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!

Keep Track of Your Small Doggies

This could have been a MUCH worse post, but it’s scary to me, nonetheless.

Last night we were sitting on the porch with the dogs, when Lee’s brother walked up and asked if we’d seen Vlassic. We hadn’t in an hour or so. We looked and looked and couldn’t find him.

Not much room for common sense in that brain. (Old picture, still true)

I got worried he had wandered over to the Laywells across the street, which he had done once or twice before, so Kathleen and I jumped into Hilda, our utility vehicle, and went searching. We saw the Dorners. Hi Dorners. We turned around. We ran into Mr. Laywell on his utility vehicle (they go up and down the road all the time), who did indeed have a small black dog in his lap!

But, it turned out to be a black terrier, the exact same size as Vlassic but way barkier. Nice to have a face to go along with the barking fits across the road (I’m sure they love knowing what the barking fits on OUR side of the road are caused by, too, so no judgment implied). Anyway, we made him talk to us again.

You can tell by the mud on his face that Vlassic likes to put his nose into things! He’s also been swimming a LOT lately.

We went by Mandi’s and yelled, we went over to Sara and Ralph’s…checked places he’d hidden before.

Finally we went back home, to find a small black dog in the grass. I hugged him a lot, then asked what had happened. Eek.

Vlassic had jumped into the pickup while Chris was getting some stuff out of it, and no one had seen him. He’d been locked inside the black truck for who knows how long.

If it weren’t for the pandemic, Vlassic wouldn’t have met his new buddy, Jim, with the RV that’s safe from mean ole Penney.

We are so grateful he is okay. I’d been thinking it was time to give up on dogs, since I seem to be pretty hard on them. Of course, we have once again reminded ourselves to check cars after we’ve been loading and unloading, because Vlassic or Harvey might have gotten in, ready for a ride. That’s so scary as summer approaches.

I love this dog SO MUCH. Here he is in a car. We made sure he got out.

So, if you have a dog that likes to go on rides, check your vehicles!

Don’t Cry Now

Yeah. Don’t listen to that advice. It is perfectly appropriate to cry now. It’s just that when I saw that today’s UU Lent prompt was cry, the first thing I thought of was this Linda Rondstadt song.

I don’t cry anymore. Right around the time I started feeling better about myself, I stopped crying almost completely. I’ve teared up a couple of times, both from happiness and sadness, but I’ve only really cried twice that I can remember in the past year.

My good buddy Brody in 2018.

When my precious Brody got hit by a car and died, I certainly cried, as one does when they lose a family member. I found out that another heeler I know got hit and killed on the same road last week. Just punches you in the gut. You try to keep them in the fence, but they sure have a drive to chase.

My constant companion, at least for a long time. I think he’s standing in the same spot as Brody in the previous picture.

The last time I cried was just before we left on that ill-timed recent vacation. Once again, Penney had chased Vlassic off my bed. He’d already spent a couple of nights at my brother-in-law’s RV, and I’d missed him. I completely broke down at the thought of losing my little best friend, and a huge wave of grief took over for a while. I do still have issues with feeling deserted, especially when I’m feeling weaker. Having the hole in my soul from being deserted by the radiant Kynan (as his spouse calls him), I was vulnerable.

I’m okay now. I think Vlassic is safer and happier next door in the RV, and I get to see him nearly every day when we feed chickens and horses together. Jim needs a little friend, too. My generous higher self is dealing with it now.

Why Don’t I Cry?

I wish I knew. as a child and young adult, I had a very quick crying trigger. I was a “sensitive” one, and very easily hurt by name calling, bullying, and criticism (deserved or not). It’s one reason I tried to be so good as a child. If I was good, no one would yell at me or criticize me, and I wouldn’t start to cry, which would lead to more name-calling and being laughed at.

Stinging tears, like a thistle.

I’d always cry during difficult conversations or when I was feeling strongly about something. It made me so angry at myself when I wanted to be rational and strong, but I’d start to cry, even when the rest of me was trying to make a point or be articulate. No doubt I drove my romantic partners crazy with that. And that’s why I tried to avoid confrontation so much, because if I started crying, I’d always look weak.

I may have cried enough for a lifetime during the years surrounding my divorce from my kids’ dad. Maybe I used up all my tears on all my personal drama, much of which I made for myself, I now admit.

She cried a lot.

One thing’s for sure, crying at the drop of a hat was one of my least favorite habits/traits. It was harder for me to forgive myself for crying the times I was “let go” at jobs than over losing the jobs themselves. I am still pissed off at myself for letting that awful man who was jargoning and biz-speaking his way through running La Leche League into the ground see me cry, and for letting that absolutely horrid Dean at UT see me beg to keep a job I hated (because I thought I’d lose my kids with no income). Blech.

But, I don’t cry now. I occasionally get sad and I get angry, but I don’t cry, not even healing tears, like Vicki refers to above. I think crying when appropriate (say you have had just about enough of a certain pandemic) is healthy, but I just don’t. My only guess is that the antidepressant I take has muted my crying trigger.

Has that happened to any of you who admit to taking an antidepressant? I’m curious. I can still feel quite happy and quite annoyed (ask the people who live at my house about the annoyed part).

Thanks to the 100+ people who reacted to this post, and all of you who commented.

Please, if things get to be too much for you, let out those tears. If you need to vent, please do so, and don’t beat yourself up for venting about things that are trivial. No one will judge you for it, certainly not me. I’m happy to be there to listen, too, and hope that there are those of you out there who would listen non-judgmentally to me, too.

We’ll be together at our Austin house again, my friend.

Let’s muddle through together! And wipe those tears (on your own mask or tissue, please).

Deep Stuff about Dust?

Oh goodness. What WERE the PC Practitioners over at the Unitarian Universalist Association (world’s most politically correct organization) thinking when they decided that dust was going to be one or the UU Lent words of the day? Were they thinking UU Lint? (And how many people also came up with that question today?)

Can’t believe no one else had tagged #UULint yet on Instagram. Ima check back later. None on Twitter yet, either.
Photo by @melpaul199 via Twenty20

I’m sure a lot of people go real deep when they think about dust. Or the song “Dust in the Wind” gets stuck in their heads. Darn you, Kansas. I guess it DOES blow your mind the first time you realize that, “we are all made of stardust,” a sentiment which seems to have been attributed to every pop astronomer of the past twenty years.

Sometimes I wish the vast majority of people who have that us versus them mentality would think about the fact that we are all made of the same stuff a little more. Perhaps if they dusted off the cobwebs in their brains, dust could lead to peace. That’s a stretch, though.

Just imagine what all’s in there.

I’ll be honest, here. When I think about dust, other than when I need to wipe some off a surface, I usually think about what’s IN the dust. I’ve always had what passes for Suna having fun by imagining germs, dander, mites, ash, and a whole lot of giant pollen particles swirling around me, going in my lungs and back out. I’m glad we don’t get all stuffed up inside.

Special Dust

Brick dust everywhere, even on the ancient curtains.

However, right now, I’m more fixated on all that brick dust at the Pope Residence. It’s a couple of inches thick on some of the wainscoting in the entry. Poor Randy has swept it many times. I’m sure glad he and Easton wore masks when sanding down the bricks.

That’s some dust-free wood! Plus, I can see where the light fixture and vent will be! Photo by Chris

In fact, when Chris sent me this photo of the ceiling going up in the bathroom attached to my future office, my first thought was, “Wow, that sure is clean.” I sure hope we eventually get ALL that brick dust out of the building. It can blow in the wind, because as we all know, EVERYTHING is dust in the wind. Or stardust.

Okay, if any of you would happen to have more insights into the concept of “dust” that you’d like to share with me, I’d really appreciate it. I may be missing out on something as I am using most of my brain on actual work today. Share! Do it for Vlassic!

Thinking about being made of stardust has me all tuckered out.

OUCH

Well, poop. I am not superhuman. I also don’t really think my wardrobe choices through.

Evil slippery deck in its ancient and damp glory.

It’s been raining for a couple of days, so, of course, our ancient deck is mighty wet. I wasn’t really concerned about it, since I’d managed to walk Vlassic just fine earlier today.

However, I’d changed into some really cute cowboy boots to wear to work. So, when time came to walk the dogs again, I strode out at my usual brisk pace (so it will count as exercise for my watch), and was singing a happy song.

Suddenly, my feet were in the air and I thought, “Oh boy, this isn’t good,” just as my rear end made contact with the deck and I promptly bounced on my upper back. I could feel the vertebrae as they got hit. ACK.

Landing there, of course my lungs got squished, so I lost my breath. I did manage to tell Anita I hadn’t broken anything and asked her to take the dog.

Vlassic takes care of me. I look like crap. And Supergirl is back there taunting me and reminding me that I am NOT her.

That was certainly a dumb wardrobe choice. And we really, really need to replace that deck with something that has some traction. Changing into dry clothing was “interesting,” but it appears like I just have some bruising in my ribs and my wrists (from trying to break the fall).

Dear Vlassic came and jumped on me to make me feel better, and Anita got me a hot wrap for my shoulders. I am now prepared for the chorus of “Arnica” and other remedies. I’ll take care of myself, I promise!

It’s Just Not Vlassic’s Week

I feel sad for my little black buddy Vlassic right now. It was bad enough that he ate foam rubber and it came back out on both ends. But no, it has not ended there.

I’m safe out here with Alfred.

Yesterday, Lee left for the office around noon, as usual. He shut the door to the upstairs like he usually does, so that certain white dogs (Carlton) can’t find his shoes or random foam rubber cushions and gnaw away at them. Unfortunately, Vlassic was still up there, snuggled under the covers.

He ended up being there until Kathleen and I came home from dinner. Poor boy! As you can imagine, his still-delicate digestive system did not make it through that time. I’m relieved (pun intended) that he chose to “go” on one of my Jacob-sheep rugs rather than furniture (thought I’d have preferred the tile in the bathroom).

Note that I’m outside and the other dogs are IN.

Of course, I didn’t know that until I went into the closet this morning. Before that, Vlassic had his morning slumber RUDELY interrupted by good old Penney, who’d been behaving fine for the past month or so. Vlassic was right next to me, and Penney decided that’s where SHE wanted to be (she’d been fine there earlier, when Vlassic was between my legs). They exploded into a ball of frenzied dog action, right on ME (I did get a cut on my hand, but not worthy of photography).

I’ll just stay out here, thanks. Glad it stopped raining.

Vlassic ran off screaming, and spend the next few minutes yipping and trembling. But, he is not hurt. A lot of drama for no hurt except to me!

Mmm. Appetizing.

I did not enjoy having to clean all the pee and poop off my lovely sheepskin this morning. That thing sure gets heavy when wet. But, once it dries and I go shake off the rest of the dirt, it will look way better. Maybe I should wash the other one? I think yes.

The other one. It’s so cute.

By the Way

Yesterday I wrote about issues with restaurants and other businesses in our small town. I got the good news (right after I posted) that the Bush’s Chicken will re-open soon! The Sonic now has a for-sale sign, so all the people who have ideas for what to do with it can fight each other off to make the dreams come true.

I vote for coffee shop, so I can pick it up on my way into the office.

Who Wants Dog News?

Of course, YOU want dog news (especially if you are Don L., the dogs’ biggest fan).

The three Cameron house dogs do just fine together. Wow, the bedroom is a wreck (it has been cleaned and the bed made since then.)

I’m here to share that the battle between Vlassic and Penney is finally settling down. We haven’t had even the slightest grr sound from either of them in a few weeks now.

They run and play outside like the best of buddies, and last week BOTH of them sat on the same bench with me for at least five minutes. That warmed my heart.

Play with me!

Both have been managing to sleep in the same bed, as long as they aren’t touching each other, too. But what really warmed my heart was to see the two of them playing with each other in the bed. They were pawing, licking, and tussling in a most friendly way, much to my relief.

We have called a truce!

The only thing that’s left will be for Penney to allow Vlassic to spend time in the family room sitting on my lap, which is what he really loves to do when I’m at the Austin house, and what he used to do in Cameron before Penney came along.

Speaking of Penney

If you want a dog very much like her, Penney’s sister is at the Cameron Dog Pound, just looking for a forever family. She’s got a curlier tail but is just as soft and sweet as Penney.

Also, Sandy has a browner nose then Penney. They were from a litter of TEN, which explains why I met another sister of hers last November!

Sandy’s a cute red dog, not too big, not too small.

Blessing of the Animals – And a Surprise for Penney

I just got home from another fun Milam Touch of Love event, the Blessing of the Animals, which is a yearly celebration at many Episcopal churches in the US. Today the one in Cameron was at All Saints Episcopal, a church attended by a lot of my friends. They’d invited MTOL this year, and we really appreciated it.

Fifi is very friendly.

Our group brought two sweet dogs looking for homes, Henry and Fifi. The kittens Jean S. is fostering were also there, and darn, they are cute.

This sweet dog is all scarred, but so well trained and sweet, you’d never know she’d had a hard past.

I brought Vlassic along, as an example of the dogs that are dumped out in the country, which shows the need for helping animals out here. I was really proud of how well he behaved. He played a lot with Henry, who was thrilled to have a friend to play with, though he eventually wore V. out.

Continue reading “Blessing of the Animals – And a Surprise for Penney”

Vlassic: A Mysterious Lump

Something’s up with Vlassic! He’s happy as he can be, running around like normal, and eating all his food. But, he’s developed a big lump on his shoulder. It doesn’t seem to hurt, but you can’t miss it.

See my lump?

We’ve been trying to figure out what it is going on with him. I had a couple of ideas:

  • It’s where he got that rattlesnake vaccine and yelped so much. Could he have some kind of reaction or issue related to that?
  • Did he hurt his shoulder and have swelling related to that (Mandi’s dachshund had that happen to her, and it healed on its own.)
  • Is it a tumor (fatty or otherwise?)
  • Could it be a cyst?
Another view. It’s hard to photograph things on a black dog.

One of the articles I read mentioned that swelling could occur after an insect bite. Maybe the shot gave a similar reaction? Why, look what I found on an article about pros and cons of the rattlesnake vaccine for dogs:

Finally, the vaccine may be reactive and can cause sterile abscesses at the site of injection, and this is more likely in small breeds (as are most all vaccine reactions in my experience).

The Rattlesnake Vaccine for Dogs: Both Sides of the Story
By Dr. Laci Schaible

Okay, this is sounding really plausible. And if it’s sterile, it will go away. The plan, then, is to wait a few days and see if it gets larger or smaller. In the meantime, Vlassic gets to be called “Lumpy.”

I’m so majestic. I’ll be fine.