Friday, October 30, 2009

Surfin' Safari

Otis went to the Doctor on Monday and they decided that he just had some sort of intestinal distress.

As part of his recovery, we are supposed to give him small amounts of Science Diet I/D until he can eat a half can and keep it down. We started out with about two tablespoons for his first meal and he gobbled it right up. Sixty minutes later, we saw it again.

Since the first night he's been able to keep it down. We've been slowly increasing the amount we give him and he inhales it right away, so it looks like his appetite is back.

Another clue that his appetite is back is the increased amount of "Counter Surfing" activity. We know Otis can get up high, because he frequently steals the dish towel hanging on the top rung of the oven. But lately, nothing is safe on the counter top. On Wednesday, Otis came bounding into the bedroom with a package of Lemmonheads candy that he grabbed off the counter.

This morning, we left Otis and Cooper alone while we were getting ready for work. The two biscuits Valerie left out for their morning snack was down to one by the time we got downstairs.

Of course, neither dog admitted to taking it.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Windy Days

Coop always has a spring in his step when he walks. On windy days, the spring becomes a bounce.

The instant that Coop steps out the door, he raises his nose and breathes in deeply. Coop's nose begins to twitch and he turns honing in on something I cannot smell.

Coop then leaps to the end of his leash, ready to take off after whatever is being carried on the wind.

I often wonder just what it is that Coop smells. Coop's view of the world must be so different from mine. Perhaps it is a better one, for Coop seems to find never ending delight in sunlight and shadows, blooming flowers, falling leaves and stone walls.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009


Oti loves to eat. Oti doesn't chew his kibble, but inhales and it disappears in 60 seconds. The instant Coop wanders away from his bowl, Oti runs over to check if there are leftovers.

We noticed on Friday that Oti's digestive system was not quite right, but were not overly concerned. However, when Oti showed no interest in food on Saturday and Sunday we began to worry.

We decided to try to get an immediate vet appointment on Monday. When Oti began vomiting on Mon morning, we knew for sure he needed a Doctor.

Dr Duffy was unavailable, but Jeff and Oti met with Dr. Levin at Norwalk Vet Hospital. Oti spent the day at the hospital, getting abdominal x-rays (checking for blockage or tumor), an IV, and antibiotics.

Thankfully, the x-rays showed no issues. The vet said there is a virus going around and Oti caught it. Oti is on a special diet until he recovers. Oti will not participate in play group this week.

Coop spent the day alone. Our dog walker left a note that said, "Coop did NOT seem to miss Oti at all". I get the feeling Coop liked the individual attention.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Big Mess

On Saturday night, there was heavy rain. I heard a crack and then a boom and thought this cannot be good.

Jeff went out to investigate and there were 2 large trees down near the pond.

The storm must have raged long after I fell asleep. All I know is that when we got up in the morning, Coop was no where to be found. We heard a thump, thump, thump and realized Coop was stuck under the bed. I don't know how Coop manages to squeeze himself into such a tight spot.

Clean up of the debris has started, but the trees are so large, it will take several days to complete. I guess I know what I will be doing next weekend.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Seeking Alpha

Everybody wants to be the "top dog", right?

One of Cooper's many quirks is he thinks he has to be the Alpha Dog of the pack. He is in constant turmoil trying to be the Alpha Dog yet be further down in the "pack" pecking order.

We've been working on leash training the dogs during their daily walks. In theory, Valerie and I are the "pack leaders" (we'll leave who is the true pack leader up to your imagination). As such, the dogs should be walking slightly behind us as we stroll down the street. If they get ahead of us, they get a forceful jolt on the collar followed by the most annoying buzzing sound. They both generally get it when they're walking alone.

When I walk them together, it's a different story. Cooper stays about one step behind me but one step ahead of Otis. You can tell from his gait that he knows he's going to get yanked back if he goes one more step up, but there's no way he's going to let Otis get ahead of him. If I stop walking, Cooper stops for a second to make sure Otis stops.

Otis is really a happy-go-lucky type of dog. He's happy to play second fiddle just as long as he is around people. Cooper is, shall we say, a little more neurotic. Every now and then we will give the dogs a stick of rawhide. Otis is happy as a clam to grab his and start grinding away at it right on the family room floor. Cooper, on the other hand, takes his bone and brings it upstairs to "hide" it. He then comes back down to Otis and sits and whines the whole time Otis is gnawing at his bone. He's even tried to snatch it out of Otis' grasp a couple times, but has learned that's probably not a wise choice. About two minutes before Otis is done, Cooper will run back upstairs, bring his bone downstairs and proceed to start chewing it just as Otis is finishing up. Maybe it's just because Cooper is a smaller dog, but I swear he takes his time while poor Otis just sits there watching.

These two couldn't be more different.

Saturday, October 24, 2009


I recently wrote about Oti's habit of picking up shoes or clothing. Oti has never shown any interest in chewing these items.....until yesterday.

Jeff came into the house and placed his beloved UNC baseball cap on the chair. Oti picked it up. After a minute, Oti dropped the hat. Jeff put it back on the chair and we sat down to eat.

When we looked for Oti, he was in the living room, chewing on the hard brim of the cap!

Was this an act of boredom or is it possible that Oti may be a Dookie ? Could he favor the arch enemy Duke Blue Devils ? What a horrible thought!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Mom's Apple Pie

Thursday was a gorgeous fall day! The sun was shining and the temperature was 70 degrees. It was too nice of a day to work, so Jeff and I spent the day in Dover Plains, NY.

There is a new sporting clays course called Dover Furnace. Dover Furnace is a beautiful place. The foliage was at its peak, the sky was bright blue sky and bubbling streams made for a picturesque walk in the woods.

While we walked the course, we noticed hundreds of ladybugs flying around. The lady bugs landed on us, content with a free ride to a new destination.

We met Jeff's Mom and Dad at the Furnace. Jeff's Mom brought a homemade apple pie. We are in heaven! There really is nothing better than Mom's apple pie.

We had a great lunch at Copperfield's in Salt Point, NY. If you get a chance, stop in and enjoy a tasty meal.

Thursday, October 22, 2009


Today is Danny's birthday. It is hard to believe that Danny has been gone almost as long as he was with us.

Danny was a fantastic dog. "One in a million", Jeff always says.

Danny was a shooting star, whose light burned brightly for a brief moment; extinguished too soon, but his beauty not forgotten.

Our wonderful experience with Danny gave us the courage to adopt a troubled, broken dog like Cooper. It was Danny's foster Mom, Linda, who introduced us to Otis.

I still miss Danny and I think I always will. I find comfort in knowing that Danny's legacy is strong.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

People of Walmart

If you ever have a good hour to kill and want to laugh till you cry, check out


Whenever Jeff or I arrive home, we are met by a whirling dervish. Oti runs in circles and barks. You would think that he had been left alone for weeks, not just a few hours.

Oti then grabs any object that catches his eye and runs off. You can see from his expression that Oti wants to play. Oti does not chew on the object, just runs back and forth, out of reach, hoping that the chase will begin.

The other day I arrived home and found my pink rubber boot in the middle of the living room. Oti must have carried it up from the basement. One night, Oti raced to meet Jeff carrying my oven mitt (especially bad behavior since this was on the kitchen counter).Oti has no fear of digging in the hamper and running around with t-shirts.

Jeff left his sock drawer open and the next thing I knew, Oti was carrying socks downstairs. It is hard to be stern when Oti looks so happy. Saying "No, bad boy" has no effect. Oti seems to smile and say, you can't be mad when I am so cute!

Oti is either much younger than we think or this is a game he learned at his previous home.

Sunday, October 18, 2009


In Autumn, leaves change from green to brilliant golds and reds.

In the same manner, Coop's summer wheat gold coat is turning red. Cooper's strawberry coat is much lighter than Oti's dark auburn coloring.

I have read that some animals change color with the season as a way to camouflage themselves from prey. I think that Cooper is hoping that his new coloring will make it difficult for the chipmunks to spot him in the yard.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

More Of The Same

Rob Simmons is one of the Republican candidates vying to unseat Christopher Dodd. Simmons spent 6 years in the U.S. House of Representatives from 2000 until 2006.

Mr. Simmons is apparently taking pages from the Barack Obama Campaign Handbook and deciding that it is better to attack your opponent rather than present your position. For example, he recently criticized newcomer Linda McMahon because the corporation she ran contributed to Democratic Candidates. What Mr. Simmons fails to point out is that her company has contributed $70K to Republican Candidates vs. $34K to Democratic Candidates.

Mr. Simmons apparently isn't concerned about the thousands of Connecticut workers in the ranks of the unemployed. If he was, he would be putting forth a plan for growth to help attract entrepreneurs like Linda McMahon to Connecticut.

Let's get to the nitty gritty Mr. Simmons. What's your plan?

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Here's Your Chance to Vote For Barack Obama!

Apparently potential is more important than actual accomplishment. Write-in your vote for Barack Obma for the Heisman Trophy. ... vote/2009/

Monday, October 12, 2009

Daddy's Boy

You would think that since I feed the dogs, this would raise my status with them. This is not true for Otis.

Otis is a Daddy's boy. If Jeff is not home, Otis wants to be near me. However, the minute Jeff gets home, I cease to exist. If it wasn't for Cooper, my ego would be in shreds.

I guess in Oti's case, he really is MAN's best friend.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Apple Pie

Now that it is apple season, thoughts turn to apple pie. Last year we found a wonderful high top apple pie at Trader Joe's and our pie problems were solved.

We went to Trader Joe's to purchase an apple pie and they now use a different bakery. Their pie is now called Grandma's apple pie. It did not look very appealing.

We ended up at Stew Leonard's and bought an apple pie to go with our lobster and NY strip steaks. Stew's pie is ok, but not as good as homemade.

I know Jeff is wishing we lived closer to upstate NY. I wonder if you can ship a pie ?

Saturday, October 10, 2009

World Peace

I'd like to teach the world to sing,
In perfect harmony,
I'd like to buy the world a Coke,
and keep it company.

Where's my Nobel Peace Prize?

Friday, October 09, 2009

Bear vs Deer

Sue Ellen, the dog trainer, recommended Charlie Bear treats as training incentives.

I was working with Otis on recall in the driveway using a 20 foot leash. I had a pocket full of Bears and Otis was coming when called.

All that changed when Oti spotted a deer by the pond. Oti charged towards the deer. I hung on tight.

I called to Oti to come back, but he ignored me. All Oti wanted to do was jump into the pond and get to the other side. Recall skills were forgotten. I hoped the leash would hold.

Trying to haul in a frenzied 80 lb dog is not easy. Even after the deer was out of sight, Oti kept trying to head back to the pond.

Bears 0, Deer 1

Tuesday, October 06, 2009


Cooper is a loner. He is happiest alone on the deck on sunny days, chasing shadow friends and falling leaves. Coop does not long for human companionship.

I cannot blame Coop for this behavior. After years of mistreatment, it makes sense that he would find happiness in warm sunlight, away from those who might harm him.

Sometimes, when I go to bed early, Coop will go upstairs with me. Coop will hop up on the bed and I hear a thump, thump, thump. Coop stares at me with big eyes that say pet me.

I will pet Coop for a few minutes. When I stop, his tail begins to wag again. As I pet Coop, he eventually relaxes and you can hear his breathing slow as he falls asleep.

It is then that I know Coop trusts us and some of the bad memories are being replaced with good ones.

Sunday, October 04, 2009


Falling leaves herald the end of too brief golden summer days. I hear them crackle underfoot as I walk Cooper and Otis along the road and am reminded of Danny.

October is Danny's birth month. One of my favorite memories is of Danny perched upon our stone wall as leaves float slowly to the ground.

A beautiful dog ,a beautiful day, a precious memory .