Tuesday, September 30, 2014

My New Nickname

Mom has a new name for me: The Barkalounger!  Two of my favorite things to do are bark and lounge around.  Sometimes I bark at things I hear, real and imagined.  Actually, the noises aren't imagined, but Mommy and Daddy don't have my keen sense of hearing.  I lounge around because I'm a dawg and because I'm old!  Haven't I earned the right to relax as much as I want?

I don't call what I do barking; I call it alerting my people to the dangers of the world.  Just last week I clued Mommy in to the fact that Stomach of Steel was trying to grab another banana off the counter.  I deserved an award for that one!  After all, I saved Mommy's breakfast.

I'm sure you're probably thinking I look pitiful in these pictures, but I was really enjoying myself in the shade of the plants.  Really, I was!  I love to lie outside while the girls run around and play with Mommy.  Mommy comes over to check on me, snuggle me, whisper she loves me in my ear from time to time.  [sigh]  It's a good life!

If you need me, just call The Barkalounger!

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Queen of the Selfies

You may have noticed every once in a while Mommy appears in a picture with us that she has taken herself.  Apparently the modern term for this type of picture is selfie.  Mommy is the Queen of Selfies.  She's been the Queen since way before they were called selfies!  She started taking them when she and her college roommate traveled together (over twenty years ago [gasp]).  She has also taken quite a few of herself and Aunt Holly as they have traveled.  This habit of Mommy's pre-dates digital cameras that allow you to see how the picture turns out and then hit delete if it's horrible!  The amazing part of Mommy's skills is that the pictures almost always turn out pretty good (meaning, you can see both subjects' heads and they both look fairly decent, and often times great).

Mommy likes to take selfies with us when we are lounging in the yard.  Jenna rarely settles nearby, so she isn't a great candidate.  Dixie rarely settles without the tennis ball in her mouth, and if she notices she has Mommy's attention, she begins barking for the ball to be thrown.  This leaves me.  Since I'm the Barkalounger, I'm the prime target, I mean subject, for Mommy's camera.

As I've grown older Mommy has turned that camera more and more my way trying to capture every move I make.  It's a bit annoying, but I try to make her happy.  She's feeling nostalgic in our old ages.  She recently stretched out beside me on the grass with both of us on our tummies.  I'm sure the neighbors thought she was crazy.  If they've ever glanced into our backyard, I'm sure they've seen all of Mommy's craziness (can you say Halloween costumes???).

When I was two years old, Mommy took a great series of pictures with me.  One of them was so good, she still has it in a frame on her desk at work.  Take that, Dixie and Jenna!  Those were the good old days when I was an only child . . . [sigh].  (This is a picture of a picture since it wasn't digital!)  Notice how YOUNG we both look!

I think these recent pictures are some of the best we've taken in a while.  What do you think?

Anything for the Queen!

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

What's Your Number?

Our new vet likes to evaluate the dawgs (probably cats too, but who cares about them) and assign them a rating on a scale of 1 to 10.  The lowest number means the dawg is emaciated and needs a little TLC.  The highest number means the dawg is seriously obese and needs a little less TLC in the food department, but more in the exercise department.  The perfect numbers to receive are a 4 or 5.

Mommy found this chart online to explain the system a little more in detail that corresponds fairly well with Dr. Emily's system.

When Dr. Emily met Jenna for her dew claw problem, she gave Jenna a thorough check up.  The dew claw situation has resolved itself finally by falling off and a new one has begun to grow in.  That's one less thing for Mommy to worry about.  Jenna's official ranking was a 5, but slightly pushing a 6!  What???  The supermodel has lost her title!!!  Say it isn't so!

When Dr. Emily met Hunter, she gave him a detailed check up and declared him a 4!  She said old age doesn't count as a limiting factor on the scale.  Mommy was surprised; she expected a 3 for Hunter.  Daddy refers to Hunter as a Third World Dawg sometimes because Hunter is so skinny compared to his younger days. 

When Dr. Emily met me, I was there because I was sick with my cold.  There was no mention of a rating for me.  [whew]  I wonder what mine would be?  Mommy thinks it would match Jenna's.  My waistline has become more defined this summer with all of my exercising.  Take that Jenna!  

Supermodel title, here I come!

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Monster Mouth

As dawgs, we each have monster mouths.  Jenna uses hers to eat.  Dixie uses her to carry tennis balls, two at a time.  I use mine to bark!  Mommy has always been intrigued by the puzzles that allow dawgs to move pieces in order to solve for a treat.  She has refrained from buying one because they are usually pretty expensive as far as dawg toys go, and we tend to tear toys up.  She would buy one in a minute if she thought it might last!  (By the way, Mommy's monster mouth is used mostly for talking . . . just ask Daddy and Uncle J.)

Recently Jenna unearthed a Monster Mouth from the bottom of the toy basket.  I think it belonged to me years ago, but I don't play with many toys in my older age.  Mommy decided to see how long it might keep Jenna occupied, so she dropped a treat inside.  Jenna LOVED it!!!  She always has food on the brain, and this was great way to keep her mind (and tongue) active.

There was only one problem: Dixie noticed how much fun Jenna was having.  Dixie made no efforts to steal the toy away; she just stood nearby and quietly watched the fun Jenna was having.  Grandma was here at the time and declared Dixie had to have one too!  Off to the store they went.  Grandma thought I should have one too, but Mommy told her I had no interest in toys and that it might hurt my old man mouth . . .

Mommy was wrong!  I know I'm not the most food-driven dawg in the house, but I do like a good treat every once in a while.  I had fun playing with the toy too!  We decided to take the toys outside.  Mommy entertained Dixie with the tennis balls while Jenna and I worked on retrieving the treats from the jaws of the Monster Mouths.

When it was finally time to go inside, Dixie tried her best to wrap her jaws around a ball and the toy!  It didn't quite work out for her, but it was fun to watch!

Here's to the next time we get our jaws on those toys!

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Royalty in the House

Do you not agree that we are the three best dawgs in the world?  Of course we are!  We'll concede that if you have a dawg of your own, you may have a slightly different opinion.  After all, parents should love their children best.  But you know deep down we are very close runners up!  How could you not love us?  All three of us are of noble birth and have the good looks to prove it!  It's because we are so outstanding that we cannot imagine why Mommy did not purchase this tea towel she saw on a recent outing . . .

Mommy, this was just screaming our names!  Well, Dixie's and Jenna's names at least!  There wasn't a chocolate royal lab.  [sigh]  Maybe next time!

A fond farewell for now to our faithful subjects,
Hunter, Dixie & Jenna

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Drawing Blood

Mommy recently picked up a new toy at the pet store.  It was free and it was huge.  She had visions while in the store of the girls having a tug-of-war with the toy, but I don't think her visions included blood!  She'll know next time . . .

Jenna basically claimed the "stick" for herself.  Mommy had no problem with this since ANY and ALL tennis balls in the house apparently belong to Dixie.  Mommy started throwing the stick for Jenna and the tennis ball for Dixie.   Dixie got it into her head that she needed both the ball and the stick.  She'll know next time . . .

Instead of pulling and tugging at either end, Jenna placed her head (and mouth) right beside Dixie's head.  What ensued was the loudest, snarling, most vicious "fight" the two have ever had.  (Dixie's in pink; Jenna's in purple.)

I tried my best to tell Mommy to stop them.  I barked and barked alerting Mommy to the nature of the fight.  Mommy knew it was loud, but she told me she knew better than to get in the middle of a dawg fight.

The end result was that Jenna was the victor and Dixie was the loser in more ways than one.

Mommy says she had no idea Jenna's teeth were chomping down on the side of Dixie's head.  (Didn't I try to tell her!)  Poor Dixie.  Mommy began a regimen of peroxide and Neosporin twice daily to the side of Dixie's face.  Dixie sat nicely in the bathroom while Mommy held Dixie's face and blew on it.  You KNOW peroxide burns as it bubbles!   Not once did Dixie whimper or complain throughout the entire ordeal.

Dixie has recovered nicely, but only time will tell if she'll grow hair there again . . .

PS: Don't fuss at Mommy because she was taking pictures the whole time.  She really had NO idea how much Dixie was suffering.

PSS:  You might think Dixie learned a lesson, but she didn't!  She tried again a few minutes later!  Thankfully, Mommy had put the camera down and was quicker that time!

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

The Dreaded C Word

There comes a time (age) in a man's life when he dreads going to the doctor for fear he will hear the C word.  That time has arrived in my life as well.  I've had a small growth in my mouth since about April.  Maybe it was there before.  I'm not really sure because I don't check myself out in the mirror that much.  Mommy pointed it out to the vet and it was decided that we should watch it since it looked semi-harmless.  At the time, it was about the size of a pencil eraser.

As the summer progressed and we had new vets take over the practice, everyone was fairly concerned about the spot in my mouth.  It also seemed to grow to about the size of a dime.  After much debate, Mommy decided to let the vet biopsy the place just so we would know what we were working with.  Last Tuesday, I had as much of the growth as possible scraped off for the biopsy.  I also had x-rays on my jaw to see if this growth had begun wrapping itself around the bone.

Well, the results are in and they are semi-good.  Our extended family doesn't quite see the results as "good," but I think they're probably worried about how Mommy and Daddy are taking the news.  Overall, I think the vets were pleased with the results.  I think this is a situation where it's as good as it's going to get!  The C word has become a reality.  The place in my mouth is a cancerous mass, but it's a type of cancer that doesn't generally spread throughout the body.  I think that's the part the doctors were happy about.

We have three options:
1) Do nothing.  Wait and watch to see if it grows again.  If it does, go in and scrape it away again.
2) Go under the CyberKnife which is a very strong form of localized radiation (equivalent to many traditional radiation treatments) but it's costly.
3) Remove a portion of the mandible if the cancer starts to invade the bone.

I can already tell you we are NOT going with option three.  I've been through two major surgeries in my lifetime and Mommy has said she is NOT putting me through another.  Whew!  Thank goodness.  Just the thought of having part of my jaw removed creeps me and her both out!  The second option of the Cyber Knife is very expensive.  Please don't think my parents are cheap.  After all, they've already put twice that amount into reconstructing my knees when I was younger.  They're just worried about how it will affect my quality of life.

We've decided to go with the first option and I'm fine with that choice.  I'm not in any pain, I can eat just fine, and I'm living a normal life right now.  I'm still full of energy (well, as much as any other twelve year old dawg).  We're all feeling pretty good with the C word so far (maybe "good" isn't the best word??).  Two of my new vets have loads of oncology experience and another is a graduate of the University of Georgia, so I'm in good hands!

Please don't feel bad for me.  I'm doing fine.  I promise.  Mommy is doing okay too.  She just sort of knew this was going to be the result of the test.  She read the number one priority when your dawg is diagnosed with cancer to keep her own spirits up.  I can believe it.  I always know when she's feeling down.  There have been several times over the past twelve years when I've licked tears from her face (probably much to her disgust, but it's the thought that counts).  Daddy is feeling somewhat better now that he knows the results, but he doesn't talk about it much.

On a brighter note, with a large portion of this mass scraped away, I'm back to my usual, handsome self!

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Passion for Playing

Back in the spring, Mommy and Daddy planted two passion flower vines along the fence.  We had fun helping them work.  You're seeing these pictures so late because we wanted to have some of the beautiful blooms to show you.  (And because we forgot all about these pictures!)

Jenna was the most helpful.  She carried the empty flower pots around and helped with the clean up.

Dixie thought she was the cutest.  She only wanted to play fetch with her tennis balls (no surprise there).  She ended up with a cherry blossom on her nose at some point.  Mommy said it reminded her of a scene from Bambi.

I supervised . . .

The good news is the plants are still alive and well!

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Meet Jenna . . . At Long Last

At long last, Mommy finally decided to make my scrapbook!  If you don't already know, Mommy is a scrapbooking fool!  She has scrapbooks for each year of her marriage (fifteen), each home she and Daddy have lived in (three), and now each of their dawgs!  She even has a few books thrown in for special trips she's taken.  The pile of books is enormous!  Mommy has tried to embrace the newer, modern scrapbooks that can be made online (and has made a few of those too), but it's just not the same for her.

She's been scrapbooking like crazy all summer long.  She was behind by about a year and that is simply unheard of where Mommy's books are concerned!  I think she might have gotten burned out on baby boy books for her nephews last fall, although both boys are well worth the effort.  Mommy says you have to be in the mood to scrapbook, and apparently it took her a full six months to get back in the mood.  But when she did, it was with a vengeance.

I think Aunt Holly helped.  Sort of.  Holly is usually way behind Mommy in her scrapbooking, but she was catching up quickly!  There was no way Mommy could let that happen!  (Have no fear, she has already confessed this to Holly in person.)  Mommy caught up on an entire year this summer as well as created two separate books about the recent New York trip with Grandma.  She even worked on the current house book.  With all of this scrapbooking, I'm surprised she still found time for me, but she did!

Dixie and I patiently waited for her to finish so we could go play afterwards.  We love to lie around on this guest bed watching for possible intruders (when we're not sleeping).  Mommy has had to put an old sheet on the bed so we don't ruin it for the guests.

This is the smallest book Mommy has ever created.  I'm sure it's because there aren't any pictures of my cute, adorable puppy self.  It's certainly not due to a lack of love!  Mommy did her best to capture the highlights of my first year with the family.   I'm quite pleased with the results!

This die cut didn't punch out pawfectly and it's about to drive Mommy crazy.  The good news is that it's less than two inches tall on the page.   So don't look closely!

How do you like the "monogrammed" paw prints???  Mommy thought they were a fabulous idea.  She believes you can never have too many monograms.  And that's true for her scrapbooks as well!

I hope you've enjoyed seeing a few pages from my new book!  I love it!  I give it four paws up!