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Posts Tagged ‘dogs’

Working through different motifs in the book

As I mentioned last time, trying this new technique has helped my brain to focus more than it has been since the quarantine started. I haven’t been bouncing off the walls, mentally, nearly as much. So when I’m not crocheting or playing Animal Crossing, I’m working my way through Laverne Waddington’s book Andean Pebble Weave.

Laverne does her pebble weave on a backstrap loom, which makes it really portable. My house, currently, is not fit for backstrap, because I’d be sitting on the floor, and all four of my Arctic dogs are well into a summer coat blow. There is no escaping the fur, but sitting on the floor is just asking for trouble. Especially since the younger dogs take that as an invitation to jump all over me, which is not very conducive to weaving. So, I’m using my inkle loom. I have no idea if the way I have it set up is proper for pebble weave, but it seems to be working. As my dad always said, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

I had started with the first project in the book using a very thin weaving cotton I’d bought several years ago. Long enough ago that I no longer have the tags that told me what brand or size it is, so it could be as long as nine years ago. Who knows? But though it was going well, I quickly cut the strap off. It was so tiny that I was having trouble with the weaving of it. I warped the loom again, with DMC satin floss, which you might remember from previous posts being used for tablet weaving. I doubled each warp thread and got to work. And though it can work, satin floss is very fiddly. It’s slippery, for obvious reasons. It might have worked better had I used some other material for the weft, like I did with the tablet weaving experiment, but my weft this time was also satin floss.

What is woven on the front, is woven on the back in the contrasting color

That warp went away too.

I went back to the original weaving cotton, and decided that to make it easier for me to see, I would simply double the warp threads again. Then I realized, the inkle loom I was using wasn’t wide enough to carry the warp comfortably. Every time I had to advance the warp, I’d have strings slipping off the sides.

I brought out the big guns: Moya, my beautiful first inkle loom from Northwest Looms. She’s nine years old now, and still as beautiful as ever, and more than capable of carrying this warp. What I didn’t count on was the fact that for the first time, I would have to remove her right side in order to put a warp on her. I’d always used those tiny skeins of embroidery floss on her before, so warping with both sides on made sense. It couldn’t be done that way with large cakes of yarn. Off came the side, and I got a warp on her while video chatting with an old friend.

Once I started weaving, I realized that, though it works almost perfectly, I’d forgotten one thing to make it perfect: I didn’t double up on the weft thread.

Oops.

With the weft thread being half the size of the warps, there’s less separation between picks, which means that the little dots, the “pebbles”, are all but impossible to see. Since they’re such a huge part of the pattern — it is called pebble weave, after all — it won’t be right until I double up that weft. For now, the warp remains, and I returned, once again, to the smaller inkle loom, which I proceeded to warp for a wider band. Although I didn’t double up warp threads this time, for some reason I seem to be managing better, even though the yarn is so thin.

The big guns: Moya. You can see that she’s bigger than the piano stool!

This is the slowest type of weaving for me, because almost every bit of it is warp manipulation. I am not fast with that, in part because the yarn is so thin and the lighting in my living room isn’t fantastic. It reminds me a lot of fingerweaving (yes, I do that, too), because you basically hold the warp in both hands and transfer the needed strings from one hand to the other, keeping some and dropping others. I’m sure other weavers are a good deal faster than I am. I don’t mind being slow with this. I kind of just…enjoy the journey, and watch the pattern appear. It’s fun. And I certainly have time right now!

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Yes, we made it to North Carolina. We arrived April 18, closed on a new (much smaller) house on May 2, the movers arrived toward the end of May, and we have been unpacking since then, trying hard to get everything done and in place so that we can catalog everything that got broken in the move and make a claim on it all. Sadly, so far there is quite a bit.

The ferrets stayed behind in Colorado with friends, until we could get settled. I didn’t think having incredibly aromatic animals in a hotel was a good idea. The gliders did go to the hotel, and the dogs went to boarding.

Unlike our last move, the long-term hotel was very different. The last time, in both hotels, there were separate bedrooms. This time, we were all in one room, with a kitchenette, which made for some tension. Nobody wanted to be boxed in like we were, but we had to deal with it. There were definitely some days, though, where it was tough.

With two glaring exceptions, the trip across country was pretty uneventful. Flat all the way, although the Mississippi River gave me some trouble, with my fear of heights. The next thing to terrify me was the Cumberland Plateau in Tennessee. I think. You don’t realize you’re going up until you reach the point that you have to go down, and it’s a very steep grade that also twists and turns all the way to the bottom. And the speed limit is 55. With trucks and cars speeding by you. Needless to say, I thought the speed limit should be 10 mph. By the time I got to the bottom, white knuckles all the way, I was shaking and crying, and couldn’t bring myself to take the truck above 60 (it was a 75 mph speed limit). This is saying something, as I’m a leadfoot and always have been. I’ve been much better since having children in the vehicle with me regularly, never going more than five mph above the limit unless I’m alone–then all bets are off. But I couldn’t even get to the speed limit after that experience!

Oh, wait, there was a third harrowing occurrence! This one involved the dogs. Well, one dog. The youngest one.

I’d bought a topper for the truck bed, specifically for this trip. Brand new. I had it one day before putting the dogs in it to hit the road. Within an hour of getting in the truck, miss Valkyrie ripped out the wiring of the topper. How kind of her.

Then we made it almost all the way to NC without incident, until Hwy 20, where she proceeded to rip the screen out of the topper window, and tried to jump out of the moving truck. Mind you, all dogs were anchored to the steel loops of the bed. So hubby, in the rental car behind me, was honking and trying to call me, and my kids are having a meltdown, while I, having already seen what was going on, was trying to get off the highway. We rearranged the dogs at that point, so she couldn’t get to anything. And I was very happy to drop them off at the boarding kennel, finally, that afternoon.

I’ll leave the story of our move here, and get back to it next time!

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The Three Musketeers: Vanir, Valkyrie, and Thor

It is unreal, the amount of trouble a puppy can get into, even when supervised. To say that Valkyrie keeps us on our toes–constantly–is to vastly understate the situation.  I haven’t forgotten what it’s like to have an Arctic breed puppy, but Val is by far the most mischievous one I’ve ever been owned by. Vanir was shy when he first joined the family, which may explain why he wasn’t ridiculously difficult to train, and Thor was already three and an adult when he arrived. But Valkyrie is something else!! There is nothing sacred. She’s just barely tall enough to see over the counters when standing on her hind legs, but that doesn’t stop her. We have to police everything: floors, counters, closets, and even then, she will find what you miss, no matter how small! In the house, she is either on a leash attached to one of us, or she is in the crate when she can’t be watched. Crate training has begun in earnest!! She hates it, of course, because the boys don’t have to be crated at all, and she absolutely does, no question. On those rare occasions when she sleeps with us, she’s on the leash, and the wrist strap is around my ankle all night.

It’s hard, because she’s utterly adorable, and it breaks your heart when she cries because it’s bedtime or you’re going out and she has to go in the crate, but the house would be a disaster if we didn’t do it. The one night we allowed her to sleep with Aneira, she got loose and tore up the main floor. Garbage everywhere, papers shredded into tiny pieces, a dish broken…which is how she was caught. Bryony heard the crash at 3 am and came to get us after catching the little turdbrain. After that, the strict rule is crate at bedtime.

She definitely has a mind of her own, like all of her breed, and the ability to make you love her no matter what devilry she gets up to. She loves to kiss your face when she hasn’t seen you all day, her whole body wagging. Annoyingly, though she was my birthday present, she has a definite affinity for the PIP. She’s starting to include the rest of us, though, so it could be worse!

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I don’t know what I want to do tonight. I’m sitting in my little studio, staring at Pinterest, and I don’t know what I want to do. I’ve got three bands in various stages of weaving on three different looms, and I’m looking at other patterns for another band. I’m also looking at tatting patterns, because it’s been awhile since I picked up a shuttle and my fingers are itching for one. I’ve also got two blankets on crochet hooks that could use some work, and I saw some interesting crochet stitches on Pinterest too.

And then there’s Valkyrie, with whom I’ve made some strides today and who is just cute as a button, and I want to play with her too. And Vanir has been very lovey-dovey since Valkyrie arrived, so cuddling him is a must, too. And I have to say, I don’t understand how it is that he is still as adorable as a puppy when he is an adult and nearly five years old now. Yeah, my dogs aren’t spoiled or anything!

There are also my adult coloring books, markers, and colored pencils…I could spend some time coloring with my kids. There’s so much I could be doing, so much I want to do, and can’t figure out which want is greater than the others! Sigh. So I think what I’m going to do is read more of Tablets at Work. I need to know more about how tablet weaving really works. I’ve made so many mistakes with the strap on the dragon loom that it’s not funny. If I lose my place, I generally end up cutting the weft thread and pulling it out back to the beginning of the pattern repeat, because I can’t figure out how to unweave it without compounding the problem. So studying is probably the best idea. It’s not like the book isn’t interesting, because it absolutely is, it’s just that I’d rather be doing than reading. Sometimes, though, you can’t jump ahead like that, and this is one of those times.

 

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Fourteen years old!!

Yes, I had a birthday a few days ago, and so did Thor, our now-fourteen-year-old Sibe. We share a birthday, which is pretty cool, I think. And while I’ll tell you how old he is, since I don’t think he cares, I think I’ll refrain from mentioning my age, in favor of my vanity. Most people express disbelief upon hearing my age, swearing I look younger than I am, but I’m never sure if the disbelief is genuine, or politeness lol.

So the day in question didn’t start out so well. A couple of days earlier, I had woken up to find my left knee painful and starting to swell. No idea what I’d done to it. I hadn’t fallen, wrenched it, or banged it into anything. Just, out of nowhere, blammo! And over the course of the next two days, it blew up to twice the size of the right one. I couldn’t bend it far, and couldn’t straighten it completely either. It hurt to touch it or move it. The PIP thought I should go to the ER the night before my birthday, but I refused. And by morning, I really had no choice. So off to the urgent care I went. Xrays were excruciating, but showed no breaks and no reason for all the swelling. Orders have since gone out for an MRI. Fun stuff. So I ended up with a compression bandage on the knee, naproxen for daytime, hydrocodone for bedtime, and instructions to wait for the MRI folks to call.

Then I had to head up to Denver International Airport, because my birthday present was arriving on Alaska Air. Naturally, the weather turned ugly, and since I was driving up alone, I opted to avoid the highway and take the back roads, which were themselves pretty nasty. I don’t ever do the highway in bad weather. Call me a wimp, but contending with idiots who are far exceeding the dry speed limit of 75 mph is not my idea of a relaxing drive. Thus, back roads. It takes longer–a lot longer–but I feel more confident of surviving the trip!

Without further ado, let me introduce my present:

Introducing Valkyrie, Tovik’s Warrior Goddess

She is an adorable bundle of trouble! I admit to being nervous about introducing her to Vanir, but the two of them are fast friends already. She follows him everywhere. Thor is less thrilled about the new arrival. It hasn’t been long since Bandit left us, but we agreed that the kids needed this, and I’ve known the owners of Tovik Siberians ever since I got Thor eleven years ago.

This is the first time I’ve ever had a pack that consisted only of Northern breed dogs. I figure Valkyrie’s mask will eventually fade, but right now she’s got striking markings. And when I finally get a picture of the three of them together, they’ll look beautiful together. And boy, am I glad the boys are neutered!!! She’ll be spayed after she’s a year old, to make sure she grows properly into adulthood. I have no desire to breed!

Of course, she latched right onto the PIP, Mr. I-Don’t-Want-A-New-Dog-Yet, who cuddles her every chance he gets, and she considers the girls of the household to be furniture, to be ignored as much as possible. Annoying, lol! Unless we’re giving out treats, of course. But what a cutie!

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The horn tablets are a bit larger than the bone.

It’s very quiet in the house since Bandit crossed the Bridge. The boys seem to be lost, Vanir more than Thor. Bandit was who he latched onto when he joined the family as a puppy, and he’s been looking for her since she’s been gone. We all have, really. The girls are really devastated, but taking it better than the adults. Fourteen years of “Where’s Bandit? What is she doing?” doesn’t evaporate overnight. She was part of the family, and it’s hard not to have her here. I keep looking for her goofy grin. I even miss yelling at her not to eat the crap she finds outside. There wasn’t much she wouldn’t eat. If she could chew it, clearly, it was edible. The more gross, the better.

I don’t understand how it works. For the most part, when the dogs are inside the house, the older two were sleeping, and thus things were quiet. I don’t understand how it’s even quieter now. But it is, and for now, at least, we’ll have to get used to it.

As for my little weaving experiment, I’m not going to call it an unqualified success, because it’s still on the loom and not finished, but I’ve woven quite far on the DMC satin strap, and it’s continuing to do well. Nothing has snapped or begun to unravel (and now that I’ve said that, I’ve jinxed myself), and I really believe if it was going to, it would have already done so (now I’ve really done it). But as I’m weaving, the bone tablets work their way closer to me with each quarter turn, and at the end of every sequence, I’m pushing them back up the warp. And unlike cardboard tablets, obviously, bone is thicker and more abrasive to the strings, so I’m surprised, really, to see so little wear on the strings. Tablet weaving also requires the weft to be beaten into place more firmly than other types of weaving, and the satin has taken it all like a trooper!

So I’ll almost certainly continue to use the DMC satin for weaving. The downside of that is that it’s pricy, and you can’t get all the available colors in one store. They’re $.99 per 8.7 yard skein. The cost of buying enough satin is  going to be exorbitant. To buy 3 skeins of each color at DMC itself would be measured in hundreds of dollars. I’ll have to work on that slowly lol. But I think it will be worth it. And the way the floss separates on its own at the ends, it’ll be perfect for tassels at the end of the strap.

The horn tablets finally arrived today. Getting them here has been quite the adventure. They were sent once before, from the same company that sent the bone tablets. They made it all the way to Denver, got rerouted to San Francisco, and were returned to Germany, for no reason either the merchant or I could discern. So they sent them again, and this morning before the mailman ever got here, the tracking information said that they had already been delivered and left with someone at the house. Well, of course, the package wasn’t here. This began a round of calling the post office several times, trying to find out what had happened to it. I have been reminded how much I hate computer menus. It took two hours to get to a point where the computer recognized my request to speak to a representative, and then find out that I was going to be on hold for at least another hour. I was still on hold when I heard the mailman filling the boxes outside. I got down there in record time (for me), and found out that the package was in the box waiting. Yes!

Oddly, the bone tablets are a bit smaller than the horn, because according to my order, both sets are 4 cm. Weird. But I’m happy with both, so it’s not a big deal.

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Bandit’s last photo, tonight.

Tonight, Bandit collapsed on us. She let us know it was time for her to go be with her sister and all of the pets that went before her to the Rainbow Bridge. Naturally, as she lived life her own way, she did death that way too. She never had any physical health problems that becoming young again wouldn’t have conquered. Never lost her appetite. Still occasionally roughhoused with Vanir. Always happy.

But tonight it was time.

It’s a decision I hate making, and it’s one that humans make over and over again for their beloved furchildren, and one I will have to make again soon for Thor, as well, who will be fourteen at the end of the month. And will I continue to have dogs, even knowing what I’ll go through at the end? Absolutely. I wouldn’t know how to live without a dog.

From the very beginning, Bandit did everything her own way. She was never a dog to lie around and cuddle with you, unlike her sister Smoky. She had to be out and about, regardless of the risks she took. We often said she was part cat, with all attendant nine lives, and would outlive all of us. She survived things we thought would be the end of her: rattlesnake bites, being hit by a car on one of her excursions. She was a young dog with the snake, barely out of puppyhood. She was already a senior citizen when she climbed the fence and got hit by the car. Her right hip was dislocated, the leg degloved, the ankle capsule destroyed, her skull broken, the pubis muscle detached, and she survived. More than that, she thrived. The vet thought that she would be in staples and splints for six weeks. She was out of both within three, and climbing the fence again two weeks after that. She was ten at the time.

She has given me more grey hairs than any dog before her. She has given us laughter and love. The day we brought Aneira home from the hospital as an infant, she tried to climb into the bassinet with her, and that set the tone for how she felt about her furless children. She adored them as much as they adored her.

She never so much as growled at anyone in her life. She got along with everyone, no matter the species. There was no one she didn’t love, and no one that didn’t love her back.

She earned her honorary silver harness, putting up with the shenanigans of her Arctic brothers and even encouraging them, joining in with the Siberian Furniture Olympics when they were all younger.

She hated water with a passion, despite being a Labrador retriever. If she wasn’t drinking it, she wanted nothing to do with it.

Bam-Bam, you gave us so much joy throughout your life. We are missing you so much. Wait for us, North of the Bridge, with your silver harness and your sister. We’ll miss you until we get there. We love you, baby girl.

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11 days till Christmas, and seven till Yule on the winter solstice, which, being Wiccan, is really the day I should be celebrating on, but it’s easier just to stick with Christmas Day. The kids would undoubtedly be happier if we went for the solstice, since it’s sooner, but, hey, we’re not even certain yet that they’re getting gifts this year. They’ve misbehaved so often and so badly in recent days that I’m inclined to just return everything and be done with it.

And there’s so little time left. Is Bryony’s bag finished? Not. Even. Close. I will have to work until my hands can’t move to get this thing done in time. I don’t know if I can do it. I forgot to reckon with how much I have to do during the holidays. There’s all the cooking that has to be done, which, thankfully, doesn’t take place until the day in question, but there’s getting things wrapped, shopping, hiding things cleverly enough that the kids can’t find them, and a zillion other things that I have to do, both concerned with the holiday and not. Tomorrow, in fact, we have to get the kids out of school early to get them to the pediatrician by 3:15, because their behavior has been such that it’s time to consult a professional. Bryony got herself in-school-suspension for half a day for bullying another little girl so badly that the child’s grades have dropped and she’s depressed. I was shocked to find this out, because we have had numerous conversations about bullying and how to treat one’s friends. Apparently, nothing has sunk in.

And Aneira is a teenager in nearly everything. Her mouth is writing checks her derriere can’t cash. The disrespect level has gone through the roof recently. If I spoke to my mother the way she’s been backtalking me lately, I wouldn’t have needed braces. I wouldn’t have had teeth. As it stands, after the latest episode of backtalk, when I asked her to help with the dishes only to be refused, I informed my child that I will continue to feed and clothe her because the law requires that I do so until she’s eighteen, but not to ask me for any extras so long as she refuses to behave like a member of the family. Her reaction was to shrug and say “Fine”, and walk away. Meanwhile, I went from anger to tears and back to anger. So, to the pediatrician to consult about behavioral issues and modification. I’m nervous, because with both parents being bipolar, the likelihood of the girls having the same problem is astronomically high, and I’m not keen on putting my kids on meds. I’m hoping that if they are diagnosed as bipolar, or ADD, or something like that, there’s a way to avoid meds. I just don’t want to start them down that path this young.

The animals also need attention as well, particularly the gliders, because they won’t stay tame without human interaction, as evidenced by the Dragons. As I’ve said before, they’re one step up from feral. One very short step! I don’t want the others to regress that badly either. So I find time to spend at least an hour with each group. Normally, that means I spend time with one trio and Maverick one night, and the other trio gets me the next night. The girls make an effort to spend time with Stitch, the rabbit, and the dogs are woven throughout the pattern. They’re easy because they have free run of the house and backyard, other than the master bedroom, so they’re not missing anything at any time. Still, making quality time for everyone and keeping up with everything else drastically reduces the time I have for working on Bryony’s bag or for sleeping.

Which explains why I am still up at quarter to five on a Wednesday morning.

Tonight was the Kaos Krew’s night for tent time. We’ve made progress in some areas, not enough in others. We have reached a point where all three of them run to me for comfort and safety when something startles them, and their idea of fun in the tent is to use me as their personal jungle gym, which means they’re all over me, including up in my hair. What we have not learned is that it’s not nice to bite me. Zoe, in particular, has a penchant for biting my fingers and toes. I invariably forget to put socks on when going into the tent with them–every time. And of course, it doesn’t take long for Zoe to figure that out and make a beeline for my toes when she thinks I won’t notice. Yes, she did get me once tonight. You would think, as often as she does it, I would have learned to never forgo socks. Even Aneira has learned that, and she doesn’t spend as much time with them as I do. She puts shoes on to go in the tent, yet I can never remember to put on socks. Go figure. But at least we’re making progress on bonding, which is all to the good. That means that at some point, the biting will stop. I hope.

Please, please, wish me luck on getting this bag finished in time. After that, I think I’m done with crocheting for a little while!

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Inara, the mom...I think.

Inara, the mom…I think.

No, I most certainly did not have another child, much as I wish I could, but we did expand the family by three this weekend!!

I’ve always been fascinated by, and wanted to have, sugar gliders. They are disgustingly cute little animals. I’d seen other people with them, and we briefly touched on them in school during the exotic animals portion of the curriculum (and when I say “briefly”, I mean it–there was only one chapter on gliders), but the purchase price for one was always extremely high, at least as far as what I ran into every time I looked for one, and then on top of that was the cost of purchasing and accessorizing a cage, which itself can be an additional few hundred dollars more. With a dog, you can opt to get only the dog, a collar, a leash, and food and water bowls. It’s far from an ideal scenario, but you could, in theory, do exactly that, not that I ever have. I’ve crate-trained–or attempted to, as Vanir has been particularly resistant to the idea–all of my dogs, and I have spent a fair share of my money on never-used dog beds (mine is apparently better), grooming tools (why, hu-mom, why?), and barely-touched dog toys of all kinds.

You don’t have the option of a bare-minimum approach with small animals, especially if there are other, larger animals in residence. The cage is an absolute necessity, even before the animal you’re going to install in it.

Zoe, the baby

Zoe, the baby

Once upon a time, I had ferrets. Six of them, to be exact: Loki, Timon, Khian, Ralph, Alysheba, and Brandy. I made a three hour drive from Long Island to New Jersey to buy a custom cage from a family who built the cages and themselves were owned by 40 of these little troublemakers. I drove home with the cage strapped to the top of my much-loved 1977 Chevy Malibu. When my mother found out, she pretty much had a belated heart attack, but that’s another story altogether. Suffice it to say, she was not happy.

Some animals are born escape artists. Ferrets are among them. Not all of them, of course, but there are enough within the species that it’s a rote caution when buying one to be warned that this tendency exists. Of my six, only one qualified. Their cage being built by someone who was well experienced with ferret capabilities, I thought I was safe. Khian was dead set on proving me wrong, and did so on many occasions, managing to work himself out of the cage and come find me every night for weeks until I finally figured out how he was doing it and solved the problem. But above all, ferrets are mischievous and playful, and they remain that way into old age.

Sugar gliders remind me of them. And for some reason, they also make me think of the fire lizards in Anne McCaffrey’s Dragonriders of Pern series of books. I don’t know why, especially as we’re talking mammals here, not lizards, but that’s what they make me think of.

Anyway, a good friend of mine let me know last week about a family of gliders that needed to be rehomed. Their human family is military and got orders to a state where gliders are still illegal. Mom, daughter, and neutered dad would come with everything: cage, toys, food, everything needed to start out with gliders, and the cost would be minimal compared to what I would have paid if I had gone about getting everything one at a time from different sources. Still more than I had available on short notice, but between me and the previous owners, we worked it out, and the trio came to their new home on September 2nd!

I can’t even begin to explain what a ride the last two days have been. Well, the last week, really. I joined every single online glider group I could find. I put books on my Kindle. I nailed my friend with every question I could think of. I started researching diets. I am armed, but far from dangerous…I will probably be asking questions for a good long while!

Zoe, again

Zoe, again

Being the good little Firefly geek that I am, they have been named Mal, Inara, and Zoe. They are tiny little handfuls of joy and utter chaos. Playtime takes place in the bathroom, because it is the only room that can be completely shut off from the rest of the house and in which, as long as the toilet is closed and the tub or sink is not full, there is nothing which they can use to get into trouble. We bring a few toys in, then we bring in the gliders.

It’s like two people trying to play tennis with three balls all at the same time. Gliders never stop moving, unless they’re asleep. If they’re out to play, and you are supervising multiples, it’s a hilarious comedy. Even with Aneira and I both in the bathroom, and possessing one more hand over the number of gliders, we wind up just keeping an eye out for potential trouble and let them wreak havoc until they’re tired…which takes awhile. We’ve been peed and pooped on, and it hasn’t put us off. I guess that’s to be expected with me, who chose to become a vet tech fully knowing that such things could and would occur, probably daily, but for my fastidious Aneira, I was amazed that she handled it very well, and still loves the gliders!

Bryony still hasn’t really been allowed to do anything with them. Being younger and more hyper, she’s likely to terrify such tiny animals. Right now, we’re letting them settle in, and during the day, I carry them around my neck in their bonding pouch while they sleep. The dogs are endlessly fascinated, but they’ve been ousted from the bedroom unless supervised. Love my dogs, but don’t trust them an inch with tiny animals.

Just watching them jump all over their cage has been so much fun, and makes it so hard to leave them be, but I know they need the time to get used to us. Still, I just keep thinking of the old Looney Toons character–a Yeti?–picking up Bugs Bunny and saying “I will love him and hug him and squeeze him and I will call him George.” That pretty much sums up how in love with these three I am!!

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The house feels a little bit emptier tonight. Today, Malayko, Aneira’s German Shepherd mix, crossed the Rainbow Bridge.

It wasn’t something anyone wanted to do. It was something we had to do, as responsible dog owners. You see, on July 4th, Mac nipped at our Bryony, but later that day also went after the Malamute twice. Each time, fireworks had sounded off, so we figured that was the problem. We told Bryony to leave him alone, that he was an older dog (nine), and not to approach him anymore. Let him approach her if he wanted attention. She said okay, and actually followed the new rule. We kept a close eye on them both. Once fireworks ceased going off constantly, all was well, and we thought we knew the problem.

Until today. Today he went after her again, only this time, he left a puncture wound in her scalp. We didn’t find it until much later (we thought he snapped at her and missed), but we immediately knew that we couldn’t continue to keep him in the house. It was just too dangerous for the kids. So we discussed it with a devastated Aneira, and decided it was time. She wanted to go with me, but we didn’t think it was a good idea. She’s only eleven, and once you see that, you can’t unsee it. It will happen eventually, of course, because we will always have dogs, and they just don’t live as long as we do. But we didn’t think her first time should be with her own dog. So I took him alone.

He had no idea what was coming, of course, while I felt like a failure as a dog mom. He sat beside me in the truck, smiling, tail wagging, happy as can be, watching everything out the window. He’s never been a bad dog. Everyone that visits our house loves him. He was always the one to sit quietly beside you, place a paw on your hand or your leg to request attention, and stay there as long as you were willing to pet him.

The plan was simple: euthanasia. If I couldn’t risk my kids, I certainly can’t risk his being adopted out to another family with kids. I had a hard time explaining that to one of the PIP’s friends, who wanted to take him down as a stray. It would save me money, she argued, and give him time to find a new home. But it wasn’t about the money, although I really couldn’t afford to spend it. It was about being responsible, not just to whoever might adopt him, but to him. He’s never been a bad dog, and I felt that I owed it to him to do the right thing for him, and I owed it to him to be there when it happened. I’ve always hated when someone comes in to euthanize a pet that they’ve had forever, and they drop the animal off and refuse to stay. I get that they may be grieving, but their final act for their pet shouldn’t be leaving it in the hands of strangers, scared and alone, with no idea of what’s coming. That’s how you want to repay however many years of loyalty and unconditional love? That seems pretty cowardly to me.

Initially, the humane society thought they could still adopt him out. The two incidents were isolated (remember, I still didn’t know he’d actually bitten her at this point), and he could be adopted to a family with older or no children. You can’t imagine my relief. We couldn’t keep him anymore, and that hurt, but at least I wouldn’t have to go home and tell my daughter he was dead. In fact, when the PIP called, I told him to tell her he was in the clear.

I said my very tearful goodbyes and let them walk him out to the back. I didn’t want him to see me leave and feel abandoned. Call me stupid, but that was my thought. Mac had been dumped near our rural home in Arizona almost seven years ago, by someone who didn’t want him anymore, and now here I was, doing the same thing to him.

I drove home, only to find out when I got there that I was taking Bryony to the hospital. He’d bitten her, all right, right at the top of her head. It was very superficial, it turned out, and no stitches were needed, but now, once again, I had to do the right thing and call the humane society back again.

Now things were different. Because he had bitten her, even though his rabies vaccine was up to date, he would have to be euthanized, unless I was willing to take him back for a ten day quarantine at the house, something that wasn’t an option. I have two children and three other dogs that live in the house. I couldn’t take him back. Well, the lady told me, she was sorry, but that was the only way to avoid it. Even with up-to-date vaccinations, they would have to do the rabies check.

I hung up, feeling horrible. I know I did the right thing, rationally, but my heart isn’t so sure. I love Mac as much as I love my kids and my other pets. Until recently, he was a sweet, affectionate dog. I have to admit, though, that of all our dogs, if I had to pick the one that was most likely to bite, he was at the top of my list. But we’d never, until recently, had reason to expect it.

Did I fail him somehow? Did I miss some signal? I don’t know. I only know that tonight, one of our pack is at the Rainbow Bridge waiting for the day we come to get him,  we still haven’t told our daughter that he is gone, and our hearts are much heavier.

Rest in peace, Mac, Malayko, Miggity-Mac. I’m so sorry. We love you, and we miss you.

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