Moose & Squirrel!

Okay, so their names are Moose & River and they are only staying at Camp FoodLady for like a week, but holy shit – the laughter they have brought has been pretty darn great.

Real talk: River is the brains of the operation and like any smart person I know, anxiety is REAL with her. In her daily life, she is used to being HBIC and uses Moose as her personal bodyguard. So, Camp FoodLady has been a surprising challenge to her reality – but I think it will be good for her in the long run.

Okay, had to pause from writing about River to tell you exactly what she is doing right now. She has one of D’s socks and has been throwing it up in the air while laying on her back on the couch. She is super sad that it fell behind the couch. I just stopped typing to go and get that pretty lady her stinky sock. I SWEAR, D’s worn socks could be used as dog toys – I believe my husband’s feet may sweat dognip.

So, onto Moose – we have been unable to stop misquoting from Princess Diaries 2, “…but he’s a cute Moose, makes all the girl moose say, hrrraawwhh!” Moose is a handsome simple summer child. We don’t know if it is his normal skillset, or if he has learned from our pack of assholes, but Moose’s in-the-way game is spectacular. He wants to lead the human parade, unfortunately he doesn’t know where the humans are going so he proudly leads the way, and then realizes noone is following him so he quicky zooms back to where the human is walking. And repeat. and repeat. It’s adorable.

Thus far, they have been having a pretty great time. The slow introduction to my pack of assholes went very well with one exception, and that would be a Dobby. Dobby is our very own special simple soul, bless his heart. The first two days that Moose & River were here I had them in the a/c in the front bedroom and individually introduced them to a few of our pack of assholes at a time. Dobby *found* them, and by *found* I mean he remembered that there were two new dogs in the front bedroom and went and “Woooo’d” at the door on an almost hourly basis. To be fair to him, he forgets a lot – I just didn’t realize he resets himself hourly. But, they are all integrated now and Dobby only *finds* them about once per day, so he seems to have settled that Moose & River exist into his long term memory – or whatever he has that sort of equivicates a long term memory.

OMG – Moose just found River’s stinky sock. He looks so excited about it.

Attachment Training

Fuck, have you ever look for an article online to send to someone else, but it doesn't exist (or maybe you didn't look hard enough) so then you go to turn on your computer to just write a post - but then the computer doesn't turn on cause it's dead so you say fuck it, plug it in, begin the 3,212 updates needed to make it functional again, and grab your Freewrite (aka overly expensive e-ink word processor that is really very cool but not used enough) because you have to write it down or you will get side tracked and do other things and you really want to write down what I think of as attachment training for service dogs so you don't fuck it up? Just me then, okay. sigh.  
sigh.

but, hey, at least I'm writing. dammit.

Attachment Training:
First off, do not do it all at once - like, c'mere doggo - you now go everywhere i go and do everything i do for the next 12 hours. Jeebus, that's a lot for anyone to handle - stuck next to another soul for a long time just all of a sudden. However, when you do this training, you will be so surprised at how much and how different of a bond it eventually creates.

So, day 1 of attachment training, use a cross-body leash. You can make your own out of rope, you can MacGyver something out of things you have, or use a different method of attachment. I am going to share with you my favorite version of this - but everyone has to find their own path.

Personally, I find this leash from activedogs.com to be my favorite every day use leash.
https://www.activedogs.com/product/1870/crossbody-hands-free-service-dog-leash/, I purchased the slightly more expensive version of this leash with the molded handle and it turned out, I didn't like it. It wasn't bad, just wasn't as convenient. To make it a little more weird, I add what is known as a horse trailer bungee tie out, which according to my horse-hearted friends is something that shouldn't be used by horses in trailers. However, it is basically a heavy duty 12 inch long bungee cord with dog leash clips on both ends, this allows for a bit of give on the end of the leash. Lastly, I personally enjoy using a harness on the dog rather than just a collar. It was always a great cue to the dog that it was work time and when the harness came off - it was doggo time.

Anywhoodle, back to day 1 of attachment training - pick an hour, doesn't have to be any special time, but set an alarm for 60 minutes and harness and leash the dog. And then, this is super important, just do what you do. If that is watching tv, so be it. If it is cooking dinner or emptying the dishwasher, so be it. This is day 1, hour 1 and you will trip over each other and you will be in each others way. It will be awkward, but you need to embrace that shit. Whether you want to believe it or not, you AND the dog are learning a shit ton about each other.

Then, and this is important - keep doing it. For the first week, try to do an hour a day.Time it and more importantly, LOG IT. (keeping a training log is super important if you ever have to "prove" you have a service dog)

For week 2, you can drop it to every other day, but increase the time if at all possible. Set a timer if you want to, but try to get at least 2 hours in. Same for week 3. try to get at least 2 hours of whatever you are doing while attached to your woofer. Its weird, but it becomes so beautiful over time, you become in tune with each other and move together.

There is a small downside (miniscule, really) to this training. When the dog is no longer in your life, for a time, you will still move around them. The true loss of Herbert (my service dog) didn't hit home for me until I was seated at my desk and I moved my legs to allow him comfort....and he wasn't there. Yup, even now many years later I just had a tear roll down my face.

But the smile I have in my heart when I think of how well we moved together, how well we knew each other's movements - that grief is just part of having a service dog and I miss that partnership every damn day; but I sure wouldn't' give up what I learned and what we had.

Anyway, that's attachment training in my mind. I hope this helps.
-H.

OMG!!! vol: 3,496.

All the dogs: “OMG, OMG!!! Everyone! This is not a drill. There are PEOPLE standing on a public road! And WORSE! There’s a big-digger-thing with them! It’s STILL happening! And they are digging with the big-digger! Everyone LOSE THEIR SHIT!!!”

FoodLady: “Jeeesus Fucking Tap Dancing Jackie Chan Christ! Shut up. They are working on the damn house next door. *Sigh*”

All the dogs: “*continues losing collective shit; occasionally rallying in the living room for chest bumping, snacks, and water breaks*”

Abused FoodLady

Y’all. I’m not superstitious, but in reality, I’m pretty superstitious and I tend to think things happen in threes (or they happen in threes because I believe they happen in threes, but whatever! All I’m saying is I’m doomed), and, in case you didn’t get this from the parenthetical, I’m doomed!

Stormii (the NOT-MY-DOG mama dog) is feeling much better and is getting more and more affectionate every day, to the point where she leaped into my arms on the couch and then joyfully swung her heavy, meaty head and clocked my right in my orbital socket with her closed mouth. Holy shit, I saw stars. They were sparkly.πŸ’₯πŸ’₯πŸ’₯

Then, to add insult to physical injury, I was laying upside down on the bed and Humphrey decided to join me. Instead of jumping ANYWHERE else on a king-sized bed, he jumped up right over my head. He realized his mistake as soon as he jumped so he froze as soon as he landed. Unfortunately, he froze with his, um, boy parts, on my forehead. He paused like a gargoyle, just right over my head.Β 
So, yeah……Humphrey mushroom stamped my forehead. πŸ€¦β€β™€οΈπŸ˜”πŸ€¦β€β™€οΈπŸ€£πŸ€¦β€β™€οΈ


Darrin was of NO help at all as he was collapsed in wheezing laughter. πŸ€¦β€β™€οΈπŸ˜πŸ€¦β€β™€οΈ

But y’all, I’m low-key paranoid to go to work today! If dogs that love me are punching me in the face and assaulting my forehead with their junk, what’s going to happen with dogs & cats that don’t even KNOW me yet?!Β  😨
Wish me luck. ❀️

FoodLady Chronicles – Nekkid Mole Rat Part Deux Edition:

Y’all. Y’aalllllllllll. Listen! I’ve been tired. Like, capital T, Tired. Depressed? – sure, but doing alright. Anxiety? – well, yeah. No more than anyone else what with the global pandemic (or global pandemania as I like to say) and all. Physical pain? – yup, it’s been a fucker, but I’m working on it. Anywhoodle, all I’m saying is that just like all y’all, I’m doing the best I can.

However, a good thing happened, so I’m forcing myself to sit here and write about Mr. Antonio, because writing helps me and if anyone deserves to be written about it’s Mr. Antonio, or Tony, as he is now called.

Mr. Tony was found on island by a lovely (and straight-up dedicated!) human. She was impressed with his majestic 19 hairs just a’blowin in the wind, overcome by his magnificent natural aroma and pebbled scabtastic skin (of demodectic mange and associated infections), and let us not forget, his impressive knee-length testicles which probably could have been literally, 🎢 thrown o’er his shoulder like a continental soldier🎢. What’s NOT to love?!?

I could spend a lot of time writing about the hectic 3-4 days from meeting Tony to actually getting Tony to his final destination (which, btw, was Alaska πŸ₯Ά) and/or the never ending logistical nightmare of attempting to move a dog that weighs greater than 18lbs off-island these days – but I don’t want to; this is a post about an amazingly lucky dog and my deep gratitude and appreciation for some beloved and wonderful people in my life who kept me going during a rough time and how I was (hopefully) able to pass that forward.

About seven years ago I was traveling to the great arctic midwest with my service dog, Herbert. He and I were delicate tropical flowers and two wonderful people provided me with winter wear for Herbert. Debra bought him a jacket-type coat that he ended up using a lot even after our winter trip was over for over-air-conditioned buildings (again, delicate tropical flower). Kristin, an amazing artist/designer/seamstress, made Herbert a GORGEOUS quilted cape type coat with embroidered vines that kept him warm and safe during the insane snowmageddon we encountered during our travels. During the coldest times, he wore both VERY happily.

After Herbert passed away, I couldn’t bring myself to let go of a lot of his things, some of them because my practical butt thought they could still be used, but some, like these coats, because they were *his* and I still miss him every day. When I met Mr. Tony, I knew where those coats had to go – Alaska.

Mr. Half-a-Floof Tony, his nekkid mole rat-looking self went from in the living in the tropical Caribbean sun, eating trash with his hot mess of broken teeth and his skin rotting gently from infection while itching everywhere ALL of the time, to meeting a few ladies who lured him with delicious turkey, (I have this interaction pictured in my head like the siren scene from “O Brother, Where Art Thou?” but with turkey instead of laundry 🀣 | https://youtu.be/SJmZtn8vmt8), to visiting a vet clinic for 4 days where he was bathed, medicated, and walked on a leash, to then being dressed in toddler pajamas which were made crotchless by a lady in overalls who spent way too much time laughing over his crotchless pajamas (I’m sorry, I couldn’t help it, they REALLY highlighted his, um, testicles and I have a *very* lowbrow sense of humor), to then flying on a plane to Miami, and then ANOTHER plane to Alaska with *his* turkey-providing FoodLady.

Y’all, Tony has just accepted every weird-ass change in his life with the same look on his face, “Okie dokie, I guess this is happening.”

Look as his majestic hairs!
Okie dokie, so I wear pajamas now…….?
Okie dokie! I snooze on planes now.
Okie dokie! So, this is Miami.
Okie dokie! Alaska’s not so cold.
Okie dokie! I was wrong! Alaska is cold. πŸ₯Ά
Okie dokie, frozen pee is new.

Today I received a text from Tony’s FoodLady. He LOVES his extra-warm cape coat and he knows it’s his because he picks it up and carries it to his kennel by himself. He likes to keep his special treasures with him all the time and would take them all with him everywhere if someone could please provide him with a Tony-sized shopping cart. 🀣

Mr. Tony is on day 9 post-heartworm treatment and doing okay. He is tentatively scheduled for neuter and tooth-extraction on Thursday.

Okie dokie then!
My new brother smells funny; also, why does he say okie dokie so much?

Baxter – Foster Dog

Poor Baxter. Poor, ridiculously-cute, half-a-floof, skin-falling-off, learning how-to-be-a-dog Baxter. Please enjoy his story thus far….

Baxter’s story began on December 3rd when a wonderful person was told by a worker at the dump that someone had dumped a puppy and he thought it was still alive. The puppy was found lying motionless, hidden between the dumpsters at the concrete wall. (The pup would not have been seen if not for the workman.) They scooped his near lifeless body up and cradled him in their arms as they rushed him to the shelter.

At the shelter he was named Baxter and treated for parasites and vaccinated. It was finally determined that due to his extreme parasite load he was severely anemic and required a blood transfusion. That helped a lot, but he was still frozen in fear and you could just tell he felt horrible. So, he went into foster with prescribed antibiotics.

He lived in my guest bathroom for almost a week, just feeling craptastic. Eating, drinking, peeing and pooping normally (on pee pads – he was and is an impressively fastidious little dude), but he just had no energy.

The sad Baxter.

After a week of him looking like hell, I was concerned, was he going to become interested in life? Then, finally, we received a very clear indication he was ready to live: joyful puppy destruction!

Baxter made SQUISHIES!

Yay! It was time to integrate him into my pack because nothing teaches a puppy how to puppy like a pack. It has been constant and consistent improvement every single day as he continues to build muscle and gain weight. He has been introduced to, and played very well with, new and different people, dogs, puppies, and one cat. All went very well and he has the potential to become a wonderful companion.

Baxter being handsome on December 25, 2019
Proud of his digging skills!
Tired and happy after a full day of play and digging fun!

As Baxter began to develop into a puppy (as opposed to the saddest statue you’ve ever seen) he developed some hilarious habits, my favorite of which is his love of sitting on my dog Jane. Jane is the best puppy raiser I’ve ever had, she guards them, loves them, is patient with them, but still teaches them what is (and is not) okay. Baxter really likes to sit on her as if she were a pony, Jane doesn’t like it – but wow does it make me giggle!

Oh Baxter!
Jane is really very patient! β™₯️
Baxter with foster sister Ziesa.
Baxter with foster brother Dobby.
Baxter with friend Sansa, “We killed a pillow together! Let’s eat each other’s faces! 😍😍😍”
Baxter loves squishy beds, nylabones, paper, and shoes. Thankfully he has never done any damage to the shoes, but he is a bit of a kleptomaniac about them. All paper (obviously) must be destroyed and shaped into new squishy bed. πŸ€¦β€β™€οΈ

Baxter still becomes nervous and stressed in new environments, however his reaction to stress is to freeze and become still and quiet; if you’re holding him he squishes into you. Baxter is a very easy dog to love. He really relaxes most easily when their are other dogs around. Thankfully he is very food motivated which makes training a lot easier. He has excellent manners and sits to say please. He has become potty-trained to go to the bathroom outside on his own, however I have allowed him free access to the outside as often as possible. He uses pee pads like a champ if they are his only option.

Belly skritches are the BEST!

He now weighs a whopping almost 16lbs! All of his hair has grown back in and he is getting TALL! He flies away today (I am meeting the travelers around 2pm.) and although we are all going to miss him, he deserves the best forever home in the world – preferably with at least one additional packmate. β™₯️

Mr. Baxter derpily snoozing a couple hours before leaving for airport after a morning of play and fun. β™₯️

Writers Block & Revenge

So……I’ve had horrible writers block since my father passed away. Like, I’m avoiding writing and am not letting myself take the time to even write a few things down. ☹️ It is super weird AND annoying. But, I’m working on it. 🀞

Also, I have a SUPER clingy dog whose name is Humphrey. He is SO clingy and needy that he just forces his 90lb butt into laps and tries to pin people down and slurp-lick them with his creepily large (and moist) tongue while staring at them with slightly bulgy but INTENSE eyes. It’s just A LOT.

So, please forgive my rather inappropriate joy at forcing Mr. Humphrey into a full spoony cuddle and when he wants to wiggle to freedom I just soothe him and hold him tighter until he starts looking at me like, “dang lady, this is kind of A LOT!” while I giggle and laugh. 🀣🀣🀣

Overheard: Nipples

The other day was a fairly quiet day, and there I was a’ tippy tappy-ing on my ‘puter trying to learn how to do my new job whilst allowing my subconscious to deal with the ongoing anxiety about insurance costs and how not to lose medical coverage and figuring out how to quit my old job when I realize I am over-hearing a man attempting to explain to the vet tech that the cat he has at home is a female because it has nipples.

*****Record scratch*****

…..say what now?

It was like beautiful theater. I couldn’t look away. A very small part of my brain was SUPER excited to see where this was going to go.

Vet Tech explains that male cats have nipples. Man agrees, but counters that they don’t have as many nipples as female cats. Vet Tech asks a volunteer go and grab friendly male cat.

Vet Tech showed him the male cat’s nipples and counted them one at a time (he was a VERY friendly cat). CatNippleMan still seemed to think this was malarkey, but you could tell he had started to think.

I couldn’t help it, I had to ask, “Sir, do female humans have more nipples than male humans?”

After everyone giggled and chatted for a while about mammalian nipple counts, it all finally clicked for him, and for a beautiful few minutes much happy laughter was had by all, including the poor man who will always be thought of (to me, anyway) as CatNippleMan.

Unexpectedly Wonderful Chow Chow

I am incredibly blessed to know some wonderful people, but it is naieve to forget as often as I do that there are people that think casual cruelty is acceptable.
This is yesterday’s example of casual cruelty.
A fine handsome boy who is incredibly self-assured, confident, and just nice – these are all rare traits for any breed of dog (or human!), but to have them all in a Chow Chow that someone, either out of stupidity or with deliberate malice, put a rubber band around his neck until it ate into the skin causing a horrible infection? Frankly, it’s almost unbelievable.
I brought him to the animal shelter yesterday afternoon and he will be sedated and his injury cleaned and stitched today.

Pretty Birds

Dear Jane,

Yes, you now weigh a whopping 20.8lbs which is SUPER big and SUPER impressive. However, even with all that heft and your intimidating hopping and oofing (referred to as her hop-en-de-oof), I’m still going to recommend that you not get into a standoff with that red-tailed hawk. Kthanks!

I don’t know what she was thinking but I heard the (loud as hell) song birds sending out their ALERT! ALERT! PREDATOR NEAR! which sounds more like a frantic cheepcheepcheepcheep.

Then I heard screech of the hawk up high, which led to me hearing the “oof!”. I go outside and there’s Jane, up on her back feet, full on Hop-en-de-oof-ing at the sky.

I know that in theory she is now out of prey-size range, but not gonna chance it.