Monday, June 30, 2008

Dogs and Stress

We've had a lot of thunderstorms lately. When it gets loud, Kelly either wants to sit in my lap or hide in the closet. But she's not desperately anxious; barking and panicking like some dogs. I can only imagine those funny crazy scenes in Marley and Me.

I've been reading a new book lately, Three Dog Life. Poor Henry the beagle is anxious as a result of a traumatic incident. He slipped his collar while walking with his owner. The owner dashed into the road to give chase. Henry made it across okay, but the owner was hit by a car and suffered major injuries. I can only imagine little Henry's confusion at the noise, commotion, sirens...and wondering where his owner was. The book details both Henry's stress, and the owner's wife's, as they try to put their lives back together.

Kelly has moments of stress, such as the grooming episode. But overall she's not a high stress dog. I've been communicating with Roxanne, who writes a blog Champion of my Heart, about her dog Lilly, and special behavioral training methods she uses to help handle stress situations.
Dogs, like people, react to stress in many different ways and i'ts up to their owners to find the right way to handle the situation. Fortunately, most dog people I've met are loving and caring and want to do what's best for their best friend.

How do you handle your dog's stress? Share your tips here!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Kelly's Big Hunt

I am freaked out by snakes in our backyard. I know they are beneficial, help control any rodent population, blah blah blah. But I don't like snakes. They're sneaky. They slither. You step (barefooted of course) into the grass and suddenly they sidewind around your toes, scaring the bejeezers out of you, causing you to scream like a little girl and make your teenage son laugh at you. Well, that's what happens here.

Today, as I put Kelly in her fenced in dog run, I noticed her pouncing and scrambling after something long and slithery emerging from under a rock. My calls (okay, girlish shrieks) of "No, Kelly drop it!" did no good as she grasped the snake and flung it around in her mouth, like something out of a wildlife show. I certainly didn't want her to get bitten, and I'm sure this snake had teeth, fangs even, razor sharp for dog-devouring. Nudging Kelly with a rake handle didn't deter her from getting in touch with her primitive canine instinct to hunt for food. Finally the thing lay there, curled in that way that you see a rattler before it lashes out to strike, or like those snakes in a tall basket that the charmer evokes out with his flute. That's what I was thinking of anyway as I saw this little 6 inch predator, not exactly lively anymore, curled up in my backyard. At this point Kelly decided that the right thing to do was to eat the snake. I'm not surprised, this from a dog who occasionally dines on her own discards among the tall grass. Afraid of what kind of stomach upset would result from eating a snake, I continued to yell. And, thinking logically, I called my teenage son who was then able to laugh at me over the cellphone.

I certainly wasn't going to step foot into the dog run. The nearly-flat, mutilated viper might still be alive. I decided to hurl bricks at it to be sure. Of course with Kelly's nose still inches away from what I hoped was the corpse, I didn't dare fling too hard. This tactic, too, was futile.

Finally I tempted Kelly out of the run with a good old slice of American cheese, something more alluring than snake skin. I slammed the gate closed lest the lifeless snake, surrounded by bricks no where near the fallen soul, should suddenly decide to get up and exit via the actually entryway, rather than slithering out the gaping holes in the nearby chicken wire fencing.

I'm sure somewhere my son is still laughing.

Dogs in the News- Contest

Do you love your dog so much you wish there were two? Here's your chance!
BioArts International, a California based company, is sponsoring a "Golden Clone Giveaway" contest. All you have to do is write a 500-word essay extolling your dog's virtues, and you could win the opportunity to have your pet duplicated from DNA.

I'm serious!

BioArts CEO Lou Hawthorne owns his own cloned pet. After his dog Missy passed away, Mira was cloned from banked DNA. He has even cloned Missy several more times.
Despite your feelings as to whether cloning is ethical or not, it is a reality. Beginning with Dolly the sheep, scientists have been excited thinking about possible benefits of this controversial technology. Meanwhile, people like Lou have made it their business. He plans on auctioning off five canine cloning opportunities, starting bid at $100,000.

Contest rules are at The contest winner will be announced on June 30th.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Redecorating is not for wimps

I'm staring at my empty computer screen, I'm on deadline, and all I can think of is the awful color paint we used last night to paint the bathroom. In the home decorating store, it all looked like it would go. A classic yellow stripe for above the wainscoting. And below, this tranquil shade of green called Aquatic Mist. But all I can think of when I look at the newly-painted walls is Crest toothpaste. So, even though we were up til after 2am last night papering, painting and plumbing....I'm going to abandon my writing for today and go upstairs and cover it all over with good old dependable white.
We were up for a change, but as I constantly remind myself, change is bad.

I don't often get the redecorating bug. Once we figure out where things should go and what to hang on the windows, they tend to stay that way. But every once in a while a musty carpet needs to be replaced or fingerprinted walls need to be painted, and that starts a whole chain reaction of redecorating from pictures on the wall to curtains to coordinating doodads. The last room I redecorated was our bedroom, which consisted of nothing but 4 white walls and enough space to squeeze in a bed and two dressers. On one wall we'd hung a fabulous quilt, signed by Disneyworld characters. We gave the kids little squares of muslin and fabric markers, and at Magic Kingdom meet and greet sessions they asked each character to sign the squares. Both grandmas helped stitched the pieces all together into a beautiful quilt. We hung this on our bedroom wall, which took up the entire wall, so I figured it was a great starting point for a decorating theme. What I ended up with was Mickey gone mad. A Victorian-feel garage sale Disney lamp on the stand, theme park souveniers on the shelves, maroon bedspread clashing with the Mickey red and yellow. After a few months of trying to believe I liked it, I did the whole thing over. I took down my treasured Disneyworld quilt and instead displayed it on a quilt rack in the hall. In it's place, the bedroom wall now features a lovely quilted nature wall hanging. Fern-designed curtains at the windows, a mossy green comforter, some old birdhouses on the shelves. Voila! Much better.

Which is all to get to the point that I'm going upstairs to repaint the bathroom now. I'm not going to even wait a couple months to try to convince myself that I like it. And if that means I'm behind on my deadlines, it will just have to be. I like a reminder to brush, but Crest covered walls is going a bit too far.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Raining cats and dogs

It's raining today and Kelly is just looking listlessly out the window staring at the raindrops. I'm kinda the same way too. It took me 2 hours to send a message to contacts about a change of email address. (Don't ask!)
Kelly and I have been trying to get more exercise. No easy task. Especially on days like today. How do you get your dog to exercise on a day like this? Do any of your dogs enjoy playing in the rain? I generally toss Kelly a tennis ball, hurling it up the stairs so that by the time she scrambles up after it, it's bounced back down. Good exercise right?
For myself, I've been using the elliptical machine. I've never tried a treadmill. In the Will Smith movie, I am Legend, the dog Sam had her own treadmill. This is what I'd like to know: do any of your dogs use a treadmill? If so, post a picture. This I've got to see!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Dogs in the News- Toby

Faithful Friend Saves Woman's Life by Performing the Heimlich

Debbie Parkhurt's 2 year old golden retriever sensed danger, jumped to his paws and performed the Heimlich--or is that Heim-lick?
One afternoon last May, Debbie choked on a chunk of apple. She attempted to dislodge the apple by leaning over the back of a chair, but it didn't work. "It was lodged pretty tight because I couldn't breathe," she said.
That's when Toby lept to the rescue. Putting his paws on her shoulders, he pushed Debbie to the ground and jumped up and down on her chest. The apple was expelled.
Debbie has no idea how her pet knew what to do. "Of all the dogs in the world, I would never have expected this goofy one here to know the Heimlich." She explained her pet is not the most well-trained dog in the world.

I have no doubt that our best friends have a sixth sense when it comes to protecting those they love. And we'd do the same for our dogs.
Has your dog performed an amazing rescue? I'd love to hear.


Monday, June 16, 2008

Hot Dogs

Kelly doesn't do well in the heat. Sometimes she pants so heavily, it's like listening to an obscene phone caller (do they exist anymore in this text-message world? I'm sure they do, just in a different way.) She also tries to crawl under furniture to escape the heat. Can it be that much cooler under my bed, where I've stuffed low plastic containers of bedding, rolls of toilet paper that don't fit in the linen closet, and I'm sure socks and slippers that have somehow disappeared? I'm considering having her shaved down for the summer. I love her long, flowing fur, but not if it makes her uncomfortable. What do you think, should I have her shaved? And what are your tips for keeping your pet cool in the summer?

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Announcing New Dog Blog postings

Kelly--Sometimes I think she looks kind of like this guinea pig. Don't you?

Some people may wonder, "What do your posts about baby falcons and hunky jumpropers have to do with the writer's dog?" Well, not much. I've realized that my blogs, initially about Kelly and I and weight loss efforts, have begun to ramble and lose focus. So I talked to Kelly, and she proposed that I get back to what's important--naturally, her. Kelly doesn't really do enough interesting in a typical day to write about, but she'll help me focus on issues important to dogs, dogs in the news, news pertaining to dogs, and of course, your dogs. I'd love to hear anything and everything about your canine companions and anything dog related. So welcome to the new Writer's Dog, and please send me your pictures, videos, comments and questions. Kelly will have lots to share. And don't worry, she won't let me wander too far. She keeps me on a pretty short leash.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Wednesday Diet Tip #11

(Warning: gratuitous picture!)
Hi and Welcome to Peggy and Kelly's Wednesday Diet Tip! What form of exercise do you enjoy? Are you like me---none? Well it's true! I'm having a difficult time motivating myself to get up and out and do anything terribly physical. So my tip today is, just do it anyway. Here are some ways to get exercise for people (like me) who don't enjoy exercising:
1. walk with a friend--anywhere and anytime. on your lunch break. after dinner. you'll be so busy talking you won't remember you're exercising.
2. climb the stairs at work instead of taking the elevator.
3. park far away from the entrance to a store and walk across the parking lot.
4. stand up when you're watching TV and walk in place during the commercials.
5. do some gardening, raking or mowing. it burns a lot of calories and uses some new muscles!
6. walk while you're talking on your cell phone. even if it's just around in your house.
7. jumprope. okay, this never worked for me but maybe it will work for you!
8. find a sport you enjoy with your family and get active on the weekends.

Sunday, June 1, 2008


It used to be that church was an obligation, something I went to because I felt it was good for me. That all changed, gradually, when I found the right church and most importantly, the right church family. A few years ago when my husband needed emergency surgery, I felt alone-- and pretty frightened too. My mom lived out of state, my in-laws were out of town. It was spring break time and almost all my friends were away on vacation. I wasn't used to handling emergencies, especially hospital stuff. Suddenly, my phone started ringing. Someone from my church called, asking if there was anything they could do. I didn't know what to say. But after that, people I didn't even know picked me up and gave me rides to and from the hospital. Others brought delicious meals and groceries. Someone drove 3 hours away to pick up my daughter at college to bring her home. Still others sent cards of encouragement. Fortunately, my husband soon recovered. And the help we received will not be forgotten. Best of all, now when I go to church, I'm not there because I feel it's my obligation. I go because I want to be there, because it's where I'm surrounded by people who care, and who I care about too.