Thursday, February 24, 2011

Pack Therapy

We've enlisted a few friends to help Stella retrieve her charming social skills. There were featured here a few months back. In order of appearance, they are Linus, Arthur, Opie (way in the back of the group shot) and Fiona Tina (not pictured; who can barely walk these days at sixteen, but still likes to walk the perimeter of the cemetery looking for rabbits. She also manages somehow to get light on her feet when she sees us coming and never fails to sidle up next to me for a little love) Stella seems to know she's elderly and doesn't give her even the slightest bit of guff. I love to hang out with this bunch because they are their own pack. Stella's a guest and she knows it.

The ever lovable Minnie Pearl was finally adopted this week, a mere six months after I liberated her from madness. I hope her new owner gives her the love and respect she deserves.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Rabbit Patrol

Stella and I met some friends at City Cemetery this morning. We arrived before they did and managed to experience the only five minutes of blue sky and sunshine that occurred all day. I'm not exactly sure what she's looking at in this photo but I suspect it was a rabbit or a bird or a little flag in the distance. Whatever it was, I was thrilled she didn't go racing off after it.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Face hugs & the head mare

Yesterday I took Stella with me to pick up our friend Walter. We went from his house to get some coffee and then on to the downtown library. Stella couldn't go in these places and Walter is somewhat disabled so I left them both in the car a couple of times and Walter (when he wasn't spilling coffee in my floorboard) noted that when I went into a place Stella never took her eyes off the door until I came back through it. I asked him if she cried or whined. He said "No, she just stands with her front feet on the console and looks through the windshield."

Normally, if we don't have any passengers, when I return to the car, she and I have what I call a face hug. I reach under her chin and pull her her head to mine from the outside. Her left cheek pressed against my right one (with her still standing on the console) the two of us thank our lucky stars that I made it back and that she was there when I did. As soon as I let go, I tell her to back up and she returns to the back seat planting herself next to a window. On rare occasions we manage to charm some nice person who happens to witness this little ritual from a nearby car proving yet again that warm fuzzy dog love is in fact, contagious.

Dog park update: I mentioned at the end of January that Stella had a bad day at the dog park, a bad day in that she was a bully to the other dogs for the first time since her puppyhood. We returned a day later and she did great. This past Tuesday we tried again and Stella ran all the big dogs and their owners out of the park with her loud vicious growling and bullying behavior. There was no biting but it was so pushy and mean, you wouldn't know she was trying to play; even the dogs were intimidated. Once the big dogs were gone and she was left with the little ones, she was happy as a clam. My friend Christine calls it wanting to be the "head mare" but according to the literature, one doesn't get to be the head mare via tyranny in fact, quite the opposite, so darling Stella has a ways to go. I tried taking her back yesterday (different park) and the same thing happened only this time the owners were a little more forgiving. I disciplined her by putting her on the leash and making her sit but I'm not sure she got the message until I actually caught her by the scruff of the neck once as she was tearing by me. She promptly fell down on her back and showed me the goods. I probably wouldn't have chosen the alpha roll myself but she was so busy being a menace and since she did it herself, I decided it was better than nothing. I definitely had her attention. So we had a quiet little chat right there in the dirt. All the other dogs (the ones she'd been roughing up) came by and smelled her up as well and once I let her up and brushed her off, she was a more polite version of herself. As of today, we're ramping up our exercise program and looking for big brave dogs to hang out with who will not put up with her nonsense. If anyone has any other suggestions or stories about your own dominant/ trouble-making/ bully dog I'd love to hear them. I'm not sure I'd use the word aggressive yet but she's definitely running the offense (despite the innocent pinup girl pose shown above).

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Tom Waits or Bob Dylan?

Borrowed the pictures from Crawdaddy where, if'n you're a fan of either of these gentlemen, you'll find a wonderful trail of bread crumbs that leads to something that can only be described as audio treasure.

Here's another

We tweeted a few months back about a book of poetry from Mr. Waits and it appears that the time of its release is upon us. Enjoy.

Saturday, February 5, 2011


Sorry to interrupt our regularly scheduled programming but there is still the matter of Minnie Pearl. Some of you may remember that back in August, I confiscated a young mama cat and her three kittens from a neighbor who, when originally asked about having her cat spayed, looked at me like I was an idiot and said: "There aren't any male cats around here."

Then one day she called me up shocked and said: "Susan, something happened; there are kittens all over my dining room."

"Really [insert name here]?"

"And, I didn't even know she was pregnant!"

"Must have been immaculate conception," I said.

"Go ahead, say I told you so - but I'm going to need you to take them up to the pound." [she's disabled] "When they're big enough," she added.

"Sorry, can't help you there." I said.

"You won't do it?"

"Kill a litter of kittens? No, I won't."

"They wouldn't kill them," she said, "they're kittens!"

Two weeks later, she called back and pretending like we hadn't had this conversation, she told me again how cute the kittens were and asked me to come and take them to Animal Control. I advised her to flush the kittens down the toilet and cut out the middle man. (Note: just in case anyone reading this thinks I'm serious - please think again) I was hoping to enrage her in the same way her stupidity had enraged me. I saw this entire scene play out in my mind the first time she ever showed me her new kitten eight months earlier. She shamed me for suggesting such a thing and said she could never hurt kittens. I assured her that she already had but agreed to come and get them on condition that she give me the mama cat too; the cat she presumably loved.

Ten minutes later, all four of them were living in my basement. That was August.

Roy, Buck, and Lulu were adopted less than two weeks after I got them vetted and placed at PetSmart. Minnie Pearl who grew into a beautiful adult, is still waiting. She has spent a lot of time (thanks to Nashville Cat Rescue) at Hundred Oaks and Cool Springs and a couple of weeks ago, I brought her home for a cage break. Stella and Gigi (my cat) made her feel insecure at first but she's slowly getting the hang of things. She's made friends with Domino, our neighbor cat who spends the night occasionally and they play together running through the house like little banshees. It sends Stella to the moon.

I say all that to say this: If you or anyone you know is looking for a cat with a big personality, a history and some real potential, I can hook you up.
Pass it on.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011


We're there in the kitchen, the two of us. I empty the wax paper tube of the last few Ritz crackers, toss it in the trash can, and open a fresh one. I take a few crackers out, twist the top closed and drop it into a big bowl on the counter. I carry the plate of cheese and crackers into my office and sit down at the computer. Time passes.

You know how when you have children and they get into stuff and suddenly you realize you haven't heard them in a while? That's what happened. When I snapped to attention I heard a licking sound. The sound of paper, wax paper, scooting across old linoleum. I stepped around the corner and there stood Stella in the middle of the kitchen floor, head down, caught in the act. All I thought of was the new pack of crackers. So instead of thinking that she'd lifted the old paper out of the can (which is what happened), in my head - she'd just finished an entire pack of new crackers. The look on my face apparently conveyed this thought rather well. I say that because the second our eyes met - Stella tore out of the room past me, ran into her crate and laid down.

Fifteen minutes later, I said "Alright Stella, you've suffered enough," and she stood up and walked out.

What does your dog do when it knows it's done something bad?

One last chance to win the final calendar; leave us a comment in that post that's linked on in the sidebar there. The drawing is tomorrow night!