Friday, July 23, 2010

That Heat Is Unbearable !

I can't remember how it feels to stay in bed past 4:30/5 o'clock in the morning. The bad news is, that the doggy gang is all peachy with getting breakfast served in the dark and I am sure they also don't mind watching sunrises until the cows come home. I for one would love to be able to walk in broad daylight again without having to worry about park rangers oversleeping and not opening gates on time and stuff like that. If I meet another person who tells me that global warming isn't happening, I think I'll forget my good upbringing. Even the last skeptic must by now admit that mankind has managed to do more damage to this planet in the last fifty years than all of our ancestors in thousands and thousands of years before us..........
Be kind to Mother Earth. Don't let your cars idle forever, recycle, use earth friendly products and don't pollute the environment. It's the only one we've got !

The furgang in the meantime is totally and completely unaware of all my worries and I think they have gone into serious summer hibernation. What else is there to do ?

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Ozzie and Harriet

Abbot and Costello, Stan and Ollie, Lucy and get the idea.
How about:
Tessa and Walter.

It is really touching to see how Tessa takes care of the old man. She won't let him out of her sight and even doesn't mind being used as a canine scratch post for itchy Walter ears. Aren't they precious ? The Budelheimers still aren't all that warm and fuzzy about Walter, but we can live with that. He's got Tessa and there aren't many old dachshund geezers calling such an attractive girl their own. You go Walter !

Wherever there is Walter, Tessa isn't far behind.

Monday, July 19, 2010

A Few New Photoshop Creations

*Clicking on the images will show them in their original size*

The somewhat "antiqued" Rodmonster

Beaty Eye

Knowledge is Power !

What else would a dog read but Jack London's "The Sea Wolf" ?

Even Walter was "abused" as Photoshop model.

Tessa the Night Wolf

The Pool Babe

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Bica gave us a good scare.......

...this morning. After we were done with our morning walk at Great Falls Park, we decided to stop by at the German bakery to get some bread. Since it's really hot and humid - even at 7:30 in the morning - we decided that Rui stays with the dogs and I go in to get the bread. Said and done. Ten minutes later I get out of the store to find Bica in the middle of the parking lot threatening to run into the busy street. Before Rui was able to put a leash on her, she had slipped through the small opening of the car door and ran out to look for me. My heart sank and my adrenaline shot up, once I realized what had happened. One wrong move and she could potentially get run over by a car. Rt. 29 is a very busy thoroughfare and chances of her getting hit or killed were high. There were a few people in the parking lot and thankfully they stood very still being fully aware of Bica's shyness. Nobody tried to go towards her, which would have made her run off in panic. I sat down and she came over to me, but would not let me touch her.
Then I did what I should have done before. I ran to the car and opened the door for her. Thank God she ran towards the car and away from the street. At the car I was able to grab her and put her inside. You should have seen the collective sigh of relief all around us !
Trust, or lack thereof, has always been a big issue in Bica's life. In situations like these she reminds us that people are not her favorite species and despite all the efforts we have made over the last couple of years, there is still that trust issue that will never be completely resolved.
Don't ever scare us like that again, Bicalina !

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Rise and Shine !

I know, it's Saturday and we should be sleeping in. Instead we get up at o-god-thirty to take the dogs for their "spin". Today we got to the park so early that we found ourselves standing in front of a locked gate. Great Falls Park didn't want us that early and so we went "one over" to Riverbend Park, just to find the gates locked as well. Now what ? We decided to try the Nature Center which was about two minutes from Riverbend. I don't need to tell you that the gates there were locked as well. We were starting to long for a nice breakfast and a good strong cup of coffee, rather than walking the dogs. On our way back we passed the gates of Riverbend Park and just as we were about to pass a truck pulled up and the park manager opened up for us. Yeah !
Dogs need their daily walks. By nature they are roaming animals and just being locked up in a backyard somewhere does not really provide quality of life for them. Therefore we spend at least one to two hours in the woods every day. If there is no time, we make time. I have to admit that I would not be walking every day if it weren't for the dogs. They are my furry motivators. What's the point in exercising on a hot and humid day if it weren't for the dogs ? We could be turning around in bed one more time and sleep in. Instead we're dripping sweat, wipe cobwebs off our faces and drown ourselves in bug spray to please the furgang. I hope they know how lucky they are............. Needless to say, on a real humid day we don't speed walk, but rather make it a long sniffing excursion which they dogs enjoy tremendously.

Grandpa Walter on the other hand is not a morning dog. I have to carefully wake him up, because startling him may cause his old ticker to go into overdrive and we don't want to risk that. It takes him about five minutes to become conscious and then we have to do the wild dash to the door for morning potty duties. Old age and bladder control don't seem to go together too well. Even in dogs. After Walter is done slurping his breakfast soup, he climbs back to bed and won't be seen until about noon.

The rest of the furgang gets their gear on and off we go. The advantages of being the first ones at the park are plentiful. First one doesn't encounter people with dogs, which makes my existence a lot more pleasant because I don't have to dart into ditches, the underbrush or behind trees upon seeing the oncoming enemy (Monster's point of view). We also get to see a lot of wildlife, which is always nice, depending on the direction the wind is blowing. If you ever see a woman with three dogs attached to her left hand and a cam in the right at a wild dash through the underbrush, don't fear: It's us in hot pursuit of some deer, fox, skunk or other wild animal. You probably will hear us first anyways, because Monster tends to announce every single track of a deer he'll find. That's a breed trait and it took breeders probably half a century to achieve that trait just to annoy those of us who don't necessarily go out to hunt for their dinner.
Besides wildlife there is another beauty of nature I love to admire: The sunrise. It may get boring, but here's today's sunrise over the Potomac at Riverbend Park. Enjoy !
On our way back from the park I had to turn the car around and help put this little guy into safety. He was crossing the street and I was not so sure if he was going to make it at first.

Let's just hope he didn't try to crawl back across . . .

Needless to say, the strong cup of coffee tasted even better after a walk. So walk your dogs - it's an important part of their life and it keeps you on your toes. Just think of all the nice sunrises and the wildlife you may be missing !

Friday, July 16, 2010

A Typical Summer Walk

Getting up at 5 o'clock sharp has turned into routine by now. I wouldn't want to sleep in, because the thought of being exposed to that humidity at even higher temperatures than those at six in the morning makes me melt. The young crew has no problems getting up at those hours, but Walter is a different story. Waking him up is a chore and if he had bed covers he'd pull them over his ears and moan. Being deaf has its advantages, I guess. Anyways - the dogs ALL get up and go out at this ungodly hour and after Walter has willingly climbed back into his bed, the rest of the gang heads out for morning entertainments at the park. Before we can begin the sunrise perspiration round we drop hu-man off at the metro station and off we go.One of the more convenient and close by parks is Lewinsville Park in Mclean. There are lots of bunnies, chipmunks and birds to be chased and the gang loves to go there.
Another beautiful thing about getting up early: One gets to see gorgeous sunrises. Check this out:This is an old farmhouse which was donated to the county. Nowadays it can be rented for social functions like wedding receptions and such.

As we are sleepwalking through the park, the sun will come up further and reveal other pretty sights:

Odd looking patriotic scarecrows. . .
(Must be a tea party plot *lol* )

Path flanked by gardens. . .

Beautiful sunflowers, reflecting the morning sun.

Let's not forget those bunnies and their high entertainment value.

After about an hour of all this humid excitement, the furgang is ready to call it a morning and head on home !

*Please click on images to view full size*

Thursday, July 15, 2010

The Dog Days Of Summer

It seems just yesterday that I wrote about blizzards, snow drifts and cold days. Now I find myself all in a sudden submerged in what I would call a 'sticky heat wave'. One way of finding some relief from temperatures in the 90's is going swimming. I try to swim three to four times a week and I must say it sure beats going to the gym sweating bullets.Dogs are way more heat sensitive than we are, and exercising them turns into a real challenge. Unless we get up at around 5 o'clock in the morning, I don't really see a chance to get them out without jeopardizing their health. Tessa's fur is fit for life in the arctic circle and the dachshunds may not have that kind of fur coat, but they make up for it by being very low to the ground, thus catching all the heat that reflects from the ground. On a hot day the temperature of asphalt can easily reach over 150 F, posing a serious health risk for dogs - especially those low to the ground.
The furgang usually gets fed two regular meals. One in a.m and one in p.m. Their a.m. ration stays pretty much the same in the summer. However, I replace their evening ration with some frozen meat in a kong and boy, do they love that ! Not only is it a refreshing treat, it also gives them some pleasant entertainment during times where physical activities have to be limited because of the temperature.

I would love to take them swimming. Try to find a lake, river or creek around here that isn't polluted to the point where it gets worrisome to send your dog in. Also, the Budelheimers are made from sugar and will melt should they ever be exposed to something as highly dangerous as water. Tessa would love to go for a swim. The question is: Where ? ? ?
Doggy swim places charge you easily $ 40 for half an hour which is quite costly, not counting in more than an hour driving time to get there. Thank God there's the garden hose and she actually truly enjoys getting hosed down on occasion.

Back to getting up early. The amount of wildlife one encounters is great - even with a bunch of lunatic dogs at your side. This morning we went to Great Falls Park and saw lots of deer and vultures:
The dogs last about an hour and then they're ready to go back home. Oh the dog days of summer........ I'm all for winter right about now. :-)

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Not What The Brochure Said.....

Walter has been part of the Mclean Furgang for a month now and he has captured our hearts with his Mr. Magoo like demeanor and sweet, confused personality. Unfortunately, a few days into his presence at our house Bica decided that Walter looked at her the wrong way and that he came too close to her precious bed. She angrily pinned him to the ground and bit him. Monster came out of nowhere and supported Bica's attempts to seriously hurt the poor old man. I was able to rescue him from the fangs of the Budelheimers and as a result of all the mayhem he got to go on his first trip to the vet with me. Thank God for nurse Tessa who felt really sorry for the little guy and helped to nurse him back to health:

Bica seems okay now with Walter and shows only tentative signs of aggression, but I am really afraid that some clumsy movement of his will trigger another outburst and so I just keep them separated for now. It's better for my peace of mind too. Monster's behavior towards Walter is pretty neutral and I'm not really worried about any danger coming from him. Now back to the "Walter Brochure". Initially I was told that Walter basically does three things: Eat, sleep and go potty. Sleeping being his number one activity. That worked out for about a week and then the "brochure" needed an update.
Walter was on "Purina" dog food when I first got him and if you have been following this blog you know that I am a strong opponent of doggy junk food. Purina being pretty high up on my list of "what-not-to-feed-to-your-dog". Walter's skin was very flaky and dull and I switched him immediately over to a diet of "Honest Kitchen" (grain free) and boiled chicken. After a month on high quality food there's not a single flake to be seen and his coat is very smooth and shiny. I understand that rescue organizations need to feed whatever donations they are getting and I'm very grateful for all they do, but after the dog's been adopted I see no reason not to change his diet for the better.
Blame the diet, blame the environment, but Walter Magoo has turned into quite an active senior.
His day now looks as follows: Get up at 5 a.m. , climb up the hill behind the house and run back down to the house. This activity takes about 10 minutes and seeing him run is so cute. It's more or less a slow motion bunny hop, but he looks very pleased with himself. After the morning exercise it's breakfast time and distribution of his heart and thyroid medicine. After that he climbs back to bed and sleeps until about 11, when he demands his second outing. He strolls around in the yard and Tessa is mostly by his side for this one. BTW: He thinks, Tessa has a very attractive rear end, that old Casanova. :-) Walter does not drink water and therefore I have to mix something tasty in with his fluids. (i.e. canned meat or chicken broth). At lunchtime he gets his "hydration soup" and goes back to sleep until about 2 pm. If I dare not be present at the time of him waking up, he'll howl like a wolf until I let him out for another patrol in the yard. After the yard patrol he does a house inspection and goes back to sleep until his inner clock tells him that it's dinner time. That is around 5 pm. 5:30pm until 7 pm he sleeps again and then it's off to yet another house and yard inspection.
In other words: The old man is feeling his oats and full of energy. After all - he's almost 100 years old in doggy years. Not bad !

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Oh Dear - Water !

No - not Walter. WATER ! Nothing worse for Budelheimers than water. In their opinion the world could burn up and no matter how refreshing a swim would be, it's out of the question to get those precious paws wet. Tessa on the other hand would spend her life in the water if she could.