Tag Archives: life

Life in the Fast Lane

It’s been crazy the last few months here.  We’ve been spending a lot of time on our Facebook page and neglecting the mess out of the blog.  It wasn’t a purposeful lapse but life got pretty crazy and it was just simpler to focus on that since my jumbled brain couldn’t seem to put two fiona-may2015-5414sentences together for more than a nanosecond before that thought process was lost into the great abyss of blog fog.  It was, to put it mildly, very frustrating.

Along with life getting in the way, we managed to acquire two new temporary additions to the pack.  They both came from unpleasant situations that wouldn’t have ended pleasantly for either if left to their own devices.

Fiona the Labrador was owner give up because she was too drivey and overwhelming for a large family that had more on their plate than dealing with an adolescent, high drive Labrador with a keen sense on how to get into the most trouble in the shortest span of time possible. It’s really an incredible feat but she more than makes up for it with her intense focus when her attention is cornered on doing something that intrigues her and makes her think!

river-may2015-5390River the Shih Tzu was a foundling at a local park.  He was obscenely matted and emaciated.  When we found him, he was unable to move because of a mat that ran from the base of his tail to the base of his sheath – essentially connecting both back legs.  It was obvious he was in pain and initially lashed out until we secured him and took him to a vet to check and see if, hopefully, he had a microchip that would allow us to reunite him with his owner.  Sadly, he didn’t.  We were left with the task of fixing him up – which started with removing the mat on his bottom.  Once that was removed it revealed raw and oozy testicles and a naked backside.  He wasn’t too happy about it while it occurred but he felt far better once it was done and the area was cleaned up.

We searched in vain for his previous owners – posting Craigslist found ads, posts on local Lost & Found groups on Facebook and posters at local pet businesses near where we found him.  That was in April and he still hasn’t been reunited with an owner so we’ve scheduled a neuter, microchip and other vet work that is needed before he is able to go to a permanent home that won’t let him down again.

Needless to say, our two new additions have a few issues to work through that will be easily puppies-march2015-5210solved with persistence and patience.  A good project to keep us busy and not with our typical breed either!  There is no doubt that Fiona, who is a tiny 42 pounds(!!!), will make an amazing sport prospect with her insane food, toy and a moderate prey drive but River will likely be a good companion for an dedicated couple or a family with dog knowledge – especially breed knowledge as a cherished companion to that family.

Now that all that has happened, expect many more entries as the days, weeks and months pass because I am almost positive that the blog fog has passed as summer hits and fills up my head with entries due to time and weather that is favorable to training and competing once more is upon us.

On Love and Loss

It’s been rather quiet here over at Work-A-Bull for a few weeks now.  I’ve unfortunately had some personal thinking, rationalizing and soul searching to do involving my beautiful senior cat, Mindi.  Those thoughts lead me to the realization that being selfish and not helping her cross the bridge was for selfish reasons when it was apparent that she was ready to join her brother, Teddy, who left us last year.  It was one of the hardest decisions of my life to let my childhood best friend, confidant and companion go.  I know it won’t get any easier when I have to let any of my beloved companions go but at least I was able to enjoy her company until she took her last breath in my arms.

Mindi (and her “brother”, Teddy) joined our family in June 1997.  This darling little ball of tortishell-colored fur who would growl and snarl at the sight of our Shih Tzu and grow seemingly into this furious cat beast was one of the most loving and sweetest cats I have been blessed with knowing in all of my years.  She and I were best friends throughout my high school years.  She got me through a lot of high school break ups, late night cram sessions for midterms and finals and my awkward struggling as an adolescent odd ball (and don’t get me wrong, I’m still odd but not quite so awkward!).  I truly don’t know what I would have done without her then or up until her passing.  I’m honestly still lost deep in the threshold of my mind.  I’m functioning outwardly but inwardly I’m still losing it.

The day after her passing, I went to a dog show.  I put on my bravest face and I kept myself surrounded by one of my passions – three of my beautiful dogs.  I lost it a few times and had to compose myself but I made it through the day.  A few people who knew what had happened probably thought I was nuts for going (even I questioned myself!) but I knew that if I didn’t get out and do something, I would be useless and lost in my grief.  Many people shared their condolences, passed on hugs of sympathy and let me know they knew how I felt.  It was good to be surrounded by so many caring individuals – especially the one who coaxed me to get out and make something of the day in honor of Mindi’s memory.  It was one of the most mentally painful things I’ve done in a long time but it was the right decision and has allowed me to realize that my best friend wouldn’t have wanted me moping around the house crying over her loss.  That isn’t how she lived and I doubt it’s how she’d want to be remembered.

Mindi will live forever in my mind and always hold a piece of my heart.  Her spirit may be gone and her physical body left behind but she is with me.  Her ever patient, soul-searching gaze and the gentle rumbling of her purr are something I see deep within my subconscious every night before I finally fall asleep.  One day we will be reunited but until then, I know I have a little feline guardian angel watching over me and mine.

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I miss you, sweet girl, in more ways than you could ever imagine.
Play hard at the Rainbow Bridge.  I’ll see you again one day.
April 1, 1997 – March 9, 2013

Snowpocalypse 2012

Okay, so it wasn’t exactly the worst snow storm in the planet and barely created a fuss for most of Michigan but you’d think that the way the news channels were panicking that it was going to be some sort of major to do – you know, like it was the end of the world or something.  Other than a few short hours where five sissy bulls absolutely refused to set foot outside because they might get flurries up their derriere it amounted to nothing more than eight inches of cold, non-snowman making snow pile up that gave the dogs an opportunity to romp like madmen (and women!) around their Nana and Papa’s yard (since that’s where we were for the first part of this week).

Imagine that, romping around 2.5 acres like little snow piranhas while beating one another up with frozen Kong Wubbas and Jolly Balls.  It was all rather amusing but I seriously froze my fingers off (because I couldn’t find my gloves and said “oh, well!” like an idiot!) watching them be little nimrods and merrily photographed the whole thing.  This, of course, amounted to waaaaaaay to many photographs to sort through and process but it was worth it.

Now that they’re all edited and ready to go, I’ll post them here for your enjoyment.  Did you survive the Snowpocalypse of 2012 or are you an abominable snow zombie like I felt after a few hours in the sub zero temperatures? (You can view the whole album here.)

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Luna gets a good roll in the snow.

 

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Lyric likes to sass me when she doesn’t get the toy NOW.

 

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Ryker and Lyric nag at their Poppa to THROW THE BALL!

 

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Mika mid-shake with her Wubba.

 

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The chase is on!

Crooked Lake Trail

Life has unfortunately gotten in the way of doing one of my favorite things in the world – hiking.  Yesterday we were finally able, after running a mountain of errands, to get some trail time.  My husband, Bruce, and I have been checking out new places to explore for a few weeks now and settled on Pinckney State Recreation Area. We took the Crooked Lake Trail after so many weeks off – not the smartest idea we’ve had in a while.  Oh, well!  We had a blast.  The dogs are exhausted and my husband is exhausted.  (I should seriously get bonus points for that!)


One of many position stops on the hike.

Despite the extreme heat of 98°-ish or higher with the heat index it wasn’t so bad in the trails since they’re covered by the lush overgrowth of the forest.  We kept ourselves and the dogs well hydrated with Gatorade and bottled water and rested frequently to prevent serious distress on the chance it could occur.  The trails themselves were pretty awesome.  There were quite a few steep areas that I had a bit of difficulty getting up with my knee issues but I had help from my awesome husband and canine trail companions who made sure I didn’t lag too far behind.


Notice how Lyric is checking back to make sure I’m there? Ha!

The biggest bonus to the whole hike though was being able to do it all in my Vibram FiveFingers barefoot shoes.  It was an absolutely amazing time feeling everything below my feet and not falling over because I misjudged something in a traditional hiking shoe – which I’ve done FAR too often on previous hikes.

At the end of the day, I’m tired and I’m sore but I feel accomplished.  It’s a feeling that I absolutely love having – especially when it’s involved in something as simple and joyous as enjoying nature with my awesome dogs and my wonderful husband.  Below are a few photos from the hike.  The rest can be viewed here.


The crew waiting to head out again.

Beautiful view during our hike.

Home Sweet Home

The trip home was relatively uneventful.  We had a couple of challenges along the way home – namely the motor for the wipers finally died and we had to pull over during a sudden downpour right on the boarder of Pennsylvania and Ohio – but otherwise, the only annoying thing is that it was a long trip.  The dogs held up well and napped most of the way home.

We had such a wonderful trip in both Portsmouth and Washington D.C.  The dogs received lots of compliments on their behavior because they stayed when we set them up for photos in Washington or at various scenic stops along the way.  They loved every moment of the attention and lapped it up in typical pit bull fashion.

Work calls to start back up tomorrow.  While I’m not looking forward to it, it will be good to get back to being industrious.  Between work and planning our wedding reception (July 21st), we’ll be very busy these next few weeks and the vacation gave us a respite from the normal hustle and bustle of our day to day lives.

I’m hoping the weather cools off here soon as the temperatures in the high 90s and 100s are not conducive to training the dogs and they are sorely missing the structure and mental stimulation we get from training.  It’s been rather annoying dealing with four very high drive dogs and no actual direction for them to go because of the sheer heat and concern for their safety.  Ah, well…we’ll get back into the groove again.

Here are a few pictures from our trip.  You can enjoy the rest here.

Mika, Luna and Ryker at the Washington Monument

Lincoln Monument in Washington D.C.

The unbelievable temperatures in our travels.

The Real Meaning of Roadwork

No, this entry isn’t really about walking and conditioning your dog.  It’s about our trip into the great unknown.  Our first vacation that doesn’t involve some dog event as the main course of action and I’m so freaking excited!

Tomorrow morning, bright and early, we are heading down to Virginia.  More specifically, we’re heading down toward Virginia Beach/Chesapeake/Portsmouth for four days before swinging up toward Washington D.C./Arlington.  It’s that time of the year that we get a week off of work and this year we intend to take advantage of it.  Getting to see friends and be ‘tourists’ for the first time in a long time is definitely a worthy reason to take a road trip.

We’ll be loading up the dog mobile with our gear and the gear of four of the five dogs.  We would be taking five, but unfortunately, Duo doesn’t travel well.  The stress of a long road trip does his system no good so he gets to stay behind and enjoy a week’s vacation as the only dog with Grandpa.  Luna, Lyric, Ryker and Mika, however, think that traveling is very awesome and they can’t wait to be going.

The one unfortunate thing is that BSL has limited our choice in areas to stay in up in the Washington D.C. area since a few of the less expensive hotels are in areas where there are restrictions.  We won’t put our dogs in that risk and so are avoiding those areas and spending a bit more money for a canine family-friendly vacation.  It sucks, but it is what it is when it comes to the response to owning an APBT because of the irresponsibility and management of others who have ruined it for the whole.

So, right now, it’s t-minus less than 24 hours before we hit the road.  So excited!

Life. Love. Happiness.

There have been a lot of changes in my life in the last two weeks and it has caused my blog to suffer a bit of neglect while I settled into what has become my new life.  Everything that has happened in the last two weeks is a new path to follow to hopefully better my life.

On May 21st, I posted about Luna’s birthday.  Well, that’s not the end of the story.  That day, my then fiancé and I shared our wedding vows together at the local court house surrounded by friends, family and Luna.  She truly was the reason we struggled to make it because neither of us could imagine life without her or one another.  It was a truly beautiful moment and one that was nine years in the making.  The love of two people and one little pit bull is a beautiful thing.

We opted to do our reception at a later date (July 2012, tentatively) and instead did a simple dinner after the ceremony to commemorate that particular moment in time.  We enjoyed a quiet meeting of the families at the Outback Steakhouse that was literally right next door.  My dad walked the hoard of nieces and nephews over since they were entirely too full of themselves to load up in the car for a short jaunt because they were having entirely too much fun running amok on the lawn of the court house.

The next big thing to happen is the place where my husband and I work was sold to a different company.  We are there through the duration of the transition (120 days) and possibly up to a total of a year through a subsidiary company that will take over our paycheck payments.  It’s a whole different ball game from what we are used to but it’s going to enable both of us to work a crap load of overtime and bank every available penny possible as we hunt for our dream property to start our family with ten and eleven hour shifts and up to six days a week.  It’s brutal on me – my knees and hips ache regularly after a day there – but its income until I can get my boarding/training facility dream a reality.  It’s a scary prospect, but at the same time I can’t be too picky about the fact that I am employed when there are many that aren’t.

Other than that, nothing else has been tremendously life altering.  We had our ADBA Fun Show on June 2nd and it went off without a hitch.  It seemed like everyone had a good time.

My wonderful boy, Ryker, took Best of Show under judge Mike Norrod and took Best Brindle under judge Dave Wolf – both gentlemen have quite a few years in the breed – and it was an honor to place under them.

Lyric took first in the female treadmill class and Best Overall by beating out the male winner.  She topped out at almost 14MPH in the 2 minutes she hauled fanny on the slat mill.  I’m so proud of my little Tinker Toy.  She’s really starting to come into her own and I would have never imagined the brain transplant she seemed to get after her emergency spay.

But, other than that, nothing much has really been going on.  Training has been put on hold for a while because of other things and we’ve been living the life of a newly married couple.  <3

The Only Constant Is Change

Well, it’s been a few weeks since my last update but a lot has changed in the past few weeks.  For the sake of our dogs and our family we opted out of transferring to Kentucky.  We were only given a little over two weeks of notice to pack up, find living and move before having to report to work at our new job.  It was hard enough finding housing for five dogs, but when you told them what kind of dogs they were…yeah, didn’t happen.  Ah, well.  It’s in the past and we won’t give up our dogs when we have other options in our future.

In that time frame, the place where we’re currently working is pending sale.  A buyer is finally looking to buy the place.  We are riding through the transition and transferring to the original parent company in twelve months or so.  This will mean a few changes over the course of the year, but we’re staying in Michigan (for now).  We’ve started hunting for property finally that will allow us to finally have a nicer set up for us and our future growing family.

Bruce and I have been talking about going to the court on May 21st and finally signing the paperwork to make us a legally married couple after nine years and a few months of being together.  What was the reason for the date you ask? Well, it’s Luna’s birthday.  She will be nine years old and what better way to commemorate our time together than the glue that has held us so tightly for nine years.  I never would have pictured myself where I am nine years ago with her and Bruce…or for that matter, Mika, Duo, Ryker and Lyric!  I wouldn’t change it for the world – even with the hard times we’ve faced in the past or those we may suffer through in the future.  What doesn’t kill us makes us stronger, or something like that.

We’ve had some plans and goals change with the prospects of the upcoming changes to our life and job situation and it will be interesting to see how they play out over the coming years.  We’re rushing headlong into the unknown and it’s thrilling and downright frightening at the same time.  I won’t deny that I’m absolutely terrified that things will go terribly wrong, but I will continue to hope for the best for myself, Bruce, the dogs and…well, you can take a guess at what else.

I am truly blessed to have so little but have so much at the same time.

Love. Life. Dogs.

**Warning: Post gets incredibly vivid on descriptions and may not sit well with sensitive stomachs.**

You never know how your life is going to change when you get involved in what I affectionately call “the Dog World.”  Little did I know what lay in store for me getting into showing and (quite possibly) breeding purebred dogs.  The trials and the tribulations involved in having intact animals in my home and the quandaries associated with them.  Such was the case just a little over two weeks ago when what I thought was going to be a routine vet visit for a urinary tract infection or bladder infection on my darling little pistol, Lyric, turned out to be so much more.

I took Lyric to my phenomenal vet, Hoover Road Animal Hospital, on Tuesday, March 6th.  She’d urinated in her crate three times in the span of about an hour and a half.  [Note: We crate and rotate due to compatibility issues with a couple of the dogs – makes life simpler when they’re not crabbing at one another and it was another dog’s turn.]  The first time she did it, I wasn’t incredibly concerned because she’s always been a dirty dog and not had a problem urinating in her crate but after the 2nd (and eventual 3rd that happened not even 20 minutes after changing out her blankets and cleaning out her crate one more time!) I was incredibly alarmed.  The first time, her urine smelled fine.  It smelled like normal dog pee (yes, I know…weirdo knows what their dog’s urine smells like) but the final two times before we made the end of day trip to see our vet, her urine smelled off.  Pungent and almost infection-smelling – but it wasn’t watery, it was heavily concentrated.  Quite honestly, it was gross smelling and I had a hard time handling the smell. (It quickly became one of a handful of smells I can’t stand and almost make me want to vomit.)

Doc took her temperature and it was incredibly high – like concernedly high.  He gave her a fever reducing injection and we talked about our options.  Since she’d urinated on their floor, she had no more urine left to give a sample, but he didn’t want to send us home without starting her on antibiotics simple because we couldn’t run an analysis. So, armed with a prescription for cephalexin we went home.  There was concern that it wasn’t a bladder infection or UTI but I was told to come back if there were any changes – unfortunately, those concerns became incredibly valid not even 24 hours later.

We started her immediately on the medications after picking them up from the pharmacy (Yay for $4 generic prescriptions at Kroger for dogs now!). The following afternoon when we’d come home from work, I took her out on our potty run (we couldn’t see anything that morning since we leave for work at 4am most days) and she was oozing pus out of her vulva.  We made the call to get her back in immediately and an eternity later and a bazillion worrying tests later (okay, so it wasn’t that many, but I never felt so worried in my life over this little hellhound) the determination was pyometra and the fix was an emergency spay.

My life and hers changed so quickly. Never would we have expected to have her show career cut off at the knees by Mother Nature, but I’m glad I still have my girl and she’s safe and sound and on the road to recovery.  While Mother Nature had other plans for her, forcing us to drastically change ours, it also opened up so many more opportunities that wouldn’t have existed prior to that.

It is really true that when one door closes, another opens.  I’m eternally grateful to everyone who has been so supportive of her and me during this entire ordeal.  I would never wish this on anyone in a lifetime – it has become one of the scariest things I’ve gone through since making the decision to maintain intact dogs – and since we’ve had to walk through a new door and onto a new path in life we walk with uncertainty in our plans ahead but keeping in mind that we have each other and hundreds of new things to try, train, and excel at and a gratefulness that my little demon princess was not ripped from my arms and taken across the Rainbow Bridge before she’d had time to finish her reign of terrier terror on this plane. I ultimately learned to never distrust my senses in knowing that there wasn’t something quite right with my dog and her behaviors and am blessed to have such a phenomenal bond with her and the rest of the Wolf Moon pack.

To many, many more years of learning and living together, Lyric.  I love you with all of my heart and while we may walk a new path, we will do it together into eternity.

Life With Dogs

Over the years I have been told that I need to get rid of my dogs to benefit my life.  “take them to a shelter” or “sell them” have been the two phrases I’ve heard the most – and the most recent from a co-worker who has a dog and is facing the same work transfer as I am.  Rehome?  Sell?  Give away? What are these terms to a person who is dedicated to a life with dogs?  They’re meaningless drivel that holds no place in my heart, that’s for sure.  I see the aftermath of people who bought into those phrases – like the 15 year old APBT, Big Boy, sitting in a shelter because his owners didn’t want him any more when he should be living a life of ease in his golden years.

The last nine years that I’ve dedicated my time, energy and money to my dogs – and the many years prior to rescuing and saving those who could not help themselves – I have received unlimited and unbridled love and loyalty.  They have never looked upon me and said cruel words.  They have never cared what I looked like and have never passed judgment on any stranger they met – those were always new friends they just hadn’t met.  I’ve been blessed with countless hours, days, minutes and years of pure emotion and adoration.  I wouldn’t change any of this for the world.

If I added up the countless hours and dollars I’ve spent chasing the dreams I had with my loyal, hard-working dogs I could probably be living a life of ease in a nice home free of dog hair, nose art, slobber and other canine delights.  Would I?  Absolutely not!  While I may not be living this proverbial life of ease I have my wonderful companions.  They don’t care if I have the newest iPhone or wear clothing from a thrift store, Walmart or Macy’s.  As long as there is food in their bowl, a place on my bed and a place in my heart they are content.

My life has gone to the dogs and I’m loving every minute of it.