Wednesday, April 28, 2010

The Catiary In Progress

Construction for the catiary (cat aviary, or Janine's Cat House, as John calls it) is finally underway. John and I worked on it over the weekend, and we've made pretty good progress. Before the pups and I went out of town, this is what the back of the house looked like. There used to be a rosebush between the two bedroom windows, but I moved that to a different location to get it out of the way.

While we were gone, John built the support box that fits around the bedroom window. This will help protect the bedroom from bad weather, as well as give the cats a wider landing for going in and out. The box is attached to the house, so its nice and sturdy.

Saturday, we got started with the boring part (although I'm not totally clear when we'll start the exciting part). We used blocks to provide a level base for the frame. John is checking the level of the string between corners before we start digging.

Reyna's not real sure what John is doing, but she knows that what he SHOULD be doing is throwing her ball.

And just to prove that John didn't do all of the work by himself...

Finally, the blocks are all set, giving us an 8x8 space that the cats will soon be able to enjoy.

John digs the holes for the corner posts. Boy, was he annoyed to find out that the house foundation extends quite a ways beyond the house.

Since it was well after dark by the time we set the corner posts, I waited until Sunday to take this picture.

Sunday afternoon, we were back to work. John got a lot of use out of his saw, and my little wheelbarrow bucket made a handy sawhorse.

Again, we didn't stop until well after dark, so these pictures were taken Monday morning.

Yes, the screen door is attached, even though there's no screen yet. But we needed it up to finish the frame.

John will be back over soon to trim the extra length off the corner posts and build the roof frame. I need to get some fill dirt, paint the frame, and attach the chicken wire (to keep the dogs out and the cats in) and screen. We have to build the ramp and I think there are still a few other minor things to be done. I also have to decide how much of a roof I want to have to provide shelter for the cats. If the weather holds, we might actually be able to have it cat ready within a couple of weeks.

Monday, April 26, 2010


Saturday, we acquired two new (temporary) family members. Best Friend Pet Adoption (BFPA) recently rescued Gemma, who happened to be pregnant with 11 puppies. Since I have some free time on my hands these days, I offered to foster two of the puppies until they’re adopted (or until I get a job and start working ridiculous hours again). These are the two that were assigned to me.



Sleeping puppies are good puppies.

Just to give you a frame of reference, here are Duncan and Onyx together.

The puppies will be 8 weeks old Tuesday and they each weigh about 10 pounds, which means Reyna, Duncan and I are all having to be very careful and watch where we step. They’re settling in pretty well, although Onyx seems to be tolerating the big dogs better than Tiger. Onyx and Reyna actually spent several minutes chasing each other around the yard this afternoon (and me without my video camera). Tiger has a bit of a temper, though – he pitched a fit Sunday morning when I wouldn’t let him eat out of Onyx’s bowl, and he ended up skipping his breakfast because he was too mad to eat. Oh, well. He figured out by dinner time that you eat when food is offered, because it doesn’t sit around very long.

The puppies also pitched absolute fits Saturday and Sunday afternoon/evening when I put them in the x-pen in the yard. They did NOT like being locked in and let everyone know at the top of their lungs. It was funny, in an annoying way, because they would shriek for several minutes and then fall asleep almost instantly. Wake up, shriek, fall asleep. Over and over. Loudly. They did some shrieking Saturday when I put them in their crate for the night, but Sunday night they went in with barely a whimper. Thankfully, they’re sleeping through the night – and if they aren’t, they’re not crying loudly enough to wake me up. Either way is fine with me.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Happy Birthday!

Mirabelle turned 13 this past Friday. I came home on her big day, so thats one less thing for her to be mad about. Its amazing to realize just how long she's been part of my life. Happy birthday, Baby Girl!

Happy Belated Birthday!

Khar’pern, Parm and Per’la turned 5 years old while I was out of town. I don't think Khar holds my absence against me, although I think its just one more item on Parm and Per'la's Reasons Why We Hate Mom (being banished to the dog crates being the first item, of course). Oh, well. Happy birthday, Kittens!

Friday, April 23, 2010


The pups and I have been out of town since Wednesday, April 14, visiting family in the western part of the state. We finally got back home at about 3:45 this afternoon. All three of us are thrilled to be back in our own space. The cats even seem happy to see me - well, the ones living in the house and not the crates do, anyway. I've got lots of blogging to catch up on, and I'll get started on that tomorrow. Tonight is for unpacking and resting.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Hours Of Entertainment

When Reyna came home from boarding at VetHab over the weekend, she discovered Parm and Per’la in the crates on the back porch. She spent almost an hour watching them, walking around the crates, and trying to paw her way inside. She repeated the process several times throughout the evening, and again this morning. Parm and Per’la don’t seem particularly impressed by her intense interest in them. I’m not worried about it, because I know she can’t get in there. And hey, its something to occupy her brain and her time so she’s not spinning and barking in the living room.

Speaking of entertainment, I took this short video last Wednesday...

Herding Seminar

Duncan and I attended at tending (boundary style herding) seminar in Conover, NC, this weekend. I’m not going to go into any detail about it, partly because just thinking about it makes me mad, and partly because I don’t think my writing skills can do justice to how pissed off I was for the majority of the time.

The really short version is that the instructor informed me that Duncan can’t herd sheep. That surprised me a bit, since he’s been herding sheep fairly successfully for some time now. She also essentially told me I was lying when I told her what Duncan does on a regular basis at Claire’s.

On the upside, I found a few things that we need to work on that weren’t as noticeable on our home turf (so to speak). I also learned that I’ll never enter a trial where this particular person is judging.

I thought Duncan did a wonderful job, especially when faced with a brand new layout in an unfamiliar setting, multiple strangers yelling and waving sticks at him, and an instructor who clearly has no idea what sorts of things should and should not be done when training dogs.

Duncan was such a trooper through the whole weekend. The ride to Conover wore him out. Here he is testing out the king bed Friday evening.

Here he's moving his flock up the graze. The woman in the dark blue shirt is the instructor. She's clapping because Duncan has somehow overcome his innate inability to herd sheep and managed to make them go somewhere. Did I mention I don't like her? Oh, and those two adorable brown lambs are only two weeks old. So cute!

Duncan's watching the flock, making sure they don't do anything he needs to fix.

Moving the flock back down the graze.

Duncan's watching a terrified lamb run back to its mother. According to the instructor, he needs to see each sheep as an individual so that he can see the flock. Or some such thing like that.

By Sunday night, we were both exhausted. Duncan said he definitely approved of the very comfortable bed.

So, was it a valuable experience? Yes (but not necessarily in a good way). Was it worth the money? No. Did I manage to convince total strangers that I’m a complete bitch and you don’t screw with my dog? Yes, and very successfully, I might add.

Monday, April 12, 2010


The pups needed a bag of kibble, so Reyna and I stopped at Gourmutt's on the way home from VetHab. While there, I decided to get them a special treat in honor of Reyna graduating from physical therapy. I figured Reyna would really enjoy this one: two layers of peanut butter cookie with yogurt in the middle.

And then I spotted this one, and just had to get it for Duncan. Its a peanut butter cookie with yogurt and carob icing. How perfect for him is this sheep cookie?


Its official – Reyna has graduated from physical therapy! She still has exercises to do, of course, and a few restrictions until her check-up in mid-May (no chasing her basketball yet), but she no longer has to go to VetHab for therapy. She’s gained quite a bit of muscle mass in her hips and has increased her range of motion considerably. She’s also at a much healthier weight than she was before she started PT and she so obviously feels significantly better. I’m extremely pleased with how well she’s doing, and the rehab was definitely worth it, but I’m also very happy that I don’t have to pay for three sessions a week any longer.

Here’s Reyna with her rehab team, Ali, Corey and Jessica. She really likes all three of them, and I know that made her therapy a lot easier (for everyone).

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Lessons Learned

1 – Sleeping on my stomach is bad, because it forces my left foot to stay extended, which my foot apparently does not like.

2 – My left foot also does not like me using it for several hours. I may actually have to consider going to the doctor about whatever it was I did to it last Monday.

3 – Sunscreen is at least as important as bug spray on a sunny day, if not more so.

Friday, April 09, 2010

Grumpy Test Subjects

You know, these may be called dog crates, but it doesn’t mean you can’t put something else in them.

I hooked the two crates together with zip ties, put in some towels, a small kitty condo, food, water, and a litter box, and turned them into Parm and Per’la’s new home. And boy, are they mad.

Per'la is hiding in the far left corner of the crates in this picture, and thats Parm in the right front.

And here Per'la's decided that the kitty condo is the safest place to be.

I’m testing my theory that Parm and Per’la are the only two cats engaging in the Unacceptable Behaviors. Parm has confirmed his part in the nastiness multiple times, including today. The only reason I caught him as easily as I did was because I startled him while he was Behaving Unacceptably on my bedroom floor. If, over the weekend, everyone still inside the house behaves as they should, then I’ll call my experiment a success. I don’t know yet what that means for Parm and Per’la’s future living arrangements, but we’ll figure that out later.

Wednesday, April 07, 2010


The ankles are progressing. My right ankle hasn't hurt for a couple of days and is down to just a minimal amount of swelling. Still no idea what caused all of that. My left ankle is still being a bit difficult. The swelling is gone except for an area on the top of my foot, and I have a very large bruise on the front of the ankle (right where the joint bends). Its finally quit hurting constantly, but it still tweaks if I'm on my feet too long. My guess is that I pulled a tendon, because its not my ankle that hurts, rather its across the top of the foot and up the front of my leg. As long as its better by the weekend...

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

It's Official

Spring is definitely here. I know the calendar and the weather have indicated that for a while (although at times it seems that the weather has shot straight past Spring and into Summer), but I use a different method to determine Spring. Its called The GSD. Specifically, Reyna. She started blowing her coat this week, which means Spring is here. Duncan is unreliable for this, as he has typically preferred to blow in August (no idea why). He is shedding a little more than usual, so maybe he'll get on Reyna's schedule this year. Soon the yard will be covered in masses of brown and black fur. I'm sure the birds will be happy to hear Reyna is blowing, as she usually generates enough loose fur for all the birds in the tri-county area.

Monday, April 05, 2010


So, I meant the title of my last post in the sense of "unusual" not "off balance." But apparently something out there decided that my "Odd" needed to be evened up. And so it is.

At the kennel this morning, I managed to step very wrong and wrenched my left ankle and foot. I put some ice on it, but that didn't seem to improve things much. Now that I'm home and my shoe is off, its starting to swell a bit. I'll take some anti-inflammatories, prop it up, and ice it throughout the day. I'm still scheduled to work the kennel this evening, but that may not happen. And tomorrow morning's shift is still a toss-up, depending on how today goes.

Oh, and interestingly enough, my right ankle no longer hurts - its just fat. I can live with swollen and no pain.


Just before bed last night, I discovered that my right ankle was swollen. It didn't hurt or itch (like a swollen bug bite), so I wasn't even sure I was seeing it right. I did a quick comparison with my left ankle, and yep, the right ankle was swollen. Since it wasn't sore, though, I went to bed not too concerned.

This morning is a bit of a different story. My ankle is still swollen, and now its also painful. I don't remember doing anything to it yesterday, like stepping funny or falling down, but it definitely hurts. I have a 3 hour shift at the kennel this morning and another 3 hours this evening (I really hate split shifts), and I'll be on my feet and running the whole time. I hope that doesn't make it worse. I really wish I knew what happened to it....