Saturday, January 1, 2011

A Day To Goof Off

What's this?

Absolutely nothing that I have to do today, but lots of things to consider.  An uneventful New Years Eve with a nice meal (but not the best I have had) at Ristaurante Luci.  We did a 4-course dinner and had wine with each course, and our server was outstanding.  Friendly, knowledgeable and fun to joke with.  The soup was fabulous, the pasta was good, and the Ahi tuna was tasty.  My appetizer was supposed to be Shrimp Ceviche and I was anticipating chopped shrimp or small shrimp, seasoned with perhaps lime juice and chilis or something like that.  What I got was a whole shrimp/crayfish kind of thing with incredibly long antennae and some oily sauce.  I don't like getting food with eyes and antennae, unless it's lobster and is tasty enough to offset the "ick factor".  This was reminiscent of pulling the whole dangley squid out of a seafood stew.  Took me awhile to get over that, and go back to Carmelos!

We were home by 8:45 so I spent a pleasant hour on Facebook before finishing up one of the six books I was reading.   Actually finished two books yesterday, one on the IPOD Nano and one on the Nook Color.  Yay, now I can start another one, if I can remember how I downloaded the others onto the Nano.

Mariah is looking good at 4 months, very together and sound for her age.  She's really a terrific dog and both Ron & I like her a lot.  She's a good fit for my household.  Smart, but very biddable.  One of my projects for the weekend is working on freebaiting.  I taught her a sit right away, and she wants to sit for cookies rather than baiting and wagging.  A common problem at this age, but she tries really hard.  I've got a bag of tiny cat treats that make excellent bait.  Her new teeth appear to be coming in correctly, her coloring is deepening, her trim is widening and she's suddenly starting to add bone.  She was looking a bit slight for awhile, but is adding substance now.  Raw fed pups develop a bit differently than kibble fed pups, and tend to grow more slowly and evenly.

OK. time to go play with the little guys.  They are doing well, slimming down and looking good.  Great temperaments on both of them.  Today I'll take the Sherpa Bag down and introduce them, since Patrick will be flying home to Phoenix in it next week.

Friday, December 31, 2010

Vet Shock

Hey, look at me!  I'm cute too.

Although I always tell potential buyers that owning a dog is a luxury, it was really driven home to me yesterday when I took Mariah, Patrick & Edward in for vaccinations, and the boys for health checks.  For years I have given my own shots, but because we have had so few puppies, I can't use a box of vaccine before the expiration date.  No wonder Vets are complaining that fewer clients are scheduling regular visits - they can't afford it!  I am well aware of the argument that the routine visits pay for the office help, the mortgage & utilities, etc., BUT the idea that a vaccination should cost $62.50 for $3.00 worth of vaccine is a bit much.  Fortunately it was Vaccination Clinic Day, something I was not aware of when I make the appointment, and the shots were half price, but still the damages were almost $200.00 for three healthy puppies.  How can the family with two kids and a new puppy afford to take it to the vet?  OTOH, if it gets sick how will they pay for it?  Dogs are a indeed a luxury, but are also a necessity for many of us.

That reminds me that there is someone soliciting donations to help pay for surgery on a 4 month old Dalmatian puppy who has what sounds to be Persistent Right Aortic Arch, a very serious condition that will eventually kill the pup.  However, the surgery costs something like $6,000.00 and the person who owns the dog does not currently have a job . . .    It may sound heartless, but euthanasia would be a good option in a case like this.   Sorry.   There are probably suddenly unemployed owners of  middle-aged beloved family pets that also need vet work that will not be nearly as expensive.  I'm always more than a little suspicious about such tales anyway, but I can think of far more useful ways to spend $6,000.00 and help many more animals.

I realized yesterday that I was actually reading/listening to SIX different mystery novels at the same time.  Oops.  Better get a few of them finished this weekend, since I just picked up a new audio book at the library, one I had been waiting for.  Two on the IPOD, two on the Nook, one on the CD player, and one in the car.  Sometimes a bit hard to keep the plots straight!  Bless the technology that makes it possible to be as O-C as I want to be!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Oh Damn, Ice Dams

Very weird weather today, temperature above freezing already. It's supposed to rain which will take down the snow level, but unfortunately it will make the ice dam problems worse.  A lot of people are doing to have roof leaks this winter, as the ice backs up under the shingles.  Haven't had a dam for 25 years, but this is a very unusual winter and anything is possible.  I put a lot of work into insulating my attic some years back, so this will put it to the test.  The companies that remove them (they steam your roof and gutters) charge close to $500.00 because of the cost of doing business - equipment, insurance and workers comp.  Hard to imagine anything much more dangerous than working on ice covered roofs.  Fingers crossed.   I have a $1,000.00 deductible on my home owners insurance, so hope to heck I don't have to make a claim.

Jess came over last night to play with pups and we took pictures of Patrick & Edward.  Poor Mariah was so jealous that the pups were getting all the attention.  She's used to being the baby around here and acted just like a small child with a new baby brother (or two).  Pups had a blast playing in the family room, and continue to be friendly and fearless.  Both got their first visit outside and had fun playing in the snow on the deck.  Hope to get them out again today, before the cold weather returns.

Jess agreed that we should hang on to Eddie, who looks quite handsome at this age.  We got some pretty good stacked shots of him and were surprised to find that he had a neck - the fat rolls make it less obvious when he is just mooching around here.  A friend has offered to take Eddie "for camp", so between that situation and/or perhaps sending him up to Canada for awhile, we should be able to hang onto him without everyone going crazy.  Two pups at a time in the winter is a bit more than I care to deal with!

Pups have their first vet visit today for a check up and their first vaccination.  Mariah will go along for her 3rd shot.   Hopefully Ron will come along to help!  Wish I could just take the day off - but at least tomorrow is a holiday.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

No Post, No Time

Hey, that's my ear!

No time this morning, as the pups need some out time - and a paper change, I'm sure.  If they were staying I would switch them to raw which makes clean up a whole lot easier!  They are doing great and met Mariah and the adults last night.  Very brave pups, handled everything perfectly, even being bullied by jealous Mariah!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Things just got busier

Edward & Patrick at 5 weeks

The boys are here!  I took yesterday afternoon off work to meet Dan & Paula in Mason City and retrieve Patrick & Edward.  What cuties, and so good.  They were perfect on the way home - no car sickness either - and settled right into their new home. No fussing last night, and I just turned on the basement light to wake them up before I go down to play with them.  Very handsome pups and they should look good when they lose a bit of weight.  Tess had lots of milk and only two pups to share it, so they are QUITE large for their ages.  I think Patrick will be OK to travel in the Sherpa bag next week.  He's the chow hound of the two but will be eating small meals until then!

Preliminary evaluation of Edward says he is most likely show potential.  Nice markings, complete trim, dark eye (and a blue eye, which is acceptable), correct scissors bite, two testicles, nice and square, short toes, and plenty of bone.  His face is very cute, his head shape is correct and his ears are the right size and set correctly so they hang correctly .  He has plenty of neck length, seems to have a level back, and correct body shape.  His tail is high right now, but that's very common in 6 week old pups, just something we will keep an eye on.  Haven't had a lot of chance to watch them trot very much, but he appears to move correctly on both ends.  Argus kids tend to be particularly nice "coming in", and his hocks and stifles appear to be correct "going away".  Haven't had a chance to see how he carries his topline when trotting, but when I stack him on the table, his topline looks nice. 

Patrick is also very handsome, but because he has a patched ear he will go as a companion.  His markings are a bit more even than Edward's and he has more angle on both ends, but he also has a longer back, a different style of dog.  Tess had several littermates who were built more like Patrick, while Edward is built more like Tess, but looks quite like several of Mariah's brothers too.  I'm starting to recognize a certain "look" now in Argus sons, since I have seen them from a variety of dams now.

Off to play with pups!

Have a number of emails and phone calls to return.  I'll get to you, I promise!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Another Christmas Past . . .

Such a nice Christmas we've had.  Christmas Eve with Ron's brother and his family, Christmas Day with my family.  That's us on the right, picture taken at my sister's home in rural Elmwood.  We were missing nephew Davis who's leave from the Navy does not begin for a few more days.  We hope to celebrate at my mother's next weekend, with a Pizza Party for Davis.  Hopefully the weather cooperates.  We always miss my brother Al & his wife Alison who live in Costa Rica.   Mariah got to come along for our Christmas get-together, and had a wonderful time. She had been attacked by an ill tempered Labrador when we were out walking on Saturday, so it was great that she had a chance to play with her Cousin LD.
Mariah had a great time playing with LD.

The dogs had a wonderful Christmas, with new toys from Ron & me, packages of treats from Aunt Ginger, and the wonderful new Tuff Toy dinosaur from our friend Loretta & her Dal Cheyenne, a daughter of Josie's. Josie & Argus were particularly pleased with the toy.

I hate shopping the day after Christmas, but I have a gift card burning a hole in my pocket and I want to purchase some sort of MP3 player. I'm not so much into music, but it will be great for recorded books. When I discovered how many books were available to download through Net Library, I decided I needed one more new toy this winter. The EBook Reader is working out well, and I am enjoying it immensely. So many cool "toys" out there!
Mariah & Josie amidst the wrapping paper.

Tomorrow I'll drive to Mason City to meet Paula and pick up Patrick & Edward. They need to go in for their check ups and first shot, so that Patrick can go off to sunny Phoenix with his new mom who is flying in to pick him up. Fingers crossed that he will be small enough for the Sherpa Bag! Because there were only two pups, they got LOTS to eat and are large for their size. Eddie will stay for awhile, and then perhaps be "farmed out" with friends while we see how he develops. I was not pleased that he had a blue eye, and was not expecting blues in this litter. Argus' percentage of blue eyes is low, even when bred to blue-eyed bitches, and I did not expect that from Tess's pedigree either. BUT, like patches, blue-eyes go along with the extreme-white-piebald gene that makes Dalmatians look the way they do, unlike any other breed of dog. They are perfectly acceptable to showing in the U.S. though are considered a fault in other countries. We've finished the championships on multiple generations of blue-eyed Dals in the past, but haven't shown one for a long time. Well, someone has to be Argus's first blue-eyed champion kid! And if Eddie turns out not to be show quality, he'll be an extra handsome pet for someone.