Monday, January 21, 2013

Let's Make This Official

Flicker is still a bit twitchy when she reacts to quick movement, especially if you stand up quickly from a squat, but she's coming around. We left her alone for a few hours today and she was perfect. Her reaction to the cat is exactly what we want, passive disinterest, and she's a happy dog who wakes up with her tail wagging and a playful "Ooo, I've gotta pee" spring in her step.

She likes her food, but she hasn't tried counter surfing - even in circumstances you'd think a hungry dog would find irresistible. It's nice to see a dog with an appetite. This is their breakfast leftovers: can you guess which is hers?




She loves the yard, and Sallie is enjoying a foraging partner. It's funny, they're like a couple of cows grazing side by side. Sallie used to do the same thing with Roadie. In fact, she was acting like Roadie today, barking and play-bowing to get Flicker wound up. Flicker wouldn't take the bait.




I didn't catch exactly what she was doing here through the viewfinder. She may have just been shaking her head, but it looks suspiciously like a head-butt...




Of course they're still getting to know each other and feeling each other out. They aren't even on the same kibble yet, which they seem to have figured out...




She still doesn't trust the patio door. She hit it like a gong once when she thought it was open, and now she hesitates, then sprints through it. Trying to stop her to clean the mud off her feet is like a trying to stop a fullback exploding through a hole. Well, the carpet sucks anyway. She's learning fast. We haven't muzzled her around the cat in days, and she's starting to return the trust.

She doesn't bear much weight on her damaged leg, and kind of holds it out to the side when she's standing. We're not sure how much it affects her gait, or if it hurts her. She doesn't seem to be in any pain, and she does run - fast. I found video of her last race, which is presumably when she did it since she was a D.N.F., but there wasn't an obvious fall or collision; she just slowed suddenly and dropped out of the picture.

We talked about it tonight, and we think she is definitely a failed foster. We're ready to "chip" again. We'll be sending you a note soon to make it official, Debbie and Kristen!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Flicker of Speed

It's been a very long time since I've posted anything here, and to be honest I had given up on the blog.  So many things began to compete with my time and the blog wasn't as much fun as it had been.  I kept peeking into it over the last three years, surprised each time that it was still there - the same post telling anyone passing by about a long forgotten trip to the mountains.  I almost wrote a post when we lost Roadie to bone cancer last May, but I just couldn't bring myself to do it.

So Planet Jabberwocky had become a test of blogger.com's patience, almost willing them to delete it through disuse.  I can't imagine anyone still follows it, except through an equally long forgotten link.  I was OK with that, Facebook is there to post pictures for friends, or to drop some soundbite out there for the world to see.

But this blog was fun at one time, and it was a good way to document Sallie's transition from working dog to lazy pet.  I thought about that this week when Jan brought Flicker of Speed home as a new foster.  But it feels like she may fail as a foster, only to excel as a new member of the family.  It feels like when we brought Sallie home.  That's what made me think about the blog, and the opportunity to document Flicker's transition - just in case that sneaking suspicion turns out to be true.

So, I bring you Flicker, or just Flick if you like.



I'm looking forward to getting a lot of great shots of Flicker, and today we took her and Sallie out in the late evening light for her first photo op.



We took her down to the Aquia Harbor marina for her first real walk, and we're going to have to work on her leash skills.  She pulls - hard - but she doesn't seem to be spooked by cars or distracted by her surroundings.  I think she'll pick up it up quickly.


She doesn't pick up queues from Sallie yet so it's hard to walk them in tandem, but Jan took her for an opportunity for a few shots together.




She's a beautiful girl, and she has intelligent eyes.  She's still a bit skittish, and is more comfortable if you're down on her level.  When you stand she reacts, darting slightly away before coming back.  She acts like she was hit or intimidated in the past, but that could just be fear of the unknown.  She might not have had the chance to really build trust in anyone, but it feels like she's really capable of trusting.  


She's still showing ribs, and she has a voracious appetite.  She eats her kibble like, well, a dog.  You expect dogs to really like food and dig in when you give it to them.  She wolfs her food down with the instincts that make that phrase make sense.  Sallie?  Not so much.  We still have to invite her to dinner every night, coaxing her with finger taps on the bowl and yummy sounds.  She slowly gets up, walks to her bowl, and then spends a minute or so just looking down the hall, around the corner, under the table, back over her shoulder.  She's like someone who can't pee with an audience.  I know it's the cat.  You can see him here, eyes blazing in zen-like ridicule as she watches Sallie fret like a doe in the November woods looking for hunters.  She'll eventually eat, sometimes cleaning her bowl.  We put some cut up chicken or canned food in with the kibble, and still she acts like the kid in Christmas Story.


But that's Sallie.  She's such a sweet, sweet dog.  Flicker hasn't shown any vocal tendencies at all, but Sallie still has that low, throaty roo whenever she's excited.  I'm not sure what she thinks about having Flicker in the house.  She gets jealous and pushes in when Flicker is getting attention, then she'll act like she's slightly annoyed by this teenager in her house, then she'll get all excited and want to run with her.


I'm sure she's going to bond well with Flicker.  Just two girls, hanging out together, sharing their feelings about the cat and the next walk or ride.  They've already run together in the yard, and I'm surprised how fast Flicker is with the game leg.  It has a deformity where the break didn't heal right and we wonder how much it bothers her.  It definitely affects her gait, and even how she sits or holds herself up.


So, welcome Flicker!  You are doing great so far, sleeping through the night, not killing the cat, letting us know when you have to go outside, not killing the cat, playing with your toys, and not killing the cat.  On that last part we've had some good face to face exchanges, with the obligatory proctology exam from Flicker, and it looks like it will be fine.  Armand is too brave for his own good, but he doesn't seem to look like prey through Flicker's eyes.  More to follow...

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Back to the Mountains

The weekend before last we took Roadie and Sallie back up into the mountains and spent a couple of nights at the Skyland Lodge in Shenandoah National Park.  We love it up there.  It's so peaceful and refreshing we decided we'd do a weekend retreat up there every few months, just to slough off the stress of the day-to-day grind.  We haven't made it up there that often, and every time we go I wonder why not.  It's great, it's close, it's right on the Appalachian Trail, and they have pet friendly rooms.

The sunsets were fantastic...


This is the first time we spent the night with Sallie up there, and we thought she'd be a bit skittish of the deer and wildlife we knew we'd run across. (Last fall a couple of bears crossed the road right in front of us.) She turned out to be the mellow one, and Roadie whined the entire first night. I had to take him out every few hours -- and of course Sallie saw me touch the leashes and had to come too -- but all he did out there is annoy the heard of deer trying to have a quiet moonlight meal. We had to wear him out if we were going to get any sleep the next night, so we took them on a nice hike to Betty's Rock.


The hike ends with, well, rocks.  Big rocks.  High rocks.  Neither of them seemed worried, but they looked like they had a healthy respect for the drop-off.  (It wasn't as bad as it looks in the picture...at least not where they're standing.)


Getting up the rocks was a bit much for the dogs, and Jan wasn't really excited about getting any closer to the real drop-off.  The view was definitely worth the short climb...
 

Sallie The Meek wanted to try the climb and follow me up.  Roadie The Alpha liked it fine where he was...


The room had a pretty fantastic view of it's own.  I caught a moment off the deck with the early evening sun painting the trees with gold...


This was Roadie's favorite spot on the deck -- where he could watch the other dogs and miscellaneous wildlife from a safe perch...


It was a great weekend, as it always is.  We couldn't really go into the restaurants, but they had tables just outside and the weather couldn't have been better, so carry out meals worked just fine.  Especially after a little hiking, with a very tired Roadie sound asleep next to the chair.  We got plenty of sleep Saturday night.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Hot Dogs and Cool Mountains

I'm kind of at a standstill on our guest bath now that I got the appropriate permit, did the wiring for the new whirlpool, and just have to wait to get it inspected.  So, the weekend before last we had to take advantage of the beautiful weather and get the dogs out.  It was finally clear and sunny, but it was hot!  It was like being dropped from early spring into mid-summer.  We had company from Detroit and decided head to where it's cooler (and least like Detroit) -- the mountains.  

It was ninety-three degrees when we stopped just before we got into the mountains.  This picture of Sallie pretty much tells the story -- with a tongue like that its amazing she doesn't succumb to ETS the way Roadie does.  

Roadie was just as hot, but he had to look cool for the camera...

Once we got up to Skyline Drive it was ten degrees cooler, but Sallie still had to use Roadie for shade...

We did a lot of walking, had a picnic at Big Meadow, and thoroughly wore the dogs out.  Sallie seems to get needy when she gets tired and wants to be hugged and touched -- and of course Mom was glad to oblige...

...meanwhile Roadie just goes out like a light...

I had to throw this one in here because these trees were just too cool.   This is at Big Meadow.  Looking at the picture you wouldn't know this is up along the ridge of the mountains, just yards from the Appalachian Trail...

I'm hoping to have the inspector here on Friday, and then I get to wait for the plumber to put in the whirlpool bath.  I was hoping a plumber would figure out how to do that without cutting a hole in the kitchen ceiling to get at the trap, but that's apparently not the case -- which has me wondering whether I should do it myself and save the money.  Once that's in the real work begins though: cement board, drywall, tile, more plumbing.  I hate drywall.  Maybe another weekend waiting for something would be nice.  Maybe the weather will change and this week's rains will end.  Maybe we can finally get these doggies to a Meet & Greet so they can do their jobs as Greyhound Ambassadors and get lots of people to pet them.  Maybe we can follow that up with a nice winery.  Maybe...

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Mud, Grass, and Inter-Species Interface

Ah, the weather is getting nicer and the rains seem to be ending.  That may change, but the dogs definitely sense the coming warmth.  We've been working the yard with grass seed and you can almost hear the wee screaming as fine blades push their way through the clay.  It's patchy, but for once there is contrast between Roadie and the background -- brindle against green, his camouflage is no longer effective...



Where they do most of their running it's patches of mud that still dominate the landscape.  That's been a problem.  We've tried keeping rags near the door, we've given them foot baths, but what has finally worked is having one of those coiled hoses right on the deck by the door.  Now when they come in they've learned to wait patiently as we hose off the paws.  They don't seem to mind, and they even lift a paw for us as we reach for them with the hose.  Of course it means we end up washing our own feet in the process, but we're not getting those muddy paw prints all over the house like a Family Circus comic.



It's amazing how close these two have become.  Sallie cleaning Roadie's ears or licking his teeth clean for him is a common morning sight.  They still mind-meld when they're sleeping close enough to each other, often hitting nearly exact positions.  I didn't realize greyhounds come with Bluetooth enabled, but they've definitely paired with one another...



Armand thought he'd give it a try with Sallie, staring intently into her eyes just out of range, using that zen-like cat focus to join with the greyhound mind.  He was over-reaching, and he broke the stare first.  Cats apparently don't come with Bluetooth (or maybe it's Greytooth)...



...and both had to reflect on the inter-species experience afterward...


I wanted to post this months ago, but after dealing with the PC challenges I forgot all about it.  These are a couple of pictures Liz found on the Internet and bought for us at Christmas.  You can see why they caught her eye...
 

They were done by a British artist named Elle J. Wilson, and she does some fantastic work.  We couldn't believe these when we opened them up, and there were Roadie and Sallie.  You can see her work at http://www.almostanangel66.co.uk.  It's worth a look!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Back On Line - Thank You Mr. Jobs

Wow, it's been a really long time since I've posted anything here.  Between problems with my PC, gutting our guest bath, and just spending too much time at work, I seem to have kept myself rather preoccupied.  Roadie and Sallie both have a serious case of cabin fever, but the weather is getting nicer and the leaves are starting to pop out of the buds so we'll going to have to get out a bit more!  Of course the guest bath is still not much more than bare studs and plywood, but at least my computer problems are fixed.  What looked like hard drive problems were actually power supply problems, and with that replaced it seems to be behaving.  I'm actually glad it happened.  It was enough to finally push me over the edge and I'm typing this on our brand new 24" iMac.  I couldn't be happier.  We've been thinking about it for a long time, and finally just decided to do it.  Apple has always been more elegant than Microsoft, even back to mid '80s with the original Mac's WYSIWYG display versus MS-DOS and remembering what color meant italic or bold.  Now it just feels cooler.

So, I've now got my pictures all on the iMac, I  have a USB drive backing them up, and I have new software to play with.  All that's left to do is get these poor doggies out to some wineries, or the mountains, or just on a nice long walk through the woods -- and take some pictures, of course!  I have taken a few in the past couple months that I haven't posted.  I worked on a few that I submitted for the Celebrating Greyhounds calendar, including this one.  I'm not sure if I posted it before, but it's Roadie and Sallie out in Prince William Forest...

I got a few of Roadie trying to goad Sallie into a game of chase a few weeks ago.  He started with some in your face barking, which just annoyed her...

...then he went on to posturing and strutting, losing himself in his Alpha Maleness.  Sallie seemed more amused with this approach, like she was gently assuring him that he didn't need to do all that for her...

He finally fell back on whispering sweet nothings in her ear...or at least that's what it looks like here.  What he's really doing is barking in her other ear, which of course did end up in a spirited game of chase with the spirits Sallie conjured up nipping at his haunches.  Oh well, this is Roadie we're talking about.

I did manage to get a few shots of them back when it snowed -- in March, I think, but then it could have been February.  Man, time flies.  Anyway, Sallie loved it and had to run her imaginary track in the yard...


It took a Milk Bone to get Roadie out, which he promptly lost in the snow and he seemed totally confused about why he could see it but couldn't get it back...

The cold finally won out over Milk Bone Lust and he sprinted to his favorite business corner and, well, did his business.  It kind of looks like his rear end has a mind of it's own, like one of those horse costumes with two people in it...


OK, more to come soon because I know the warm weather will get us out there, cameras in hand.  For now, time to get some more sleep so I can make it through a Dead concert in North Carolina tonight and still make it to work tomorrow morning.  Any bets?



Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Photo Tag

A couple of weeks ago Trina tagged me to post the 6th photo from the 6th directory of photos on my computer. I just found this out, since I've been fighting with my computer for the past few weeks. We've been fighting ever since it powered down while uploading a couple hundred pictures from my camera after Christmas. This computer is now the Anti-Christmas. All 8,000 or so pictures are still there, but apparently the Elements database is no longer rational and I've had to put it in recovery. We're almost there -- it's no longer rocking in place and looking silently out the window, but it's not what it once was. Hey, who is? The nice thing about computers, though, is that you can replace them.

Anyway, here's the 6th picture from the 6th directory on our weary computer. This is going to take some explaining. We came across a Web site back in September of 2005 called "Stuff On My Cat" that was all about, well, stuff on cats. Armand has always been one of those cats who resists all external stimuli when he's found a comfortable state of unconsciousness, and that's exactly the feline characteristic Stuff On My Cat was about exploiting. So we piled a few things on him and took a few pictures to upload. The 6th file was one of them...

It wasn't the one that made it on the Web site, though. This is the one they posted, although not stuff "on" my cat in the literal sense. In a manner of speaking the soldiers were definitely on him, not that he seemed to care one way or another...

Stuff On My Cat is still out there at http://www.stuffonmycat.com, although Armand is apparently long gone from the archives. Maybe Armand in his holiday finery might be a good choice for another entry?

Now to get this computer back in line, or line up a replacement...