Monday, December 22, 2008

My Mountain Dog

Two weeks ago I drove 5 hours south, to one of my favorite hospitals. It was a long, foggy, stressful Monday morning drive. I entered the hospital through the back door, going into the kennel area and was greeted by a small huddle of employees sitting at a kennel door baby talking to a patient I couldn't see. "So what do you guys have there?" And I was introduced to the sweet faced fella below.

His sad story is not uncommon. He was picked up by Animal Control, a young intact male, roaming the streets south of Fresno. He was filthy, matted, covered with skin lesions, thin, and passing blood instead of stool. Animal Control dropped him off at the hospital for an exam and blood tests. It was determined that he most likely had ingested rat poison. Treatment was started, he was bathed, clipped and treated for the dermatitis. hhmmmm.... I kind of liked this dog.

I found myself drawn to this guy frequently over the next few days, just stopping by to say hi, taking him out for walks, having some quiet private chats. Then I went home for the weekend.
Shared pictures of him and I admitted my thoughts of bringing this dog home to the family. Jerry, Tristan, Amy, Cort and the CATS were all in agreement (well... maybe not the cats so much).
Monday back at the hospital there was a message from the Animal Control Officer to please call.
No owner had been located, the Rescue had no foster home for him, would I be interested in him?
Have you noted his breed? He is a Bernese Mountain Dog. I have always admired these guys. He had a microchip which lead to a disconnected number in Missouri, we have reason to believe he was from a puppy mill. Just look at that face, how could I resist? I am very reasonable about not adopting every animal that needs a home, but I really liked this guy. Showing up at home with two kittens, then taking in a beat up colt all in one year, I am beginning to wonder about my ability to just say NO.
Well, animal control brought him back to the clinic at my request and I looked for a reason to turn him down. Hip Xrays; good. Chest Xrays; good. Heart worm test; negative. Blood panel; regenerative anemia, good. Blood clotting is improved. Skin condition; clearing up on meds. Neuter performed - dog is mine. We agreed on a trial visit to insure that everyone at the log cabin gets along. I worry about disrupting the harmony that exists between our pets at home.

This is honestly, the cats' reaction to the dog being brought into the house the first time. 'Ho-hum'. They stayed in their napping spots but kept their eyes on him. He approched them slowly but didn't invade their space.

He trots around the property with a big smile on his face. I love a dog who smiles. Cort likes him but we had to keep them apart at first, Cort wants to play too much. The Mountain Dog has to take it easy for a while. Introduced to the horses, he sniffs their muzzles and shows no signs of aggression or desire to chase. I like this dog. Cort is not kept away from him now and they are perfect together.
The following pictures are disturbing. He was thin when picked up off the streets. Very thin. He had put on 5# in the 10 days or so that he was with Animal Control.

He will get several medicated baths weekly. This is his first bath at home. Thin.

Very thin. I am feeding him frequent meals during the day, he is not an eager eater. He is on several medications.

He is a very happy, friendly, calm, eager-to-please dog. Life continues to be good; harmony and peace between my furred family members.

Our only delemma now is the naming of the beast. I feel like his name has to be just right. Jerry suggested Socks or Boots or Concho, sorry Jerry , no go. I have tried out Luke, Luca, Lucas, Jake, Ivan, Ian, Gorgan, Bruce.... and a multitude of others. I get raspberries, gagging motions, rude looks, or the names just don't fit. Yesterday I called him Carson. I like Carson, Tristan likes Carson (since we won't name him Hector), Jerry says 'just name the dog already', Amy says Carson is ick, way too yuppy. What the heck is yuppy anyways?
So I am inviting your comments, suggestions, feelings, input on names. I reserve the right to pick his name myself, I will reject your names kindly as long as you aren't too harsh with my choices. I want a strong, gentle ,dignified name that is not one commonly heard. Rover or Spot won't make the cut. (Or Boots or Socks, sheesh Jerry)
I feel like he is a very wonderful Christmas gift. I think he kind of likes us too.

Sunday, December 21, 2008


Today is my Mom's Birthday. In my defense, I did try to call her today, she was shopping, I spoke to Dad for a while. The cell phones went into typical mountain static mode and I lost Dad. Fully intending to call back to wish Mom a Great Day, it is now evening, and I missed calling back. As things go around here, we had friends drop in, they stayed for dinner, they left, we cleaned up, and now it is too late to call.

So .... HAPPY BIRTHDAY MOM! Miss you. Sorry......

It has been another busy month. I got my previous to-do list done in a matter of days. I have nice pictures of going to cut our Christmas tree. We brought home a tall one, and have more good photos of Jerry balancing on a ladder decorating the top. We were in a Christmas parade, and our riding club was awarded a first place trophy for our participation. I have spent days and nights away from home working. Weekends have been a whirlwind of business and social Christmas Parties. I have gotten most of my Christmas shopping done. We intended to shop very light this year, and succeeded.

I did bring home a family gift Thursday night. It is one of those gifts that really is mine....

Tristan and Jerry are on the couch playing a game of Battleship by flashlight. Interesting.
It's peaceful here and I'm glad to be home again for a while. Country music is softly playing, the Christmas tree lights are on, there is a large lit wreath in the front window, Tristan and Jerry are on the couch, a warm fire glows in the wood stove, Amy is reading at the kitchen table, the furred creatures are warm and napping, dishes are done and the house is clean.

We have out of town guests coming for a few days over Christmas, they plan to ski every day. We'll go up and enjoy the slopes ourselves once or maybe twice with them. We were getting worried two weeks ago that we may not have snow. There's plenty now! Tristan even had a snow day from school this week; school is only 5 miles from us. We get no snow here at our house! I'll let you know if our real estate agent was being honest about that....

I tried to post a few pictures but the connection won't allow pictures tonight.
Good night. Thanks for reading.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008


Old age isn't for wimps.
Our (mine and the cowboy's) old tympanic membranes just 'ain't what they used to be'.
We've all heard that communication is the secret to a long, happy marriage.
Based on communication, ours is destined to be short and unhappy, or a good natured comedy of errors.
I submit a sample of a typical morning exchange here in the log house.

Bright eyed and cheerful farm-marm (me) preparing to provide breakfast, asks "- Cream of Wheat OK?"

Cowboy with tilted head and wrinkled brow slowly responds, "ummmm, y e a h ......"

Noticing his hesitation, farm-marm questions cowboy, "ahhh, what did you just hear me ask?"

Cowboy is quick to answer. "Can you read OK?"


Last year at this time, Jerry was in the hospital recovering from a heart attack and 3-way bypass. This has been an incredible year for us. And I am so thankful that he has recovered so well and is such an active, busy guy.

I fully intend to update my blog more frequently than once or twice a month. When I am not working for a paycheck, our at home chore list keeps me busy around here. Winter is coming, rain's on the way (we hope) and frost is on the ground.
A sample of chores on the list for the past two weeks:
Seed pastures
Seed yard
Neighborhood dog proof front fence (again)
Stack fire wood in wood shed
Cover wood piles outside with tarps
Put up corral fencing
Bandage horse leg
Float horses' teeth
Create huge brush piles
Burn brush piles
Till garden and fertilize
Make curtains
Make cute pillows
Organize office and catch-up on paperwork
Closet - reorganize seasonal clothes
Balance checkbooks and sort bills for taxes
Organize new business venture

- and lots of other stuff that I haven't even started yet.....
So I'd better get busy again.