October 29, 2011

Lazy Autumn Nights

Fall is officially here in the Lewis establishment.  The furnace came on this morning, although I thought it was turned off.  Turns out I had just turned it down so when it got down to 58^, it kicked on.  I usually try to see how late we can go before turning it on, made it to Thanksgiving a couple times.  BRRR! It was getting a little chilly in here by then.  
The fun part about cool nights is packing into the library, where the computer is, turning on the "stove" which looks like it is burning and puts out a nice warm breeze.  The dogs love when the stove goes on because they can curl up in front of it and get all toasty. They become less like a pack of terriers than a herd of slugs when the heat is on.   

On winter mornings, when I get ready for a shower, I turn on a little electric heater in the bathroom to warm it up before jumping in. Long ago, my "kids" learned what it means when I holler "bathroom".  When they hear that word, they run into the bathroom and cluster in front of the heater, on the bath rug.  The trick is to find a place to put my feet when I get done.  I have to slip my feet between little dog bodies to get out onto the floor again.  There are a couple who volunteer to help me "dry off" by licking the water drops off my ankles.  When the really cold weather comes, they don't want to leave the bathroom when I'm done, until I turn off the heater, then they are ready to go. 

Now that I'm retired, I should have plenty of hours to sit in the warm library with the dogs.  I can listen to "old time radio" on the computer,  while working on my blogs.  Gunsmoke is my favorite.  Could it be any better than that?
Sweet dreams fur buddies. 

October 19, 2011


My little Scooter, my April Fools baby, now in her autumn years. She was such a little whirlwind when she came to me. She is a Rat Terrier/Jack Russell Terrier cross but she got the look of a Rat Terrier. Fortunately, she got most of her personality from that side of the family as well. She was active but not insanely so and she has always loved to cuddle, sometimes for hours.

When she was just a puppy, she would run, FAST! She would tuck her puppy butt under and go so fast she would run into things and bounce off, like a pinball. She reminded me of the '70s cartoon car, Speed Buggy. How all that translated into naming her Scooter, I don't know but whenever I watched her run, I had an irrisistable urge to call out, "scoot, scoot, scoot, scoot" in a fast, high, squeaky voice. Even now, if I scratch her butt and say this to her, she will take off at a run, butt under. She did eventually learn to not run into things.

Scooter was a natural born hunter. She showed an early talent and passion for hunting mice. When she was barely a year old, mice took over the birdroom while the birds were outside for the summer. Trying to set the cat on the full litter of nearly grown mice and their mom was a lost cause. The cat figured he better run because he wasn't normally allowed in the birdroom. In a panic over how to deal with 8-9 mice before they could locate shelter outside the room, I called in Scooter. The girl looked for only a moment at that first mouse then she was off and running.
Scooter spun through the room in pursuit of the mice which had scattered everywhere as she came in. She would grab, bite, drop and go after the next one. She got so excited by the hunt that as she crossed the room, searching for more prey, she would grab one she already killed and bite it again. It was amazing to watch. She had never seen a mouse before.

She was not taught to hunt by her mom as her mom was afraid of mice. Pretty silly for a Rat Terrier but when she was a pup her owner presented her with a baby mouse in a bucket to "hunt". Unfortunately for this potential mouse hunter, the mouse was braver than the dog. It bit her on the nose, she jumped away and from that point on, she would have nothing to do with chasing mice.

Now having passed her 13th birthday, Scooter is still quick but last year she suffered from idiopathic vestibular disease, sometimes called "Old dog vestibular disease". When it first hit her, she was in the yard and suddenly she was stumbling, falling and walking sideways. When I picked her up, her eyes were flashing back and forth and she couldn't hold her head still. She went to the vet, the answer there was devastating. The vet said this was generally a symptom of a brain tumor. When I brought up the IVD, he said it is possible but probably something more ominous.

I could be referred to someplace where tests could be done to determine more but the vet was not optomistic about the final outcome. This meant going 6 hours away from home, being away from the rescue pack and then having to decide what I would do if it was a tumor. In the end, I decided to wait at least a few days to see what happened with her condition. This turned out to be a good choice.

After about 48 hours, Scooter's eyes quit flicking and she was able to balance better. She stopped tipping over and with that came a more relaxed demeanor. Gradually, over the next few days she returned to almost normal, which at this point is grey faced, arthritic, blind in one eye and nearly deaf. She still carries her head tipped to one side and this looks a little comical sometimes but other times it just looks sweet and quisical. I am so glad it turned out this way, I hate to see my little ones growing grey and stiff but I really am not ready for them to start getting the terminal conditions that can come with old age.