The Black Dachshund Mix Goes to Austin

I’m sure Vlassic was looking forward to some fun today, but the weather didn’t cooperate. It was another big rain day. For me, it was fun looking out the window while I worked upstairs.

Wetness and reflections.

For Pickle, the day meant a great deal of panting and shaking. I refrained from photographing her in her distress. Vlassic mostly slept through the storms.

Big, pre-nap yawn.

He “helped” me a lot in Zoom meetings, or acted as dead weight in my lap. He apparently gets bored hearing only one side of conversations.

I’m a cute dead weight.

He got a lot of licking in, too, especially after walking in the rain. I was really proud of him for managing to do the needful outside.

I’m about to jump in Suna’s lap.

Pickle finally got to safely go out around 5 pm. She can really hold her bladder! We got to see our neighbor, Katie, who was in the same boat. Rain is very hard on small indoor dogs. We humans were sad that book club got rained out for the second week in a row, too. Sigh.

I’m better after my walk. See, no trembling.

Vlassic is not complaining. Time spent with Suna is good time for him. He got to destroy a dog toy, so now he can spend the rest of the evening watching HGTV with Anita and Suna.

Ahh. Life as an indoor dog has its benefits.

I know Vlassic enjoys ranch life, but he sure isn’t complaining about his time in the big city, even when it’s storming outside.

Poor Underprivileged Dogs Get Toys

I wrote this last night but fell asleep before I could publish it. I already post too much, so this is good.

I admit it. We don’t give the ranch dogs very many official dog toys. That’s because up until now, an expensive toy for hard-chewing dogs usually lasts about ten minutes (we DO have a rope toy that’s lasted a long time).

These two and a tennis ball are the hardy survivors.

But, yesterday I felt so bad for them, knowing three toys had been sitting on the counter since the last time I got home from Austin. I tossed each dog a toy, and fun ensued. Penney immediately took the gator outside.

Today I was surprised to see all three toys still in good shape, and all in the house. It’s been fun watching them play. They’re all a bit more gentle than they used to be. Penney kept chewing that gator, but eventually Carlton got ahold of it and slowly but surely got the crinkles out.

I’m in no hurry.

Meanwhile, Harvey fell in love with a toy that’s all the parts of a hamburger on a stretchy string. He really wanted the burger part, but every time he used his paw to get at it, the parts would slip and he’d get a face full of burger parts.

I’m gonna destroy this, yes I am.

Eventually he gave up and just held it, adoringly, between his feet.

My Love Burger

A little later, I looked down and he was holding it in his sleep. That is so NOT Harvey. He never cared for toys one way or another.

As the evening went on, the toys were traded around. Neither Carlton nor Penney could destroy the burger, and they didn’t like the blue blob much. Harvey switch allegiance to the partially eaten gator.

I feel disloyal to my burger.

Penney cane sniffing around, so he then hid the toy! This really made us laugh.

Gator? What gator? Just this ball of stuffing here, that’s all.

After dinner (we made turkey!), Penney finally disemboweled the gator, while Harvey and Carlton played together with the burger. Wow. Dogs acting like normal dogs! Not destroying toys instantly!

Maybe I’ll get them more toys. It did help to have multiples. Much less fighting.

Human-Animal Connection

I’m baffled sometimes about how humans managed to connect so deeply with some other animals.

Fiona wanted to see my sister so badly this evening that she barged into the hay area just to be near her. Why? She’s full of love and wanted to share? I don’t know. But I do know equines sense our feelings.

95% love, 5% sass.

And tonight, though I want to go to sleep, I can’t move, because two dogs are glued to me. They’ve done this all weekend, perhaps somehow sensing I could use some comfort.

Carlton is on both of my legs. Penney is glued to the right one.

Yep. There’s a real connection between humans and animals. Even the chickens! It’s made my life better.

Do you have any stories?

Something Fishy

I got an interesting surprise as I was heading to the office to write a bunch of blog posts. I saw a large group of black vultures (my favorites, because they seem more…attractive than turkey vultures) pecking away at something over by where the pond runoff comes out of the culvert under our driveway (which is secretly a dam).

You can see by the debris how high the water was yesterday.

I thought maybe they had a snake, and I thought I should go see what kind of snake it was. However, it was not a snake. It was this!

It’s a fish out of water! Poor thing!

Oh, what a bummer. It appears that this delicious largemouth bass must have passed through the culvert and gotten dumped into the runoff area. It must have ended up in a part that was too shallow to swim in. Sniff.

Also, check out the attractive green bottle flies. I guess only a naturalist would say that. Sorry if it’s sort of icky for you.

But what did that tell me? It told me we have giant bass in our pond!* Who knew? Mandi should come fishing, or someone who likes to fish, anyway. Now that it’s mowed to the edge, the pond should be easier to work with. I figure we also have catfish, since I’ve seen channel cats that got pushed through the culvert before. Mandi and I totally failed at catching them, darn it.

As if that wasn’t enough excitement, when I got to the Pope Residence, I saw all sorts of things flying around right above the grass. What could that be? I spent some time trying to follow them around to see what they were, but then I realized I just had to look DOWN and they were everywhere. I thought they were Japanese beetles, but when I looked it up on iNaturalist, it said they are common green Junebugs. I guess they all decided to hatch after the rain.

Well, whatever they are, there are a LOT of them. I hope there are some at the ranch, so the chickens can have a treat.

And here’s a treat for YOU, readers! A nice picture of how cute the dogs are as they sleep with Lee. Maybe that will cleanse your palate from the fish, flies, and beetles.

Snoozy Penney and Harvey. Photo by Lee Bruns.

* I am aware that this is a normal sized fish. It is big to me.

An Evening with a Black Dachshund Mix

Hi, readers of Mama Suna’s blog! I’m Vlassic, and I’ve been hanging around the Hermits’ Rest Ranch for the past two years. I like it here a lot. Wanna know why?

I’m long, but I have longer legs so I can jump high.

I have so many friends! At night I sleep in Jim’s RV. He is so nice to me, and feeds me (I don’t go in the big house because Penney acts weird in there). When I go outside, I spend half my time with my bird buddies, Bertie Lee, Gertie, Fancy Pants, and Clarence. We like how cool it is.

Stay out of our coop, dog! The black chickens don’t like me so much.

The rest of the time I spend with my new friends, the Bull calves. It’s SO much fun there! Calf poop is so delicious, and they have a wonderful water bucket just the size for me to cool off my black coat.

Wait, Rip, it’s my turn! Photo by Meghan Land.

On good days, Mama Suna takes me with her to visit my other friends. Sometimes we ride the little bumpy car. Tonight, though, we walked. It was a beautiful night.

Rays!

I chased two of the 18 series cows, but just a little, to remind them of how we used to play when they were babies. Mostly I was good, though, because I wanted to see my friends.

Here are two friends, Big Red and Apache. The horse is jealous, because the hen gets fed first.

I love this place! There are so many smells of cattle dogs! I have many places where I simply must pee. They need to know Vlassic rules…when they aren’t here.

Take that, other dogs.

There are other fun smells here, too. I especially like donkey poop. Mmm. Thanks, Fiona. Sigh, I was disappointed she didn’t get to come out and play. I love making her put her head down and shake it.

I sure love poop. Why does Mama sweep it up?

The other great thing about where my friends live is that they have an even bigger water tub! I like to swim in it, but not when it’s full.

Big Red and I like to drink from it when it’s full!

After all the friends were fed, we went back. I had to investigate this new hay. It looks funny and smells different. Mama said it’s sorghum, whatever that is. I made sure to pee on it, so it won’t smell so new next time I come.

Funny hay. Needs pee.

As we passed the cabin, Copper the dog came outside, so I ran like the wind.

I’m outa here.

I ran and ran. Meanwhile, Mama saw a new cow patty on the road, that had appeared since we came by before.

That cow patty has a head.

As she got closer, she realized it was a turtle crossing the driveway. She told it hello, but for some reason, she did NOT call me over to introduce me! Geez! I’m nice to all the other animals!

Pleased to meet you. You can leave now.

After rolling a bit in some silage (it’s an acquired smell, but I’ve acquired it!), I ran back to Rip, Poop Nugget, and Buster, to see if they’d pooped any more.

We were just digesting over here.

Then, to end the evening right, Lee and the other dogs showed up! We played! Then it rained a little. Not enough, but it made Lee and Suna smile. We need rain, because my pond is gone!

Time to go inside.

What’s Cuter Than a Tiny New Calf?

Two Tiny New Calves!

Yep, Chris didn’t get to go look at farm equipment yesterday, so he did the next best thing and headed over to the Sale Barn. There were more inexpensive young cows to be had!

Where are we? What happened? Where’s Mama?

He saw lots of good ones, but stayed within his budget and returned with two new friends for Rip.

One is pretty big and muscular. It makes you wonder what the rest of his herd looks like if he’s a reject. He’s older than Rip and the other one, so we wonder if he’ll take milk from a bottle.

I’m big and pretty.

The other one is small and skinny, like Rip, and a very dark brown. When he laid down, he looked just like a turd, so I’m calling him Poop Nugget. I’ll let Kathleen name the other one, because I know there are more characters in that television show. She may well rename Nugget. I don’t have naming rights to their calves!

I’m a fuzzy little nugget.

I’m sure Rip will be happier with friends, and also when he gets over his mild pneumonia. He’s on antibiotics. He doesn’t like shots. Who does? Just ask Vlassic!

Those other guys don’t know what they’re missing. Mmm. Milk.

Speaking of dogs, Vlassic and Gracie seemed to think the calves were invaders, and kept chasing them. They ignore Rip. They also ignore the birds, who wander around with no worries.

We don’t like these strange calves.

Chris and Kathleen tried their best to get the new babies to drink from a bottle, but they weren’t interested yet. Maybe they’ll be hungry and less confused today.

Rip says he will drink it if Nugget won’t.

There was lots of mooing last night. Let’s hope they settle in and grow big and strong. They have an expanded pen to roam in and lots of cattle cubes. Our ranch family will do our best to give them good lives.

Our motley herd. Chris is in the Cameron cow biz.

Alfred the Brave, and a Scary Vet Visit

Once again, I was in meetings all day, 8:30-7:30. It won’t be that way too much longer, but I have a tired brain. Meetings meant I couldn’t be there for the annual shot day for the dog pack, where Dr. Amy drives her mobile office up to the ranch and get it all done with little stress.

There were lots of surprises, according to Lee. I wish I’d been there to see the dogs’ true personalities shine through. Gracie apparently took everything like a champ. Good girl!

I’m good! I just have a little tartar.

No surprise here, but Carlton was in perfect health. He was also well behaved. That’s my boy.

I’m all inoculated.

Harvey was not our big brave boy. He cried and shook. But, he was well behaved and let them take care of him. Surprise! And he was not called out for being overweight! Double surprise!

I’m a big softy. But I’m not too big and soft.

Penney was not having anything to do with all those strange veterinary people. Then she noticed the other dogs were getting what she wants more than anything in the world: attention. Lee said she figured that out and ran over to get in between the techs and the other dogs. She is truly an Attention Hound.

I just want petting, even if I have to get shots.

And then there is Vlassic, the nicest dog in the world, right? When they drew blood, it hurt. He yelped and tried his damnedest to get away. He even snapped his teeth at a tech (a thing he does even when not afraid). So, he had to get tranquilizer. That let them also trim his nails, which will sure make Anita happy.

Butterfly break. I have no Vlassic photo, because he’s zonked out at Jim’s RV.

There’s one dog left, big Alfred. The plan was always to anesthetize him. He had to get his dewclaws trimmed again, because they were almost grown back into his leg.

That’s better!

While he was out, Lee asked them to look at a spot he’s had on his side for a while. It looked to us like he had a burr in his fur infect his skin. Imagine Lee’s surprise when they shaved the area and it revealed what actually happened.

Oh no. Poor Alfred.

He’d been bitten by a very large snake. They guess it was a couple of weeks ago. We never noticed a change in his behavior, other than a bit of lethargy a while back. And if it was swollen, we couldn’t tell for all his hair.

I’m woozy. But gonna make it.

It’s good Alfred is so big. And it’s good he had the rattlesnake vaccine. It gave him some protection. But dang, that poor dog! Out there protecting us and being brave, and never complaining.

In fact, Alfred has been acting happier, more energetic, and more fun that he ever has. His joy at seeing us and playing with us is so endearing. I’m glad he’s okay. I’m glad we are able to keep all these dogs safe and healthy. It’s a commitment.

Why I Adore a Little Black Dog

Yesterday after work, I snatched Vlassic out of the RV where he was hanging out with Lee’s brother, and invited him into the car. There, he settled down for a nice petting session while we drove to Austin. Yay, we got to go see our other house!

Yay, in Austin I get to shred toys.

When we got there, he greeted his friend Pickle, then insisted on taking a walk, you know, to see if all the bushes were still there. They were. After that, he destroyed a few toys, napped, and hung out with me until bedtime. At bedtime, he curled up right next to me and slept until morning.

Here’s Vlassic helping me work.

That’s not remarkable, really, but the way he just slid back into his old routine like he’d been doing it all along, it just amazed me. Yesterday he’d been rolling in the dirt, sitting under the RV, visiting the horses, chasing and eating many grasshoppers, and when lucky enough to find one, harassing toads. He is fixated on barking at toads.

He’s now helping me work in the kitchen.

We’ve just had our 2-year anniversary of sharing our lives with Vlassic, who we now think came from the Ben Arnold area (due to the large amount of very black dogs a particular female, who is now neutered and living in Colorado, had been churning out). He is the most laid-back and flexible dog I have ever come across.

I’m also cute outside. I only have one pose, apparently.

Wherever this little dude is, he’s at home. He loves Austin, he loves Cameron, he loves the indoors, and he loves the outdoors. He doesn’t chase chickens, and I think no longer chases small donkeys. While he occasionally doesn’t like a dog or person very much, I find he has pretty good taste in such things.

Honestly, it feels like a miracle that he showed up one day and I got to have him as my companion. The worst thing, for me, about the pandemic has been that I don’t get to spend as much time with Vlassic as I used to, because Penney scared him away from coming into the house. It’s weird, because they get along great outside, but he just won’t come into our house anymore.

He and Gracie are our chicken protectors and mini guard dogs at the ranch. Look at those tongues.

On the other hand, Jim sure likes having him around. So, now Vlassic is providing companionship to both of us. What a fine companion he is, too!

Horse Social Distancing Party

I have a big post in the works, but various work things precluded typing much. So, here’s a little Apache and Fiona update.

The best news is that I’m going to get some square bales of hay for our horses, thanks to my friend Pamela, who lives on the next ridge closer to town from us. Her hay baling person agreed to do some square so I can get them for our guys. It may be a bit fresh for Apache, but since it’s summer, the grass is pretty dry.

And Apache’s feet are doing a lot better. He’s walking pretty well, and ate in the paddock 1.5 hours or more yesterday. He’s still okay!

So, we did a longer walk yesterday, even going over the telephone poles just fine. Then we walked down the race, along with Fiona and Vlassic. Even Big Red came.

Here I come! Cluck!

All was well, and it became a party when Spice and Lakota joined us. They’re temporarily in the pasture where the cattle usually are, so they could walk along with us. What a crew! Three horses, a donkey, a dog, and a hen.

Something is interfering with my grass consumption.

All of a sudden, Vlassic decided to chase Fiona. That’s why Apache looked so concerned in the first photo. I got the phone out and caught Fiona as she flew by. I didn’t get a picture of her turning back on Vlassic, because I was too busy getting on top of him to firmly explain that Fiona is not for chasing.

I’m faster than a speeding dachshund.

He sort of moved toward her, but after I shouted again and went toward him, he tucked his tail and meekly led the procession back to the paddock. He jumped in the water bucket and graciously exited so Apache could drink.

Let’s follow Fiona! Says Spice. Maybe after I finish chewing, says Apache.

My guess is he won’t be chasing Fiona again. I certainly cured him of chicken chasing after one firm discussion. I’m sure he was playing, but prey animals don’t find that fun!

How ARE the Dogs? Lively.

Every so often someone asks for an update on the canines. Unlike the chickens and horses, all the dogs are currently FINE. sure, they have their challenges, but they aren’t bad. Let’s start with the smallest.

Vlassic

He is doing well and seems happy here. His favorite part of the day is going for rides with me in Hilda the utility vehicle, or sitting on my lap on the porch. I know he’d like to go see Pickle and Anita, but that’s not possible now.

Can I go home?

He also enjoys his time with Jim (Lee’s brother) in the RV, and Jim adores him.

Vlassic still jumps very high.

Gracie Lou

Chris and Kathleen’s dog is in heaven with so many dogs to play with and places to sleep. She insinuated herself into our pack as gracefully as her name. She loves going from lap to lap and shedding long, white hair on us all. She’s a very nice dog, indeed.

We’re buddies.

Penney

Penney is still a very strange dog. She’s both sweet and annoying, timid and aggressive, etc. Penney still won’t let Vlassic in the house, but cowers at the other dogs.

Typical play scene, every day.

She is one of those wiggly, slinky dogs you have to discipline carefully or they will pee all over the place. She always wants to attach to a human and paws at your book or phone If you don’t pay attention.

Where Penney was as I typed that paragraph.

She usually sleeps way too close to me and takes up my space. For quite some time she’d wake up and paw me and lick my face in a most irritating way. I think I finally got her to stop. Yay. She cut my lip with her nails! Too much love.

On alert. On the bed. All the time.

Lee is very devoted to her, and she and the other dogs play all the time. She’s happy, even if she’s weird.

Carlton

He is still the cutest dog ever, and still a bit of a klutz. He loves to run and play, but no longer gets to hang out in front of the house, because he chased cows too much.

Poor Carlton just has to lay around the house all day. Not true! He has a huge back yard.

We started shock collar training for that and hope to continue soon, when Kathleen is able to again.

He likes to sleep by my feet or lay on my chair when Penney isn’t using it. Other than barking lots to inspire the rest of the pack to play, he’s a wonderful pup. He has my heart.

He has friends.

Harvey

Harvey is doing really well, though he still growls a lot and acts grumpy. He loves to play with Vlassic, but Penney’s groveling bothers him.

I also love Mommy.

We think he’s in love with Alfred. He sure wants doggie intimacy with him. He also spends hours grooming Alfred’s fur and ears. It’s really sweet to watch the two of them together. They’re like an old married couple.

I’m cute, if a little tubby.

Harvey’s favorite humans are Chris and Canova, my sister. Chris plays rough and tumble with him, and he gets so happy it melts your heart. They are a lot alike, actually. With Canova he is very gentle.

Carlton annoys him by barking to get him to play. Growling will ensue.

Alfred

Alfred is in one of his stinky, shedding phases that require much vacuuming. Last time I had to empty the vacuum twice just to do the first floor.

He just wants to be petted, as long as you don’t try to get rid of his burs.

He’s really loving and gentle in the house, but patrols outside every night. We got nice fans to drown out his protective bark. When the alarm bark sounds, all the other dogs start up, though. You can’t miss that!

His love for us is very obvious. And I feel very safe with him around.

I’m amazed we have so many dogs, but they do each fill a spot in our hearts.