Sunday, December 30, 2012


Brea and Siri had their first overnight visitors this weekend - my sister, Mary Beth, and nieces, Claire and Bridget.  They came here specifically to see the dogs, not me.

Claire and Brea

When they arrived, I took the dogs outside to meet them, since that's how they're most used to meeting people, and so it wouldn't seem like a home invasion to Brea.  She was a little nervous and standoffish at first, but Siri thinks that everyone wants to be her best friend and showed Brea that there was nothing to be afraid of.  Soon, Brea wanted attention as much as Siri did.

Me and the girls

Hi, Mom!

In the background, in a blue coat, you can barely see a person walking a dog.  That's Diana - don't know her last name - she's the person who led me to Molly eleven years ago.  She's walking her big black lab, Buddy.

Bad Influence

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Two Week Update

It's two weeks later and Siri has learned to go up and down the stairs, so Brea can no longer hide from her.

Brea can run but she can't hide!
Brea and Siri are learning to play together, as I had hoped, and it does take some of the pressure off of me to be their source of entertainment.

It can get very loud and dramatic, with lots of growling (Brea has an impressive, loud play growl, which she demonstrated for the first time since she's been with me), and running up and down the stairs and jumping over and on the furniture.  I'm especially glad they're playing together today, because it's raining outside - so no ball game.

The most notable thing that has happened was this: when we were walking this morning, we met Jerry, one of my neighbors.  Siri went right up to him to say hi - she'd never seen him before - and after a few seconds of watching, Brea walked up to him, too!  This was after trying her best to avoid any kind of contact with any of my neighbors since she came to live with me.  She has seen Jerry many times since last spring, and whenever I would stop to talk to him, she would be as far away from him as the leash would allow, clearly wanting to be someplace else.  

Making a properly exposed picture of a black dog can be challenging.

I sort of solved the problem of tripping over the little dog - I bought a cat collar with a little jingle bell on it, so I have a better idea of where she is.  It doesn't eliminate the problem completely, but it helps.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Appreciating Older Dogs

There's nothing like a new, uncivilized puppy to make you appreciate your older dog. Brea is already housebroken; she's used to my weird work schedule; (usually) stays off the furniture; doesn't try to eat my shoes; doesn't bite my feet; is pretty easy to walk on a leash. I'm sure more will occur to me after I finish this post.

New Puppy - I still haven't decided on a name - is keeping me busy. She's either sleeping or 100% on, and when she's on, she's in constant motion, getting into things, exploring, chewing. She'll probably grow up to be the Number One Alpha Bitch in this house - she can already intimidate both Brea and Neighbor Cat and get them to back away from their food dishes.  Brea doesn't challenge her directly for food or toys, but waits until she isn't looking, or isn't in the room, to grab whatever it is she wants and take it upstairs to enjoy in peace.

Earlier this evening, I thought things were a little quiet, and I went to see what Puppy was doing while I was doing laundry, and I found her in the living room:

On the couch.

I put her on the floor and watched as she immediately climbed back up, with a great deal of effort.  Training this one's going to be lots of fun, I can see that already.

Friday, December 7, 2012

New Puppy

There's a new puppy in the house and Brea isn't sure what to think about her.

Brea looked like she was wondering, "What the hell is this?"
She also wants whatever puppy is eating.
Puppy and Neighbor Cat are getting along fine.
Brea has almost always shown an intense interest in other dogs that we meet outside on walks.  The only ones that she doesn't seem to like are two aggressive, yappy neighbor dogs.  She's been fine with everyone else.  So when a former coworker asked me if I were interested in a puppy, I thought that Brea might like having another dog to play with and to keep her company while I'm at work.

The new puppy - name undecided - is part German Shepherd and part husky, and is seven weeks old.  She was one of eight born on October 17.  So far, whenever she barks, Brea jumps.  Once, when Brea stepped on her and made her yelp, Brea retreated to the top of the stairs.

I think that they'll work things out eventually, if the puppy survives.  I say that because tonight I stepped on her foot.  She cried so much and seemed in so much pain that I took her back to the vet (got her first checkup and shots this afternoon), where she had her leg x-rayed.  Nothing broken, probably just a soft tissue injury.  Came home with Rimadyl, an anti-inflammatory, and instructions to not play too hard for a few days.

We had been waiting for some other dog walkers to pass.  While standing there, I didn't notice puppy start chewing on my shoelace.  When I started to move, I tripped and stepped on her.  It's been a long time since I had a puppy this young and this small.  I have a lot to re-learn.

Puppy weighs twelve pounds.

"Please watch where you're going!"

I've been considering the names Missy or Sahiela (pronounced Sheila). What do you think?

Sunday, December 2, 2012

GPS Tracking

Brea has a new GPS tracking system.  She tried to leave the house without permission once, shortly after she came to live here - I was able to grab her as she made a dash for freedom, and she hasn't tried since.  And one time, she accidentally slipped out of her collar. That was on the ball field, again, soon after she came to live here, and it took me awhile to get close enough to her to put the collar back on.

Since then, we've established some routines and walking routes, and Brea knows where home is.  Still, I worry a little about what if she got out without my knowing, or slipped her collar and got spooked and ran off.  She is still skittish around me, and she isn't friendly with strangers.

A few days ago, Mary T. sent me a text alerting me to a deal on Amazon for the Tagg pet tracking system.  The price was $69, about $20 less than what it goes for at Sam's Club, so I ordered it.

It comes with a device that attaches to Brea's collar, and a small base/charging station, and the price included three months free service.  You have to set up the account online at, and download the iPhone (or Android) app so you can get alerts if your pet leaves the designated home zone.  It seems to  work as advertised.

The Tagg Tracker is the gray and white thing attached to her collar.

Brea also has an implanted microchip and her collar has my phone number on it.  All this might seem a little like overkill, but if you've ever had a dog go missing you'll know how bad that feels.  Hopefully, I won't ever have to test this for real.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Just Watching

Brea likes to keep an eye on things from the top of the stairs.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Bird Watcher

Brea paused in the middle of a game to watch a pair of big birds flying overhead.
A pair of turkey buzzards, I think.

At An Art Exhibit

Friday, November 2, 2012

October Snow

I woke up about two o'clock Tuesday morning to snow, lots of snow.

Brea didn't seem to know what to think at first.

Later on, she decided she liked it and wanted to run and play in it.

Neighbor Cat joined us on the bed after the electricity and heat went out.

Power was restored yesterday afternoon, Nov. 1, after repair crews discovered the cause of the problem:

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Not So Scary

Brea might still be afraid of trash cans, but she isn't scared of giant spiders!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Random Pictures

Brea is serious about this game.
What neighbor cat did to the toilet paper.


We were talking about beagles at work the other night, and I realized that I had forgotten to mention Beagle, who lived with us on Harvey's Creek for a few months.  Apparently, someone abandoned her on our road on Memorial Day weekend.  She stayed with us until that autumn, when she found a home with a family whose dog had recently died.  We figured she'd been abandoned because she had a severe underbite (not visible in these pictures) which made her undesirable for breeding.  She also liked to steal things off people's porches.  I still have a pair of leather work gloves that she brought home one day.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Same Location, Different Dogs

Lucky and Molly, September 11, 2006

Another Picture

This was taken yesterday with my Nikon camera; the previous one was made a few days ago with the camera on my phone.

Thursday, September 27, 2012


Today was the first time that Brea didn't take off and retreat to the bedroom when I started up the stairs. She just continued to lie there, looking relaxed and lazy.  In fact, the past two days have been unusual (for Brea) in that she has been more outgoing, almost affectionate, at times following me around the house, or leaving her quiet place upstairs to find me and see what I'm doing.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Hello Charlie

Sadly, Charlie doesn't get out to walk or run or play very often.  The few times he has escaped, he seemed to have the best time leading his people on a chase through the neighborhood.  Here he is, tied up in front of his house.
Kanawha State Forest

We walked here for more than an hour this morning.

A quiet, peaceful morning.  We didn't see any other people.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Weight Issues

This morning I took Brea to the vet's office.  I wanted to weigh her because she looks like she's been putting on some weight.

June 22, 2012
The first picture shows Brea shortly after she came to live with me.  I thought at the time that she was a little underweight.  She weighed about 42 pounds.  I remember thinking then that she weighed less than Molly did when she died.

Molly, Feb. 16, 2012.  About 50 pounds.

September 20, 2012
Today she weighs about 51 pounds.  I think she's at a healthier weight.  Her ribs are not so prominent and she has a lot more energy, but we're at the point of having to be careful not to gain any more.

Molly, May 14, 2010.  About 60 pounds.
Obviously, there's no way to do a side by side comparison, but until today I hadn't realized that Molly was probably a bigger dog than Brea.  At the time, I thought of Molly as being petite for a pit bull, because I've seen some that weighed eighty and ninety pounds.