Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Tree...................... What Tree?

My big boy Brutus has now gone two days with hardly being leashed at all. He's starting to get the hang of it, although, I think we have a few more days to go. I don't even turn the tone collar on anymore, and most of this afternoon he didn't even have it on at all.

There is one thing he hasn't quite figured out yet, or he just has his own way of doing, which cracks me up every time. If he's in the front yard, and he wants to be in the back yard, he'll knock on the front door, come through the house, wait at the patio door until I open it and go out that way. That's the same door that leads out onto the deck where Don had built a lovely gate to keep Brutus "on" the deck, and that's where our story leads to today.

I had left the gate open because Brutus had come through the house, and we had gone out in the back yard, through the gate. This evening, Brutus went through the same routine of coming through the house, but when I opened the patio door, there was a chipmunk on the deck, and Brutus was off and running. He normally does this, but the gate is closed and he kind of comes to a skidding halt, but this time the gate was open, and he kept on skidding right down the stairs. The chipmunk was FREAKED!! By now, I think that they have all figured out that he can only go so far, so they're safe if they make it to the other side of the stairs. Anyway, once he realized that he was still heading down the stairs, although slightly out of control, and the chipmunk was still ahead of him, he decided that this whole scenario maybe wasn't such a bad idea, and when he landed at the bottom, he kept chasing. We have another smaller set of stairs that go up a bank on the other side of the lawn, and the chipmunk headed up those stairs, and so did Brutus. Then the chipmunk headed up the tree, and so did Brutus's face!! At first I was afraid that he had knocked himself out, but he was up on his feet in a few seconds smelling all over the place for that chipmunk, and the little stinker was about ten feet up in the tree looking down at him like "oh my God, I can't believe you just ran into the tree!". I could almost hear him laughing. It was like watching Tom and Jerry in real life!

Poor Brutus. His nose is missing some of it's black color, and he has a pretty good gash on his cheek, but thankfully those are his only visible injuries. His pride on the other hand, I'm not so sure about.

Dad's Been Warned

It is a beautiful day here at the lake, and where's Brutus??? He's been in the garage for the last two hours, sitting in basically the same spot, whimpering. It's 10:30 AM, and he woke up at 7:30 AM. The first hour was spent getting a belly rub, stretching out and going potty. Then IT happened. A chipmunk went zipping past him in the garage. It must have panicked and not known where to go, because it chose to hide in Don's lawn mower. (Yes, I said Don's. I'm OK with that.) Brutus has been guarding it ever since, certain that he will be there for this critters grand exit. This is bad news for two reason.
1) We all know what kind of damage rodents can do to machinery. I already emailed Don to warn him that he might need to come prepared to fix some internal damage to his lawn mower.
2) I can guarantee that Brutus WILL get his prey, which means I will have to pick up the poor little guy. Yuck, yuck and yuckity yuck!!

And Tuesday begins...................................................................

Monday, June 28, 2010

Me too......Me Too!!!

I know that I've mentioned this a couple times, at least, but this summer Don and I celebrated our 25th Wedding Anniversary. After the first couple years when I realized he wasn't going to remember this date as being anything out of the ordinary, I had to change my mind set so I wouldn't get upset with him every year when June 15th rolled around. It was either be on my own bandwagon of "be angry for an entire day" or be on his bandwagon of "every day is a good day". (Usually)

So, when this year rolled around, we didn't plan anything exceptional either, other than I went back to the Cities and had a nice dinner with him. But, Don's parents were very kind, and bought us a lovely tree for our yard. When we first bought our lake home, we literally had no next door neighbors. There was a two story garage, but it was two lots away, so we lived in total secluded bliss! Then, the first summer up here, the bulldozer pulled in. It actually pulled in too frickin early for my taste, to the point that I was about ready to call the county and complain, but things are done a little different in the country than they are in the city, and I decided I should be neighborly and keep my mouth shut, at least for a while. Before I knew it, I had a big old (new) house sitting right next to me, and I was very NOT happy about it. My privacy was gone. The couple that moved in are certainly nice enough, and at this point they are only rare weekenders from Illinois, but I wanted the privilege of being able to go outside in my jammies in the morning and not have to worry about who is looking at me! So, we started planting trees and lilac bushes like you wouldn't believe. I'm sure the neighbors have questioned many times just exactly what our problem is, but the only problem is that we enjoy the pure peace and quiet, and privacy, that the lake home has to offer.

Back to the gifted tree. So, Don's parents wanted a picture of us with our tree. When they were here to visit in June, we didn't get around to getting that done, and we were having trouble coordinating having someone run over to take the picture, so I set up the tripod and read the instructions for setting the timer on my new camera. In comes Brutus to this story. Brutus doesn't like to be left out of anything. The whole time I'm setting up the "shot", Don is holding his place over behind our new tree. Once I got everything set up, I ran over to the tree and was "trying" to get in the picture before all ten shots went off. Brutus wanted to be in the picture too, and even though we did get a nice picture where both Don and I are actually looking at the camera, below is my favorite. Brutus came running with me, and it was almost like he was saying, "wait, wait, where should I stand?". That boy melts my heart.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Look Dad.....No Leash

I wanted to get Brutus out and moving a little today, so I decided I would start out the day by putting on his tone collar in a very cheery happy voice, and with treats. It did no good. He turned right in to a big pile of pouty pooch. First he dug his feet in on the drive way and wouldn't move, and then he went under my car. After letting him mope for a good hour, and trying to coax him out of his bad mood with a good belly rub, I finally caved and took him off leash. I decided that if he went in to the poison ivy patch after a chipmunk, so be it. These feet were not going after him. I took my last Benadryl this morning, and I had no intention of getting showered and dressed and driving thirty minutes to get more, so I was going to be very very careful!

The transformation in him was undeniable, and frankly, a little depressing. It's depressing in the sence that he completely changes his attitude when his leash is taken off and he's given the freedom to run, and it means that that deep fear in me comes to the surface that he might run away again. I love love love to see my boy happy and free, and that's the ultimate goal, but it's just so scary. So, I put on my brave face (trying to look very confident) and said "let's go bud", and to the back yard we headed.
In true Brutus fashion, he headed right for the back steps where the chipmunks love to play. It was like a scene from a cartoon. At least three chippies went scattering in different directions. He ran up and down the steps a few times, and then just as I figured, went off to the side of the house where the poison ivy is and chased a few critters in the woods. I could hear him the whole time, and I knew he wasn't leaving our property, so I headed down to the lake to take some pictures. We had a mama bird that laid some eggs under the pontoon boat this spring, and they hatched some time in the last week and a half, and her nest was one solid little bundle of fur and beaks. It was really cute. Hopefully they will grow up really fast and get booted from their nest before next week when Don's brother and family come to spend a couple days with us, because boating and fishing on the pontoon is usually one of the highlights of our visit with them. I would hate to not only let them down, but I would also hate to drown five baby birds!

When I was finished getting out from under the boat, I called for Brutus to follow me to the front of the house, and after a little friendly coaxing, he did. I was so relieved. I was taking some more pictures of some flowers in the front of the house, and I heard a splash, and here's big old Brutus sitting in his kiddie pool. I can honestly say that no one can rock a purple kiddie pool like Brutus. I think I was forgiven for insulting him with the tone collar, and he managed to get a little exercise and have some fun. And, no critters were killed in the process. :) For a change

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Change In Attitude

After my last post, I decided I better change my attitude. I'm still feeling unhappy about a few things, but I need to bring some happiness into the day too. So out came some Fla-Vor-Ice! Brutus loved them, and was absolutely adorable as he worked to get the ice out of the tube. Smiles all around.

Today Is A Yucky Day

Today feels like a yucky day. It's hard to say what exactly is making it a yucky day to me, because I have a long list of negatives zooming through my head. There are obviously some days in our lives that are wonderful from morning to night, some that seem horrible, and some that fall in between. I am most content with those that fall in between, but today is not one of those, darn it.

For starters, my feet still itch from the very small amount of poison ivy that I managed to get into last weekend when I was rounding up Brutus when he was on an off leash chipmunk chase. He was being a dog, and he didn't leave our yard, but I am starting to get tired of him wanting to "play" with chipmunks, and "accidentally" killing them. Then he has to sit and pout with it for a few hours, and it is horrifying. It is actually what he is doing at this very moment, and it grosses me out. Typically, I would have him in the house, in the tub with his tooth brush in his mouth, but the Benadryl I took for my feet has me tired, and as you can tell, a little, mmmm, make that a LOT, grumpy.

On to more complaining. It's hot and humid. I know that I should be outside weeding or walking the dog or doing something, but I can't stand it. A while ago I stepped outside with my reading glasses on to check on Brutus (and his dead body that he is guarding) and when I came back in my glasses fogged up a bit. I'm thinking I probably shouldn't have written that fact, because it might mean that my air conditioning is a little too low, but I'm not changing it!! I know it's extremely hot, because during that same trip outside, a paint turtle was trying to climb the side of the kiddie pool that I have set up for Brutus to take a swim. He was only about eight inches across, so I carefully picked him up by his sides and carried him down the hill to the lake. No need to swim next to the dog (and the dead chipmunk, grrrrr).

I also walked downstairs today to find that Princess, our oldest kitty, had thrown up on the carpet in the family room. Not just a little vomit, but projectile vomit. I decided the best bet was to let it dry, vacuum it up and then start with the carpet shampooer. It is virtually impossible to have a clean house for more than a day with four animals living here, and by the end of the weekend after ignoring the housework for two full days when Don is here, I feel like I have to start all over from the very beginning. Grumpy grumpy grumpy. Oh my god. I can barely stand myself today!

Last, but I'm sure not least, I have been taking doxycycline for almost two weeks now for lymes, and my joints are still very achy. I have no idea if this is normal or not, but I don't like it. I'm used to walking every day with Brute, and generally moving around quite a bit, and I just don't feel like it. My ear ache went away in about three days, so I'm keeping my fingers crossed that the achy joint business will also go away soon. One week of antibiotics to go. It isn't the nicest of meds. The sun feels horrible in a very short amount of time, and it's very hard on the tummy.

So, now that I am done complaining, I promise, I am going to TRY to look at the positives for the rest of the day. There are many in my life. Some days they are just harder to remember than others! And, if I still don't feel like giving Brutus a bath and brushing his teeth, he just might have to sleep in the garage tonight. That thought finally brought a smile to my face, because seeing my big macho Brutus covered in vanilla oatmeal bubbles and chicken tooth paste makes me happy, and makes HIM very grumpy!! That'll teach him to play with chipmunks.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Back Where He "Thinks" He Belongs

Well, it's late Sunday night, and Brutus has been back at the lake now since Friday afternoon, and his life is back to normal. It's been a rough ride for a big boy that can't tell us what's wrong!!

Last Tuesday I headed back to Minneapolis with Brutus to spend my 25th wedding anniversary with Don, and to spend the last few days of Nick's vacation with him. Brutus loved the car ride there, but as soon as we got there, he seemed very leery. That's the only word I can really think of to describe it, at least the first night. He came in our room and jumped on the bed when we went to bed, but after a few minutes he jumped down and slept on the floor. Very strange. We used to have to make him get down, and he would just look at us with those big eyes and goofy eyebrows, and we would cave!

The next morning I got up to take him outside to go potty, and when he came in, he went right in to his crate (which he hates) which is in the basement (which he hates even more) and basically stayed there until Friday afternoon when Don got done with work and picked him up to head to the lake. It was just bazaar. He didn't want to eat, didn't want to go in the back yard, and didn't want to have anything to do with anybody. We weren't sure if he was sick, or just pouting because we took him away from his "playground'. Now that he's back at the lake home, I am "sort of" happy to say that he was just pouting. He's been jumping around and chasing any chipmunk that is silly enough to come within reach of his leash, he's been fishing on the dock and boat, and swimming numerous times. Life is back to what Brutus thinks it should be. He isn't happy that his Dad had to leave tonight, but he's starting to get used to the routine a little better, and seems to know that he'll be back in no time at all.

Brutus is going to have to learn to talk between now and September, because I am NOT going to be the one to tell Don that we can't move back to Minnesota because the dog won't be happy there!!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Brutus Likes Dairy Queen WAY Too Much!!

Yesterday I headed back to Minnesota to celebrate my twenty-fifth wedding anniversary with Don. Of course, that meant bringing Brutus with me. The cats can certainly stay alone for a couple days, but Brutus doesn't even like to be alone for a couple minutes! I left the lake right around lunch time, and decided I would stop part way home to grab a small bite to eat since I knew that Don and I would be going out for dinner. Let the fun begin!

We made it to Baldwin, and I figured a plain hamburger at Dairy Queen was probably a good option for Brutus, since his digestive system is starting to get back to normal after all of the company that we had, so I placed the order in the drive through and started to pull up. At that moment, I can guarantee that memories of the Baldwin Dairy Queen, and their awesome FREE dog treats which consist of an ice cream with a dog treat on top came rushing back to him. He got so "excited" that, lets just say, the lipstick came out of it's case in full force. There he is, in the front seat of my car, panting at the girl, pulling a little full frontal nudity. I'm dying, trying to tell him to "put it away" because there will be no ice cream today. Ugh. So embarrassing.

I always put a blanket over the seat when Brutus is in the car with me, so I'm trying to cover "him" up with the corner of the blanket with my right hand while I grab the bag from the poor girl in the drive through window on my left. I drove about five feet forward with no hands on the wheel until we were out of view, gave him his burger, and after dying for a few minutes, managed to make it back to the cities in one piece. Oh Brutus!!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Seems Like Forever

It feels like forever since I have been  on my "Brutus" blog. It's been a busy few days filled with family, food and tons of fun.

Last Tuesday, Don's parents came to the lake for a few days. Brutus thought this was amazing, and suddenly decided he was a poodle. He hasn't been one to jump in our laps, or lay on the sofas for a really long time. Probably not since the second week that he joined our family, but when Grandma and Grandpa arrived, he suddenly became a seventy-five pound lap dog. Thankfully no one was injured in the process! It started on Tuesday night when we were downstairs watching a movie. Let me preface this with the fact that Brutus does not like to hang out downstairs in the family room, and that's where we were watching the movie. He came bolting down the stairs, and first he jumped up on Grandpa's lap and gave him a nuzzle. He didn't stay there too long, and jumped back down. I figured his couch jumping was over, and all of a sudden, boom, he was on top of Grandma Marge. If you stretch him from toe to toe, I'm sure he is as tall as she is, and it came as quite a surprise to her since she had finally gotten to put her feet up to relax after a long trip from Illinois. I think he might have actually planted a kiss on her before being told to "get down". I will admit that I didn't scold him very loud. I was shocked that he did it in the first place, and frankly, it was kind of cute, if you throw in the disclaimer that I really didn't want her to get hurt!! In other words, Brutus would NOT be making a habit of this. Then he came over to me and laid himself on my body and decided to stay put for a while. He was so happy to have company. I truly think that I bore him to death, and my treats aren't nearly as good as the ones that Grandpa "sneaks" him. lol

On Thursday, Nick flew in from Columbus, and as soon as he landed in Minneapolis, he and Don headed for the lake. When they got here, Brutus was so over the moon that he couldn't even control himself. He can literally jump five feet in the air. Not sure how he pulls that one off, but it is amazing. Sometime I'm going to get a hold of a video camera to prove that I'm not lying. You'd think that he had little springs in his ankles.

I spent Friday in Eau Claire with my mom, so Brutus got to play with everyone else, and apparently had fun. Don worked a lot more with him on being off of his leash this weekend, without the tone collar, and he's getting so much better. I put the tone collar on him on Saturday when my mom and Carsten got here, and he just melted to the ground. It was almost as if he was saying "I get it already".  BUT, about the time that I would trust him when I was here alone, we'd have another duck incident and I'd find him across the lake, or a chipmunk would go tearing across the road. I think I need a few more weekends of double parenting to reinforce the whole "come" or "heel" or whatever command he'll absolutely listen to. I have been finding that "no" actually works pretty well too. There were nine people total here on Saturday, and I'm very happy to say that Brutus did great. He loved everyone, didn't take any of the food off of the counter or table and didn't seem to get stressed out from all of the activity. We are all his family, so that helped too.

Today everyone is gone, and Brutus is back to being a little bored (I'm sure) and sitting in the garage watching the rain and chipmunks go by. He's on a lean hamburger and rice diet for a couple days to get his digestive system working normally again, because I wouldn't want to miss out on picking up poop, and I am in recovery mode too. In the process of picking a bazillion ticks off of my boy, one of those little buggers with lymes bit me and gave me the bug, so now it's recovery time. A couple days of sleep, and I will be as good as new. It was a great week and weekend. Thank you to everyone for coming to visit!! : )

Friday, June 4, 2010

Who Said Dinosaurs Were Extinct?

June seems to be turtle egg laying month at Marsh Miller Lake, and Brutus has had more than a little fun watching the "Paints" go walking by. If he all of a sudden starts barking out front, the one thing he can be trying to tell me other than the fact that there is yet another chipmunk out there, is that another turtle is in the drive way. Usually when I get to the door, he is standing there looking at the poor thing, and barking, and it is all tucked away in it's shell. The paint turtles that come up from the lake to lay their eggs are about 6-8 inches across, and fairly harmless, although Ashley could tell you a great story about having one grab onto her finger. It eventually turned into a frisbee and went flying into the lake, along with a few cuss words!

This morning I looked out the back window toward the lake, and at first I thought maybe that darn duck from yesterday was feeding in the yard. Then I got looking a little closer, and realized it wasn't moving like a duck. I grabbed my binoculars and saw that it was a snapping turtle, and not just "A" snapping turtle, but a monster. This guy looked like he had been around the block a couple hundred years. The great part?? He's heading up the yard to lay some eggs, and say "hey" to Brutus. Exit, stage left. Brutus will be in the house during this event.  As you can see, bringing Brutus in the house was a good idea, since the turtle is holding onto Brutus's outdoor leash in the photo below. That could have been really really bad.

To all my dear friends that have been here to spend time with us and know how much I have wanted to see one of these monsters, you got me. The closest I have come to "seeing" one was with my nephew Cody last summer, and it was more of a head bob than the whole shebang. We had seen the head, and then it went under. About ten minutes later Cody asked his wonderful Aunt Sheri if she would go swimming with him. How do you tell your nephew "no", so in we went. His mom Lori came in too, and we were hanging out on those noodle things. Every time our legs would accidentally touch each other, we made sure to ask if it was "us", or if the turtles had come after us. After seeing this big girl in my yard, I might have to actually think twice about being the fun Auntie. Holy Turtle Shell!!! Those cement squares are eighteen inches across. She is huge.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Mom Took A Head Dive Into The Lake

Yep. It's only 1:30 in the afternoon, and today has already been a very eventful day. I need to head into town to get some major grocery shopping done today because I haven't really done any for a couple weeks, but I decided that first I would take Brutus for a good walk, and maybe a swim. It's a beautiful morning, and I always feel bad when I have to kennel him, so it sounded like a plan. The best made plans are typically the ones that bite you in the ass!

We headed down the drive way, and since it rained yesterday and we didn't get a walk in (because he was too busy snuggling with his dead chipmunk) he was really eager to go, and the first thing he did was wrap himself around a tree at the end of the driveway, so I called him back while I was pulling on the leash, and he slipped right out of his collar. Of course the first thing going through my head was a two hour escape, but I managed to get a "COME" out of my mouth. He took off. Oh God Oh God Oh God. What is that word that he knows? Think think think!!! Oh yeah, it's heel. I yelled HEEL, and he sat right down on the spot. Whew. Tragedy, and my entire day being spent waiting for a dog to come home, averted. I put the collar back on him, loved him up, and off we went.

I have to say that I have been a little hesitant to walk him the past few days anyway because there is a momma bear with three babies hanging out in our neighborhood, and she's been spotted twice this week within what would be about a block from our home. Some people have said that if you see a bear, you should get as big as possible and make a bunch of noise and it will scare them off. Others have said to stand perfectly still and leave them alone. Personally, I would first wet my pants, and then I can guarantee that I would stand perfectly still out of sheer terror. Now Brutus on the other hand would probably look at the three little cubs and say "wow, they are just my size, lets go mom" and off he would drag me. He, and I, would be lunch.

So we're walking along, and I swear to God that the dear flies have grown overnight from the rain into the size of large bumble bees. Brutus, at any given time, has about five riding on his back. He seems oblivious to them. I, on the other hand, have about three bites on my arm that are swelling nicely. We're doing great so far. :)

By the time we get back to the house, we are both pretty hot. I grab a second bottle of water and suggest to Brutus that we go for a swim. He knows exactly what that means, and he is definitely game. We're walking down the hill to the lake, and the whole time we're going down I'm thinking what a good boy he is being. He's staying in our yard, and not trying to scoot through the woods to the neighbors, and he isn't pulling on the leash, which is a good thing because I'm using the long leash which is actually one of those really rough ropes that burns your hands if it gets pulled through them. And this is where my dream sequence ends.

I am literally jerked to reality. We are just about to the lake, and all of a sudden I am at the edge of the lake on the bank, then on my knees, and then in the lake. I have lost a hold of the leash somewhere in there, and Brutus is already swimming past the dock after a duck. Holy crap. I stood up and tried to get my whits about me and brush off some of the rocks stuck to my palms so I could figure out what to do. Nothing. That's what. There was literally nothing I could do at that exact moment other than get out of the lake and stand on the dock yelling for him to HEEL, which sounded absolutely ridiculous because we weren't walking!! Thankfully the nut head started to run out of breath, so he started swimming back toward the dock, and I was able to get a hold of the rope, but as soon as I did, the stupid duck came swimming back toward him, and Brutus took off again. Bloody finger from the rope. Yahoo. I managed to get the rope again, and hook the end of it onto one of the posts on the dock, and I literally stood there for a good ten minutes (soaked) while he swam and ran back and forth in place choking himself. I finally caught him by the collar (which if you remember isn't all that tight) sat him down on the dock and repeatedly said "No Ducks". He just looked at me like "you've got to be kidding mom, I'm a lab". I had to walk with him all the way up the hill and to the front of the house with  him between my legs and holding onto his collar. He was breathing so hard, and kind of whimpering. It's hard to tell in this picture, but my shoes are soaked. Ugh.

Two biggies here. 1)I didn't have his tone collar on him. Lesson learned. Would it have made a difference? Not sure, but it would have been worth a try. Although, I'm not sure that my end of the control would have worked if it landed in the lake.
2) I didn't have my camera with me THANK GOD!!! My laptop just got sent in for repairs, and I swear that I could have just about bought a new laptop for what they are charging to repair it. If I would have hurt my new camera, I would have been absolutely devastated.

So, I am NOW going to go grocery shopping, and Brutus is going to go in his kennel, and you know what, today I am not going to feel bad. I think his day has been very active and fulfilling, the little shit.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

So Unbelievably Gross!!

There are pictures that I could have taken today of my big boy that would have made the average person gag, or at least feel quite sad.  I took some bad ones, but trust me, I only posted one that is hiding the evidence.

As I've posted in the past, Brutus has this incredible fascination with chipmunks. They taunt him and tease him, and he loves it. He spends most of his day on high alert chasing them and trying to figure out where they are.

Well, today, he got one. To be honest with you, I don't think he meant to kill it. We were headed out through the garage where his tie was. It had been raining all morning, so that's where I had brought him in, and then shut the garage door. He went trailing off in front of me on our way back out, and came back a couple minutes later with a very limp chippy in his mouth, so excited that he could hardly stand it. He put it down in front of me and jumped around like the best thing ever had just happened. Then he kind of stopped. He poked it a little, and jumped back like he was waiting for it to take off, but of course it didn't. He looked so confused. He picked it back up and went to the door of the house. No way was that gonna happen!! It took everything I had to reach around his neck and get a hold of his leash so I could hook his tie onto him and open the garage door, with the hope that he would take the poor thing outside and leave it there.

What does he do? He takes it out to the front of the house in the plants where they usually play chase, puts it down and does the same little dance like he's saying "come on, lets go!". All it did was lay there and get wet in the rain, which made it look even more pathetic. He looked up at me with these big sad eyes, and when I made the mistake of saying "it will be OK", he picked it up to bring it in the front door. No no no, still not happening. I had to close the door and leave my sad boy standing there. Yuck. The dead mouse in the trap last week was bad enough. This was beyond my abilities.

The last time I looked out the door, he had the very wet, very dead chipmunk laying on his little bed with him. I took a DentaBone out to him so he could at least freshen his breath a little. I know. Stop laughing, but it is just too gross. I still haven't decided what to do about this situation. The chippy is NOT coming in the house, and Brutus doesn't seem to want to leave it, so the saga will continue. Ugh!!!