Monday, February 23, 2009

Holy Terrier - Day 5

The pup is slowly getting more tolerant of handling. He still is not crazy about being restrained. I took him to the grooming shop today in hopes of dropping him off for awhile, but they had only one groomer working and one dog coming in. Another day. He is certainly a valient little soul and doesn't mind trying new things. Housebreaking is still a disaster. Having never experienced the outdoors before last week, he has it all backwards. He thinks the bathroom is INSIDE. And with these temperatures, who can blame him?

Since we had a beautiful sunny day here in SE Michigan, he got to spend a little time outside playing with Ms. Rip. She's still not thrilled, but she puts up with him.

Being on the farm is hard work!

Today's Project - Wolf

I did this wolf painting on a black stoneware plate a few years ago and today put a signature on it. I have these neat acrylic enamel paints -- you have to bake em but it's not that big a deal. I want to start practicing with them some more.

Here is the eBay link.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Holy Terrier - Day 3

As the puppy gets more comfortable, he gets more fiesty. He hates to be restrained! I realized today that he's going to need work. He resents having his moutn opened and teeth handled, and screams when I touch his nails. He would be one of those dogs that is hellish to groom or take to the vet. So, we will be starting a new routine. I hold him on his back on my lap, and force him to just put up with all kinds of stuff.

His vision, I am learning, is a challenge. He will wander off toward a tree, thinking it's me. His ears perk up when I call him, and he tries to find me. He is cheery about the whole business. Today he started wandering away in the fresh snow, and I sent Rip after him. She bounded around him in a circle and came back. He tried to follow, but when she moved out of his field of view, he began to wander again. I noticed today he was beginning to use his nose, sniffing the air in an attempt to track us. I like this and will continue to encourage this seek and find behavior. I want him to stay close.

All the activity tired him out and this evening he snuggled up to Rip. To my surprise, she endured it... For a while!

Friday, February 20, 2009

Holy Terrier -- Day 2

I decide that the puppy needs muscle tone and should learn to navigate stairs. I put him a couple of steps down from the top and stand below him. Rippy waits at the top, to tempt him to climb. He promptly does a nose dive and tries to roll down the steps. I catch him and put him back. He sits there. He is stumped. Finally he turns around and tries to climb, but his hindquarters do not have the strength to boost him up even one step. I carry him up to the top, so he can climb up one step, and then I hold one of his back feet up a little bit. He pushes off and manages to scramble up, but it takes all his strength to do so.

Holy Cairn

Normally aloof and bossy with puppies, Rip borders on openly contemptuous. He is just way too active and ill-mannered for her taste. Rippy reminds me a lot of my old German shepherd Reva in some ways -- gentle, ladylike and innately maternal.

Puppy has a strange sort of head tic when I pick him up and hold him facing me. His head bobs, flipping down toward his shoulder, first in one direction, then the other. His eyes are black and they stare blankly without expression. When I talk to him, his ears perk up, but his eyes register nothing. His nose will twitch and he will sniff in my direction as his head wavers unsteadily, but it is almost as if he can't really focus on me, or doesn't get it. I decide to do this exercise with him often, just hold him up and talk to him, seeing if anyone is in there.

It might sound kind of funny, but this brings back memories of my little sis Amanda when she was a baby. Amanda has Down's syndrome, and when she was really small she couldn't hold her head up. Her neck muscles were so weak that her head would kind of flop and roll after just a few moments' effort. My dad took her every day, and stood her on his lap, holding her hands, and would rock her in the rocking chair and sing to her. This forced her neck to work and before too much time, she could hold her head up.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Holy Terrier

"Do you want a puppy?" My friend Lori grinned at me wickedly. I was at the Morgan Horse gala last weekend and Lori, who breeds Cairn terriers, was there. She explained that one pup from her last litter was born with a hole in the top of his head. He was deaf and blind for several weeks.

"I think he may be A.D.D. or retarded or something," she added. "I need him to go to just the right place. When I saw you, I knew there was a reason I came tonight!"

I needed to deliver some art work to Lori's house, so I got to see the pup yesterday. At twelve weeks old, he is just under five lbs – the size of a Chihuahua. His littermates are a hefty eight lbs.

When Lori first took him out of his pen to show me, she turned him loose in the living room and he went zipping around crashing into walls, acting like he’d been wound too tight. I thought he had a neurological disorder or perhaps trouble seeing. But I could tell right away he wasn’t deaf. Lori stood in the living room talking to me while the puppy zoomed in circles around her feet at top speed. Unlike his brothers, his haircoat was short and coarse, more like an adult dog that had been shaved.

When I put my hand out, he chomped down on my finger, hard. I screeched and he let go immediately. That was the correct response, and I started thinking maybe he wasn’t so abnormal, after all. But he was WAY hyper; wouldn’t make eye contact, and wriggled frantically when he was picked up and held.

Of course, I was pretty intrigued and wanted to figure out this mystery. How much of his problem was behavioral, and how much was brain damage?

Lori's dogs are well cared for. She's an ethical breeder and she could have given this pup away several times over, but she wanted to be satisfied that he would get the attention he needed.

For me, it wasn't much of a hard sell. When I put him in the crate, he started circling again, bumping into the walls. He finally settled down and actually traveled quietly all the way to the vet for his second shot.

The vet Dr. Robinson asked Lori, "Are you sure he's not mixed with a rat terrier or something?"

We can see why she asked. Next to his littermates, he didn't even look like the same breed. I told her that I thought maybe his vision was messed up, as it seemed he could track, but not focus. She said the only way to tell would be to take him to a canine opthamologist and have his cornea checked.

Anyway, he came home with me. I am not sure yet if he is borrowed, or what. On the way, we stopped at my friend Claire's and then went to the grooming shop so everyone could make a fuss over him. He walked down to the barn with me when we got home. It's a long walk down the sloping back yard and he kept losing his way and trotting off aimlessly. I would walk back and get to within what I thought was his field of view, and he'd follow again. His attention span seemed really short and I had to circle back five or six times. When we got into the barn, he rejoiced. The aisle was apparently right up his alley. He flattened out and ran -- first one direction, then the other.

I have been calling him Stewie, for Stewart Little. Not too original, I know.

He slept soundlessly in the crate all night. Today he rode in the car, on the seat next to me. I could see that this time, he was beginning to watch me and listen to my voice. Then this afternoon, he went out to help me feed the horses again. He was starting to bond to me a little now, and he has suddenly figured out that his job is to follow me.

When this happens with a puppy, it's a beautiful thing. Most young puppies have a strong following instinct and it's a great time to take advantage of that. It can be instilled so easily this way. I walk a normal pace, which requires this guy to run as fast as he can. He still lists a little, first one direction, then the other. I am thinking there is probably nothing better for his balance and muscle tone, than to run a straight line over a long distance. So that's what he does. I don't call him, or talk to him much at all, but I do keep moving and he begins to learn what a task it is keeping up with me. He follows as I walk back and forth mucking stalls, feeding hay and filling water buckets.

The horses, of course, are off limits as he is just too tiny, but I do hold him up so the perpetually curious Clifford can check him out. Clifford gives him a good once-over, snuffling and snorting into his fur. The pup squirms and licks.

I find out later that this puppy has never been outside before. So the smells, the grass, the snow and ice are all new to him.

Regardless of the distractions, he is doing a great job keeping up with me and seems more focused than yesterday. So we go up to the porch and then I do something of which Lori would not approve. I put him on the cement step, and let him find his way around. He promptly runs to the edge, and, plunk! Falls off. It is not far enough to hurt him, but it is a hard enough fall to smart. He grunts on impact, gets up and starts to run off. I grab him and put him back on the porch. He runs to the edge -- and stops! He leans over the edge, looking down.

This tells me two things:

1) He has depth perception, and

2) He is capable of learning something the first time around.

Back in the car again, trundling off on another trip, he sits and stares at me through the door of his crate. He's not making eye contact just yet, but he is watching.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Equine Art for Sale

So, after beating around the bush for awhile, I posted the roping horse watercolor on eBay.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Today's Watercolor - Reining Horses

Thanks to Laurie Zaporzan who busted me out of my current slump by sending me a barrage of neat photos, and giving me carte blanche. Laurie has a terrific eye for composition, and this is my interpretation of her pic of a group of reiners waiting to go into an event.

This piece is watercolor on pastel board, about 6 x 18", and it will be reluctantly and painfully offered for sale.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Disturbing Things Online

Monday, January 21, 2008

Current mood: disappointed
Category: Romance and Relationships

Okay, I know some guys like porn. It's a given.

Guys. Like. Porn.

*I* don't understand it. But it's kind of normal, I guess.

I was on a friend's computer (he shall go nameless for obvious reasons). I'll call him Warren. He was kind enough to let me use his PC because I am on dialup, and I was taking a course online and, well, getting nowhere at home.

I hit the history button because I couldn't remember a URL (I am human, but not overly nosy by nature, and this really was an honest move), and all this porn came up.

Lots and lots of porn. And worse, NOTHING ELSE! It was ALL PORN, all the time! I could hardly find my website, through it all.

Naturally, I confronted Warren. I mean, who wouldn't.

"I used to look at porn," he admitted.


I had a meeting with my friend Jack to discuss this. Jack is the guy who is a true friend, who gives me the man's perspective on things. But when I mentioned one of the websites therein, namely, he burst into hysterical laughter.

"Bone My Wife?" he said. "What is the sense in that? I mean, if he doesn't want her, why would anyone else?"

He was practically weeping. I haven't seen Jack laugh that hard in years.

Anyway... Back to the porn thing. I mean, with the Internet, the whole world is at your fingertips. Aren't you interested in anything else? I mean it's all right there! You can travel! You can get on Google Earth and pick your next destination spot. You can look up historical figures! You can read movie reviews! You can BLOG!

I might have to just let this go as one of those things I will never understand, lumping Warren in with the habitually unenlightened. It makes me kind of sad though.

And now his keyboard has cooties.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Why Horses are Better Than People

It's COLD here in lower Michigan today. Here's a pic of Clifford standing out in the pasture. He's been digging for grass.

Tonight I am watching "Changing Lanes", a film starring Samuel L. Jackson and Ben Affleck. The cast also includes two of my favorites: William Hurt and the wonderful Toni Colette. The story is about two individuals who meet in a car accident. It sends them on separate routes of personal crisis. Recoiling from the escalating aftershock, they set out to screw each other over in a bevy of methods that are painful to watch.

In "Changing Lanes" both the characters eventually come to their senses; acknowledging their mistakes and recognizing their humanity. They do the right thing! If only life could be like that.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Today's Walk

I think the StemEquine is helping Trudy. She has been running in from the field to be fed, and on our walks she shows no sign of lameness. I can't wait to see how the next x rays come out.

Clifford was in rare form today. One of the first things he did was grab Trudy's lead rope and try to take it out of my hand. He really loves running and playing in the snow. Today he ran up the hill to the neighbor's. I wish that my battery hadn't been ready to go kaput on the camera, because I could have gotten a lot of cute videos of him running, bucking and jumping around.

We walked out to the road and he went up to the neighbor's field to say hello to the three horses that live there. I thought, "Uh oh, that's it. I am going to have to take Trudy home and then come back and fetch him. He's never going to leave those guys."

I let him visit for a bit, then to my surprise, when I called his name, he turned around and came trotting back. What a good boy! He got a treat for that. We went home and they were happy to be settled for the night.