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Columbia River Gorge front yard. Photo: (c) Barb Ayers, DogDiary.org

Hi, my name is snow.

Remember me?

I hang out in winter.                     

I am winter.

Oh, this isn’t winter? What, with the Ides of March and St. Patty and Spring Forward and all?

Coyote Wall Syncline of the Columbia Gorge. Photo: (c) Barb Ayers, DogDiary.org

Surfboards and boat floats, Snowmeggadon March 2019. Photo: (c) Barb Ayers, DogDiary.org

I was a Snow Angel

when you were a kiddo.

A snowman you patted together with soggy gloves,

beaning neighbor kids with snow ammo.

Snowboarding the front yard - super-G downhill Olympics! The THRILL OF VICTORY! The agony of defeat!

Sticking your tongue out,

gulping down snow flakes like frosted flakes.

Doxie Doodle’s snow day. Photo: (c) Barb Ayers, DogDiary.org

I am a snow dog day.

Nose and paws

porpoising up from the depths in the yard -

skying up, up and away!

Surfing frozen waves -

paws and tail and tongue

in mid air!

Barking and biting at little white treats…

sprinkled from above.

Catatonic inside. Photo: (c) Barb Ayers, DogDiary.org

I am a Snow Day.

And another

and another

and another...

AM commute. Photo: (c) Barb Ayers, DogDiary.org

I threaten life if you’re not careful.

I am power outages and

long term sub-freezing temps.

I am no internet! (Like, O M G!)

I am no longer just a day, or

a week, or

a month….

I am Snowmeggadon.

Snowpocalypse.

Hear me roar.   

A force of nature. 

I AM nature.

Was there ever any doubt about

who was in charge?

And you…

far below,

shovel driveways and sidewalks

and plow and scrape the roads,

unearthing cars from

my smothery, mothery snow blanket.

Yellow vee-dub. Photo: (c) Barb Ayers, DogDiary.org

Cars don’t work in this stuff, so we go old school. Snow boots. Photo: (c) Barb Ayers, DogDiary.org

I am icy roads and

spin outs

and

I am the heart of the hearth -

the fireplace glow.

And I am

digging out with my neighbors,

taking care of the quail in the yard,

defrosting the hummingbird feeder. Daily.

Quail neighbors and friends. Photo: (c) Barb Ayers, DogDiary.org

I am snow bus routes and

snow days,

delaying school,

cutting into summer.

But it wasn’t so long ago

that I was

Drought Emergency Declaration 2015.

And Eagle Creek Wildfire, #1 fire in the country, 2017…

Be careful what you wish for.

Garden party. Photo: (c) Barb Ayers, DogDiary.org

Oh, that’s right, but this isn’t winter.    

We’re springing forward!

This isn’t Global Warming.  Or Climate Change.

This is just…. The New Norm.              

Snow day still life. Photo: (c) Barb Ayers, DogDiary.org

Endless summers.

Never ending winters.

I once was

your Snow Angel.          

Don’t you be so

Snowmeggadon curmudgeon

now.

Our Snow Man. Photo: (c) Barb Ayers, DogDiary.org

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Yes, that's ice on our steps. Tiki dude and me, Rusty, recycled toaster dog, at the home office of DogDiary.org. Photo: (c) Barb Ayers, www.DogDiary.org

Rusty. Photo: (c) Barb Ayers, www.DogDiary.org

 Dear Dog Diary:

Recycle dog Rusty here.

In a former life, I was a toaster. And scrap metal.

We Oregonians are way into reuse and recycling - so now I have a new life. As yard art.

Tiki Dude and I are surfing, or should I say, suffering, snow in the yard. Lots and lots of snow. In the Columbia River Gorge - surf dog central - normally.

Here are a few pix before, during, and now.

It’s Snowmeggadon 2019 - the biggest winter in decades.

Tiki Dude and Rusty. Photo: (c) Barb Ayers, www.DogDiary.org

Tiki Dude and Rusty. Photo: (c) Barb Ayers, www.DogDiary.org

We thought two years ago, Snowmeggadon 2017 was bad. Snowpocalapse! It snowed for three months straight! There may be something to this global warming thing. Because winters are not normal anymore.

Ask any person about shoveling snow, every day, for three months and see how they react.

This Snowmeggadon hasn’t lasted as long (yet) - only three weeks so far, with no sign of stopping- but the dumps are way higher, way deeper every day. You can’t go anywhere, do anything, move. You’re just stuck.

It’s late February! It’s supposed to be over!

So, we just hang out. Yard art for Surf Dog Diaries.

Watching, as the girl runs around, shoveling snow. Again.

The dog and cat guarding the house, inside, warmed by the fire. Not motivated.

Snow day! Tia and Doodle, author animals, inside. Photo (c) Barb Ayers, Dogdiary.org

Now she’s scraping the roof – there’s a thing called snow load - too much snow can cave your roof.

For sure this is too much snow.

Tiki Dude and I thought we’d pitch in and do the Dog Blog.

I’m trying my best here to be cheerful but Tiki’s smile is a little scowly lately.

He’s keeping a stiff upper lip….

Photo: (c) Barb Ayers, www.DogDiary.org

Ooh! Sunshine came out for a moment!!! Here’s my happy ear flap up - crumb tray out look….

Hey, would you believe – I have a defrost button!?! We may have to try it out this winter.

Photo: (c) Barb Ayers, www.DogDiary.org

Photo: (c) Barb Ayers, www.DogDiary.org

I checked on surfboard dude in the driveway and here’s what he had to say…

Photo: (c) Barb Ayers, www.DogDiary.org

Nada.

Guess he’s the strong, silent type.

Photo: (c) Barb Ayers, www.DogDiary.org

And the BBQ boyz?

They’re pretty silent, too.

Photo: (c) Barb Ayers, www.DogDiary.org

 Momma quail yard art is almost visible again. She’s just peeking out.

Her kids, still buried under snow.

Thankfully, our actual quail neighbors still commute through the yard – their food is buried, too. So the girl puts out seed every day for them.

And defrosts the hummingbird feeder.

On the front porch are the prayer flags. They flitter and float. They’re a little more lively than the rest of us.

Of course, a roof overhead can’t hurt.

Then again, they are hanging with icicles.

Prayer flags, front porch. Photo: (c) Barb Ayers, www.DogDiary.org

Photo: (c) Barb Ayers, www.DogDiary.org

Here are cars.

Now they’re yard art, too.

Photo: (c) Barb Ayers, www.DogDiary.org


Snow day! It’s super fun at first.

But then you want it to go away after about a week. Like normal.

Day after day, snow and snow and snow, just wears you down.

My tail’s drooping a little here.

I may be a little rustier than usual.

We’d appreciate a normal winter, is all.

Can you help us with that, Diary?

Rusty
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Doodle today, one year later. Don’t worry - he made it - here, scars from stitches are barely visible! Photo: (c) Barb Ayers, DogDairy.

Part IV, finale of “The Elephant in the room” mini series

Now, after surgery, banging around the house with a Cone Of Shame, doxie Doodle’s eyes are a little less glisteny. The indignity!

Cone no mo! Photo: (c) Barb Ayers, DogDairy.org

But, cone is good – it helps protect those eight angry black stitches on Doodle’s head. Those pesky, annoying, scratchy itchy stitches…

Wieners are thin-skinned anyway, with tiny, pointy faces. They’re almost all nose and some eyes and there’s not a lot of hair or skin (or maybe even excess brains) left for a comb-over for the hole she cut.

Our lady vet must have run out of room. Some of his charismatic doxie forehead wrinkles got removed in the process.

It was a face-lift, like his eyebrows were raised all the time, exclaiming “WHASSUP, DUDE?!”

Normally, aren’t we all up for a little face-lift in middle age?

But it’s really weird on a middle-aged doxie.

I didn’t shoot a lot of pictures of his bad side until it was OK. Photo: (c) Barb Ayers, DogDiary.org

I didn’t shoot a lot of photos during this time of our lives.

I waited until emancipation day – the day the cone came off – to resume my normal hundred-plus--dog-pictures-per-week habit.

It was the right thing to do.

We have a dog blog but the cone of indignity was plenty to deal with. You know, doggie HIPPA and all.

My baby doxie apres surgery. From his good side. Photo: (c) Barb Ayers, DogDairy.org

His head zipper slowly melted, from angry raised red skin, to flat scalp.

I clipped the stitches out myself with tools from my own personal disasters.

Doodle was a rather patient patient, which is so unlike the humans of my family.

Another eight stitches swam beneath the surface of his little forehead, and they’d dissolve on their own in another month, vet lady said.

I can’t breathe until biopsy results come back.

I can’t breathe, just thinking about it.

The elephant on his head.

In the room.

The surgery.

How quickly things can change.

Fear.

The Big C.

Doodle, Christmas 2017, after flying with me to his grandpa and grandma’s. Here, living with the shadow of cancer - before elephant surgery. Photo: Barb Ayers, DogDiary.org

Before that bad year, it was four surf dogs on board - including me. Photo: (c) Barb Ayers, DogDiary.org

Phone call, please don't take me back to last year when my old blind dog, Dude, got sick and never recovered.  

I miss my Dude, surfing life, and surfing waves with our Surf Dog Diaries family.

Even after losing one eye, then two.

Surfing with glaucoma. Cancer. And Alzheimer’s.

I miss my Elvis, proud basset nose rider on my surfboard. Seeing Eye dog for his blind brother. And me.

Since that crappy year of dog disasters, we’re still trying to find our Mojo, Doodle and I.  

Trying to act like the house isn’t painfully empty of another 40 toes, tap dancing when the food bowl calls.

Surfing with one dog, not three.

But after the adjustment period, the grieving and the trying-to-act-normal-again, I think Doodle is secretly happy to earn the top dog spot.

He lived in the shadow of the basset boys.  

He has now expanded to fill the void.

He shows me the way through grief – without blinking a stitched-up eye.

Now, no more fast-growing tumor that threatened to take over his head, and our lives, secretly ruining Christmas.

No more elephants. His or mine.  Doodle’s only six, too young for cancer. Right?

My sweet son. Photo: (c) Barb Ayers, DogDiary.org

RING, RING!  The dreaded vet call came today. Biopsy results. Heart in throat moments until the vet spoke….

“A sebaceous adenoma, nothing to worry about. Should not recur or grow back. It’s all good news!”

But I read up on it –

“Adenomas are a cutaneous condition characterized by a slow-growing tumor usually presenting as a pink, flesh-colored, or yellow nodule”.

Hmm, that’s weird, I thought the elephant on his head was grey….

And Doodle’s tumor grew from zero to one-half-inch in less than a month, which is both fast and huge on a four-inch doxie brain.

His tumor was also not slow growing. What does that mean?

Google said, “Adenomas are not significant on their own, however may be associated with a genetic condition that predisposes individuals to cancer and particularly colorectal cancer.”

Which begs the question; do they do doxie colonoscopies these days?

OK. So we’re back to fake normal. Totally inappropriate thoughts.

Whew!

A couple of years ago, the biopsy wasn’t so rosy for my blind dog Dude.

He had bad cancer that spread.

Still, we cheated death until the very end.

He never stopped living.

We stole another two years out of his cancer’s life.

My brave little doxie walks the plank of life…. Photo: (c) Barb Ayers, DogDiary.org

THE MORAL OF OUR STORY IS THIS:

NO MATTER WHAT THE DIAGNOSIS – WE’RE IN IT TOGETHER. DON’T LET FEAR STOP LIFE. OR DRIVE LIFE.SURF THAT BIOPSY INSTEAD.


-The end-

Part 1 - Elephant is in the room Part 2 - Groundhog Day - no more shadows? Part 3 - Just a little Nip/Tuck - on my doxie
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Doodle and the cone, a week after after head surgery- his eyes were back to normal. Photo: (c) Barb Ayers, DogDiary.org

In the first two episodes, I discover a fast growing tumor (the elephant) on my doxie’s head, at Christmas. After denial, we’re headed to surgery. We don’t know if it’s malignant.

Brain surgery on my baby.

It was yesterday.

But the lobotomy was really mine.

It happened in the O.R. of an OR country vet.

It might as well have been Hollywood – the end result was a Nip, Tuck on Doodle’s melon. His dog face. His brain.

Just a little face-lift. On my boy toy doxie.

He came home, shaking. Poor baby was fragile. He had hollow eyes and looked like he’d seen the devil.

Glistening eyes guy (my nickname for him, when I adopted him at the shelter) was on the edge of resignation.

OWWW!!!! Poor baby! Brain zipper healing, but hard to look at. Photo: (c) Barb Ayers, DogDiary.org

One eye was sort of square shaped, not round. Not liquid lava. Not his usual sparkle face.

He didn’t want to drink water.

None of the usual swagger.

That “I own the world” attitude, shriveled.

His sweet little red carpet face was scarred, with big, black stitches taking up half of his forehead, which altogether measured maybe four inches tops, on his biggest brain day.

The square eye was only half open and the good eye, sagging. Gone was the light.

But then he saw me, square eye and all.

All nose, tiny forehead. Not a great set up for forehead surgery. Photo: (c) Barb Ayers, DogDiary.org

He bounded down the hall

(well, at least those last ten feet) at the vet’s…

… like a greyhound…

…. and my eyes lit up, too…

… arms wide open….

… running to each other…

… like a slow motion movie scene...

… those… last… ten… feet… before….

REUNITED – AND IT FEELS SO GOOD!!!!!

And it was…

“SO, WAY BETTER THAN WHEN YOU COME HOME FROM WORK!”

… like that Cone wasn’t there and the head zipper was no big deal and nothing had ever happened back there behind that lobby door, down the dark hallway, in the OR O.R., under anesthesia.

I picked him up, like a fragile newborn (so, not my norm.) Usually it’s….

Get yer butt up here right now, my little rug rat!

Smother mother.

But Mother Theresa, that thankfully I was instead, cradled him gently in her arms.

It was the longest eight hours… in history…

…between the time I dropped Doodle off…

… and that longest day…

… that day I worried and paced.

Finally, late afternoon the vet called…

“It went well. He’s groggy, but he’ll be ready for pick up at 5:30.”

… Another eternity…. hours and minutes and seconds… and split seconds later until…

REUNITED – AND IT FEELS SO GOOD!!!!!

It was a black hole of time and worry and nervous energy and angst and irrational thinking.

Hopefully I didn’t balance any checkbooks during that time, or write important dossiers on world peace.

And of course, not a wink last night.

Fits and starts, for the last few weeks, since I booked the surgery.

I was so afraid to hurt my little zipper head, but I needed to share our heartbeats, chest to chest, like puppies.

In a lobby full of people.

Hey, they’re dog moms and dads. They know.

But it was such an intimate moment; ideally no one’s watching.

I pressed him close (OK, maybe I crushed him to me…)

I was there for him.

He was there for me.

One big, long moment of silence.

Time stood still.

With so much to say, in so few words.

As only a dog can do.

While I paid about a thousand bucks to bust him out of that happy/sad, awful/hopeful place.

Dearly departed Elvis at the vets. Photo: (c) Barb Ayers, DogDiary.org

That place that could change his life, his fate, his future.

And mine.

So easily.

Nice people. I am SO THANKFUL they are there.

But it’s a dirty little secret that all vets know; that I learned working at a zoo – animals don’t like, or trust, their vet.

Avoid, hide, avoid, hide!

This is not their happy place. Or yours.

Twin bassets Elvis n Dude with double donuts. The new cone, with less shame. But it only works when you don’t have a head injury. Doodle here is working on his therapy dog skills a few years ago. Photo: (c) Barb Ayers, DogDiary.org

Shame and cones and please make it stop

Doodle needed pain pills four times a day. I hoped he wouldn’t become an addict - there are some holic tendencies in our genes.

Now, antibiotics were urgent, too.

He couldn’t go outside, he couldn’t get wet or dirty.

What does a dog do, without wet and dirty?

A dog that lives to surf with me, that can’t get wet?

Heck, I can’t live without getting dirty. Isn’t that the whole point? Hence my surf spinster lifestyle, surfing with dogs, well into my 50’s. When normal people know better.

In the surgery scuffle, Doodle had dental work, too.

Poor baby had a front tooth pulled. He couldn’t chew.

I had to feed him soft food, like a geezer.

Might as well add a diaper while we’re at it.

The indignity of it all.

Speaking of…. The Cone of Shame. Closing in, like a vice – squeezing down on your joy, your independence, your ego, and your happy-go-lucky-doggie-attitude.

Your ability to cope.

To surf. Anything. Everything.

Doodle’s brothers Dude and Elvis a few years back after they had tandem surgeries. Photo: (c) Barb Ayers, DogDiary.org

Dudes and Cones

No dog I ever knew, not even my Dude, the Dog of Dignity Despite Dire – could handle the Cone Of Shame.

Dude took losing eyes and other body parts in stride and I have never met a braver soul.

But that Cone deeply pissed him off.

Which was how I knew he’d come back after surgery. Getting pissed off at a cone makes perfect sense.

Poor baby Doodle was barely holding on. Post anesthesia, my stud muffin doxie that normally owns the surfboard, was fragile and listless.

It hurt to look at him.

My Doodle, apres brain surgery. Photo: (c) Barb Ayers, DogDiary.org

I hand fed him food and pain pills.

He shook violently, even under heavy covers.

I flattened him against my body and my heat filled him up and my heartbeat ticked along with his.

Tia, the cat, flattened right in there too, purring.

Heartbeat syncing up, 3:1.

Her fuzzy fur coated one side of the doxie. I was the other half. After about an hour, my soft-oozy-white-middle-of-the-Oreo-cookie baby dog finally fell asleep.

We curled up and stayed in bed and watched bad TV - murder mysteries on desert islands, secret life of pets, sappy romances.

And we spooned up together like it was good TV and all that bad stuff in the real world couldn’t get in. Like bed was our safe place. Home.

It was nothing but that torrential Oregon rain and grey of January and that bad stuff was laughable on TV -- far, far away; outside the warm and fogged-up windows. Spooned up with this tiny dog of mine and an obese cat and this big ‘ol Cone that we all tried to ignore, like the elephant in the room.

And the laptop that lived in bed with us and our other bff was there, spooning with us too - Netflix.

Old Blue, our creaky historic farmhouse, sheltered us from the storm.

We could hear our quail friends, calling outside. Just like normal.

Vet lady’s post-op instructions said food and water in small amounts after anesthesia and fasting. Soft food only, every few hours. Feed, wait 30 minutes or more, then feed just a little more. Do not give a full meal.

We started with a handful. He wasn’t fooled. He knew I was short changing him. For once, I didn’t cave, because I am his mom and I need to care for him when he can’t care for himself.

So we snuggled up and waited an hour. Then he got just a little more baby food, and he gulped down the antibiotic in a smoky pill pocket. And we rolled back to bed and he was out for good.

I drank a lot of wine for medicinal purposes and was so glad he finally checked out and slept the night away. All three of us did.

Doxie expandable

The vet had a hard time getting Doodle under. I know that feeling, it’s his special gift. Sparkle of joy. Life force energy. Way outweighs the dinky doxie.

When he first started traveling with me, carryon bag style on airplanes, I tried every pill they had to chill him out – anti anxiety medicines, mellow yellow homeopathic drops, doggie downers - nothing worked. I didn’t want him out; just slower.

Finally, I tried a quarter of Elvis’s old Tramadol pain pill – and, bingo! In small amounts, so he didn’t become a stoner - a statistic in the US opioid epidemic.

Drop that cone and walk away…. Doodle’s Emancipation Day! From his good side. Photo: (c) Barb Ayers, DogDiary.org

His inquisitive little brain and liquid eyes and proud barrel chest and curlicue tail usually weighs 16 pounds. But he was 18.8 at the vet’s today.

My baby is… Good God, he’s middle aged! 49 in dog years! How did that happen? Is he filling out in middle age, like the rest of us?

Did he get a little fatter this winter? Did the tumor make him gain weight? Was it too many Christmas snack sessions? Or was it my fault, after losing both bassets in one year, and spoiling my only remaining dog son?

Does Jenny Craig do doxies?

Life after surgery – a.k.a. three words:

BACK TO NORMAL (whatever that is)LIFE IS GOOD.

Brave little doxie faces his future. Walk the plank - and trust what’s at the other end. Photo: (c) Barb Ayers, DogDiary.org

There’s a but…

Biopsy sample to be tested for the Big C. Photo: (c) Barb Ayers, DogDiary.org

… well, everything except that nagging feeling…

… the gut-punch that won’t go away.

That terrifying ten day wait…

… to find out…

biopsy results.

- Continued- in Part 4, the finale, next week.

Part 1: Elephant in the room - on my baby doxie Part 2: Ground hog day - shadows lifting over doxie and me
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A miniseries, part 2

In part 1, last week: After that year of loss, I had one dog left. My doxie, Doodle. Next thing you know, an elephant grew on his head. A fast-growing tumor. At Christmas.

So, after some denial and procrastination…

knowing full well I had to be a grown up - and actually grow up….

I had the elephant in the room surgically removed.

From my doxie’s head.

It was last January and the vet cut it off of, and out of - my dinky doxie.

My snicker doodle poodle.

Doodle with a head zipper, post surgery. Photo: (c) Barb Ayers, DogDiary.org

My punkin’.

My nugget.

My long, low wiener with the thin, glossy red carpet on his back.

Glistening, expressive eyes.

The only dog I have left this year, after the worst of all my 50+ years on Planet Earth. 

Doodle is the only dog to wrap his paws around my neck, and lean in close as if to whisper some secret-something as I’m propped up in bed. I’m sipping coffee and fiddling around on the laptop, trying to wake up, trying to write our dog blog.

And then, BOOM! The magical moment – the dog kid hug!

The most wonderful way to start your day.

Life begins again.

Doxification!

The cat should be in charge.

Tia stands guard over Doodle, post surgery. Photo: (c) Barb Ayers, DogDiary.org

Tia presides over the bed and sees those hugs – “so un couth – so un-catty! “

But she’s cool. And warm. She’s a soft and fuzzy presence in our lives.

She does the full-body crush – “just a little pressure,” but in a good way.

Her bone-shaking bass audio, the kitty vibro-purr leaf blower- passing- snow- blower- in- the- night.

She is our anchor. She took over that role after Elvis passed away.

What happened to the scaredy cat, so terrified when I brought her home from the rescue place? It took her two full years to get used to our house.

Now she’s head dudette of the family.

Maybe she would have booked the doxie brain surgery much sooner that I did.

Not, like me, bag him up and take him on a plane under the seat back to our old hometown at Christmas to visit the human family, like nothing was wrong with his head – or mine.

What am I, the middle-aged, middle child here? Non-Alpha in my own home?

Step away from the doxie.

The cat of the house is in charge.

Doodle and the cone. Looking ahead…. Photo:(c) Barb Ayers, DogDiary.org

The second elephant in the room - was mine

The other elephant, the biopsy of the first, took its toll on me while we waited to hear if that grey tough-skinned hard knob of a growth on his head – the brain elephant - was malignant.

Or had grown through his tiny skull and thin skin… into his actual grey matter.

They say, always, ALWAYS get growths removed from the head of your dog quickly – since it can so easily grow into the skull and all the good stuff beyond. I read it on the Internet, so it must be true.

I didn’t need that Internet fact in my own brain, that’s for sure. That’s why I froze.

I’m not proud of that, mind you.

In theory, I am supposed to be good in emergencies, what with the nickname Disaster Girl and all.

I am that person you, and your County, hopes you never need. Because that means the worst possible thing has happened to your community. I am Emergency Manager for Hood River County.

Which is a misnomer, really; I don’t do emergencies – only disasters.

Clearly I suck at emergencies. Not cool-headed, cool-skinned – reptilian enough.

Cops and fire guys and 911 dispatchers I work with, easily juggle DV (domestic violence,) code 3 (lights and siren) fire and police emergencies, high speed chases, meth heads and MVC’s (multi vehicle crashes) while nibbling chocolate chip cookies and texting their friends.

Not me! I am a basset. Soft and fuzzy.

But, make no mistake, I can ride the ups and downs - I am a surf dog. I managed the Hood River County Emergency Operations Center (EOC) for a month during the Eagle Creek Fire. Together with so many dedicated people, we rode that mother of a fire, until it dwindled out.

The big C… … so common in our lives. In dog life. Why is that and can it please just stop?

Groundhog Day… the chance to start over. Will we emerge victorious?

Love so pure and easy and free, from my doxie boy. Who was, for a while, my Elephant Man.

I was crushed by doubt and fear.

I was clingy through stitches and waiting periods.

Clinging to hope.

Asking for life to go easy on us.

Praying like life depended on it. Oh, that’s right – it did.

Praying that even if it was originally malignant, the great life force in the sky would quite simply change those biopsy results, change my doxies’ fate - and return a happy ending instead.

The 2nd elephant in the room was the biopsy.

The longest 10 days in the history of the planet while I waited for that elephant to land.

Or sit and stay, like a dog. 

Or go.

That shrill phone call of dread…  from the vet.

With biopsy results.

(continued next week)

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The Gorge cliffs, facing west, from the kitchen window. Looking down river, toward Hood River, OR. Photo: (c) Barb Ayers, DogDiary.org

Our front yard view - Coyote Wall syncline, over the Columbia River. Photo: (c) Barb Ayers, DogDiary.org

An old friend came to visit this week - snow. He came in hard and fast one night as we slept. We awoke to a magical morning in the front yard.

Snow is fun to surf on.

It’s fun to porpoise through, if you have four legs.

And it gives our old friend, yard art - Rusty, the recycled toaster dog - a whole new look.

In snow and sun, Rusty hangs with his bff, Tiki Dude, by the Surf Dog Diaries surf shack.

Here’s a day in the life of Oregonians Rusty and Tiki, on a snow dog day.

Surf shack of writer dogs, Surf Dog Diaries. Photo: (c) Barb Ayers, DogDiary.org

Tiki and Rusty on a sunshiny day Photo: (c) Barb Ayers, DogDiary.org

Tiki and Rusty, our yard art friends. Photo: (c) Barb Ayers, DogDiary.org

Rusty, recycled toaster dog. Photo: (c) Barb Ayers, DogDiary.org

RUSTY THE RECYCLED TOASTER DOG'S BLOG - HERE
Snow day - dancing birds, recycle dog & tiki dude. Happy bird's eye view - YouTube

I mean, wow. We get to live here! Photo: (c) Barb Ayers, DogDiary.org

Our dinky dog town, Mosier, takes on a magical look on days like these.

Time for a snow angel! And a snow dog session!

Barb n Doodle

Surf Dog Diaries, DogDiary.org

Related posts, from our big snow year here - Snowmeggadon:

Snowmeggadon - in the front yard! Snowmeggadon: Our hearts caved in when the roof did Smoke on the water!
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There are those sweet and selfless beings. The only ones so incredibly happy that you’re stuck at home, miserably sick. They aren’t your people. But you are theirs.

I’m not suitable for public consumption. I can’t get out of bed. Can’t talk. Or walk. Or breathe. Bed bound.

The Mount Hood peak of wadded tissues, volcanic overflow up and over the trash can. Wadded papers stacked up like a week’s worth of writer’s block per day.

Only worse – way worse.

Crumpled tissues with parts of me wrapped around them. Not given, but taken. Expelled. Violently removed. Sneezing and coughing and nose blowing. No, not blowing, more like blow torching. Body shaking violent eruptions. Mt Hood going off. Or is it St. Helens?

Overflowing trashcans; a four Kleenex box day.

Way worse than textbook virus. Not nose running, or sniffles or coughing. All of that, and more, on steroids. Must be why the doc gave me steroids, to counteract my body’s bizarre over response to a flu bug attack. It's spring - allergy season, too.

Body shaking, rattling, racking, uncontrollable coughs that tear into lungs and passageways. Ripped open, against their will. Bruising cells, now flooding with viral gunk. Disgusting junk. Way worse than baby poo, diarrhea on diapers, normal people call rough stuff.

Profoundly ill. Inhuman conditions. The kind another human can’t tolerate.

The kind a sick human would never ask another human to.

Alone in the house. Sick house - the kind no normal being enters voluntarily. A good friend drops off homemade soup, but understandably leaves it on the porch. This is not a moment of intimacy people like to share.

In comes the doxie.For better for worse. In sickness and in health.

Nurse doxie Doodle. Photo: (c) Barb Ayers, DogDairy.org

Burrowing in, elbowing along, dragging his stomach, inching up the bed, like sneaking up on prey. Pulling himself along the length of my body, from my toes up to my nose.

Jumps up to my head, propped up in bed. Wraps his arms around my neck, paws on skin. Looks deep into my eyes - his, glistening bright. Mine, dull and dim.

One quick lick to my cheek. Not an annoyingly long submissive thing I couldn’t stand, even on a good day. Just a kiss. Not noticing I’m sick as a dog. Or maybe just because?

My doxie noses in, under the tangle of blankets and pillows and body parts. Finding an opening. under covers, through the gunk and the wracked, soggy, disgusting mass of former humanity curled up like a dog. Finds a crevice that he can ooze into that will expand out to let him press full body against mine, between legs and stomach and sharing soft, warm body heat like a doxie hot water bottle, soothing and sweet as if sweet was even an option right now. I’d go for tolerable or even one percent less than inhumane. And then sweet noses in.

My son, my Doodle. Full body contact as if I’m not really a leper. Pressing his cute little shiny orange butt up against my jammies. Curly q tail wrapping around my thigh like even it wants so desperately to embrace me.

And now we’re snoring together. Wow, sweet snoring at last. I can’t sleep, so any catnap will do. Even 10 minutes of rest is a welcome change of fate.

Cutest little nuzzle buddy ever! Doodle. Photo: (c) Barb Ayers, DogDiary.org

Why do they call it sick as a dog?

Back in the 1700’s, people would just let homeless dogs die in the street. They were not welcome in neighborhoods or homes – never in beds, not for centuries. Nor were they given medical attention. Outcasts. Bad luck was blamed on dogs, sick and wandering the streets. In misery.

Seems like we’ve come full circle here.

Now I’m the miserable one, the down dog he’s catering to. He’s the one I adopted off the streets. Or is it the other way around? If this isn’t medical attention, I don’t know what is.

I love my dog. So profoundly glad he loves me too.

And when he’s worked his magic on me, that cat takes over baby-sitting duties.

And at some point in the distant future, I’ll be suitable for human interaction.

Related stories:

Elvis is at the vet - is there any more helpless feeling? 

I'm a worried sick dog mom

My majestic blind surf dog is finally better

Coping with pet loss - somewhere over the rainbow  and We lost Dude

Coping with disasters - love, loss and oil train derailments

Eagle Creel Fire - hoping for the best, preparing for the worst

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Surfing doxie & friends - Cowabunga Christmas parade - YouTube
Surf dogs are back - surfing the streets - in 2018 Hood River, Oregon holiday parade. Merry Christmas from the dogs - and dog lovers - surf/ windsurf / SUP pups of Surf Dog Diaries, www.DogDiary.orgCowabunga Christmas!

Celebrate the day - the gift of life - love, and friendship.

From our dog loving home, to yours.

Barb and Doodle

DogDiary.org

Doodle in last year’s parade:

Reindeer in training - the Grinch steps in - funny dog video - wait for it - YouTube
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Surf Dog Diaries in the Hood River Holiday parade. Left to right: Kelsey the Christmas tree girl, Barb and Doodle “windsurf” the streets, Dasher, the 7-foot weiner dog on the roof of Red, the truck. Photo (c): Robb Severdia, DogDiary.org

‘Tis the season!

Ride along with us - Surf Dog Diaries - in our annual Christmas parade in the Columbia River Gorge. Together, we’re surfing the streets in Hood River, Oregon.

Doxie Doodle and I (Barb Ayers) surfin’ the streets 12/7/18. Photo: (c) Terri Vann, DogDiary.org

The 2018 Hood River Holiday parade. Photo: (c) Blane Franger, BeautifulHoodRiver.com

We surf dogs love our home town, tiny town - Hood River. A.k.a. Who-Ville. Photo: (c) Barb Ayers, DogDiary.org

Surf dogs’ 2018 Hood River Holiday parade float. Photo: (c) Barb Ayers, DogDiary.org

Doodle on his windsurf ride. Photo: (c) Barb Ayers, DogDiary.org

Surf dogs - human and canine. Photo: (c) DogDiary.org

Back of the windsurf rig - license plates from our three stomping grounds. Photo: (c) Barb Ayers, DogDiary.org

Dog Beach. Dog River. Dog Mountain.

We surf dogs have lived (and surfed) in three states, searching for life’s perfect wave - Dog Beach (California,) Dog River (Oregon) and Dog Mountain (Washington).

Yes, those are real places, all important to the history of the wild, wild west. And surf dogs everywhere - man and animal.

By the way, Dog River and Dog Mountain are neighbors here, across the Columbia River where we live and surf.

Surfing the streets

We started surfing streets in parades in San Diego’s Ocean Beach back in the 1990’s, promoting our old home beach, Dog Beach.

Back then, my first surf dog, Howdy Doody and I marched with the O.B. Geriatric Precision SurfBoard Drill Team - an OB institution, and a killer-good surf club.

OB geriatrics were surfers that were 30 or older. We carried surfboards in parades.

At the time I was OB Town Council President. Howdy and I were co chairs of the OBTC Dog Beach Committee, responsible for fixing up America’s first leash free beach.

The parade tradition carried on, after the OB Geriatric surf club retired for good, and after we moved to Oregon.

Today, doxie Doodle is the fourth generation Ayers family surf dog to ride waves, and parades, with me.

All four of my surf dogs were low riders- three bassets and a doxie. All were rescue mutts. No pedigree necessary.

Up on the roof! A 7-foot weiner dog. “Doxie Dasher - up, up and away….”

Dasher in this year’s parade. Photo: (c) Barb Ayers, DogDiary.org

Windsurfing right behind - 16-pound doxie Doodle...

My dog son, surf doxie Doodle, and his rad rig. Photo: (c) Barb Ayers, DogDiary.org

Surfing the streets- downtown Hood River, on Oak Street. The Surf Dog Diaries crew. Left to right: Tree girl Kelsey Jacobson, Barb and Doodle and dog mom Stacey Castleberry. Photo: (c) Robb Severdia, DogDiary.org

Christmas Tree girl Kelsey Jocobson. Photo: (c) Barb Ayers, DogDiary.org






Who’s that green “Who” of Who-Ville?

Kelsey Jacobson, our next door neighbor girl, dressed as the Christmas Tree in National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation movie.

On her shoulder is the cat that tore down the Griswold’s Christmas tree, tangled in lights.




This is small town community spirit.

Here, we all come out to celebrate the holidays - together - at the parade. Or ANY day!

Together, we are all the Whos in Who-Ville.

As the parade ends, the countdown to Christmas begins… with kids and adults chanting…

Countdown to Hood River tree lighting 2018 - YouTube

… Then lights fill the sky -

and songs fill the streets - carols filling homes and hearts all around…

All the Whos in Who-Ville. Hood River Christmas parade & Tree Lighting 12/7/2018. Photo: (c) Blane Franger, BeautifulHoodRiver.com

From Doctor Seuss’s How the Grinch Stole Christmas:

“Every Who down in Who-Ville, the tall and the small,was singing — without any presents at all!”

“… and then the true meaning of Christmas came through… and the Grinch found the strength of ten Grinches, plus two!

“Maybe Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store - maybe Christmas perhaps, means something more….”

The front window view the morning after the parade. Holiday magic on our Columbia Gorge cliffs! Photo (c) Barb Ayers, DogDiary.org

The Morning After the parade - a Christmas visitor…

Who-Ville gets its first gift of snow - decorating hills and homes… rivers and forests, mountains and roads…

Doodle and I at the parade, lit up by snowflakes.

Photo: (c) Terri Vann, DogDiary.org

Don’t stop believing!

Snow magic - Santa magic - Grinch magic.

The spirit of Who-Ville.

It can happen any time, any season, any day.

Give with your whole heart - just like your best friend dog does - every moment of every day.

JOY TO YOUR TWO FEET AND FOUR PAWS!

Barb & Doodle Ayers

Surf Dog Diaries

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While we wouldn’t say that cleanliness and pets are related to one another, to think that having an animal inside your home will make it dirty is a huge mistake.

They might not have the same standards as we do when it comes to neatness, but pets care about us and if you train them right and take certain steps, you can certainly keep your living space very tidy.

If odors and filth are your biggest grievances and you want to find a way to make your rooms smell of fresh flowers rather than wet fur, take a look at some of our tips that will help you keep your home nice and clean.

Start by finding a good vacuum and lint roller

Fur is probably the first thing you’ll want to tackle if you have a pet that sheds a lot and tends to leave hairs seemingly everywhere.

A good vacuum can really make a big difference, and you want to get the kind of model that you can easily whip out every few days or once a week to deal with all the fur. Look for a vacuum that uses a canister that’s easy to empty instead of utilizing bulky bags, and try to find something light and cordless with enough suction power to clean both rugs and furniture.

Another thing you want to invest in is a lint roller—have several of these lying around so you could quickly brush away fallen hairs before heading out.

Get an air purifier

It’s important to air out your house by opening the windows in the morning and in the evening, but instead of using fresheners that could potentially be toxic and harmful both for human and animal health, rely on a purifier. Placing a good air purifier in your living room will neutralize odors and even help filter dander and other allergy-causing particles. Get something that has quality filters to make sure it runs with efficiency and you’ll make your life a lot easier.

Bathe and brush your pet

It’s very hard to keep your home clean when your pet is dirty, so make sure never to neglect their own hygiene. Smaller pets can be washed in a sink or a basin, and some will need to be washed in a bathtub. How frequently you need to bathe them will depend on several factors: their coat length and thickness, whether they spend time outside or not, whether they have a skin condition, their grooming habits, and their activity levels. Furless animals such as tortoises don’t need washing unless it’s to deal with a skin condition, the same goes for very tiny pets such as guinea pigs or hamsters.

The rule of thumb is to generally wash your pet when they start to smell, but it’s best you consult the vet so they could give you more specifics. Besides washing, you should also brush cats and dogs regularly to keep their coat shiny and prevent fur from getting all over the place.

Pick up the right litter

If you have a cat, quality litter is another thing to have in your home to help you neutralize odors. Find the kind of cat litter that will be easy to scoop and won’t track all over your floors, and clean it out regularly.

Wash the toys

Pet toys are a great way to keep the animal entertained, but they do catch scents and can end up stinking to high heavens if you don’t wash them. You don’t have to do it often, but do give them at least an occasional rinse. The same goes for food bowls.

Invest in throw blankets

Rather than having to wash and scrub the whole couch, it’s easier to use throw blankets to keep your furniture safe. You can also spread them over your sofas and even your bed in case you allow your pet to climb it. Throw blankets can easily be put into the washing machine, so find some stylish ones to match your décor.

Have an old towel handy

When your dog pads inside after a walk and a roll in the mud, you want to have a towel there to wipe their paws before they drag the dirt all over your carpet. Keeping them clean this way is a good way to make sure they stay healthy and it’s a good opportunity to check for ticks on their skin.

A towel is also handy for other pets, too—top wipe them down after a bath, or to help clean up any accidents.

Feed them well

Bad pet food is one of the biggest culprits for nasty odors. Feed them only with high-quality foods, avoid giving them table scraps, and make sure to check how your pet responds to a certain diet before pushing them to keep eating it.

They’re worth it

A little dirt is a very small price to pay given everything our pets do for us. Use these tips to keep your home fresh and clean, and enjoy being a responsible pet parent.

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