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Category Archives: dogs

No Skulls for Spunky

Ever since we brought our new little friend Spunky home we’ve been meaning to get him a harness.  It is so much more comfortable for a little dog to have a harness than a leash on a collar, or so it seems to me.

As a side note, I’m making this post on our tablet, using the stylus and typing one letter at a time. It’s kind of fascinating, because the computer tries to guess what my next word will be.  It gives me three choices at a time, and I can click on the right one as soon as I see it.  Like some foolish bloggers game.  I think I’m losing. Perhaps  Steven will let me use the laptop soon.

Ah, on the laptop now and back to composing the post.  It isn’t really such a much as posts go, so I thought the paragraph about the tablet might add a little interest.  I SO prefer typing with all ten fingers.

Tractor Supply in Herkimer has a sign on the door that well-behaved dogs on a leash are welcome, so we grabbed the leash and our pooch and headed on over.  We quickly found the pet section and began looking at harnesses and collars.  I found a size small harness and tried it on Spunky.  I don’t think he was impressed.  We saw a similar dog with his people while we were there.  They called him Oliver. He was quite interested in sniffing Spunky, although Spunky was more interested in sniffing a display of treats.

As we looked to see if there were any other harnesses to try, I saw a collar with skulls on it.  I was certain Spunky would like a collar with skulls on it.  In any case, I would like to walk a dog with skulls on his collar.  Would you believe they did not have that collar in size small?  I was indignant.

“Don’t they think small dogs would like to be bad-ass?”  I asked.  “No skulls for Spunky!  Hey, that”ll be the title of my blog post today.”  I always say, waste not, want not.

I paused in writing this midway through the fourth paragraph so we could take a short walk with Spunky and test the new harness.  It certainly does seem more comfortable for him, although it is such a warm day I can’t say it was the most comfortable walk for any of us.  Lots of people were out enjoying the day, which is bright and sunny, just the sort of June day lots of people love.  At one point, we crossed the street to avoid a larger dog who looked very interested in us.

“Does he want to play or is he saying, ‘Oh boy, lunch!'” I asked the dog’s person.  We were not close enough to find out for sure.

We were glad we went for a walk, and even more happy to be back in our house in front of fans with cold drinks.  And while my post may not be such a much, I comfort myself with the reflection that I avoided Wrist to Forehead Sunday, and I think my headline is kind of catchy.



We Have a Dog!

His name is Spunky and he is a ten year old Shih Tzu who needed a home.  We are a middle-aged couple who needed a dog.  What could be better?

This morning we went down to The Velvet Dog to pick him up.  They are not open on Sundays, but the fellow that was fostering him agreed to meet us there.  I think Spunky remembered us from when we met him before.  He seemed quite content to have me pick him up and carry him to the car.  He was less sanguine when it became clear that I was going to close the door and take him away.  Poor guy was shaking as we drove home, which was fortunately not far.

Once in the house, he became interested in walking around and exploring.  I called my sister Cheryl to let her know we would not make it to church, and while I was on the phone with her, Spunky stood and looked at the door.  I was able to stay on the phone while I got the leash on him and opened the door, but it soon became clear he wanted to go for a walk.  I got off the phone, got Steve and a poop bag, and off we went.

Oh now nice to walk a dog again!  Perhaps it is not as good exercise, due to stopping and letting the pooch sniff almost every pole, tree and patch of grass that interests, but I maintain it is better for your soul.  We went for a second walk later, after I had written a few postcards and enveloped a few letters.  I say, Yay!

Despite the two walks, this is not a Pedestrian Post.  It is a short Wrist to Forehead Sunday post to let you know that we have a dog and are happy about it.  Not a Wrist to Forehead situation, you may say, and I must agree.  However, it is Sunday. My intention is to make a short post and get back to enjoying it.  I hope you are having a lovely day.


Post on the Pending Pooch

Oh dear, I’m afraid this may become Non-Sequitur Thursday after all, because all I can come up with so far is the headline.  Still, it would be rude not to explain.  Kind of like those people on Facebook who make posts like, “What a big decision to make!” or “I may have some big news to share” or… you know.  It drives everybody nuts, but apparently the temptation to do so is almost overwhelming.

However, this is not Facebook but my own blog and although I maintain I have a perfect right to pair what title and post I please, I will explain.

Regular readers may remember that Steven and I lost our beloved schnoodle Tabby last June.  We have greatly missed having a dog in the house.  We knew we would eventually get another pooch.  Of course there will never be another Tabby (I feel sad all over again just thinking about her), but many dogs need love and a home, and we could surely benefit from the love and companionship of a dog.

Steven suggested we look for a dog in May, after Leading Ladies (remember, that play I directed at Ilion Little Theatre?).  Well, May came and went, and we just did not make it over to the Herkimer County Humane Society (except for their garage sale, where I bought some fun stuff.  Did I write a blog post about that?).  We did not make it to their Mutt Strut either, although we had planned to. Was it ever going to be dog o’clock for us?

Then The Velvet Dog, where we used to bring Tabby to be groomed, posted a picture of a quite adorable Shih Tzu who needed a home because his owner had died.  Spunky was ten years old, older than we had envisioned.  We would hope to have more years with our new dog than we had with Tabby.  Still, he needed a home!  And many people are unwilling to adopt a ten year old dog for the same reason which made us hesitate.

After asking many questions about Spunky via Facebook, Steven made arrangements to go to The Velvet Dog Wednesday morning to meet him.  I couldn’t wait till lunch time to call Steven and see how it went (but I DID wait, I was not on my cell phone during work hours, just in case any bosses read this blog) (oh who am I kidding?  My boss probably doesn’t even know I write a blog!).  I confess I would not have been disappointed to find out Spunky was already at our house.  However, Steven rarely behaves in a thoroughly reckless fashion.  He liked Spunky but wanted me to meet him too.

Accordingly, I met Steven at The Velvet Dog after work yesterday to become acquainted with Spunky.  What a cute little dog he is!  He is not nearly as rambunctious and friendly as Tabby was, but he allowed me to hold and pet him.  He is still very sad and confused.  When I set him down, he kept going to the door and looking out, presumably wondering why his person hadn’t come to get him.  That made me very sad for him.

Steven suggested we pick him up on Sunday.  We both have the day off so can spend a good amount of time with him before leaving him to go to work on Monday.  I am SO looking forward to having a dog again!  I will probably write a lot of blog posts about him.



When I left work today I headed towards Herkimer County Humane Society.  I had a partial bag of dog food and three partial containers of treats that I hoped would go to good use.  Last night I visited the society’s website and ascertained that they were open till five.


The first person I ran into when I entered asked if she could help me.  I explained my sad purpose.  She expressed sympathy for my poor dog’s demise and said they would be happy to take the food.  I explained my second purpose, to walk a dog.  She took me into the reception room and got me a volunteer application to fill out.


When I turned in the form to another lady, my fears were confirmed.  I could not walk a dog that day.  The application must be approved by the board.  She also explained that when walking the dogs I must not let them interact with any other dogs or people, for safety reasons.


“But I can’t walk a dog today?” I said, probably sounding as forlorn as I felt.  The lady took pity on me and said I could take Snort out, just into the front yard.


Snort is a bulldog who had breaks in his back legs.  He was operated on and seems to be recovering nicely.  He had not been outside today, and my taking him out would give them a chance to clean his room.


Snort did not look like a dog recovering from surgery.  He wanted to jump and run.  I tried to get him to walk sedately.  At least I kept him from jumping or really taking off.  We made our way across the yard and back.  Some people saw us and said, “Oh, there’s Snort!”


“I’m not supposed to let him get close to people,” I said, keeping my distance.  Snort sat down on my feet and panted happily.  I petted him and told him he was a good dog.


“We’ve been following his progress on Facebook,”  one of the people told me.


I was happy to have spent a little time with Snort.  When I got home I told Steven of my experiences.


“Oh, yeah, I know Snort from Facebook,” Steven said.  Perhaps I need to spend more time on Facebook.


When I get my letter of approval from the Humane Society, I will go walk more dogs.


Mohawk Valley Girl, Canine Rescuer

So there I was, not many ideas of what to write a blog post about and feeling rather poopy in general, so I decided to take Tabby for a walk. I thought at least it would improve my disposition; walking usually does, especially with Tabby. And I might be able to write a blog post about it. The walk itself was fairly uneventful, till the very end.

Just to set the scene, it was about 4 p.m., the sun soon to go down, the sky white-grey, the air cool. It wasn’t as cold as this morning, luckily, because there was not much wind. It had been warm earlier, so some of the snow had melted to gushy mush on the streets and sidewalk. Wet had seeped in through my sneakers. After a while I felt light, feathery precipitation on my face.

As we were getting back to our house, we saw a little brown and white dog running down the street. He had a collar but no leash and no person in sight. Oh dear! I called to him but got no response. What to do? Call dog control? Do I have their number? Call the cops and ask for dog control’s number? The dog started running down the middle of the street. This was not good.

I put Tabby in the house, pausing to wipe her paws (in case she’d picked up some rock salt on our walk; can’t be too careful), grabbed a few treats, and went back out to find the little guy. He was way down the street. Two cars came along but luckily didn’t hit him. He started back towards me then turned down Church Street. I ran to the corner and after him, being careful not to slip on the slush and land on my tush (hey, that rhymed).

The dog was at least half a block ahead of me. I slowed to a walk so as not to scare him. I tried calling to him and holding out a treat. He was having none of it. He turned down Prospect. I was gaining on him, alternating running and walking as indeed he was. At last I caught up, but he did not seem interested in the treat. I persisted, talking nicely to him and hoping he would decide to like me.

A fellow on a bicycle across the street called to me that there was a car coming up behind me. I couldn’t be bothered with cars. That car could just hit the brakes, couldn’t he? But one can’t count on cars doing these things for cute little dogs. The situation was desperate. I scooped up the pooch. He was not happy about it. I hoped he wouldn’t bite me.

“Help!” I called. “It’s not my dog,” I explained. “He was running down the street and I didn’t want him to get run over. Now I’m scaring him to death!”

The bicycle fellow’s house was nearby. He called me over and went to the door and asked someone inside for a phone. I could feel the poor dog’s heart beating. I didn’t know what to do. Bike guy said he would take the dog in but was afraid his dogs would not like it. I didn’t think I could carry doggy all the way home with him being so upset. Finally I asked could I borrow a leash just to get him home.

“I can bring it back later,” I said. He said why didn’t he just follow me home and get it. Good idea.

The dog was OK once he was on the leash. He trotted along nicely, stopping to sniff things as dogs like to do. As we walked up Bellinger, my new friend said, “We may have found his owner.” A lady at the end of the street seemed to be calling for a dog. He rode ahead to see. It was our lost friend’s person!

“Oh, thank God!” I said as she hurried down the street to scoop him up.

“He got off his leash,” she said. “I’ve had him fifteen years! Thank you!” she added to both of us.

“We’re dog rescuers,” I said to the bicycle guy, handing him his leash. “Thank you!”

We wished each other a Merry Christmas as went our separate ways. Tabby was happy to see me, if a little confused. I realized I was silly running off on my own for a rescue. If I had brought Tabby, that dog probably would have come right to us. After all, boy dogs usually want Tabby to be their girlfriend.

So that was my adventure, complete with happy ending.

The Tabby Dog Blues

Saturday Running Commentary is right out the window. However, I have taken a few lovely walks with my schnoodle, Tabby. I think I can manage a paragraph or two about that.

Full disclosure: I’m typing this into the computer Thursday evening, having made Thursday’s and Friday’s posts, both of which I wrote while I was at work today (yes, boss, while on break). Saturday I will be wine tasting with the family (I have written a few blog posts about my stress getting ready for that).

Mohawk Valley weather was finally good to us this week, with 50 degree weather. Oh what a joy to walk when it’s not so damn cold! The puddles are mostly evaporated. Mud is not too bad. I can avoid it. Tabby chooses not to. I say she is the famous blues singer Muddy Paws. I’ve written a few lyrics for her.

Well I’m a dirty dog
And they call me Muddy Paws.
What do you want from me?
Do I look like Santa Claus?

My name is really Tabby
I got the Tabby dog blues.

I like to take a walk
with Cindy and with Steve.
When they get the leash out
I just can’t wait to leave.

My name is really Tabby
I got the Tabby dog blues.

I suppose she will have some Tabby dog blues when I am not home Friday and Saturday. We can look forward to a joyous reunion on Sunday. When I will make my usual Wrist to Forehead Sunday post.

Tabby Knows Best

I had this whole elaborate Monday Middle-aged Musing going on. Oh, I was getting deep. Then I realized I was in too deep. I didn’t know what I wanted to say. What to do? I thought I’d take my dog, Tabby, for a walk and do another pedestrian post. I know I do a lot of those, but I thought I might see some new things tonight.

It was dark by the time we started, making it all the easier to admire our neighbors’ Christmas lights. There is a kind I hadn’t seen before: they are shaped like an icicle and the light kind of runs down them. Very cool.

Tabby had a little indecision as to where to go when we reached the corner but resolved that and we continued down Church. She was stopping every two feet to sniff attentively. That made it easier for me to check out the decorations. I noted a large tree in a window not yet decorated and a staircase with lights running up the bannister. I regretted that we don’t have an open staircase. I like the lights on the bannister look. I reminded myself one can’t have everything and walked on.

Tabby stopped and looked at me.

“Let’s keep going,” I encouraged. She acquiesced. Then stopped again. Then deigned to walk some more.

We had gone a total of a block and a half when she stopped the last time, turned around and headed back home. I followed. She walked faster. She did not stop to sniff. What’s going on, I wondered. When she didn’t even stop to sniff the fire hydrant, I became a little concerned.

Being a woman of vivid imagination (as regular readers know), I began to ask myself if Tabby knew something that I did not. After all, animals have instincts. There have been stories. My husband was at home, nursing a cold. Could it be he needed us? I knew I was being silly. Then again, wouldn’t that make a tremendous blog post?

It did not take long to get home. Steven was fine. I turned on the computer and hoped I had enough for a blog post. Looks like I did.

Tabby on Main Street

I think Tabby would like to become a member of Herkimer Now. She had a wonderful time at their Superhero Sprint last Saturday. Tuesday night she joined them for their second Main Street Walk. Steven and I tagged along.

The first Main Street Walk was held last month (perhaps you read my blog post about it). Once again, people gathered outside Basloe Library at 6:30 p.m. We greeted people we remembered and who remembered us from last time or from the Superhero Sprint. Well, I guess they mostly remembered Tabby, although one woman had seen me on WUTR News (I had agreed to comment on camera). No news people were there this time (phew!), but Mayor Mark Ainsworth was on hand.

Another lady had brought her dog this time. She said her dog was kind of a snapper, so we did not let Tabby get too close, although both hounds seemed interested in each other. We walked north on Main Street as far as the 1834 Jail (one of my favorite spots), then crossed the street and walked south. Once again, people reminisced about what used to be where. Two gentlemen sitting on the stoop of an apartment building said hello. They knew one of the walkers, who stopped and chatted for a minute. I heard them express encouragement and approval.

When we passed Smokers Friendly, Steven went in to purchase a lottery ticket. I’ll let you know if he wins big. As we came out the door, Tabby encountered the other dog. Rowf! I think the other pooch wanted to fight, but her owner restrained her. We walked a little faster.

At State Street, also known as Route 5, people paused so we could cross the street as a group. It was almost dark by now. I remarked that it might have been better to start earlier and cross the busy street in full daylight. However, there were streetlights and a walk signal, and everybody made it across safely. One lady showed me that she had on an identification bracelet she wore when she rode her bike, so if she got hit by a car anybody would know who she was. I said that was a good idea, but, really, God forbid.

We hadn’t gotten to South Main Street on the first walk, so we saw some different buildings. Steven and I rarely cross State when we walk, so that was of interest to us.

St. Anthony’s Church hosted the group for refreshments. We hesitated about bringing Tabby in, but the lady in charge said it would be fine as long as we kept track of her. We didn’t let her off the leash, and she was, as usual, well behaved. One nice lady got her a dish of water. Steven and I enjoyed a cup of coffee and some treats. Tabby was a little disappointed that we didn’t share, but we made sure she got some treats when we got back home.

We walked back up Main Street by ourselves and managed to cross State without mishap. I was really glad we had gone on the walk. I think it’s wonderful that such a simple idea can make a difference and that people are willing to try. What tangible differences has it made so far, you may ask. I say good question. I’ll be watching Main Street and will be sure to report back.

I believe the two walks taken so far have at least made a difference to those of us who walked. I felt encouraged to see that people cared, were willing to come out and were optimistic enough to believe we can change things.

To watch for when the next walk will be, you can Like Herkimer Now’s Facebook page. Hope to see you there!

A Walk Before Breakfast

I did not run this morning, because it was raining. I felt blessedly off the hook, since by now I’ve been away from it for so long I’ve got that Starting Over Hump to deal with. Come to think of it, that will probably make a good blog post, so we’ve got something to look forward to.

The rain had stopped by the time Steven left for work about ten minutes before nine. I had written a few postcards. We had purchased some new ones at the Fly Creek Cider Mill on Sunday, so that was exciting for me. I thought a walk to the post office would be a good idea.

I had plans to meet my friend Rachel for breakfast. She would be driving through the area as part of a long road trip. I had not seen her in some years so was quite happy at the prospect. I took my cell phone along on the walk with me, in case she tried to call with an update on her progress.

It was still cool out, if a little gloomy, so that was good. I never mind a gloomy day. We set out prepared to enjoy the walk.

It did not disappoint. We said good morning to a couple of ladies out walking. Tabby was good and did not jump up on them. I was glad of that, because she had transformed into that famous blues singer, Muddy Paws.

Rachel called while we were at the post office. She said she was 27 miles outside of Utica traveling at 70 miles per hour, so I could figure it out. Why in the world would Rachel think I could do the math? I did the best I could and continued my walk.

Tabby, as usual, wanted to stop and sniff every two feet. We compromised and some sniffing was done while still making progress towards home. When we walked by Curves, I considered stopping in and saying hello, but the Muddy Paws thing deterred me.

We got home in plenty of time for me to get my act together and meet my friend. Our delightful breakfast may be the subject of a blog post in the near future. As always, I hope you’ll stay tuned.

Walking for the Blog

So I said, “Let’s take Tabby for a walk, then I’ll write a blog post about it.” That usually works.

My plan was to walk out German Street, towards where the flood damage was pretty bad. They have cleaned up a lot, of course, but I know one street is still blocked off, and there is still a big empty spot where a garage used to be. These things I drive by on my way to work. I thought at a pedestrian’s pace, we could take a closer look.

At first my plan seemed to be working, because Tabby agreed to walk in that direction. She often wants to walk the other way on German Street. I know, one can usually win an argument with a 17-pound schnoodle, especially one with as sweet a disposition as Tabby’s. However, the walk is for her entertainment as well as ours. I don’t like to be mean.

First we saw a lady with a couple of Shi-tzu-looking dogs across the street. I may have petted those dogs while out running one day. Unfortunately, I have not been running in a while. We waved to the lady and she waved back. Then we saw a lady coming up Margaret Street with two little Scotty-looking dogs. They saw Tabby and barked and pulled on the leash. She continued down German, in the same direction on the same side of the street as we had been heading. We turned down Margaret.

Well, Margaret is a pleasant enough street to walk down. We admired several gardens and screened-in porches. We saw a couple of For Sale signs and indulged in a little “What if?” We went almost all the way down Margaret, then turned down Park Avenue (doesn’t that sound swank?). Our new plan was go go through Myers Park. Then we saw a labrador-looking dog up ahead, so we turned up Henry.

About this time, I asked myself (I was writing this post in my head as we walked) why I feel I must add the suffix “-looking” when I guess which breed a dog is. In the first place, most of the people who read this blog won’t know which dog I’m talking about, so how would they know I was wrong? “A black dog on Park Avenue? That COULDN’T have been a labrador!” Yes it could! It was a different black dog from the one you’re thinking of! In the second place, I just might be right about the breed. Stranger things have happened.

The only really flood-related observation I made was that some stretches of sidewalk are still covered with dirt, from where people did not rinse off the mud. But I hope you enjoyed reading about our canine encounters. We enjoyed our walk.