Sunday, January 23, 2011

Terms of Endearment

Earlier this evening Edward took Red Rocket's face into his hands, leaned his forehead against Red Rocket's forehead, and said, "I love you very, very, very, very much Rocket."


Yesterday was Edward's sixth birthday.  As a "big boy" he rarely naps but the excitement of birthday treasures and adventures at Chuckie Cheese led to a late morning collapse on the couch earlier today.  Red Rocket happily snuggled in next to him and as I walked by the two of them I headed for the camera in anticipation of a snapshot of the pair snoozing away.  But Rocket heard his Momma and emerged from his slumber to pose in what I truly think is the most regal countenance I have ever captured.  He reminds me of one of those lion guardian figures from the famous monuments of the ancient world.  Granted, Kojo the blanket/pillow/gator draped around his neck perhaps diminishes the royal demeanor a bit... Perhaps we can Photoshop that out and insert a velvet and ermine cloak like the one in the famous portrait of King Louis XIV.  Like King Louis, Rocket has the hair to pull off that look.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

His Fame Continues....

When I opened this morning's Wichita Eagle and pulled out the Saturday "Home and Garden" section my eye was immediately drawn to the header photo of a black-and-tan dachshund accompanied by the teaser "Long and Low: Dachshunds are Little Dogs with Big Ideas."  "Now here's an article that's right up my alley," I thought as I struggled to turn the page to the feature.  The report began with the story of Oscar, a dachshund who was hit by a car, taken to Heartland Animal Hospital, received a leg amputation with Magnum Fund money, and was now up for adoption from PALS Animal Rescue.  Sound familiar?  I was already aware of Oscar's situation as a young woman interested in adopting him had contacted me to ask about our experience adopting and living with Red Rocket.  I had not anticipated, however, that Red Rocket's story would be recounted in the article as the "success story" that inspired Oscar's rescue.  Red Rocket's fame lives on...share the Red Rocket love...

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Scene of the Crime

Interrupted robbery in progress, assailant fled. Suspect is 3 feet tall, 65 pounds, with chocolate brown hair. Suspect is armed with large brown whip that can inflict serious injury. Absconded with 9 chocolate chip cookies. Suspect will no doubt experience intestinal distress and will be unpleasant to sleep with tonight. Anonymous tips can be left at 1-800-STOP-HANK.
Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

Pillow Pet

Hank uses Maggie as a pillow during an afternoon nap on the couch.
Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

Sunday, January 2, 2011

You Betcha' Dogga' Blogga'

So, did you think we wouldn't get blogging?  Break out your reading glasses and a comfortable chair.  It's not Gone with the Wind or War and Peace but it's a massive dog-blogging effort!  Oh, and by the way, we've posted enough stuff today that you'll need to hit "older posts" to read it all!

Blog-a-thons Are Exhausting

It's hard to stay motivated when the canines around you are all lounging.  Of course, there are NO PILLOWS LEFT FOR ME IN THIS HOUSE!!! so even if I wanted to collapse in exhaustion I'd have a tough time finding a comfortable spot.

Here Comes Santa Claus

Lethal Weapon

Hank has a lethal tail.  So lethal, in fact, that two recent guests who have been visiting and playing with Edward on the floor have requested ice packs after getting thumped in the head by Hank's happy wagger.  I feared for all of my glass Christmas ornaments but remembered that one of the best Christmas memories from my youth was watching in horror as the family dachshunds, during a heated game of chase, got tangled in the lights of my Grandmother's Christmas tree and brought the whole ensemble crashing to the ground.  The Victorian style ornaments we bought her over the next three years to replace the ones destroyed by our dachshunds hang on my tree today.  Hank did well.  He only broke two. 


As I prepared the oyster dressing for Thanksgiving I had four, very rapt supervisors.  The aroma of the oysters had them jumping in the air!


Which is softer and warmer after Edward's bath?  The pink towel or Hank?

Remembering Emma, Part 2

Every year on the anniversary of her adoption day I held a brunch in Emma's honor.  The official adoption day was November 17 and after two years of holding the brunch in Wichita one of our guests dubbed the occasion, "the kickoff event of the Wichita holiday season."  Some years the turnout for Emma's brunch filled the house to overflowing, other years it was a quieter event with just our closest friends; this year it was the latter.  So I was able to plan a sit-down, rather than the traditional buffet-style, brunch.  The meal ended just the way Emma always liked: with dogs licking the leftovers out of the sausage-egg casserole dish!

Remembering Emma, Part 1

I adopted Emma when I was living in Austin, Texas and 3 or 4 times a week I would take her to the dog section of Barton Springs where she rejoiced in frolicking in the water and playing "run after but do not retrieve the sticks thrown for me."  Over the past year and a half since her death I have been collecting rocks from all the lakes we have visited.  Since I didn't take geology as one of my science and math electives in college I probably can't accurately label the types of rocks I have gathered.  I call them pink granite because they all have a pinkish cast and their composition reflects the texture of granite sculptures I have studied, but, as previously disclaimed, I am no expert.  I've used these rocks to create memorial gardens for Emma in our yard.  The first set I collected now borders the rose garden in the section of the backyard where Emma liked to sniff around.  The second set was in a rather inelegant heap at the side of the house until October when I finally purchased the pink tulip bulbs to populate the planned front yard memorial garden.  August and Edward and I all worked together to plant and feed the tulip bulbs, cover them with chicken wire to prevent the squirrels from eating them, and finally placing the rocks over and around the garden bed. 


"You don't need to stand there and watch me, Mom.  I'm not even the slightest bit interested in snatching cereal from that bowl Edward is precariously holding over the arm of the chair.  No, the side of my lip is NOT raised in anticipation of an accidental (or not so accidental) spill of the cereal.  I'm just smiling with gratitude that you feed me sumptuous beef-infused morsels while you force your dear child to eat dry grains."

Fire Chief

Edward brought home loads of souvenirs from fire prevention week at school and his homework was to collaborate with family members to develop a household fire safety and evacuation plan.  Edward decided Rachsie should be the family fire chief, and given her propensity for barking orders, I think he made the logical choice.

Bathed in Sunlight

One of my favorite coffee-table books is Cats in the Sun, a volume full of photographs of cats in the Greek Isles basking in the sun-drenched landscapes full of stuccoed houses and fisherman's quarters.  The luminous aesthetic of the photos has always inspired me.  Capturing this lighting is, in my opinion, much more effective with an old-fashioned SLR camera but I've snapped a few decent images by turning the flash off on the digital camera.

Braving the Cold without a Coat

When the weather turned cold I made the tremendous mistake of throwing my winter coat over the back of the chair the first day I wore it.  The result: I haven't been able to wear it since.  There is always an animal (or two) curled up on it, napping contentedly, buffered from the cold draughts.  I haven't the heart to displace this hibernatory instinct so I've spent the last six weeks wearing either my ratty old camel hair coat with the shredded lining and the hole under the arm or wrapped in the woolen shawl I bought when I lived in Belgium and used in lieu of a bathrobe since I was travelling light.

Attempts at Bonding, Part 4

Hank and Red Rocket have bonded well.  As with most brotherly relationships, this bond is frequently expressed through roughhousing, but there are the quiet moments when a nap together is just the ticket.

Attempts at Bonding, Part 3

While Sophie and Maggie's attempts at bonding with Hank have been tentative, Rachsie has had no reservations.  Or perhaps she wishes to assert herself as the alpha dog.  Hank frequently gets a belly rub from August in the mornings after breakfast.  On this particular morning Rachsie decided hers should be the belly rubbed and since she wasn't big enough to unseat Hank she just lounged on top of him!

Attempts at Bonding, Part 2

Each night at bedtime Sophie used to lovingly clean the inside of Emma's ears.  After Emma's death I had hoped that Sophie would bond with one of the dachshunds but that personality pairing has not born fruit.  When Hank joined the household I wondered if Sophie might adopt him for her motherly ministrations.  And there has been a small measure of progress.  Sophie has commenced her head-cleaning activites a few times.  The problem is that Hank tries to return the favor and the minute his big muzzle hits Sophie's face she lets out a disgusted grunt-and-hiss noise and clears the area.  Hank might learn to stay still and enjoy the bath one of these days.  We continue to hope.

Attempts at Bonding, Part 1

Hank continues to try and bond with Maggie through gentle nuzzles-and-licks and initiations of play.  Maggie, for the most part, remains her stoic self, but there are brief moments of reciprocation.  During the pictured encounter Hank approached cautiously and was initially welcomed but when he dropped into the play posture Maggie went into razor-back mode and it was "game over."

The More Things Stay the Same, Part 3

Our German hunting dog genes continue to compel us to capture and eviscerate any wildlife we encounter: even if it is a lime-green and orange stuffed duck.  The added bonus is the indoor snowfall of white fluff that blankets the living room and commemorates the hunt.

The More Things Stay the Same, Part 2

August continues to take the four dogs with him every weekend to Starbucks.  They now know he's going even before the name of the coffeehouse is mentioned and they eagerly gather at the front door in anticipation of the ride.  August teases them mercilessly by unlocking the handle, deadbolt and chain with agonizing slowness.  The minute the inner door is open they crowd the screen door awaiting release to race to the truck.

The More Things Stay the Same, Part 1

The favorite game of Red Rocket, Rachsie, and Hank remains tug-of-war.  Hank is almost always the instigator and frequently dangles rope toys over the heads of Red Rocket and Rachsie to engage them or over our hands to entice us to play.  Hank's jaws can grip like a steel vise and he revels in "swing-your-partner" tug-of-war with August.  Red Rocket has figured out that he needs to enlist the aid of others if he wants to keep any of his 9 pounds on the ground during a tug session with Hank.

Cat Commercialism

In for a penny, in for a pound.  After the acquisition of "Kojo" who was immediately appropriated as a sleeping device by Red Rocket, I felt the need to provide a snuggling space for the feline members of the Red Rocket family.  I seriously considered the heated pet bed but the cheapskate in me overruled that proposition.  So I headed to the feline products aisle of Petsmart and pondered the offerings.  A cat house?  No, Kasha can sometimes be afraid of enclosed spaces after that incident of getting shut into the bathroom cabinet.  One of those carpet-covered climbers?  More exepensive and uglier than the heated pet bed.  What is this cardboard thing that looks like the bottom of a smashed shoebox?  A cat cradle which multi-functions as a scratcher and bed.  They will never use this, I think, as I put it into the shopping cart.  Oh boy was I wrong...

Meet Kojo

Have you seen the media blitz promoting "Pillow Pets" on television?  For $19.99 you can get a fabulously fluffy animal with special snaps on the bottom that converts the creature into a pillow.  Edward, no doubt joining millions of children worldwide, would yell "I want that!" when the Pillow Pet commercials interrupted his morning cartoons.  Enter Kojo, an upgraded competitor's product: part alligator, part pillow, part blanket.  A Cesarean-section styled zipper in Kojo's tummy allows for the release of an almost full-sized blanket.  Said blanket can be stuffed back into Kojo's innards to convert him into a pillow and two velcro straps can instantly turn him into a gator toy.  As loyal followers of the Red Rocket Report know, Red Rocket loves anything pillow!  And yes, the perspective of the photo is correct.  Kojo is bigger than Rocket!