Tuesday, December 28, 2010

The Kidnapping and Mauling of Ike

He sat peacefully on top of a bookshelf in my study for two years, ever since he arrived with the book Dear Mrs. La Rue: Letters From Obedience School.
He was cushy and clean, quiet and innocent. Above all, unmarked. Until the evening when Miro noticed him and, when I wasn't looking, stole him from his perch. It's well known that Airedales, when no one is looking, can magically elongate their bodies to reach unexpected heights or turn into wisps of smoke to escape through the mesh of a crate door, leaving the door closed and latched.

Although the ransom demand was for one large biscuit, the criminal received nothing but a scolding. By the time I rescued Ike, he was disfigured for life, his nose gone (top photo), his beard in slobbery clumps, his head torn open with the brains showing if he had brains (right). While I wept over the ruin of Ike, the criminal shrugged off the entire incident (below).

Planning his next robbery.

Miro believes crime pays, even if briefly.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Have you been naughty or nice?

Inquiring hens want to know.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Chickens as light sensors

Sunset today, the shortest day, was at 4:19 pm. At 4:00-ish I took some scraps out to the chickens, dragged the dogs away from where they were sniffing at the gate to the pen, and went inside the house. The chickens busily pecked at the leftover parrot food. About fifteen minutes later when I opened the back door again, it was dark enough to trigger the motion-sensor light over the door. The chickens were just filing inside their coop to get tucked up for the night.

So, if you want a motion-sensor light at the back door that goes on when it's getting dark out, all you have to do is rig it up so the chicken will trigger it when she goes indoors. I'm sure there are people who know how to do that.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Doggie toothbrushes

Alanis runs away from the toothbrush or mouthrinse and backs into a corner, looking as if I'm about to torture her. Being accustomed to tooth-brushing since puppyhood, Miro participates. That's a key word with Airedales. They participate, with enthusiasm.

While I'm trying to brush his teeth, he wriggles his head and licks the brush to get all the poultry-flavored toothpaste he can. (No, he doesn't look at the chickens and think, "Toothpaste with feet!") I use the big end of this brush because it's hopeless trying to get at the smaller teeth with the small end:
Then saw a brush with three sides that's supposed to enclose the teeth so that you can easily brush the inner side of the teeth without the dog chewing the toothbrush to shreds.
I ordered it from the catalog and discovered the two sides don't open around an Airedale's huge molars. The brush might work on smaller dogs, but we're going back to the regular brush. I also give the dogs bones. Where to chew on bones in winter--that's a whole other problem.
Can't photograph the back teeth without an extra hand, so here are the front.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

The card photo

The house of destuffed, destroyed and dead toys wishes you a howliday filled with all the joyous abandon Miro experienced when playing and all the relief Alanis felt when he was chewing on something other than her.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Trying to take the holiday photo of dogs

 In the old days when I wanted to take a photo of Darwin and Keeper together, I could dress them in silly clothes, haul out the camera, tell them to sit several feet away from me, and they sat and waited for the photo followed by a treat. Not Alanis and Miro. I didn't even attempt a scarf or tee shirt, knowing Miro would immediately gnaw on whatever Alanis wore. This year I had an ambition to try something candid because Miro and Alanis will only sit together right in front of me. Alanis knew how to stand for exam in the show ring but did not know "sit for a treat" until I corrupted her two years ago.

We went outside and the first thing they did was --

chase behind a tree, growling and playing bitey-face.

Then Alanis had better things to look at than the camera.

And they both decided something needed immediate investigation.

I think we will go back to the sit-for-a-treat idea.

Saturday, December 4, 2010


Yesterday a couple of men arrived to repair the roof that was badly installed by the house's previous owners. Here's how it goes.

A truck pulls into the driveway.

Bark bark. BARKBARKBARK. Stranger alert! Gotta bark, gotta bark. The human is barking back at us; there must be something really important to bark at. She walks away. Wait, look! People!

One of the men comes to the door to tell me they have arrived. I smile at him while struggling to haul back two dogs. Not much point trying to talk--Airedales are very loud.

Hey hey hey! He's on the porch! He's leaving the porch! I can just about get up on the window sill--urg, who's strangling me?

The men disappear around the other side of the house and the dogs quiet down. Then one reappears.

Stranger! Bark bark! Rark rark ruff ruff. RUFFRUFF!

He disappears. Dogs settle down. The same man walks past the window again.

Stranger! Alert alert! BARKBARKBARK.

No matter how many times the same man walks into view, the dogs react as if a complete stranger were prowling around their territory. They sleep through the pounding on the roof. I start to settle at my desk. BARKBARKBARK and I spring three inches into the air, prevented from going higher only by my legs slamming into the underside of the desk.

The roofers didn't complete the work yesterday and are coming back today. The sun is out--meaning we'll get about three hours of sunlight today-- but the blinds are shut. I want to keep that ALERT switch in the doggie brain off.
A round of bitey-face relieves the stress. For them.