Thursday, November 14, 2013

Hannah update

Yesterday, Hannah got spayed, but you wouldn't know it by looking at her today. She is as playful as ever. Here she is hanging out with Lucy. We got some good news today from Lori Beam, the director of Doghousing, Inc., the foster organization that rescued Hannah. Turns out she already has someone in MN ready to adopt her! She will be in her forever home in just over a week. Yay!  

Hard to believe a week has gone by. We've really gotten to know her and love her in the short time she's been here. She still needs a little reinforcement on potty training, but that's no biggie. 

She's cat-curious, meaning she's interested in our crusty, old Siamese, Mr. Kitty. She just nuzzles him from time to time, which he hates. 

Hannah has definitely won over our two dogs, Misty and Lucy. They love their foster sister!

Tonight we met a dear friend for sushi. As we sat finishing our dinner, we were talking about our experience as fosters, and it got me thinking about the odds that a good, deserving, adoptable dog like Hannah would have to beat in order to get all the way from living on the street, to her forever home. It's nothing less than a miracle, and it only happens because of the efforts of Lori, Katie and Ashley, of Doghousing, Inc. Their hard work and commitment help give some great dogs a second chance. I believe dogs are our protector spirits, so the work Doghousing, Inc. is doing is important.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Here we go again

This past Wednesday we welcomed a foster dog into our home. Hannah is a young German Shepherd dog that was rescued from KcK animal control. It's been a few months since our first foster experience with Farrah, so we were ready to help another dog on her journey to her forever home. 
It took a few days, but Misty and Lucy seem to have welcomed Hannah into their pack with a minimum of drama. 

Stairs are scary.
It has taken me a few days to get a couple of decent shots because this girl rarely sits still. She's young, full of energy, and kinda goofy. She'll make a wonderful companion to some lucky individual or family. 

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Up in the Cloud

Last night I bought a Samsung Chromebook. It runs Google's Chrome OS, which is basically just the Chrome web browser with a few additional features. The cool thing about the Chromebook is, it's cheap and it's light. It's all plastic, and it cost 249 bucks. 

Why a Chromebook? Well, I've been wanting to try moving as much of my digital stuff (photos, music, documents) as possible to the cloud, and the cloud I want to use is Google's. 

Why the cloud? It's all about ubiquity. I want my stuff available to me when, where and how I want it, with as few restrictions as possible. Google seems to do a better job with ubiquity than Apple does, by the way. Apple's iWork productivity suite has cloud storage, sure, but Google's Docs are cloud-based, meaning you don't need to buy and install anything special to use them. Similarly, iTunes does have an aspect of cloudiness, in that you can pay Apple a yearly fee and they'll slurp up all the songs on your hard drive into their cloud, or else match the tracks so they don't have to upload yours. But you still have to have an iDevice of some kind to get to your tunes. Google's Play music service is all browser based. I can listen to my stuff on any connected device.

So this is an experiment. I'll post a couple of updates about it here. 

I can tell you this much so far:
I haven't found a replacement for Day One, the most excellent, beautiful, simple journaling app I've ever used. It's only on Mac and iOS, not Android or Chrome. So, I can't ditch my Apple toys quite yet.

Also, the Chromebook feels pretty cheap and a little flimsy. Like a $249 laptop. That's a good thing, though. If it gets dropped or smooshed or something, I won't be too devastated. Although I did go ahead and spring for a 3 year accidental damage warranty from Square Trade. That cost me another $50, but if I kill this laptop, I'll get a replacement. And if  (when, really) I decide to sell the Chromebook, having that warranty will sweeten the deal for the buyer.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

And They're Off!

Today is Farrah's big day. She's traveling to Minnesota to meet her new foster family, or maybe her new "forever family." I'm really not sure which, but I should find out more via e-mail once she gets there.

We got up super early and got her all packed up and ready to go. I was sad that it was time to say goodbye to her, but I felt so much better when we got to the shuttle pickup at Winding River.
This place is amazing.
We arrived at 8am, and Lori, from Doghousing, Inc., was there to greet us. I'm SO GLAD she was, because she helped me get through what turned out to be a very emotional experience. 

We found Farrah's bus, and met the driver. They had a carrier for Farrah right in the back, so she got to be the last one to board, which gave us a little time to wander around Winding River. What a facility! 

They've got a vet clinic, lots of boarding kennels, and even a horse and a donkey. There's cats wandering around all over the place, and dogs barking their heads off in the kennel area. The whole place is peaceful and friendly.

While we were waiting, Lori took a couple of photos of me and Farrah. Then, all too soon, they called "all aboard" and it was time to say goodbye.
Although it was a little snug, Farrah hopped right in the carrier. She was so distracted by all the dogs, and all the activity going on around her, I don't think she had time to get upset about leaving. 
After one final goodbye, the van took off, bound for Minnesota.
There was still a whole lot of activity going on at Winding River after Farrah's shuttle bus pulled out. Other buses were loading, unloading and exchanging dogs all headed for different places. Since each dog needed a potty break before they departed, Lori and I stuck around and helped walk a few of the travelers.
These two pups were pretty overwhelmed by all the activity, and they didn't understand about walking on a leash, so when the volunteers took them out for their walks, MUCH drama ensued. Buster (the one on the left) cried like he was being murdered when the van driver tried to coax him to walk on a leash. His sister, Brandy (on the right), was even more freaked out. She tried to hide under the van, crying the whole time. Poor babies! As cute as they are, I know they'll find new homes quickly, or they may even already have a home waiting for them.
Lori said we should get e-mail updates throughout the day as Farrah's journey continues. I'm looking forward to hearing that she is in her forever home, with someone who will love her as much as we do, for the rest of her life. She's a good girl, and I'm grateful I got to be a link in the chain of events that will lead her to her own happy ending.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Farrah's last night with her foster dads.

Tonight we're having chicken and waffles. Tomorrow morning I will get up early and drive Farrah to the shuttle bus pickup that will be taking her all the way to Minnesota.

Yes, Farrah got a corner of a waffle, and a nice morsel of chicken, and a strip of bacon, too. But no maple syrup. We don't want to spoil her :)

Sunday, May 12, 2013

More pics in the backyard.

I've been trying to get a good photo of Farrah standing up, but she's a croucher. If she's waiting for me to throw the stick, or if she hears a squeaky toy, or if we have treats, she's crouching.

Oh, and she loves getting a drink of water from the hose.

I wonder if she thinks she hears a mole or a groundhog or something.

It was a good day.

Farrah's Glamour Shots

Now that she's all clean and pretty from her spa day yesterday, I wanted to get a few nice pictures of Farrah for the M.A.R.S. rescue website, to help show off what a beauty she is. We got out in the back yard with treats, squeaky toys and a stick, to try and get some alert, still photos. While we were taking Farrah's picture,  Dan, our next door neighbor, came out and asked about her. We explained that she's in foster care, and destined for a shelter in Minnesota. 

While we were talking with Dan over the fence, I mentioned that Farrah has not been able to get along with our two dogs, Misty and Lucy. Turns out Dan is something of a dog whisperer, because before I knew it, he was in our yard, coaching Farrah and Misty! We kept them out there together for a good 10 or 15 minutes, and it was a friendly, laid-back encounter for them, and it ended on a positive note. So I'm delighted to see that the dogs can work out their differences. I think part of the problem that caused them to get so aggressive with each other was my own nervousness about introducing them. This time, Dan and I just kind of hung out and chatted, and let the dogs sit around and chill out near each other. There was a teensy bit of growling, but that's it. Otherwise, they were great! 

Emboldened by our success, I even let Farrah check out Mr. Kitty. She sniffed his butt (which he hates) and then she lost interest. So she doesn't seem too worried about cats at all. Now, granted, that's just one crusty old Siamese, but it's certainly encouraging. 

Saturday, May 11, 2013


Today was a big day for Farrah, our foster dog. I loaded her in the car and we went to U-Wash Puppy in the Trailridge Shopping Center on Nieman Rd. They have everything you need to bathe a dog- waist-level tubs, shampoo, grooming implements, towels, aprons- the works. The shop owner always has two or three dogs hanging out with him, so the whole place is like a dog beauty salon. He has a little boxer mix that greets every new arrival. She's the calmest boxer I've ever seen, and I think it helps the dogs to be less nervous about getting washed. I love that place!

Farrah was very apprehensive when we pulled up in front of the shop. There was a small group of noisy dogs and their owners hanging around the doorway, and she didn't want to approach them. Once we were inside, I mentioned to the shop owner that  I wasn't sure how this was going to go down, since Farrah is a foster, and I don't know if she's ever even had a bath before. He has these nice wooden steps to help the larger dogs get into the tub more easily, but she was having none of that. In fact, she wanted OUT of there! Finally, after failing to coax her to walk up the steps into the tub, the owner and I each just grabbed an end and hoisted her right up into the tub.

Once we got her in the tub, it went pretty smoothly from there. She was, of course, filthy. I had to lather her up three times before the water finally ran clear. Drying her took forever- her coat is fairly dense.

When we finished, I walked up to to the counter to pay, but the owner wouldn't let me pay him! He said, "You're already helping her so much, let me do this for her."

I was floored. Never expected that. What a nice guy, and what a great place U-Wash Puppy is!

Friday, May 10, 2013

After 1 week, she's a different dog.

Farrah, our foster dog, is so much more at ease than when she arrived a week ago. She's playful, loyal and funny. Tomorrow I'm taking her to U-Wash Puppy for a much-needed bath.

Sunday, May 5, 2013


Here's an update on our foster dog, Farrah.

She LOVES to play fetch.
She'll chase a stick over and over and over.

She's getting more confident walking on stairs now.

Her FAVORITE THING IN THE WORLD seems to be getting brushed.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Meet Farrah, Our Foster Dog!

For awhile now, I've wanted to try being a foster home for an adoptable dog. Thursday, I saw a post on Facebook from The Pet Connection, (the shelter where we got Lucy) seeking a foster home for a German Shepherd that was in KCK animal control, on the "kill list." They were looking for short-term foster care until the dog could be transferred to a rescue organization in Minnesota. I checked with Jim, and he was up for it, so we signed up to be Farrah's foster parents!
Here she is!

We picked up Farrah at Unleashed Pet Rescue, in Mission, from Lori, a volunteer from Doghousing, Inc, a foster care organization. It's hard to believe somebody would've let this girl go, but that seems to be the case. She was picked up as a stray. After one day, here's what we know about her:
She isn't sure what to do with a peanut butter-filled Kong toy, although she does find it intriguing

She knows some commands, including "sit" and "shake." In fact, she wants to shake all the time! 

I get the impression she's never lived indoors. She seems kind of freaked out by our house, especially the stairs.

She hates Lucy, and she's not crazy about Misty, either. She's good on a leash, though, and we took the whole pack for a walk this morning. Hopefully if we keep doing that she'll chill out and stop snarling at the other dogs. We don't trust her around the cat, and probably won't let them come in close contact with each other. If she was living on the streets, she might've learned to hunt small furry things, and she could probably finish off Mr. Kitty in one bite. Not that he'd have much meat on him.

Oh, much like Misty, she's fairly camera-shy. I'm going to try and get some better, sharper photos of her, but this was the best I could do today.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Oh, Puppet, where have you gone?

Back in Savannah in the late 80’s, before Blockbuster came along and ran out all the independents, I used to rent movies at a store called “Captain Video”. Run by a gay couple, and guarded by their two Great Danes, Scarlett and Rhett, Captain Video was the greatest video store ever. It was at Captain Video that I first discovered such treasures as “Crazy Fat Ethel 2” (“Nothing comes between Ethel and a well-stocked refrigerator!” the box proclaimed), and “2000 Maniacs”, the terrifying tale of a small civil war-era town that comes to life one day every hundred years a la “Brigadoon” so its ghostly residents can exact revenge on yankees by eating them. These films, and dozens of others like them, were low-tech, no-budget masterpieces of ineptitude and gore, and I imagined the filmmakers had even more fun making them than I had watching them.

There was one film in particular that I found at Captain Video that haunts me still. None of the others could come close to it in terms of sheer awfulness. That film is “Black Devil Doll from Hell.”

Made in 1984 by director Chester Novell Turner, “Black Devil Doll from Hell” tells the story of Helen Black, a good, churchgoing woman who wanders into a “curio” store one day, and makes a very odd purchase: a ventriloquist dummy with cornrows. The shopkeeper intrigues Helen by telling her that the doll has the power to grant its owner their heart’s desire, but that she had sold the same doll on 3 previous occasions, and it always came back to her. Undeterred by the shopkeeper’s ramblings, Helen rushes home with her new treasure.

We know the doll is evil by the scary Casiotone synth music that screeches over much of the dialog every time the camera pans to it. Of course it isn’t long before the doll comes to life in Helen’s apartment, overpowers her and ties her to the bed, naked. The doll taunts Helen by telling her it is going to give her her heart’s desire, which, apparently, is to get nailed by a ventriloquist’s dummy. Helen protests meekly at first, but she soon gives in to the awesome pleasure she experiences as the devil doll enthusiastically performs oral sex upon her. After a few minutes of munching and trash talk, the devil doll is ready to get busy, and proceeds to pound the living daylights out of poor Helen. Overcome by lust, she eventually loses consciousness. When she awakens, she’s no longer tied up, but her tiny wooden lover is gone.

Forever changed by her encounter with the dummy, Helen hooks up with lots of non-wooden men in a vain effort to satisfy the intense sexual cravings the doll awakened in her. Helen finds out that puppet love is the best love, as none of the human men can scratch her itch. Out of desperation  she returns to the shop where she first purchased her supernatural "friend with benefits" and, wouldn’t you know it- the doll is there again!

I won’t spoil BDDFH for you by giving away the ending. You’ll have to see it for yourself, and you should. I will say that this film defies classification (and possibly explanation). It is in its own genre: softcore-blaxploitation-underground-horror. 

Black Devil Doll from Hell was shot entirely on a handheld camcorder- a 1984 camcorder at that, and the synth music overpowers much of the dialog, especially when there’s scary stuff happening. The good news is, the dialog we can’t hear probably isn’t any better than the dialog we can hear, so it’s no great loss. The special effects are pretty basic. Since Black Devil Doll from Hell is actually a ventriloquist dummy, and since this was many years before computer graphics were cheap and plentiful, director Turner cleverly substitutes an actual little boy, dressed up like the devil doll, in those scenes where doll motion includes walking, jumping, and rooting around under the sheets. Turner appears to be inspired by other evil doll classics like “Trilogy of Terror” and at least 2 episodes of the original “Twilight Zone”.

I have an old worn-out copy of BDDFH on videocassette, and I am currently transferring it to digital video. I had almost forgotten how incredibly entertaining this film is, and I would hate to lose what is probably one of the few surviving copies of this underground classic. They just don’t make ‘em like that any more.