GREAT DAY FOR A WALK

Last week was a cold one, with lots of rain. One day it didn’t get above 32°F (0°C).  Today it was sunny with a high of 70°F (21°C).  Tippy and I enjoyed this unusually warm fall afternoon by taking a nice walk back in my neighbor’s fields.

Beautiful day
Gorgeous December Day

I’ve been working a lot lately, leaving before the sun comes up and getting home after dark.  I am fortunate that my mom and dad take Tippy for walks during the day, allowing her to run off some energy.  They don’t go as far as we did today, so I think she enjoyed the extra distance and different smells to explore.

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Having fun exploring.
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I think I smell a squirrel.

After our walk, we sat outside for a few minutes.  I was going to read, but Tippy had other ideas.

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My lapdog.

She did eventually get down so I got a little bit of reading in before we had to come inside.

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Thanks for the walk mom. It was great!

We hope you had a wonderful day, whatever the weather in your neck of the woods.

 

 

 

 

 

SQUATTER FAMILY – IT HAPPENED

Last night, I went out on the porch, planning only to count the skunks and not take any pictures.  But, the squatters came out a little earlier than they had before, so I managed to get a couple of decent photos.  I didn’t get one of all of them because they spotted me and ran for safety.  At least you can see that the mother is almost pure white on the back.

This morning, I let Tippy outside around 8:15.  I heard her pounce on the walkway and bark.  I went to the window and saw her retreating around the corner.  About the same time the odor hit me.  I knew it had happened.  She had gotten sprayed!

I went out to make sure she was okay and found foamy slobbers in the garage floor and her licking her lips like you do when you have tasted something awful and are trying to get the taste out of your mouth.  Other than that, she seemed okay.  I got her a doggie cookie, thinking that might help. It didn’t hurt.

She was lucky that there was only a small slit between the boards.  She seemed to only get a glancing blow, and mostly on the right side of her face and ear. I got her shampoo, a rag, and a tub of water and went back out.  She usually balks at all attempts at a bath, but will tolerate it once I start.  Today, she came right to me. She must have understood that I was trying to make the smell go away.  The groomer who formulated this natural cedar shampoo said that it works great on skunk oil, to just be sure and put the shampoo on the affected area before wetting it so that it can contact the oil directly. I followed her directions and used the rag to give her head a good scrubbing and rinsing.  It seemed to work pretty good.

Since she had been foaming at the mouth, I did call her vet and talk to them.  They said to just keep an eye on her and as long as she was eating and didn’t throw up, she would be okay.  As you can see, she was fine.

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I’m okay, mom.

We took the trash off later in the morning, so she could enjoy a ride in the truck.  I did have an ulterior motive, however.  I wanted to get away from the constant odor that permeates the garage to see if I had gotten it all off of Tippy.  When she turned her head toward me, I would get a mild whiff.  So, when we got back from our ride, I gave her a good bath all over.  She was due one anyway.  She wasn’t as fond of that, but survived.  While she was damp, I put some baking soda on her ears and the side of her face.  I’m not sure which thing worked, but I don’t smell anything on her tonight.

I hate to do it, but until the squatter family is evicted, I am going to have to keep Tippy on leash when she is outside.  Hopefully, it won’t be too long before the babies follow mom and we can trap them.

SQUATTER FAMILY, TAKE 2

The saga continues.  The morning after I discovered the squatters were skunks, I called the Nuisance Wildlife Control man and told him what I had seen.  He said if the babies aren’t old enough to follow mom out to forage in the night that they will not come out and get in the traps. What does that mean?  We have to wait until they are bigger.  So, for now, we are stuck with a family that is refusing to follow the eviction notice Tippy and I have given them.

Since there was nothing in the traps, I sprung them so that we wouldn’t catch one of them and then be in a real pickle.

This week, Tippy and I have been trying to see if  we can tell how many skunks are actually living there so we will be sure we have them all once we can trap them.

looking out the window
On the lookout for the emergence of the squatters.

One night I saw not one, but two adults.  I googled skunks and found out that the males have nothing to do with raising the young, but sometimes females will share a den.  So, I probably have not one, but two squatter families!  I tried to get a picture through the window, using a flash.  This was NOT the best idea I have ever had.

flash in the window
Well, that didn’t work out as planned.

I did find out that it scares the adults, who came running back under the porch to protect their young.  They did emerge again, about 5 minutes later.  I tried to get a picture without the flash, but it didn’t turn out too well either.  If you look hard enough between the rails in the middle, you can see a white fuzzy spot that is the tail of a skunk.

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One of the skunks

Another night, I decided to be adventurous, and actually went out onto the porch to watch them come out, try to count them, and get a picture.  I saw only one adult, almost pure white, and six little ones.  Mom took them just into the edge of the woods and then back to the porch.  She left and went a different way, walking right past where I was standing.  (The porch at that point is about 5 feet off of the ground, so I wasn’t at her level.)  The babies ventured out into the edge of the woods again, and then ran back to the safety of the porch.  It was pretty cute, I have to admit.  The only picture I got was of the mom…but, as you can see, it isn’t very good either, even with editing.  Phone cameras are not the best for this scenario.  The skunk is about a quarter of the way down on the right hand side.

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That really is a white skunk, not just a blob.

In the meantime, Tippy is being very vigilant about keeping an eye, or nose, on them.

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She has also found out that she can get part of the way under the walkway.  She gets under there and barks.  I know she can’t see them from there, but I’ll bet the smell is a lot stronger, since that is where they come and go.  I know in my head that she is probably less likely to get sprayed from there than when she is barking right over the den opening, but, for some reason, it makes me more nervous.  If I find out she is there, I make her come out.

Then, I usually make her come in the house to take a break.  I don’t think she likes that, but she makes the best of a bad situation.

Tippy laying beside me
If I HAVE to be inside, I might as well relax like a lady.

I plan to continue to try to count how many members of the squatter family (families) there are and hopefully get some better pictures.  Stay tuned. Fingers and paws crossed that no one gets sprayed.

WE HAVE A SQUATTER FAMILY

Recently, when I take Tippy out the side garage door, she has been sniffing at the wooden walkway.  I wasn’t sure if she was smelling something that had walked by in the night or something that was underneath.

For the last couple of weeks, it has become obvious that something has taken up residence under there.  Tippy has gotten more and more agitated when we go out, barking as she sniffs at the boards.  I have put off taking care of this intruder because I was afraid of what it might be.  You see, a few years back, after putting up with skunk odor for a couple of weeks, I finally took up some of the boards, looked underneath, and discovered a semi-mummified skunk.  Very disgusting and hard to remove.

Tippy has gotten increasingly obsessive about that area.  When she first goes out, she sniffs and barks and sniffs some more, sometimes clawing at the walkway.

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She does calm down fairly quickly, but can often be seen guarding against the intruder, either at the walkway or in the garage.

I decided it was time to be brave and see what I could find.  I removed some of the boards, very carefully.

Tippy with boards up
Humm. That makes it easier to see.

Tippy was very helpful with the inspection of the area underneath the walkway.

No animal was spotted, but I did find a hole that something has dug underneath the garage, along the basement wall.  It’s a fairly small hole, so I’m hoping it’s not anything huge.  Here’s a picture, but it is really hard to see.  Sorry, but I wasn’t brave enough to put my phone, and hand, any closer to the den just to get a better picture.

Hole
The intruder’s den.

I was hoping that I could run the mystery critter off and then fill in the hole.  I put some moth balls at the opening of the den and some leaves where it looked like it had gone underneath wire dad and I had put up to keep things out of that area after the above skunk incident.

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Hole under the wire.

I checked the next morning and it was obvious that the critter had left.  To insure it didn’t come back before I got a chance to work on filling in the hole, I put more leaves in the opening of both the hole and the wire.  Unfortunately, those were gone the next time I checked, so it was back.  If someone threw mothballs in my doorway, I think I’d be tempted to leave.  That is not a pleasant smell.

I was in a quandary as to what to do.  I called our local animal control office.  They do not take care of wildlife, but referred me to a local gentleman who provides wildlife removal services.  He came out this morning, looked around, and set up a couple live traps.  They aren’t showing up very good in the photos as they blend into the environment.  I suppose that is on purpose.

I was hoping it could potentially be a ground hog.  He said they usually aren’t found in wooded areas, so the more likely scenario is a skunk.  If it is a female, she likely has babies this time of year.  Since I haven’t seen a train of skunks, he thinks it is a rouge male.

UPDATE:  I just looked out the window and saw not one, but six, yes SIX skunks. So, it is a mom with babies.  None of which seemed interested in the food that was in the traps.  I’m not sure what will happen if one of the baby’s gets caught or if the mom does.  No way are 2 traps going to catch six or more skunks.  I could be in trouble here!

Fingers and paws crossed that we are able to get rid of our squatter family without too much trouble or smell.

 

 

 

BETTER LATE THAN NEVER

Most of you know that this past Sunday was Mother’s Day here in the United States.  But, it also held another distinction…it was Tippy’s 5th birthday!

In order to celebrate both occasions, we spent the late afternoon at the pond.  Me, mom, and Tippy watched dad fish.  He caught 8, I think – all fairly small bluegill and bass.

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Just hanging out together.

 

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Hey grandpa, I think there’s a fish right over there.

It was a warm day, so Tippy got hot.  You know what that means….a walk in the edge of the pond to get a drink and cool in the mud.  I laughed at one point, because she ventured out a little deeper than she normally does and started to sit down in the water.  She got one hip in and then popped right back up.  Apparently, water on the tush didn’t feel as good as she thought it was going to.  😮  Still, she got plenty of that nice squishy, smelly mud on her paws and stomach.

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It’s my party and I’m smell if I want to, smell if I want to…..

When we got back to the house, Tippy got a couple of surprises.  The first was that she got a nice birthday bath!  She doesn’t like getting washed, but tolerates it okay.  She sure feels and smells a lot better.  She relaxed on the driveway to finish drying off.

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Relaxing after having a bath.

Then, her second surprise was her “birthday” gift.  Obviously, I’ve had this for a while and never got around to giving it to her.  Better late than never, right?

 

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She was tired after running around at the pond, so only played with it a little.  She loves this version of a Frisbee because it is soft in the center and tends to float a little, allowing her to catch it out of the air.  When she was younger, she would destroy these by chewing holes in the center.  I’m hoping she has outgrown that habit and this one will last to give her hours of enjoyment.

It wasn’t anything exceptional or fancy, but we all enjoyed it and I got to spend some precious quality time with those I love.  It really doesn’t get much better than that, does it?

 

GET OUT OF MY TREE

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Get out of my tree, right now!!! I mean it!! Leave!

Tippy has a special dislike of buzzards.  It’s the only bird she barks at when flying overhead.  So, when this one decided to roost in a tree near the house, she was NOT happy!

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HOW DOES SHE KNOW?

Note:  There is only one picture in this post.  You’ll thank me later.

Tippy doesn’t get sick very often.  When she does, it is because she has either gotten into something rotten she has found or has eaten too much, too quickly.

Back in the summer, we had taken a walk in the back field.  I saw her run up the hill toward the gap in the fence.  When I got there, she was sniffing what appeared to be where something had gotten sick.  I made her get away from it and come in the house.  A few minutes later, she started whining, wanting to go outside.  I thought she was wanting to go do what dogs do, eat the pile of yuck, so I wouldn’t let her out.  A couple of minutes later, I heard her gagging and had a mess to clean up!  I told her I would listen to her from then on.  As she had never gotten sick in the house before, I wonder how she knew that it was something that she should do outside and not in the house?

Fast forward a couple of months and she got sick again.  But, this time, it was more than a one or two time thing.  I had listened and taken her out when she wanted to, so no mess to clean up.   But, again, she showed recognition that she was sick and that she might have to go outside quickly.  How do I know?  She slept beside me, on the floor in the bedroom.  She had never spent the night in the bedroom before and hasn’t since.  That night, she woke me up about every two hours to go outside.  I took her to the doctor the next day.  She didn’t have a fever, so she thought she might have gotten into something that upset her stomach.

If you read my last post, you know that Tippy has had restricted freedom for the last three weeks.  Today, she ran out the door when I was trying to put a box out to be recycled.  Usually she will wait on me, but I think the call of freedom was too great for her today!  I watched, and she took off at full speed under the fence.  It reminded me of a prison break.

She ran in the opposite direction from where the cows are fed in the winter, so I just let her be, planning to go find her if she wasn’t back in 15 minutes.  She returned in fewer than 5.  Since she came back quickly, I decided to let her have a little of her normal freedom back, and left her out for over an hour, checking on her periodically.   She did great, but must have found something to eat while she was out and about because, after we came in for the night, she asked to go back outside and promptly threw up twice.  She has been fine since, so I think getting it out of her stomach was all that was needed.   She is sleeping on the couch now, but, you can rest assured that if she wants to go back outside, I will take her!

20180115_183918 (2)_01Do your dogs know when they are sick and ask to go outside?  I’m curious to know if it is a normal behavior or not.

RUNNING WITH THE WRONG CROWD

As with people, dogs can get into trouble when they run with the wrong crowd, or should I say, the wrong pack.  Tippy found this out a couple of weeks ago.  We had gone for our walk in the neighbor’s field and she disappeared before we got back.  She does this sometimes, but always comes back within 10 to 15 minutes.  I figure she can’t get into too much trouble in that short period of time.  However, on that day, the neighbor called to let me know that he had seen Tippy and the neighbor’s two Pit Bulls barking at his cows. Uh oh!

He was actually very nice about it and said he didn’t think they would do any harm, but he had three new calves and they were aggravating the mom’s to death.  He asked me to keep Tippy up for a couple of weeks, until the calves are better able to take care of themselves.  He also told me that he has had problems with those Pit Bulls for over two years.  I have since learned that they run the horses that belong to their owner.  That’s not good.

So, for over a week now, Tippy has either been inside, tied out, or on leash.  She’s not happy.  I feel bad for her and wish I could make her understand why she isn’t allowed to run free.  If I could, I’m sure she would chose freedom over hanging out with the other dogs.

Yesterday, I’m convinced the Pit Bulls came by for a visit and she really wanted to go out to play.  Here is what I saw and heard.

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I think I see my friends. Can I go out to play?
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Please, mom. I really want to go out.
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In case you didn’t hear me, I REALLY WANT TO GO OUTSIDE AND PLAY!!!!
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Fine! I guess I’ll just have to take a nap!
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Naps over. Maybe the stare down will work.

When that didn’t work, so she made one last ditch effort.

I did eventually take her out for a nice walk, but only after I was sure that the Pit Bulls had moved on.  I have figured out a way to let her get some running in with little potential for “escape.”  I drop the leash, throw a treat, which she will run to retrieve and devour, then run back to me and sit down to wait on the next treat to be thrown.  This has the added bonus of working on her recall.  Sure wish I had made that a priority when she was a puppy.

Just a few more days and I will let her have more freedom.   Living on a farm, I hate to have to keep her restrained – especially since she’s used to being able to run free and she has so much energy.  But, having grown up on a farm, I also understand that she can’t be allowed to aggravate the cows.  For a long term solution, I am researching GPS dog collars that will allow me to keep track of her when she is out of my sight. Maybe that will keep us both from getting into trouble in the future.

Tippy and I wish you all a very happy and trouble free 2018!

 

HAPPY ADOPTION DAY

July 11th marked 4 years since I brought Tippy home from the local humane society.  It seems like it was yesterday, but also feels like she has always been here.  I can’t imagine my life without her.

The day started off with a continuation of the cow saga as I found them out again.  Tippy “defended” the house while I made sure they got back into the pasture field.  Later that day, my neighbor and dad were able to find out where they had gotten out and added some fencing.  So far, knock on wood, they have stayed where they belong.

Cow and bull in the garden
But, this grass is greener!

We took our normal 20 minute walk fairly early, before it got unbearably hot.  Tippy cooled off in the garage while I continued walking the driveway to get in 30 minutes of exercise. The fireplace hearth seemed to be the best place to finish cooling off before taking a much needed nap.

To celebrate her adoption day, I gave her a peanut butter/carob Puppy Sucker.

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Puppy Sucker treat for Tippy.

She heard the cellophane crinkling – the universal signal that a treat is coming, and was very excited about whatever it was I had behind my back.

waiting for the sucker
I know you have something for me, mom.

When I first gave it to her, she wasn’t sure what it was.  However, it didn’t take her long to realize it was food and figure out how to eat it.  It was gone in 3…2…1, literally.  Once she got it in her mouth,  it was totally gone in 3 minutes.

 

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To top off the day, she went with me to play tennis and made some new friends.

It was pretty much a perfect day.  One with a little excitement, some exercise, a good long nap, a special treat, and a car ride!  It doesn’t get much better than that for Tippy!

UNLIKELY MOUNTAINEERS

On Thursday, I was in the house and heard Tippy barking.  I went out to see what she had found.  I tried to follow her gaze down the hill, but didn’t see anything.  I did hear something big walking, so I went over to the edge of the woods to get a better look.  That’s when I saw it.  A big, black bull.  What in the world was it doing on that steep hill?

I got Tippy inside while I put my shoes on so I could chase it back to where it belonged.  Before I got back outside, it had disappeared.  I tried to get Tippy to help me find it, but she decided laying on the concrete was a better option.  I never did see it again, but did follow it’s tracks for a distance down through the woods.

Mom and dad later checked and all of the cows that were supposed to be in the field were there.  They put up a piece of wire where they thought it had probably gotten out.

Take two.  Today, I was sitting outside, reading, and Tippy started barking.  I looked up and this is what I saw.

Tippy and the bull
Mom. Look what’s up on the hill. He’s huge!

He was back and had brought a friend…..a cow.  Again, by the time I put my shoes on, they were gone.  But, this time, I followed their tracks and heard them smashing through the woods, back down the hill.  Where they went down was really steep and had some fallen trees, so I really don’t know how they managed to make the trek and not get hurt.  We still can’t figure out why they have decided to climb this big hill.  They have plenty of food and water where they are and there is nothing to eat in the woods.  Maybe they are just adventuresome and wanted to try out their mountaineering skills.

After all of the excitement was done and the cows were back where they belonged, it was time to relax and enjoy the rest of the afternoon.

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Time for a little rest and relaxation.