Sunday, December 28, 2008

I Scream, You Scream, We all Scream for Ice Cream

The girls enjoying a cup of vanilla ice cream. First red fawn is foster girl Red who was adopted today. She kind of took to that ice cream, didn't she? No one had to show her twice or even once for that matter. Turn up your volume!


video

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Saturday, December 27, 2008

The Surgery

Well, I made it through it and I think I did so without mentioning Dr. McDreamy or Dr. McSteamy. At least the anesthesiologist said I didn't say anything, short of warning him to avoid seeing the new Will Smith flick, Seven Pounds, as I had heard it was horrible. Don't remember that conversation at all nor any others so I am hoping he wasn't pulling my leg and that is all I did say!

Dr. McGlamory was wonderful. I went back to the surgery center around 9:45 a.m. to get prepped. After that, I think I walked over to the surgery area around 10:00 a.m. I remember nothing after that except a bit of what felt like someone flopping my foot around. I was wheeled out and was recovering around 12:15 p.m.

While in there, he removed or fixed (not sure which at this point) quite a bit of damaged cartilage. He asked if I had had an injury on that foot that would have caused that and I said no. Only thing was the previous foot surgery. Anyway, it's fixed now. As well, he took care of the bone spurs, a bunion on the outside below the little toe and then he put internal wires in the little toe bone as well as the big toe bone. I think both required drilling in the bone. Sorry about that, that's probabably TMI, as it certainly is for me!

Despite the Percocet, I'm in quite a bit of pain. Of course, I am hoping it subsides sooner rather than later. As I've mentioned to a few friends today, it feels like I've had my foot in a bucket of ice cold water for about 24 hours and then it was shot about ten times with a nail gun. That about sums it up.

I go to see Dr. McGlamory this week for a bandage change. I'm sure I won't be able to look at my foot but I'll be sure to provide an update here. Thanks for all your warm wishes and phone calls. Pin It

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

How Totally Embarrassing . . .

Today I ran to the Atlanta Farmer's Market (Clairmont Road and Buford Highway, just inside the Perimeter) to get the girls some chicken backs. I had picked up about 5 packages and went back for one more. As I reached over to grab one, a lady was there surveying the chicken parts. She looked at me and I looked at her and quickly said, "These are for my dogs". She replied back in a very thick Jamaican accent, "Oh, I love chicken backs - more so than the breasts". Stumped because I made the comment about buying the chicken backs for my dogs, I replied back "Oh, my dogs love them, too". I can't imagine a person eating them but I suppose they do!! Hey, you learn something new every day.

And boy did I learn something today - comments are not required when choosing meat items at the farmer's market. Everybody there is purchasing something odd so you certainly aren't alone! Pin It

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Saturday, December 20, 2008

It's a Date!

Yesterday I had my pre-op appointment with Dr. McGlamry for my foot surgery scheduled for Friday, December 26th. Yes, the good Doc is working the day after Christmas. He says they are really busy this time of year because alot of folks are trying to get in their surgeries by the end of the year, so yes, he was available when this was scheduled three weeks ago. So, that's the day we're going to do it. I'm off that day and will have the weekend to recoup, somewhat, before the next workweek. That week is a short week also due to the New Year's holiday so that will help, too.

Back to the Dr. visit - we chatted about what he was going to do which includes correcting the bone spurs, putting a screw in a bone to move it inward, cleaning out the gunk that is in the area (I think it's a Ganglion cyst but we won't know until he gets in there), and correcting a small bunion below the little toe. Basically, an overhaul, you could say.

The last foot surgery I had (on both feet) corrected bunions, removed a Ganglion cyst (in the same location where the "gunk" is now), and corrected ingrown toe nails. That was about 15 years ago. I can't complain since that surgery has lasted this long. I'm hopeful this next surgery will last as long or longer because as I told Dr. McGlamry, foot surgery is NOT fun, not at all. He laughed when I said that and I said, "You probably hear that at least once a day", at which time, he admitted he heard it very often so he was not offended at all. In fact, he had been on the receiving end before so he totally understood.

After the chat about what he was going to do, he talked about what could possibly go wrong. Not something you wanna hear, but I guess it's something you gotta hear. I did mention the previous experience during foot surgery - hearing the saw, feeling the pressure, etc. and he said I surely needed to mention that to the anesthesiologist who could keep me on the "deeper" end of twilight. There was no need to go completely under but being on the "deeper" end would suffice. The anesthesiologist will call next week to chat about that, so we should be set on the 26th to do what needs to be done.

I filled out the necessary paperwork for the outpatient surgery center, received my walking boot (a lovely contraption which will certainly NOT start a new fashion trend), received an ice pack I need to keep on the foot during the first two days, received my folder with copies of important instructions and paperwork, and I was on my way. It was all set.

I absolutely dread this as I know how painful it can be but I do realize that it needs to be done sooner rather than later. The sooner it gets done, the sooner I heal and can be on my way.

My only real fear in all this is that while I'm in the "twilight zone", I'm going to ask Dr. McGlamry where Dr. McSteamy and Dr. McDreamy are! Pin It

Friday, December 19, 2008

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Nesting 101

Sugar wanted to share with Seka and Roxie this little video of her nesting in her newest Orvis bead bed. As you can see, she is quite comfortable when it's all said and done. Sugar is hoping Seka and Roxie will soon enjoy their Orvis bed, too! If you guys need any pointers, feel free to give Sugar a ring!

video

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Thursday, December 11, 2008

Another Raw Food Incident

Well, I'm learning folks is all I can say. This is still so new or so it seems!

Yesterday it was raining "cats and dogs" so I decided to try the canned mackeral out on the girls so they could eat inside from their food bowls. I'd had the three cans in the cupboard since Day 1 of the raw diet and was itching to let them try it. So, I said, "why not?" I had heard from Addie that her boys just loved theirs so I imagined my girls would as well - hey, what did I have to loose? They haven't refused anything, thus far (well, except for the raw egg/Sugar incident) and I've fed them some really gross stuff (turkey butts come to mind). Canned mackeral fits right in with that description so I decided to go for it. I opened the first can and almost gagged. UGH!! I can't believe how disgusting it smelled and looked and probably tasted but you know how dogs are, the nastier it is, the better it is!

I poured the first can in Sugar's bowl and sat it back down for her to eat it. She went right to it like a martin to a gourd, as my mother might say. She ate the mackeral first and then licked up the juices. Lucy was next. She also went right to it, eating the mackeral and then the juices. Remi, on the other hand, licked up the juices first and then ate the mackeral. Go figure.

They all enjoyed the stuff much to my dismay. That means I'll probably have to give it to them again at some point in the future. UGH, again!!

After dinner was over I washed their food bowls and cleaned the floor (trying to get rid of that stinky fish smell). It was then time to get ready for pet therapy. Yes, we had pet therapy last night at the nursing home. I gave all the girls peppermint candies and each received a Greenie, even Sugar, who came with me.

On the way to the nursing home, she emitted the most awfullest gas that has ever come out of her body and she can be quite gassy at times (the only one out of three who often gets this way, so I can't complain). We drove the entire trip to the nursing home with the back window half-way down so I could breathe and not pass out while driving. She, on the other hand, seemed quite content to lay in the back enjoying her Greenie. Of course she had no idea she was about to kill me.

We finally arrived at the nursing home where I practically burst out of the SUV - ahh, fresh air, fresh air. It was delightful! It was sprinkling a bit, but I didn't care. The air was awesome. I unloaded Sugar and took her to the grassy area to potty. She pee'd but no potty. I thought she might need to go after all that but she didn't.

So, we went inside. I warned Kim (and Lindsey), who met us there, to beware of what might come out of Sugar's behind. It was lethal, I tell you. Fortunately, during the entire visit, she never did have any gas. However, she was still quite lethal . . . it was her breath. She had fish breath! Mackeral breath to be exact! I tried to fix it with the peppermint candies and then the Greenie but neither worked. It was awful. You could smell her a mile away. The patients were quite nice though, never mentioning it until we were visiting with two ladies who we see every month. They petted Lindsey and then Sugar. Lindsey tried to give them kisses at which time I warned them not to ask for any from "fish breath" Sugar. They both laughed and one lady said, "Oh my, I thought that was me!" Funny . . . I assured her it was Mackeral Sugar and it wasn't her. We all laughed, and yes, at Sugar's expense. Again, she was oblivious!

Thank God our visit was rather short and we were soon on our way home. Another bit of gas in the car but then no more throughout the night. This morning, I couldn't really smell fish on anyone.

(Another) lesson learned - never, never feed mackeral the night of pet therapy.
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Tuesday, December 09, 2008

A Taste of Heaven

Yes, heaven - to die for - can't live without, you get the picture! And I'm talking about homemade marshmallows! I made them on Sunday and finished cutting them and dusting them last night.

While cutting them, Remi, Sugar and Lucy were patiently standing behind me waiting to be the taste testers. As to be expected, they loved them! I think all of us had at least three each during the testing process but in the end, we all agree, the marshmallows passed the test without a doubt!

They are most delightful - light and airy and yummy, yummy, good! As always, much better than store bought!

I actually used Alton Brown's recipe which is below. The only change I did is that I added about a 1/2 teaspoon (or a tad more) of clear vanilla.
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Homemade Marshmallows (Alton Brown)

1/4 cup powdered gelatin
1 cup cold water
2 cups sugar
1/2 teaspoon clear vanilla
2 egg whites
2 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted, plus more for dusting pan and marshmallows
Butter for greasing pan (I used PAM)

In a medium sized saucepan soak the gelatin in the water. After the gelatin has softened (approximately 10 minutes) add the regular sugar and then gently dissolve over low heat for approximately 8 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow to cool to room temperature. Add vanilla.

In a mixer, beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form. Then fold in the sifted confectioners' sugar. While the mixer is on low, slowly poor in the cooled gelatin mixture. Increase the speed and beat until white and thick. The volume should double in size.

Line an 8 by 8-inch baking dish with high sides with foil, grease slightly with butter (or PAM), and coat with confectioners' sugar. Alternatively, you can use a baking sheet, but the marshmallows will not be as tall. Pour marshmallow mixture in and top with more sifted confectioners' sugar. Leave out overnight or for at least 3 hours to set. The marshmallow should be light and spongy when set.

Loosen marshmallow from edges of tray and invert onto a large cutting board. Peel off foil and use a large knife to cut the marshmallows into cubes. Dredge each piece in confectioners' sugar.

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I honestly can't believe I've never made these and it's another one of those things on my list that I've always wanted to make and now I have. They are super easy and as I said, the end result is well worth it. You will probably never go back to store bought mushies once you've tasted these!!

Remi, Sugar, and Lucy are hoping we don't and that I will continue to make these wonderful sweet confections just for them! I probably will. Remember, it's all about the dogs . . .
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Monday, December 08, 2008

More on Raw . . .

Just a quick note – Saturday I thought I’d try giving the girls raw eggs to supplement their raw diet. They are suppose to get these at least once a week, I think, and I had forgotten to give them any this entire time. I cracked one in each of their bowls, leaving the shell as well because this is also very good for them. Remi enthusiastically ate hers as did Lucy, crunching the shell as they devoured the egg itself. I didn’t doubt these two would enjoy their egg treat.

Sugar, on the other hand, is the princess of the bunch. She looked at it, looked up at me as if to say, “What the heck is this and do you really expect me to eat it?”. She then lapped a bit up, looked at me again, drank some water, picked up the shell and dropped it on the floor, lapped a bit again, looked at me again, drank some more water and then she walked away.

Remi and Lucy tag teamed it and finished all that Sugar had left, which was about 90 percent of what was there originally! She sure didn’t take to it but I’m hoping she will the next time. As Scarlett would say, there’s always tomorrow! Pin It

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Mushie Breakthrough!!!!

It has happened! Sugar actually consumed her marshmallow this morning. I tossed it into her crate along with two small cookies. She ate the cookies first and then turned around and lo and behold, she smurfed up the mushie! I was very surprised and ecstatic, to say the least! (It's the little things in life, you know?)

Yesterday's mushie was missing, too, but I assumed that Remi or Lucy had snuck in there after their dinner to smurf it up but I guess it was probably Sugar who ate it then as well. Whoo hoo!

This is certainly a breakthrough at the Peterson household. I'm so psyched that I think I will attempt to make a batch of homemade marshmallows this weekend. As with the English Muffins, I've heard and read that once you have homemade mushies, you'll never go back to store bought mushies.

I found this recipe for making your own marshmallows and I think I'll try it:

1/4 cup cornstarch
1/3 cup confectioners sugar
1 envelope unflavored gelatin
1/3 cup water
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup
Pinch of salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Sift the cornstarch and confectioners sugar into a bowl. Lightly grease an 8x8-inch square baking pan and sprinkle 1 tablespoon of the cornstarch-and-sugar mixture into it. Tilt the pan to coat the sides and the bottom. Leave any excess in the pan.

Sprinkle the gelatin into the water in a small saucepan and let soak for five minutes. Add the granulated sugar and stir over low heat until the gelatin and sugar dissolve.

In the large bowl of an electric mixer, combine the gelatin mixture, corn syrup, salt and vanilla and beat for 15 minutes on high speed, until peaks form.

Spread the fluffy mixture in the prepared pan and smooth the top. Leave for two hours or until set.

With a wet knife, cut the marshmallow mixture into quarters and loosen around the edges. Sprinkle the remaining cornstarch-and-sugar mixture on a baking sheet and invert the marshmallow blocks onto it. Cut each quarter into nine pieces and roll each one in the starch and sugar.

Place the marshmallows on a cake rack covered with paper towels and let them stand over night to dry the surface slightly. Store airtight; the marshmallows will keep for a month.

Do you suppose making the girls homemade marshmallows is spoiling them a bit too much? :)

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Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Childhood Memories

After reading my friend's blog about eating fresh crabs over the Thanksgiving holiday, I was reminded of something that happened when I was much younger which really has nothing to do with Thanksgiving and very little to do with crabs. But here's the story anyway!

While growing up, my family enjoyed boating around the bays and Gulf around Panama City, Florida where I was born and reared. Our boat was a 30-foot Trojan cabin cruiser which we docked at the downtown marina in a private berth.

One day my brother decided to drop a crab basket off the dock just for kicks. He checked it one day and no crabs. He checked it again and alas, no crabs but instead there was a little seahorse inside the basket. He pulled it up and we took her from the basket and placed her into a cup full of salt water. We called the seahorse a "her" but I am not certain how we decided that she was indeed, a she. I have since read that the males have a brood pouch and the females do not but at the time, I don't recall if we even noticed that or not. In any event, we decided she was a she and henceforth named her Charlene.

We took Charlene home with us and put her into a very small aquarium, complete with a long mixing spoon so she would have something to hang onto. I don't remember if my Mom ever put any plants in there to dress up her landscape or if any other creatures were added. I don't believe so as I remember Mom taking such special care of Charlene and just Charlene. She would drive down to the bay and scoop up a pail of salt water and bring it home for her. You see, the water would be swimming with brine shrimp and plankton which is what Charlene liked to eat. Sometimes Mom would go to the pet store and buy her some brine shrimp but she much preferred the fresh stuff.

I remember being fascinated watching Charlene eat and just hang out. She really didn't do much else mainly because her living quarters were so small and she had no friends to play with. We suggested we get her a boyfriend as we thought it would be cool to watch them have babies. Mom and Daddy didn't think so. We once found a baby octopus in a scallop shell and wanted to take it home to be with Charlene but it was decided that would be a bad idea since the thing would probably ink constantly in the tank. Charlene would be miserable!

At some point, a hurricane came our way and we were evacuating. We decided to take Charlene back to the dock and let her go. Daddy figured she'd be safer there than in her tank at home. I couldn't see how that would be the case but we took her anyway. It was sad - no more Charlene to feed and watch.

But you know something, I am so forever grateful to have had that experience and the many other experiences we had growing up around the salt water - boating, snorkeling, scuba diving, skiing, you name it, if it had to do with salt water, we were doing it! We would hop in the boat and head to Pensacola for lunch or head over to Apalachicola to eat at the Greasy Spoon (I truly think that was the name of the restaurant or it might just be what my Dad called it) or take weekend trips to Carrabelle or Mobile. We would travel to places in and around Panama City by boat so often that it would be years before I would actually know how to get there by land. Oh, I can't forget the yearly trips to Islamorada to go lobstering which was very awesome. We ate lobster for breakfast, lunch and dinner. It was great fun!

It's all we knew and quite frankly, was the best childhood anyone could ever want. As you can tell, I feel quite privileged. Thanks to my wonderful parents for being so good to us and providing such wonderful experiences and memories.
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Monday, December 01, 2008

A Future Vegetarian?

Last night I fed the girls their usual chicken thighs. They woofed them down as they have every night since starting this RAW diet. I also had three small chicken legs in the microwave defrosting. Before I could even get those ready, I stepped outside to find Lucy had found her own munchie while awaiting her chicken leg.

Seems I hadn't dug up all the sweet potatoes in the garden and the little villain found one and dug up her own side item to add to her dinner. She didn't even offer to share with Remi or Sugar (figures).

video


As you can see from the video (be sure to turn up your volume), she is certainly enjoying her "find". I can't blame her as I love sweet potatoes myself . . . but raw? You don't suppose it will hurt her tummy, do you (pray it doesn't come back up)? Do you suppose she is trying to tell me something though? Perhaps she isn't getting enough food on this RAW diet? Or perhaps she'd prefer to be a vegetarian? Or perhaps she just wanted some sweet potatoes to go with her turkey tail I gave her Thanksgiving night?

I honestly think she is taking this RAW diet a bit too far!! Who knew she'd be such a convert?

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Sunday, November 30, 2008

Ginger Snaps

And here are the Ginger Snaps I promised I would make today. They are so delicious and are a favorite holiday cookie no matter where you are or who you are. Don't they look awesome? And they are so easy to make. Here's how:

1 Cup sugar
1/4 Cup molasses
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1 egg
2 Cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4 Cup shortening

Mix all ingredients. Roll into balls, then roll in sugar (I used white candy sprinkles). Bake on top rack in 350 degree oven for 8-10 minutes. Yields: 35 cookies.

Now, wasn't that easy? And you'll be such a hit with family or friends! Well worth the 45 minutes or so it'll take to whip up a batch of these delightful yummy ginger cookies! Pin It

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Tis The Season

It's begun . . . my annual all consuming desire to "make and bake". I love to "make and bake" really all year long but during the holiday season from Thanksgiving until New Year's, it seems that desire is much, much stronger. I am not complaning, I absolutely love it!

To start the season off, last night I made a batch of homemade Buckeye's for my BFF's mother for her birthday. A box of homemade Buckeye's (think Reese's Cup). Now, what more could a person want for her birthday? And let me tell you they were most delicious. I only had one (remember WWs) but that one was absolutely so heavenly - I definitely could have eaten quite a few more! But at 151 calories and 9 fat grams per ball, that was my limit!

The recipe for the Buckeye's is below for any of those who feel so inclined - they are well worth the time and effort.

Best Ever Buckeyes (makes 40-50 balls)

1 1/2 C. smooth peanut butter
1/2 C. butter (softened)
1 lb. powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 C. semi-sweet chocolate chips
1-2 T. shortening

Mix peanut butter, butter, powdered sugar and vanilla in bowl. Shape into 1" balls. Refrigerate balls. Meanwhilte, melt chocolate chips with shortening. Add more shortening, if necessary, so that the melted chocolate is thin enough for dipping. Insert toothpick into refrigerated balls and dip into chocolate, leaving small area resembling a buckeye. Cool on wax paper and store in refrigerator or freezer although I think they would be okay at room temperature as well.

I've got quite a history making homemade candies. I used to make boxes and boxes of sweet goodies for friends, family, and co-workers for Christmas. I've made Sugar Spiced Pecans, Turtles, Fudge, Divinity, Chocolate Covered Cherries, Martha Washington Candy, Minature Reese Cups, Caramels, Peanut Butter Candy, Chocolate Peanut Clusters, Pralines, Peanut Brittle, Peppermint Bark, and so many more that I'm not going to list them all here. And now I can add Buckeye's to the list!

To me, it's much more fun making candy than holiday cookies. Candy is so much faster and it quickly satisfies that sugar craving you might have. Cookies, on the other hand, take forever or so it seems, and are much more filling. I've just always taken to the candy but I'll certainly whip up a batch of holiday cookies in a heartbeat. In fact, I've planned to make some Ginger Snaps for my work mates for Monday, which I'm sure they'll enjoy.

My love for candy making started a long time ago. I remember as a kid going to Disney World and standing outside the window of the candy store on Main Street just marveling at the workers inside making every sweet confection you could think of. I've done the same thing at the candy store in Savannah, Savannah's Candy Kitchen. They actually pull their own taffy there with a machine that's been in operation since 1924 and if I remember correctly, it pulls, portions, and wraps each individual taffy piece. As you can imagine, it's quite a show and the taffy is to die for! Very profound experiences, I guess, since I now have this same love to make sweet candies.

Buckle up and prepare yourself for the next sweet delicacy to come out of my kitchen! It's going to be quite a ride!
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Wednesday, November 26, 2008

The Plight of the Mushie

Back in the day Remi, Lucy and Sugar all adored those wonderful white, sugary, spongy, fattening, confections known as marshmallows. My friend Heather calls them "mushies", which is quite appropriate I think.

It's a known fact that kennels at Greyhound tracks use these rather inexpensive mushies as treats for the dogs. So, it's something they've known most of their lives. And they've loved most of their lives. Who doesn't like a mushie, I ask you?

Well, up until sometime in August. Specifically, I think it was August 15th (see blog post, http://patemarie.blogspot.com/2008/08/uwo-unidentified-white-object.html). Ever since that day when the mushie attached itself to Sugar's side and she ran around the backyard with said mushie attached to her, and I laughed hysterically and took photographs as evidence for the blog, and then laughed hysterically some more . . . well, ever since then she has not eaten a mushie. That is also the timeframe when her liver began having problems.

I've tried countless times in an attempt to get her to eat said mushie - tossing it in the air, making her sit for it, putting it into her food bowl, covering mushie with enticing things ie peanut butter or honey - everything and she refuses to eat it. One time she grabbed it mid-air with her mouth and immediately spit it out. She can be such a little defiant creature at times but I love her anyway! That's what makes Sugar, well, Sugar!

In my quest to get her to eat said mushie, every workday I put one in her crate with her along with a cookie. Everyone gets the same thing. Every day I come home from work to find the uneaten mushie stuck somewhere in her crate - sometimes under her crate pad, sometimes in the corner (see picture) sometimes on the side. (I'm surprised she hasn't figured out how to push it through the wires of her crate on either side of her so Remi or Lucy could enjoy the thing.)

And every day when I let them out after I come home from work, Lucy and Remi both dash into Sugar's crate in an attempt to see who reaches the uneaten mushie first (that is also hysterical). Sugar silently just stands there and watches. She really doesn't care who eats the thing because she knows, for sure, that she isn't going to!

I have found, though, that during her recent illness, there are many things she wouldn't eat then that she is eating now. Basically, what was old is new again for her. So I am hopeful, yet again, that she will eventually eat a mushie and will, once more, fall in love with the things. Pin It

Sunday, November 23, 2008

E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial

I'm sure you can't believe what I'm about to say but it's a true fact . . . I never saw the movie E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, well, until this past Saturday night (I know, it's un-American). I don't know what I was doing in 1982 when the film was first released but I was obviously too busy to go see it at the theater. From Wikipedia, "Released by Universal Studios, E.T. was a blockbuster, surpassing Star Wars to become the most financially successful film released to that point. Critics acclaimed it as a timeless story of friendship, and it ranks as the best science fiction film ever made in a Rotten Tomatoes survey."

Perhaps if I had seen it back then I would have a different opinion, but as I watched it Saturday night I thought it a pretty feeble attempt at science fiction and I couldn't quite understand how it became such a hit. From Wikipedia, "By the end of its theatrical run, it had grossed $359.2 million domestically. Spielberg earned $500,000 a day from his share of the profits." I guess with the 26 years of wonderful movies since, E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial seems quite basic. That's probably it more than anything else and I love Spielberg's work, don't get me wrong. He is an incredibly gifted producer. He has learned and grown since then as we all have. We can also thank the improvement of movies today by the wonderful advances in technology.

Although I was disappointed in the movie, I'm glad that I can now say I've seen it even though it definitely wasn't the highlight of the weekend! The highlight of the weekend, my friends, has to be the finale of True Blood which I watched Sunday evening. Thank you HBO for that wonderful series and thank you for airing E.T. or I might never have seen it! I love HBO!!
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Nooks and Crannies

What are nooks and crannies you ask? They are the most delightful holes that are commonly found on the inside of English Muffins. These holes hold gobs of butter and mounds of jam. I'm sure most of you know what I speak of.

Well, the first batch of sourdough English Muffins I made contained some whole wheat flour which I think attributed to their lack of nooks and crannies. A bit disappointing for a nooks and crannies lover like myself. They were delicious, don't get me wrong, but were missing that most important attribute of the perfect English Muffin.

So, I tried again. Yesterday I made another batch of muffins. I omitted the whole wheat flour this time and used bread flour instead. The result is another wonderful batch of homemade English Muffins, this time complete with nooks and crannies. Not as many as I'd prefer but they are definitely there. I'm quite pleased but will work to make the next batch even better. We have not quite achieved perfection but I will get there.

In the meantime, I have read that once you have homemade English Muffins, you will never, ever purchase them in the store again. I have to believe that is true. The difference is remarkable! I hope to continue making mine myself. It's well worth the extra effort! Pin It

Friday, November 21, 2008

Another Meme

Addie started this meme and Zan tagged me so I guess I have to get creative here and come up with 6 Things I'd Change if Money Were No Object. Actually, this is easy.





1. I'd donate about 5 million or so to SEGA so that they would be able to continue doing the work they do (adopting Greyhounds) and I could finally, formally, and completely, retire from Fundraising.

2. I'd pay off my debts, including the house, which I would then sell.

3. I'd purchase a large house with acreage somewhere outside of Atlanta, complete with a large dog kennel and a barn with horses (fully staffed, of course). I'd also purchase an apartment on Fifth Avenue in New York, a chalet in the mountains near Aspen, and a beach house in Costa Rica. I love New York and I love snow skiing!!

4. I'd give a few million to my Dad, sister, brother, and my BFF and her husband.

5. I'd put some away so I could live on interest alone.

6. I'd start planning and paying for many, many trips abroad. In my opinion, seeing different places is the best way to learn about different cultures, people, and places, and well, is just plain fun!!

I've often pondered what I'd do if I won the lottery so these things were already in my head. I can't get too creative with it because, well, it's just what I would do since I've planned it out already!! Now, to win the lottery . . . which, tonight is about 86 million. That's certainly enough for me to accomplish my six goals!! And all it takes is one lucky winning ticket!

I now tag Kathy, Amy, Scott, and Christie. Pin It

Thursday, November 20, 2008

To Spur or Not to Spur

Yesterday I had a visit with a podiatrist to determine what it is that is on the top of my right foot right below the big toe. From the outside, it just looks swollen. X-rays were taken from all angles of the foot. He reviewed the x-rays and determined that I have bone spurs. They look just like little mountains of bone on the edge of bone that should be there. And they aren't suppose to hurt so much but they tend to rub against nerves and tendons and the like. But mine does hurt, especially on weekends when I'm much more active than during the work week where I sit behind a computer all day. The more walking I do, the more it hurts, no matter what type shoe I have on.

What is most disturbing about this diagnosis is the cause of the darn things. One cause is ill-fitting shoes. Another is simply it's part of the aging process. Obviously, I much prefer the cause in my case to be ill-fitting shoes but in fact, I'm not so sure that it's not the other (which I can't even mention twice in one post). But there is some history here.

About 13 years ago I had surgery performed on both feet - at the same time!! Hindsight is everything (as my Mom used to say) and if I knew then what I know now, I would never have done both feet at the same time. I had bunions corrected, a cyst removed (interestingly, from the same spot where the bone spurs are now), and ingrown toenails corrected. That's probably more than you wanted to know but it was basically an overhaul on my feet. Mind you, recovery was pretty difficult. I remember keeping myself on pain meds and asleep so I wouldn't have to walk anywhere. I remember wanting (more than anything) to be able to shower my whole self at one time!! I remember not being completely anethesized when surgery began and I could hear the saw and feel the pressure of it as he cut away bone (the bunion) on one foot (yes, yikes!).

So vivid are those memories, even so many years later, that I am pondering exactly what to do about the bone spurs I now have. Having surgery performed on one foot doesn't sound all that bad when I think about all that I just mentioned. I have excellent insurance so that isn't an issue. I'd also have to wear one of those ridiculous surgical boots for three weeks. He would repair the bone spurs and also move that bone over toward the rest of my foot. Basically, it has eased itself out of alignment. Everything else looks good he said, so that's good to know that the previous surgery has lasted all this time!

After years of wearing pumps to work and years of waitressing and bartending, it's only to be expected that my feet would bear the brunt of all that wear and tear, I suppose. So I must face the consequences - either deal with the pain or have the surgery. What to do, I ask? I'll probably do the surgery but not right now. Some time in the future. And yes, I am procastinating - for obvious reasons! Pin It

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Minor BARF Setback

It's been a day so I think I can publically talk about it now. It seems something that the girls ate didn't appeal to them - NOT AT ALL!! How did I know this? Well, I came home from work on Monday to find that all three of them (not one, not two but ALL three of them) had exploded in their crates. Lucy to the extent that the wall behind her had been sprayed. What a visual, huh?

You can imagine what I must have been thinking and saying and spouting right about then (yes, it sounded as if a sailor were in the room!). I quickly ushered everyone outside where poor Lucy commenced to "going" and "going" until finally she was finished. Everyone had to be hosed down and yes, it was about 40 degrees outside right about then. I dried everyone off and let them back in. Unfortunately though, dear Lucy was afraid to venture back inside because she had slid (on her own poop on her feet) on the kitchen floor on her way out. So, she was very afraid that the "mean ole floor" would get her again. She stood outside in the cold for about an hour and a half, during the entire time it took me to clean their crates!

Anyhoo, I cleaned their crates, washed their crate pads (each had to be washed twice), cleaned the walls, cleaned Lucy's ribbons I had hung on her crate, and cleaned the dogs . . . again. It was about 8:30 p.m. when everything was said and done.

Lucy then finally did venture back inside the house. I didn't know what I was going to do if she didn't come back in. I did grab the leash and tried that but it was like pulling Eeyore through the backdoor and she wasn't having anything to do with that! As you can imagine, I was about to kill everyone I was so frustrated. But I finally coaxed her in with a pumpkin muffin (dog treats I had made on Sunday). Food usually is the motivator for her.

Yesterday morning they had cooked chicken and rice. I came home from work to see poop (and pee) free crates. Last night it was a turkey neck and small chicken leg each. They were happy dogs again. Finally . . . all is well at the Peterson household.

After pondering the weekend trying to determine what the culprit was, I do believe it was the beef fat I gave them on Sunday. I think I probably gave them too much. The butcher told me it would be good for their coats. Well, they get fish oil pills daily so I think their coats are fine, I've determined. NO MORE BEEF FAT!!

I guess I'm still on that learning curve for the BARF thing but I hope for my sake and their sake that I "get it" soon!! Pin It

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Pink, Pink, and More Pink

Guess what this is? Yep, it's Sugar's little pink belly. The inside of her ears are pink, her gums are pink, and anywhere you see skin, it's pink, too. She is so pink that I felt the need to take her to the vet today to recheck her liver values. And guess what? Yep, they are much, much better.

Back in September her ALKP was 2552 - today it was 568 (normal range 23-212). Her ALT back in September was 1966 and today it was 761 (normal range 10-100). Her Biliribin in September was 13.1 and today it was .5 (normal range 0.0-0.9). Obviously she still isn't in the normal range for ALKP or ALT but it is a HUGE improvement over the 2 1/2 months we've been dealing with this. As well, her Bilirubin is perfect. Her doctor said that is a huge improvement and means more about the liver than the ALKP and ALT although those numbers do signify some liver cell damage which I'm hoping will continue to heal itself.

Also, at the last visit on October 24th, she weighed 54 pounds. Today she weighed 58!! Yeppie!!

She is very energetic, is happy, is eating well, is peeing normally, and is doing everything else that she should be doing. I do believe we are out of the woods, thank God!

Remi and Lucy are happy to hear this as they are pretty tired of the "little one" always getting extra attention, extra food and extra treats! Oh well, I tell them, I'd do the same for them, too!

Whoo hoo . . . now to celebrate!!!! Pin It

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

BARF


Which means, Bones and Raw Food (or Biologically Appropriate Raw Food) is what I've begun feeding the girls of late. I still feed Innova Evo for breakfast but for dinner they are on a BARF diet. I may completely switch or may continue as I'm doing, just because it is so much faster to feed them Evo in the morning, especially on work days.

In any event, they are loving life!! They've had a variety of things which I'll list here.
  • Chicken backs
  • Chicken necks
  • Chicken legs
  • Chicken thighs
  • Turkey necks
  • Turkey tails (which they absolutely love)
  • Beef heart
  • Ground rabbit
  • Ground beef
  • Stewmeat

I have some mackeral I may try in the next week, just to see how they like that. I've heard most dogs just love it. It's suppose to be really good for them as it has Omega-3 fatty acids and even some Omega-6 fatty acids, although they are still getting daily fish oil pills.

We also have some beef fat to feed them on occasion - it's suppose to make their coats shiny. I gotta be careful with that, though, as I don't want to put any pounds on Remi or Lucy. Sugar, yes, but not the other two.

Once a week they also get a frozen veggie "popsicle" that contains pureed spinach, carrots, yellow squash, broccoli, raw eggs (shell and all), cottage cheese, raw hamburger, and peaches. I'm sure I've forgotten something in that list as I put all kinds of things in their veggie mix. They love it though!

So far, everyone is doing well. As I've reported before, Remi and Lucy are slimming a bit and Sugar is gaining a bit. By the way, we have an appointment Saturday for another blood test for her to see where her liver values are. She looks good and is PINK!! So, I am hopeful the test will show her values are going down, perhaps even at the normal level at this point. We'll see. I'll update the blog with the results, as soon as I know them.

Back to the diet, I just have to say how thrilled I am at this BARF diet. They seem to really like it, are satisfied, and I hope will thrive even more than they would on kibble (which our kibble, Innova Evo, is the next best thing to feeding raw). I hope I'm giving them enough variety, too. I will try to get some venison or buffalo, both of which I think will be expensive. The butcher in Douglasville can GET anything, he says, and he does have alot of variety there as well as a large customer base who also feeds raw to their dogs. He also has tripe which we'll try and I know I need to throw in some organs. I have some beef liver I'll probably feed them this weekend.

So, I truly think this raw thing is going to work out for the better. I've even gotten past the "grossness" of it and seem to be doing okay myself as I'm still a meat eater. Yea! And the girls are thriving. Sugar even seems to feel especially energetic. I'm so happy they're happy!! Pin It

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Meet Fred . . .

My sourdough starter. I had named him Stinky but I thought that so disrespectful so I renamed him Fred. Here is Fred in all his glory. Isn't he lovely?

Fred and I have had a most unusual relationship during the last week. He usually just sits around doing absolutely nothing while I hand feed him every night. Typical, wouldn't you say? Ah, to be Fred! :)

So, today is the day I will first get a chance to use Fred. I've decided to try making Sourdough English Muffins. First step is to mix some of Fred with some flour and water and let them co-mingle for about 12 hours. This is what that looks like. Actually in the sourdough world, this is called making a "sponge". After this is complete, you then add additional ingredients that really make the item you're making whether that's bread, rolls, pancakes, English Muffins, or whatever.

Anything with sourdough starter takes time - this I have learned today. I started this morning at 6 a.m. and finished around 7:30 p.m. I wasn't involved in doing anything with Fred this entire time, mind you, but you have steps you have to do and time you have to wait. So, after a 12 hour wait, I added the appropriate ingredients for my English Muffins and then rolled out the dough, cut it into English Muffin sized rounds and waited for it to rise another 45 minutes.

Then it was time to pan fry the little critters. Yes, English Muffins are pan fried. This took no time at all, once the skillet was hot.

Here, my friends, is the end result. Don't those look just wonderful? I can't wait to have one for breakfast in the morning. I'll be sure to let you know how delicious they are!!

I can't think of a better way to honor our Veteran's on this wonderful Veteran's Day. (I know, there is no correlation - but I tried!!)
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Friday, November 07, 2008

Speed



"Speed is a 1994 American action/thriller film directed by Jan de Bont, and set in Los Angeles. It focuses on police officer Jack Traven who tries to arrest an insane bomber/extortionist. After the bomber escapes, he sets up a bomb on a city bus which Traven boards and must keep moving above 50 miles per hour (80 km/h) or the bomb will explode. He endures a race against time with the help of a beautiful passenger, with whom he falls in love. The film stars Keanu Reeves, Dennis Hopper, Sandra Bullock, Joe Morton and Jeff Daniels."

Well, yesterday, on the way home on the bus, I had a dejavu and could have sworn I had taken over the role of Sandra Bullock in the 1994 movie Speed. I was wondering where the bomb was and how incredibly calm our bus driver was during this incredible and horrifying ordeal! I kid you not!

Our GRTA bus picked us up at the Five Points Station on Pryor Street (downtown Atlanta) at 4:35 p.m. At 5:05 p.m., I was in my SUV in Hiram. And that was after a stop at the Powder Springs station to drop off about 50 folks. That, my friends, was record time!

Between the jostling back and forth from the fast movement of the bus, and being half scared to death, I did manage to sneak in the proverbial cat nap. I don't know how, but I did (remember previous post about being able to sleep anywhere, anytime)! Actually, I wasn't that scared as this particular bus driver is the one who drives that bus like its a Miata. I have full faith that she will get us to our destination and she always has, thus far!

Yesterday's trip was no exception. All I can say is - WOW!!! Pin It

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Sour Notes

Okay, so I purchased the pasta maker and feel I've conquered making pasta, well, at least the flat noodle variety! I did make a helluva pan of lasagna that would have made Martha jealous. With that now behind me, I feel bored in the kitchen so I ventured to the Internet to look for something else challenging to make or bake.

Actually my niece who was present at the now infamous lasagna dinner, prompted me with my latest project. You see, I was in the middle of putting some rolls into a basket for the table when she asked, "Are those Granny's rolls?" Unfortunately and sadly, they were not, I told her. "Granny's rolls" are these wonderful and tasty and light and warm and fresh (and did I say wonderful?) sourdough rolls that my mother, her Granny, would make every Easter, Thanksgiving and Christmas. Since her departure from this earth in 2001, I have yet to taste a roll with similar qualities.

I have never attempted sourdough anything mostly because the thought of making a sourdough starter and keeping it alive in my refrigerator for weeks on end seemed a daunting task, one which I was unsure I could conquer.

But alas, I have accepted the challenge and have begun the process to make my own starter (as opposed to cheating and buying starter that is "ready"). It is currently growing in a Mason jar on my counter where I feed it every night. The "feeding" as it is known, simply means stirring in equal parts of flour and warm water. You then lightly cover and leave it to grow until it's next feeding, 24 hours later.

At the end of 7 days, it will be ready to use in recipes and it's then that I can store it in the refrigerator to use for many weeks to come. Some bakers have starter they first began 25 or so odd years ago. Isn't that something? Supposedly you can't kill it and as long as you take care of it and feed it from time to time, it will continue to prosper and you will always have some on hand.

I think the first thing I'll try will be a loaf of sourdough bread! Then I want to try sourdough English muffins and perhaps some pancakes. Then, I'll tackle the rolls. I'm hopeful to have some decent rolls to present at my next dinner party. Keep your fingers crossed! I will probably take some pictures of the process along the way so be watching for those in future posts.

It is obviously such a long process but I hear it is well worth the extra effort. We will see.
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Wednesday, November 05, 2008

A Revelation and a Sighting

Yesterday my co-worker, who normally does the transit thing with me, drove in so he could go vote. When the workday was over, I headed downstairs to board the van shuttle which would take me to the Brookhaven Marta Station. My co-worker bopped his head into the van asking if I'd like to ride home with him, that he was headed to Sam's Club in Hiram and would be going right by my bus stop where my Honda Pilot would be sitting. I briefly contemplated his offer but politely declined.

Afterward, I thought to myself that I must have been crazy to give up a ride home in a vehicle as opposed to the train, bus, etc. that I was about to endure. But the more I thought about it the more I realized I really do enjoy the commute. I've determined why and it's really pretty simple. It's "ME" time in which no one is asking me for anything, no one is expecting anything from me, the dogs aren't clamoring around me asking for food or potty breaks, the cell phone isn't ringing, and usually, no one is talking to me, well, unless Russell Crowe's look-a-like happens to be on the bus that day and I happen to sit by him (that story is perhaps, for another post someday). Anyway, it may sound pretty selfish but it's the only 2-3 hours out of the day where it's just me, my Zune, and my own thoughts. I truly do enjoy it. You also can't beat those power naps!

Plus, if I had ridden home with Russell yesterday, I would have missed the most awesome sight I've ever seen in downtown Atlanta. It was a beautiful and spectacular Peregrine Falcon, just meandering from light post to light post, staying long enough at each one to fully survey everything and everyone below it. I'm sure he was hunting for dinner or for a snack but honestly, from the look of him, he appears to be pretty well fed.

It was a spectacular sight for sure. Right there at our bus stop on Pryor Street at Underground Atlanta, barely a block from the Capitol. Who would have thunk it?

You never really know what you'll see on the commute . . . never!!
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Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Am I Doing Something Wrong?

As many of you know, I am most assuredly changing the girls over to an all RAW diet consisting of beef, chicken, turkey, mackeral, various organs, vegetables and fruit. I'll probably throw in some venison, duck, or whatever else happens to come up, sometime in the future. We've just begun this new adventure and are really still introducing chicken and vegetables. They've had some beef liver but no other chicken organs or beef organs at this point.

This all came about when Sugar first became ill as she would not eat anything but raw stew meat and raw hamburger. Obviously the other two were so jealous as they were still eating kibble so I played around giving them turkey necks one weekend hoping they would all feel engaged in eating this different type of food. Lo and behold I noticed an immediate change in their tooth color and breath. They were whiter and no doggie breath to speak of!! "Yeppie", I thought, "we're onto something here"!

Then I was at a lure coursing trial and saw the most beautiful, fit Greyhounds with gleaming coats. They also ran as well as they looked. This was the icing on the cake for me - I was a convert. I promised the girls and myself that we would try this new eating regime and see just what results we could obtain. Thus far, everyone is doing well, even me who has the weakest stomach known to mankind. Remi and Lucy are also slimming down a bit. You see, they've been the recipients of anything Sugar wouldn't eat in the past which was largely and unfortunately, not something I could control (long story). So, they are slimming and Sugar is gaining which is exactly how it should be, oh, and I'm managing to continue to prepare their meals and mine as well. I don't doubt though, that I may very well become a vegetarian before this is all said and done but I digress.

The other day they were all outside after downing their weekly turkey necks when I looked across the yard to see Remi had something in her mouth. From where I stood, it looked like a stick. Then she turned another direction at which time the thing looked like a cross. She came a little closer and it was then that I realized it was neither a stick nor a cross but was, hold your jaw . . . a starfish. A dried one, of course, but still a starfish. Obviously I have no idea where it came from. I went to her and immediately yanked it out of her mouth. The look on her face was priceless. It was if she were saying, "but hey Mom, I found that treat all by myself now give it back". I tossed it in the garbage and that was that, well, until this past Sunday night.

They had just finished their chicken backs and I hadn't yet called them to come back inside. I normally muzzle them when they are just outside pottying or doing whatever but if they are eating, that doesn't really work so well. So, they were unmuzzled, yet again which leaves the door wide open for them to get into trouble. I go to call them in when I see Lucy beginning to sit down with something in her mouth. She was obviously getting ready to hunker down and "go to town" on whatever it was she had. I got a little closer only to see she had a dried and dead bullfrog carcass in her mouth. Again, I have no idea where this one came from. I yanked it from her mouth and received the same look from her that Remi had given me over the starfish.

But this behavior begs the question, what am I doing wrong with their diets? Are they missing some vital minerals or vitamins that I'm not providing or is this just a case of "dogs gone wild" in their very own backyard?

What on earth will they come up with next, I ask? I can only speculate but hope that they've now cleaned out all the nuisances that are apparently at their very reach. Pin It

Saturday, November 01, 2008

A Breakthrough

The Princess ate kibble this morning. It's the first time in two months. I mixed some kitty kibble with some of her own and some of a sample that I had. She ate it all! So, I gave her more and she ate that. She also ate about 5 beef cubes. So, all in all, it was probably 2 1/2 cups of food.

Last night she ate two and a half chicken backs!! And about a cup of ground beef.

I do believe her appetite is back. Thank God! Pin It

Friday, October 31, 2008

Are Greyhounds as Intelligent as Other Breeds?

Unfortunately, the answer to that question is NO. According to S. Coren*, author of "The Intelligence of Dogs", there are three types of dog intelligence:

  1. Adaptive Intelligence (learning and problem-solving ability). This is specific to the individual animal and is measured by canine IQ tests.
  2. Instinctive Intelligence. This is specific to the individual animal and is measured by canine IQ tests.
  3. Working/Obedience Intelligence. This is breed dependent.
In the ranking of dogs for obedience/working intelligence by breed, our beloved Greyhounds fall into the Average Working/Obedience Intelligence level which is actually on the lower end of the spectrum. They have an understanding of new commands after 25 to 40 repetitions and obey a first command 50% of the time or better.

During this ordeal with Sugar, I have come to realize that she is VERY, VERY smart, despite what the research says (or maybe just stubborn?). This is especially evident when it comes to taking her pills. She can find them no matter where I've hidden them at which time she immediately spits them out onto the floor, whilst continuing to eat. (This holds true for any food item except ice cream - thank God she swallows a scoop all at one time!) You can ease them into her mouth while she is kicking and fighting, only to see they are hidden in her gums and as soon as you think she has swallowed them, she spits them back out. She is surely incorrigible and is certainly testing my patience and creativity.

Last night I tried a little cottage cheese in her dinner, hoping she would eat it just for the nutrition of it! But alas, she licked it a bit and then when she saw the white curds, which look oddly enough just like her antibiotic she takes every day, she stopped eating. I suppose it was just the association of the two, not so much the taste. Most dogs like cottage cheese. Anyway, being the servant to the little princess that I am, I then grabbed her food bowl and removed any trace of cottage cheese. I placed the bowl back onto her feeder at which time she then proceeded to eat the whole thing. Go figure.

Just for the fun of it, I found a list of the top ten "brightest" dogs. They are listed below. Although these are all wonderful breeds, I'll think I'll keep my Greyhounds!
  1. Border Collie
  2. Poodle
  3. German Shepherd
  4. Golden Retriever
  5. Doberman Pinscher
  6. Shetland Sheepdog
  7. Labrador Retriever
  8. Papillon
  9. Rottweiler
  10. Australian Cattle Dog

I found this out there in Internet land . . . here are some simple and fun ways to measure your dog’s intelligence.

  • Throw a towel over your dog’s head and time how long it takes him to free himself. An average may be 15 to 20 seconds.

  • Place three paper cups upside down on the floor, three feet apart. Allow your dog to see you place a bit of weenie under one of them. Turn him in a circle twice or lead him into another room for about 30 seconds and then see if he can go to the right cup the first time.

  • Split a weenie in half so that it has a flat side. Place it just under the edge of the sofa. Time how long it takes him to get it out. An average may be around 60 seconds.

  • Take your dog outside the yard on a long leash and walk along the fence several feet from the gate which you will leave open. Toss a bit of weenie back over the fence. See if he figures out to go back around through the gate to get the treat

You can also visit this MSN article for a few more IQ tests for your dog. This is definitely pretty interesting stuff. I have to say though, that I don't necessarily agree with Dr. Coren's assessment of the Greyhound. I think, for the most part, they are pretty intelligent animals.

Before I close, I would be remiss if I didn't take this opportunity to applaud Jen Bachelor for her work with Greyhounds. She has the patience of a Saint and the drive and determination needed to train her Greyhounds to levels most trainers only dream about! Her Greyhounds perform in agility and obedience trials all over the country and hold more titles than any Greyhounds in the sport. Way to go Jen - you do the Breed proud!

Just goes to show you that you can teach an old dog new tricks! Even a Greyhound!

*Stanley Coren is a neuropsychologist and professor of psychology at the University of British Columbia. Dr. Coren has published articles in medical journals including The New England Journal of Medicine, American Journal of Public Health and Sleep. He has appeared on numerous television programs including Good Morning America, CNN, The Osgood Files and The Today Show. Dr. Coren is a fellow of the American Psychology Association, American Psychology Society and Canadian Psychology Association. He was recently awarded the Killam Memorial Fellowship.

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Thursday, October 30, 2008

Fingers and Toes Crossed

So far, so good but keep your fingers crossed and while you're at it, cross your toes as well. I'm hoping we're on the road to recovery.

Sugar is eating two meals a day, all raw, mostly beef chunks, chicken backs and thighs, a turkey neck here and there, and some fat balls (not nearly enough of these). She is loving this diet, believe me and who wouldn't?

Her color is good. I don't see any jaundice but if there is any, it's very little. It's hard to see that in the light in the house unless it's really bad. So daylight is the best for that and I haven't been at the house in the daylight since last Friday, if you can believe that!

I've been hiding her Soloxin and the antibiotic in the fat balls so it's important that she eat those because of that and also because she needs to put on a few pounds. The Denamarin pill (the turquoise one) is well hidden in the scoop of vanilla ice cream that she gets every night, which she has been eating in one bite, thank goodness. Unfortunately the ice cream is sugar free and low fat so she isn't getting many calories from that. I'm going Krogering today so I'll be sure to pick up some full-fat ice cream, just for her!

Anybody have any idea of something, besides fat balls and peanut butter, that I could give her to put some weight back on her? She also won't eat kibble, dog or cat. Well, she wouldn't before but as I told someone yesterday, "what was old is new again". Seems her taste buds are waking up, I think, so I'll try the cat kibble again, as Robin suggested.

Thanks everyone for your thoughts and prayers. Sugar thanks you, too. She isn't quite ready to leave this world!! Pin It

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

The Progression of Sugar

A HUGH accomplishment - she ate breakfast this morning and it was fatballs which she has been refusing all along. She ate about four last night as well and about five this morning. And she looks good - really good. I will check her coloring tonight when I get home to see if she is still icteric. I am hoping it'll still be daylight as that is the best light to see it. Her eyes look bright, though, and white.

This is huge folks, I mean huge!! I am psyched!! I can't wait to get home after work to see what she might eat for dinner! Pin It

Monday, October 27, 2008

The Coursing Bug

This past weekend we enjoyed our first lure coursing event of the season - the 3rd ASFA National Greyhound Specialty on Saturday and the Fullerton Cup on Sunday. Both trials were hosted by Southeastern Greyhound Club, of which I am a member and active volunteer.

It rained heavily on Friday so the field was in great shape for running dogs. The weather also cooperated throughout the weekend with cool temperatures in the morning, warming quite nicely in the afternoon. It was perfect - one couldn't have asked for better weather!

Several of my friends stayed in the same hotel and coursed their Greyhounds in Singles on Saturday at the Specialty and then both Greyhounds certified on Sunday. Unfortunately during the run on Sunday, one of them sprained a muscle, or at least that is what we think happened. They did certify, though, so when he heals he will be ready to enter a trial in the Open stake. But for now, it's leash walk only for him while he recovers.

My BFF brought her Greyhounds to the field on Sunday to run a practice run and hopefully get some good photographs from Dan of Shot on Site, our photographer for the event. And yes, Dan did get some wonderful shots of Kim's girls. Kim was definitely pleased.

It is something else to watch your dog run a course but something entirely different seeing their faces, muscles, and positions captured in a photo. There isn't anything like it, I have to say. You can just see from the looks on their faces what a fantastic time they are having. It is, afterall, what they are bred to do and what they "know" - it's genetic, bred into every fiber of their being.

Check the photo out above. This was such an unusual position that Dan captured - I just had to have this shot. Lucy looks as if she is either about ready to stand up, or she is holding her legs together because she has to go potty! Too funny. I'm surprised she didn't trip herself!

This photo to the right shows the intensity they have while chasing the "plastic bunny". I should explain, the plastic bunny is nothing more than three Glad white plastic bags tied to a line which runs on a continuous loop course. It's enough, though, to make most every Greyhound go absolutely bonkers. They put on their "game face" as I call it and honestly don't think about anything else except for attacking that "bunny". They all eagerly await their turn!

I've traveled to quite a few states through the years to lure course and have always enjoyed the countryside, the people, and the coursing. People often wonder why we lure course since there is always a "chance of injury", "the dogs are retired", etc. I've heard it all - believe me.

But you know, it's not for us, it's all for them! I have a gazillion photos, much like these, that say it all better than I ever could!
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Another Update

On Friday, Sugar stayed at the vets office and received another round of fluids. I picked her and her jiggly belly up that afternoon and proceeded home with another 10 days worth of antibiotics. After arriving home, I fixed her a large bowl of cooked chicken (out of the can) and then about 6-8 large cubes of beef. She scarfed them both right down.

I then proceeded to pack the car for our trip down to Newnan for the lure coursing trials in Moreland. I packed scads of chicken backs, chicken necks, more cubes of beef and raw hamburger as well. Oh, and some noodles and some strawberries. Lucy, Remi, and Sugar all enjoyed the fruits of my labor all weekend long. So much that I am seriously contemplating switching them completely to a raw diet. I've read so much about it in the past and know it is so healthy for them. After getting turkey necks, two weekends in a row, their teeth and their breath is 90% improved! That alone will make a believer out of you!

Heather helped "pill" Sugar over the weekend (thank you Heather!), but now that we're back home, it's up to me again. Last night, I stuck her pills in a scoop of vanilla ice cream. She ate it. This morning I did the same and she ate it again. Both times, however, I have omitted the turquoise Denamarin pill which is the one that I think has the worst taste to it. At this point though, I'd really prefer she have the antibiotic and her Soloxin. I'll ease the Denamarin back in soon enough (I think I'll scrape the outer layer of turquoise off first so she can't see it!).

Anyway, she is still doing one meal a day but it usually is quite a meal so I feel certain she is getting enough nutrition to sustain her for 24 hours. I offer food every morning still, but she continues to refuse it. As long as she is eating and getting her pills, I'm encouraged, yet again. She appears to feel well and probably would have lure coursed this weekend, had I let her. She sure did want to!

As I've told numerous folks, her "crown" is getting bigger and heavier every day! She truly is such a princess . . . I don't mind, I'll continue to cater to her every whim! Pin It

Friday, October 24, 2008

As The Sugar Turns . . . Part II

Well, not much has changed since the last post. She is still refusing to eat breakfast but eats a hearty dinner. Or it could be called a midnight snack as it's close to midnight when she will eat. I'm not complaining though, as long as she is eating, I'm a happy camper. Last night it was raw beef chunks, raw hamburger, and a couple of chicken necks. Mind you, I don't usually feed raw but when she refused her kibble, it was the only alternative I could think of. This afternoon, I'm making some pasta and rice for Lucy since she'll be coursing this weekend, but I'm hoping Sugar will eat some as well. And, yes, I've tried canned dog food and cat food and she refuses that as well. And, yes, I'm certain the royal princess has a beautiful crown somewhere! :)

The biggest challenge this week has been getting her pills in her, as I noted before. After turning her nose up at the pill pockets, she did finally consume four of them last night with her pills safely tucked in each one of them. Thank goodness. This morning I dropped her off at the vet for blood tests and possibly the Cushings test. I left four pill pockets with the vet tech and when the vet called around noon, he said she had eaten them all. Again, thank goodness. If I can get her medicine in her routinely, I think we stand a chance of beating this thing (whatever that is). Thank you Addie for suggesting that - I had totally forgotten they even made them. What a wonderful idea!

Generally, she seems to feel better even though she has dropped a few more pounds. I hope to get that weight back on her quickly. I'll probably offer her some fat balls again today to see if she'll eat them. Remember, she has been refusing peanut butter since I first hid pills in that so she refused fat balls as well because she could smell the peanut butter. At least, that is what I am thinking. Maybe now her taste buds are back and she'll remember how wonderful fat balls taste and she'll devour a whole bowl of them! Keep your fingers crossed.

Oh, her liver values came back about the same with this mornings blood test. That doesn't surprise me since I've had such a horrible time this week getting pills into her! I asked the vet if we could try another week of antibiotics and the Denamarin and re-evaluate her condition after that. He agreed that we could try this. Now that she is taking the pill pockets, I am hopeful that I can stay on the regime as prescribed. Another way to look at it is, she hasn't deteriorated further, which I am grateful for. BTW, we are holding off on the Cushings test for now. It's something we might do in the near future. But since she only has one prominent symptom (drinking alot of water), it was determined that we can wait on this test.

She'll get there, I'm certain - it is just going to take some time for her liver to recover. Pin It

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

As The Sugar Turns . . .

We have progress. As I said yesterday - baby steps, baby steps!

Last night after three scoops of vanilla ice cream in an attempt to get all her medicine into her, and two vanilla Ensures later, she finally did eat about 8 large cubes of beef, some hamburger meat (raw and cooked), and a few egg noodles. Whoppie! This is good news, for sure.

However, she didn’t eat breakfast again this morning and didn’t get her morning pills. I put them in ice cream again but she wouldn’t eat it. I think she has just given up on breakfast altogether and is going to be a one meal a day dog henceforth. She did drink one Ensure this morning and lots of water with the Greyhound Recharge in it, both last night and this morning so she is getting plenty of hydration in that manner.

I did leave her pills in some hamburger with a few more cubes of beef in a bucket that is hanging in her crate. Kim, my BFF, suggested I use a hanging bucket so that she doesn't sit in the bowl like she did yesterday. That was quite a mess to clean up! Good idea Kim, thanks for the suggestion.

BTW, she absolutely won't let me put pills down her throat. She bucks and thrashes around and cries as if I'm cutting her leg off. I'm afraid one of us will get hurt trying to do this. Two people can do it, but not just me. So, that is why I have to hide her pills in her food. Tomorrow, however, I may put her and me in the spare bathroom, close the door, and not leave until the pills are down her throat. She just has to get them regularly.

I hope she eats some during the day. If not, I feel certain she will eat tonight like she has the last few nights. The morning thing just isn't her cup of tea anymore, or so it seems. But she is eating! Can't ask for much more than that right now, right? And she went squirrel hunting with the girls yesterday afternoon, is running around the yard, and generally, appears to feel good.

I am still encouraged. Pin It

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Liver for Liver

Well, I picked up Sugar from the vet yesterday. They didn't end up doing any fluids or IVs because she generally looked much better than on Saturday, much less icteric than she was which is exactly what I thought, as well. I could see pinkness to her skin, her belly in particular, and in her ears. So, they just watched her all day, let her drink as much as she wanted, took her out to pee (which she did often), and tried to get her to eat anything, which she did not.

On the way home, I stopped to get some calf liver for her and some smaller turkey necks. She didn't want the turkey neck but she did eat the liver and some raw beef tips. I was very encouraged. I gave her some water with some Greyhound Recharge in it. Greyhound Recharge is a product I have on hand for lure coursing. Specifically - "it rapidly replenishes electrolytes and fluids after travelling and racing. The product lives up to its name in providing a rapid restoration of fluid and vitality. The formulation is specifically matched to the needs of the hard working dog, containing: A. a high potassium to sodium ratio, important for nerve and muscle function. B. citrate salt as a buffering agent and C. Glucose to enhance rapid uptake of electrolytes. Recharge is the only sports drink designed specifically for greyhounds. Recharge has a palatable cheese flavour making it easy for dogs to drink. It comes in a handy, portable pack to administer at events. Combats fluid and electrolyte loss immediately."

She isn't dehydrated but I figure it couldn't hurt. She actually looked much better after her liver meal and after some of the recharge. I'll continue this regime for a few days, until she tires of it which I assure you, she will. She is very picky these days. In fact, she did not eat her liver this morning. I did put the bowl of food in her crate thinking she'll get to it sometime during the day. Baby steps, I say, baby steps!

The good doc doesn't believe this could be attributed to liver cancer because she does respond to the antibiotics and the Denamarin. He is almost ruling out liver failure as well because of the response we get from the medications. He does, however, want to do a test on Friday to rule out Cushings disease. I do not think this is the problem because she doesn't have 3 of the 4 major symptoms, that being - she hasn't had an increase in appetite (actually just the opposite), she doesn't have an abdominal enlargement, and she hasn't had hair loss and thin skin (remember she has grown an awesome coat of hair and well, Greyhounds all have thin skin).

Today I should have a bit more time to get some mackeral, sardines, and perhaps some salmon, as Zan suggested, on my way home from the bus stop. The challenge in all this is 1) getting Sugar to eat, obviously, and 2) keeping the goods away from Lucy and Remi. It's a battle every night but I'm not quite ready to give it up. Sugar is acting fine otherwise and is in good spirits which is all good. Now, to get her eating normally again and gaining a little weight back. She has lost a couple of pounds during this almost two month ordeal. Yes, the first lab results are dated September 6, 2008. Seems like ions ago, I know!

I've been checking the Doggie Cam since arriving at work and I cannot tell if she has eaten any or not. Right now she seems to be sitting in the bowl although I much prefer that she eat it instead! If any of you visit the cam and catch her in the act of eating, please email me! BTW, she's the one in the middle.

So, I'm not sure where we go from here. Oddly enough, her ALT and ALKP numbers are lower than from the initial test we did at the beginning of September and this was before the subcutaneous fluids he did on Saturday. Whoo hoo!

So, with that said, I am encouraged. We trudge on! Pin It