Posts Tagged ‘Miniature poodles’

Covid Doggie Blues

January 28, 2021

We have a miniature poodle, Rudy, whom we love dearly. But, during the past 12 months, sheltering at home with him during Covid-19, we have become even more attached to our “whoo-de-woo’ our ‘buddy boy’, ‘buddy wud’, ‘sweet cheeks’, and in particular instances “Little Lord Fauntleroy”. We’re all part of his ‘pack,’ and he’s crushed when we get in the car without him, or Lord forbid, not take him out on a daily walk. He sleeps between David and me at night, and anxiously awaits in the kitchen every morning to greet each member of the pack, as we emerge from slumber, with his tail wagging, low howls, stepping from side to side, as if to announce “Hey, it’s a new day!”

We got Rudy when he was eight weeks old. Oh my goodness, what an adorable puppy! We’ve had him for … 13 years. He’s been a great dog. But he’s becoming an old dog now, and he’s not bounding up the stairs like he used to. He’s lost his bottom front teeth. He suffers from stiff joints and arthritis in his back, likely due to his antics as a ‘stunt doggie’ in his younger years, leaping up onto and back off our high kitchen stools, and our high bed. Several years ago we installed doggie steps up to our beds. He used to skip up those steps, now he gingerly negotiates each step when climbing up or down. It’s become more difficult for him to jump up on the couch, so I bought him a cushy doggie bed. Oh, did I mention that ‘sweet cheeks’ is quite particular? He tried lying in his bed, but apparently the feel of it didn’t quite suit him, however, it might make a decent head rest:

Or butt support

You’re witnessing one of his ‘Little Lord Fauntleroy’ moments. I’m guessing the bed itself is perhaps too “poofy’ for his liking?

During the past couple of weeks Rudy got sick. He started throwing up and drinking his water bowl dry. He would settle on the far end of the couch away from us, rather than on our laps. I started to worry that we were going to lose him. What if he has cancer? This past Monday we took him to the vet where he was diagnosed with pancreatitis and high blood sugar. We’ve been nursing him back to old doggie health this whole week, restricting him to a bland diet and giving him insulin shots twice a day. We take him back to the vet for a followup next week.

But we’ve had to face the reality: Rudy is fast approaching the end of his life. It’s so sad to think of him growing old and losing his faculties. Our last beloved dog, Baxter, was blind and deaf by the age of 14 – oh how I remember the heartbreak of watching him deteriorate and then putting him down; it just seems untenable to endure that same heartbreak and trauma with our fearless, loving and faithful dog, Rudy, in the middle of Covid, no less.

I know! We should get a puppy! Bring all that young adorable energy back into our house! How else to soften the grief of Rudy’s decline? It’s depressing enough all this isolation during Covid with a dog, can’t cope with even the thought of living it without a dog.

“David, I know! Let’s get a puppy!”

“Absolutely not.”

Wha? I admit to being the dog lover of the family. David, not so much. He doesn’t like a dog in the house, the dog crap in the yard, the dog prints and other mess throughout the house, the barf … or a dog sleeping in our bed. Unless it’s Rudy.

Well, I could pull a coup here, like I did with Rudy, if I bring home just the right dog. First of all, let’s see … it can’t shed. That’s why we like poodles or poodle mixes. But barking is tough to deal with and Rudy is the biggest, shrillest barker around. You can’t have a biting dog either and it has to be gentle with kids. It also has to stick around if it gets loose.

You don’t buy a dog breed because it was cute in a movie, like the Jack Russell terrier, made famously adorable in the movie “The Mask”. Jack Russell’s have no homing sense whatsoever. You open the front door to get the paper, they jet out the door and you never see them again (I know two people this has happened to). Dalmatians are a terrible choice for kids because of their aggressiveness, even though they star in the most adorable kid’s movie ever. Husky’s are gorgeous and have cute faces but they shed enough hair to stuff two large pillows for your couch every year, plus they too will break loose and end up across town. Certain dog breeds are nearly impossible to house train. Like, lots of dog breeds. This link: ‘dogs that are hard AF to potty train’ is worth checking out: listing twelve hard-to-house-train breeds (including the Jack Russell and Dalmatians). Sure, you love your dog, you’re completely attached to it, but hey, it’s peeing all over the house?

Are you a big dog person or a little dog person? I like medium-sized dogs. I like the idea of a rescue dog, except, boy you just don’t know what you’re getting. Currently there are lots of pit bull mixes and cattle dogs available for adoption locally, all who potentially shed, bite, run away or pee in the house. You can end up with a dog accidentally if, say, a close relative or friend asks you to take in their dog ‘temporarily’ while they resettle, which can turn into ‘you’ve adopted a new dog’ which is what happened to my brother, who is a cat lover to begin with. The way he tells it, his relative’s dog was a cross between a Rottweiler and a Bassett Hound, which he declared the dumbest animal on the planet, a hybrid he labeled a ‘Rotten Bastard” which he got stuck with. I don’t recall the details of how he got rid of it …

Well anyway, that’s where I’m at. We have an old dog. And you always get to this point if you adopt a puppy or a young dog; if you have the happiest, most cared-for dog on the planet, they still will only live about 15 years max, the bigger the dog the shorter the life span. And you’re totally broken hearted at the end. But a dog lover facing the possibility of not having a dog? That just seems impossible. Especially during Covid.

Baby Robin on the Premises! – Part 2

June 25, 2019

Part 2 of 2 – To continue where I left off … You might be wondering about the fate of that baby robin in our back yard that fledged about June 1. We discovered him on June 2, on our back compost pile with both parents close by. We woke up every day after that looking for that little guy, so tiny, vulnerable and dependent! He didn’t fly at all. He hopped a bit, behind his parents, begging for food, and hopefully would learn quickly to hop up onto tree branches for safety. My previous blog followed him through his first four days as a fledgling – my last video of him was on the evening of June 6, finding him safe and sound (whew!) after a huge thunderstorm.

But then the next day we didn’t see him at all. And the next day after that. Oh no! Both neighbors to the west of us have cats. Our neighbors to the east have a fenced yard with three big dogs!

Meanwhile, Rudy continued to keep the back yard safe from strangers.

And we kept a close eye on Rudy

Rudy demonstrates how to relax in a patio chair

Other birds were busy making nests – helping themselves to inventory from our hanging pots. Hey, glad to help!

The irises were out in full bloom

Blooming snowball bushes graced the whole town,

The horse chestnut tree blossoms are my absolute favorite. The tree blooms in red or white:

Nice try, Rudy, but you missed the shade. Stop dilly-dallying!

Here’s the blossom up close.

horse chestnut

There’s a giant white horse chestnut tree in nearby Tautphaus Park, blooms in early June. I have missed it some years…

Ancient horse chestnut tree!

“Hey David – stand by that tree and let me take your photo!”
(Ugh. If I must …)

June 4, 2019

There, you get a little perspective on how magnificent that tree is.

Close-up – the blossoms stand over 6″ tall!

Okay, but what about your little robin? you ask. Did you see him again? Why yes we did! On the morning of June 12, 8:49 AM, we could hear him chirping. Then, looking out our upstairs bathroom window, we spotted him!

See him in the lilacs! His light round breast (between the limbs)

“Chirp, chirp, chirp!”

Here. I’ll zoom in …

Yes, that’s him! Between the limbs. He’s hungry!

He disappeared into the corner of our yard behind our giant spruce tree but then was back out that afternoon pecking around for food (but mostly still begging from his parents). At 3PM I captured a video from inside our kitchen through our back door window. You don’t hear chirping on the video. What you hear is Rudy whining to be let out, and Megan’s friend Amber disciplining him to stop whining, which he does. I believe Amber to be some kind of dog-whisperer.

That video was taken Wednesday June 12 at 3PM. Yeah, so our little birdie has survived as a fledgling for at least 10 days! And he’s certainly not a strong flyer. I did see him sort of flit up into the lilac bushes once today. He was back out in the lilacs along our back property line again at 8:40 PM. Chirping away. “Daddy I need my bedtime snack!”

The next afternoon the robin family was back in our backyard. The baby still looks tiny but he can surely hop and run faster! I captured this video about 5 PM. June 13 – the baby fledged at least 12 days ago. He looks so tiny still!

Meanwhile the slugs have devoured the hostas.

Yes, I’m sure it’s slugs. We go through this every year.

This year I didn’t use slug bait (is it really safe for birds and animals just because the package says it is? …) I know for sure now that robins eat slugs – and we are surely laying out a feast for our robin family through the slug orgy taking place in our southwest corner garden.

And, well, our our hanging flower basket is looking a little ratty. My, the birds have been busy!

On the evening of June 13 I glanced out our front dining room window. What? Is it snowing? I stepped through the front door into a magical spring atmosphere of birdsong and drifting down

The poplar trees are shedding all over town.

Black Poplar

Saturday, June 15 – 10 AM. There he is! – hopping in our back yard along our landscape curbing. Two weeks after fledging and surely he’s a pretty strong flyer by now. But I haven’t seen him fly. Robins forage for food on the ground and I suspect he has to do most of his own foraging by now. He still looks so young!

Well, he did fly up into a tree. Several days have passed and we haven’t see him. I guess the little birdie has flown away – has he joined the larger flock of robins? Are his parents raising another clutch by now? Do we have some hidden bird nests up in our giant honey locust trees somewhere? Huh. If we do, the wind did its best this past Wednesday and again Thursday (June 20), to knock them out!

I just read today that 90 percent of baby robins don’t live through their first year. I am happy to report though, that our little robin was busy foraging for food just this morning in our back yard – Monday, June 24, a full three weeks after he fledged. I took a couple of photos of him. He still has that distinctive round light belly.

Monday, June 24, 2019

I watched him forage for bugs, worms, slugs and berries for several minutes. Then he flew off. I’ll keep a lookout for him!

David has resumed his game of frisbee with Rudy in the back yard. They have both perfected their technique to where they’ve got a smooth thing going – David with throwing, and Rudy with catching.

Not bad for a 11-yr-old dog and a 73-yr-old man. Yes, I’m capturing it in photos and video … this magical spring in the autumn of our lives.

Life is good!

Hell Roaring Hike in the Sawtooths (Part 2)

September 8, 2016

Monday August 22. Up early at Redfish Lake Lodge to check out the mountains. It’s smoky up here due to the Pioneer Fire that’s been burning in the Boise National Forest since July 28.

8/22/16: Mount Heyburn overlooking Redfish Lake

8/22/16: Mount Heyburn overlooking Redfish Lake

The amount of smoke depends on the shifting of the winds. Not too bad today. Breakfast at the lodge, then we’ll hit the trail! Eric has talked the other seven of us into the hike to Hell Roaring Lake. We’re at the trailhead now:

5 miles to Hell Roaring Lake!

5 miles to Hell Roaring Lake!

Yeah, so five miles to the Lake, five miles back … Eric leads the group. The first part of the hike is the most strenuous. The trail climbs more than 300 feet up through a dense lodgepole pine forest.

David and Megan

David and Megan

David, Megan and I bring up the rear and lose the others quickly. You walk along the creek in the beginning,

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but then the trail veers away from the creek.

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The path is well-worn and dusty. Long, but not strenuous. Question is, are you in good enough shape to hike 10 miles? David, Megan and I trudged along for three miles and then decided to find a place to sit for a picnic. Hey this place looks good, some fallen trees to sit on!

Time for a picnic

Time for a picnic

What the heck. We’ve lost the others. It’s still two miles to the lake. How about we call it good and head back?

We take a selfie

Megan, Jody, David

Megan, Jody, David

Then I capture a photo of the area across the path from us:

Pine beetle devastation?

Pine beetle devastation?

Lodgepole pines have been stressed by consistent dry summers, leaving them vulnerable to pine beetles. No wonder wild fires are raging in Idaho.

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Meanwhile, Eric, Paul, Pauline, Adam and Meredith make it to the lake. They shared their photos with me. So now you and I get to experience Hell Roaring Lake vicariously through their photos! Just think, too, it has saved us the stress, time, and wear and tear of getting there.

We’ve arrived at Hell Roaring Lake!

Photo taken by Meredith

Photo taken by Meredith

The lake is pretty, but if you want the good views of the mountains you need to cross the inlet and walk another half mile. Look carefully at the center of the photo and you’ll see: the only way to cross the inlet is to traverse a log. Here I have zoomed the photo so you can see – the log is near the center of the photo:

 you have to cross the log

you have to cross the log

Great. You’re already exhausted, do you really need to put yourself through this?

Of course you do. Eric leads the way across the inlet. Adam and Meredith follow. Pauline and Paul decide not to bother with that last half mile. Me personally, I suspect I would need a bit of coaxing to maneuver my exhausted body across the log and beyond. If you think at this juncture you do want to cross the inlet and walk that last half mile … follow Eric, Adam and Meredith. We’re at the log now. Hmmmmm. Hesitating on this. How to cross it without slipping, scraping your ankle, twisting a knee??? No worry. Meredith will now demonstrate how it’s done:

Ha. Piece of cake – if you’ve had years of gymnastics training. Okay so now we have walked the last half mile along the lake for a close-up view of the Finger of Fate (at 9,775 feet) and other peaks. Here are Eric’s photos

Adam and Meredith

Adam and Meredith

Finger of Fate - still a bit smoky

Finger of Fate – still a bit smoky

We arrive back at the Lodge starving and exhausted. The wind has shifted direction – and it’s smoky again:

Back at the Lodge

Back at the Lodge

We drive to Stanley for dinner

Smoky in Stanley!

Smoky in Stanley!

Sunset view of Sawtooths from Stanley

Sunset view of Sawtooths from Stanley

The smoke clears again on Tuesday. We’re a bit tired so we just hang out at the lodge and on the lake. Meredith and Pauline both rent kayaks:

Meredith kayaking on Redfish Lake

Meredith kayaking on Redfish Lake

The rest of us just hang out. Except for Eric, a.k.a. ‘Mountain goat,’ who was off on another huge hike.

A patio table near the outside bar and concession stand overlooking the lake, serves our purposes just fine

The self-proclaimed Three Wise Men declaring one beer is not enough

The self-proclaimed Three Wise Men declaring one beer is not enough

Megan orders an ice cream. Double scoop, please…

A little top heavy -  what to do with it?

A little top-heavy – what to do with it?

We shop at the General Store:

Yes, they sell apple pie

Yes, they sell apple pie

Matching sweatshirts for Megan and Pauline!

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We spot the perfect miniature poodle girlfriend for Rudy:

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She could teach him a thing or two about healthy eating habits:

in case you wondered, Rudy is also a miniature poodle

In case you wondered, Rudy is also a miniature poodle

Wednesday morning the winds blow in our favor – the air is clear! But we have to check out and drive home. That figures. I snap one last clear photo of Mt. Heyburn before we hit the road:

Redfish Lake, Wednesday August 24, 2016

Redfish Lake, Wednesday August 24, 2016

I don’t snap any decent photos of the Sawtooths on the drive home. But Eric does:

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Well, I take that back. The best views of the Sawtooths are from lower Stanley. Unfortunately, they were behind us as we drove through Stanley.

So I captured a photo of the Sawtooths in our rear view mirror.

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Oh, and that’s Paul driving my blue Avalon, with Adam and Meredith.