Uh oh! Cuddle angst….

You gotta love these faces!

After the first day of the two-dog cuddle, Sammy and Molly decided it should be like that every day. Gulp! After the second day, I had to nip that in the bud right away, and did I ever get the look from Molly! When I told her she couldn’t come up with Sammy, she looked at me like I hadn’t fed her in a week.

Speaking of which, these crazy dogs get really worried if they don’t get their breakfast on time. I try not to feed them at the same time each day just for that very reason, but if I go much past 11am, they start to follow me around looking mournful. Today, Sammy literally followed me everywhere and stood right next to me until the meat I was thawing for them was soft enough to feed to them. Have I ever not fed them? Sheesh!

The cats just sit in the kitchen and meow, because they know I can’t stand the noise, so they usually get their way. [Of course we get our way! I am the boss of you! ~ Boots] If I don’t feed Little Miss quickly enough, though, she just goes out and hunts. She’s pretty self-sufficient.



Cuddle Time

Morning cuddles with Mama

Most every morning it’s cuddle time on our couch. Sammy usually starts by putting a paw up on my leg and mostly he just wants to chew on me. But I make him come up for a full cuddle and he reluctantly submits. As an independent kind of guy, he likes for the full cuddle to be his idea. And he doesn’t really want to be fully on my lap. He wants to be on the couch with maybe just his head in my lap. When he was a puppy I used to cuddle him on my chest, and as he got bigger his body covered my chest and legs. I still like the full-body cuddle but Sammy thinks he’s too old for that.  When he turned three years old he decided that he was a big boy and should just do the head cuddle. Some days cuddle time is a bit of a struggle. :-)  It used to be Secret Cuddling with Sammy, but after my sister published a picture of him on my lap on Facebook, his secret was out!

This morning, Molly wasn’t in the mood to wait for her turn, and after I got Sammy up she barreled right over and hoisted herself up next to me. She was quite frustrated that Sammy was already in my lap so I had to console her for a while with ear rubbies. Molly is happiest when she has me to herself. She generally puts her front paws up and then waits for me to hoist the back end up onto the couch. Then she squirms and wiggles for a while, finally settling down and rolling on her back so I can rub her tummy. If I keep her up there long enough she’ll eventually fall asleep.

Of course, the whole time she’s up there Sammy is terribly jealous, even if I’ve just cuddled him for half an hour. He puts his front paws on the couch and chews on Molly’s neck and paws and generally tries to piss her off so she’ll get down and play with him. His other favorite thing to do is come over with a slimy Kong in his mouth and drop it next to me. I always make him take it back….ewww!

I always wished I had cuddled my other dogs on the couch. We used to cuddle on the floor a lot but couch cuddling is more fun. I’m getting less picky as I get older, I guess.



Travel dogs

We recently took a car trip to see my family for my brother’s birthday – so fun! This entailed packing up the car with all our stuff and the dogs. We’ve done this a lot over the years so we’re pretty good at fitting all our stuff into the car while still leaving room in the back for the dogs to be comfy. Sammy spent the night before the trip sleeping in the bedroom instead of on the couch. I think he wanted to make sure we didn’t forget him!

The dogs always get really excited when they see us packing the car, and once we carry their dog beds out they know they are in for an adventure. They go crazy when we let them out the front door and they immediately run to the car and jump in any open door. Once we get them corralled in the back, they don’t calm down until we actually get on the road.

Sammy used to be a challenge to travel with, as we would have to stop for him to pee about every hour. He’s gotten better now, and we can go up to three hours without stopping for a pee break. I don’t mind stopping, though, since it gives me a chance to get out of the car and stretch. The very back area of the car has enough room for the dogs to sleep and stretch out a bit, which helps on those 10-hour travel days.

We stopped overnight in Salt Lake City in a downtown Hilton that was pet-friendly. It was kind of a posh hotel but no one minded when we brought the dogs through the lobby. They got a lot of smiles and pets and comments on how beautiful they are. We’re lucky that our dogs are pretty well-behaved. The only mishap was when Sammy figured out that there’s a huge gap between the floor of the lobby and the floor of the elevator.

The first few times we went on the elevator he was fine. Once he discovered the gap he refused to board and I had to pick him up and carry him onto the elevator from then on. It was bit embarrassing, but once I explained it to our fellow passengers they were very sympathetic. It wasn’t too much fun when the dogs woke us up at 2:30am needing to go out. It was bitterly cold in Salt Lake City, so the middle-of-the-night pee run was a challenge.

Once we got to my sister’s house, the dogs were able to run around in the backyard and use the dog door at will, which makes life easier. I think her dog Clyde was happy for the company. She said he got depressed when we left. :-)

On our trip home we stopped at the same hotel in Salt Lake City and Sammy still wouldn’t voluntarily get on the elevator. And, strangely enough, the front desk told me there were no stairs up to the guest floors. Is it just me or is that really weird?

The dogs were as happy to get home as we were, and they immediately ran outside to the backyard through their new Extreme Weather dog door!


Play time

Even in the really cold weather (it was 14 degrees today, maybe) the dogs have to be exercised. Lately, it’s been walking up the driveway to the mailbox and back. We just can’t stand to be outside too long because it’s face-freezing weather. The other thing I do is throw balls for the dogs in the backyard. Here’s how it goes:

I sit down to put my boots on and Molly runs up and practically bowls me over in her excitement. I push her away and she turns in circles, whining, and nips at Sammy if he gets too close. Next. she starts to bark. When Molly barks, the windows vibrate. So do my eardrums. It’s actually a painful experience. I love the fact that she could intimidate someone with her bark, but when it’s used indoors on a calm day it’s quite overwhelming. Don’t even get me started on how loud she is in the car…

So next, I have to stop putting my cold weather gear on and escort Molly outside before her barking drives me crazy. Then I finish getting dressed while Sammy runs around trying to find a ball to play with. He keeps forgetting to hang onto the ball though and drops it in his excitement, so I have to keep telling him to get his ball. He understands me perfectly, but he just doesn’t remember to hang onto it. Finally, we’re ready to go out. Now Molly is standing outside the door waiting for Sammy to come out so she can steal the ball out of his mouth. Naturally, Sammy doesn’t want to go out. I have to devise elaborate distractions for Molly so Sammy can sneak out and get a head start on her. Some days Sammy manages to grab his ball and run out the dog door while Molly is accosting me in the putting-on-the-shoes phase. I always feel like I’m herding the dogs!

Once we’re outside the chase begins and if I’m lucky Molly keeps Sammy running for a few minutes. Then I have to throw a stick for Molly and the ball for Sammy. If Molly goes for the ball Sammy plays keep away and then they don’t get exercised. It gets complicated! Sammy usually stops dropping the ball anyway, and I end up chasing him around. This is his favorite thing. The picture at the right is Sammy in his safe zone, in a

Sammy safe at home base with his Kong.

little clump of bushes in the backyard. I don’t know why this place is designated as home plate, but he always goes back there until I or Molly chase him out.

Molly likes me to hold a stick up high so she can jump for it. She also likes to play tug-of-war and I learned to wear gloves no matter what the weather because she gets too excited and tends to grab my hand instead. If I don’t pay enough attention to her she’ll shake the stick at me and growl. For our other outdoor activity (walking to the mailbox) Sammy gets strapped into his harness and leash and Molly gets to run free. Molly will usually come when called so she has more freedom. We experimented the other day and took Sammy off his leash when we got back to the house, and he promptly ran off to the back of the property to eat deer poo and wouldn’t come when I called him. Needless to say, he’s still on the leash.


Sammy, we’re glad you’re alive!

Molly taking care of Sammy…

It was a year ago today that Steve called me on my cell phone to tell me that Sammy had been hit by a car. It’s unbelievable how fast a year goes by and how much happens in that time. Sammy is fully recovered, with only a small patch of skin that won’t grow hair to show that he was ever injured. I’ve gone through some really hairy patches with my animals over the years, and aside from Charlie’s sudden and shocking death, getting that phone call was the worst.

Sammy is now a leash dog, and although he may be a reformed car chaser I’m not about to test out the theory. We sometimes let him off leash when we’re close to the house and he always comes when I call him, but I’m not ready to trust him anywhere near the road.

If your dog chases cars, he’s going to get hit, so take appropriate measures now before you have to go through the terror and pain of watching your dog suffer. We used all of the healing tools at Steve’s disposal to help heal Sammy, including microcurrent therapy, light therapy, vibe plate therapy and supplements. The vet was astounded at his recovery, but not many people have these tools at their disposal.

We gave Sammy extra hugs today and told him how glad we are that he survived being hit by a Suburban. (!)



Am I the only one here worried about security?

“Can I see some identification please? Are you supposed to be here?”

My name is Molly and I’m in charge of security here. Mom and Dad finally realized I was serious about my job after I gave a friend of theirs what-for. What else was I supposed to do? They are too nice! They would let anyone walk in the door. It’s my job to make sure that doesn’t happen.

After I first came to live here they were just hugging me and feeding me all kinds of tasty food and taking me for walks, and we never had a chance to discuss security. So I hassled the UPS dude one day in front of Mom and she just didn’t get it. So I had to take some more extreme measures to get their attention. Their friend just had a bruise, it was no big deal, but they had a cow! Once they calmed down they realized I was just doing my job and now they appreciate my willingness to kick butt. I may look sweet but I’m the Terminator!

I have my job cut out for me with that pesky brat Sammy. He’s a good little dude but he needed some discipline. I let him chew on me sometimes because it calms him down, and sometimes I have to let him snuggle with me like I’m his mommy. I’m too busy to be a mommy! Sammy will bark at anything that moves, and I have to run out there with him to check it out. You never know when The Man will be at your door. I’ve seen it a million times!

Mom and Dad gave me some medicine because I was kind of sick when they got me and they didn’t know it, but finally they saw that I wasn’t feeling good. I didn’t tell them because I was afraid they’d take me back to the shelter and I wouldn’t be able to do my job, but now I feel really good and I can run around and check the perimeter every day and every night. And, I have to make sure Mom is safe in bed before I go to bed because that’s my job too. Dad will protect her, but what if he’s not here? Then it’s my job.

I’m trying to teach the kid a few things, too. Like you don’t always have to bark. Sometimes maybe you should be stealthy and run outside to check things out without anybody knowing you’re coming. That way you can sneak up on them and get a few bites in early. The other day I had to save Dad….we were walking down the road and that nasty black dog who lives at the end of the road came running out. The first time we passed his house Dad made him go away, but when we walked back past the house again the black dog pretended to be friendly. Then when Dad wasn’t looking he made a face at me and then hit the back of Dad’s leg with his snout like he was going to bite Dad. I went after that punk and showed him a thing or two. Nobody does that to my family. I can’t wait to see that punk on the road again….

Mom and Dad always thank me now when I’m doing my job. I’m glad they finally get me. They’re not used to having a Terminator around but they understand. I love them lots. It’s pretty nice when Mom lets me cuddle with her on the couch. Nobody ever cuddled me before. But I’m always on alert! I’m ready for action, make no mistake. You’ve been warned.




Couch potato no more!

I’ve been engaged in a battle of wills with Sammy the past few nights. I blocked off his access to the couch and it doesn’t sit well with Mr. Sammy T. Remember when I wrote that the dogs were sleeping on the couch while I was on my trip? Well Sammy seems to think it’s his right to be there every night instead of on one of his comfy dog beds. He comes upstairs to sleep when we go to bed, and then about half an hour after the lights go out I hear him sneaking down the stairs and jumping on the couch. Sometimes Molly joins him.

So, two nights ago I blocked off the couch with kitchen chairs. I spent the entire night listening to him whine and pace, with his toenails clicking on the hardwood floor. Four times I got out of bed to stand at the top of the stairs and tell him to GO TO BED….RIGHT NOW! I always have to add the RIGHT NOW in my Papa voice so he knows I’m serious. Molly doesn’t even try to get up there at night anymore. I think she realizes that I mean business. Last night, I got up two times to tell Sammy to go to bed. The first time he came slinking back upstairs and was up there for quite a while before he tried again. When he went down the second time I heard one of the chairs move, so I think he’s trying to figure out how to get the chair out of the way. The first night I heard him get up on the woodstove hearth, like he was going to jump on the couch from the side. This dog is too smart for his own good!

Nevertheless, I am the Mommy and I get to be the boss of him whether he believes it or not. I have a sinking feeling that this will be my life with Sammy – a constant battle of the wills. As in me saying, “Oh yes you will, Sammy!”


Sammy Speaks

Mama came home last night from wherever she was. Papa said she was visiting her mama but I think she ran away from us. I slept on the couch while she was gone ’cause that’s where we cuddle. Molly said I was gonna get in trouble with Papa but I said didn’t care, so she got up there too. I really like to cuddle with Mama, but don’t tell anyone. She cuddled me last night when she got home and she rubbed my ears that way I like.

That mean black cat was really bossy while Mama was gone. She tried to be the boss of me, but I growled at her and told her she’s a fuzzbutt. She’s no fun like that stripey cat. The stripey cat runs when I chase her! It’s so fun!

Those two guys who are fixing the house were banging on the ceiling a whole bunch while Mama was gone. I wished she was home ’cause when it gets really loud she takes us outside and throws things for us to chase. Sometimes I don’t give Mama the ball so she has to chase me around. It’s more fun that way. When it gets too dark to see outside, Mama chases me around in the house and then I chase her, and then Molly chases her, only it’s really scary when Molly does it ’cause she’s really chasing! Molly has big teeths and big feets and she kinda scares me sometimes. But mostly she’s fun ’cause she lets me chew on her neck and all that. She also lets me cuddle with her.

One time? Oh man, my big brother Charlie barked at me in the middle of the night ’cause I stepped on his bed in the dark and he scared me lots! I don’t like to go upstairs to my bed anymore in the dark ’cause I’m ascaired Molly’s gonna do the same thing. I make Mama get out of bed and help me. I really love my Mama ’cause she cuddles me and feeds me and throws my ball around, and she slept on the floor next to me when I got hit by that big car thing and it really hurt. She held onto my foots and told me it was gonna be okay and she made it stop hurting so much.

I love my Papa lots and he is pretty fun too. He growls at me like Molly and chases me sometimes and I get ascaired but then I remember he’s playing. He’s a good monster! I always do what Papa says because he’s the boss of me.  Mama tries to be the boss of me too. She says Sammy T. means Trouble and sometimes she calls me a nudge, but I don’t know what that means. I don’t always do what she says ’cause I don’t have to, but then she gets really mad and uses her Papa voice and then I have to be good. She’s a lot more fun than that stupid black cat, but sometimes she wipes my face off with a paper towel and I hate that! I run away but she always catches me. Sometimes she even takes me in the shower and rubs me all over with soapy stuff, yuck! I like it better when she goes in the river with me and then I try to swim away and she grabs me. That’s fun!

I gotta go ’cause Mama doesn’t know I’m using her pertuter. Molly showed me how to do it…

~ Sammy T.


Rodents Of Unusual Size

I have rodents in my house. Big ones! They are all four-legged and furry. When the lights go out, they troll the counters looking for food. More than once I have had to come down in the middle of the night, flip on the lights and scatter the rodents. An exterminator is not an appropriate solution in this case since I’m talking about Sammy, Boots and Little Miss!

I think everyone is trying to put on their winter fat. Ten minutes after I feed the dogs and cats, they are milling around in the kitchen staring at me like they haven’t eaten in weeks. One thing that helps is to give them a little extra oil (olive oil) so they feel satiated. The other thing is to keep all food and dirty dishes off the counters. Last night I had to get up twice in the middle of the night (and I DO mean the middle) to stop Boots from eating cookies that were in a box on the counter (her claw was stuck in the cardboard box and she was trying to eat through the plastic window) and to get her out of the sink where she was attacking a bowl that hadn’t been put in the dishwasher.

I have caught Little Miss on the counter countless times attacking the butter dish when I forget to put it away. Sammy waits until we turn out the lights, then waits a few more hours to make sure we’re asleep, then he goes down and puts his front paws on the counters to see if he can reach anything. Now they’re working together in the daylight. Yesterday Boots knocked a spatula onto the floor and I caught Sammy picking it up in his mouth before trying to run outside with it.

I just never know what to expect. This past spring I began to find spoons outside in the thawing snow. Sammy had taken several metal spoons outside and chewed on them, then left them laying around. A month or so ago, after making sure the counters were food free, I went to bed, only to wake up later to hear Sammy doing his late-night patrol. I went downstairs and he had taken a bag of cornstarch off the counter and made off with it. He must have decided he didn’t like the taste because he left it by the dog door, only slightly chewed.

Molly is mostly innocent in this, although she will sometimes share Sammy’s booty if he’s successful. One day I saw them eating something in the backyard. I went out and found that Sammy had taken a bag of raw cacao powder off the counter and they were chowing down on it. I had to spray the powder into the ground to stop them from eating it. Once recently I turned my back for a moment and caught Molly trying to sneak a block of cheese off the counter. She doesn’t put her paws up there, but I found out that she’s not above a snatch-and-grab job!

I think Boots has got to be the worst of them, though. We had a guest a few weeks ago and we were all sitting in the living room having a casual dinner of some great stew that I made, and Boots walked right up to our guest and tried to steal the food out of her bowl. I was so embarrassed. She has stolen steak off my plate. She has run off with food wrappers. She tried to eat cornstarch packing peanuts!

I’m hoping the ROUS’s will get used to the cold weather soon and realize that they are not dying of starvation. I don’t hold out much hope for Boots though…



Up Periscope!

This is one of Sammy’s favorite things to do….stick his head through the cat door (pictured) or the dog door in the back of the house, so he can keep tabs on what’s going on. The cat door in the house leads into the utility room and Sammy can also get a view of who is coming in and out of Steve’s office door. He taught Molly how to do this, and sometimes if I’m out there folding laundry or something, she’ll lay on the floor on the other side of the door with her head hanging in the cat door and watch me. I think Molly has separation anxiety issues with her Mommy! :-)

The other thing Sammy likes to do is stick his head out the dog door which leads to the backyard to 1) check the weather, 2) check if the barbeque is in use and 3) check to see if there are any invaders in the backyard. If something looks interesting he’ll jump out the door to investigate. If not, he’ll give a general bark of warning to anyone who may be out there and pull his head back in. When it’s an investigation of the barbeque he’s likely to come back with grease spots on his head from trying to lick the juice coming out the bottom. He’s my little hobo dog….