Thursday, May 29, 2008

Of Course You Know, This Means War!

That’s it, they’re toast. Those stinking moles have now killed two of my rose bushes by eating the roots completely off. Clearly, Duncan is falling down on the job. We had a discussion about it Tuesday, and he swears he’ll do better. Unfortunately, the moles probably know his nap schedule (which is most of the day – and night). As back-up for Duncan and his mad mole-killing skillz, I went out today and bought a large container of mole repellant. I plan on dumping quite a lot of it in the area they’ve been tunneling, particularly around my roses. I initially wanted something that would kill the little buggers, but I decided that wasn’t worth the risk to the dogs, so I’ll settle for running them far, far away. You know, I didn’t really mind them that much when they were just eating the grass. It was a bit difficult to mow the grass where they’d been tunneling, but that didn’t bother me. Eating my rose bushes, though...that’s just taking things too far.

In other news...

Reyna’s latest allergic reaction (a spot of nastiness near her right shoulder blade) is finally healing up. The antibiotics the vet gave her made her sick and she quit eating last Friday, so I took her off the meds. By Sunday evening, she was feeling better and eating again. Her appetite seems to be back to normal now.

I spent last Saturday at a friend’s house, working on Reyna’s scrapbook. I got 30 pages done and filled her first book (they hold 40 sheets; 1 sheet = 2 pages). That sounds pretty impressive, until you realize her first book covers May 2004 through August 2005. And there’s still lots of pictures left to get caught up to 2008. But we shall persevere. Mary and I are planning to meet once a month, alternating houses, to work on our scrapbooks. If we can stick to that, I might actually get caught up in a year or so. Maybe.

The next 10 days should be highly entertaining (and exhausting). I’m babysitting two 8-week-old puppies for a foster group. One foster mom is going on vacation, and you can’t board puppies under 16 weeks. I’m picking up both Hart and Lucky after work. Hart’s foster mom was actually fostering her and her sister, up until last week, but she decided that two puppies were just too much. So Lucky ended up in a new foster home, but it turns out that the older dogs there really hate the puppy and are acting out. Since I’d already agreed to babysit both (before Lucky was moved), I agreed to keep Lucky for the next week while they find her a new foster home. I talked to the coordinator last night, and she said she has two possible homes lined up, but neither can take Lucky until early June. I know it’ll be crazy at the house, but its only for a limited time.

Do you know how hard it is to find treats that A) Reyna likes and B) she isn’t allergic to? Its not impossible, but it ain’t easy. And its generally not cheap, either. I found one about a year ago – salmon and sweet potato – that she absolutely loves. And Duncan loves it, too, but then again, I’m not sure I’ve ever found anything that Duncan doesn’t like... The really crappy part is that I found out today that they’re discontinuing the treat. That entire line of treats, actually (salmon, duck, tuna, and chicken, all with sweet potato). This sucks. This was the last reasonably priced option. Now if I want treats that Reyna can eat, I have to go to specialty stores. Or I have to find a butcher and cook my own. Good thing I got that little chest freezer last month, huh? By the way, Krysti, if you read this, please tell Dad I’d *really* appreciate some venison when the season rolls around. Or even before...

Monday, May 19, 2008

Abandon Hope, All Ye Who Enter Here

Yesterday, I discovered the answer to that age-old question: What’s destroying my yard – moles or voles? Turns out, its moles. And how did I determine this, you ask? Its all thanks to Duncan and his mole-killing abilities. Yep, that’s right. He killed a mole.

As I was making my usual morning rounds of the yard, I saw something odd in one of the dirt piles formerly known as mole/vole tunnels. I’ve been encouraging Duncan to dig up the tunnels, and he’s taken on that task with a vengeance. He’s very smart about it, though – he doesn’t dig old tunnels, only the new ones with a fresh odor. And he hasn’t decided that my approval of this digging means he can dig randomly in the yard; he’s very particular about where he digs. So, I spotted this gray lump in one of the new dig sites, and after I realized it wasn’t a piece of mulch or bark, I got my poop shovel and scooped it up. It was definitely a mole, about 6 inches long. There were no visible wounds, so Duncan didn’t bite it. My guess is that he was digging at the tunnel and either accidentally crushed/smothered it, or he managed to get it to the surface and as it tried to scurry away he stepped on it or pawed it, breaking its spine. Either way, it was very dead. I called him over and showed it to him, and told my killer beast what an excellent dog he was. He gave me an “aw, shucks” look, and then started sniffing at the tunnels again. Reyna came over to check out the commotion, but since no one was throwing her ball, she wasn’t very interested. For a brief moment, I contemplated staking the carcass on the outside of the fence as a warning, but I figured that wouldn’t work, since the moles aren’t likely to come above ground to see it. So, I tossed it over the fence into the woods. With any luck, Duncan will kill more of them, or someone in Moletown will realize that Bubba Mole went missing in our yard, and word will spread to all the other moles that its not safe in there and that they should just move on. Like back to my neighbor’s yard. He’s apparently had them in his yard for five years, and he doesn’t seem to care.

Good dog, Duncan.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Thank You

I’d like to offer a public (or as public as this blog is, anyway) “thank you” to coworker John. He came over on the 26th and spent several hours installing a ceiling fan in my kitchen, which included building a brace, balancing on a very tall ladder while Reyna bumped it trying to get her dinner, rewiring a switch to make my life a bit simpler, and missing dinner with his wife. I seriously love my kitchen fan. I don’t think I’ve turned it off twice since it was installed, and it circulates so much air, its ridiculous. Thank you, John.

Now, about that attic fan...

Monday, May 05, 2008

Its Always Something

Reyna had her annual check-up on Saturday. Everything was going well – the tech read her chart and realized the vet has to draw her blood, so they didn’t have to muzzle her, and the vet remembered to not shine the ear/eye light on the floor for Reyna to see and go nuts over – until the vet started checking her legs. Now, everyone knows she has trouble with her hips, but she hasn’t shown any indication of other problems. Not that that really means anything…after all, this is the girl who almost chopped off her tail and never made a sound. When the vet manipulated Reyna’s right shoulder, though, she indicated that she did not find that pleasant. She found it so unpleasant, in fact, that she nipped him. A bit more than her standard warning nip, but significantly less than a bite. Certainly enough to make him stop messing with her shoulder. So, he checked her hips (we got the response we expected), and he checked her left elbow and shoulder. Nothing. No response at all, other than leaning in for a bit more scratching. So the vet went back to her right leg. No response when he messed with her elbow, but she went nuts when he tried moving her shoulder. Based on what he could feel, the vet thinks Reyna’s developed osteoarthritis in that shoulder. He said its fairly common for dogs with bad hips to get that, as they tend to put more weight on the front legs. But, he also said that, while watching her move around, he didn’t see any indication that she was bearing more weight on the front than she should. He’s confident that its not anything like cancer, so we decided to not bother with x-rays, and just keep treating her the same as we do now. I have pain pills for her hips, so if she does limp on the front, I’ll just give her some meds. The vet said that, as long as she doesn’t exhibit significant clinical symptoms (regular limping, or the leg collapsing under her), there’s really not much else to do.