Monday, July 31, 2006

Second Chance to Foster: Clapton

Now this fine fellow is just about a perfect Dane specimen. His name is Clapton. It is up to him to redeem us as foster parents.

When we picked Clapton up, we were given scarily few details. He prefers the Ol' Roy in the red bag, hasn't seen a vet in a while, has a buggered up left ear from a dog attack, and is "leash trained." His leash training appears to have been completed at Iditarod boot camp, but he must not have passed the "heel" portion of the schooling. As with many things in this adventure, we learned this the hard way. The scrapes on our chins are healing up nicely.

It is almost impossible to believe that his former family could give this fellow up for rescue. He has literally won the hearts of nearly everyone who has met him, shortly after their repeated observations that, "Wow. He is huge. He is a horse." or some other similar commentary as captured in one of our favorite t-shirts ever:

Although he is an equal opportunity sweetheart, Clapton clearly has a special place in his heart for a dad and, ideally, a little boy. We had friends out last week, and Clapton went fishing with them. Aside from the fact that when he jumps onto a floating dock, he can nearly capsize you, he is a wonderful fishing companion, willing to inspect and approve even the tiniest fish, and content to stand and lean as long as the bait holds out.

If you are looking for a 165# fishing buddy who won't compete for the last beer or rat you out when you exaggerate a little about the size of the one that got away, check out for more information about Clapton and the dozen other babies in need of good homes that aren't afraid of a little drool and a lotta love.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

New Babies This Time A Real Fainter!

O.k., so if 3 goats are a baaaad idea, 3 more can only be better, right?

As mentioned previously, I had set up the impossible scenario that I wanted a fainting pygmy goat. Imagine my surprise when, a few hours down the road, we found exactly that. And whereas Bam-Bam was of questionable fainter parentage, this time we scored the big one.

So this Spring, we got our three new krewe members, Mr. Tumnus (in white), our official, certified, bonafide fainter, Lucy, his charming little friend in the brown coat, and cleverly disguised as a goat, wearing the mask with the mischievous markings, is Puck.

Because we are shameless promoters of all things we perceive as good in the world, if you are in the market for goats, and you may well be even if you don’t think you are, and if you are anywhere near Kansas when the urge to own goats hits you, there is only one place to go. They even have a website: For a while they had a rent-a-goat thing going, for keeping lagoons from getting overgrown, but I think they may have wisely let that idea go. The whole rent-a-goat scenario may be an idea before its time.

Anyhow. The introduction of the three new babies to the herd was disturbing. We may have anthropomorphized dear Pebbles a bit too much, endowing her with maternal traits which we somehow thought would help ease the transition of the babies into the older crowd. Nothing could have been more wrong.

Saturday, July 29, 2006


It would be disingenuous to pretend that we acquired the goats for the sole, the primary, or even the secondary purpose of eating the tremendous overgrowth of vegetation on the property we bought. We really mostly thought it would be fun. We were so right.

When we announced our intentions, my mother-in-law said, "I don't think you know what you are getting into." My Veterinarian brother-in-law said, "Goats?! I think that's a baaaaaad idea!" We were innundated with stories about goats on the top of cars, goats eating tin cans, goats on the roof of the house, goats gone wild!!!

After over a year with goats, there have been only two "jail breaks." The first occured the day we brought these cuties (here at 10 months of age) home. Just in case it should ever come up in coversation: goats can run really fast. This is our lesson number 2 about goats. Lesson number 1 was: goats don't care so much for dogs. Matter of fact, they are scared enough, that upon introduction to a dog, goats will introduce you directly to lesson number 2.

The brown one here, Pebbles, escaped when I tried to transfer her from the large dog kennel in the car to the larger pen we were keeping them in so they would be close to the house while they were smaller. She ran up the hill, across the neighbors' yard, and then took off up the road, with me in hot pursuit. This was the first time Steve and Carolyn were introduced to our antics. Steve was minding his own business, mowing his lawn, when a baby goat cleared the hedge and crossed the lawn. Here, his dogs helped us out with a review of lesson number 1. In the process of learning lesson number 2, I came through the hedge shortly thereafter, just in time to see Pebbles make a quick pivot, and run right past me up the road.

We spent the entire afternoon looking for her. She came walking back up the road around dusk, likely returning to the call of her brothers who did not manage to escape. Thankfully, we had learned enough of our lessons for one day.

The big black one, Bam-Bam, was touted as a "fainter" when we got this crew. We have yet to see him faint, so we can only assume that his previous fainting episode was a one-time deal. Anyways, the warranty has expired on our faulty fainter, and we are somewhat attached by now. Additionally, the "fainting" is generally precipitated as a stress or fear response, and the only fear Bam-Bam experiences in his life is the fear of the other goats he terrorizes. He has definitely lived up to his name.

The third one is Boo-Boo. He is a little gentleman, and my mother-in-law's favorite. So much for, " I don't think you know what you are getting into."

Friday, July 28, 2006

Now, you can't tell it by looking at this photo, but Skeeter is resident frog hunter. As a matter of fact, her insatiable desire to seek and destroy frogs has helped her overcome a lifelong fear of water.

Up until an unfortunate tumble under a pile of frolicking, orthopedically-challenged puppies, Skeeter was our most pain-free dog. Coming out on the bottom of the dogpile was not kind and resulted in an overnight trip to the Vet to have a hole in her back repaired. Our nurse neighbor used the term "avulsion." I looked at it and thought "revulsion." Of course the next thought was, "O.k. - we can fix this."

Unwilling to acknowledge that our robust Skeeter may require an unscheduled Vet visit, we first exhausted a variety of home remedies. Skeeter was subjected to a variety of humiliations that evening, including the application of a maxi-pad to the wound site, and an attempt to hold a bandage in place with a pair of cut-off running tights that clearly point to the fact that neither of us have run since well into the early 90's/late 80's. As she was wearing the black/hot pink/turquiose spandex bandage, she streaked past our neighbors in their truck. Steve turned to Carolyn and asked incredulously, "Was that Skeeter, and was she wearing a Speedo?"

Since dressing her in a Speedo and singing Olivia Newton John songs about exercise did not exorcise the open, gaping wound, we took her to the emergency Vet clinic and had her stitched up and medicated.

Happily, the wound has completely healed. Her pride and sense of dignity? Well, hopefully they will only take dog years to heal.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Meet Coffee dog. This photo was taken at work. In case it is not obvious, he works with a bunch of smart-asses.

Coffee goes to work almost every day. He honestly believes that he belongs there, and if he misses a day, he is sure to be at the front door, waiting, so he doesn't miss his ride.

Coffee is the man of the house, but he doesn't let the pressure get to him. He is the single most mellow dog in the history of the planet. Case in point, he often will allow people to tape messages on his back, as demonstrated in this photo. The two-note string is a record for him, and in celebration of the event, he performed the monumental task of sitting up.

The office has started a petition to re-name him "De-caf," but since he is 10 years old, it seems a little late to revisit the issue of his name. As is the case with many of our dogs, he came pre-named.

The only real motivation Coffee shows is in his emulation of Houdini. This dog is an escape artist. He doesn't run away. He just doesn't like to be fenced in or kept away from human contact. He has scrambled through second-story windows onto the roof of a house. He has eaten through a wire cage at a Vet's kennel. He has climbed over 7 foot fences to get into the people-part of doggy day care. This resulted in his expulsion from the program.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

This is Mercy. Mercy is a beautiful disaster.

It was Mercy who sent us down the "dane hole." We have a longstanding love of Great Danes, and the space to accommodate their needs. We found her and fell in love with her on We recommend that folks who want a life companion who is loyal and loving no matter how bizarre you may be, check out instead of pet stores, breeders, or

So, why is Mercy our beautiful disaster? She is single-handedly subsidizing the college education for two of our Vet's children. She was saved from a caged existence where, by the tender young age of around 7 months, she didn't know how to walk, but her pelvis had been broken and re-healed without the pesky intervention of veterinary care. We are making up for it now. Our nearly weekly trips to the Vet have yielded a variety of diagnoses, including spinal stenosis, allergies, hypothyroid, a cold which was treated with an antibiotic which she had an allergic reaction to, and a skin infection.

For those of you who are now thinking that ought to be covered by your state's lemon laws, rest assured that she was clearly marked as a "special needs" dog. We walked into this deal eyes wide open, and wouldn't have it any other way. She has more personality and more love than any two humans deserve.

This is Trinity. Trinity is a left-handed, "teacup" sized Great Dane mix - unsure of what exactly she is "mixed" with, but as you can see, the results are pretty doggone cute.

Trinity officially joined the family this week as a "foster failure" placement with us from the Great Dane Rescue of the Ozarks. We have honestly never been so happy to be failures.

What is not readily seen in this photo is that Trinity is missing her front right leg. Not missing, actually: it was surgically removed after she was found on the side of the road with a broken, swollen and infected front appendage. Although we have to think that when she woke up from that surgery, she must have thought, "Oh my God! My leg's missing!" I just want folks to know that we realize she didn't just misplace the leg like a set of keys - the leg is gone.