Grave Digger

Today I continued my task of digging a grave.  A grave for a snake.  A big snake: the infamous Drainaconda!  But I wasn’t working alone, oh no, I had plenty of “help”.

We didn’t all show up at one time.  My crew straggled in one or two at a time, beginning with Callie and Lennon, who wandered over to see what I was doing as I was setting things up and positioning the wagon for dirt hauling.

When I started digging, Sable stood and watched me for the longest time!  I’m not sure if she was impressed by my digging prowess or amazed by the mess I was making.

In a while she decided to go off duty and settled in to watch less critically.

I got the ditch lengthened by another 9 feet, which was a good stopping point for me, so I stopped.  This is hard going because the area I’m digging in had been a driveway and is a mixture of red clay and gravel – mudcrete!  Because of the rock I cannot take the soil over and dump it into my garden (where I could use some soil) so I’m finding hollows and pits in the so-called “lawn” to fill and seed.

Next I got up and untied Mr. Drainaconda from his position in the “trees”.  I keep him tied up there to be out of the way so I don’t accidentally step on him and crack him and the dogs don’t tear up the “sock” that surrounds him.

Once loosed from his safe haven, I lay that end down into the trench

And snake him back up the next post to keep the rest of him out of danger.

Inspector Lennon comes to look at my work.

Then I wheelbarrow in a few loads of clean gravel from the pile out in the driveway to cover over the drain line.  The gravel allows water to pass freely through so it enters the perforated drain pipe and is carried around and away from the concrete pad.  This should keep rain run-off coming down the mountain from running over the concrete even in a heavy rain.

“Yeah, okay, that passes inspection. Carry on.”

The final step in this process will be to dig over to where another buried drain line runs across the end of the old mobile home that is my shop and the dog’s bunk house, dig that up (carefully) and splice this line into that one with a Y connection.  Then all this run-off will get carried across the yard and out to the drainage ditch that runs alongside the shop driveway and down to the roadside ditch.

That will complete the final step of exterior construction on the new kennels – other than a little trim painting.  Then I’ll cool my heels and get back to lawn maintenance (badly neglected of late), gardening, and dog training until I have funds available — and lumber removed from inside the lumber shed turned kennel — to proceed with constructing the inside portions of these kennels and renovating the interior to be comfortable and useful.

See ya then!

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Foster Notes for March 9, 2019

Lucy is resting comfortably after yesterday’s spay surgery. She is not licking yet, so I haven’t coned her, but I watch closely. We don’t need an infection!

I did take a blanket out for her this morning (she spent the night indoors), She curled up on it, gave me the cutest little purse-lipped face, and thumped her tail in appreciation.

Her heartworm test yesterday was negative: always good news!


Cookie assistant SelmaSelma had a break-through a couple of days ago when the light came on, so to speak, and she realized that if she calms down she gets more free-time in the house.  She’s doing much better.

While out in the yard, Selma decided to play with Josephine, came racing across the yard, ran right over lil Josie and scared the witts out of her.  Selma wasn’t being mean, it’s just really easy to frighten Josie.  They’ve been on the outs since then, and since Callie is protective of Josie, she’s being more wary of Selma too.  Hopefully this will all blow over if I’m careful about not letting Selma and Josie outside together.

Other than that, Selma is doing fine.  I received word yesterday that she has been accepted by 11th Hour and is scheduled to ride out on March 22.


Lennon’s surgery is scheduled for April 1st.  It will be done by Dr. David Crouch DVM in Arden N.C.  He will spend the night and I’ll go again to pick him up the following day.  Recovery should take about 2 months.

Dr Crouch’s office person said that they will do another x-ray, and I think that’s good because the way Lennon races around the yard, leaping, and making tight turns makes me wonder if he hasn’t healed up enough that the surgery may not be necessary after all.  I have been giving him a daily dose of Glucosamine Chondroitan / MSM / Turmeric — which is supposed to ease joint inflammation (and thus pain) and restore damaged cartilage.  Maybe we don’t need to put him through this.  But in case we do, I working out how to build a hydrotherapy tank for him.

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Is Peanut Butter Treat Day a Trap?

peanut butter treatsI made 274 of my Peanut Butter dog treats today.  That sounds like a lot, but we go through that many in a week or less with the pack I have here.

I use them as rewards (and bribes) for good behavior as well as “just because you’re a good dog” treats.  With 8 dogs normally in residence, that’s 34 treats per dog per week or not quite 5 treats per dog per day.  Since they get a treat for going into their crate or kennel – each time, you can see how we run through them quickly.

Cookie assistant SelmaToday Selma was my cookie baking assistant.  Selma is in training as a house dog.  She needs to learn to calm herself and act civilized while in the house.  She did well today.

When I empty a peanut butter jar, I make it a point to give it to one of the dogs to lick out.  That’s an extra special treat!  Sometimes one has just had surgery, or has just arrived and is feeling nervous.  Sometimes one has had a good break through and deserves a reward.  Today it occurred to me that little Josephine has NEVER had a peanut butter jar of her own to lick out.  It seems she is due!  But that didn’t go quite as I envisioned:

When Josie passed on the offer, Callie said she’d show Josie how it’s done.  But Josie wanted no part of this potential crime and quickly left the room.

She loves the peanut butter cookies, she’s just not so sure about that jar.

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Selma Is an Adventure Dog

It’s a chilly 22° this morning. Lucy and Lennon came out of the bunkhouse to eat breakfast and relieve themselves, then were ready to go back inside where it’s warm.

Even in 22° she prefers the outdoors – for a while.

Selma sleeps in the People house with us. She went out early with the other house dogs, came in to eat breakfast and wanted to go back out. Despite the cold, she says, “I’m an adventure dog. I like it outside.”

She stayed out until after Marie went to work, then came in to warm up and nap.

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Foster Notes for March 1st, 2019

Callie tries to negotiate a deal with Rebel (video)

Here it is the last day Rebel will be spending with us and I finally got him to speak to me (instead of screaming). Rebel, Blondie, Callie, and I were all in the den after breakfast. I had the den door closed to keep Buddy Beagle from harassing Rebel – which he has been doing. Rebel was chewing a toy and being really good, the girls were snoozing. Rebel got up, walked over to my chair, looked up at me and said, “Rar rar woo roo.” in his deep Husky voice, which sounded for all the world like “I want water” to me, but maybe I was hearing what I wanted to hear. I asked him if he needed a drink, he ran to the door. That means “yes”.  I secured Buddy, let Rebel out, he got a drink and went back to the den.

The point is that he communicated in a way other than his high pitched Husky scream (which gets really annoying). That made me happy because I’ve been working with him on this. Hopefully his next “home” will be able to continue this work. Speaking at the peoples is SO much more pleasant.


Selma is not an early riser.

Selma has been spending more time indoors and loose.  Not a lot more, but more.  After Rebel moves on Selma will get more free-range, indoor time.

She is calming down a little.  She needs the time to practice being calm as she interacts with people.

Selma has been coming inside at bed time every night and sleeping in a crate.  She now crates on demand (with bribery).  She stays calm in the crate unless she has an urgent need to go out to potty or to get a drink.  She is not one to be up and wanting out at the crack of dawn.

All the House Dogs seem to accept her being in the house, though Callie and Buddy bark when she comes up on the porch until they see that it’s her.  Once she comes in, they sniff at her and walk off, declaring the emergency over.


I’d better get lots of treats for this.

Lennon went to Cedarwood Animal Hospital yesterday for a follow-up exam which included two skin scrapings. He was declared free of mange and ready to proceed with his femoral reconstruction surgery. He says, “There better be lots of treats in this for me.”

I need to call Dr. David Crouch and get things started.  Steele Away Home says funds are now available to pay the quoted fee.


Lucy has been doing really well.  She and Selma get rowdy with one another through their mutual wall, but I think they’re just play-fighting.  I want to try letting Lucy out for a face-to-face meet-up with Lennon.  I think they would be good playmates.  But I need a helper to do this safely.

She plays really well with Blondie Bear, never getting aggressive or insistent about playing.  She has a sweet, gentle nature, with a frosting of high energy.  She’s a hound, and needs space to run off that energy, then she’s a sweetie.

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Selma and Separation Anxiety

*CAN* be calm in her crate if she’s not alone.

I know little about Selma’s history. I was told that she needed socialization with other dogs and behavioral mods: particularly separation anxiety.

She was in another foster home for a while, but that separation anxiety caused her to eat someones house. Literally. Lots of damage, and it was a rented home. NOT good!

I’ve been working with her on being calm when I go out of her sight, then out of the house for a couple of minutes, now it’s time for a longer test.

Selma has done well when I leave the property with Selma in her outdoor kennel, even for several hours, but this is the first test with her inside the house with no people for around 15 minutes…

I think she did quite well. In fact she was more calm than Blondie and Callie, who got rowdy because Rebel was out running around in the yard while I repaired a hose. She was not completely alone: there were other dogs. I do not know if the House Destuctor episode included other dogs or if she was all by herself for that.

Selma is also calming down in her interaction with me. Usually, when I approach her she goes into a frenzy of happy activity, but recently she has been less … frantic, so I could pet her without endangering my fingers.

Once Rebel moves on I will be able to work with her more. Letting the two of them loose in the house is a mistake. And with all the rain and mud, working outdoors is not viable. But I do think she’s making progress. I want to get her more free-range in-home time.

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Foster Notes for Feb 17, 2019

This has been a busy week, and one where not everything has gone forward.


Selma has held steady.  No real progress, but no backsliding.

Doing MUCH better with the separation anxiety.

She has been sleeping in a crate in the bedroom with the rest of us.  She does okay with this except that the positioning of her crate leaves a narrow slot through which all passers-by must transit to enter or leave the room.  It’s awkward for human sized travelers, snug for Blondie Bear but doable in both cases.  The others slip through easily enough.  The only issue is when a pupper tries to leave the room at night to go get a drink or ask to go outside, and startles a sleeping Selma, she wakes with a start, jumps up and snarls at the interloper.  I’m sure it’s conditioning from her former life and she means no real harm because once she’s awake she backs off.  But it terrifies Josephine to the point she will suffer in silence all night long until I remove Selma from her crate in the morning or, if desperate, she will stand at the foot of the bed and nose-whistle until I get up and escort her safely past The Scary One.  Callie takes it personally and dishes the insult back.  I don’t like that, it’s a bad precedent to start.

Selma continues to be a sweet girl wearing a cloak of frantic.  When in her kennel or crate she is calm and sedate, but as soon as I approach she boils over with activity.  I think she’s happy for my attention and is trying to be playful, but my encounters with her tend to leave me covered in muddy footprints and my fingers feeling sprained.  When I must control her passage through the house by taking hold of her collar, she spins about, wrenching my fingers painfully.

It is difficult to work with her in the house because Callie and Buddy, sensing her wildness, want to charge in and save me from her.  Rebel, if loose, will charge in and want to play with her, and she reciprocates and matters get out of hand quickly.  They are playful, but energetic to a degree that is unsafe indoors, and this will set ALL of the house dogs off with Blondie, Buddy and Callie charging in to contain the danger and Josephine cowering in a corner somewhere.

Selma needs more one-on-one time, but with 7 dogs, 4 of them with issues, it’s hard to make that time, especially with Marie still recovering at home and needing to rest.

Go to Selma’s summary page


Rebel has been doing famously and I was confident that he’s fully certified and ready for adoption.  Then Buddy Beagle has some surgery on his neck.  To keep him from scratching at it, and to keep Josephine from licking it for him, I wrapped it in an ace bandage.  This fascinates Rebel and he sniffs at it inquisitively.  This irritates Buddy who is something of a grumpy old Beagle and he tells Rebel (who is 4 times Buddy’s size) “Get away from me boy, you’re bothering me.”  Rebel responds in like kind.  Normally it’s an exchange of harsh words then over and done with, but this antagonism turned physical last night.  I broke them up three times and each time they went right back at each other.  I had to crate them both.  At one point Callie came in to protect her little Beagle buddy.  That didn’t help, and I only have so many hands with which to snag collars and separate combatants.

No dog was actually injured, nor was I.  But the antagonism between these two has ramped up significantly and I do not feel comfortable letting them both wander the house.  There was no way we were all going to be sleeping in the bedroom together, so I’m back to sleeping on the sofa with Rebel and Selma crated in the living room.  Last night Callie and Josie stayed as well, to serve as my body guards.  We all had a peaceful night.

Go to Rebel’s summary page


Lennon’s mange continues to improve as his antibiotics and medicated baths work their magic.  He is now so compliant on his crating at night that he runs into the crate even before being told to.  He loves sleeping in his “room”!

He also enjoys running in the yard during his play times.  He’ll go galloping around and leaping onto structures.  With all the rain the yard is soft and he slides when he goes into his turns, causing him to make maneuvers that have earned him the nick name “Crazy Legs” as he works those long gangly legs of his to stay upright.

As long as I give him frequent play times he will come to me when called and when he’s done playing will voluntarily trot into his kennel to await his cookie.  If he feels he’ being shorted on yard time he will ignore my summons until he’s quite ready to go back.

He enjoys the wood shavings I put down in his kennel and they are working well to keep him clean.  If he gets bored, he has taken up trenching as a past time.  I’m not happy about that, but can’t do much about it.

Lennon has engaged in play with Blondie Bear, Callie, and even Josephine — although he scares Josie when he come bounding up to her, legs flailing about.  She hides behind Blondie, and Blondie shields her until I can spirit Josie back inside the house.  I don’t think I’ll try Lennon and Buddy together until Buddy has healed up and is feeling less codgerly.  I think Lennon and Selma will play together well and will try that when it’s not so muddy.

I need to check with Steele Away Home to see how we are doing on raising the funds for his surgery, and whether they want me to contact the surgeon to schedule his appointments.

Go to Lennon’s Summary Page

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Foster Notes for Feb 9th, 2019


Eleventh Hour has found a housing solution for Rebel. He is scheduled to leave us on March 1st, 2019.

Go to Rebel’s page.


Selma continues to be a handful.  I need to spend more time socializing her with other dogs.  The time spent in this endeavor is positive, but she just isn’t calming down the way I’d hoped she would.  She can be totally passive and calm in her crate, then just explode in activity when something catches her attention.

I have been working on this this week (not raining every day helps).

Go to Selma’s page.


Lennon has not been getting as much time in the yard as he’d like.  As a result he tends to ignore me when I call him.  He used to be so good, eager even, to come when called.

We have raised about half of what we need for Lennon’s reconstruction surgery.

Again, I have been working on getting him out of his kennel more often and allowing him sufficient time to play.  He’s starting to come when called again.

Go to Lennon’s page.


Other activities have been eating into my time in the yard with the dogs.  And the fact that the yard has been muddy soup from all the rain we’ve had doesn’t help in assigning more time with them.  This week has been better.


I was in Cedarwood yesterday and Pam (Office Manager) asked when I would be able to take Lucy ( I told her that Rebel would be leaving March 1st, and I could take her then.  Pam sighed and said, “I guess we’ll just watch her do back flips off the walls until then.”  She’s gotten more tense since I filmed her.  Many dogs will do that when confined to a kennel the size of a shower stall most of the time.

Lucy was picked up by their Veterinary Assistant, who found her wandering along side the highway.  As I recall, she had no collar but did have a chip.  They tracked down the owner and called her.  She said “I don’t want the dog anymore.” It seems she’d moved away and abandoned Lucy here.

I have started a page for Lucy


Foster Update for Feb 1st, 2019

This has been a busy week for all the dogs — and me.


Rebel’s big event this week involved a plush toy.  Actually two plush toys.  On a particularly rainy, cold day I decided to break out a special toy to amuse him so he wouldn’t be bouncing around the house trying to get he rest of the house dogs to play rowdy with him.  I got him a small Orca whale, which he called his “fishy”.  But he also saw where I stash the special toys and deiced he liked another one better.  To his credit, he brought the Orca doll back to me as a trade.  I didn’t understand what he was doing at first, then I saw …

The problem with this was that Rebel became so possessive of this doll that he lit into both Callie (who had taken his doll while he left the room for a moment) and Buddy Beagle (who just walked past).  Both spats sounded horrible, but broke up immediately upon my getting involved, and no damage was done to any contestant.  However, relations are strained now.  So I put the dolls up and secured the door.  There has been no such possessiveness concerning the regular toys that all the dogs share.

Go to Rebel’s Summary Page


Being goofy with Rebel

Selma has been getting some free-range running time in the house.  So far she has not been nasty to anyone during these times, she’s just been exploring.  When she is in her crate with a toy, she will snark at other dogs (except Rebel) if they get too close.  I’ve been feeding other dogs within 4 or 5 feet of Selma’s crate at meal times to get her accustomed to the idea of eating together.  That has gone pretty well.

Selma is pretty good with the dogs.  She has been loose in the yard with Blondie, Josephine, Buddy, and Rebel.  She and Rebel love to play rowdy together (which has been resulting in both getting covered in mud), but the others aren’t interested and she has not been insistent … so far.

Go to Selma’s Summary Page.


Lennon has started his medicated baths at the groomer.  His antibiotics are about done: a couple more days.  Between the two his mange condition should clear up quickly.

I’ve been giving him Turmeric to reduce inflammation in his hip and a couple of us are doing fund raisers (as well as Linda with the auction) to get the money we need to restore his leg rather than take it off.

He is calming down.  He will now crate on command, and is calm when I leave him at night.

Go to Lennon’s Summary Page

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Selma and Rebel Get 1st Play Time Together

Her new friend, Rebel, helping her settle in.

Since the moment Selma arrived here, Rebel has been enamored with her.  He sits by her crate to comfort her, he sleeps as close to her as he can get at night.  They chat and tease each other when in their kennels outside.  They REALLY want to play together.

But both are high energy dogs.  Sometimes Rebel doesn’t realize his own strength, so I supervise closely when he plays with the beagles, and then, only indoors.  Can Selma handle him?  There’s only one way to find out.  I put Rebel on a safety tether and let the two of them interact for a bit before I made my decision…

Back to Selma’s Summary Page
Back to Rebel’s Summary Page