Dear Humphrey,

I am very sorry the thunder has made you nervous. Perhaps I could soothe you better if you let me breathe?




Cast of Canids

I’m home sick today (just a cold, but ugh) and this has given me time to let my brain wander while surrounded by moderately sympathetic dogs using me for bed access. So, I have a pack of five, I never wanted more than three dogs – alas, humans plan and the gods laugh. 

Here are the five assholes..uhh..beloved canines in order of who has been here longest to shortest: 

SamSam – male, neutered, 4 years old, brindle, breed officially unknown, but pretty dang sure he is a pibble. Originally belonged to a friend of mine, but his repeated destruction of her husbands brake lines made it necessary for him to come and stay with his “auntie” in the puppy protection program. 

Piper – female, neutered, 3 years old, black, breed officially unknown but she looks like a collie mix. To most people, she looks like this pretty little border collie nice dog, but of all my dogs she is the one I would choose to have with me in a dark alley – protective but not aggressive. This poor pretty girl was a failed foster who stayed here with us not because we had a deep connection, but because she fell through the cracks during Herbert’s health crisis and death. She is desperate for a connection and despite my emotional shut down following the loss of Herbert, she has stayed the course and appears happy with her lot in life. She is definitely the, “one of these things is not like the other one…” in this pack of block headed idiots. 

Ziesa – female, neutered, 1 year, fawn, she is a mix of boxer and terrier. This poor princess was adopted from the animal shelter and is currently the least healthy dog I have, her hip dysplasia and arthritis are very bad and the medications and supplements are insanely expensive. We are just giving her the best quality of life we can for as long as we can and then we will have to let her go. Tragically, I adopted her to attempt to train her as a replacement service dog for Herbert; needless to say her health is just not up for it.

Humphrey – male, neutered, 6+ years old, brown, breed officially unknown but he is the largest and most moist of all of our puppies. He has a pretty tragic back story which involves the first 4 years of his life being chained to a fence. He had no socialization with people or with dogs, he has no bite inhibition, very little self control, and while he is incredibly happy in his life now is just not able to be homed with just anyone. 

Dobby – male, neutered, 1 year, white and gray, and he is also a mix of boxer and terrier. I found this poor little dude on the side of the road looking like a starved naked mole rat. A very stinky smelly starved naked mole rat. I took him to the shelter to put him down (figuring a quick death was preferable to a slow starvation) and he just connected to the world around him, was heartworm negative, and the shelter asked me to try to rehab him. Here we are 8 months later and at home at least, he is a super confident and annoying hellion. He finds a lot of the outside world scary, but we are working on it. I’m planning on training him as a diabetic alert service dog, but even if he fails completely he has seriously helped my heart heal after the loss of Herbert and because of that he has already performed a great service for me. 

Evolution of a Dobby

FoodLady Chronicles – Dobby Update – 5 months: It’s hard to believe we have only had Dobby for 5 months, he has come *so* far. He started out an 18.2 lb starved, stinky, scraggly, infected mess of a dog that was estimated to be about a year, but estimating age is very challenging with a starved dog; he was at least 6 months of age by teeth. He is now a 52lb “beefcake” (per my friend Sarah Woodward) or “beloved-pain-in-my-ass” (per me). He loves to play in the shower and learns new skills every day. He is sweet to puppies, great with shy dogs, and is learning (slowly) that not all people are scary.

I didn’t know…

So, for those of you who don’t know me, I find cleaning challenging. Projects? Love me some projects. Give me something to hyperfocus on and I will joyously get lost in an audio book while cleaning grout, reorganize a cabinet, cleaning a wall, etc. But that every day shit, you know, that super-important third step of laundry or dishes (putting them (the hell) away), or clearing off the counter or table, or making the bed – that has been very challenging to try to make part of my every day life. I’m working on it. (Current Mantra: don’t put it (the fuck) down; put it (the fuck) away.)

There is a blog out there entitled “unfuck  your habitat,” and I have been using it to help me for a while now. One of those things it recommends is using a steam mop and I thought, “Seriously? Can it be that much better?” So about 2 weeks ago I started the online research and I learned everyone has an opinion on what makes a “good” steam cleaner. With “scent pods” or without (WTF is a scent pod?); canister or upright; with vacuum or not; for floors only or with accessories or not; and on and on. That’s when I realized I needed to change from looking for “steam mop” or “steam cleaner” and start looking for “heavy duty steam”. Why? Because I didn’t want something that would break within a year, I wanted something with some power, I didn’t want to have to refill it every 10 minutes, and I wanted to be able to actually sterilize after working with a sick animal. 

So I bought a Mcculloch MC1275 multi-use steam cleaner on Amazon. I spent so much time going back and forth between the different McCulloch model’s reviews that eventually I just chose the simplest one (usually means less to break). 

Now, it is important to note – I have only been using this thing for 3 days, so I can tell you nothing about longevity, but I am impressed with the construction and size of the water tank. 

I can say, holy shit. I cleaned the stovetop, the oven door, the refrigerator seals, the bathroom mirror, the toilet (including seals), bathroom baseboard, shower walls, bathroom grout, bathroom sink and drain, all the random mudspots from various surfaces (thanks dogs!), and then steam-mopped the hell out of living room floor. 

Everything *feels* clean. Not just looks clean, but *feels* clean.  It is so strange to not have things smell like cleaning products – just smells neutral.  

So, in conclusion, I didn’t know. I didn’t know how much better a steam cleaner can get things clean. I also *really* like that I can sterilize areas as needed.  It doesn’t make cleaning easier, but it does make it so much more effective.

I have never gotten anything for free and only shared this because I could have used this knowledge years ago. 




Ziesa came zooming into the house where the other dogs were slacktastically lounging and skidded dramatically and I swear her body language screamed, “OMG you guys, it started raining! When it rains, we get MUD! C’mon guys!” before she ran back outside with the other four idiots running behind her. 

Silly Mudpups. 

FoodLady Puppy sits & Sick Puppy Care (knowledge dump)

So, I have two foster babies here until Monday evening. Short term fosters are easier (for me) but this is just a quick “relief” foster for their ongoing foster human. She had a ROUGH few days. Without going into details these are the only two left from a large litter of abandoned too early babies. It doesn’t matter how experienced you are, getting no sleep while handling dying puppies is a damn nighmare and the poor woman needed a damned break.

While I spent some prep time on their food and crate I started remembering a lot of interesting and useful information I learned while trying to provide Herbert with nutrition while he was declining. Most interestingly I learned a starving dog/puppy mix that a very smart gentleman in Colorado shared which I have adapted just a bit. I cannot swear why it works, but I can say I have had damn good luck with it on multiple occasions:

  • 3 parts canned puppy food
  • 1 part meat human baby food
  • 2 parts plain yogurt
  • 2 parts heavy whipping cream
  • 1 part canned pumpkin
  • Canine probiotic supplement (if you have it, optional, etc.)
  • NutriCal ((if you have it, optional, etc) or dark corn syrup if calories are essential and you don’t have NutriCal) 

Warm it up (not hot), and feed. The original recipe can be found on the Blasco Family website and when I last checked included only heavy whipping cream, yogurt, and pumpkin pie filling. I asked him about the pumpkin pie filling which is not usually recommended for dogs and he mentioned that the included spices are soothing to tummies. I do not doubt his assertions and the pumpkin pie filling contains sugar which adds to caloric intake of starving puppies/dogs. 

Either recipe seems to do the job, I like my version because it seems more nutritionally complete. From what I can tell, the heavy whipping cream, yogurt, and pumpkin in either mix soothes delicate tummies while providing enough fat to help the starvation.  

Other random stuff:

  • Wipe puppies down often. Using warm wrung out washcloths or even unscented baby wipes.  They need the interaction and it is soothing and comforting to them. 
  • Do not immersion-bathe sick puppies too often. It is hard to re-warm them quickly enough. If you have to bathe them fully (beyond wiping) ensure they are completely dry and warm before allowing them to be put down. 
  • You see a puppy with a huge puppy belly but it doesn’t seem quite right? Check the base of the tail. Big puppy bellies can often be caused by parasite inflammation. If the base of the tail looks thin and unhealthy then the puppy is not getting enough nutrition. 
  • Puppies like safe, warm and quiet. Sick puppies *need* safe, warm and quiet to get better. Now, that doesn’t mean silence and everyone tiptoe. But it does mean constant handling by different people in loud environments can be too much for sick little ones. 
  • Enriched environments – yes, you want to keep their cages and areas clean and sanitary. But you also want their little brains to begin working. Put a nylabone in there, maybe some safe toys. As they feel better they will want to play. Yes, they may poop on it. So what? Sick puppies mean you are cleaning up poop; what’s a little more clean up to exponentially increase their stimulation which can greatly increase their survival rate?

I think that’s all I got for now; I hope this helps someone someday! 

Love, FoodLady.  

FoodLady Chronicles – it’s been a year. 

When I was 17, I jumped out of an airplane (with a parachute). I will never forget those first few seconds right after I jumped when I couldn’t see, hear, or even make any noise – it was as if everything had gone white. The closest I have ever come to feeling that life ending panic happened 0ne year ago today as I comforted a Herbert and told him he was such a good boy, such a strong boy and that he could run free and he could go and chase whatever he wanted. After he was gone, everything went white. I remember bits and pieces; I remember crying about how unfair it was and then in the next breath saying the world isn’t fair, I remember sitting on the side of the road at the vets office while my then boyfriend/now husband took care of the arrangements wondering how I got there, and lastly I remember the vet calling to tell me the necropsy revealed an embedded grass barb in his esophagus was the root cause of the whole thing, and I remember coming home and laying in the grass wondering how I was going to keep going and I remember that Piper was the first thing that made me laugh after Herbert’s death.  

It’s been a year now. I still think of him every day, but it doesn’t stop my heart when people ask where he is anymore. I’m starting to remember the good things about our too short time together, instead of just the end. 

I’m incredibly grateful to everyone in my life who knew him and loved him and there are new people in my life these days and I wish with all of my heart that they could have met him and seen what an amazing dog he was. He was loved by many and I miss him so very much. 

​FoodLady Chronicles – Dobby boo-boo, the girls’ great adventure, and wtf happened to my shower?! edition:

Okay, today has been a challenge. To begin, Dobby is still resting comfortably and we will be going to the vet at 16:00. He has an ankle ouchie and whimper-cried all night which caused me and Darrin to basically worry and pet him all night until Darrin grabbed a couple hours of sleep in the recliner. All basic functions are in good shape, no overt injury, and  continues to eat, drink, and eliminate normally. If he were still crying we would have left already. 

So, what you may not know is that Senõr Dobby serves a *very* important function during yard play time known as, “no-one can be bored or I tackle them.” Having the Dobinator around reduced fence breakthrough attempts by Ms. DumpyTruck Ziesa by 100%. Well, while I evaluated the Dobster, Ms. Ziesa & Ms. Piper went on an adventure! (Thankfully, Mr. SamSam & Mr. Humphrey stayed in the yard!) Their doggie adventure led Ms. Piper to a treasured resource beloved by many dogs, the glorious HORSIE POOP! Remember, it’s both a perfume AND a snack! *deep sigh*

To be fair to Ms. Ziesa, she either did not make it all the way to the horsie poop or, if she did, she chose not to partake. On the other hand, Ms. Piper apparently indulged herself by diving into, rolling around in, and maybe even performing a little dance of joy upon that frangrant pile of treasure and she was so very *proud* of her new scent. 

When I put her into the shower (giving her a 2nd bath in 12 hours, btw) I looked up and saw the shower head is completely broken off at the threads. **blinks stupidly** okay, that’s new. 

I used the handheld hose and now she smells less like horsie and more like green tea & bergamot. Conversely the bathroom smells a bit horsie.

Today, has been a day.