Walter

205741_10150225522735831_1538884_nWalter was rescued by my daughter around the same time as Phoebe. Walters personality is that of a little boy, forever wanting to play and come home for dinner. Walter is a full blooded black lab and was purchased for entertainment for two little girls who’s parent’s were never home. The few months he was with his family he was kept outside in a kennel, sweltering in the hot Arizona sun. There was an opportunity to give Walter a new home, so my daughter grabbed it.

Walter loved his new home. He had a pool, a back yard and a doggie door that he could go in and out of as often as he wanted to. He was the happiest puppy I ever saw.  It took a while to come up with Walters name. His first name was Suki; yuk. It didn’t fit him. Then it was Dozer, short for Bulldozer. He still plows into things and he is almost eight years old now. Walter seemed to be quick on his game when it came to playing, especially with toy’s.  She named him after the family’s favorite football player: Walter Payton. The name suits him; she tried many names, he responded to Walter instantaneously.

When Phoebe passed away, Walter was not himself. He loves his family, he loves his toys and he especially loves FOOD. He wouldn’t eat; he wouldn’t wag his tail to his favorite saying, “Who’s a big black sexy dog?” Something was wrong; his heart was broken. Most of his life was spent with Phoebe, there were play dates in the beginning, the last three years of their lives they lived together. Best buds, always together. When she passed away he would spend most of his time by the window, as if he were waiting for her to come home. He didn’t even get excited when it was feeding time.  Months passed by and there was no change. We came up with an idea to adopt a friend for Walter, maybe a puppy to spark the little boy in him again.  More about our new puppy later.

Walter accepted the puppy as if he were a new big brother, it took Walter a long time to start acting like himself again. He would respond to the new puppy and play, but he would always go to the window, sit and wait. If we mentioned her name he frantically searched for her, it was heartbreaking. It took time, but he came around to the point where he became active again and enjoyed his meals. To this day every now and then it still looks as if he is waiting for her to go running again.

We love you Walter

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Something in the air

There is an anxious nervousness that is consuming me these days – Spring!

Forget the homework, the daily domestic drudge, personal grooming and healthcare and let’s not forget about pet care, I don’t want to do any of it. I want to play in the dirt and inventory my seeds. Yes, my sixth generation heirloom seeds. Since I have had the extra time I decided to garden again. First it was in containers, then I planted in ground. I had to fight with squirrels for about three years, so I moved what was left of my plants into containers again and fenced the whole thing with small gage chicken wire. The zucchini did not like the narrow space. I did not like the squirrels. I lost.

We moved last year and now have plenty of garden space, I was ecstatic. We dug up dirt, built boxes, and I went nuts last March using every window in the house to start seedlings. I scoured every anti-squirrel blog there was, and found a new humane way to keep away those wasteful rodents; Irish Spring soap. Have you ever watched one of those varmints take a bite of something and throw it to the ground? Apples are their favorite to waste, they pick them with their tiny hands, take a bite and throw them. I nailed bars of soap to the posts of my fence. It worked for a while and they ate the soap daily. I thought oh no, I am poisoning these squirrels. Don’t worry PETA, these squirrels have lived to raise more rodents, I watched them all summer. These pesky wasteful creatures stayed out of my garden until September, harvest time. These creatures are not so dumb. I believe they watch every move I make from up above. They plan their attacks, they can dig up the beautiful bulbs now or next season; the choice is theirs. My idea for this year is to put netting above my entire garden. I will try new soap bars, and then ask my neighbors if they would mind if I put up the netting. My ideal plan would be pigeon spikes, but I am not that mean. It will be interesting to see what happens this year.

Time for me to plan my planting. My husband bought me a $70 dollar portable greenhouse from Big Lots last spring. What a great investment, no more cluttered windows this spring. I am putting this greenhouse on my deck this weekend. I am going to clip a light on top for cloudy days and a heater below for cold nights. It worked last spring, I am confident this will work again. I recommend cinder blocks in each corner, so the wind does not carry away your hard work.

My dear readers, I have a few gardening tips for the avid amateur gardener.

First, try to start your veggies from seed, it will save you some money.

Second, if you like to garden organic, (like me,) get your seeds from the vegetables you buy from Whole Foods or your other trusted organic grocer. There is no reason to buy seeds from a package, if you don’t want to. I buy lettuce seeds, because I never let the lettuce go to seed, we eat it. This really works! This year I am going to try fingerling potatoes in a container and see what happens. Last year I tried the tiny sweet peppers you find in a bag, this year they will be my second generation seeds.

Third, if you want to start your own seeds, I recommend you start somewhat small with one of those portable greenhouses, you can even find them online to fit the space that suits your needs. Great, great investment for home grown produce. I am contemplating purchasing a smaller one for just flowers, we’ll see.

Phoebe

Phoebe at her Phluffiest!

Phoebe at her Phluffiest!

We literally rescued Phoebe from an animal shelter in 2006. If she did not come home with us that day she would have been sent to a kill shelter that very afternoon. We looked at her picture online for about three weeks. We kept saying that for a puppy she looked pretty old. One Saturday afternoon my husband decides we should go see if she is still at the shelter. Thank the stars she was there, the shelter had shaved her face and she looked very uncomfortable in her tiny cage. At the age of four months she had already traveled to seven different shelters throughout the state of Arizona. We are still not sure who saved who.

Phoebe was a gentle protective old woman in a dog suit. She loved her family and we loved her. In 2012 Phoebe past away from sudden kidney failure. It was one of the hardest things in my life that I have had to deal with. I wasn’t ready for my healthy, shaggy best friend to leave me just yet. I certainly thought we had another six to seven years together. I was wrong.

My fluffy shaggy friend has inspired me to write a children’s book series about the importance of animal rescue, responsibility and forever friendship.  When I am finished, you will be the first to read it.

We do not know what type of dog Phoebe was, we just knew she was special. Her papers say Shepard mix, nope, totally wrong. She was definite Bearded Collie and something. We didn’t care.  Phoebe mostly wore her hair simple, long and brushed. There were many times she ran into the woods, and the woods came back on her. She sported many a shaved do in her lifetime.

I am happy I at least get to see my friend on YouTube for eternity.

Enjoy the following posts about my rescued family.

Thanks for visiting,

RAD