Friday, August 26, 2016

A Month of Kirby..........


A Month has passed since a beat up, scabby, shaky dog walked through the door.  My oh my, what 30 days can do for the forlorn and downtrodden.  30 days of treats and attention you get your wag back!  

Since last posting, Kirby made it to the beach, gone for three car rides and made it onto his bed.  Although the bed seems to be more of hurdle than the beach or the car!  Clearly, he has never seen furniture before.  Two days ago I sat on the floor and sprinkled a peanut butter treat at each corner of the very expensive orthopedic dog bed, we have been walking around for a month.  He walked around to each corner, ate the treat and asked for more!  No, you need to get on the bed to get the treats!  2 treats placed in the middle of the bed and wow can this dog lean into get treats, his paws never left the floor.  I gave up and told him I'd try again tomorrow.  This guy has scabs on one hind elbow and a healing scab on a front elbow.  I'm pretty sure he spent a lot of time on concrete.  Trust me the bed is better than the floor, you're gonna love it.  

Next morning.  I get on the floor with a bag of treats and tapped on the bed with my hand.  Oh God, he dropped to his belly quivering and I got the flickering squinty eyes like he was waiting to be beat.  Well my heart turned to goo.  Here have a treat, no wait have the whole bag of treats, no wait give me a couple treats.  And while I was dolling out treats I got on the bed and talked pretty to the dog who was gobbling down treats.  Everybody calmed down, took a breath, lots of praise and then he figured out there was a full grown person on the floor playing with him and giving him treats.  In the heat of fun time he jumped on the bed, immediately jumped off the bed and dropped to the floor.  When he jumped on the bed I exploded with delight!  What a good boy!!  Yes, do it again and he did!  And I exploded, clapping and carrying on and if a dog could laugh I think he did. And if the neighbors saw me I'll be in the loony bin.  After all that we went for a long walk. 

We tried again later and with a lot of coaxing, he made it onto the bed.  As I backed away, he got off the bed.  Thats OK, we can try again later...... 

The next morning I went for my run and decided it was time for us to hit the beach.  He's a lab for pete sakes, he has to love the water.  First trick, get him in the truck!  He had not been in the truck since he arrived.  I put his life jacket on because it has a handle and I hoisted him in the truck.  He hooked his front feet under the jump seats and dug in.  I had to put him down and try again.  By the time I got 90 pounds of dog in the backseat of the truck we were both shaking and panting.  Rolled the windows down, started the truck and off we went, both breathing hard.  The beach is about 2 miles away and we made it!  I opened the door, his tail was wagging and the ears were on full alert, all good signs.  I grabbed the handle and hoisted him out.  His feet touched the sand and he froze.  Hmmmm never been in sand Kirby?  Cool, we'll just hang out until you're comfortable........ and we hung out in the parking lot for 15 minutes.  He was velcro-ed to my knees.  We spent 3 hours at the beach.  And just for the record, you can't poop in a life jacket.  He attempted twice and the third time I took the life jacket of and the relief on his face.......well you can only imagine.  Poop time over, life jacket back on.  We made it to the water.  Lake?  Wave Action?  You're kidding right..... 


We spent a good hour wading around and then I walked in a bit deeper, up to my knees.  He kept up brilliantly, it was like wearing another pair of pants!  I finally walked to where his feet no longer touched the bottom.  The life jacket held him up but he flipped over!  He was like a bobber at end of the leash. Then panic set in.  Shit was all I could say.  The last dog loved the life jacket.  While in the deep end I unbuckled him and took it off and he did great!  He knows how to swim but is not happy about swimming.  We waded back to shore and we happy danced.
  


Life is pretty sweet at the beach.  His third trip to the beach and he was much easier to get in the truck.  On the return trip, I said: well Kirb, lets go home.  We got to the truck and he hopped in; BY HIMSELF!!  Phew!  

We got home and we were both pretty exhausted.  When we walk in the door I always get the peanut butter treats and tell him to sit.  After 3 weeks, we walk in the door and he automatically sits, patiently waiting for a treat. He is eager to please and I'm just easy. 

Your bed awaits........

He was so tired there was no problem getting him on the bed....... 

on alert.....

but soooooo tired........




And it's sooooo cushy........


Every night I make sure he starts off on his bed.  I turn the lights out, say good night and in the morning he's on floor. 

Speaking of on the floor......... 
guess who just couldn't stay away....... 

See this floor dog?  Well it's all mine....... 


Now seriously guys, we gotta talk...... a dog?  You're keeping it?  
I just don't know what to say...... 


So can he do impersonations?
Look, I'm the Sphinx! (more like the Stinks)
  
You're still keep'n him? 

Hey Rufus, I got this....... 


and I'm not getting anything else done...... no pottery updates this week! 










Thursday, August 18, 2016

A Not So Quick Up Date........

A quick catch up before I lace my shoes up and head out to wrangle the day into some sort of order...... 

The best phrase to sum up this summer: Drag and Drop (thank you Apple).  
Still hot, still humid, still trying get my underwear on in less than 30 minutes.  Seriously why isn't this an Olympic sport?  Anybody can row a canoe or take a dip in the pool but Michael Phelps until you can get a sports bra on in less than 10 minutes in 100% humidity are you really an athlete?  The judges deduct points for dropping to the floor, crying, screaming, excessive sweating, writhing on the bed, giving up and just telling everyone you're wearing a turtleneck; you just have not been in a competition because the sports bra wins.... every time!  Hey Iowa, cut the corn already, we need the corn sweats to stop!  Honestly if one more person from the midwest posts a picture of cornfields with the caption; The corn is just beautiful this year...... I'm sending them my underwear!  I have lost count of how many times I've run to the bathroom, tried to get my underwear up or down and discovered I put on tear away underpants.  Of course I should not get dressed in the dark either because I had wiggled myself into a leg hole instead of the waistband.  Half way through my morning I wondered why my underwear kept riding up to a thong on one butt cheek one........ because it was your waist hole.  I figured this out by the time the temperatures were over 90, another pair of tear aways.....  

The rain has arrived, thankfully!  The river is up, the steelhead will spawn, and the gardens will grow.... like little shop of horrors! Yikes! 



Tuesday I walked from the studio to the kitchen for a cup of coffee and make the mistake of bending over to see whats going.  4 hours later I'm headed to the kitchen with an arm load of cukes, excited I have more pumpkins than I can count and pockets full of peppers and tomatoes.  I always know it's August when I see this on the counter because I have cukes up the kazoo!  
and how cute are baby pumpkins?


Kirby has these same issues.  I have learned soooooo much in a month of Kirby!  Butch was standing in the kitchen yesterday saying he thinks Kirby can really see and is just faking it.  Kirby will sit there and watch him eat a hot dog, begging with those doggy eyes and Butch just melts.  Butch declares;  He can see me eating this hot dog, look at him!  No he smells you eating a hot dog!  I think he's faking it........ and then Kirby walks away, into his water dish.  Yep, totally faking it and you're such a guy! 

This dog!  We walk everyday, in the morning, evening and right before bed.  Everyday he grows more comfortable in this new house and neighborhood.  Everyday I ask a little more of him.  I walked  everyday before Kirby arrived but it has occurred to me how blind I had become.  This big yellow dog with the polka dot tongue has made me slow down, be patient and quietly observe.  He might not have sight but his nose makes up for his eyes!  I am realizing his world is so much bigger than I ever thought it could be.  My expectations were limited, his are not!  This week he made me look at small tiny mushrooms, caterpillars, a pile of downy goose feathers, many piles of random poop and a pink condom.   Yeah we walk in a cemetery and it made me laugh.  I thought, how interesting this is a place where we honor the end of life and yet I wondered how many lives had started in the back of this old cemetery?  It's been here over 150 years ........  I run in the cemetery I find it to be great incentive to keep going!  All this stuff has been there since before Kirby but now I am seeing it. 
He found the skunk in the middle of the night before I did!  Thanks buddy!  Really! 

He is teaching me no matter how many times you run into a wall, you eventually find the door!  
And when you find the door, wag that tail and be so happy! 

Yesterday I asked a lot of him.  I asked him to run with me.  I asked him to trust me enough to run along side, not timidly picking your way down the sidewalk but on the road.  We started with a walk, then a little faster then we dropped into a nice cadence.  He matched my steps and fell in behind me.  Early morning, the day was still cool and we had a gentle breeze.  It was perfect!  We got to the big open field and took him off the leash to explore.  I could hear and see a huge flock of geese that had spent the night in the field.  They seem unflustered when we arrived.  Kirby didn't seem to care either.  Then the wind shifted and he got a snoot full of goose.  The tail went up, the nose hit the air, the ears perked up, and he was on red alert.  The honking did nothing for him but the scent!  Very methodically he worked the field.  The geese never took off but just kept moving and honking.  He never broke into a run because that would be crazy!  But the tail was on full wag!  It was amazing to watch and I loved it, he loved it!  The heat was building and I decided it was time to head for home.   He will not jog with me in the grass but prefers pavement.  He dropped into a nice rhythm.  The last 200 yards we walked to cool down.  He was spent.  He slept the rest of the day. 
He's still getting used to new things.  Bed: $50, Floor free......



 I am excited to be back in the studio these days.  I'm loving all the carving these warm summer days.  And high fire porcelain has won my heart too. 



"The world is full of magic things, patiently waiting for our senses to grow sharper."
W.B. Yeats









Friday, August 12, 2016

The Dog Days of Summer.......

Here in Ohio we have entered the 8th month of the year; the month I wish we would just skip.  I love that my Anglo Saxon ancestors called it; Weod Monath or better know as Weed Month.  It's the month when you know summer is over.  The yellow fuzz ball geese bobbing along on the river a few short months ago are eating everything in sight to gain the strength to start the journey south.  Butterflies are very busy; I have not seen one Monarch butterfly this summer.  Many swallowtails and admirals but no Monarchs, pay attention humans and put that bottle of RoundUp down.  The yellow jackets have turned evil and I usually need to duck and cover at least once while walking to the studio.  The cicadas, also known as space invaders, are singing madly this month. Spiders are on the move too.  There are so many spiders in the downstairs bathroom it feels more like an outhouse.  Every morning I scoop them into a cup and return them to the garden.   Too sum it up, stuff is moving. 

In lieu of the early summer drought and now torrential rains. In the heat and humidity the plants are waking up, although things are looking pretty stressed; hell, I look pretty stressed.  I have delayed firing glaze kilns as our night temps are almost 80 with very little breeze and humidity lingers and builds through the night to 90-100% by morning.  Not so great for computerized kilns, even with a fan blowing on the components.   

As for the true dog of August, Kirby. He is doing great!  We are still figuring out these thunderstorms and as they are hitting daily and we are figuring this out as fast as possible!  

Yesterday a storm hit out of nowhere and he decided to hide behind the buckets in the studio.  The pacing and panting started.  

video



He hates the crate.  It's akin to caging an angry bear. The ace bandage trick worked pretty well except he is a 90 pound guy and even the biggest ace bandage only works for a while before he wiggles out.  I read reviews on the Thundervest and thought that would be a good investment.  I remembered I had the life jacket from our other 90 pound pup, Zeus. Zeus loved his life jacket!  It's practically brand-new, has a handle on the back, and I can tighten it down pretty good to make Kirby feel snug.  Perfect!  I dug it out of the rubbermaid in the shed and let Kirby smell it and see what he thought.  Seemed ok.  


video


Well I thought he was relaxed...... the next storm hit about three hours later and it was packed with 50 mph winds, power outages, thunder, lightening and full on Ohio summer storm.  

I ran for the life jacket, the way the rain was coming down I thought I should get mine too! 
I strapped him and he stood frozen.  No pacing, lots of panting and stress but not the usual hiding under tiny chairs, knocking over pedestals and vibrating.  
I sat on the floor with him and tried to get him to sit down.  

Holy shit he couldn't sit down because I had velcro-ed his boy junk in the life jacket!  Sorry buddy and ripped the vest off.  He stopped walking on his tip toes and took a breath.  

Made it through that one and got ready for another round of storms coming in.  I gave him 30 milligrams of melatonin (thank you Brenda!!)  It took about 30 minutes to kick in.  The first lightening bolt hit about 20 minutes in.  So I carefully put the life vest on him, avoiding the boy junk and it helped! 

Still hiding but finally found a safe place and laid down, somewhat weathering the storm.


I'm not getting too much done as we figure this out but it's August and it's the dog days and I have spiders to wrangle and glaze calculations to revise...... 


Hurry up September........