Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Only A Day Late

I heard that today was World Turtle Day, but it was actually yesterday. I'm sure the turtles won't mind that we're a day late.
I like turtles. When I was a little girl I had a tiny little pet turtle that lived in some special little place where he had a pool and a rock and I caught flies to add protein to his diet. I think my Grandfather got him for me so that I'd leave the large snapping turtles alone. We lived in the country and there was a creek and swampland. The big snappers would come into the yard to lay eggs and would make a mess of the yard. My Grandfather and Uncles would relocate them whenever they spotted them. I was a collector of wildlife but collecting snappers was discouraged for obvious reasons.
When I met Rob I didn't realize that he was also a turtle person. Then he started coming home from work with turtles in the back of the car. When he saw one crossing a dangerous road, he'd stop and stick it in the car. Then when he got home we'd put it in our pond or take it to another safe location.
When we moved here we were pleased to find that we have a turtle that lives in the woods behind our house. Each spring he comes out of the woods and crosses our yard on his journey to a nearby pond with other turtles. In the late summer he makes the return trip. We watch for him to help him on his journey.
 One morning last week Rob took Tess into the front yard while I had the others in the back. He saw a fairly large snapper sitting in the driveway. He put Tess on the deck and with the help of a large flower pot, he helped the turtle into the woods so that he wouldn't be run over.
I no longer have turtles as pets, but I do have this one that I made a while back. I like that he's wearing a rain hat and boots and his shell is designed like a backpack. I hope to make another different style turtle soon.
 Today's May flower was a mystery. The leaves looked like geranium leaves, but it was a wild flower planted by the birds. Then I saw the tiny flowers and looked them up. Apparently it's called a 'wood geranium'. 
If you see a turtle in the street, do you give him a hand getting across?

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Treats For Tweets # Chewy Influencer

I'm sending May flowers to everyone all this month.
 My birds are weird. Maybe all birds are weird, but these two are especially weird. We currently have two budgies. The green one is Norris and the blue one is Calder. They get along well and both like to sing. They greet us every morning with loud chirps and also chirp along when the dogs bark at the mailman and the trash truck. They're cheerful little members of the family.
As you can see in these awful pictures, they try to hide whenever they see the camera. I guess to them it looks like a big scary predator. If I open their cage to get a picture, they panic and start flapping around, so this is about as good as it gets.
I put their seed in a little dish on the bottom of their cage and Calder and Norris come down and join us for breakfast. They sit on the edge of their bowl and happily chomp on their seeds, throwing the husks all over the place. Birds are messy!

They do love treats and we often give them honey sticks which are just seeds stuck together with honey. Their very favorite treat, however, is spray millet. It seems to be irresistible and once they start on it, they can't stop till it's gone.

The weird part is that they don't come running to taste their treat as soon as I hang it in the cage. Instead they sit on the highest perch on the opposite side of the cage and stare at the treat. They don't take their eyes off the treat and they chatter softly to themselves. I can imagine the conversation:

Calder: What do you think? Is it safe?
Norris:  I don't know, it could be poison.
Calder: She's been good so far and hasn't tried to poison us.
Norris: A bird can't be too careful.
Calder: It looks like the last one and it was delicious.
Norris: I heard about a bird that ate a treat once and couldn't ever fly again after that.
Calder: Maybe we should just watch it for awhile.
Norris: Go try it if you want to.
Calder: I don't want to be first, you try it.
Norris: The last one was good, but this could be the bad one.
Calder: Let's wait and see what happens.

The silly pair do this act for two or three days every single time I give them a treat, even if they just finished one the day before. Finally they break down and try the treat and decide that it's so good they have to finish it. When I find the bare stick, I replace it and we go thru this act again. We both think it's hilarious.

This month Chewy offered some treats for our feathered family members. One was this bag of spray millet, their absolute favorite.
Each spray looks like this with lots of tiny seeds.
We used to fasten them to the cage bars with twist ties, but the birds chewed on the ties, so I found these clips that hold the sprays to the cage safely.
A few days ago I clipped one to the cage and we watched them discuss the merits of actually trying this treat. After only two days they took a chance and cleaned it off in no time.
There is one problem with millet. Each of those tiny seeds is encased in a tiny husk and they throw the husks out of the cage. There's plenty of cleanup involved with millet. I repeat, birds are messy!
 Chewy sent Calder and Norris this bag of spray millet at no charge to us in exchange for our honest review. We had to wait a few days until they actually decided to try the treat, but they both agreed that it was wonderful.


Sunday, May 14, 2017

Mother's Day

Happy Mother's Day to all, whether your kids have two legs or four. Being a Mom means caring and worrying and loving, and that applies to any that you choose to mother.
 Here's a pic of me with my Mom.
 Here's a pic of one of the best Mom's I've ever known.
 And here are a few pics of me with the ones I chose to love and care for and worry about.
I've been so lucky to have these little creatures in my life.
 Of course, they're my kids and I'm their Mom.

Thursday, May 4, 2017

So, What's New?

Well, it's certainly been an interesting few weeks. It hasn't been exactly 40 days and 40 nights of rain, but it sure seems like it. Last night we had a whole night without thunder. It rained all night, but it did it quietly. That was really important to us because Norma Jean has decided that she's afraid of thunder and wakes me at the very first distant sound.
Norma Jean is a big strong girl, actually built like a mini tank, and when she hears a scary noise she jumps on me and starts clawing at me. Imagine being awakened by a 65 pound hairy monster clawing at you relentlessly. It isn't fun, so on thundering nights Norma Jean sleeps in her crate downstairs. She isn't happy about that arrangement and sometimes barks or howls all night. Rob can sleep thru the noise, (what is it with men anyway?) but her unhappy cries keep me awake. Last night Norma Jean joined us upstairs for a quiet sleep.
Today the rain has stopped, at least for awhile. Here are some pics of the flooding.
 The map shows the roads that are currently closed due to flooding. Actually it's a lot better than it was a few days ago. Each red dot is a closed road.
Now that the rain has paused and the sun is shining, my kids are feeling better, too. Bailey, Lola and Noah are all doing much better. I'm still cooking rice for their meals, but they're also able to eat kibble. No more vomit or diarrhea. Let's just blame it on the storms.
Fudge has now begun his second week of antibiotics and is doing much better. As long as I take him out just before bed, he can sleep thru the night. No more accidents in the house except for a little sprinkling in the garage on his way to the door. If we rush him straight out before releasing the girls from their crates, he does fine. Adding probiotics to his food has helped keep the antibiotics from upsetting his stomach and I think he'll be OK at the end of this.
The sunshine isn't the only good thing to happen today. The FedEx truck came and that gets the whole pack excited. We have a new box of goodies from Chewy to try. This month we're all excited because  we're trying kangaroo dogfood for the first time.  Bella, Roxy and Dui, who live in Oz, have been telling us how good roo tastes and now we'll be able to tell them what we think about it. Also this month our birds, Calder and Norris are going to be Chewy influencers for the first time. They're looking forward to that.
So, we're not exactly dry, but no rain is falling for the moment. We're all feeling better if not perfect and we have some tasty treats to look forward too. Things are looking up.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

More Excuses

There's another reason we haven't been blogging for a couple weeks and it's a biggie. Fudge has been sick and I mean really sick.

It started two weeks ago in the middle of the night, of course. Fudge was restless. Then he peed in the house, something he never does. I cleaned up and took him outside but when we went back to bed, he continued to pant heavily and pace around the room.

I took him out again and he tried to pee, but nothing happened. A couple hours later I decided to take all the dogs to the back yard. As he ran thru the garage to the back door, Fudge was peeing and when I started to clean up, I saw that there was blood. A lot of blood.

As soon as the clinic opened I called Dr B. He wanted a sample of Fudge's first pee the next morning and wanted me to catch it in a baggie so that it didn't get contaminated. He wanted to send it off to the lab for a culture. That day Fudge had several accidents in the house. He'd start running for the door, but couldn't make it in time. He was getting very upset.

The next morning Fudge woke at 4AM. I wrapped a towel around him to get him to the door and grabbed the baggie. It was dark and it was raining and lightning was flashing all around. I wanted to catch some pee in the bag but I wasn't very hopeful.

I caught a little but when we got to the clinic, they said it was just enough. They sent it to the lab and we had to wait four days for the results. Fudge was having a really bad time. Rob and I took him outside every hour day and night, but even then we had to wrap him with a towel to get him to the door. Once he peed on the porch and hid behind the chair. I tried to be reassuring but he hated what was happening.

On Tuesday morning Dr B called, the results were in. Fudge has a urinary tract infection caused by e-coli. Yikes! To say I was upset is a real understatement. I had flashbacks to news reports of people dying of e-coli after eating a hamburger. How did he get this, what were his chances and what did it mean for the other dogs?
Dr B knows me too well and he knew exactly the thoughts that would start going thru my head. He was ready with answers. There are many strains of e-coli, some deadly, some less so. Some are drug resistant, some respond well to drugs.

Fudge has the least deadly type of e-coli and it responds to a number of different antibiotics. He said it didn't come from eating bad meat or drinking bad water, it's just an overgrowth of the normal e-coli in his body. The other dogs should all be OK as they also all have normal e-coli in their bodies.

We started Fudge on antibiotics immediately. Because he has a very high bacteria count in his urine, he'll need to take them for a  full two weeks. After two days on the antibiotics he was able to control his urination again and we don't have to rush to the door every hour. We're still making sue he goes out every couple hours during the day and last thing at night. He's now able to sleep thru the night and I don't have to keep a towel handy to wrap around him. He's much happier. At the end of his antibiotics, we'll retest to make sure the infection is gone.

Then, suddenly one morning Bailey started vomiting. After the vomiting stopped, she developed diarrhea. I was busy caring for her when suddenly Lola started vomiting. Next she also had diarrhea. I called the vet and asked if this was related to Fudge's problem but he thought it was something entirely different and told me how to handle it with medication and special diets. Two days later, just as the two girls were starting to feel better, it was Noah's turn. I put him on the same special diet and finally after a week of vomit and messy poops, they all seem to be on the mend.
 Who knows what happened. Maybe they ate something they shouldn't have, maybe it's just the stress of constant thunder and lightning for two weeks. Maybe it's something else altogether.

Don't dismiss the effects of stress. I haven't had a full night's sleep in two weeks. I know I'm not thinking as clearly as normal. I know my appetite is way off and that my temper can flare up quickly. Stress can do lots of damage. We're all hoping for a night without thunder soon. It would make us all feel better.

Fudge is doing a little better each day, but a little Power of the Paw sure wouldn't hurt.

Monday, May 1, 2017

Excuses

I promised I'd let you know why we haven't been around much in the last couple weeks. You may have already guessed one reason. If you've been watching the news, you may already know that Missouri is flooded. Except for a couple days it's been raining for two weeks.
I don't mean nice gentle spring showers that bring May flowers, I mean torrential downpours accompanied by thunder and lightning all day and all night. When we'd detect a lessening in the rain, we'd rush the dogs outside, but often we'd get caught as the rain started up again.

We're all somewhat damp and our nerves are frazzled from the thunder, but our house isn't in the flood zone. Some cities were cut off with all roads in and out completely under water. Here are pictures of Branson.
 It's true we've had droughts for the last several summers, but getting all the rain at once doesn't exactly solve the problem. Hey, all you climate deniers out there, come here and try living in our rainforest with nine antsy dogs.
 At least everything is bright green in the yard and this bush that hasn't bloomed in two years is alive with flowers now. We may need a goat to keep up with the rapidly growing grass.
 Check back in July when our yard will probably be bare of grass and cracking from the hot sun. Isn't this fun?

Sunday, April 30, 2017

What A Month # Chewy Influencer

We haven't been around for a couple weeks, but this time we had good reasons. You'll have to wait till our next post to hear them, because today is the last day of April and we have a Chewy review that needs to get posted. This month we decided to try Nutro Grain Free Seasonal Fish and Potato Recipe.
I've heard of Nutro but we've never tried their products before. This recipe is made with only five key ingredients and contains no chicken, no beef, no dairy, no soy, no artificial flavors or preservatives. My first impression was that there was no strong offensive smell, more important to me than to the dogs, and the food has a nice soft consistency, easy to mix with their kibble.
My volunteer taste testers this month were Tess, Norma jean and Sydney.
The three girls thought this food was wonderful.
 Mackey, who had already eaten, was standing next to me as I prepared the bowls for the three testers. She lifted her nose to smell the Nutro food and refused to move from that spot. She wanted some and she wasn't going to leave till she got some. I had to carry her out of the room and promise she could have some the next day.
My dogs think Nutro is great and we will surely try it again in the future.
We received a case of Nutro Seasonal Fish and Potato food from Chewy at no cost to us in exchange for our honest review.