Sunday, October 30, 2005

A moment of peace

It's peaceful on Spencer Avenue.

A nice, fall Sunday afternoon.

Lindsey and I played nine holes at Forsythe, also known as MUNY, and the dogs waited patiently for our return. We didn't keep score, thank goodness.... although it may be stated for all mankind that I played with the same ball throughout the game, and Lindsey played with about a dozen.

He took 'em out for some ball tossing, and they returned spent. He then practiced some special obedience moves with Gumbo while I was completing the weekend task of trying to knock down the dust indoors. (I can't believe we pay for a maid service!)

Roux is asleep on the bed. Gumbo guards me from the doorway.

We are so happy, being content together at home. I am so grateful for my family and the border collies who have so enriched our lives.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

That THING in the bedroom growls!

As part of our newfound health addiction, Lindsey and I are spending some time exercising every evening.

Tonight, he took Gumbo to his novice obedience class. I got home a little later, un-crated Roux, took her outside and decided she wasn't a good candidate for walking. But I was.

So there is this big metal THING in our bedroom, standing off to the side with a wonderful view of the television set. It's been there more than a year. It has been used four times, maybe five or six if I include the times daughter Anne has used it. That does not include the many times the thing's bars have been used as a clothes hanger.

It's a treadmill.

The treadmill came from my very healthy coworker, Mike Radoff, who moved to Monroe from Wisconsin. He didn't have a treadmill for a time, so he went out and bought one. When his family made the move, they wound up with one more treadmill than they needed. So I asked to buy it, and Mike delivered it to me as a gift.

I used it three times, and then Gumbo as a pup decided to chew off the plug. It took me about six months to ask Lindsey to replace the plug and another couple of months for him to remember to do it.

It sat unused until tonight. I opened a window to let in the cool fall air, plunked myself on the treadmill and got to walkin'.

Roux jumped up on it with me, and when I started walking, her foal-like legs splayed like a deer on ice.

She slid off the back, into the wall and ran with tail tucked out of the room.

I just kept walking.

A few minutes later, she reappeared, ran up to the treadmill, nipped at the armpost and fled out of sight.

She ran back into the room and started barking at the tread, which I then realized was making a noise resembling a growl. (No, not groaning under the weight... the growl of movement.)

She nipped at my ankles, as if to say, "Save yourself! Get off! Get off before this thing bites you!"

Then she disappeared.

I continued to walk until I felt like I'd had a good workout. I went looking for Roux.

She was hiding in the kitchen, under the table. She came out, Miss Wigglebutt, as though to say, "Thank goodness you survived the growling THING."

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

It's Halloween, and your dog is going as....

Lindsey and I have a philosophical departure on the question of "dogs as dress-up dolls."

He says "no."

I'm a girl.

I say, "Why not?"

Photo to come, I'm sure, but we have compromised. No costumes, but doggie decor is allowed. I guess you might call that "accessorizing" your dog.

Roux has a lovely, sparkly, gauzy "jester" collar that she will wear on Halloween. Gumbo has the male-appropriate bandana with little Halloween pumpkins on it.

In checking out my RSS feeds today, I discovered a web site where people have, perhaps, gone a little over the top with their pets. But it's pretty darn funny, especially if you keep clicking and get to the people and their pets dressed alike.
Check out

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Doctor's orders -- walk the dog!

Lindsey hasn't been feeling 100 percent.

With much persuasion (he's an admitted stubborn German), he finally went for the big physical this week.

The verdict? Heart is good, cholesterol is not, blood pressure is not, blood sugar is not, weight is not.

(Like that's not the verdict for most of us...)

The doctor's advice (other than, I'll see you on Friday for some meds): Walk your dog!

We started tonight. I say "we" because I need it too. I'm in equally bad shape, and I love this man so much I want to keep him around for awhile. If I didn't, I'd hand him a beer and say, "Oh honey, it's all right. Sit down and watch the ball game."

Despite the obedience and agility training, we haven't really been out with both dogs on leash. It was somewhat organized chaos. They certainly walked us! After about a half-mile, I could feel it in every joint from my waist down.

I told Lindsey I felt like I had been greased -- walk a dog you're trying to "hold back" and it's a real workout...

We hit a Cajun low-fat, low-cal cookbook tonight in search of foods for our newly re-adopted healthy lifestyle and danced in the kitchen as we prepared dinner with newfound energy from our brisk walk in the autumn air.

It's all good.

And, even the dogs will learn to walk with us old folks on our strolls around the 'hood. Here's to Lindsey's health, bolstered by the love and help of Kathy, Gumbo and Roux!

Monday, October 24, 2005

TGI Autumn!

It is the first really cool day of the year.

And, for a Monday, it's been a good one. I had an absolutely great day at work. Hubby had a physical and it seems like all of the "getting older" things he was worried about relate to acid reflux. So by 5 p.m., we were both walkin' on sunshine.

The elevated moods and cooler weather definitely spilled over into the doggie world. Gumbo and Roux were more ecstatic than usual when we walked in the door.

They've all gone to work agility in the cool air, leaving me to tend the first fire in the fireplace of the season and to cook a big pot of taco soup.

I'm happy. They're happy. We're all happy.

After the past couple of months in our hurricane-ravaged lives, happy is good. Happy is darn good.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Diaper Dog!

I have stolen this post from my daughter. This is my
granddog Lucy, and she's the most wonderful chocolate lab in the world. OK, she's the most wonderful chocolate lab of all the chocolate labs I know...

Lucy the Diaper Dog came to visit this weekend, and I do believe we spent the entire weekend washing the cute little denim panties described below....

There's no need to fear! Diaper Dog is here!

when canines in this world appear
and destroy her toys, now they should fear
and frighten all who see or hear
the cry goes up both far and near
for Diaper Dog! Diaper dog! Diaper dog! Diaper dog!

speed of lightning, roar of thunder
fighting all who rob or plunder
Diaper dog. Diaper dog!


I was watching That 70's Show last night. Jeff was on the phone with one of his buddies. Lucy and Gatsby were playing snarly face. It was a pretty typical week night, but when I looked over at the pups and what do I see? Lucy's "tutu" is red.

How is it that this dog goes into heat almost as much as a human?

So, hoping that none of the red stuff gets on the carpet, I rush to the still unpacked box in the hallway and grab her doggy diaper. Its quite handsome for its purpose--a decorative, dark denim, but the sight of it makes her run from me. After a quick little game of chase into the laundry room, I slip the diaper on, secure the velcro straps, and walk back into the living room to resume my half hour of senseless comedy. However, Lucy did not walk back with me. She stood there peaking from behind the door--only her head shown. Lucy is embarrassed by her new fashion statement.

I called her to sit next to me and she takes off running towards me only to fall hind first on the kitchen floor. What on earth???? She tries to shake it off, pull it off, rub it off. Any way to remove the label of "dog in heat". I call her again. She runs to me and quickly sits down--her back is to the chair so that none of the fabric shows.

Jeff calls to her from the dining table. "Lucy, come here, girl!" Lucy runs to Jeff, but instead of sitting by his side, she quickly ducks under the table and lays down; again, her back is against his chair so no fabric shows.

Despite our unnecessary calls of humiliation, Lucy has been dubbed "Diaper Dog". So, if you ever find danger lurking in the dark, there's no need to fear! Diaper Dog is here!

Monday, October 17, 2005

Spotted Dog for Dinner?

OK, someone TOLD me there's really a food called Spotted Dog. So I had to go look it up.

It contains no canine. It's actually an Irish pudding....although shredded suet doesn't sound like something people are supposed to eat. I suppose if you don't follow directions closely about leaving the cloth loose for expansion, your kitchen could become spotted....

Spotted Dog

8 oz Self-raising flour
1 pn Salt
4 oz Shredded suet
1 oz Sugar
8 oz Currants or raisins
150 ml Cold water

Stir together the flour, salt, sugar, suet and dried fruit. Mix to a firm dough with water. Form into a cylinder about 8 inches long, and put on a pudding cloth that has been wrung out in boiling water and sprinkled with flour. Roll the pudding in the cloth and tie the ends tightly, but leave room for expansion. Put into a pan of boiling water, cover, and boil for 2 hours, adding more boiling water if necessary to prevent boiling dry. Turn the pudding onto a hot dish and serve with custard.

Dear Abby...

This is a real Dear Abby letter from our newspaper today....

"I have been living with 'Angelo' for six years. His dog passed away in May. Frankly, I was relieved because the dog had been the main focus in Angelo's life and the cause of many problems and fights."

Tip no. 1 -- Man likes dog best.
Tip no. 2 -- "...the cause of many problems and fights."

Do you just want to scream at this woman, Abby? Why are you there after six years if you're jealous of the dog?

Now, Angelo has gotten a new dog, and she's given him an ultimatum, me or the dog.

The dog is still there.

Pack those bags, honey.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

And a therapy dog, too!

After passing his Canine Good Citizen test, Gumbo also was certified as a therapy dog through testing for Therapy Dogs International.

Here's some information from their web site about the job therapy dogs do:

"The dogs bring sparkle to a sterile day, provide a lively subject for conversation, and rekindle old memories of previously owned pets. TDI Dogs come in all shapes and sizes; real dogs with real personalities and real love to share. Some have pedigrees, some have been adopted. All are very proud to wear their TDI tags.

"The volunteers in the program and the dogs who visit with those in care facilities do make a difference in the quality of life. Real therapy is provided between animals and people.

"The first time a dog prances into a care facility, most people do a double take. A split second later broad smiles stretch across faces. Regardless of how residents look or how they feel, the animals are happy to see them. Those who live or must stay in a care facility truly benefit from the unconditional love and acceptance provided by TDI Dogs. Typically, there is an immediate response to the tail wagging greetings and warm paws.

"Four-footed therapists give something special to enhance the health and well-being of others. It has been clinically proven that through petting, touching and talking with the animals, patients’ blood pressure is lowered, stress is relieved and depression is eased.

"TDI is aware of the necessity for continuing clinical studies on the human-animal bond and TDI volunteers are willing to participate whenever needed. Each TDI volunteer as an individual has made a tremendous difference in the lives of so many, by sharing their canine companion with those who no longer are able to have a dog of their own. Just think! How sad it would be if you never could touch a dog again."

Postell's Gumbo Legacy, CGC, TD

Gumbo now has more titles behind his name than either of his humans!

On Saturday, he passed the test for the American Kennel Club Canine Good Citizen program. According to the AKC:

"Started in 1989, CGC is a certification program that is designed to reward dogs who have good manners at home and in the community. The Canine Good Citizen Program is a two-part program that stresses responsible pet ownership for owners and basic good manners for dogs. All dogs who pass the 10-step CGC test may receive a certificate from the American Kennel Club.

"...Canine Good Citizen® is one of the most rapidly growing programs in the American Kennel Club. There are many exciting applications of this wonderful, entry level that go beyond the testing and certifying of dogs."

Here are the components of the test from the AKC:

Before taking the Canine Good Citizen test, owners will sign the Responsible Dog Owners Pledge. We believe that responsible dog ownership is a key part of the CGC concept and by signing the pledge, owners agree to take care of their dog's health needs, safety, exercise, training and quality of life. Owners also agree to show responsibility by doing things such as cleaning up after their dogs in public places and never letting dogs infringe on the rights of others.

After signing the Responsible Dog Owners Pledge, owners and their dogs are ready to take the CGC Test. Items on the Canine Good Citizen Test include:

Test 1: Accepting a friendly stranger
This test demonstrates that the dog will allow a friendly stranger to approach it and speak to the handler in a natural, everyday situation. The evaluator walks up to the dog and handler and greets the handler in a friendly manner, ignoring the dog. The evaluator and handler shake hands and exchange pleasantries. The dog must show no sign of resentment or shyness, and must not break position or try to go to the evaluator.

Test 2: Sitting politely for petting
This test demonstrates that the dog will allow a friendly stranger to touch it while it is out with its handler. With the dog sitting at the handler's side, to begin the exercise, the evaluator pets the dog on the head and body. The handler may talk to his or her dog throughout the exercise. The dog may stand in place as it is petted. The dog must not show shyness or resentment.

Test 3: Appearance and grooming
This practical test demonstrates that the dog will welcome being groomed and examined and will permit someone, such as a veterinarian, groomer or friend of the owner, to do so. It also demonstrates the owner's care, concern and sense of responsibility. The evaluator inspects the dog to determine if it is clean and groomed. The dog must appear to be in healthy condition (i.e., proper weight, clean, healthy and alert). The handler should supply the comb or brush commonly used on the dog. The evaluator then softly combs or brushes the dog, and in a natural manner, lightly examines the ears and gently picks up each front foot. It is not necessary for the dog to hold a specific position during the examination, and the handler may talk to the dog, praise it and give encouragement throughout.

Test 4: Out for a walk (walking on a loose lead)
This test demonstrates that the handler is in control of the dog. The dog may be on either side of the handler. The dog's position should leave no doubt that the dog is attentive to the handler and is responding to the handler's movements and changes of direction. The dog need not be perfectly aligned with the handler and need not sit when the handler stops. The evaluator may use a pre-plotted course or may direct the handler/dog team by issuing instructions or commands. In either case, there should be a right turn, left turn, and an about turn with at least one stop in between and another at the end. The handler may talk to the dog along the way, praise the dog, or give commands in a normal tone of voice. The handler may sit the dog at the halts if desired.

Test 5: Walking through a crowd
This test demonstrates that the dog can move about politely in pedestrian traffic and is under control in public places. The dog and handler walk around and pass close to several people (at least three). The dog may show some interest in the strangers but should continue to walk with the handler, without evidence of over-exuberance, shyness or resentment. The handler may talk to the dog and encourage or praise the dog throughout the test. The dog should not jump on people in the crowd or strain on the leash.

Test 6: Sit and down on command and Staying in place
This test demonstrates that the dog has training, will respond to the handler's commands to sit and down and will remain in the place commanded by the handler (sit or down position, whichever the handler prefers). The dog must do sit AND down on command, then the owner chooses the position for leaving the dog in the stay. Prior to this test, the dog's leash is replaced with a line 20 feet long. The handler may take a reasonable amount of time and use more than one command to get the dog to sit and then down. The evaluator must determine if the dog has responded to the handler's commands. The handler may not force the dog into position but may touch the dog to offer gentle guidance. When instructed by the evaluator, the handler tells the dog to stay and walks forward the length of the line, turns and returns to the dog at a natural pace. The dog must remain in the place in which it was left (it may change position) until the evaluator instructs the handler to release the dog. The dog may be released from the front or the side.

Test 7: Coming when called
This test demonstrates that the dog will come when called by the handler. The handler will walk 10 feet from the dog, turn to face the dog, and call the dog. The handler may use encouragement to get the dog to come. Handlers may choose to tell dogs to "stay" or "wait" or they may simply walk away, giving no instructions to the dog.

Test 8: Reaction to another dog
This test demonstrates that the dog can behave politely around other dogs. Two handlers and their dogs approach each other from a distance of about 20 feet, stop, shake hands and exchange pleasantries, and continue on for about 10 feet. The dogs should show no more than casual interest in each other. Neither dog should go to the other dog or its handler.

Test 9: Reaction to distraction
This test demonstrates that the dog is confident at all times when faced with common distracting situations. The evaluator will select and present two distractions. Examples of distractions include dropping a chair, rolling a crate dolly past the dog, having a jogger run in front of the dog, or dropping a crutch or cane. The dog may express natural interest and curiosity and/or may appear slightly startled but should not panic, try to run away, show aggressiveness, or bark. The handler may talk to the dog and encourage or praise it throughout the exercise.

Test 10: Supervised separation
This test demonstrates that a dog can be left with a trusted person, if necessary, and will maintain training and good manners. Evaluators are encouraged to say something like, "Would you like me to watch your dog?" and then take hold of the dog's leash. The owner will go out of sight for three minutes. The dog does not have to stay in position but should not continually bark, whine, or pace unnecessarily, or show anything stronger than mild agitation or nervousness. Evaluators may talk to the dog but should not engage in excessive talking, petting, or management attempts (e.g, "there, there, it's alright").


All tests must be performed on leash. Dogs should wear well-fitting buckle or slip collars made of leather, fabric, or chain. Special training collars such as pinch collars, head halters, etc. are not permitted in the CGC test. We recognize that special training collars may be very useful tools for beginning dog trainers, however, we feel that dogs are ready to take the CGC test at the point at which they are transitioned to regular collars.

The evaluator supplies a 20-foot lead for the test. The owner/handler should bring the dog's brush or comb to the test.


Owners/handlers may use praise and encouragement throughout the test. The owner may pet the dog between exercises. Food and treats are not permitted during testing, nor is the use of toys, squeaky toys, etc. to get the dog to do something. We recognize that food and toys may provide valuable reinforcement or encouragement during the training process but these items should not be used during the test.

Failures - Dismissals

Any dog that eliminates during testing must be marked failed. The only exception to this rule is that elimination is allowable in test Item 10, but only when test Item 10 is held outdoors.

Any dog that growls, snaps, bites, attacks, or attempts to attack a person or another dog is not a good citizen and must be dismissed from the test.

After the test, Gumbo got go to to Petco and pick out some special treats. He behaved like a good citizen in the store!

We'll take a look at Therapy Dogs International in the next post!

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Where, o where has the spotted dog been?

Last weekend, Lindsey and I fled the hurricane madness for a long, restful weekend in northern Arkansas. I literally had only one full day off from the newspaper business since Aug. 29, and many of those days were "half days" (10-14 hours).

We meet good friends at a wonderful place, Rainbow Drive Resort (, and it's always a real disconnect from reality. We fish, eat, drink, read, play dominoes, sleep with the windows open, laugh, watch the wildlife and otherwise do not keep up with the rest of the world.

Until recently, our cell phones didn't work there. And, most disconcertingly, this time our wonderful hosts had added satellite TV. We don't think we like that. We did not turn to a news channel once, I promise.

The only thing we don't like about it now is we can't take Gumbo and Roux because pets are not allowed. We understand our hosts' rules -- but we still miss them. This is how they looked when we got home....

The Spot's been SPAMMED

Not sure how it happened, but Adventures of the Spotted Dog has been spammed. I was so excited to see 27 comments on our last post! (Unfortunately, they're all trying to sell me something!)

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