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We finally got enough snow to take pictures, instead of just the little dustings we had earlier in the winter. Since this was Petey’s first real snow, I naturally had to take pictures. The shot of Petey play-bowing at a stick may be one of my favorite pics of him so far… it completely captures his personality and his boundless enthusiasm for play.

Click through to the blog to see the pictures!

Originally published at

Oh dear…

Jan. 18th, 2012 11:55 pm
tollermom: (Default)

So I’m spending some quality time with Petey this evening, where he’s the only dog loose in the main part of the house with me, and I discovered some interesting things.

First… he’s firmly convinced, from months of playing fetch with Nick, that fetch should be a contact sport, in which I’m the quarterback, Nick is the wide receiver who goes out for the long pass, and Petey is the defensive tackle who body blocks Nick, causes a fumble and steals the ball. The first time I threw his hedgehog for him tonight, he just stared at Nick (who was in the crate) and looked thoroughly confused about not having a receiver to block. He did get the hang of it pretty quickly, but it’s clear that I need to do a lot more one-on-one work w/ Mr. Pete on retrieving.

Second… he’s really used to having a playmate to keep him occupied. That can be me, or it can be Nick, and in the absence of either of us, he creates his own fun. I came up from downstairs just in time to see Petey vault onto the dining room table (which is bar-height… so substantially taller than your average table), where he proceeded to come nose-to-nose with a very startled Fiddler, who quickly gave way to allow Petey unimpeded access to the cat food*.

Good grief.

This is going to require a whole new level of puppy-proofing!

* Yes, the cat food is on the dining room table. I usually eat in the living room. The cats’ food bowl is on the dining room table to keep it out of reach (until now) of the dogs.

Originally published at

I spent a great portion of 2011 in a state of near-panic about financial issues, which tended to overshadow other things on a day-to-day basis, but when I look back at the year, it was really a pretty good year (especially when compared to 2010, which definitely overstayed its welcome).

So, what did I do with my year?? )

So yeah... eventful year, and one that I could look back on and find a lot of negatives, but instead I look back and realize that I have amazing friends (both new and old), I have challenging volunteer opportunities that I enjoy and which get me out of my house and interacting with people, I've got four healthy dogs (counting the visiting Nick) and four healthy cats, and I got to spend the year making really incredible music with Wild Mercy. So I'll count 2011 as a win for me and challenge 2012 to be even better for all of us!
Greetings, faithful LJers!

No, I haven't fallen off the face of the earth. However, having been hit by a raging attack of volunteerism, I've found that my time for even things like answering email has gone the way of the Dodo, and updating LJ/Facebook/Twitter/etc., just really hasn't been happening. Occasional short things to Facebook, and a couple of tweets early this morning, but not much even in that short format.

So here's the basic rundown.

July 22-24, went to Confluence... had a lovely time... heard some great music.

July 28, went to first Firefighter Mandatory (hereafter known as FFM) class.

July 31-Aug 2, went to Canada... had a lovely time... came home with a puppy (and his dad). Puppy is Petey and is insanely cute. Dad is Nick and is the most laid-back Toller ever. Petey is permanent. Nick is visiting. Missed a FFM class while driving back from Peterborough.

Aug 4, went to second FFM class, on SCBA use. This was only the second time I'd ever put on my turnout gear and an airpack. Discovered that crawling on concrete (simulating search patterns in dark/smoky house) is really hard on knees. Ow.

Aug 5-7, went to Musecon... had a lovely time... heard some great music... did lots of puppy socialization... proved to people that not all Tollers are as busy as Drummer.

Aug 8, took pictures at a barn fire less than a mile from my house, then worked half a day, which wasn't enough time to catch up on the email that had piled up while I was off the previous week.

Aug 10, FFM class on search and rescue (in structure fires... not in the open).

Aug 12-14, worked security for IndyFurCon with the Dorsai Irregulars. Spent too much time hanging out and not enough time sleeping, as the DI are a highly entertaining bunch to spend time with, and I don't see some of them very often.

Aug 13 (note overlap w/ above), had five-hour practical session doing search patterns in a very very dark two-story building at the training center. Knees and shoulder are officially on strike, but I survived. Still have one sign-off to get from that section, but we're going to do it next time we're at the training center, as it wasn't worth pushing the bad shoulder any farther on Saturday.

Aug 14 (note continued overlap), worked IFC shift in a.m., then actual Indy Zoo shift in p.m. Went home, snuggled dogs, took a nap, and went back to work the dance at IFC. Hung out talking to some of the other Dorsai Folk (that's those of us who work contracts w/ the DI but who aren't DI ourselves) 'til stupidly late. Headed home, anticipating arriving around 2:30 a.m. Got diverted by a fire department page for a motorcycle vs deer accident. Took pictures of downed motorcycle for run report. Finally got home about 3:30 a.m., let all the dogs out to do their thing, put everybody back up, and fell in bed sometime after 4 a.m. Alarm clock was not my friend at 6:45 this morning.

Today is an exercise in trying not to fall asleep at my desk. Whee! Tonight, more S&R/SCBA practicals, hopefully also posting updates to FD website for last several incidents, then sleep... blessed blessed sleep...
Busy busy busy...

Firefighter Mandatory class started Thursday night. Three-hour class turned into four and we still didn't actually get to finding turnout gear, so I go back in the morning to see if we can find gear that fits me. That should be fun.

Things you never think about (or at least I didn't, til now)... it takes a crapload of hose to run a fire department, and all that hose has to be pressure tested every year! We've tested 12,000 feet of hose in the last few weeks. 5-inch hose, even empty, weighs a lot. With water in it, don't bother trying to move it.

Got word today that I passed my HazMat Awareness and Operations test, so I have my first official certifications now. Also, my very own Indiana PSID (Public Safety ID) number. Kinda nifty. Test was hard and I was worried. I'm really glad I don't have to take that one again!

More training, and a puppy! )

Apparently I've lost my mind. Eep!

And if that's the case, I should have done it sooner, 'cause damn this is fun! :-)

See some of y'all at Muse!

Tomorrow marks the end of Trevor’s second week here at Reddog Central, and he’s come a long way in a very short time! Big improvements in housebreaking, crate training, knowing his name and the meaning of “No!” and, best of all, being able to play outside with both of my dogs! He’s been on doxycycline for eight days now, so three weeks more ’til he can start his heartworm treatment.

Trevor enjoys the run of the yard

Except for the very first day, he hasn’t tried to mark in the house, but he was tethered to me for all of the first week, so he had very little opportunity. I’ve now received Belly Bands that fit him, so he can have more freedom without me having to worry about the furniture, but I’m not sure they were necessary. He seems to have quickly realized that marking is Not Allowed in the house. He’s had no accidents in his crate after the first couple of days, either, which makes me very happy.

This week's milestones... )

Next steps… leash manners, “sit,” “wait” and taking treats gently (those last two are related… to each other and to my bruised finger).

The vet called with the results of Trevor’s last test today. No intestinal parasites! Yippee! I knew the shelter had wormed him, but the wormer they use doesn’t kill whipworms, and finding out whether he was clear of those was the last barrier to him being able to have unsupervised play time in the yard with my guys.

A tale of meds, and dogfood, and testosterone... )

So now I spend the next 30 days giving Trevor his antibiotics and trying to put some weight on him. Also, continuing to introduce him and Drummer. I tried yesterday… Trevor and Thunder were out in the backyard, and I took Drummer out on lead. They started off just sniffing, but then there was some generalized grumbling from both of them, so I wasn’t willing to turn them loose together quite yet. Boys. I swear. You could cut the testosterone with a knife.

It’s going to be an interesting few months, I can tell!

The new foster dog is settling in nicely, and I think he’s a Trevor. It came down to Trevor and Sparky in the end. He could be a Sparky… I think he’s got the personality for it… but I think Trevor works better for him learning things, since it’s vaguely close enough to the sound of Drummer and Thunder that calling any of the names in the backyard tends to get the whole pack moving (which is usually what I want if I’m calling them in from the yard, for instance). So he’s getting used to “The nice lady yells something that ends in “-er” and we all run back to the house.” Hey, it’s a start… I’ll take my training babysteps wherever I can get ‘em.

Yesterday was busy )

Finally back home, poor Trevor was going a little stir crazy with nothing but leash walks, so I decided he could have some supervised time out in the yard with Thunder. The two of them played like puppies… it was so cute! Lots of play bowing and bouncing around. Trevor definitely has a good repertoire of doggy body language, and he doesn’t really show any effort to be alpha, so that bodes well for him and Drummer getting along (I may do that introduction this afternoon).

Pictures and a Movie )

The shrieking you may hear in the background of the video is Drummer, who had to stay inside and miss all the fun. He was not a happy boy!

Originally published at

Short update until I have time to post more. I have a new foster dog (who currently needs a name). He’s an English Setter, very sweet, picked up as a stray in New Castle, IN, a few weeks ago. I picked him up from the shelter yesterday and ran him by Caring Hands for bloodwork to (a) check his heartworm status and (b) pull pre-op bloodwork in hopes that heartworm would be negative and I could schedule him to be neutered ASAP.

Unfortunately, my vet called me this morning to let me know the heartworm test was positive, so I guess he’ll be with me for awhile while he goes through treatment. :-(

More when I know it. Working with my vet and the rescue to formulate the plan for going forward.

Originally published at

Mr. Murphy, originally my sister's foster dog but who became a joint project when she moved back east and he stayed in Indiana with me, finally found his furever family and went home this weekend.

He'd been taking his time about the whole process, having had meet-and-greets with a couple of other families before this one, but we were really hoping for that sometimes-elusive "perfect match"... the one where the humans fall head-over-heels in love with the dog, and where the foster mom (or moms, in this case) thinks "Oooh... I like them... I like them a lot!"

details and pictures back here! )
As much as I miss the little guy, I'm thrilled that he finally has the perfect family of his own. He's got a Shiba playmate who's just a few months younger than him, and people who love him and want the best for him. He's settling in nicely and looks happy and relaxed in the pictures from his first night in his new home.

Originally published at

Trooper repairs were completed today, so I was able to trade ASG their shop truck for my Trooper, and then retrieved the dogs. Got home in time to introduce Murphy and Drummer to the girl who came to help clean the gutters... she's been studying less common breeds of dogs, recognized Murphy, and had never seen a Toller "in person" before, so we had a nice chat and the boys got lots of snuggles.

They were very happy to be back to their backyard, and Thunder is thrilled to have his playmates back.

Still no word on what Enterprise is actually going to charge me for the rental, but for now I'm just happy to have truck and critters all back where they're supposed to be!
Since I moved into this house, back in July, my primary living space has been the huge walk-out basement. My bedroom is down there, and my big-screen TV and comfy squishy sofas, perfect for lounging on with dogs and cats while working (or playing) on the laptop. There's easy access to the backyard, by way of the screened porch, and it's just an altogether more convenient and pleasant "critter space" than the upstairs. (It also allows me to keep the upstairs relatively cat-free, since I have friends and family who are allergic to the feline members of the Reddogs clan.)

Last night, having spent most of the day upstairs doing laundry and unpacking books and generally doing rainy-day chores, I headed down the stairs to grab a laundry basket and realized that the carpet looked funny. Then I got closer and realized the carpet was drenched. Oops! The basement was flooding

As I started the process of contacting the insurance company (who ultimately didn't cover it because it was a "groundwater incursion" for which I'm not covered) and moving furniture to the dry side of the basement, I also relocated all the animals to upstairs. The cats all got caught and stashed in the small bedroom, where they're safe from the possibility of escaping while workers are in and out of the house. Conveniently, that room opens onto the main upstairs bathroom, so I can go into the bathroom, close the hall door, then open the bedroom door to go in and feed/water/snuggle cats, letting the bathroom act as a kind of "airlock" to keep kitties from escaping.

Then I drug all the dog crates upstairs and stashed them in the master bedroom, which is my temporary sleeping space (on a twin futon... bleah) until the Big Noisy Fans are gone from downstairs and I can have my room back. The dogs have taken this in stride, 'cause they're pretty much just happy to be wherever I am, and they can still hang out in the living room with me (Thunder the English Setter looks very elegant sprawled on the leather sofa). The cats, however, are extremely unhappy about this turn of affairs. They're used to being able to sleep with me, and to snuggle against me while I'm working on the laptop. They do not like being banished to a single room, but we've got at least three more days of contractors being in and out of the house to finish drying out the basement and I can run the risk of freaked-out kittie escaping through an open door. :-(

I want my bed back... and my DVR (it's hooked up to the big TV downstairs)... and I want my house to not sound like I live in a wind-tunnel. But we can all survive a few more days of this, and the good news is that the water was limited to the floor... the walls aren't wet, and the carpet is probably okay (yay for really good water abatement crews!), and in a few days life will be back to normal.

Originally published at

Edited to update: I've heard from the coordinator and she filled this transport this morning, so this old Shiba boy is safe! :-)


We have a Shiba Inu just north of Champaign/Urbana who's out of time and needs to get to his foster home near Cleveland, OH, this weekend. The transport coordinator has him going up, then across northern Indiana and Ohio, but she's got almost no drivers. So... I'm hoping for either some help getting him moving along that route (if you've never done a transport before, it's like the Pony Express, but carrying dogs instead of mail... you'll be one in a series of relay drivers so nobody has to drive too far) or in bringing him across to me and then up I-69 to South Bend and over from there (for instance, if somebody could pick him up and meet me in Lafayette, I could get him over to Muncie, or even on up I-69 a ways).

See Drive for Life for the details on the transport as it currently stands, and let the coordinator know if you can help with any of those legs. If you can't help with that but could help w/ the alternate route (bringing him east to Indy and then up from here), let me know and I'll work with the coordinator to see if we can make that work instead.

We're fast coming up on time for Cap, which is one of my favorite cons for a whole lot of reasons.

I get to see lots of people who I know and like and don't see often enough.

[ profile] billroper puts me to "work" in the Internet Cafe, where I get to feel useful and have fun all at the same time (running sound and recording).

I get to room with [ profile] sweetmusic_27, who's one of the bestest roomies evar.

Wild Mercy gets to do the whooooooole Dream of a Far Light concert again. Only the second time we've ever performed the whole darn thing in one place (well, other than Barry and Sally's basement, but that hardly counts!).

I get an Internet Cafe set all of my very own (though I may draft afore-mentioned roomie, 'cause everything's better w/ fiddle!), which will force me to actually, oh, practice between now and the con.

I can take a dog if I want, 'cause all Starwood properties are dog-friendly. This year it might be Mr. Spotty Dog, since it's his birthday that weekend. (Hmmm... I need a Thunder icon, don't I?)

It's not only at a Starwood hotel (I collect Starwood points... it's the only hotel reward program in which I ever acquire useful quantities of points)... but this year it's moving from the Sheraton to the Westin. I'm a hotel snob... I admit it... and I loves me some Westin. (I may even get upgraded to a Junior Suite... still waiting to hear back from the reservations dude on whether they managed to swing that or if I waited too late to ask for the upgrade.)

Capricon feels like home to me... or like a good family reunion. And after a long winter of lack-of-cons (nothing since OVFF? That doesn't seem right, but I missed Windy, so I think it is...), it'll be really really nice to go hang w/ my musical family for a few days.

Who's gonna be there? Chime in!
I've fed Eagle Pack Holistic for several years, and until recently I was happy with the results. The boys maintained good weight and had great coats.

Since the move, though, and especially since fencing the yard, Drummer's on the skinny side and Thunder is positively gaunt. The Eagle Pack doesn't seem to be nutrient-dense enough to keep the BusyBoys at a good fighting weight while they're running running running in the new yard. I've also been unhappy with (not to put too fine a point on it) the volume of doggy "output" that I'm having to pick up in the yard. Since our standard lamb & rice formula didn't seem to be suiting Thunder, I first tried a different Eagle formulation, but the fish & oatmeal didn't help, so the next phase of the quest was to find something completely different. This time the goal was no grain, minimal carbs, and more protein and fat.

food, food and more food )Things I like about the Evo Red Meat: After the five ingredients listed above, four of the next five are meat (and the fifth is oil), and four of the next five are fruits and vegetables. Only thing I don't like about the Evo, at least so far? It's 50% more expensive than the Eagle Pack, which was already pricey. Ouch. I hope they do well on it!!

Entertainingly, this experiment in food means that the dogs are now eating a higher-protein kibble than the cats, who are of the opinion that the dog food smells really really good now.

So, dog-people... what do you feed, and why? (And yes, I've heard all the arguments for feeding raw, and that's not a path I'm ready to go down.) Anybody with experience with either the BG or Evo Red Meat?

Originally published at

So... the initial quote to fence the new place (black 5' chain link, trenched in so the bottom 6" is buried) came it at almost $16k.

I don't have $16k to put into fencing, but fencing so the dogs can enjoy it was kinda the point of getting 2+ acres with the new house.

I have a fencing contractor coming out at 2 p.m. to talk to me about options, but I'm definitely open to suggestion if folks have found a less expensive way to fence effectively for dogs.

Fence needs to be at least 4'6" high, 'cause the Setter can clear anything less from a standing start (I'm not sure he _would_, but he could, and I plan to continue to foster so I have to plan for security). I'd prefer a built-in barrier to digging (hence the original plan to trench and bury), but can also deal with that on an ad-hoc basis if needed (chicken wire is my friend). The other goal is to wind up with a fence that looks appropriate and is as unobtrusive as possible. I've got 2 acres of beautiful rolling land across the street from a beautiful farm. I'd really like to not obscure the view or wind up living behind something that looks like a prison fence.

Ideas? Also, if you're in the Indy area, recommendations for fencing contractors would be appreciated! :-)


Jun. 16th, 2008 12:52 am
tollermom: (Default)
The dangers of living with dogs...

I got ready to walk the boys before bedtime, which first required letting them out of their crates, where they'd eaten dinner.

Drummer was first up, and since he doesn't normally run laps around the room upon being sprung from his crate, I was less than normally careful.

This time, he opted to make a fast circuit of the room, including the bed, upon which resided the laptop.

It's hard to type on a laptop keyboard that's missing keys. Especially the O and P keys, which come up a lot.


F10, 8, the aforementioned o and p and the semi-colon are the full extent of the damage.

The F10 and 8 might be fixable, but I'm too sleepy to deal with them now. I'm fairly sure the others are toast, so I'll either be ordering replacement keys or a replacement keyboard in the morning.

I'm guessing my AppleCare contract doesn't cover acts of dog.
Drummer got groomed today. His ears and toes are much less fluffy now.

pictures are this way... )

I'm still getting used to the new look!
Next weekend, I'm meeting [ profile] sweetmusic_27 at [ profile] billroper and [ profile] daisy_knotwise's to record fiddle tracks for "Dream of a Far Light". Drummer is going with me, partly 'cause he will enjoy the trip (and could use the socialization, since he suffers from a bad case of "second child syndrome") and partly to see if Gretchen is allergic to him, since they're considering adding a dog to the household at some point, and are looking for a breed that not only fits their lifestyle but doesn't trigger Gretchen's allergies. The original plan had been to take Chase, so now I'm taking Drummy instead. Of course, Chase was almost too good... he was sweet and calm and friendly and calm and outgoing and calm and, well, you get the picture. Drummer is sweet and friendly and loves people as long as he doesn't get swamped with too many new people at once, but the one thing he's never been described as is "calm." Thankfully, the Ropers have a big fenced back yard, so we'll practice Better Behavior Through Exhaustion while we're there. :-)

Of course, in the past, any time one dog went somewhere with me, that meant two dogs were left home w/ the petsitter, and they could keep each other company. That dynamic has changed now, and I hated the idea of leaving Thunder home alone, but now I have the perfect solution! The new owner of my favorite pet boutique does petsitting, and she'll also take a couple of dogs at a time to just go live at her house for the weekend. So Thunder is going to go home with Cristi on Friday, and hang out with Kaizen, her German Shepherd, then she'll bring him back to the store on Sunday and I'll pick him up there when we get back to town.

Yay! Drummer gets to go visiting with me, and Thunder gets to go sleep over with new friends, so everybody should have a great weekend.

And right now, both boys are over getting bathed and groomed, so I took advantage of the dog-free time to move the dog crates and do a thorough vacuuming of the house. Now it's time to make an omelette.
When Thunder and Drummy boarded at the vet while Chase and I went to Chicago, Drummer apparently spent the weekend being pretty freaked out. He's only boarded once before (we usually have a petsitter) and that wasn't at the vet, and for some reason he's just decided that Caring Hands is a Really Scary Place.

So... today started my campaign to desensitize Drummy to the vet's office, and to convince him that it could be fun to go there. I pre-loaded my pocket with treats, popped him in the Trooper, and off we went.

We got there in the middle of the Saturday afternoon rush, so the place was full of people and dogs coming and going. That was actually good, 'cause he was busy being fascinated by all the other animals, so he wasn't too freaked out. Walked him through the front... talked to a couple of the techs in passing, and got Drummer onto the scale. Of course, it moves ever so slightly, so he had to get on and off several times before he decided that it would be okay to sit there long enough for the scale to stabilize (37.7 lbs.).

One of the techs came over to say hi and Drummy hid behind me. When did he become so spooky? She offered one of their nice liver treats (which Chase always adored), but Drummer was suspicious. I handed her one of our homemade treats from Purrs and Grrrs and that was apparently the right solution, because he came out from behind me, sat nicely, and took the treat from her. We stayed for another 10 minutes or so, with me palming treats to every tech who walked past so that they could give them to Drummer. By the time we left, he was bouncing to check out the hands of any tech who came near us, so I'll count that one as a win. We'll keep doing it on a regular basis and see if that makes his next actual vet visit easier (he was WaySquirmyBoy last time, 'til one of the techs held him in her arms like a baby).

Tomorrow morning, he and Thunder have an appointment w/ the groomer. Bwaaaahahahahah! Snow-Shoe Boy is going to lose his foot fluff!

I'll try to get before and after pictures of both boys. Should be fun! :-)