Thursday, November 29, 2012

woof, meow, cluck: a pet update

So, believe or not, there is a brief break in the tension around here.  I turned in my very last paper yesterday-- wait, let me say that again, lest you miss its import:  I TURNED IN MY VERY LAST PAPER YESTERDAY, my final project for the young adult lit class.  Except my thesis, of course, but even that is moving along.  Defense on December 10th. Pray.

But since I TURNED IN MY FINAL PAPER yesterday (did I mention that I TURNED IN MY LAST PAPER YESTERDAY?), and I'm still dang sick--which I haven't mentioned here, but I've complained about everywhere else, so why not let you guys know, too?-- I'm giving myself today off.  Ergo, you get a post.  And fair warning:  pet excrement discussed in detail in this post.  You've been warned.

The puppy first.  She is so adorable.  We are all in love with her.  She's so much more snuggly than our older dog.  Of course, we snuggle plenty with Jazz, too, just because she's been our faithful friend for eleven years now.  But Sadie would like nothing better than to wiggle into your lap and just stay there all day long while you rub her tummy and her velvety ears.  Well, except to spend the day fetching a tennis ball.

She's become completely obsessed with fetch.  We had black labs when I was a kid, so I know about this.  It's not new to me.  Cricket, the black lab we had when I was in high school, would fetch all afternoon when we had people over.  When one person got tired, someone else would take over.  Cricket never got tired.  Sadie is the puppy version of that.  You have to watch out for her, because she's little, so after about 15 minutes her chest is heaving and she's slowing down, but she will never take a break unless you make her.

So then we walk around the back yard for five minutes or so while she gets her breath back, and then start again.  If you stop, take the ball away from her and put it away, she sits and stares at it (or the place where you've put it) for about twenty minutes before she finally gives up.  Usually this means the ball is sitting on top of the woodpile, and she stares soulfully at it, whining a little (or a lot).  We call this Worshiping At The Altar Of The Tennis Ball.  You can almost see her think as she drags herself away:  well darn it they're not going to throw that thing anymore for awhile.  sigh.  I guess I better go find something to chew on

Also, (*drum-roll*) she is housetrained.  (and did I mention that I turned in my last paper yesterday?)  She goes to the door and whines when she needs to go out.  So as long as someone is paying attention, she is a big girl now.  No accidents in a couple of weeks.  (I am seriously knocking on wood right now)

Jazz, the elderly dog, is really good with her.  We were a bit worried, because Jazz has had trouble playing nicely with other dogs in the past.  She is not the kind of dog that you would take to a dog park.  She has initiated fights and intimidated sweet little lapdogs, and even occasionally bitten people.  We are very careful with her.

But after ignoring Sadie for the first 48 hours or so, Jazz has actually turned into a pretty good doggy mentor.  I think that's the main reason that Sadie made it through housetraining so fast (we were warned to expect it to take till six months at least, and she is four months).  Jazz doesn't do her business in the house, so Sadie doesn't either.  Jazz is definitely Alpha dog.  Sadie waits patiently while Jazz gets fed first, or goes through the door first, or gets a treat first.

I'm not sure I've ever told you about Cinder, our seventeen-year-old cat.  She doesn't look that old, but underneath her furriness, she is fragile and a bit decrepit.  And also losing it.  She stopped using the litter box (except just often enough that we know she still knows it's there).  But at least she only pees in one spot. (and yes, I did try putting a litter box in that spot, but she just moved over about six inches). So now we have Wee-Wee Pads (not kidding, that's really what they're called, which is the only thing that makes this bearable, if you ask me.  We get to have entire conversations about wee-wee pads).  It works pretty well, she hasn't had an accident off the pads since we started using them.

And the chickens.  It's cold around here, but other than their coop, we don't have any place indoors where they can live.  So Dean spent an entire weekend insulating their coop with styrofoam insulation, the kind that is backed with silver foil.  And we put up a heat lamp.  It is toasty in there-- and a little bit like a 70s disco bar.  That silver foil packs a punch.

Unfortunately, it packed a little bit too much of one, because the first time it snowed and the ladies decided to stay inside for the day, they discovered a secret voracious appetite for silver-backed styrofoam.  Once little bits of foil and styrofoam starting showing up in their .... well, you know...  we decided something had to be done. (We do call it the s-word around here, because what else are you going to call chicken poop? but this is a family friendly blog, so I'm being polite. sort of.) 

So once again the patient Dean spent his day off repairing all the damage they had done, and then tacking up visqueen (plastic sheeting) over it, which seems to have solved the problem.  I can't even find any peck marks on the plastic.  They're supposed to stop laying when the weather gets cold (or the daylight hours get short, you hear both theories), but so far we are still getting 4-6 eggs per day, so I think they are happy.

And that's the news from here.  Hope you are all doing well.  And don't forget to say a prayer/send vibes/whatever on December 10th for my thesis defense.  I'm trying not to be terrified.  But I kind of am.

and by the way, did I mention that I turned in my last paper yesterday?


  1. Oh I love pet and family updates! And hey, did I hear that your last paper got turned in yesterday?

  2. Congratulations on the paper!!!! I love the family and pet updates too, but I like them even better with pictures - hint, hint!

    And didn't you get that last paper in??? YES YOU DID!!!

    1. I know, I thought it needed pictures, too but I just didn't have time. Maybe next week.

    2. Oh, and thank you! :-) I'm still happy about getting that paper in!


  4. HOORAY FOR LAST PAPER!!!!!! Such an amaaaazing feeling.

    Best of luck and good vibes for the defense.

    Thank-you for sharing animal stories. :-)

  5. I am so excited for you. You will do great on the 10th. Loved the updates on the pets.