Sunday, May 30, 2010

Brutus's Best Day Ever!!!

Yesterday was a major mile stone for Brutus. He has been trying so hard to listen to the commands that we give him, so Don decided it was going to be a "no leash" kind of day. A little scary, but you have to do it sometime!

It started out with his morning walk. The funny thing is, Don took off Brutus's leash and said "let's go", and Brutus was so uncomfortable that Don actually had to put the leash back on to get him going, but just down the road he took it off. Don said it went great. They did the whole two miles completely off leash, and that even included one of our friends driving down the road and stopping to say "hello", and Brutus still stayed by Don's side. Woot woot!!

After his walk, he came right home and laid down in his big purple pool. Don just shook his head. I know that deep down inside he knows it's a great idea, but he just can't get past the whole "purple kiddie pool" for his big tough guy Brute image. I personally think it's adorable, plus, if it cools him down, all the better.

After lunch we decided to take Brutus swimming. He's been swimming before, but never without a leash, and this was going to be interesting. The first thing we did was take his leash off up at the garage so he could run down the hill on his own and just feel the freedom. He loves that, and it melted my heart to watch it. He went right to the dock and stood there waiting like "come on guys, lets go". I wasn't sure if he wanted to swim, or if he was waiting to go out on the boat. He loves to go out on the boat and watch the birds on the water.

But as it turned out, we caught up with him on the dock, Don said "come on buddy, lets jump in" and off he went. I really think he had the absolute best day ever!! I can't even count the number of times that Don threw his toy out for him, and he would go bounding through the water and swim out and get it. There was only one time that he got distracted and dad had to "go fetch". He did a good job too. :)

During this whole process, we noticed a little birds nest that was built under the pontoon this week, so we decided we would let the mama bird hatch her babies before we took the boat out. We have enough other stuff going on this weekend that we really didn't need to go boating, so she can just sit there and warm those eggs right up. Goofy place to build a nest, but she must have felt safe there.
I hope everyone else is having a great Memorial Day weekend. Stay safe, and BE HAPPY!!!!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Trying To Give Brutus His Freedom Compassionately

During these four months that we have been getting to know Brutus, there are a few big conclusions that Don and I, as well as his teacher have come to. He was most likely originally bought to be a hunting dog, was very poorly trained, failed and was thrown away. And by poorly trained, I would say abused. The biggest clues to these conclusions are the way he reacts to loud bangs, which is to literally shake and duck for cover, if there is an animal in a tree, he will stand there and guard the tree and bark, and his reaction to collars.

We have no doubt in our minds that we have given him a life that any human would love to have, but the one aspect in his life that he doesn't have is the freedom to run, and I don't mean run away, I just mean run in our yard. We have a really big yard at the lake, and for him to be able to run and catch his ball, or run up and down the yard from the lake to the house would be amazing. Don and I have done a LOT of training with him and trying to get him to respond to the word "Come". We have even hidden in different parts of the house and called him at different times, sometimes with treats and sometimes just for the good old head rub. We've consulted the experts, and the grand conclusion is that he's a bolter. When we first adopted Brutus, he didn't even know his name, and had no training, so really, we've come a long way. We're kind of at the last big thing.

We both have strong feelings against E-collars. I just haven't seen a good reason to hurt an animal to get them to perform a behavior that I want, but the more I have read, the more I have been willing to understand that sometimes, IF USED PROPERLY, they are necessary for an animals safety. With Brutus's fear of collars, our assumption was that he was already abused with an e-collar, so we consulted the Sports Dog e-collar experts for some advice. After explaining Brutus's fears, they agreed that he was most likely zapped beyond comprehension, and suggested that he only be trained with tones, and that even that be done very slowly. We started out with two weeks of only putting the collar on Brutus to go outside for fun times. Our goal was to associate the collar with "good things". It was awful. All we had to do was put the collar on, and he would shut down and shake. It has taken more than two weeks. We have had the collar for almost four weeks. He doesn't shut down anymore, but he still isn't completely comfortable with it. And, we didn't start this until ten full weeks of solid training on commands, and we aren't allowed to use tones for any commands that Brutus doesn't already understand. Keep in mind that just because he understands them doesn't necessarily mean that he'll obey them. The only command that we want is for him to listen to "come" so he can have the freedom to be loose in our yard. His life would completely open up.

So anyway, after many days of only wearing the collar with absolutely no tones, it was time to start work. The first time he bolted, we pushed the tone button, and he literally yelped and hit the ground. It was so sad. Keep in mind, this was only a sound. There was absolutely no voltage what so ever. Don even held it on his own neck to be absolutely sure. He was just that scared. It took once. Don can walk with him from our home and most of the two mile walk without holding onto the leash. If he says "heel", Brutus will either stop where he is, or come to Don's side. We aren't picky. Either is fine. His reaction has kept us from trying much more training. We know that we need to sit in the yard and let him hit the boundaries, and call him back. I'm just so scared that we'll have to hit the button and watch his reaction. As far as voltage, it has a factory preset to the number one voltage, and it is very hard to move up. It has a "Nic" button which is less than a second, and then the normal zap button which you can hold for a few seconds. Don tried that on his neck too, and said that even though it wasn't pleasant, it certainly isn't anything painful. We still don't ever want to use it.

So long story short, I hate this, but he has run away a couple times, and we are trying so hard to do the right thing for him, and for his safety. This isn't for us. We can keep him tied on his tie, and continue to move it to the front yard and back yard with us, but if you saw his face when he can run, it's like he has just been given the best bone ever made.

I wanted to make this post, because in some of the future pictures I post, you will see an orange collar on Brutus, and that is the collar that gives out the tone. I didn't want anyone thinking that we would hurt him. He means the world to us, and we will always protect him and love him with everything that we have.

To end this post on a positive note, I did let Brutus swim in the lake this morning, and he LOVED it. This was before he decided his little purple kiddie pool wasn't so bad. When I first put his little pool out, he was so scared of it that he went under my car to hide. By this afternoon when it got up into the 80s, he started checking out the little purple pool, and pretty soon he was sitting in it. Too cute. :)

I hope everyone has a wonderful Memorial Day weekend. We're looking forward to beautiful weather, lots of friends, and Brutus is looking forward to fishing with dad. He loves standing right at the edge of the boat and staring at the geese. I keep waiting for him to jump in. I would love to hear how Don managed to get a 70lb. wet dog back on the boat!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010


I needed to order Brutus some more food today from Flint River Ranch. It's a really good quality dog food that is baked, has no preservatives, and nothing icky sprayed on it. If you handle it, it doesn't leave your hands feeling greasy. The best part, no farting!! Their prices include the cost of shipping, so it comes out pretty good.

Anyway, I went to click on my link on the blog page to order the food, and the link failed. I did a little investigating and realized that all of the links had an extra http://. Oops!! They're all fixed now, so you should be able to just click directly on the line and go to the websites.

All of the companies have given me permission, duh, to put their links on my page, and I really do highly recommend any products I put over there, as does the Brutus boy. :)

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

All About Green Today

Today Brutus and I are laying low. He seems to still be recuperating from our walk yesterday, and hasn't really seemed too energetic. He also hasn't wanted to eat much, and that definitely isn't like Brutus! I am still concerned about my mom. She still isn't feeling great, and it just has me worried. She will be going to a hematologist/oncologist, which is basically a specialist in blood and cancer. Even though her doctor told her to go to this specialist, she didn't ask why, so I am troubled by this. So, long story short, Brutus and I are having a hang out day. A storm went through earlier and cooled it off a little outside, and we are on the deck. I have my bottle of water, and he has his bone. It would probably be a little better if I had a cosmopolitan, but it just doesn't feel right today. For the time being, we'll just share the water. I'm definitely not sharing his bone!
For some reason, everything that I am taking pictures of today seems to be green. I realize that they aren't all dog related, but that's OK. I'll share a little of my personal side on my blog too. And, you maybe noticed that Brutus is in his green collar this week. When I first ordered his collars, I ordered one for the cities and one for the lake, but then we decided to put all of his tags on one to cover every option if he ran away. He got so gross on Sunday, that I had to put his blue collar in the wash.

Anyway, my favorite crazy flip flops are green. For some reason they always seem to make me a little happy, probably because they are just plain goofy. Off to the side of my deck, we built a hosta garden where the lawn was too tough to mow, and we planted a  little Crimson Cloud Hawthorn tree. What we found out is that the Humming Birds absolutely love it! I can be down there filling up the rusty little bird bath, and there will be hummers just sitting in it on the branches. It's so cool. It has magenta colored little flowers that smell really sweet, and that might be why they like it.

Last but not least, my favorite green view for the day is the back yard heading down to the lake. This is Don's pride and joy. It was really brown this spring, but he worked his magic with seeds and fertilizer and some TLC, and his grass grew. Plus, it helped to have his wife living at the lake to turn on the sprinklers now and then. See honey, I knew there was a good excuse for me to be here. :) May everyone find a little green in their day today. Happy Tuesday.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Stupid Humans

I knew today was going to be hot, but I wanted to take Brutus out for his walk, and I figured if we walked before noon, and I took a bottle of water for Brutus, all would be fine. There was a beautiful breeze, mid eighties and sunny, so off we went. When we got part way through the walk, we stopped and I gave Brutus a nice drink of his water. He seemed to be doing fine. Part way back, he started to slow down, so I did too. Then he got slower and slower and slower. So I did too. I kept giving him sips of water, and trying to walk in the shade of the trees, but it was truly too hot for a big dog to be walking a couple miles. There is this incredibly gross little stream that he had tried to jump in to, and that was a big clue to me that he needed some major cooling down, so when we got home I got a bucket of lukewarm water and washed him down a little, and then brought him in to the air conditioned house. He was trying to lap up water too fast, so I gave him a dish of ice cubes to lick, and put my little fan on him.

Were any of these things the right thing to do? I have no idea. I was going strictly on instinct. I would have let him jump in the lake, but yesterday he scraped up his legs pretty good in the lake when he slid off of a log, and he's been  licking the wounds constantly, so I didn't want to take a chance on getting those dirty, and the lake is pretty cold. It might have been too big of a jolt to an overheated system.

Anyway, he made it through his overheated state, his breathing seems to be back to normal, and he is back outside keeping tabs on the chipmunks. I think that if we walk tomorrow, it will have to be early early in the morning before it even gets above seventy. That was scary. :(

Thursday, May 20, 2010

I Am So Lonesome For My Boy :(

Wow am I lonesome for Brutus. For the past two weeks, Don has been taking Brutus back to the cities with him so I could care for my mom while she was dealing with a pulminary embolism. Mom is back on her feet and home now, and today, Don and Brutus are headed back to the lake, and this time Brutus is staying with me!

Let the shenanigans begin!!!

Saturday, May 15, 2010


Today started out as a "negative energy" day. If it was a positive energy day, I would be taking pictures with my new camera that Don surprised me with (he can be a very good boy!) but I don't even want to open the box until I am in a great mood and ready to learn.

The negative energy started at about 12:15 AM when I left our friends at the bar because I was too tired and needed to go home to get some sleep, and see Brutus. I didn't join the group until ten o'clock because I had been at the hospital with my mom, so it wasn't like I left there drunk! I backed out of my parking space, and I heard a slight crunch. I got out of my car, and someone had parked a big flatbed trailer right behind my car. It was dark enough that I couldn't tell what kind of damage I had done to my car, and I was sure I hadn't hurt their trailer, so I went home. I figured it was my fault anyway. Ugh.

So, I got home and finally got to see my boy. I had bought him a new bone (his favorite kind) just for the occasion. In retrospect, giving it to him at midnight wasn't the greatest thinking on my part. He was very excited about the bone, and cuddled right up next to me on the bed and chomped away. About a half an hour later, Don got home. We visited for a while to catch up, because we really haven't seen each other for more than a couple hours over the last two weeks, and then decided we were both zonked and had to get some sleep. When I turned off the light, Brutus continued to chew. All of a sudden I heard a growl. It wasn't a little growl, it was a nasty growl. Then a "knock it off". Don had tried to take away his bone so he would quit chewing, and in the dark, and Brutus was saying a big "NO WAY". Not the best thing to do to Dad. I turned on the light to try to handle the situation. Typically you trade out one toy for another, but by then Don was mad at me for giving him the bone, and all hell broke loose. I ended up just taking Brutus to the other room to sleep so Don could sleep, and I pretty much didn't. After the week that I have had, my feelings are pretty fragile, and I was hurt. Now I am really really tired.

On a brighter note, Brutus is on his first fishing trip today (on the boat). I had to add that because he actually has been fishing with Don before, but it was on the ice. He thoroughly enjoyed ice fishing, because the little bugger figured out that he could go around and "accidentally" tip over peoples beers and then drink them. We really have to keep an eye on him around beer.

So Don and Brutus and their buddy Bennie took off for an afternoon of fishing. I'm sure the men have a cooler of necessities, and Brutus has his kibble and water. My guess is that he'll jump in the lake. He LOVES to swim. You'll notice in the pictures that Don has him tied to a long leash, and the long leash is tied by the drivers seat. He's not taking any chances on losing this dog.

I hope everyone has a good energy day, and that my day continues to improve. I felt better already after taking pictures of Brutus on the boat, so I just might get my new spiffy camera out of the box yet. I am SO excited!! :)

Friday, May 14, 2010

I Miss My Boy

I haven't seen my Brutus boy for a week. My Mom was sick when I headed to her house last weekend to do a garage sale with her, and ended up in the hospital, which is where she still is today. She has several blood clots in both lungs, and her diabetes is out of control, so once we can get her blood thickness regulated, and her diabetes IN control, she will be able to go home.

The thought of Brutus being kenneled all day broke my heart, so Don took Brutus back to the cities with him, and we put him in doggy daycare, which is in the same building where he took his training classes, and where he stayed when we went to Kansas. It has been great for him. He goes in at 7:00 in the morning when Don heads to work, and stays until 5:00 at night when Don is heading home. Other than a half an hour of quiet time in the morning and afternoon, he plays and plays and plays with the other dogs and staff. Each day, Don gets a little report card on Brutus's day. He's been a very proud dad!!

Even though I have missed him terribly, I must say that I have been so busy going back and forth to the hospital that it has been a huge relief to not have to worry about my boy being sad at home alone. :)

Keep positive thoughts that next week will be better, and Brutus will be back to getting into mischief.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Cat and Mouse? Nope, Dog and Squirrel

Last weekend Don eliminated all of Brutus's live toys in the front of the house. The little hole in the corner of the garage where the chipmunks were breaking in has been plugged, so the chippies no longer tear back and forth through the garage. The mole holes were visited with some smoke bombs, and the black top was once again repaired. I doubt Don will read this before he hits the road to come to the lake tomorrow, so I will say that the mole dug a huge hole next to the stairs coming up to the front door, so I think it's Mr. Mole-2, and Mr. Peterson-1 at this point in the game. All I have to do is say the word MOLE, and Don's forehead gets these deep wrinkles in it. It's kind of scary. If the kids were still little, they would tell him to go to his happy place, which would in turn make him laugh, and the wrinkles would disappear. That's a fun memory.

And here we are today. It is a blustery fifty degrees and drizzling, and yet, Brutus has been out on the deck for the last four hours playing chase with a red squirrel. Don also hates red squirrels. The gray squirrels eat all of the bird seed which doesn't make him exactly happy, but they aren't mean. The red squirrels are very sassy, and mean. Don can walk out on the deck to chase them away, and they will actually mouth off to him. I put little voices in their mouths, it typically comes out sounding something similar to Queen Latifah in the movie " Bringing Down The House". They kind of point at him with their little paws, and they always look like they have their one hip cocked out to one side. Anyway, I regress!

It worries me a little that one might try to bite Brutus, but at this point, they are still running. At first, the first little guy just stayed down on the bottom floor on the ground and made Brutus crazy. About an hour later he started to come up on the lower steps. Two hours into this game, he was on the top steps, which is where I got the money shot. If you look closely, you will see him standing a couple steps down from the top. Four hours into this game, I would either need a MUCH BETTER camera (hint hint if you are reading this sweetie) or a video camera, because the squirrel is literally running around the perimeter of the deck trying to outsmart Brutus so he can get up to the bird feeders.

If you are under eighteen, you must now leave the room....

The first year that we had the lake home, it was a blustery cold day, and we were actually here alone for the weekend. In my silly head, I thought it would be a great time for some snuggling (code word for whatever you want to call it). As I'm dragging my husband across the living room, heading for the bedroom, he spots a squirrel on the bird feeder eating the bird seed. OK, wait for it. You are going to die. He actually looks at me and says "hold that thought, I need to get my BB gun". If there was ever anything that was going to turn off an animal lover, it would be those ten words. The squirrel didn't have any dinner that night (although he missed), and neither did my husband!

You might be wondering why I have a picture of my table with piles of clothes on it included in the blog today. The truth of the matter is that I am joining in on my Mom's garage sale this weekend, and I have to head there tomorrow at noon. Instead of pricing things and getting ready today like I should be, I spent four hours watching Brutus, the cats, the birds, the squirrels, and taking pictures. I could easily say that I lost four hours, but to me I filled my heart with four hours of fun.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Right Pocket.......Left Pocket

I am feeling torn as to whether or not I should be living at the lake for the summer.

Let's start with the right (or we'll call this the positives) hand. The wildlife is amazing, it's peaceful, there's the lake, I don't have to see my neighbors every time I want to step one inch out my door, my friends are here, the eagles are here, and in general, the cats and Brutus LOVE it here.

Then there's the left (or the negatives) hand. It would be the opposite of everything in the above paragraph, except for the fact the Brutus has taken to unbelievable moping the day after Don leaves. He no longer cries, but the picture taken above was taken at 6:30 PM tonight. I let him out there at 8:00 AM this morning, and the only time that he came in the house was when I forced the issue at 4:30 this afternoon so he would eat some of his breakfast. Plus, as you can maybe tell from the tar bucket and board, we once again patched up the mole hole, and Don also boarded up the chipmunks entrance to the corner in the garage, so all of his close-by moving toys have been eliminated. The guilt I am feeling is horrendous.

There is one thing I know for certain. When I die, I want nothing more than to come back for my next life as one of my animals, preferably Sophie, who is sitting on the table out on the back porch. Sophie has a very silly, mischievous personality, and yet, she's sweet enough to get away with just about anything! I realize that some of you smarty pants people out there are probably saying "what's the difference" at this point in my life, because I am not working and I'm living at the lake. To that I would have to rebut with "try to manage two homes with all of the bills and housework, and four pets". It is a bit of work, but I'm seriously not complaining, and on the non snarky side of that, I would say that the difference is this; I still pick up their poop and make their meals.

Touche`. Sophie I shall be. :)

Sunday, May 2, 2010

My Little Tar Doggy

I headed this "My Little Tar Doggy", and let me assure you, there was no racial slur intended, I was being quite literal. If you notice in the previous post, there is a picture of the blacktop that has "sunk" due to a mole that lives under my front gardens (where there should technically be landscaping, but we are waiting until we can afford to reside the house, long story). So, this mole, along with the chipmunk nest in the garage, has made Brutus a possessed and very content to stay outside all day kind of dog.

Last weekend when Don was up, he brought with this tar stuff that had little stones in it to patch the hole in the drive way. First problem, it never dried, second problem, the said mole just dug right back through it. In doing so, Brutus felt the need to dig too, and when I went out there on Thursday night, his paws (webs included) were packed with black tar, and he even had little speckles of it on his body. To me, they instantly looked like wood ticks, because frankly, everything looks like a wood tick these days, but thankfully only two of the dark spots were.

The first thing I had to do was figure out a way to smoosh the loose tar that was all over the drive way back into the critter hole, and then cover it with a board and something heavy enough to keep Brutus out of there. The actual tar bucket did a pretty good job. The next day he was able to get a little bit of tar out of the side, but not too bad.

So, now, how on earth was I going to get this black sticky tar off of him so he could come in the house for the night??? Good question. My first thought was to look around for some "GOOP". I've heard it can remove just about anything, but I had no luck finding it. About a half an hour into my search to find something that would dissolve the tar on MY hands, I found this orange cream cleaner, and it seemed to do a fairly good job. So, I filled the bathtub up with warm soapy water, and sat down in the garage to begin the mission of cleaning the tar off of Brutus's feet. He's sensitive about having his feet and ears touched, but during this particular time, he just had to get over it. Either that, or sleep in the garage, and I'm pretty sure he's too spoiled for that at this point. Surprisingly, the orange stuff did a pretty good job. He still had tar packed into his toe nails, but on the fleshy parts his feet were pretty clean. I didn't want it sitting on his skin for too long, so that was why I had gotten the bathtub ready before I did his feet. So, in he went, and he wasn't very happy about it. He was filthy. I had picked up some new shampoo for him for sensitive skin, so I figured I could kill two birds with one stone. I didn't think he had flees, but I'm sure that being washed twice a week washes away his natural oils that protect his skin. He also has tons of ear bites under his ears again. So much for the dryer sheet doing it's job. Someone also said that "Skin so Soft" from Avon was safe for dogs, so I may rub some of that on his ears tomorrow before he spends the day outside.

Anyway, I got him all cleaned up, de-ticked and dried off, and we were laying in bed snuggling, and when he rolled over for a belly rub, there's a hunk of tar stuck to his scrotum. Oy Vey!! Some things just never end!

On Saturday, Don built an awesome gate on the deck of our house so Brutus could be out on the deck and not be tied up. It's really quite pretty. The problem is, Sophie has been trailing Brutus, and she seems to think that if Brutus can be on the deck, so should she. Not the case. I really don't trust that little kitty girl to not go mousing, and I will be darned if I'm going to start dealing with worms. I completely draw the line at ticks. She will be an inside the house girl!!

I hope everyone had a great weekend. I know that ours went too fast, which is always a good sign of a good weekend.