Thursday, April 29, 2010

Riverbend Park - Great Falls, VA

Today we drove a few miles further up the road and took Riverbend Park as our starting point. Usually it's an about 2 3/4 mile hike upstream from Great Falls Park. This time I wanted to go further upstream to places we haven't been before. Of course I did bring the cam and so our pioneer excursion was properly documented. Two days ago, when we got drenched, we didn't go that far upriver. I hope you do enjoy the show (if you don't like the music, just click on the little speaker icon inside the picture and I would also recommend you view the images full screen)


Wednesday, April 28, 2010

A Day in the Life of a Budelheimer - Part 3

The Furgang and the Kong

Another doggy friendly invention which makes a hu-woman's life easier: The Kong. Rumor has it that it was invented by a poor Labrador retriever owner who was looking to find a solution to his dog's rampant and destructive need of chewing anything and everything in sight. One day he caught his canine friend trying to take a car tire apart and failing. Thus the Kong was born. The man shaped the car's tire rubber into something else and called it a "indestructible dog toy" and made a fortune. More power to him and heartfelt thanks from my canine gang who is addicted to these rubber tubes now. As you probably all read, Miss Bicalina had to have lots of teeth extracted and therefore isn't so good in chewing bones anymore.Those were the days!

Our friend Barbara donated two of Beau's Kongs to the little fur-people. We purchased a third one, and an addiction was born. Since dogs love to chew and gnaw on things, this invention came in handy and the dogs have to earn half of their dinner now by extracting it out of the kong. You can see how they enjoy this pastime and they get more excited about their kongs than they get when you serve "just dinner" in the bowl.
Everybody gets their designated towel spot and off they go. I usually stuff the kongs with either raw meat or canned meat mixed with freeze dried beef/oyster chunks, cooked liver and joghurt. In other words: They basically get half of the dinner ration stuffed in there and to avoid bigger messes, I put them in the freezer. The satisfaction of working a kong is written all over their faces ! They really enjoy it and it gives them something to do.
It is also interesting to watch the pack interaction of all this. Every dog respects the other one's space. Bica is an exception of course, because her social skills are next to none. Due to her bad upbringing, solitary confinement probably most of her young life and lack of socialization issues, she knows no boundaries and waltzes all over the other two. What amazes me: Tessa and Rodney accept her as she is and she gets away with murder. They won't allow her to steal their kong, but they also do not act overly aggressive towards her. Our last pack was equally as harmonious together and I am really lucky that way. They all get along and they all really like each other. Kudos to Tessa again, who could kill one of her dachsie pals by simply sitting on them, but she is very sweet and considerate in dealing with those two. Something I can't say about her little slave driving counterparts. :)BTW: Doggy breakfast and dinner looks something like you see above. In that case it is a mix of "Honest Kitchen" (grain free) and beef heart. I try to feed as species appropriate as I can and since I do, the vet doesn't see us too often anymore. The dogs are healthy, the coats shiny, the digestion great and the energy up. Dry food is a thing of the past in this household ! They also get muscle meat, bones, organs, fish and bonemeal. To ward off ticks, worms and fleas, I mix a spoonful of virgin coconut oil in with the food and so far I've seen one tick crawling around on Tessa. That was it. Before we hit the woods, I take a small amount of coconut oil, rub it into my hands and go over the fur of the dogs. So far: No pesky insects have been seen ! Even the gnats hate it. :)

One of these days we'll go more detailed into dog nutrition, but I can give you one advice: If your dog has allergies, switch over to a B.A.R.F. diet and he will never scratch again ! (Sure beats "feeding" steroids, doesn't it ? )


Tuesday, April 27, 2010

A Day in the Life of a Budelheimer - Part 2


Mrs. Budelheimer's Revenge

Yesterday was a pretty wet day in Virginia. It kept raining on and off and fact was, we were going to get wet on our walk. There's no bad weather - just bad clothing, and so we bit the bullet and met our dear friend Barbara and doggy friend Beau for a walk at Riverbend Park. Yes - you read it right: We didn't go to Great Falls Park this time, but headed to Riverbend, which is a county park a few miles upriver from Great Falls. When we got there it was misting and really not too bad. About half an hour into our walk it all in a sudden started pouring ! It was raining cats and dogs and we were drenched after about a minute flat. Tessa and Beau were delighted about the refreshing shower from above and were bouncing around happily in the rain, splashing through puddles with a big grin on their faces. Not so the Budelheimers. Their demeanor changed from happy to morose the moment the first raindrop hit them and their only incentive was to get back home as soon as possible. Unfortunately, we still had about forty minutes to go and by the time we got to the car they weren't on speaking terms with me anymore. I was toast ! They pouted like only an unjustly treated dachshund can pout. After we got home I went to dry them off first in the garage so they could get into the house quickly. I really didn't want to get them more upset than they already were, those little slave drivers. While I was toweling off Tessa, I could hear them running and playing inside. All in a sudden it went dead quiet and I heard a paw scratching at the door from the inside. Monster demanded to come back out to the garage as if eager to get away from the "Misses".
When I went in to check the situation, I found the reason for his 'bad conscience':
Bicalina had left a poop pile in one corner and a pee puddle in the other. Madame didn't want to do business in the rain and had patiently waited to come home to do business in the comforts of a plushy and dry carpet.
So much for being housebroken. It all depends on the weather. Hu-woman was in for punishment and so I just went down on my knees and scrubbed the carpet............ *bigsigh*

She swore, she didn't do it ! Yeah - right. Serves me right for dragging them through the woods in the pouring rain, doesn't it ?


Sunday, April 25, 2010

The Whole Family Is Very Proud Of Tessa

Our girl Tessa always aims to please and so it is not too surprising, that she is the only one in our canine family who actually works for a living. The Budelheimers are not impressed, but the rest of us are really proud of the working girl. She's been visiting Powhatan Nursing Home in Falls Church for the past four and a half years and now hu-woman finally took the necessary steps for her to become a Pet Partner, registered with Delta Society (
I (hu-woman) have been involved with Fairfax Pets on Wheels for about 13 years now and had visited nursing homes with Tessas predecessors Purzi, Giaco and Daytona before. Also known as "the motley Crew":
Sadly, they are no longer with us, but Tessa was following in their footsteps and proves to be just as wonderful as they once were. (Oh how I miss them, though !)

The steps to becoming a Pet Partner involve more engagement from dog and handler, and is by far harder to achieve than being a visiting dog with FPOW (Fairfax Pets on Wheels). Also, volunteering for Delta Society comes with a price: Membership fees, extensive health screening and a well trained dog are a must. Those of us who have chosen that path are committed to spending some of their free time providing their dogs for therapy services and often working together with therapists to achieve ultimate results.Tessa and I have passed that test now and are looking forward to serving as a dog-handler team in animal assisted therapy.
Purzi , my little dachshund was honored once for her accomplishments as a Pet Partner after the 9/11 attack on the Pentagon. The two of us volunteered at the Red Cross Disaster Relief and could bring some comfort to those traumatized by the tragic events of that time.

Here you see Giaco and Purzi bringing joy to a resident at the nursing home, and on theright is Purzi receiving her award from the city councilman. It was a very proud moment.

To get back to Tessa's achievements again: She has been volunteering an average of 20 hours per month at the nursing home and some additional time at different official functions representing Fairfax Pets on Wheels. She also serves as a neutral dog at FPOW temperament evaluations, where she's been doing that for the past four years reliably. The motley crew would indeed be very proud of her. :)
I chose to become a Delta Society Pet Partner for numerous reasons. One reason is the fact, that participants in that program are really serious about taking part in it. (Or why would anyone voluntarily pay $75 membership fee for nothing ? ) I also fully agree with their method of testing their new applicants. Makes perfect sense to me, that a handler has to have utmost control of his dog and the dog has to be nearly unflappable if one wants a safe dog around patients. There are pet therapy programs out there aiming for quantity of membership - not quality. Then, there are others that will only let you "worship" their organization and deny your (mind you: PAID !) membership, if you aren't willing to deny your affiliation with other pet therapy organizations. Without wanting to be critical: I am looking forward to find new challenges for Tessa and myself, without giving up on our seniors, who we've been visiting for a long time now and who have become very dear to us. Tessa is a very calm dog by nature and works best with people who interact with her and animate her a bit. Most of our seniors aren't able of doing that anymore and so Tessa says politely 'hello' and just as politely lays down at their feet and waits for further instructions. To keep her interested in the task at hand, I think it would be beneficial for her work ethic, if we get to work with patients who are a bit more active.

BTW - Mrs. Budelheimer, a.k.a. Bicalina heavily protested about not having been mentioned in this publication. After all, she did pass the Pets on Wheels temperament evaluation and occasionally gets to go visit the elderly. It just stresses her a little bit more than her big sister and that's why she only gets to go maybe once a month. I am also very proud of her for having overcome so much fear issues from the past and taking this huge step forward in her new life:Here we are with our dear friend Marie who has passed away just last fall. We all miss her very much and I am really glad that Tessa and I had the opportunity to be there for her, when she needed someone to hold her hand and ease her fears. Marie was a strong supporter of all the visiting dogs and over the couple of years I had known her, has become a very precious friend to me. I was able to stay with her to the very end and I know she could hear me talking to her, even when she was in a coma. It's of great comfort to me that I was able to be there for her.
The nurses at the ICU where probably wondering about the dog pictures that were plastered all over Marie's bed. I had found a beautiful 8x10 picture of her own dog Sadie, which I tacked to the foot board of her bed. Even though I was told she could not hear nor understand me, when I told her, that her beloved Sadie was now watching over her, she smiled.

And where is Mr. Budelheimer, a.k.a. Rodmonster in all of this you ask ? He can't do such un-macho jobs because it would ruin his bad reputation.......


A Day in the Life of a Budelheimer - Part 1

......and yes - catering to these guys is slave labor. Poor Tessa just aims to please and doesn't understand their motives...


Saturday, April 24, 2010

Spring has sprung at Great Falls Park we grabbed the Furgang and headed towards our favorite park of parks again. (Clicking on the image will show it in its original size !)

If you think this was packed with almost two feet of snow not too long ago, it doesn't look too bad, does it ? :)
Monstermeister was certain that he could smell deer everywhere. At least he's a true specialist when it comes to find deer trails and squirrels.

The Budelheimers really are in sink. Even "taking care of business" is a joint operation with those two.

Notice how Tessa is walking right in the center of that little bridge ? No wonder - that's the very bridge she did fall off last time we walked there. It was too funny: She was looking to the left and missed a step on the right. Thank God she didn't get hurt, because this bridge is really only a foot and a half off the ground.

Yes - she still is the greatest !

Today most of my pictures happened, whilst walking the swamp trail. This trail is really pretty during spring time. Just let me show you some of the impressions along that trail:
At the very end of this trail there are still signs of the destruction that winter left behind:
Soon the heat and humidity will be too much to bear and we all will long for some 'refreshing' snow ! (Me for sure and Tessa too)


Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Happy Spring

.........from the Budelheimers:They regret their absence these days and try to be better dachsies, but they, their hu-woman and their best buddy Tessa are either real busy in the yard, or they are checking up on things at their favorite park. Please be patient with them, they will report back soon !

Monday, April 5, 2010

Mr. Budelheimer goes fishing

Inspired by a true event, where a fellow dachshund was pierced by his master's fishing hook, this cartoon emerged:

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Happy Easter from the Budelheimers

......the disgruntled Mr. Budelheimer that is:


Today we went back to Great Falls Park, but this time we went much earlier than yesterday. That was a good thing, because as we were leaving around 10 0'clock, the parking lot started to fill up.

Here are some of today's impressions. Enjoy !

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Today at the Park

...the wedding bells were ringing for some creatures:What really amazed me was the fact that there were hoards of people passing them by and these two ( and many others) were totally oblivious to it. Whilst they were mating we all got to listen to an amorous concert of some magnitude.
Today's outing was a girls' day out. Rodney and Rui got to stay behind and do some male bonding walking in the neighborhood. It turned out to be a good thing, because when we got to the park there was hardly standing room available on the main paths. That made me decide to take the girls up through the woods and we quite enjoyed just hanging out and looking at the changes in scenery that spring had to offer:Here the girls are venturing out on some sort of wall which had a considerable drop at the end. Thank God they both decided not to jump.Tessa always gets excited about sticks laying around in the woods and sometimes she gets it into her head to transport sticks the size of small trees across the landscape.This one was at least 10 feet long and poor Bica almost got a concussion from being hit by it.

Here some more impressions from our walk today:

What I wasn't so crazy about was the tick I pulled off my head at home:
Maybe it's the Tea Tree Shampoo I'm using, but this useless creature was dead upon arrival ! Thank God for that ! But really - why do these bloodsucking monsters exist ? *grrrr*

One more thing: Why do people always have to leave their trash behind ? Today I was hauling a CHAIR out of the woods to the main path. Hopefully a ranger will pick it up. Really folks - it's no fun to walk with two dogs on a leash in one hand and a chair in the other for half an hour. Whoever left it there: Shame on you !

Friday, April 2, 2010

Mrs. Budelheimer and the Dentist

Bicalina and the Tooth-Adventure

There wasn't really a whole lot to write about the last couple of days, except that I needed a "creative pause" and the furgang too.
In the meantime, little Miss Bicalina had a run-in with the tooth fairy and that made me decide, that it's high time to have some work done on her teeth. Foul breath aside, it must have hurt:Here's another sad testimony what bad upbringing and neglect can do to a dog. At some point she must have suffered a broken jaw, because when she first came to live with us we noticed, that she was barely able to bite down on a milk bone and gnawing on a bone was next to impossible. Her jaws strengthened over time and she got quite good at eating bones, but never like her two pack mates.As I said: She managed.

Back to the tooth story: Bica was due for a check up anyways and the vet agreed with me upon seeing that "quarry" which Bica was harboring in her mouth that something needed to be done about it. We also got an estimate for those restoration services, which was somewhere between $ 540 and $800some dollars. *urghs*
Since Madame is not too fond of strangers and even less fond of vet hospitals, I gave her a "I-don't-care-pill" before delivery to the vet and it did just that: She did not care ! It's great stuff and makes me remember the favorite part of the deal when I had to go in for surgery. You really don't care ! It's a wonder drug. *lol*
Bica's teeth were worse than anticipated and this is what it looked like during surgery:

At the end she left with yet another 7 teeth lost. That's the end of her bone gnawing days, because she misses most molars on the top right and bottom left. The cost of this action: $ 998 !
The result: A happy and pain free little Miss Pickle Budelheimer. It's funny how she "probes" with her tongue all the holes that replaced the formerly rotten teeth. Now she's more or less used to it and it doesn't bother her that much anymore. I noticed how much happier she is, since all the pain is gone. Picture yourself with a bunch of rotten teeth in your mouth and swollen gums. I'd be miserable too. I just feel bad about not noticing sooner, but Bica is not always easy to handle and the moment you want to check on something, open her mouth, or touch her rear, she eliminates under herself in fear of getting beat. Makes me want to bang the heads of those people who did that to her into the wall every time it happens ! *grrrrrr*
One thing I didn't find too amusing either: Why is it, that American vet clinics won't let you be with your dog until she has fallen asleep ? I am the person she trusts and I am the one who can handle her without inflicting force. Instead, your dog gets subjected to this assembly line attitude, where you "drop her off in the morning and pick her up at night" policy. Don't vets know that dogs have emotions too ? People don't seem to give their dogs' emotions a second thought either or they simply don't care. Sometimes ignorance is bliss. As for me: I am glad I gave Bica her "I-don't-care-pill". Without it she probably would have been seriously traumatized again. My plea to all vets out there: If owners want to be with their pets during treatments and before and after surgery: LET THEM ! !Other than that: Heartfelt thanks to Bica's vet, Dr. Garrood for doing wonderful job in making my girl feel better !
Here's the little patient the day after surgery