Tuesday, October 28, 2014

The Handoff

When you like to play as much as Couper likes to play, it really pays to know your teammates. In the picture above, I am on the floor (in photography mode, obviously). When human beings are on the floor, Couper immediately recognizes them as in play-mode. Here, Couper is going to nudge that ball somewhere within an 8 foot radius of my current position and then demand that I get and then throw the ball. If I am lucky, he will nudge it within my normal reach. Hopefully it will be within my stretched out reach. Here, it looks like that ball is going way left and I'm probably going to have to get off my chubby lazy butt to get it. Any which way, he knows that wherever it goes, I will eventually get and throw that ball.

On Sundays, Couper's Gamma Buddy comes to visit. Couper's Gamma Buddy is in advanced stages of MS. She is in a motorized chair and has essentially no use of her left hand or left leg. Her right hand is functional, but still far from 100%

Despite never having a dog (grrrrr!!!), Couper's Gamma Buddy really likes our puppies. And she really really likes Couper. Maybe it was because Couper, being the first dog to step foot in her house many years ago, came out of his kennel and barked at her. He was as feisty as she was. Whatever it was, they have formed a bond over the years.

When Couper's Gamma Buddy comes to the house on Sundays, the dogs are gated in the kitchen as we let her in the house. We make sure she gets through the entrance from the garage, past the laundry room, and into the main hall. Then, I release the hounds. The dogs were already screaming as soon as they heard voices. When I open the gates, they spring towards Gamma Buddy and she starts immediately laughing. (Is it any wonder that when people talk about the benefits of owning dogs they always talk about how the dogs react when they come home...it is the greatest). Godiva will run around in circles, here and there stopping to say hi to Gamma Buddy. Frankie is new to the game and will usually run to his new Mommy. Couper runs to get a ball.

And then the fun really begins. Couper, either knowing or having learned that his Gamma Buddy cannot use her left hand, will run to her, hop his front paws on her right calf and hand the ball perfectly into her right hand. She then throws the ball to the door of our den, he grabs it, and repeats the process; each time placing the ball perfectly into her right hand. And he would do this for who knows how long, except that I call him out to go potty and let his Gamma Buddy get settled.

So Couper is the ultimate quarterback. Playing with Big Buddy? Nudge the ball anywhere. He'll go get it. Playing with Gamma Buddy? Place it gently in her right hand with just the right amount of patience to make sure she can grip it. Unitas, Montana, Brady, Manning, Couper.

Sunday, October 19, 2014



What a cool number. What other number has so many other names? A dozen. Noon. Midnight. A foot.

Twelve ounces in a beer or a soda. A twelve pack. Twelve ounce curls. Twelve Step Program.

Twelve Disciples. Twelve Days of Christmas.

Twelve jurors. Twelve Angry Men.

Twelve volt.

Roger Staubach was 12. Terry Bradshaw was 12. Joe Freakin' Namath was 12.

Twelve O'Clock High, Oceans Twelve, Cheaper by the Dozen, The Dirty Dozen, Rocky Twelve, The Hangover XII. The twelve dwarfs. Twelve is Enough. My Twelve Sons. Twelve's Company. A Dozen and a Half Men.

As if that all wasn't enough, now our Little Buddy Couper is twelve! Twelve is now like, twelve times cooler.

Happy Birthday Little Buddy!!!!!!!!!!!!

Thursday, July 3, 2014

The Biggest Loser

Welcome back to the Biggest Loser.

Alison: Frankie, when you entered the Dachshund Ranch in April 2013, you weighed in at 25.6 pounds.

Alison: Before you take your turn on the scale, is there anything you would like to say?

Frankie: Woof woof woof woof WOOF! {I'm freakin' hungry!} Woof WOOF woof Woof WOOF!{These people, they are starving me!} WOOF WOOF woof Woof WOOF!?! {Would it kill them to give me more food!?!}

Alison: Well put Frankie. Frankie, please get on the scale.

Alison: Frankie, your current weight is...

[Beep] 28.2
[Beep] 18.8
[Beep] 22.5
[Beep] 13.7
[Beep] 26.8
[Beep] 20.9
[Beep] 15.2
[Beep] 39.4
[Beep] 5.0
[Beep] 56.7
[Beep] -6.8

[Beep] 17.6

Alison: Frankie, your current weight is 17.6 pounds, a percentage weight loss of 31.25%!

Alison: Frankie, how do you feel?

Frankie: Woof WOOF woof Woof WOOF WOOF! ?!{Hungry, I feel hungry, Alison. Did you not hear me before!?!} 

Alison: [Wipes away a tear] Touching. That is very inspirational Frankie. That's all for The Biggest Loser. Remember next week we have a big surprise, yes, we are once again bringing back Phil! Goodnight everybody!

We took Frankie to the vet in May, thirteen months after his first visit upon getting him last April. We really hate taking the dogs to the vet, and in Frankie's case we hate it more so because the vet had yelled at us about his teeth and we really didn't do anything about them (other than some last minute brushing, which had the same effect as cracking open your chemistry book for the first time the night before the final).

However, we were excited to see what his weight was. He was noticeably thinner (the pictures above do not do his weight loss justice - The Biggest Loser producers are losing their touch). Could we have weighed him at home? Sure, but that would mean getting on the scales ourselves and then back on with him. I won't speak for Frankie's Mommy, but that was something I wanted no part of.

So, right before going in we each guessed his weight. Frankie's Mommy said 17. I said 18.5. The numbers in the Biggest Loser skit were correct. 17.6 (oh crap, I lost). And, unlike Couper and Godiva, it was well measured, as Frankie actually stands still on the scale. We were so excited, we glossed right over getting yelled at once again about his teeth.

And maybe now it is time to give into Frankie's wishes and give him more food (just a little more). After all, this is Frankie as his dinner is being made:

Air Frankie

The biggest lesson learned: It is very easy to put someone else on a diet. Maybe it is Frankie's turn, as the Biggest Loser, to become the mentor and start making our food.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Happy 12th (?) Birthday (??) Frankie!!!

We would like to wish our newest family member Frankie a happy birthday!

Except that we don't really know when his birthday is. When we adopted him last April, we asked and essentially got a shrug. When we asked how old he was, we got an approximation. Old vet records that we got didn't help, so we made stuff up.

Back of the envelope math said that he was 11. We think that he is slightly older than Couper, who had turned 10 the October before. So, 11 it was.

As for the date, we think he was born before April in actuality. Frankie's New Mommy seems to recall seeing him during a Spring Break visit when he was a puppy. So really, he was likely born no later than January. But then you have to pick a random date in January, and nothing other than New Year's Day stands out (and that already is a holiday). Plus it could fall on an NFL Playoff day and that would confuse everything.

So, without anything actual to go on, we figured let's assign his adoption date as his birthday. Kind of his rebirth. That way we could celebrate the abstract with the concrete. So, April 14th it is. (Yes, I know today is not April 14th...that is my fault).

So, how is Frankie doing a year later? Well, he has lost a lot of weight. No longer does his tummy drag on the ground. He also has a good looking dog shape when looking from above. It is amazing how easy it is to put someone else on a diet! His coat is also better. We put a drop or two of olive oil in his food every night and it seems to have really helped.

With weight loss, he breathes better and snores less. He also moves better. He still doesn't play, but when he goes outside and poops, he will pounce back to the door to get his yummie. Which of course leads to his real exercise; whenever it is time for yummies or meals, he jumps up and down on his mat like it was a trampoline. If said yummie is not forthcoming, he woofs and lets you know about it. If his dinner is ready and we are doing something unnecessary, like say, making our dinner, he follows us around and lets us know about it. We grill a lot and he has figured out that when I come in with food, it is just about time for him to get his dinner. So when I go outside, he runs to the door to make sure I am bringing something in. When it is finally (!!!) time for him to get breakfast/dinner, he jumps up and down like a jumping bean again. Because he is puppy #3, he gets his dish last, which means while we are bending down do put Couper's and Godiva's on the floor, he is practically knocking us in the butt. His enthusiasm doesn't stop there. At first we bought him a regular bowl like Couper and Godiva were using. However, he would eat his dinner in literally 10 seconds. Gulp, gulp, gulp, done. So, we found one of those complicated bowls with the bumps and sections so that he would slow down. It has worked, though he still finishes before Couper and way before Godiva.

Now all this leads us to worry at times that we are starving him. But it isn't like he is skin and bones, just way better than what he was. When we take him to the vet we will know more (and he will probably tell us he is still overweight - that's just what vets do).

But the point to all this is that Frankie had a birthday (??). We celebrated his 12th (?) birthday, but really it was his first birthday celebration. Having been here a year, he has seen birthday celebrations for Couper and Godiva, so he should know the birthday drill: Special dinner, yummies, presents, songs, and a puppy parade...you know, just like every other day, but it is his birthday.

So how did Frankie do? He was kind of nonplussed. Couper and Godiva saw presents and reacted the way they always do, like Frankie at mealtime. Frankie, maybe having seen their present frenzy before and realizing it does not immediately lead to eating (though there are food items in the bags) went to lie down. So, even putting a bag in his bed led to a scene like below:

Couper: My present!!!
Frankie: OK. OK. OK.

But in the end everyone got to enjoy a fun birthday party:

So happy 12th (?) (1st???) birthday (??) Frankie!

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Let's Take Inventory - Dachshund Figurines - Hot Diggity Dog!

I don't specifically remember the first time I went into the Hallmark Store in Lake Havasu City and saw my first Westmark Hot Diggity Dog dachshund figurine. But I do remember it was one of the top ten moments of my life to that point (and beyond).

I think it was near Couper's Mommy's birthday. And I think I got a Birthday Dachshund and maybe one more. And I think there were two others in the store. And I think I went back, before Couper's Mommy's Birthday and got the other two. And I am sure that I sweated out Couper's Mommy going into the Hallmark Store in our little town and discovering my, and Couper's, super special gift.

I think the first Hot Diggity Dog was a Birthday Dachshund. I think it was series one of Hot Diggity Dogs. I know I got a couple more Hot Diggity Dogs when they came into the Hallmark store. Then, from a place I could have never guessed, came Hot Diggity Dogs Series Two. Those were bought up between Couper's Birthday, Christmas, and my birthday. And who would have guessed, out came Series Three.

At this point you wonder, who is driving whom? Are there more series because we were buying the other series? Or are there other nuts out there like us? Macroeconomics says the former, but we always wondered if we the whole macro.

So series three and four and five, and Christmas Hot Diggity Dogs, and picture frames, and salt and pepper shakers, and banks, and series six, and seven, and so on came out. And of course we got them. They have our Little Buddy on them!

There were other dachshund figurines. You can seen them in the pictures above. The Jonathan Alder white dachshund in the upper right of the three tier stand probably costs more than three of the Hot Diggity Dogs on the shelf below. We have big ceramic dachshunds. We have small metallic dachshunds. We have medium sized dachshunds as well. Probably also medium-small and medium-large.

The Hot Diggity Dogs have slowed lately, but so has our ability to buy them. Related? Perhaps. I like to think so. But, one runs out of creative things to put on a short and long dog. I do know this. Less than a year after we moved from Havasu, the Hallmark store that sold us the Hot Diggity Dogs closed. Related? Ummm Perhaps???

Monday, March 10, 2014

Happy 6th Birthday Godiva!!!

Happy 6th birthday to our favorite puppy girl, Godiva. Or put another way, happy third anniversary of Godiva's supposedly becoming a good girl. Waiting........waiting........waiting........

The picture above has Godiva in her favorite place, standing (well sitting) guard at the back door waiting for lizards or birds or something. Yes, those are her nose and paw prints on the glass.

We have been very fortunate with her health in the last year. Every day we are reminded that she has had back surgery, just by the way she walks. Her back left leg never really came all the way back. In November, she showed signs of pain. A couple of screams from gentle touches. Sitting and not wanting to move. We were petrified that she somehow hurt her back again. So, off to the Emergency vet we went. The initial diagnosis was an injured back left knee. Maybe even an ACL tear. Now, I watch a lot of NFL. I see a lot of ACL tears. There was no way she had an ACL tear. (Godiva's Mommy, were she to have written this, would say that she has had an ACL tear; but she isn't writing this and she doesn't watch as much NFL as I do, so my NFL ACL proof is the proof of record). We got away with some pain medicine, an anti-inflammatory, and a "let's see how it goes".

It went pretty well, despite Godiva being militant about not taking pills. She was tough to give pills to after her back surgery, but we finally were able to crack her. Not this time. Cheese? Nope. Peanut butter? Nope. Liverwurst? Nope. Shoving it down her throat (the method that worked after back surgery)? Yup...then two steps later, out it came. So that's a Nope. Godiva's mommy read on the internet that quick popping four liverwurst balls in a dog's mouth with the third containing the pill would work. It did! For two days. Then, Nope! So, she wasn't exactly on the prescribed road to recovery when the pain popped up again.

Same emergency vet, same diagnosis, ACL. But this time, he wanted us to meet with the surgeon to see if he thought Godiva would need ACL surgery (only $2000, less than half her back surgery!). So we set up an appointment, two days after Christmas, with the surgeon who did her back surgery. Happy Holidays!

So, we met with the surgeon. He remembered her from the back surgery and recovery and saw that her back left leg was basically in the same condition it was the December before. His diagnosis: The other vet was insane (yes, they work at the same facility). Basically if she had a torn ACL, her leg would be up in the air and she wouldn't be able to put any weight on it (just like the NFL! - and perhaps Godiva's Mommy that time she tore her ACL). He could barely find any pain in the knee. His recommendation, more pills (that went about as well as the first round did), rest, and if anything flared up, come see him directly. Knock on wood, we haven't been back.

The only downside? I was looking forward to Godiva having an Adrian Peterson type comeback following ACL surgery. Alas, our puppy girl may never rush for 1,000 yards again.


So, happy and healthy sixth birthday Diver Doo! And despite my earlier crack, you are a good girl, most of the time.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Happy New Year From the Poop! Let's Take Inventory

Happy New Year!

We're going to try something a little different this year. Yes, I will still come up with about 20 stories about our puppies that I will write in my mind but surely never get around to writing with keyboard. The Godiva rehab story is top amongst them. It is a tough one to write, not to mention that it is ongoing. She is fine, and maybe we worry too much, but there are OK days and there are not so OK days.

Also on tap:
Rampway to Heaven
Frankie Jumping Bean
Couper Plays Blankee

They will be the medium quality nonsense that you come to expect from the Poop.

But coming off a Christmas in which we got the following dachshund items:

Corn cob holders
Hot dog Leash
Watering Can
Ceramic figure
Temporary Tatoos
Ring Holder
Salt and Pepper Shaker
Ice Cube Tray
Stuffed Animal
Some sort of Japanese paper puzzle thing

And probably more stuff that I am temporarily forgetting...adding to the insane amount of dachshund stuff that we already own, I thought I would take inventory here and share a few of our treasured items.

Let's start with the just ended holidays.

What's the best part of Christmas?

Kids would say the presents.

The spiritual would say the celebration of the birth of baby Jesus.

Some would say spending time with family.

Some might say the Christmas songs.

They would all be wrong!

(Especially the song crowd. You think you are tired of "Holly Jolly Christmas"? What if you were a retail clerk? Know why they are so cranky? It's not because they are overwhelmed by desperate customers. It's because they have heard "Holly Jolly Christmas" 835 times in the past 20 days. And they know that "Santa Baby" can't be too far behind. And then "Jingle Bell Rock", which is a total lie because it is neither "Jingle Bells" nor does it rock. Of course they are cranky. You should be glad they aren't homicidal. So you need to change the game, because if you aren't part of the solution, you are part of the problem:

Old: Excuse me, do you have this scarf in burnt orange?

New: Look, I have a sledge hammer and a blow torch in this Macy's bag. Point me to the satanic device cranking out "Holly Jolly Christmas" and I will take care of it once and for all. And while I'm doing that, could you please check in the back and see if you have this scarf in burnt orange. 

Problem solved.)

No, the best part of Christmas is that for one month out of the year, the neighborhood changes. Outdoor decorations and lights change the same old crap that you look at for eleven months into something completely different.

So, yes, we have the traditional icicle lights off the garage and the net lighting over the bushes.

We also have four outdoor dachshund lights that have a total of six dachshunds.

So, you are asking yourself, "Wow, four dachshund lights totaling six dachshunds in one house, that must be a record!" You would be wrong. The record is at least five dachshund lights totaling seven dachshunds, because we have another dachshund light that is in repair and we did not put out this year.

Last year we had two dachshund lights, the one that is currently broken and one of the small ones out front.

Then in October I read on one of those other dachshund blogs that Lowes and Home Depot had new dachshund lights for sale. So off we went. After buying the larger dachshund that is in the window at Lowes (along with jumping singing dachshunds for indoor use), you w
ould think we would call it a success and go home. You would think wrong. Off to Home Depot we went. We couldn't resist the blow up dachshund and since we went this far, why not get the other smaller dachshund as well. Two
hundred dollars later and our day was done. For the record, based on doing essentially the same thing when we got our other smaller dachshund two years ago, there is no waiting until after Christmas for markdowns on dachshund lights. You get out there early and buy or you do without. (The fun part was that now that we had all this new outdoor electronics, we needed to go back to Home Depot to spend another $100 to hook all these dachshunds up. Yay Christmas!)

So, this brings me to my next idea...

Last week we, along with everyone else on the planet took down our Christmas lights and dachshunds. You drive down the street at night and it seems very dark. Why do we need to wait 11 months to light things up again? Now we can't have Christmas stuff up all year. That might embolden people to play Holly Jolly Christmas all year. We need another holiday. People do dress up the yard with Halloween stuff in October, and that is pretty good. But I have a different holiday in mind. Six months from Christmas, is the 4th of July. Perfect timing. right in the middle. So, on Memorial Day weekend people would go out and put up their red, white, and blue decorations and lights. On the weekend after the 4th people would take them back down. Who would be against this? And what does this all have to do with dachshunds? Well, I desperately want an outdoor 4th of July light that looks like this:

By the way, our next inventory topic, dachshund figurines.