heartland Men's Chorus.  This concert was called "All You Need Is Love," and it had only Beatles songs in it.  Mom and Aunt Jeanne liked it very much.  The concert was at the new Kauffman Center, instead of at the Folly Theater, where this group usually has its shows.  Aunt Jeanne had never been in the Kauffman Center before, so she got out her iPhone and started taking pictures.  Later she sent the pictures to Mom.


The Heartland Men's Chorus singing "Michelle"

Mom felt inspired to get out her own cell phone and take some photos, but her phone is kind of cheap, and it takes really crappy pictures.  So Mom's photos don't look real great.  And even Aunt Jeanne's pictures aren't as good as what  a real camera could take.




Here's a photo that Aunt Jeanne took in the lobby.  You can see in this photo that it was a bright, sunny day.



In Mom's photo of the same lobby, it looks like a cloudy day, even though you can see blue sky up above.  Although maybe it's possible that a cloud went in front of the sun right before Mom took the photo.  But Mom prefers to blame the camera in her phone.



Here's a view that Aunt Jeanne took looking out of the lobby.




And this one is inside the theater, where they have really strange lighting on the front of the balconies, and it looks kind of like aluminum foil.  Mom can't decide if she likes it or not.  Mostly, she thinks it's just weird.  Anyway, Aunt Jeanne took this picture, and then Mom played with it in iPhoto to try to make it look abstract or something like that.  I don't know if she really did that or if she just ruined the picture.  I am not an art critic, as I have told you before.

I guess that's all the photos I have to show you.  Mom is not going to the shelter today, even though she usually goes there on Mondays.  Instead, she will stay home and spend time with us dogs and cats because she feels guilty about abandoning us when she goes to the conference.  Except that she says she is staying home so she can clean the house because AUNT CHERYL WILL BE HERE TOMORROW!  YAY!


Saturday, June 16, 2012

FUNNY PEOPLE NAMES

Well, once again it's time to look at a list of strange names and wonder why anybody would give such names to their poor, innocent kids.  This time I'm only going to tell you some first names.  Most of these came from the obituaries.  Some of them belonged to a woman and others to a man.  And some of them are a mystery, because a lot of obituaries are short and don't ever use the word "he" or "she."

Female Names


Blanchola
Verliette
Glada
Vertle
Cinnamon
Loxie
Euphemia
Jettie
Atha
Arvilla
Phelo
Oney
Eglentyne
Clorene
Vennique
Adelma
Nova
Ivena
Justis
Delyte
Iodie
Eldeva
Maudeflorence
Uple
Luddie
Elvessa
Sunday
Loyce
Marcordia
Winzel





Male Names

Vasher
Topper
Doss
Winsome
Egbert
Asse
Gavrick
Ransom
Duck
Fallis
De-Elegance
Othel
King
Cloyd
Zion
Earthy
Cotton
Eveleth




Mystery Names

Elix
Otho
Mazell
Voter
True





Okay, that's my list of strange baby names, and if you want to use any of these, feel free to help yourself.  Just don't tell your kid where you got the name, because I don't want anybody hunting me down and hitting me upside the head with a rolled-up newspaper!

Friday, June 15, 2012

A DOG NAMED XIAO SA

Back at the beginning of May, a group of Chinese cyclists started on a long trip through the mountains from Chengu, which is the capital of Sichuan province, to Lhasa, which is the capital of Tibet.  On May 4, they saw a little white dog, and they gave her a chicken leg to eat.  Right away, the dog decided she had been invited to come on their trip, so she ran along with them for the next 1,100 miles until they reached their destination in Lhasa.



At first, the cyclists thought the little dog just wanted food, but later they decided she really liked traveling with them.  "We were shocked by her perseverance," one of the cyclists told the TV news.  This man's name is Xiao Yong, and he is a 22-year-old college student.  He ended up adopting the little dog at the end of the trip.  The name the travelers gave to the dog was Xiao Sa.  Xiao means "little" in Mandarin, and Sa was just the last part of Lhasa.


In this map, you can see the city of Chengdu, which is sort of in the lower middle part of China.  Then if you follow the line to the left, you will see Lhasa, which is pretty far away, especially if you are riding a bicycle.

There were lots of mountains to cross on the way to Lhasa, like 12, to be exact.  Some of these mountains were more than 13,000 feet tall.  When you get up that high, it is hard to breathe, and you can get headaches and start throwing up.  This is called altitude sickness.  If you are used to the altitude, you don't get sick.  Maybe Xiao Sa was used to being so high up where the air is thin, because it didn't seem to bother her to run up and down mountains.

"She once ran 37 miles in one day, going uphill," Xiao Yong said.  "We were very impressed by Xiao Sa's persistence, that inspired us all the way till our destination."  Another cyclist named Lu Bo said, "Once a few of our team members lagged behind, she ran from hill top [back] to the bottom, to bring these guys to the rest of the team.  She injected power into us."




After a while, the men made a sort of cage for the little dog, and they tied it on the back of Xiao Yong's bicycle.  Then when Xiao Sa was tired, or when they were going downhill really fast, she could ride in the cage.  It took 24 days to make the whole trip.  At night, Xiao Sa usually slept on the cyclists' raincoats, but sometimes she snuggled up to Mr. Xiao to keep warm.  She got to eat some of the same food the cyclists had, which was yummy stuff like custard tarts, boiled eggs, and sausages.

Sometimes in villages, other dogs came out and tried to attack Xiao Sa, but Xiao Yong picked her up and carried her on his bicycle and kept her safe.  When the group arrived in Lhasa, Xiao Sa got a checkup from a veterinarian, and he said that she was just fine.

By this time, Mr. Xiao had started a blog about his little white dog, so she became famous with lots of Chinese internet users.  Her fans called her "Forrest Gump" because she had a simple-minded stamina that got her through the trip.  They were excited when they saw a picture of her in front of the Potala Palace in Lhasa.

The cyclists did not ride their bikes back home.  Instead, they flew in an airplane, and Xiao Sa also got to fly back home to Sichuan Province.  Later on, Mr. Xiao learned that his little dog had followed other cyclists before, but she did not go on such a long trip as she did with his group.  And she did not bond with the other people the way she did with Xiao Yong.


So that is the end of this very nice story.  I think that any dog who runs up and down 12 mountains on such short little legs deserves a really, really good home with lots of dumplings to eat and a warm, cozy place to take lots of naps.  And I'm glad that's exactly what Xiao Sa got!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

MOM IS WAY TOO BUSY!

Mom is like, way too busy these days, and I am not happy about the situation!  In fact, nobody in our house is happy about the situation, including Mom.  I think maybe I told you one time that Mom said 2012 would be "The Year From Hell" because so much stuff was going to happen.  Well, we have got to the hellish part, and it's going to stay pretty much this way until mid-August.  After that, we hope we can have nice, normal lives again!





Anyway, the first Big Thing that is happening is called the 14th Biennial Mid-States Cactus and Succulent Conference.  Mom is what's called the Chairperson of this important event -- which you can tell is important just because it has such a long name -- so she has to be very responsible and make sure everything is done right.  Also, there are lots and lots of questions she has to answer, and decisions she has to make.

The second Big Thing is the Oregon-California Trails Association annual convention.  Mom is not as responsible for that convention, but she is in charge of putting all the registration information for everybody into a spreadsheet thingy.  And then she has to send out confirmation letters to everybody who registered.    She spent almost all day yesterday doing that, which means she didn't have much time to help me with my blog, and this is why I am stuck just complaining about the fact that Mom is so darned busy.  I apologize to my faithful readers for this, but it is really not my fault at all.




The worst part is going to be that we dogs have to go to Pooches' Paradise to get boarded for three whole nights while the cactus conference is happening.  And during the day, we will have to play with the other dogs at doggy daycare, which I don't really like to do much, because I would rather just take a nap all day.  All of this starts on Thursday morning, June 21, which is a week from tomorrow, so it's not very far away!

But before we have to go to Pooches' Paradise, a Really Good Thing is going to happen, which is that AUNT CHERYL IS COMING TO VISIT!  She is going to drive all the way up here from Austin just because she wants to visit us dogs and maybe also the cats.  But she is mostly a dog person, so she might just ignore the cats, which is fine with me.  Oh, and she is going to the cactus conference with Mom.  So Aunt Cheryl will get here next Tuesday, and then after one day of visiting with Aunt Cheryl, we have to go to Pooches' Paradise.  But Aunt Cheryl is going to stay for a few days after the conference, so we will get to spend some time with her then.  The sad part is that Aunt Cheryl has to come here all by herself, without Hank.  But maybe I can be really nice to her and make her feel better because I know she misses him a whole lot.

So I guess that's all the big news about what's going on around here.  I wish I could write lots of long, educational blog entries, but right now I'm kind of lucky to get Mom to help me write anything at all!



Monday, June 11, 2012

ADVENTURES AT DOG-N-JOG, by Nicky the Greyhound

Mom took me with her to Dog-n-Jog again this year, and I have to say that I had a pretty good time.  We were at the REGAP booth, and I was one of the ambassadogs.  Some of the other ones there were Bhric, Felicity, and Flynn.  Of course, I was the most handsome of all, but I'm modest enough that I prefer not to make a big point of it.



Now, before I tell you more about Dog-n-Jog, I have to tell you about my boo-boo.  On Friday morning, I was outside in the back yard, and I skinned up my right hind leg, down by the foot.  It really hurt, and it was bleeding.  Mom brought me in the house because she had to take Mel to the vet to get some blood tests and x-rays and stuff like that, and he wasn't supposed to eat before he went.  So none of us got to eat before Mom took Mel over there.

Anyway, Mom didn't notice my boo-boo until she came home and saw blood on some of the rugs in the kitchen.  Right away, Mom suspected I was the dog who was bleeding, because I have very thin, greyhound skin, and it seems like I am always hurting myself somehow.  So she started checking me over, and she found the scraped place on my leg.  Then she had to bandage it, so that meant we had to wait even longer for our breakfast.  The other dogs were kind of annoyed with me, but there wasn't much I could do about the situation, after all.

So I've been wearing this bandage around ever since then, except of course Mom changes it every other day.  My wound is not so oozy and seepy now, but it isn't scabbed over either.  After I got used to the bandage, I found out I could walk and run pretty much like a normal dog, which was a relief to know.

Friday's bandaged boo-boo and the new boo-boos
that happened yesterday on my left leg.

But getting back to Dog-n-Jog, we had to get up early yesterday morning, and we all had breakfast, and then Mom took me out to the car, and I jumped into the back end.  Except that I didn't do it right, and I fell out of the car, and it really scared me, and it hurt, too!  Mom looked to see if I had more boo-boos, and sure enough, I had a couple of them on the other hind leg.  But they weren't too terrible, and they didn't bleed very much.  What was mainly injured was my pride and my sense of confidence, which meant I did not want to try jumping into the car again.  Mom did her best to talk me into it, but I told her she was crazy.  So finally she lifted up my front end and put my front legs in the car, and then she lifted up my back end, and she kind of shoved me into the car.




When we got to the Plaza, we parked, and then we went to find the REGAP booth.  We stayed there some of the time, and other times we walked around.  There were lots and lots of dogs at Dog-n-Jog, and they were all different sizes.  Here I am meeting a Great Dane.




And here's a view of the whole street with all the dogs and people in it.




Mom got me a little cone of Sheridan's frozen custard, but I was too nervous to eat it, so she was forced to eat it herself.  I like the cow design they have on their truck.




Some dogs were wearing costumes, like this little sheltie in pink feathers.  That other dog is saying "What the heck is that?"



And here's a dachshund who was dressed as a pirate.  Luckily, Mom did not make me wear a costume, because I don't think I would like it.



When the dogs got hot, they drank from the doggy pool.  And some dogs just plopped down right in the middle of the water.



Some people spent time just hanging out with their dogs, which is always a good thing to do.



At the registration tent, there were tons of t-shirts.




This is Aunt Jo, who works at the shelter.  She was writing people's names on raffle tickets.  Meanwhile, I am leaning against that guy there, because he had been petting me.




Back at the REGAP booth, we sat around with some of the other greys and their foster parents.  That's Bhric in front.  His name is Irish, and I think it's kind of strange.  Maybe it means something important, but maybe not.  That man in the white shirt is Uncle Ted, who is Bhric's foster dad.  The other greyhound is Felicity.  She lives with Aunt Robyn and Uncle Pete, who are fostering her.



After we had been waiting around for a while, and the weather started getting pretty hot, it was finally time for the 1-mile or 2-mile walk.  Mom was afraid I wouldn't want to walk very far because of my boo-boo, and because I fell out of the car when I tried to jump in, and also because I don't like hot weather.  So we just went around once, which was 1/2 mile.  We walked with Nurse Debby, from Doctor Patricia's office, and her dog Jessie.  They walked farther than we did, even though Jessie is 11.5 years old, which is almost as old as Mel.

That's Aunt Debbie, in the blue shirt.  We caught up with them
right after Mom took this picture.

When we had finished walking, we went back to the REGAP booth, and I lay down in the shade and panted for a while.



Mom took another picture of my new boo-boo, which shows that I had some little wounds on the back side of my leg, too.



The most unusual dog we saw was an Ibizan Hound.  A lot of people in REGAP thought the dog was a Pharaoh Hound, but Mom knows about these things, and she told those people that it was an Ibizan  Hound.

The Ibizan is the brown-and-white dog.
Mom didn't get a very good picture of him.

These same people also had a Borzoi.  I guess they like unusual breeds!



After Dog-n-Jog was over, everybody packed up and went home.  I was glad to get home, where I could just sleep all afternoon in our nice, air-conditioned house.  I felt all kind of stiff and sore, especially in the back end, so it was hard for me to get up after I had been lying down.  This might be because of my fall yesterday and also because my back hurts sometimes anyway.  Mom didn't give me any breakfast this morning because she decided she should take me to get some x-rays, which she's been meaning to do for a while.  The radiologist comes to Dr. Patricia's office every Monday, and she will already be looking at Mel's x-rays and Charlie's x-rays, which got taken last week.  And now she can look at mine, too!