Saturday, November 24, 2007

Azure's Campaign of Annoyance

What do you do when you are sitting miserably at home, lamenting the lackluster performance of your alma matter in possibly the most over-hyped college football game to visit the Midwest in recent memory? Why, share the joy by offering up the vicarious experience of life with Azure.

As observed in a previous post, Trinity is the world's greatest big sister.

As is obvious from the beginning of this clip, Emmett is the world's loudest drinker.

Azure is . . . Azure.

Just do as she says and no one gets hurt, o.k.?

Sunday, November 18, 2007


Lest anyone think we are anything more than the garden-variety goobers with poor boundaries we are, the Grande Dame of the Great Danes, KK, sent along these photos to offer comparison/contrast to the recent video of our Mercy-girl:

Our friend, Fred, says he would like to meet every SOB who’s ever dumped a dog. I think these photos help illustrate the reasons for his anger.

To be clear: The Great Dane Rescue of the Ozarks saved Mercy. They were the ones who were brave enough to walk into a bad situation and walk out with a dog it hurts to look at. They were the ones who taught her to walk. They took her for x-rays, shots, spay and vet consults. They fed her. They loved her. They helped restore her trust in humans.

And then, they did the most amazing thing: they loved her enough and trusted us enough to release her to become a member of our family.

We never met the Mercy from these photos. Thank goodness there was someone else there to meet this Mercy, and nurture her along to the Mercy we met and fell in love with.

We didn’t do the hard part. The brave people who really rescue dogs and who provide safe haven for rescued dogs at great personal cost, do the hard part. We got the easy part, take home a sweet, loving creature, adjust to a silly walk and small idiosyncrasies, and build a family around her.

**For the part of us that is enraged by these photos, they are instructive and inspirational for this:

1. This is the work of puppy mills. Spay and neuter, and encourage everyone you meet to have their animals spayed and neutered. Don’t patronize businesses that sell animals or are associated with puppy mill operations.

2. Support local rescues, no-kill shelters, spay and neuter programs, or any other program that encourages responsible pet ownership and supports the brave people who refuse to just sit by idly while harm befalls other creatures. And if you are in the market for a worthy charity where your donation is tax deductible, the Great Dane Rescue of the Ozarks fits the bill perfectly. Just this week, they rescued two more desperate babies with parvo and idiopathic seizure disorders, so I bet they can use the help.

The Wood Song

The first time my secretary and her sons met Mercy, her four-year-old rushed to his babysitter's house the next day to regale her with the story of “the dog that walks sideways.” For a four-year-old, he does a mean imitation of Mercy’s crazy gait, with her back driver-side leg swinging out, and the little twisting she does at changes of terrain or tempo. I am sure the humor was completely lost on his day care provider.

While to some, her sit-and-spin routine may be the type of tragedy to cry over, for us it has become almost humdrum, not really anything of note except to exhort her to “pull herself back up,” and check the area for any needed applications of triple antibiotic ointment upon return to the trailer. That said, she really is a remarkable creature for her amazing spirit and because of her plucky willingness to keep pulling herself up notwithstanding her crazy back end that sometimes just does not want to mind its manners.

The key to Mercy’s longevity has not been so much anything we can take credit for – we don’t hand-prepare highly specialized diets, we don’t have any magic elixir to help her get around, we don’t place her in a pool for physical therapy. Her “therapies” such as they are, consist of primarily being given run of the trailer and right of first refusal for the couch, the bed, and the kibble dishes; we give her daily vitamins and supplements, pets and pats and massages, farm fresh eggs on the weekends, playmates, and ample opportunities to walk, run, romp and spin.

We could have chosen an easier path. There are plenty of perfectly healthy Danes available for adoption. But Mercy has provided us with a living, breathing celebration and a powerful reminder that, “we’ll make it fine if the weather holds, but if the weather holds, we’ll have missed the point.”

Saturday, November 17, 2007

DR Emmett

We have previously told of the new “implement” here at the Farm, our turbo-charged weed eater, the DR. I spent a weekend working with it and its different sharp attachments, emerging with only a small nick on my thumb, a completely cleared island in the pond, and several new “paths” cut around the property.

We were quite pleased with the results. We may have paid a little too much attention to the device, however. It appears as though someone has been left with the mistaken impression that hacking down weeds and spinning around are features we look for in all objects of our affection.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

If Wishes Were Houses, We Wouldn't Live in a Trailer

I bought the property now known as MisFit Farm over three years ago, wholly intending to build a house on it. In the meantime, there was a trailer on the property, which for the likes of Coffee-dog and me was quite all right. A few months ago, one of the Dane rescue people, desperate to find a placement for a foster baby, asked, “aren’t you done building your house yet?!?!”

“The house” has taken on a number of iterations. I have been encouraged to build a sod house, an A-frame, a berm home, a kit home, a straw bale home, just about everything except a toilet home. Before I realized the joys of mass animal care, I had entertained the notion of a total do-it-myself home building project. When K joined me in the planning phases, we spent hours poring over home design books and floorplans. We made lists of “must-haves,” “like-to-haves,” and “absolutely not’s.” We thought we had decided upon the perfect design. Then came the Danes. And not just Danes. Danes with disabilities.

The summer before last, I was sharing some bonding time with my mother in a brief car ride. She confided in me that she had a terrible fear that in ten years, I would still be living in this trailer, only I would have ten dogs living here with me. I encouraged her to find other more important things to worry about like ice caps melting, world hunger or genocide. Shortly after this conversation, the dog count hit five, and a mere year later, we have crossed the halfway mark on the “feared number of dogs” count to bring our total to five-plus-one-more. I certainly hope the alternative fears my mother agreed to take on have gone better. We may have to call her off the whole ice caps melting thing lest Kansas become the new Galveston.

Always ones to look upon the brighter side of life and in an effort to not appear lazy, indecisive or unmotivated, we believe that this additional time has provided us with an opportunity to reconsider how we (meaning both bi-peds and the dogs) will live in a house. Thanks to this additional time, we have come to appreciate what a complete inconvenience the presence of things like hallways would be in our home. We have had time to think through the design of a “dog room,” plumbing configurations, appropriate furniture and doorway placements, home entry strategies, safety features and storage needs.

As you can clearly see, the planning process and what will hopefully soon be our final descent into the actual event of homebuilding has taken quite a bit out of my already truncated attention span. So we hope all will bear with us as we are perhaps a bit less frequent in our posting. Once the house is completed, we promise to throw a big virtual party for all to join.

In any event, one of these days very soon, we will have the perfect home for our not-so-perfect krewe. Hopefully before MisFit Farm becomes beachfront property.

Love Seat Redux

I assume that the Shriners and/or the “clown car” are a universally recognized emblem. An emblem of what, I am not certain. Like a magician pulling miles of scarves from a hat, the Shriners or the clowns emerge, one after the other, wearing funny hats, or wigs or makeup, some wearing shoes that alone would fill up the back seat of a Honda Civic.

But the “clown car” has some magical property a ‘la Hermoine Granger’s clutch from The Deathly Hallows – jangling around in the untold depths are bucket seats, family photos, and probably the very same circus tent that houses scores of clown car aficionados.

As it turns out, the love seat in the trailer contains the same magic elixir that allows not just one oversized dog to inhabit it; the love seat is not even mollified by the presence of two Danes, a feat so oft-repeated it doesn’t even raise an eyebrow. But three: now there is a feat worthy of the awe and attentions of people who haven’t received the memo about the obsolescence of fez hats.

Or, at least it merits a photo.

There is one person in the Dane rescue group who labors under the delusion that there is something that could be done to stop the Dane infestation of a household’s furnishings. As for us, we have just given up and started saving for our next couch.