Monday, December 31, 2012

Waiting


Archie (left); Dixie (right)


Above is a picture of the babies waiting for a man who just left them. They're hoping he will return through that door at any moment, but that moment won't happen until several weeks from now, if not months. My brother was here and now he's gone. He's the one they are pining over.

I'm not sure why Archie has bonded so strongly with my brother. Archie lived in Atlanta for a few weeks while my mom recovered from an accident. Archie knocked her down last spring and broke her arm. So, a my brother's friend took care of Archie while she was rehabilitating. Maybe when Archie was down there, he became familiar with my brother.

During that time, Archie bonded with my brother since he would often see Archie. He'd also visit my brother and Dixie at my brother's condo. Dixie still loves my brother and does not mind that he gave her away to my mom. He could not handle her. She is wild as hell.

While my brother was here, Archie followed my brother around the house wherever he went. If they were separated, Archie would trot to my brother when he heard his voice from somewhere else in the house. He even insisted on sleeping with my brother in his bed. Had Archie and Dixie not been so attached to one another, my brother would take Archie back to Atlanta, but this would break the dogs' hearts.

The dogs waited in the kitchen by the door for over an hour after my brother left until they returned to normal.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Random Thought:
A race to fight racism gives me an idea on how to fight sexism.

During one of my many random thoughts, I remembered seeing a running event hosted by the YMCA a while ago, A Race to Fight Racism. I admit it was a neat play on words and catchy. But then I thought, using the logic above, if a group has a race to fight racism, what should they do to fight sexism? Have sex to fight sexism?

Friday, December 14, 2012

11 Months Ago to the Day


I got those babies 11 months ago to the day. They were not intended to be a pair but it looks like they will be together for a long time.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Same as it ever was.

Debris from Dixie's misconduct. To be fair, it was taken a few months ago.

Finishing school (training school) did not do a goddamn bit of good for Dixie. She's as naughty, rambunctious and uncontrollable as ever. What makes it funny and frustrating, is that Dixie reverted back to her old ways while the trainers were still here talking to us. For example, she grabbed a roll of toilet paper from my bathroom and a wash rag from my mom's on different occasions. But in both times, she proudly and defiantly brought them straight into the den where we were. She did not even try to hide her misconduct. She sat there, contraband visibly in mouth, and looked at us.

That dog is incorrigible.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Dixie the Recidivist?
Tomorrow, Dixie Returns from Finishing School

Dixie under my bed. Doesn't she look like a naughty little shit?
Tomorrow is the big day. Dixie comes home after a few weeks of obedience training. And she will be tested tomorrow. I'll be home and so will the pretty white cat, two things that get her very excited. Of course, the handsome fella will be there. Dixie will be happy to see him, too.

The trainers will drop her off tomorrow around noon. They will immediately see if their dog-training methods have worked.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Dixie Goes to Finishing School

Dixie at far right
"Finishing School" is a euphemism for obedience training. We thought it would be more lady-like to say she is in finishing school. The above photo was taken at the obedience school she is in.

Doodle has been a handful. My brother couldn't handle her; my mom couldn't and I couldn't. Overall she's a good girl and very playful and loving. But there are some rough edges in need of polishing.

I know Dixie, and she does not look happy in that picture.

Friday, October 26, 2012

"No man but a blockhead ever wrote, except for money."

The Life of Samuel Johnson, LL.D.,  by James Boswell

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Dodo Leaves His Mark




Within a few days, Dodo left footprints on on the carpet and on some steps. One is already gone but the other is going to stick around a while.

Dodo walked on my carpet in the bedroom soon after I vacuumed. I could see his footprints when I walked into my bedroom. Surprisingly, Dodo was still in the room. Now that the babies are here, Dodo rarely goes in my bedroom because it's so far in the back and he doesn't want to get trapped by the monsters.

Dodo also walked on wet paint and left footprints on the nearby steps where the painting was. I saw those paint-prints as I was leaving soon after the paint job was done. I have to admit that I thought the pawprints were cute. I could just envision a defiant Dodo walking on the wet paint and growing irritated at the stickiness. He stayed out of the porch after that for a few days. He may have been irritated by the situation.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

The Handsome Fella Is Home Doing Well

Archie just hours after his eye surgery


I took Archie to the vet where he underwent surgery to treat his glaucoma.

The Trip Over


We fasted Archie starting at midnight. We also had to keep Dixie outside or else taking Archie to the car alone would have been damned near impossible. Nevertheless, Dixie glimpsed our departure when she went to the side of the yard closest to the driveway. She whined and had a doleful look on her face. When she did go back inside a few minutes after we drove off, Dixie ran around the house looking for us and cried.

Other than that, the trip over was smooth and uneventful.

Check-in


Check-in went quickly. Other than signing a consent form, there was no paper work. And I didn't have to play "20 Questions" with the receptionist.

I could see that Archie was scared. He had a "narrow stance" in his hind-legs and his tail was tucked between them. He had also lowered his rump a little. Not helping matters was one of the dogs barking at Archie. Thankfully, the owner kept his dog under control and away from Archie.

Before I had a chance to sit down, a vet-tech appeared to take Archie in the back.

Check-out


About 5 hours later, a vet employee called me to say Archie would be ready to go home. Our window was from 3:15 until 6 pm. I picked him up as soon as I could.

I was able to sit when I went to get Archie. A vet-tech came from the back and went over the instructions on what to do and when. She kept looking at the top of my head like she thought it was a toupee. She handed over Archie's pain pills and instructed me to settle up the bill at the receptionist's desk, after which she would bring me Archie.

Archie was happy and wagging his tail. I didn't need to prod him to go out. He went straight for the exit. I opened the door from the lobby to the ante-room, but before I could open the door from the ante-room to the parking lot, Archie pushed the door open. Goddamn if that wasn't cute.

He acted like he wanted to go to the bathroom but didn't go when I led him to some grass. After he lollygagged around, I brought him to the car and let him jump in. Overall, he seemed OK but a little sleepy.

However, on the ride back home, Archie started whining. I thought he was in pain, poor baby.

But when I let him out of the car, he trotted straight from the side of the house to his "spot"  in the front yard. I paced behind him keeping him in my vision the whole time. With Archie, I feel comfortable letting him run free in the front yard. Unlike Dixie who will run wild out front, Archie knows his boundaries and stays within them.

Archie made it to his spot and peed, a lot. Though he was in pain on the trip back, the post-surgical recovery wasn't what hurt him. It was his bladder and bowels. He really had to go.

We went in the front door instead of the side door as we usually do. My mom and Dixie greeted him. The babies started playing immediately. Archie is doing well so far.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Archie Gives Me a Golden Shower

The pee is where the dark areas are.


Yes, Archie really did pee on me.

This weekend, we had out of state guests, my cousin and her husband. The babies seemed happy to see them when they first entered the house. But a few minutes later, something tripped-off Archie. I could tell by the way he tucked his tail, lowered his back and placed his back legs close together that he was scared.

He tinkled a little, but not much. I put him outside to solve the problem. When I let him back in, he seemed to be normal. He got in my lap and loved me. However, things changed after my cousin walked in the room and Archie could hear the husband in the other room talking on the phone. These events set him off. He was scared. Again.

But this time he didn't tinkle. He had a full-fledged pee--on the couch and me. Thankfully the couch is leather so the clean-up was easy.

Archie would calm down and grow relaxed around the guests though I couldn't understand at first why he was scared of them. He has met strangers before without any incidents. What could have scared him was the smell my cousin may have carried in. She works at an animal rescue. Possibly, Archie might have associated the multiple dog-smells on her shoes with the vet. And Archie is scared of the vet. Maybe Archie thought that instead of going to the vet, the vet came to him.

 But in the mean time, I had to take a shower because Archie gave me a golden shower.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Dixie Needs a Spanking






Dixie Caught Red-handed
I still have a lot of work to do with training Dixie. Look at her expression in the above photo. She doesn't even flinch when she realizes my awareness of her position. She doesn't flinch because she doesn't realize what a naughty girl she is being.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

A Five Year Old (Me) Wanders Alone Into a Murder Victim's Viewing at Funeral Home

Graveyard where great-grandmother is buried


At my first funeral (I was 5), a burn victim's viewing was at the same time my great-grandmother's. I wandered alone into that person's viewing. How I rationalized what I saw is what I remembered most about that day.

Background


During Thanksgivings, our family went to the NC mountains to see my dad's family. But in '73, my mom went to Raleigh since she was going to take a real estate licensing exam that was to take place in Raleigh soon after the Thanksgiving holiday. My dad, brother and I went to the mountains without her.

I didn't remember much about the trip from the mountains to Raleigh except when we stopped in Greensboro to get some clothes. We arrived home at dark and I didn't suspect anything was wrong until we got back in the car and headed off to Raleigh. Not fully grasping there was a death involved, I was actually happy knowing I'd get to see my mom's parents.

What I didn't know was that my mom's grandmother had a massive stroke late in the night on Thanksgiving day and died. She went quick. This would be my first experience with death.

The Funeral

We went to the wake at night a couple of days later. I don't remember what my great-grandmother was wearing but I can still see her stern face. The deceased will often retain the expression on their face they frequently kept in life. 

I also remember the smells. There was the chemical smells from the embalming. On top of that was the fragrance from the flowers. Those smells clashed. 

Had I been a normal and most importantly a well-behaved kid, the story would end here. But I wasn't, so the story doesn't.

Curiosity Killed the Cat

Being restless, high-energy and curious, I went to other viewing rooms. This is where the story takes traction.

I went into an empty viewing room, empty except for me and a corpse. I felt sad for her since no one was there to keep her company. For reasons apparent below, I couldn't tell how old the woman was.

I walked towards the middle of the room and saw something I'll never forget.

Her casket was open yet there was an opaque material hanging from the open part of the lid and enveloping the top half of the casket. 

What further scared the crap out of me was the veil she had over her face. I couldn't get a good look at her face which is what the effect the funeral director had wanted with any viewers.

A Five Year Old's Rationalization

I didn't know what had happened to that poor woman, so I made up a story to explain this odd sight. I had only seen 2 or 3 other dead people before I saw her. But I knew something was different. So, I made up the story below.

I thought this woman had done something really bad in life and was an evil person. Therefore, she was going to hell. To protect us from her evil spirits, I thought the funeral home put up those barriers to protect us from her evilness.

Fast Forward About 30 Years

I didn't tell my mom this story until I was well into my 30's. Naturally, she was stunned. She even said "If I knew you had felt that way, I would have sent you to a therapist."

I'm glad I didn't know the real story. What really happened to that poor woman was sad and traumatic.

Like Mother Like Son

You see, my mom too had wandered into that woman's room though not at the same time I had. My mom told me what really happened to that woman ( I wasn't the only curious one in the family). My mom went to the funeral director and asked what happened to that poor woman.

The funeral director told my mom about the woman's sad demise. The woman's boyfriend had beat the woman severely. He may have even beaten her to death but that much wasn't known to the funeral director. To hide what he had done, the boyfriend burned the house with the woman in it. If the beating didn't kill her, then the fire did.

The effects of the beating and fire resulted in the woman's disfigurement. The embalmer could only do so much. The funeral home director used the veil and opaque sheet as props to make the viewing as tasteful as possible and to shock as few viewers as possible.

I'm glad I didn't know the real story while I was a kid. Knowing the real story would have been harder on me as a five year old than just seeing what I did. I suppose the cockamamie story I made up was a young kid's protection mechanism.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Chick-fil-A President Pierces the Corporate Veil

Yeah, and I can't believe Liberace was gay. I mean, women loved him! I didn't see that one coming. 


I realize that I'm late to the Chick-fil-A story but I finally read an article about what Chick-fil-A did to draw the ire of the gay community. Before this, I had formed an unfounded position that Chick-fil-A executives had been using their own money and not company money to support groups advocating traditional marriage. I didn't think Chick-fil-A executives would use money from Chick-fil-A itself to support traditional marriage groups, but I was wrong.

According to a L.A. Times story, Chick-fil-A has donated millions of dollars to traditional marriage groups. I was stunned that a corporate executive would donate company funds directly to groups that are an anathema to the cultural elite. I thought for sure the Chick-fil-A president would have gone through the trouble of using personal funds to support traditional marriage groups. I'm sure the man would have gotten in trouble anyways had he taken that route, but at least he could have separated the controversy from his business. Further, he could have used the "corporate veil" defense to support his position.

One reason people incorporate a business is to separate their business activities from their personal, "the corporate veil." This compartmentalization shields owners' personal life and assets from any issues from the business side. But this wall is not impervious and can be breached. And when this happens, the owners are said to have "pierced the corporate veil."

I am amazed the company president has mingled his personal views with the company's mission after all the effort it took to incorporate the company. I'm reminded of a Michael Jordan quote when someone asked him   why he didn't make any political endorsements: "Republicans buy shoes too." Well, Mr. Chick-fil-A president, gay people buy chicken sandwiches too.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

We're Going With Curtain Number 3
The Intravitreal Injections



On August 15th, I will take Archie to the Animal Eye Care center to treat his glaucoma. We have chosen the intravitreal injection, "Option 3". The active ingredient, gentocin, will kill the fluid producing cells in his eye that have caused the pressure build-up in his injured eye. No more fluid production; no more pressure build-up.

I hope this doesn't hurt him. The vet will sedate Archie for the procedure. What I'm worried about is the post-surgical response to this treatment. I don't know if Archie's eye will hurt in the following days after the injection.

And there is no guarantee the injection will work: just 85%. But even if this doesn't work, we can always have the eye removed. I want to try to save Archie's eye before we take more drastic measures.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Archie's Vet Visit Last Week



Quick Synopsis


Archie has permanent vision loss in his left eye. And he has secondary glaucoma in that eye. Eventually the pressure will start hurting him. Archie may lose his eye.

Preparing for the Trip


The tricky part was separating the two dogs. I was able to put Dixie in the backyard with some juggling. If one went out, then both would. And if I got Archie back in, then Dixie would dart back into the house. I finally isolated Archie from Dixie but it took some work. After that, getting Archie in my car was easy. All I had to do was call his name, open the door and point to my car. He jumped into the back of the hatchback easily.

But before I could leave the house, my mom insisted that I bring some tooties (dog treats) to calm Archie in case he gets riled up during the trip, she said. I rolled my eyes. However, I wasn't able to leave without my mom shoving the tooties in my hand. I put them in my pocket and left.

For the first time, Dixie went around to the gate by the driveway and watched us get in the car. She cried and whined. She loves Archie so much. She pawed at the gate and nudged it with her nose in an attempt to get to us. My mom said when she let Dixie in a few minutes later, Dixie ran from one end of the house to the other, whining and looking for us.

The Drive Over


Archie slept sometimes, looked at me during others. But around 10 miles into the trip right as we hit Cary, Archie stood up and started barking at me. Distracted, I let off the gas and slowed down, enough to the point where a nursing home's mini-bus outdragged me on the Beltline.

Archie stopped barking only when he stood on the console between the driver's seat and passenger's seat. I thought he was going to get in the passenger side up front. I was half-right. He tried to get on my lap. He had his front paws on me when I noticed him dipping his nose towards my right pocket.

I had put the tooties in my right pocket. Archie went to the back after I told him to do so. I asked him if he wanted a tootie. He perked up (that meant "yes"). I pulled the tooties out and gave them to him one by one. Archie settled down after that.

The tooties were the very reason Archie got riled up in the first place.

Check-in


After I took Archie in a short walk on the clinic's grounds, I took him inside. There were feeble old dogs there with arthritis, clouded eyes and gray faces. I always get a little sad when I enter that clinic.

I walked to the counter and gave them my dog's name and mine. They got a little snippy with me because I went to the wrong "line" despite no other customers being at the counter. I walked to the "VSH" part of the counter and not to the part of the counter for the Animal Eye Care Associates. I stepped 3ft over to the right line. Although I had brought animals in a couple of times before for eye problems, I don't remember having to go through that rigmarole at the desk.

The Animal Eye Care receptionist gave me a form to fill out, a clipboard and a pen. I went to a bench off to the left and started filling in the info. During this time, Archie stood up on his hind legs, let out a little cry and tried to hug me. He was scared.

Before I got half way through the form, a vet-tech called us back. Archie walked back with trepidation, his head lowered and steps slow and measured.

The exam room was small and crowded with equipment. There was a bench attached to the wall directly across the room from the door. Archie jumped on the bench and stayed there until the vet instructed the vet tech to bring him down.

The Examination

The vet entered the exam room soon after we did. I recognized him because he had treated Andy for his eye problems a few years ago. He was a nice guy and seemed to like his job.

He put on something around his head to take a close look at Archie's eye. Then he pulled out an instrument the size of an electronic thermometer. He measured Archie's eye pressure. I leaned over and saw the reading from the injured eye: 35. I asked the vet if dogs are supposed to have similar eye pressure as humans normally do (around 20). "Yes" the vet said.

I knew it was glaucoma before the vet said another word.

What the vet said next deflated me. He could probably see a sullen look on my face.

The Cause of the Injury

A grown dog had bitten Archie causing immediate and permanent vision loss. Archie will never be able to see out of that eye again. The trauma that poor boy went through. He seems so vulnerable. And I want to just hold and squeeze him.

I asked the vet if Archie had been dropped. "No," he said.

I asked if Archie's mom had bitten him. "No" again he said.

The vet said an adult dog had bitten into Archie's eye causing damage to the retina, cornea and other parts of the eye. Nerve damage resulted causing a permanent "sneer" on that side of the face. Also, the bite broke one of Archie's facial bones. What a horrible day that was for poor Archie.

Last, Archie has secondary glaucoma.

Prognosis


The vet said that the glaucoma does not hurt Archie right now. His eye is elastic because of his youth and can accommodate the increasing pressure.  However, in a few months, the pressure will cause his eye ball to swell to the point where his eye will not be able to swell anymore. That is when the glaucoma will irritate and hurt him. When that time comes, Archie will be sad, mopey and will not want to do anything.

The vet said Archie needed surgery to address the glaucoma.

Surgery Choices

1) Remove his eye.
This method would be a 100% way to get rid of the glaucoma. Archie's eyelid would be permanently shut. But this method would be least painful with the fewest chances of complications.

2) Prosthetic eye.
This method would need "moderate medical therapy." I don't know what that means so I need to call the vet to find out more about this. But at least Archie would look somewhat "normal." 

Archie would keep the "outside part" of his eye but the middle part would be removed and replaced with a silicone material. There is a chance of rejection.

3) Intravitreal injections
Using gentocin, eye injections would kill the fluid-producing cells to halt the build of of liquids causing the pressure build-up.

The chance of success is ~85%. I don't know how much this will hurt. I need to find out more about this, too.

Time of Reassurance

The vet could tell I was sad. Not only had I lost all hope of Archie regaining sight in that eye, but he may lose that eye completely. Archie lost sight in that eye when he was 4 weeks old. The vet said that Archie has adjusted to his eye-loss and considers have vision in only one eye to  be normal. Archie won't be "losing" anything that he already didn't have. He was going to be OK, the vet reassured me. 

I found it funny that he called Archie a "goofball" and "handsome." At home, we have used the words "goofy" and "handsome" to describe Archie. Archie is so sweet and loving. Even when he is being naughty, he still maintains an innocence about him. Dixie, by contrast, seems conniving and devious when she misbehaves.

 My mind wasn't so sharp after I left the examination room. I remember paying the bill before we left, but I do not know how much I paid. I forgot. Normally, I'm pretty good with numbers.


I need to call the vet tomorrow to find out more details about the surgical procedures described above.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Random Thought:
Why Does My Vet Have a Better Bedside Manner Than Any Doctor I've Been to in the Last 20 Years?

The left eye is the bad one.


That thought crossed my mind as I was driving home after taking Archie to the vet about his bad eye. Archie has lost all vision in his left eye from an injury he sustained when he was a puppy--the vision loss is permanent. He has glaucoma in his bad eye, a complication from that injury.

Archie may lose his left eye. The vet could tell I was sad. He tried to assure me that Archie would be OK and that Archie has already adjusted to his condition. As far as Archie is concerned, the vet said, having vision in just the right eye is normal. Archie doesn't know any better; it's the way things should be from what Archie could tell.

Here is how things would have played out if I were the patient:


Doctor: It looks like you have glaucoma .

Doctor: And your blood pressure is high. You need to do something about it.

Me: Well, usually it's lower.

Doctor: How do you know?

Me: I check it at home on an instrument I bought at the drug store.

Doctor: Well, it may be wrong. What kind is it? You may have dead batteries; you might have put the cuff on wrong; the model could be defective . . .

Me: I'm kind of upset over the glaucoma situation. I've been feeling bad. I know it can lead to blindness. The stress has been getting to me.

Doctor: (shrugs shoulders like "so what?") Well, you're going to have a stroke.

[By that time, I'm pretty damned upset and visibly so.]

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

I know that hypothetical conversation seems absurd to some people, but that is about the way a conversation I had with a doctor went in a visit when I was diagnosed with diverticulitis. For those not familiar with diverticulitis, it is an infection in the lower intestines. It hurts a whole fucking bunch. Sometimes, it requires surgery and can lead to death. It was a hell of a time for a doctor to read me the riot act about by blood pressure when I'm in agonizing pain from diverticulitis.

The vet visit today made me realize how fucked up it is that my dog's vet has a better bedside manner than any doctor I've been to in the last 20 years.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

As They Say, I'm Counting My Blessings
(Kids Drown in River Near Where I Once Swam)

Where Andy and I Swam: boulders towards the left.

Area Where Kids Drowned


A couple of kids drowned in the Neuse River just hundreds of yards where Abby, Andy and I had gone swimming years ago. Like those kids, we encountered problems in that river but unlike those kids, we escaped with our lives.

I don't know what the river looked like when those kids got in. I can bet that they were deceived by the river's calm tranquility as we were. On the surface, the river in our area has no turbulence and few ripples. The water flows smoothly and easily beside the greenway.

I found out how deceiving that river is. So did those kids. I remember the helplessness of when that river current swept me yards down-steam. But the moment lasted just a few seconds although I could easily describe it in several pages. I distinctly remember thinking "Go with the flow" and "Don't swim against the current." I knew that if I swam perpendicular to the current, I'd make it out.

I worried most about Andy. But he was a smart dog and took guidance well; but he was still a dog. Although he tried to swim back to me when he got caught in the current, he could not, meaning he was unable. Before he tired out and he was starting to tire and panic, I pointed him to the bank. I am so proud of him to this day that he knew what I meant and did what I asked. He swam to the river bank and got out.

After reading the story about those kids drowning near where I had once swam, I don't look back on that moment with Andy with fondness. We were damned lucky to have both made it out alive.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Who Protected Gus?
Who Was Gus's Silent Partner?



Breaking Bad season 5 starts tonight. Will we find out who was protecting Gus all this time? One incident of Gus being protected was when the cartel in the 80's killed Gus's brother, Max, instead of Gus himself. Gus did suffer by watching the murder and his brother slowly die. My guess is that Gus had someone in Chile looking out for him.

Another incident where Gus was saved by a "benevolent" protector was at the chicken farm. There, someone shot Mike's ear and killed a "red shirt". However, even though the sniper had a clear shot on Gus, the sniper did not take a shot at Gus. Was it the same protector at the chicken farm protecting Gus as it was in Mexico where Max was killed?

How will Gus's protector react when they found out a second-rate drug pusher killed Gus? Will the protector show him/her/itself? I don't think Gus's protector will take it kindly when they find out that a failed scientist and teacher killed their man.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Who In the Hell Puts a Nursing Home Right Beside a Funeral Home????

Nursing home (r) and funeral home in the middle
I made a startling discovery the other day when I was looking on Google Maps at a place near my old home in Greensboro. Near where a restaurant was located is now a funeral home and beside that a nursing home. What in the hell was going through these people's minds when these places were built beside one another? Maybe they thought they would save gas when they took the deceased occupants from the nursing home to the funeral home. Shit, if they were really on the ball, they could have put a cemetery out back.

I'm sure  others will not think that this "one-stop service" is tasteless as I do. I can be a tad sensitive at times.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

I Can Understand Why Muslims Think Dogs Are "Unclean"

The "clump" is circled above.


Dogs really can be nasty little rascals. Take, for example, my dogs' fascination with the cat litter box and any of its contents.

Late one evening, recently, I noticed Archie had snuck off to the back of the house. Normally, Archie and Dixie will hang out with me in the den during the evenings. They'll sit on the couch or a chair and sleep, eat or play.

But this night, Archie absconded to the back. Even Dixie was curious where he was at by the way she craned her neck up and stared down the hall. Within minutes, Archie rounded the corner and headed back towards us. Dixie hopped up and greeted him.

Dixie was especially interested in what Archie had in his mouth. I, too, became interested since I couldn't immediately tell just by looking at it. Whatever it was, Archie didn't want to give it up. Dixie went straight to his mouth, sniffed it and tried to get the foreign object out. Archie turned his head away.

Something didn't look right. I told Archie to come to me, forcefully, I might add. He slowly walked to me. Then I told him to "give me that." He did. He dropped it right into the palm of my hand. I saw that it was a urine-soaked clump of cat litter.

Why in the hell would that dog eat cat litter, especially soiled cat litter?

But I understood something at that moment: who was cleaning out the litter box. Before that incident, I remember asking my mom if she was cleaning out the litter box. "No" she said. "I haven't either" I thought. Odd. Was Dodo using the litter box?

If Dodo wasn't using the litter box, then he had to "hold it" overnight: possible but not probable. Once I saw Archie with the urine-soaked clump of litter in his mouth, I understood why my mom or I didn't have to clean out the litter box. Archie assumed the litter box cleaning chore for himself.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Routine Check-Up at the Vet

In exam room. Archie(l), Dixie(r)
The Trip to the Vet


Not much happened, thankfully. However, I did have to pick up Dixie and put her in the car. Archie hopped up on his own into the car. They sat or stood in the hatchback part which was folded down to make ample room for them.

Arrival


It took all my strength to keep them from getting away from me after they got out of the car. Actually, I lost hold of Dixie's leash. So, I had to grab her tail and pull her back before she darted off to the far-yonder. As heavy handed as it sounds, I had to do it because she sure as hell wasn't listening to my verbal command. That girl can be so damned stubborn. I wasn't going to have her running all over Knightdale.

In the Lobby


Dixie wanted to play with every living creature in that lobby. All Archie wanted to do was play with Dixie or lay down but he mostly just kicked it. On the other hand, Dixie was barking at the people behind the counter. What she wanted from them, I'll never know.

To the Back


The vet-tech called out Archie and Dixie's names. Dixie responded by jumping on the woman and licking her. Even Archie may have jumped on her. Before going to the exam room, the vet-tech weighed the babies. Archie tucked his tail and begrudgingly got on the scales. I have no idea why he is scared of the scales. Dixie got weighed with no problems, that is if you don't consider 60lbs a problem for such a small boned dog. She has gotten a  little chubby in the last month and a half, gaining over 13lbs. Archie weighed in at 68. I thought for sure he'd be in the mid 70's. He has such big paws.

In the Exam Room


They had a wellness exam and some routine shots. I told the vet about their problems. Both of them are scratching a whole lot. The scratching has taken a toll on their skin with them having a few raw spots. The vet couldn't say why they were itching so much, although Archie had a few fleas but Dixie did not. The vet prescribed some prednisone to alleviate the itching. Now these dogs are going to drink like a fish and piss like a racehorse.

While the vet was giving me advice on how to take care of the flea situation, the babies put on a show. The rolled on the floor, wrestled with each other, bared their teethies , barked and cried.

One of the things the vet said to do was vacuum everyday. "This is great", I thought, "telling my OCD mother to vacuum would be like telling Dean Martin to drink."

Leaving


The bill was a whopper, over $400. While we were waiting for the bill at the lobby desk, a couple of dogs went to the back. Dixie went nuts trying to greet those dogs. She's a very social girl.

Before I let the dogs in the car, I opened the hatchback. Unlike on the trip over, Dixie got in the car all by her babygirl self. Dixie and Archie jumped in the car at the same time, almost as if they were mirror images of  each other. If there were such an event as "Synchronized Dog Jumping" they would have gotten a "10".

Friday, June 29, 2012

Monday, June 25, 2012

Random Thought:
True Blood



The show is about redneck vampires! And strangely, the show is luring me in. My summer home has HBO and HBO On-Demand. Curiosity led me to watch an episode. It's not that bad. It also doesn't hurt that the actors have soap-opera good-looks.

I'm having a hard time figuring out who's a werewolf, a vampire, pixie, monster or a normal person. Also, I didn't know there were different  vampire factions.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Random Thought:
Synchronized Diving



How is it that NBC can find such sissy sports and make them the premiere event on their Olympic coverage? I have a feeling deep in fabric of my being that NBC is going to blast us with a whole bunch of synchronized swimming this Olympics.

And how in the hell did someone come up with the idea for that event in the first place? You know damn well that the individual divers in synchronized swimming are mediocre or else they would be competing in the individual events on the springboard or platform. I can almost hear the person who invented this sport saying "Why watch one sucky diver at a time when we can watch two?"

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Let the Milgram Experiment Begin



Yes, dear readers, I got  a shock-collar for Dixie hence the title, The Milgram Experiment. I'm at my wit's end on what to do with her and how to discipline her. She won't listen, continually gets in trouble and refuses to listen to commands.

Here are some things she still does or does not do that she knows she shouldn't

  • Harass the cat
  • Jump up on people
  • Grab things off the counter
  • Grab things off tables
  • Chew on lawn furniture
  • Does a full body tackle indoors on Archie
  • Chew on blankets
  • Chew on power cords
  • Fail to listen to  simple commands such as "stop", "no" or "come here."

I got the collar late last week and after an overnight charge it was ready to go on Sunday. The collar has two ways to admonish the dog: shock mode and vibrate mode. The instructions advises owners to use the shock mode first. Usually, the shock mode is all the dog will not for effective corrective behavior.

Before I tried the collar on Dixie, I held the collar in my hand and made it vibrate. It's an attention-grabber. I knew the vibrate mode would get Dixie's attention and freak her out, which it did.

When I first put the collar on her, she thought it was a game and grabbed the collar and tried to play. However, after I first set off the collar when Dixie did something bad, Dixie completely stopped what she was doing and twirled around a couple of times. She was scared. It was pitiful.

I've only used the collar on her a half a dozen times. Enough so that she now knows that when I put the collar on her, she cools her heels. Even showing her the collar calms her down. So far, this is a good start, but she has so many bad behaviors that this is going to take a while.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Back Biting

Archie is out of the pool

Archie bit my back yesterday while he was standing on the pool's edge and I was standing in the pool. He was pretty wound-up since both Dixie and I were in the pool. Normally, he gets excited when Dixie is in the pool but my getting in sent him into orbit.

Archie still won't swim, and I mean "won't" as opposed to "can't." During yesterday's activities, I pulled Archie into the water and he swam effortlessly to the steps after I pointed him in the right direction. Initially, Archie wanted to get out at the side of the pool. Archie resisted my efforts to point him towards the steps. Goddamn if he isn't a big and strong dog. He's got to be over 70lbs now.

For those wondering what I did after Archie bit me, I slapped the shit out of him.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Détente?


Dodo, Dixie and Archie, together in harmony


Dodo is starting to tolerate the Babies now. He's more relaxed around Archie than Dixie. Dodo will even let Archie lick him. "Let" may be the wrong word. Dodo will suffer through Archie's sloppy licks. He'll sit there indignantly while Archie explores this exotic creature. But Dodo needs some space between him and Archie or else he will hiss at Archie. Dodo will not tolerate any proximity with the dogs while he's on the ground. When Dodo allows any contact between him and the cats, Dodo has to be on the counter or in a chair.

However, Dodo is always on alert when Dixie's wild ass is around. Dixie's unpredictability makes Dodo uneasy around her. At least now, Dodo will let Dixie lick her. In contrast to how he acts around Archie, Dodo is more alert and tense around Dixie.

Lately, Dodo has had to deal with the dog's proximity because Dodo wants to love me which means he has to come around the dogs' space. Dodo will sit on my shoulder while I watch TV and the Babies sleep. Once in a while, Dixie will raise her head from her sleep and gaze at Dodo. She wants to do something with that cat. What, I don't know. Sometimes Dixie will work up the nerve to approach Dodo, but I'll scold her and keep her at bay.

I hope those animals can get along.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Changes in Movies That Would Have Made a Huge Difference:
The Green Mile





Movie: The Green Mile

Change: Time period set to nowadays and not the Great Depression

Had the time period for The Green Mile been set for this current time and not the Great Depression, the movie would have been drastically different. DNA testing would have exonerated John Coffey, or if he had been convicted, The Innocence Project would have used DNA testing to get him off death row. As a consequence, the movie would have been shortened quite a bit. I guess we could have seen Percy do a couple of sadistic things before the movie ended.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Dixie's First Bye-Bye with Me.






Andy and Opie



A week and a half ago, I took Dixie for a walk at the newly renovated Pullen Park. I wanted to see what changes were made there. Dixie also needed to burn off some pent-up energy since she couldn't play aggresively with Archie while he was recouperating from his injury.

Things went well overall except for the ride there and back when Dixie was being a pout-baby. Granted, I kept her away from the high-traffic areas closer to the rides and playground. Even when Dixie saw a squirrel at the base of a tree, she only looked at it but did not go haywire like Abby would have. We passed by some kids without any problems.

Dixie mostly sniffed around. She did not need much guidance on where to go. For example, when we were walking on a trail, she instinctively knew to stay on the trail and not veer far off. She almost read my mind on what direction I wanted to go. Dixie was a little hesitant to go down some stairs but she went nonetheless after a little prodding from me.

The only time I thought we may have an issue was at the pond. I thought she was going to go in. Had the fence not been there, I think she would have gone in. Her eyes were locked-in on the water and longed to get in. I left that area before something happened.

Dixie was scared at the statutes of Andy and Opie. She stood her hair up and got tense. Naturally, I went right up to the statutes to see what she would do. For a moment, I thought she was going to bark at those statues, which were donated to Raleigh courtesy of TV Land. Dixie gave the statutes a long, hard look but remained calm.

Overall, Dixie did good considering how high-strung and unmanageable she is.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Changes in Movies That Would Have Made a Huge Difference:
The Vow





Movie: The Vow

Change: The husband gets amnesia, not the wife

Could you imagine how much different that movie would be had the husband got amnesia instead of the wife? The moment he opened his eyes and saw that his wife was Rachel McAdams, there is no way in hell he'd reject her the way the wife initially did to the husband in the movie.

A guy would have looked at McAdams and said "If you say we're married, then I'll take your word on it. I'll do whatever I have to do to make this work." There would have been no anguishing and second-doubts as seen from the wife. That man would have been over the moon at his discovery.

Subsequently, the movie would have lasted about 30 minutes.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

I Think Dixie Ate Cat-Shit

Notice the bone at the bottom

I only have circumstantial evidence that Dixie ate cat-shit. First, when I woke up this morning and looked at the litter box which is just outside my door, there was a pee-spot and a turd in the box. Dixie, who slept in my room, put her nose right to the turd and took a long, hard sniff. I commanded her to keep moving. I went back to bed. For the rest of the morning, my mom took care of the babies.

However, when I woke up the second time, the pee-spot was still there but the turd was gone. I asked my mom if she had cleaned the litter box: "No" she said. My bet is that Dixie ate it.

The second reason I think Dixie ate the turd rests on her digging episodes at the litter box. A few times Dixie has dug out everything in the box and making a huge mess in the hall.

So, with the turd going missing after Dixie woke up, Dixie sniffing the turd, Dixie's continuing interest in the litter box and no one cleaning the litter box this morning, all signs point to Dixie as the culprit that ate the cat shit.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Random Thought:
In Walt's Method for making crystal meth, how is the chirality introduced?



We never hear about the enantiomeric excess for Walt's crystal meth synthesis. We often hear about the overall chemical purity, often > 99%. For those not chemists, a chiral center is a carbon that has four different things attached to it, or at least that is one way to achieve chirality. Walt briefly mentions chirality when Victor was trying to "cook" a batch of meth in "Boxcutter." However, Walt didn't go into detail of how he achieved his asymmetric synthesis.

Walt starts with achiral starting material such as methyl amine and phenyl acetone. How Walt achieves an enantiopure product puzzles me. A catalyst is one way to achieve an asymmetric synthesis but Walt's catalyst, thorium oxide, is not chiral so that cannot be the source of the asymmetry.

Some may say I'm being pedantic for fretting about the enantio-purity of the product, but it does matter. For an example, look at the history of thalidomide, a anti-nausea drug whose enantiomer caused birth defects.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

The Cat Goes "Meow", And
The Dog Goes "Oink, Oink, Oink."


Archie can snort like a pig when he's excited about food. He sounds just like Wilbur from Green Acres. I kid you not. People-food excites Archie, especially when someone is giving him some. He starts breathing rapidly through his nose and smelling the food when he starts snorting.

I thought Archie's injury resulted in a defect in his nasal system, but I was wrong. Dixie, too, will snort when she becomes excited about food. Her snort does not carry as far as Archie's. And to be honest, Archie is so damned cute. So cute in fact that I want to sneak more people-food to Archie to hear him snort like a piggie.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Random Thought:
Mad Men Season Finale


For those who didn't like the Mad Men season finale because it was dark, sullen and brooding, remember that this show is not a sitcom.