Friday, December 15, 2017

Dear Santa

Dear Santa,
My name is Norma Jean Portie and I need to explain a few things. I try really hard to be a good dog but sometimes I forget, or things just don't work out the way I thought they would. The past couple weeks have been really hard and Mom kept telling me that you were watching, but last night she got mad and said that Santa is skipping our house this year because I was bad.
You see it all started about a month ago. Every spring when the mud comes, Dad puts straw in the yard to help keep our feet clean. This year he decided to get a head start and he bought straw around Halloween and spread it in the yard. I went out and played with the others but suddenly I got really, really itchy and I couldn't stop scratching. I scratched and chewed on myself all day and all night. Mom and Dad would yell at me to stop scratching, but I couldn't stop. Mom gave me allergy pills but I still couldn't stop scratching and I was starting to get sores from all the scratching, so we went to visit Dr B.
He told us that I'm allergic to a little mite that lives in straw. Other years when we've had straw, it was later in the year and there had been cold weather that killed the mites but this year it wasn't cold and the mites were biting me. Dr B gave me some strong allergy pills and Mom started giving me some baths with medicated shampoo. The shampoo had to stay on my skin for ten minutes, so I had to stand in the bathtub all wet and soapy for ten minutes. Do you know how long ten minutes is?? It's almost forever. 
I couldn't go in the back yard where the straw is, so Mom walked me in the front yard with Fudge and I had to eat upstairs with him too. I couldn't run and play with the rest of my pack. But after a month of all this, I'm feeling so much better. I'm not itchy and my sores have all healed up. Then we had some cold weather that maybe killed the straw mites. So a couple days ago Dad took me into the back yard to run with my sisters. It was great to be free again and I didn't scratch when I came inside. So the next day he took me out again and when he wasn't looking I rolled in the straw. Mom was not happy. She picked all the pieces of straw out of my coat and talked to herself while she was doing it. It's not good when she talks to herself out loud. So now I can still go in the yard but they watch me and yell if I start to roll. Sorry Santa.

Next is the blanket thing. You see, Mom has this soft, warm pink blanket that she likes to keep on the couch in the living room. She puts it over her feet at night when she's knitting and sometimes she takes a nap and pulls it up around her. When Mom isn't using her blanket she let's us curl up on it and it's so comfy. The best time to snooze on the blanket is just after Mom takes it out of the dryer when it's still nice and warm. The other day I saw Mom take it out of the dryer and carry it into the living room. Then she went to do something in the kitchen. I thought this was my chance to beat the others to the couch, so I ran fast and jumped onto the couch. How did I know that Mackey was already curled up in the blanket? She's pretty small and I didn't see her there. I didn't really look  but there was plenty of room for both of us.  Mackey let out a scream like I was killing her. I hardly touched her. Mom came flying in and told me to get down and said Mackey was there first. Honest, Santa, there was room for both of us. Mackey just doesn't like to share.
When I got down from the couch, I didn't notice that my foot got caught in Mom's yarn. Really, I didn't notice. I know not to touch Mom's yarn. Sydney is the only one who doesn't understand the rules about Mom's yarn. I dragged the yarn all thru the living room into the kitchen and Mom wasn't too happy about it. I didn't mean to do it and it didn't hurt the bird she was making,honest it didn't. See...
The really bad part happened yesterday. Mom spent all afternoon making Christmas cookies. Some are for you, Santa. She got kind of tired, so she put them on the kitchen table to decorate them. She made six or seven dozen cookies and they smelled delicious. She even put sprinkles on them.

 Then it was time for dog dinner, so we all went to the garage to eat. We had good dinner with fish stew and broccoli on it. After dinner we went back upstairs and Mom and Dad went to fold some laundry and talk about stuff. I only meant to look at the cookies, honest, but they smelled so good. I grabbed one and it tasted wonderful. There were a lot of them, so I didn't think Mom would miss a couple, so I started eating them and I couldn't stop. I knocked a few on the floor and Fudge and Sebastian gobbled them up. Then Mom walked in the room and yelled my name, NORMA JEAN!!!! I got down really fast but I took one last cookie with me, a snowman with sprinkles.
 Mom looked at her cookies and told Dad that I'd eaten about a dozen cookies with help from the boys. Dad said she shouldn't have left them on the table, but I don't think that helped my situation. She put all the cookies in a container with a top and told me over and over that I was a bad girl. Then she said that I should wear the naughty shirt. I can't, it's too little. 
Last night after the cookie incident, Mom said that Santa would probably skip our house this year because of me. I'm really sorry, Santa. I try to be good. Sometimes no matter how hard I try, it just doesn't work. Please don't skip us Santa, the rest of the pack has been pretty good and I'll try harder.
We love you Santa.
Norma Jean

Saturday, December 9, 2017

What The Heck Is An Ort?

What do you do with your orts? I keep mine in a jar.

OK, like most people I only recently learned that I have orts. The dictionary definition of ort is a scrap. Any crafts person has lots and lots of orts. I have yarn scraps  and embroidery thread scraps and sewing thread scraps. Those pesky little ends that we cut off when we finish. As much as I tried to keep them under control till I could throw them out, some always escaped and wound up on the carpet or tucked in the chair cushions or even on the dogs. I wore a few too.

Then one day  a fellow knitter mentioned her ort jar and I had to look it up to see what she was talking about. Then everything changed. I found a tall glass jar. Any container will work but glass allows me to see all the pretty colors I've used and reminds me of certain projects that were fun or meaningful.
I try to keep my ort jar going for a full year, then at the end of that time, I move my orts to a suet feeder in the tree so that the birds can use the scraps in building their nests. Birds are attracted to bright colors so it's fun to see what they choose first.
This year my jar started to overflow before the end of the year so we filled two suet feeders and now I can start over with an empty jar for the new year.
Recycling those threads seems like a better idea than throwing them in the trash. What do you do with your orts?

Monday, November 27, 2017

The Best Day Of The Year

Hi Everybody,
We have a new favorite day. It's called "Black Friday" and it's probably the very best day ever invented. I don't know why it's called "Black Friday" except that it's probably named after black dogs, who we all know are very special animals. In our pack all the dogs except me are at least partly black and Bailey is all black. I'm a chocolate dog and well, everyone knows how special chocolate is. It's so special that peeps won't even share with us.
Anyway, last Friday was "Black Friday" and I suspected something was going to happen because Mom was sitting on the couch drinking her first cup of coffee and reading her emails. Then she said "hmmmmmm". It was one of those good hums like something good was in her mail.

Then this afternoon while we were eating our dinner the big truck man came to the door. Look what he brought.
We all wondered what was in the boxes but Mom and Dad seemed to know. After we ate, they opened the boxes. Look at this!!!!
Each of those boxes has ten pounds of biscuits and there's a jar of little biscuits for training and two bottles of dipping sauce, I mean salmon oil.
Who wants to come party with us? See why we love "Black Friday"?
Your pal, Fudge

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Our Special Holiday Dinner # Chewy Influencer

Hi Everybody,
Thursday is one of the human holidays that we dogs just love, full of great smells and tastes. This year Mom cooked the turkey on Wednesday so that she could just concentrate on the other good things on Thursday. Then on Thursday she made an apple pie along with all the other stuff. So you can imagine how good the house smelled for two whole days.

She told us that we'd have a special dinner on Wednesday and boy, she was right about that. Here's what she did. First she took some of the pumpkin cubes out of the freezer and boiled them till they were soft. 
Then she mashed them.
She cooked some rice and some spinach and stirred them all together.
Next she opened this box that Chewy sent us. It's Dr Tim's Natural Turkey Chips
 Mom was a little worried about ordering these this month because a 4 ounce container doesn't go far when there are nine of us eating, but this time she was pleasantly surprised. Look how many chips are in this box! There's plenty for all of us. 
 These chips are made of 100% USDA inspected turkey hearts. They're rich in all the B vitamins and they taste good too.
 Mom chopped up a bunch of the chips into littler pieces and added them to the pumpkin, spinach and rice mixture. She was happy because this stuff is full of vitamins and minerals that are good for us like beta carotene, iron, and all the vitamin letters.
She put a big spoonful of this mix on our kibbles and stirred them up and boy, did we ever love this dinner. The best part is that she made enough for two days and says she'll make more next week.

All of our tummies were very happy that night and we knew what we were thankful for the next day. Tell your peeps about these turkey heart chips. Maybe you can try them next time you order from Chewy. It's really nice when something so good for you also tastes so good.
Chewy sent us this box of Dr Tim's Turkey Chips at no cost to us in exchange for our honest review.
Your pal, Fudge

Friday, November 24, 2017

The Big Number 5

Hi Everybody,
This has been such a busy week. We had vet visits and allergy attacks and a really good holiday and now you'll never guess what today is. Today is Sydney and Mackey's fifth birthday. It's hard to believe, isn't it? It seems like last week that those two noisy monsters got carried into the house for the first time.
This is our new birthday toy that Chewy sent us last month when my puppies had their birthday. Mom didn't want Mackey to tear it apart so now she keeps it especially for birthdays. When we hear it playing the birthday song, we know something good is about to happen.
Mom has been doing a lot of cooking this week and I'll tell you all about our holiday dinner in my next post, but this morning she made these. Cupcakes!!
After they sat around getting cool, she frosted them and then look what she did. She put sprinkles on them so we could have a real birthday party. She says now she remembers why she doesn't make cupcakes and next time she'll buy them all made. But I told her that these smell soooooo good. I sat in the kitchen all day just watching them and smelling that wonderful smell.
After our dinner today we each had a cupcake and Syd and Mack shared a second one. It's been a pretty good week.
 Your pal, Fudge

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Some Holiday Stress Relief # Chewy Influencer

Can you believe that it's holiday time again? Boy, the year goes by a whole lot faster than it did when I was a kid waiting for Santa to arrive. I swear the year was twice as long back then. But I know that Christmas is just around the corner because the Christmas cactus is in full  bloom again and it's never wrong.
Our holidays are pretty quiet because we're far away from family so it's just us and the dogs. I do know from past experience that the holidays can be stressful for the family pets. I remember one year when my sister's parrot perched on a branch of the tree and bit anyone who tried to retrieve him. He spent several days in the tree, flirting with the shiny ornaments. I had to leave before he was finally pulled out of the tree, so I don't know how he was extracted.

Then there was the year that my hermit crab got stressed by the holiday noise and decided to leave home. He crawled out of his shell and found that he could squeeze between thee bars of his cage in his naked state. He made a run for the front door and fortunately I spotted him before he got outside or got stepped on. The experience taught him that he could make a getaway if he left his shell behind and a whole new cage had to be constructed to keep him contained. Did you ever see a naked hermit crab?
There was the year that my dog Libby got up earlier than the rest of us and found the full stockings propped on the couch by Santa. She didn't know, or care, which one was hers and ate all the oranges, lifesavers and Hershey bars from all the stockings. The room was littered with soggy torn candy wrappers and she had an upset tummy for a couple days.
Another year my sister tied candy canes into the ribbons on all her packages. During the night Libby came downstairs and licked all the candy canes. All the packages were really sticky when we tried opening them.

Anyway, you get the idea. Holidays can be stressful. It sounds like my sister was the most stressed but pets can be, too. We have a super idea if your dog stresses over the holidays. Chewy sent us a wonderful product called Nutramax Cosequin Calm Chewable Tablets.
We originally tried these during the summer because Norma Jean has become noise phobic and reacts badly to thunder. The very first time we tried them we were amazed at her reaction. Instead of trembling and clawing at me during the storm, she fell asleep on her pillow and was calm.
We've used Calm a number of times since then on several of the dogs. We've used them for storms and for the sounds of gunfire during hunting season. We've used them when a couple dogs had injuries and were stressed. We  even used them when Norma Jean had an allergic response to something and was scratching and couldn't stop. The Calm pills allowed her to relax and sleep without scratching and chewing on herself. We have a friend who tried them on  her dog who is a nervous rider and they helped. These things are great!
I would suggest keeping a supply on hand if you're entertaining over the holidays. They might help Fido cope with extra people in the house. The main ingredients in Calm are extracts of magnolia and phillodendron, and l-theanine. Norma Jean and the others all like the taste and chew them up with no coaxing. I like the fact that they work. Dealing with an overly stressed dog tends to stress me, so this is a win-win.
One last thing. On my last post I introduced our new family members. It only took them part of the day to adjust to their new surroundings and introduce themselves to Norris. They're already chirping and tossing seeds all around. They also have names. I looked at them together and it seemed obvious, Summer and Winter. You can guess which is which.
Chewy sent us a bottle of Cosequin Calm at no cost to us in exchange for our honest opinion.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Making New Friends

Calder and Norris were very close. We think they may have been brothers who lived together their whole lives. Since the death of Stanley, they became even closer. On Monday afternoon Calder died. He hadn't been sick so we were all surprised, especially Norris. Since then I've become increasingly worried about him. He hasn't eaten, just sits on the top perch calling for his friend and looking all around. This morning when we uncovered him, he started calling for Calder again and we made a decision.

We were one of the first customers at the pet store this morning and took some time to pick out Calder's new friend. I chose a mostly white bird who seemed pretty active. I had only planned to get one bird, but the white one had a little yellow friend that stayed close to him at all times. So, of course, we got them both.
They squawked all the way home, but they're now sitting quiet as statues on the floor of the cage while Norris quietly observes them from above. If this goes as usual, they'll sit there for the rest of the day and possibly tomorrow before they all decide to check each other out and start getting used to their new home and family.

Stay tuned for names. I have a few ideas.