#weekendcoffeeshare 8/12/2017

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Good morning to everyone! If we were having coffee this morning, I’d ask you to meet me at our local coffee shop. It has a wonderful patio area and the owner sets up a wonderful buffet for the #weekendcoffeeshare people. Today’s offerings are the best blueberry muffins I’ve ever tasted and banana bread that I’m going to taste. He is also going to offer us bread pudding! Yes, bread pudding for breakfast which is very decadent!

There is a nice selection of tea, including a wonderful raspberry tea, along with a selection of green tea and two black teas including one called “Paris.” Coffee this morning is a regular coffee along with expresso and a nice cafe latte.

Let’s all sit down and talk! I would love to hear how each and every one of you are doing. It’s been sort of an odd weather week where I live here in Kentucky, U.S.A. It’s still rather hot during the day, but one can tell that fall is coming. The summer flowers are definitely fading. The nights are getting cool. We’ve had so much rain this summer. We’re way above our average. There is a feeling of fall in the air. September and October really dry out if it is a usual weather year. There is nothing about 2017 that has been normal about the weather here. Have you experienced the same where you live?

How has your blogging and writing been going this week? I haven’t been blogging as much as usual. That’s because I’ve been trying to finish one part of the novel I’m writing. I did finish it, but it just means I’ve now started on the next part that is the actual “meat” of the book. I hope to finish this part before I go to Florida for the winter. I’ll leave here for Florida in early November. The part of the novel I’m working on now requires about 60,000 – 70,000 words. That’s what I’m facing between now and early November! I won’t be blogging as much as usual!

The other really important thing I’m doing between now and when I leave for Florida is training my little dog, Hanna. When she came to me, she was a blank slate. No one had done anything with her. Hanna is now five months old and doesn’t even know how to walk on a leash. I’ve trained dogs before, but when they were much younger and amenable to training than Hanna. So I’m employing professional help! Hanna starts private obedience training classes on Tuesday with a very good dog trainer in my area. She will learn the basics like how to walk on a leash and socialization skills. She is so very shy. She was clearly not around people at all until she came to me. She will have as many private lessons as she needs. Then, she and I will join a puppy obedience class for more socialization and to learn the basic obedience commands. After that, if there is time, she will join an adult obedience class.

Hanna and I have work to do!

As you can see, I’m going to be busy between now and when I leave for Florida in early November.

Tell me what’s going on with all of you in the comments. You’re my friends and colleagues!

#weekendcoffeeshare – 07/29/2017

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Good morning, everyone! Thanks so much for meeting Jenn and I at our local coffee shop. I think it is so much nicer, since it’s summer, to sit outside here on the patio than it would be to sit inside my house! There is room for all of us here. The proprietor has prepared hot cross buns for us today, along with other pastries. They are to die for! Choose your drink. You can choose from a wide selection of coffees and teas.

Come sit! I’m glad to see all of you. I haven’t been able to be with you for a couple of weeks. I have been terribly busy.

Good friends are a wonderful thing. Yes, this is related to how busy I’ve been. Most of you know that I’m writing a novel. One of my best friends, and a colleague when I went through the doctoral program, is reading my novel. Right now, he is only reading it for content, though he will probably do the first edit on it. After reading the entire first part of my novel, he was able to give me a completely new perspective on the content. After thinking about it, I decided to take his suggestions and I am doing a significant rewrite. As I write, it is sounding better and better all the time. I am grateful for my friend! This means it will take me a little longer to write the book, but I feel like it will be a better book.

Then there is Hanna, the new puppy. She is absolutely delightful. The sweetest, most affectionate puppy. She’s now 4.5 months old. Hanna is in training to be a dog. 🙂 We are currently working on housebreaking and leash training. At some point, we will move up to crate training and I will try to desensitize her to riding in the car. Every time she gets in the car, she get sick. Very sick. We have to work very hard on this!

Hanna and I had company for two nights this week. My cousin’s little dog stayed with us since my cousin had some business to attend to. Max is a breed about the size of Hanna’s breeds. They got along famously and loved to run together in the backyard. Hanna was a little jealous though! Max is now back home.

My morning glories are finally blooming! I’m waiting on the moonflowers, planted in the same spot. The insects, those darn Japanese beetles, have been hard on them this year.

The weather here has not been particularly good for growing anything. It has been so wet, So much rain the forest looks like a jungle. Not much humdity at times. Intense humidity at other times. Cool days followed by really hot periods. Unusual for my area.

I would love to share a cup with each of you. Please tell me what’s up with you in the comments! See you next weekend!

 

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#weeklysmile 80

Trent’s World, one of the blog’s I follow, runs a weekly challenge called the #weeklysmile which is……well…….just what it says! The participants talk about the moments during the week that make them smile. I could use a dose of that so here goes my first contribution. Here is my first #weeklysmile:

IMG_0718Her name is Hanna (pronounced Hannah) and she is four months old! She is definitely worth the #weeklysmile as she is one of the funniest dogs I’ve ever owned! Since I recently lost my dog, Hanna has been a dose of good cheer. She is a mixed breed but not very mixed. She is half Havanese and half Lowchen. She walks around on her back legs, seems miraculously housetrained, and is already living freely in the house. Hanna is smart! She can’t yet climb steps, which seems to be her only deficiency. She seems able to come down them, but she mostly falls down them.

Hanna is terrified of crates and I’ve always crate-trained my dogs, so I have no idea where she is going to sleep tonight. I fear it is in my bed and I only hope she really is housetrained. She is twelve pounds, will grow to about eighteen pounds, and I fear she is planning world domination.

I hope all of you have great weekly smiles as well.

#weekendcoffeeshare 7/15/2017

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Good morning, my friends! Thanks for meeting Jenn and I in our favorite coffee shop again this morning. The owner agreed to supply us with his raspberry scones again, but offered to add bread pudding with caramel sauce for us. I don’t know about you, but bread pudding may be my favorite thing in the world! There is also a selection of hot teas, chai latte, expresso, cappuccino, and just about any kind of coffee you desire. Grab something and join me!

If we were having coffee this morning, I guess I would tell you that this is a good news/bad news day for me. Some of you may recall that my precious pup, Betsy, was ill with a genetic illness the last time we talked. We tried and tried, but Betsy passed away from that illness, breaking our hearts in the process. I don’t want to relive it, so I won’t get into the details but I miss her so much.

Since I’ve always needed a dog in my life and I knew my precious Betsy was going to leave me, I had been researching dog breeds. I happened on a breeder of Havanese and Lowchen dogs. Small dogs with big hearts, playful, affectionate, just what I needed. There had been an accidental breeding between a Havanese male and a Lowchen female and two female puppies had resulted. Turns out, they were beautiful.  I bought Hanna (pronounced Hannah) and she has been home with me for two days now. I’ve posted her picture at the bottom of this weekend coffee share. She’s beautiful, four months old, and we’re trying to deal with her severe separation anxiety. If anyone has any tips, I’m surely open for suggestions!

Also, last time we talked, I told you I would be taking a short trip to Tennessee to be with my friend, Marty, as she underwent a surgical procedure. She had surgery and is doing very well. She is feeling much like her old self and the effects of her illness seem to be subsiding. I’m so glad about that.

All of this has put a hold on my writing. I’ve written some for this blog, but my other writing goals have not been met. I have to rectify that this week.

I’d love to hear what’s up in your world! Please stay and enjoy coffee, tea, and these wonderful pastries. Good to see you all!

This is Hanna at four months old!

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#SoCS – 7/8/2017

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Unconditional love is a thing I’m not sure we humans know. Maybe we do. I think we think we feel it more often than we actually do. There is a bond, as old as time, between a person and their dog and a person’s dog loves him/her unconditionally. No matter what we do. We can ignore our dog. Abusive people can even abuse their dog. The dog still loves their person unconditionally. I’ve always thought it was a miraculous thing. This unconditional love between a person and their dog.

Some of you may know that, recently, my dog has been sick for a while now. I’ve written about her in a couple of articles, “Tender Betsy” and An Update About Betsy.

On July 4, 2017, just three weeks after Betsy was diagnosed, she passed away.

I’ve had many special dogs in my life. They are all, indeed, special. They all give me a chance to know that I can love unconditionally. Betsy was at the top of that heap. I have been inconsolable.

In a few weeks, it will be time for me to decide whether or not to get another puppy. I’ve never been without a dog. I feel sure I eventually will. I will never forget the dog from the movie I saw so long ago, “Lady and the Tramp.” Betsy looked just like Lady. She was beautiful, inside and out. She made me laugh and later, cry. She comforted me. She was my constant companion. As the veterinarian put her to sleep, she went to sleep licking my face. Betsy was only four years old. I’ll never forget my little spaniel. She was a very loving trooper.

Tender Betsy

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Three nights ago, I woke up, rather groggily, to a loud banging in my bedroom. I thought of my little dog, Betsy, and immediately turned to find her. She was in her steel crate, with the door open, having a seizure. The banging was her little, tender   body, stiff and jerking, banging against her crate.

I leaped up and went to her. By then, the seizure was almost over and she was in the latter stages. The paralysis that happens after. Her legs were stiff and her head and neck were stuck backward. She stayed like that for ten or fifteen minutes before she could move again. This was her second seizure that I know about.

She slowly got up and left her crate, wide-eyed and shaky. She kept coming to me, looking at me as if to ask me what happened. I had no answers. I just cuddled her. The next stage was the pacing. She paced through the house, wide-eyed and frightened for an hour or two. After that, she collapsed on the couch. She didn’t move for maybe eight hours.

Betsy is a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. A breed of dog that is docile, sweet, and tender. To watch her go through something like a grand mal seizure was a horrible thing. It took two and a half days for Betsy to be Betsy again.

There is an innocence and trust in all dogs. We can’t explain to them what happens to them when it happens and we don’t know how much they understand. As their companions, all we can do is get them good medical care and love them unconditionally. We have to show that love to them, cuddle them, make them feel safe. If a person is a good person, dogs bring out the best in us.

Dogs love us no matter what we do. Deserve their love.

The Mongrel

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I already had the most wonderful dog, Eliza, a Cardigan Welsh Corgi. She was my baby, my friend, my protector. One Saturday, I went to the pet store to stock up on supplies for Eliza. Saturday is the day the pet store invites the Humane Society in, and some of their rescued dogs and cats, in case any of the patrons want to adopt a pet. If I’m there on a Saturday, of course I have to see the dogs. I am a dog lover.

As I was walking down the aisle of rescued dogs, I came to a large cage. Lying in that cage was a large dog with the saddest eyes I’d ever seen, and I’ve seen a lot of sad eyes.  Something about those eyes stopped me in my tracks. I leaned down in front of the cage and there was a big dog, obviously a collie/shepherd mix. Immediately, a name jumped into my head – Murphy. I have no idea where that name came from. I sat there and talked to him for a while. He didn’t really respond. He just looked at me. There was just something about that dog. But, when I got up to leave, he looked up at me and whined. Everything in me told me to take this dog home with me.

I found one of the Humane Society workers and asked them about the dog. He was a stray they had picked up. He was hard to capture, very afraid. He acted like he had been hurt or abused. He was a biter. They were afraid he was vicious and were not sure they should even have him there for that reason. Something in my heart told me he would not be vicious with me or Eliza.

I left the pet store. I had to think. I ran some other errands. The Humane Society worker told me they thought he was an older dog. So did I. There was something about that dog that was pulling at me. He needed a home for his last years on earth. I thought he needed my home and my care. He needed Eliza as his friend. But I had never had a large dog and I lived alone.

I went back to the pet store and set up the adoption process. I was going to adopt him or at least give it a try. I just had a strong feeling it would work out. The Humane Society was going to neuter him. I could pick him up in two days. I bought a big, cushy bed for him, healthy food, a toy and chew bone, and then I went to tell him he was coming home with me. Maybe I was imagining things, but he stood up in his crate and seemed to brighten up.

Two days later, I went to pick up Murphy, his new name. I had also bought a new collar and leash for him. We walked out to the car. He was very good but didn’t understand cars. I taught him to jump in the back of my SUV. We had a 70 miles trip home. Murphy never made a sound.

We got home. I guess the rest is history. He and Eliza got along famously. I had to housebreak Murphy, but it only took one time. He lived in the house with Eliza and I and spent lots of time on his new bed, which he seemed to love. I don’t think he’d ever been in a house. He was the sweetest dog to me and became my protector. He loved my girlfriends, but he hated men. I had to be very cautious when any man was around because he would have attacked them. Obviously, someone had hurt him. During the entire time Murphy lived, that never changed though I tried.

Murphy was healthy. My vet thought he was at least eight years old which is getting on in age for a large dog. Eliza and I loved Murphy for three years. During those years, Murphy developed hip dysplasia. He had the beginnings of it when he came to us. Finally, he couldn’t get up anymore without great pain even though he was on medication. At about 11 years of age, I had to have Murphy sent to the Rainbow Bridge, but I was gratified. His last three years had been wonderful. It was apparent he never forgot the first eight years of his life, but I could always tell he was so appreciative of his last three years.

I loved that big dog. He loved hugs so much. Was Murphy a mongrel? Not in any negative connotation. He was a mixed breed but he was my Murphy and one of the most wonderful dogs I’ve ever had.

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Betsy’s Seizure

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A few days ago, some of you know that my little dog, Betsy, had a Grand Mal seizure. She is four years old. She had never had a seizure before. She had never been ill before. It was totally out of the blue. It lasted 6.5 minutes, which according to my vet, is not a good thing.

I rushed Betsy to the nearest vet. On the advice of the vet, she had complete blood work. Betsy, you see, is a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. They have some genetic issues. The vet was worried about her heart. She passed all her blood tests with flying colors. Nothing was wrong.

Right. Nothing was wrong. I saw Betsy have this seizure. SOMETHING was wrong.

To find out what is wrong, or to possibly find out, Betsy will have to see a specialist, but it makes the most sense to try to track down any possible environment causes first. I live in the forest. My previous dog, Eliza, developed pancreatitis from eating parts of a dead bird that was in my large fenced in back yard. She, subsequently, had chronic pancreatitis the rest of her life. The first thing I thought of was that something was in the back yard that Betsy could have eaten. It made me feel like I was reliving a nightmare.

It is simply not possible to keep things out of a forested yard. Critters are in that yard every night. Birds are there. Insects are there. It is winter and nothing is growing, but birds drop berries, some of which could be poisonous. Betsy will eat anything! Taking inventory of all this made me feel helpless.

There was another possibility. Something could have bitten Betsy. There are virtually infinite possibilities. Another previous dog was bitten by something. I never knew what but it was a terrible bite. It could have been a snake, probably non-poisonous. It could have been a opossum. I live in the forest! There are other possibilities. He was sick a long time. But, Betsy had no visible bite marks.

But, insects may not leave visible bite marks, at least not on a heavily-coated dog. Then, it struck me. A spider! We have a number of poisonous spiders here like the brown recluse spider.

Sigh…..the bottom line is that we don’t know and may never know. Alternatively, there may be a veterinary neurologist in Betsy’s future. Keep your fingers crossed for her. She’s the sweetest dog and best companion in the world! #JusJoJan #amwriting #amblogging #writing #cavalierkingcharles

The Cry of Hunting Dogs

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Meet Arlo. Arlo is not his real name. It was a name given to him by the rescue organization who found him, lost and alone….wandering……in a rural part of my county. It’s the time of year when hunters cull their dog packs. The old ones, the sick ones, the ones who can’t keep up anymore, well, they get thrown out. Dismissed. Thrown away from the only home they’ve ever known. To fend for themselves or die. Most die. Some get found by kindly strangers and get taken in. Some get rescued by organizations and find forever homes. Some of those die anyway because they have spent their lives so neglected and mistreated.

Arlo was a purebred Treeing Walker Coonhound. In his prime, he was, no doubt, a beauty. To me, he still was. Our local rescue asked me to be his foster mother and I agreed gladly. He was a tough case. Old. Ten years or more with more than one health issue.

i have no issue with hunting as long as it is done in a sportsmanlike way. I am not indicting all hunters as many are very kind to their dogs. Those who aren’t and who engage in animal cruelty spoil it for everyone. In my part of the world, some hunters tie their dogs out in a muddy yard to blue barrels, by chains, and starve them, thinking they will then be hungrier for the hunt. When the rescue organization found poor Arlo, he weighed 57 pounds, severely underweight for his breed. I could feel every rib and every vertebrae in his spine. He didn’t enjoy human contact. That took awhile. He did enjoy his dog food and stuffed toys and his cushy new bed.

Arlo developed severe skin lesions and hot spots. Worst of all, Arlo’s pads on his paws were almost gone. Yes, he had been hunted so hard his pads had been run right off his feet. We tried. We worked with the vet and tried to heal him. His skin got a little better but would not heal. You cannot put the pads back on a dog’s feet and his feet, and his joints, were so painful that he only walked or even stood when he had to. We all conferred and the decision was made to euthanize my precious Arlo. My husband and I had come to love him as our own. Such a beautiful and gentle hound.

When Arlo was with us, he would bay as the hounds do but in his sleep. I hope he is young, in no pain, and baying at the Rainbow Bridge right now. The cry of the hounds is a beautiful thing but not when they are crying because they are mistreated. #animalcruelty #animalabuse #hunting #kentuckyhoundsman #huntingdogs