all in a dog’s day

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is it morning yet? jump on mom to wake her up, nope, she’s not up yet, go out to the pen to see if anything happened overnight ,jump on mom again to wake her up, yea! she’s crawling out of bed, time to eat breakfast, follow mom outside to retrieve the newspaper, time for an early morning nap, ok, mom’s left for work, let’s chew up the newspaper before Malcolm gets to read it, sigh, check to see if there is anything new in the dog bowl, rats! nothing! take another nap, roll over and stretch, emit a bad  dog fart, sigh, head bump Malcolm for a quick rub on the ears, take another nap, wake up barking at some noise, sigh, counter-surf for crumbs – sigh, let’s go bug Malcolm, bark some more at nothing, fanegale a treat out of Malcolm, check out the kitchen floor for a quick nibble – something new might have fallen from the counter, rats! nothing – sigh, tear through the house to the outdoor pen, something might be out there,  track dirt back in the house, beg for a doggie treat, sigh, bark some more to annoy Malcolm, plop down and sigh, when is mom coming home from work? sigh, fart, bark at a car driving by, do another drive-by in the kitchen – rats again! nada – go for a walk with Malcolm – yippee! – get home and take another nap, it’s dinner time, burp, fart, run through the house and slide on the rug – yippee! – mom is home – yippee! – let’s go give her a welcome attack, bark, bark, bark, bark, jump up on mom to give her a dog hug, beg for another dog snack cuz mom doesn’t know Malcolm already gave us one, take a nap, follow mom and Malcolm around the house from room to room, is it bedtime yet? put head back down, watch mom clean up in the kitchen, any crumbs? rats! nothing! now it’s time, jump on bed and curl up to mom, cuddle, roll over for a belly rub, cuddle, nudge amore over so dolce can get closer, get dog hair all over the down pillows, stretch, roll over for one last cuddle, ohhh siiiiggghh –

good night y’all!

Sunday tradition

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Monday through Friday, I am the one to feed the girls their morning meal. Early.  5:00 a.m. early.  Our dogs are conditioned to enjoy their breakfast at the crack of dawn, when it’s still dark and cold out.  Once their bellies’ are full, they settle back down on their huge dog pillows for a little morning shut-eye as I sip my coffee and read the paper before I leave for work.

Come the weekend, my wonderful, sweet hubby gets up early to feed Amore and Dolce, allowing me to sleep a couple more hours before I start the day.  For some perverse reason, on the weekends, the girls start scrambling for their breakfast  around 4:00 a.m.  They’ll come around to the side of the bed, checking to see if one of us is up yet, being sure to whack their tail several times for good measure.  On a good day, they might wait until 4:30 a.m. before starting their wake-up antics.  If need be, Amore will jump up on the bed and sit on one of us in her attempt to get fed.  It’s about this time, I’m kicking Malc in the back, “it’s your turn to feed’em!” I mumble.

Blurry eyed, and three-quarters still asleep, he stumbles out to the dark kitchen, tripping over 200 excited pounds of two hungry dogs in their mad bid for their kibbles.  From the other room, I hear several choice words spewing loudly from his lips as his bare feet and legs are clawed by dog paws in their eagerness to be fed. I hear the clank and clatter from their metal dog bowls being pushed around the hard floor as they devour their food.  Then quiet. Blissful quiet.  Wonderful-fall-back-to-sleep quiet.  While the girls are still chowing down their food, Malc will crawl back into the still warm bed, staking out his territory on the mattress.  He has about 2 minutes to fluff his pillows and get comfortable before the girls search us out, climbing up on the bed to snuggle in for a few more hours.  A half hour later, Gordita joins the family snugglefest, stepping over fur and bodies to curl up on a down pillow.

By the time, I’m ready to rise, I have two dogs stretched out on each side of me and a cat up on my pillow loudly purring in my ear, a black cat tail draped across my face. I can’t move.  I look over at Malcolm and see a slight smile peaking through the covers.  “Psst! You awake?”, I persist in waking him.  One visible eye opens, we share a contented, loving look as we view our menagerie nestled on the bed.  Our family.  It brings a warm hug to our hearts.

Sunday morning is our special day of the week to laze around, read the paper, drink our coffee, share breakfast.  It’s turned into tradition, having our girls curled up around us as we read the comics, the OpEd page, the local news, sipping hot coffee, being careful not to spill any on the covers.  Breakfast turns into brunch, but who cares, it’s our lazy day to enjoy our family.

RASPBERRY PANCAKES

Perfect for those lazy Sunday mornings, these cakes are light and fluffy – the secret is taking the time to beat the egg whites separately.

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 cup non-fat milk (may use buttermilk)
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 2 tsp. lemon zest, finely grated
  • 2 large egg whites (save extra egg yolk for your canine friends)
  • 3/4 cup sliced bananas
  • 3/4 cup raspberries
  • 1/4 cup raspberry jam (heated in microwave)
  • 1 cup vanilla yogurt

In a medium bowl, sift together flour, baking powder and salt, set aside.  In a small bowl, whisk together milk, egg yolk and zest.  Set aside.

Beat egg whites with an electric mixer until stiff peaks forms.  Stir milk mixture little by little into the flour mixture.  Carefully fold in egg whites and then add the sliced bananas.

Spray non-stick cooking spray on a large non-stick skillet or griddle and warm over medium heat.  Ladle batter onto hot griddle using a 1/4 cup measuring cup to pour batter, making a hotcake.  Repeat until griddle is full.  Cook until bottom is set and golden brown, about two minutes.  Flip and cook until firm, another 2 to 3 minutes.  Set aside and cover to keep warm until you’ve cooked all the hotcakes.

Serve hotcakes topped with warm raspberry jam and vanilla yogurt and raspberries.

tail thumping

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tail thumper

tail thumper

Thump. Thump. Thump-thump-thump. Thump-thump-thumpity-thump. Whack! Whack-whack! Whack! C.R.A.S.H.

Knowing the difference between a one thump tail thunk and a whackity-whack wallop can rescue dog owners from future calamity. Here are descriptive clues on what each thump and whack really mean….

The ol’ one thump is clearly an insult, the slightest lift of their head, barely acknowledging something might be happening, perhaps an arch of the brow or a twitch of the ear. The effort to investigate is not worth moving from their dog bed of lethargy. You’ve been ignored. This is good. You can return to your baking.

A two or three or four tail-thump is an improvement – they have expanded enough energy to give you several beats of interest before emitting a loooong drawn out sigh. One eye ajar, wavering between going back to snoring or exploring the new development, this tail-thumper is classified as a true put-a-pond sign of disgruntlement. Your dog really doesn’t want to get up to probe but they also don’t want to miss anything. You’re safe. You’ve got a 90% chance dog dreams are more important than rising to sniff out their curiosity. Keep doing what you were doing.

Now a thumpity-thump-thump-thump is heading into the danger zone. Tail speed is kicking up, creating 30 mph winds. Eyes alert, standing at attention, you’ve piqued their interest and you’ve got 100 pounds of torque just waiting for the secret, silent signal to move. Let the cookies burn in the oven. MOVE. You need to divert disaster before it attacks you. The odds have swiftly moved up to a solid 69% chance of rapid canine involvement (RCI). Pay attention. Do. Not. Turn. Your. Back. On. Tail.

The whackity-whack tail whack will put TSA on red alert. Whacks of this type will inevitably bring a loud, vociferous collision of canine tail and object. Beware. Tail-whacking at this velocity can literally cause annihilation of your home. This whack is a weapon of mass destruction. Decorative couch pillows have known to blow up, millions of little white chicken feathers spreading like wild-fire throughout the house. Coffee cups shattered in one swoop of a frantic tail whack. Papers, mail and file folders flown into the air, scattering like blind mice on the run. Do not call 911. You are on your own here. At this point, you’re totally screwed. If you have any cookies left that aren’t burnt, I’d start eating.

COOKIE CRUNCHIES

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1 egg – well beaten
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 cup oatmeal
  • 1 cup corn flakes
  • 1/2 cup coconut flakes
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecan nuts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cream butter, sugars, egg and vanilla until smooth. Sift dry ingredients together and add to creamed mixture. Add oatmeal, corn flakes, coconut and nuts. Mix until blended.

Roll into small balls and place 2 inches apart on a greased baking sheet. Bake for 10-15 minutes.

WINK, WINK!

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DSC01111 Amore is our mischief-maker.  She is  85% imp, 15 % jokester and comedian.  Full-blooded Bernese Mountain Dog, full-thottle prankster, and full-of-it canine with a sneaky smile to match.

From day one, Amore has been  our trouble-maker.  She was the first to crawl out of the whelping pen, creating a mass ascension with her seven siblings, following in her paw steps.   She was the first to bark, yelp and whine, producing a chorus of noise, usually at night, usually late at night and usually with all her litter mates!  She was and still is the first to gobble up her chow, then proceeding over to Dolce’s bowl to impose a  feeding tax on any leftovers.   She was Tiamo’s first pick, the only puppy in the litter Mama loved to play with.  Amore was the first to discover the dog door, quickly learning if she went through the swinging flap, there was a bite of raw hamburger on the other side.  While a great training tool, the first night, she went back and forth through the doggie door for an hour straight looking for her treat.  At 2:00 a.m. we stumbled with barely opened eyes to the frig and found more ground burger to give her.  For the next week, that dog door was her best friend.

Amore loves to tease Malcolm.  When it’s time to load up in the car for a ride, she runs straight to the tailgate, fakes to the left before the jump in, swinging around the vehicle and on to the back field at a full run.  She’ll wait for Malcolm to come around the corner of the house before sprinting around the other side.  The cat and mouse game continues until Malcolm tires of walking around the house and Amore realizes she might be left at home.

I’ll never forget the first and only time I let Amore walk with me up to the road to retrieve the morning paper without a leash.  5:30 in the morning, pitch black skies with the sun still hiding in the far east, Amore takes off after a cotton-tail.  She recognized her freedom – the chase was on.  I tried everything to get her to return to me.  She would get within 10 yards and stay just beyond my reach.  I knew I needed to out trick the trickster.  Somewhere I had read to lay down on the ground and play opossum. In my skirt and high heels, I laid down on the gravel driveway with the Santa Fe New Mexican as my pillow.  I waited.  Amore waited.  One minute seemed like twenty, I heard the crunch of her paws on the gravel, I waited, eyes closed.  I felt a cold nose on my cheek and then several wet sloppy dog licks all over my face,  Amore checking to see if I was ok.   I grabbed her collar, refusing to let go of our 100 pound bunny chaser.  I gazed up at her and I swear I saw her wink at me.  She knew all along my intentions.  My golden moment of euphoria, having “won” the game, having outsmarted and outmaneuvered a canine comedian crumbled like broken chips at the bottom of the Frito bag.

That wink says it all.  With a twinkle in her eye, Amore is our prank-pulling pooch.   Her goofy grin, her playful antics, her doggy humor, her canine pranks, Amore has perfect timing with her delivery.  She knows the exact moment when to nose-nudge your elbow as you raise your glass of wine to take a sip.  She knows the exact moment when you go to sit on the couch and she beats you to your spot, then rolling over onto her back so you can’t pull her off the cushions.  She knows the exact moment when to rub up against you as you are leaving to go to an important meeting in your wool suit and you don’t have time to change out of your now dog-haired attire.  She knows the exact moment you are done fluffing the blankets and pulling up the bed covers as you prep for sleep, so she can jump up on the bed and curl up on your favorite down feathered pillows.

She knows the exact moment when to send you a wink and a smile, a grin and a chortle, reminding you not to take life so seriously.  She knows her doggy grin will get her out of trouble and her adorable canine chortle will let her stay on the bed.  Our winkster, Amore!

Curfew

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Prior to Tiamo, we had Thugs.  A cat.  A big cat.  A big cat with black tuffs on his ears and beautiful green eyes.  He had gray, white and black swirls on his sides and strips on his tail.  He was a cat that was king of his domain and by gawd,  he knew it.  He was unusual and unique.  Born into a barn cat litter, Thugs was the “bully” of the bunch.  He was a little Thug in the true sense of the word.  As a kitten, he would pounce on his litter mates, playing rough and acting tough.  As an adult cat, he would sit on his perch and give us a look of pure disdain.  Thugs was a great mouser and lizard chaser.  We would find remnants of his hunt on our front door step.  He tolerated being picked up but loved being petted, He mellowed as he aged, he loved to sit on Malcolm’s firm six-pack abs (hee hee) as Malcolm read the New York Times on the couch.  Cold mornings would find him curled up on our down pillows next to us, basking the comfort of the blanket’s warmth, evenings he would follow us from room to room waiting for us to go to bed.

He was 14 years old when we moved to New Mexico, land of bobcats, coyotes, snakes,  and cactus.  Most felines in New Mexico don’t live much longer than a few years, especially if they sneak outdoors when the back-door gets opened.  Thugs had already outlived his life expectancy for New Mexico by many, many years and now he was now on the bottom tier of the food chain.  But he was savvy and smart and stayed safe and he had a curfew.  We incorporated the 10 and 4 rule.  Thugs could only be outside between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.  Luckily, he usually stayed close to the house or napped on the portal.

Thugs wasn’t too happy with us when we brought Tiamo into the family.  He let Tiamo know real quick who was the boss with sharp claws to Tiamo’s curious nose within 5 minutes of being introduced.  Tiamo learned to keep her distance and in the beginning wouldn’t come into the room if Thugs was already there.  Tiamo would sit in the doorway, waiting for Thugs to move far enough away for her to enter.  If Thugs was on the couch, Tiamo would give him a wide berth around, eyeing the distance between cat claws and her nose.  Once Thugs trapped Tiamo in the utility room.  Laying down in the middle of the entryway, Thugs calmly cleaned himself, while Tiamo was nervously trying to figure out how to get around him and out of the room.  Within three months, they were inseparable.  Where Thugs went, Tiamo followed.  At five months, Thugs was strolling underneath Tiamo’s belly and at 9 months we would find them curled up together, Thugs gently purring, Tiamo emitting soft snores as she lay sleeping.  When they both were on the bed, Thugs would knead Tiamo until one of them would tired of the motion and jump off the bed.

At 17, Thugs was still going strong, abet slower, he had some hearing loss, and his vision was less clear.  Tiamo became his protector.  If Thugs was outside, Tiamo was his shadow, following Thugs through the junipers and chamiso, keeping tabs on his whereabouts.  When Thug’s 4 o’clock curfew hit, we would call Tiamo to “go get Thugs”.  Tiamo would round-up Thugs and herd him into the house.  “Find Thugs” was one of Tiamo’s favorite games.  Come close to curfew time and Tiamo would be sitting by the door, tail wagging, eagerly waiting to go “Find Thugs”.

When Thugs was 19 years old, he was too old to be let out.  He slept most of the time but could still jump up on the bed and knead Tiamo.  At 21 years, our little bully was aged and tired.  Eating less, losing weight, Thug’s curfew was up.  He lived to the ripe ol’ age of 21, almost 22 years of age. Twenty-one years!  Amazing!

Thugs was an amazing cat.  Tiamo and Thugs had an amazing friendship.  We should be so fortunate to have a companion to knead.

 

 

 

Snooze button

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The nose knows!

!UGH!  A cold wet nose is thrust upon my early morning dreams.  I look at the clock and try to focus on the blue digital numbers.  4:05 a.m.  There is still forty-five minutes before the alarm sounds off.  I try to ignore the persistent nose nudging under my elbow, desperately wanting and needing my 45 minutes of sleep.  Eyes closed, I feel  another nudge, this time on my hand that is dangling over the edge of the bed.  UGH! Dog slobber.   All over my hand.  I open my eyes just enough to check the time.  Dolce and Amore, with their twin noses within inches of my face, are eyeing me intently.  Two sets of eyes, shining brightly, eagerly waiting for me to get up and start the day.  My eyes raise to the alarm clock.  4:10 a.m. – 40 minutes left. It’s only been five minutes.  I close my eyes and pretend I’m asleep.

Whack!  A sand-crusted paw hits the bed, just missing my nose.  I am assaulted with dog-paw odor.  “Off”! I whisper, not wanting to wake up Malcolm.  Amore doesn’t listen and doesn’t care.  Another paw joins the first,  more sand.  I look up, Amore is peering down on me, happy dog drool dripping onto my cheek and neck.  UGH!  I go to wipe off the wet drops and smear wet sand all over me.  UGH! 4:20 a.m.  A half-hour nap is  my only hope.  Amore licks my face, a more persistent dog you’ll never see.  She.  Wants.  Me.  Up.  NOW!  I roll over, implementing the “if I can’t see you, you can’t see me” rule, feeling the rough sand  throughout the sheets.  UGH!  Amore’s  determination runs deep, she paws the bed covers, pulling my warm blankets inch by coveted inch off the bed into a soft mass on the floor.  4:37 a.m.  I am now freezing, dog-slobbered, sand-covered and wide-awake.  Malcolm is softly snoring, oblivious to my wake-up call.

Just then, Dolce leaps up on the bed, clears a sleeping Malcolm, and lands on me.  Phoof!  The oxygen is squished out of my lungs.  I gasp for breath, simultaneously pushing Dolce off me.  I manage to turn her around, only to have her victorious wagging tail in my face.  UGH!  Visions of sleeping extra minutes vanished along with all the air from my lungs.  4:43 a.m.  Not to be out done, Amore jumps onto the mattress, her paws digging into Malcolm’s legs for balance.  “W.T.F.!”  Malcolm is rudely awaken.

4:45 a.m. Five minutes til “Wake-Up with Wally” blasts out the top ten hits on FM 107.9.  I shut off the alarm with Wally and crawl out of bed, crawl being the optimal word.  The dogs are ecstatic they have early morning company.  Malcolm is grumpy from being woken up.  I am a snooze button away from being sane.

Just remember, there is no snooze button for a dog who wants breakfast!