Friday, November 30, 2012

NaNoWriMo: And, done

Well, I didn't finish the book, but I certainly reached 50,000 words (50, 937 according to the word count validator, though Open Office says 52, 037. That's a disappointing discrepancy). And ordered the t-shirt.

This was an interesting novel to (mostly) write. I outlined most of it, for one, though there was a point at which the outline didn't matter anymore. I made some changes in the actual writing of the novel, which made some things make more sense, and made the outline eventually obsolete.

My interest in dogs has quite permeated my writing, depending on the topic. Considering this is a werewolf series (well, duology currently. I'd like to make it a trilogy, I think), I made an effort to use canine body language, even when the characters were acting as humans rather than canids. It made sense in the context, and was interesting to think about. What does angry look like? Interest? Nervousness? It's interesting to compare these things to human body language as well; have you watched the show Lie To Me? You should.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Red Female Doberman for Adoption in Texas

Look, guys, this is Ginger! She's a 4 year old red Doberman in Waco Texas.

She's spayed, heartworm negative, and fully vetted. Apparently her owners dumped her in a high kill facility when it turned out that she didn't get along with cats. I don't know where she's from originally (meaning what breeder, bloodlines, etc.) or how long those people had her, but her life is not in danger. She was pulled from the kill place, and is in foster care now, but obviously, she'd love to have a home to go to!

Ginger is in Texas under the purview of ADAPT rescue (it stands for "A Doberman Adoption Placement Team", according to the log on their site.)  Following that link, you can donate to the rescue directly, even if you're not interested in adopting Ginger. If you ARE interested in adopting Ginger (I guess you'd guess that the gist here is "no cats"), the information can be found on her Adopt a Pet web page.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Dishwasher Safe

Every once in awhile, like a mother pulling a security blanket (or security stuffed animal) from a child, I'll run Elka's puzzle toys through the dishwasher. I should probably do it more often, but really, she licks her butt. How concerned can I be?

The little Kong looks about good as new

Monday, November 26, 2012

Letting Elka just be a dog

There are times I think about all of the expectations that we have for Elka, and the expectations that dogs carry while trying to live in our society, and it's kind of overwhelming, really. I know that for me, sometimes  it's hard enough to remember all the social rules; dogs are really very smart, to do as well as they do.

There are times, though, I just have to let her be a dog. At the park especially, as I talked about in my recent sniffing post. Sniffing is important to dogs; their olfactory sense is just so strong as to be incomprehensible to me. You know what else is kind of a dog thing? Getting dirty.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Friday followup: Pancho, the puppies, and a DAN auction (ends tomorrow)

One thing that drives me crazy about finding information on the Internet, about "death row" dogs, and sick puppies, is frequently you never hear how it turns out. You assume the worse, really. Though it's better to hope that they were adopted, and went to lovely homes where the adopters are not nearly as interested in the Internet as the rest of us.

I've done that too you a couple of times here. It wasn't intentional, obviously, but I don't always learn the answer either. Today, though, I have a couple of partial answers!

The puppies who may or may not have had Parvo are still holding on. Bluebell is unfortunately still not well, but is trying to hold her own.

Thursday, November 22, 2012


There are many things I'm thankful for.

Having Elka has changed and enriched my life in a fantastic way. The fact that I can share these experiences with my friends, my family, and you fine people is pretty amazing.

I'm thankful for my job. I'm thankful for the roof over my head. I'm thankful for my fiancĂ©. I'm thankful for my family. I'm thankful for my friends. I'm thankful for my dog. I'm thankful for my love of writing, and my enjoyment of it. I'm thankful for the readers of this blog. I'm thankful for my love of reading.

I'm sure I've mentioned in passing here that I don't much like poetry. I've talked about it on my writing blog (which is not family friendly, so any of my younger cousins reading this, please don't get me in trouble with your parents!)

There are some poets that I like, though. Mary Oliver is somebody I'm reading recently. T.S. Elliot I like. Allen Ginsberg (and it delights me to no end that somebody on Twitter tweets a line from Howl every hour) (Howl is also not family friendly, depending on the age. I read it first my Freshman year of college. At the end of this post, I'm going to be very thankful for my family. And their understanding that I'm a grown up and use grown up words sometimes). But yeah, Mary Oliver. In New and Selected Poems, Volume II, she wrote Percy, about her dog. Part 1 is Monday Mischief worthy, about a chewed book. Part 2 is pure dog love.



Our new dog, named for the beloved poet,
ate a book which unfortunately we had
left unguarded.
Fortunately, it was the Bhagavad Gita,
of which many copies are available.
Every day now, as Percy grows
into the beauty of his life, we touch
his wild, curly head and say,

"Oh, wisest of little dogs."


I have a little dog who likes to nap with me.
He climbs on my body and puts his face in my neck.
He is sweeter than soap.
He is more wonderful than a diamond necklace,
which can't even bark.
I would like to take him to Kashmir and the Ukraine,
and Jerusalem and Palestine and Iraq and Darfur,
that the sorrowing thousands might see his laughing mouth.
I would like to take him to Washington, right into
the oval office
where Donald Rumsfeld would crawl out of the president's 
and kneel down on the carpet, and romp like a boy.

For once, for a moment, a rational man.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Wordless Wednesday November 21 2012

Puppy Elka, the night that she came home.

Of course, she hasn't stopped being a lapdog. She's considerably larger than the 16 pounds she was, though!

(43,811 words)

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Thanksgiving is coming!

This happens to me every year, perhaps because of National Novel Writing Month, but Thanksgiving has snuck right up on me!

Last year I posted about this lovely holiday play set that Target had. I don't think Target has brought it back, unfortunately, but because I've carefully guarded it, we've still got it! But, I also talked about food safety, and things like that bear repeating.

One thing that we've noticed at holiday time with Elka is that sometimes, when somebody *coughnotmecough* feeds her things like turkey skin, she has the runs after. I guess this is a good indicator that she has just enough fat in her diet, and doesn't need more of it in "lump sum" quantities. We've never given her what seems to be a massive amount of turkey skin, but we won't be doing any of that this year. Pancreatitis is one of those things you have to watch out for, and I've seen other blogs and web sites caution against loading your dog up on high fat things at any time. There are other ways to give them treats, they don't need to be greasy and fatty!

I've discovered this year that Elka really loves sweet potatoes. Mostly because every time I have sweet potato, she sings at my plate until I give her some. I tend to just bake them, with some butter or some olive oil, and find they don't really need much more than that. I didn't used to like sweet potatoes; add it to the list, I guess.

So, safe and happy holidays, folks!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Do Not Eat

So, my lovely Elka. My mostly well behaved dog? Yeah, she tried to give me a heart attack the other day.

We got an item in the mail that must have had one of those silica gel packets in it. I didn't see the packet when I opened the package.

I did, however, see it when I found it chewed open on the couch when we left her alone in the house for like, fifteen minutes. Little bead looking things everywhere. Torn paper.

I picked it up, and immediately called the vet. Elka was still dancing around in her "yay, you're home!" fervor. 

I laid it out for the person who answered the phone, she asked how big Elka was, then asked if she was in their system. Then she said "Oh, the Dobie." I said "Yes, the Dobie," impatient but starting to be hopeful. The person who'd answered the phone sounded somewhat amused. "We just went through this not too long ago with somebody else," she said. "I think she'll be all right, but hold on, let me make sure." I waited on hold for what seemed like an interminable amount of time but was really less than a minute. When she came back on, she said "Yes, she'll be fine. I asked a tech, who also asked a vet, and there's nothing to worry about with her size."

Of course, it could be that Miss Elka never ingested any of it at all, just chewed on the paper. I'll never know. This was Friday, and she's been fine since, behaviorally and gastrointestinally. But when something says "Do Not Eat", I tend to think it's for some dark reason. According to the Wikipedia article (the hallmark for good solid online medical research, I know /sarcasm), "Silica gel is non-toxic, non-flammable, and non-reactive and stable with ordinary usage." However, it does also say "Silica gel is irritating to the respiratory tract and may cause irritation of the digestive tract", which is in fact a valid reason not to eat the things (do you hear this, Elka? Hmm, Missy?). 

(NaNoWriMo wordcount is 40,136 words)

Friday, November 16, 2012

Place an order through Zen Paw Creations, help Dobermans!

Zen Paw Creations, on Etsy, has a fantastic offer right now. When you place an order through them, $5 gets donated to the Doberman Assistance Network (when you note it in the order comments, of course, that you're ordering with this in mind).

Perusing the store, she really has some nifty stuff. People who  know me, though, know that I really like jewelry. 

So, if there's a dog lover in your life who you think would be thrilled with the double gift of a custom made piece and a donation to help Dobermans in need, consider picking something up for them from the Zen Paw Creations store on Etsy.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Doberman on Death Row in Manhattan

This is Pancho. See what a handsome boy he is?

He's in a kill shelter in Manhattan. I'm not sure how many days he's supposed to have. Or how many days he has left. 

PANCHO - A0951039
I am an unaltered male, black and brown Doberman Pinscher mix.
The shelter staff think I am about 1 year old.
I weigh 79 pounds.
I was found in NY 10030.
I have been at the shelter since Nov 14, 2012

Know anybody in Manhattan who could use a beautiful, fit, Doberman? Or pull him and help him get a great home? Maybe his owners will see one of these posts online, and be able to reclaim him in time.

There are links here and here about him on Facebook. I dearly hope that my post is redundant, and his rescue angel is already on his or her way. I don't know his history at all, only that he is intact.

But look at his face. I've never seen a picture of a dog in a shelter look like that. He looks happy, and confident, and cared for. I wonder if he was displaced by Sandy? Maybe he wasn't microchipped, or the chip moved. I guess he wasn't tattooed either. Also from Facebook:

For more information on adopting please read the following:
DO NOT call the shelter and say you are adopting unless you truly intend on physically going to the shelter to adopt the dog. It ties up phones lines and is a waste of the staff's time to explain the adoption procedure over the phone for someone who is purposely not going to show up. They need every free second of their time to answer calls, assist actual adopters, process intakes, and care for the animals. More importantly, they will note the dog’s file that an adopter is en route which will prevent an actual adopter from saving the dog. This is considered a "fake adoption" hold and that is how dogs fall through the cracks and end up being killed.
For more information on a particular dog, email but ONLY if serious about adopting, and ONLY if you are able to GO TO the shelter in-person. Please do not email for status updates... the only thing you will accomplish is spamming their in boxes and causing REAL adopter emails to go un-noticed. Contact the NYC ACC at (212) 788-4000 for further automated instructions.

Edited to correct: His "out date" is November 17, according to the second Facebook page.

To sniff or not to sniff?

When you're out on walks, do you allow your dog to sniff willy-nilly?

Do you use sniffing as a reward?

Do you say no sniffing, no how?

I do all three, depending on the situation. Sounds confusing? Elka mostly has it straight. I've come to my criteria as we grew together.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Urgent: Doberman puppies need help! (updated 11-16)

The Doberman Assistance Network rescued four 10 week old puppies from a breeder in South Carolina yesterday. Sadly, they all have parvo. There were in fact five puppies, but one has died.

If you can help them in any way, please visit the sponsorship page on the Doberman Assistance Network website.

Parvo is an infectious disease that is almost always fatal in puppies. They vomit, they get diarrhea, they become lethargic and dehydrated very quickly.

Parvo is something that is vaccinated for by responsible owners, but at 10 weeks, these puppies would not have received adequate immunization against it. 

The puppies are receiving emergency care at non discount prices. No amount that you can give is too small; if you can donate at all, it could mean a big difference for these puppies' lives. 

Please, if you can spare it, donate to the care of these puppies. They didn't ask for this.

Edited to add on November 16: Unfortunately, the little red girl (who the Doberman Assistance Network christened Rose), did not make it. Her sisters, Violet and Bluebell, are scheduled to come off of IV's today. Their brother, Dodger, has remained full of beans. When Violet and Bluebell were moved to a different vet, their Parvo tests actually came back negative, but they were full of parasites (hookworms and whipworms), so it would seem their prognosis is better than anticipated! It's unclear whether the first vet was incorrect, ran an incorrect test, etc. Thank you everybody who has donated, and anybody who will consider donating. It saves lives!

Dodger (don't you love his face? He's trouble, clearly!)

Dog Treats From the Grocery Store

There are times Elka is picky about the treats handed to her.

Oh, she'll always take them, but whether she eats them is something else. The last time we were in Tractor Supply, she very nicely took the Milkbone from the cashier, and then set it down on the plastic bag loader (not even on the floor!) and looked at the lady, as if to say "All right, what else do you have?"

So, as a followup to my recent post about having found decent food in my grocery store, I also found decent treats. Just a few ingredients. They are, however, little crunchy bone shaped biscuits.

Monday, November 12, 2012

For Veteran's Day: Please Support the Canine Members of the Armed Forces Act

Third time's the charm, right? I do think it's an appropriate Veteran's Day post, though, to ask my readers again (I wrote about it previously in March and in May) to support and spread the word on the Canine Members of the Armed Forces act.

(having not been to Guam myself, image of the war dog memorial is linked from the DobermansDen article on Doberman military service)

Friday, November 9, 2012

eBay Art Auction to Benefit the Doberman Assistance Network

Look here on eBay: another auction to benefit the Doberman Assistance Network!

The proceeds from the auction of this lovely art piece (of a Doberman, of course!) will help DAN pull Dobermans from dangerous situations across the country, get them into rescue and get them into foster situations.

Dobermans in need of rescue does not slow down just because the holiday season is upon us. If the artwork isn't to your taste, but you want to help, you can always fill out an application to foster a Doberman or buy one of the snazzy 2013 calendars that they have available! Paramutt Products is still in business as well, still making paracord collars, keychains, and bracelets that benefit the Doberman Assistance Network.

Please, take a moment to check these things out and see if there's a little extra in your wallet to help out the Dobermans. If there isn't, share this on Facebook, Twitter, etc. and help spread the word about the variety of ways the Doberman Assistance Network can be helped in their mission to save Dobermans in need.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

NaNoWriMo 2012

Well, it's that time again.

That's right, kids, it's National Novel Writing Month again. Every November, like clockwork. 30 days, 50,000 words.

This year, I'm writing the sequel to a book that I started in March and finished in September. I've noticed, since getting Elka, that dogs have found their way into my fiction pretty often. This time around, I've once again decided to embrace it. Why argue with a good deal, right? I already read and write about dogs so much (and read about wolves once in awhile), I might as well do something with that source material.

I'm writing about werewolves (though not really in a Twilight or Underworld sort of way, trying to make them my own without getting too squirrelly with the folklore), and so there are dogs. There are wolves. There are people who are wolves, but use the same body language in varying forms. It's interesting to use canine body language that many of us pet bloggers are in particular familiar with: yawning, lip licking, head turning, hard stares, hard mouth, that kind of thing. It'll be interesting to me, should these books ever get published, if those sorts of things come through to the reader, or at least the dog-savvy reader. We'll see how it goes, right?

So, if I'm not replying to comments on here all that diligently, I'm not ignoring you! I'm just making my wordcount. My goal is not only to reach the 50,000 words for the month, but actually finish the novel itself. Book one ended up being around 80,000. I've never pulled quite that many words in a NaNoWriMo, but there's a first time for everything, right? I hit 13,500 words on Monday night/Tuesday morning (midnight isn't called the Witching Hour for nothing), and that's an unprecedented and blistering speed for me.

I've also noticed that some other dog/pet bloggers are participating in NaNoWriMo, and I'm so glad! Good luck to everybody, I hope you're having a lot of fun.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Dogs Don't Politic.

Dogs don't politic. Or they do, but it's need based. In the moment. What works out best. Far more practical than some of the things we humans build up.

I don't politic, typically. I don't have the patience for it, or the drive. I hate the rhetoric, the vitriol, the frustration. I don't have any interest in talking about politics, in fact, but couldn't just just let the day pass either.

So I'll just leave this here. Do you think that one of his nicknames is Bobama?

Monday, November 5, 2012

Pets Love Toys: review

I was contacted by Brian, the CEO/Founder at to see if I was interested in sampling and reviewing their service. You may have heard of sample box services, in which you get a monthly box full of product samples in a certain niche. PetsLoveToys is a similar principle; every month, you view the showroom and pick which box you would like to get. There are typically three choices, with a combination of treats and toys.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Halloween Dog Costume Contest Winner

And the winner is...Pallo!  He's a pirate in this picture, but I think he's normally a viking. I'm especially fond of his hat, and his wistful expression. Perhaps he's thinking "Yo ho, yo ho, a pirate's life for me". Or even "Why's the rum gone?"

You can see more of Pallo and read about him (and sister Koira) at My Life With Flyball Dogs.

Thanks for the participation, folks! And congrats again to Pallo, and his owner Crystal!

Friday, November 2, 2012

Doberman Health: Dilated Cardiomyopathy

Dilated Cardiomyopathy (DCM) is the bogeyman in Dobermans nowadays. There is no modern bloodline that is free of it. There is a $65 genetic test that you can get from VetGen to see if your dog is a carrier of that specific gene, but the problem is, they've only identified one gene. So dogs that test "clear" may still die of DCM.

It's a scary thing to think of. And currently, with Elka at the tender age of 3, I'm clinging to the notion that she'll live forever. That's how this story will go, right?

(notice how Elka found the only green in the fallen leaves?)

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Dogs I've known (part 2, the family chapter)

I asked for a lot of things as a kid. A horse, for one. A dog, as I've mentioned exhaustively. I can see how it seemed improbable that I would properly care for a dog; my ability to reliably carry out responsible tasks was not great.

It's interesting, though, to think of a family's history of pets, and responsibility, and mindsets. My grandparents are not who I would consider "pet people". On occasion, they've been the designated cat sitters when various households went on vacation, but once their kids grew up and moved out, they didn't have pets of their own anymore. My grandfather clearly loves Elka when she visits, but does not want a dog of his own, to my grandmother's relief.

(sorry for the Christmas picture. It's Elka in my grandparents' living room)