Friday, June 25, 2010


For the last twenty one months, this is the first thing I see every morning.
Six - six-thirty.
I can pet her head and say "Go lie down Stel". And she does.
It's so sweet I usually go ahead and get up.

It's Take Your Dog to Work Day. If any of you had the chance to take your dog to work, we'd love a report.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Pool Party

So, the baby pool was a huge hit. I'm not sure the pictures convey it but Stella had a lot of fun playing in it and I only had to remove her teeth from the puffy, blow-up rings twice. I guess it was an idle threat. We all know if she'd really been biting it that thing would be flat right now.
A few weeks back wewent to an event called Dog Day in May and a guy from one of the local big pet stores gave us a bag of party favors. He put five frisbees in it, which I (blindly) thought was excessive. I flew the first one - the very first one - and by the time Stella got back to me with it, it was destroyed. There were like nine holes in it and it was permanently warped; a goner. Okay Stella. We get it. She needs industrial toys.

Moving on to an entirely different topic, I continue to be amazed at the number of kids who approach us and ask me if they can pet Stella. Granted, she does get out a lot and some kids don't have the chance to interact with dogs but I don't think I'd let my own child run up to a strange dog. A few posts back I wrote that she's still spooked by kids but now I'm thinking it might just be certain kids and the way they approach her. If I were to be honest, I'd have to say that my response usually feeds it. Just minutes after one of her latest kid-friendly bursts of crazy energy - we stopped at one of the neighbor's houses where there's a three year old girl with two Boxers. This child sat on the deck and ignored Stella which I'm happy to report took Stella completely by surprise. It was the exact right thing to do. I was thirty feet away.

So, Friday night when a seven(ish) year old girl at the ballpark, ran over and asked me if she could pet my dog I agreed but asked her to stand still and only look at me for a minute. She got this serious expression on her face and asked (more specifically now) if Stella would bite her.

"No, never" I said, but she might jump at you because she's a dingy girl who gets excited if you're excited. This was language that apparently she could understand. A minute later she was petting Stella and reciting the same speech to her three siblings all of whom were standing around now petting her and telling me about their dog - Leo. When we walked away Stella smiled at me and had a little skip in her step that wasn't there before.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Birthday Girl

This day in history from
On this day in 1884, the first roller coaster in America opens at Coney Island, in Brooklyn, New York. Known as a switchback railway, it was the brainchild of LaMarcus Thompson, traveled approximately six miles per hour and cost a nickel to ride. The new entertainment was an instant success and by the turn of the century there were hundreds of roller coasters around the country.
Today is birthday number two. I got Stella a baby pool. She hasn't seen it yet but I'll be sure to take a picture, I think she'll be pretty excited. Last week we were walking around the neighborhood and stopped in at her friend Banjo's house to play for a few minutes. For the second time in two weeks, she commandeered the baby pool so I decided to get her one of her own to splash around in. It's 95 degrees outside so it shouldn't be too hard to get her in it.

The Bumble Bee ride (shown above) was built in 1961.

Monday, June 14, 2010

View from the not-so-cheap seats

Sometimes when I tell people I got Stella from a carnival, they look crestfallen. They imagine all manner of abuse and neglect and her being a pitbull only magnifies their immediate suspicion. It isn't a big leap really what with the stories we hear every day in the news but in a general sense, it's completely wrong. Those who automatically think road dogs and cats have it bad, should really think again. Talk to the three felines who live in this motor home. This little clan lives in air conditioned bliss and despite their close quarters, they even have their own dog. Dolly.

It was rumored that while she is extremely lovable and well-adjusted, Dolly does have a little bit of an oral fixation. While Rod and Kathryn are at work, Dolly gets bored occasionally and that's when the cabinet doors start teasing her. Couch cushions snicker behind her back. Her owners remedied the problem with a cloth muzzle which seemed to do the trick.

She went for the piping on those nice captain-style chairs, you know the ones; it's possible after all, to still nibble with the cloth muzzle on.

But here's the best part, ready?

One day mom left the bus and forgot to put the muzzle on Dolly.

No more muzzle. Ha! She chewed it to bits. Dogs the world over must have gotten a chuckle out of that one. Anyway, it has nothing to do with the three cats. I just thought someone should know that people who work on the carnival love and care for their pets just as much as the rest of us do.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Two weekends

We've had a run of busy weeks and weekends here but things are finally beginning to slow down. Last Saturday (Memorial Day weekend) we went to the big farm in Kentucky where my friend Beverly lives. Stella got to run free a little bit for short periods between the house and the barn. This is one of her favorite things to do in the known universe. Once she did take off into a cornfield and for a split second I thought I might throw up but she came back around after a few long seconds. I wish I had a picture of the look on her face when she busted out into the open again. It was electric. We took a drive over to Liz's house which is on the river. I've never actually been to Iowa but the Iowa in my head looks just like the drive from Beverly's house to Liz's. There is corn and more corn and most anywhere you turn on the road, it looks the same.

There were three dogs (two regulars and one visitor) at Liz's house, Jerry, Tank, and Super Rover. Stella didn't get to meet that crew (and sadly, missed a chance to learn how to use a dog door) but she did get to visit with her old friends Smiley & Pepper. Smiley took possession of Stella's bed right away and of course, she just gave it up, no problem. He is old and lovable and crotchety.

This last Saturday, and I'm guessing because God knows I will never get in that dog's head, but I believe Stella had one of the best days of her young life. At first she must have been skeptical because we traveled (sans air conditioning) in 90 degree weather, to a memorial service hosted by our friend Barney's hospice care workers. This included thirty or so grieving families, a piano player, three Chaplains, a couple of kids, and just to prove God has a sense of humor, a woman with a Pit Bull. I was really pleased they let me bring her in though. I wouldn't have been able to go otherwise. It was all good going in (even on the elevator) but she wasn't totally clear on why she had to lie down and be still for an hour and a half. She made it all the way through with only a couple of minor infractions. Her main concern early on was the piano player but each time she zeroed in on him, I managed to catch and distract her. My biggest fear was that she'd bark when someone sang or prayed. Or that when I got up to light Barney's candle, she'd assume it was her cue to trot through the room doing her nutball impersonation. Thankfully, she didn't. She stayed. It was beautiful.

As a reward for her good behavior during this bereavement-type activity, we left there and went on another few miles to the (legendary) Gemini Party on Old Hickory Lake, where Stella, a Gemini herself, strolled around in her life jacket a little, made thirty or forty new friends, lost her tags, found 'em and assumed clean up duties of any splattered grease found under or around the grill. She took more than one swim in the baby pool, went next door and crashed a wedding, although not in a big "We got you on the video" kind of way, met a dog named Murphy Brown, ate some ribs and generally just had a blast for the ensuing six hours, as did I. All of this made for an extremely happy dog and a such a peaceful Sunday I can't even describe it.