The Little Dog that Could

Once upon a time, there lived an old* woman who suffered a broken heart after her husband died.  Although she had family and friends who loved her dearly, she lived alone and wished for a little companion to keep her company. One day, the old* woman went with her daughter to visit their friends who lived on a ranch in the country. There, the old* woman met a mischievous little puppy that she immediately took a liking to. She was told the pup was a trouble maker…harassing the horses, pestering the neighbors, chasing cars and perhaps, needed a new home. So, the old* woman took the little dog home to live with her. To keep the puppy safe and out of trouble and fulfill her wish for a companion to keep her company. She called her new little friend Bizbee.

Because the old* woman loved Bizbee so very much, she decided to find her a friend. So, she brought home another puppy she named Benson. The old* woman loved both of her dogs more than anything…Her very life revolved around them!  Over the next several years, Benson grew into a giant 100 lb. dog who commanded all of the attention from the old* woman and anyone who came to visit. But, little Bizbee loved her Benson and didn’t mind that she was not the center of attention.

Because the old* woman loved her dogs so much, she became obsessed that something might happen to them and went to great lengths to keep them safe! Both dogs were never allowed to leave the house for fear they would run away. The old* woman’s daughter pleaded with her mother to let the dogs, at least, come visit her house. But the old* woman was too frightened because her daughter and son-in-law lived where there was no fence, lots of sharp cactus and dangerous wild animals roaming about! But her dogs were happy with their lives. They were well loved and well taken care of. They loved the old* woman and the old* woman was happy.

One day, the old* woman had a stroke and became very ill. Her family was  overwhelmed with taking care of her so, her precious dogs were sent to a ‘safe’ foster home until she was well enough to care for them once again. But, the old* woman did not get any better and she died…Most likely, a broken heart contributed to her death, as she was afraid she would never see her beloved Benson and Bizbee again….

And this is where the story begins…

My mom passed away on December 5th. She had a stroke the first of October and started to recover, but had another stroke and complications that she could not recover from. The day after she died, I called the foster home caring for Benson and Bizbee to see if they would adopt both dogs. My mother was adamant about keeping them together. Benson, a 100 lb. labradoodle was just too much for our little pack, so Todd and I could not take them.The foster mother, our local groomer, was happy to adopt Benson, but Bizbee?…Well, she was a ‘problem’ dog.

Todd and I agreed that we would bring Biz home and see if there was anyway she might be able to live with us….at least until we could find her a suitable home. We were worried that having led such a sheltered life, we would encounter all of the horror’s my mother had imagined…Chasing rabbits for miles and getting lost…fighting with a javelina…getting impailed on a cholla, getting bitten by a rattlesnake, running away at first chance…With Bizbee, you just never knew. She loved to pounce on birds and chase lizard’s in my mom’s yard, much to my mother’s horror! Bizbee could be a handful!

 

I brought Bizbee to our home on Dec. 9th.

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She was a little lost and forlorn. My heart ached for her as she found the blanket that covered my mom when she passed away, and laid on it the first day she was here. But then she found Baily. She had known Baily and our other dogs for years since we had taken them to my Mom’s house many times! I’m sure this was a huge factor in adjusting to her new environment.

Since we were a little nervous about letting her outside, we got a tether so we could hook her up on the porch without worrying about her bolting. But poor Bizbee was not very happy with this situation!

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‘ The evil eye 😉 ‘

 One afternoon, shortly after Bizbee came to live with us,Todd left that sliding door open, forgetting about Bizbee. Upon entering the house and realizing Bizbee was no longer in the house we panicked! I  would be devastated if we lost her! All the fears my mom had would be validated!

But, as soon as we prepared to go walk the neighborhood in search of her, little Bizbee calmly walked into the house from Todd’s Backyard, looking at us like “What’s the big deal?”.

Since then, the tether has been put away and Bizbee is free to have new and fun adventures in Todd’s Backyard….

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 Helping Todd grill with Daizy is one of the best!

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However, it would probably be much more fun to actually help him get the chicken to put on the grill!

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Bizbee has taken her seat on the porch…She does not chase the rabbits, she does not eat lizards (yet). Her only mishap has been an infected cactus thorn in her paw (Sorry Mom!)

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Bizbee has found a new life with a family that loves her, and is also trying to find a new life after the loss of someone they all loved.

Epilogue:

After the little dog found a new home,  she became the little dog that could….

She could make new friends.

She could investigate the yard as she pleased…for the most part.

And she could mend a broken heart…for the second time!

And as for the *old woman’s daughter…..She apologizes to her mother for calling her *old ( Therefore the *) and hopes that her mom is not rolling over in her urn for posting this blog-  But the daughter is sure that that her mother is happy in heaven knowing that her beloved Bizbee is still well loved and taken care of and will live happily ever after.

Mom, rest in peace…

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 A little part of you is still with us through Bizbee….Thank you!

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Wild at Heart…Happy in Heaven

There was a strange little creature that inhabited our home and our hearts for the past 12 years, who we bid farewell to with memories and tears. Our little wild cat, Zoe left us yesterday, for a place in heaven where she can frolic and play…and cuddle and slobber, purr and wiggle…and will surely make the angels giggle!

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Zoe loved her doggies, she was one of the pack. When she went on an adventure they’d have her back.

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 She loved to hang out on the porch and sit in the sun, or play with her ball….oh, so much fun!

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Part monkey, part dog and part purrrincess diva, she was a cat like not other, and had only one pet peeve(a). If her looks got scruffy and hairs to fluffy, she would pout and get ‘pissed’ and let us know when enough was enoughy! So off the the groomer she’d go to get pretty and then, once again, she’d be our good little kitty!

Zoe rocked her cropped look, so stylin’ with her mane!…In fact, her little lion ‘do’ became her claim to fame!

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Although this pic that aired on the news without her happy face might lead you to believe she was slightly disgraced. But make no mistake, Zoe was happy and loved, and is purrrrhaps  looking down right now and smiling at us from above!

Zoe was 14 years old when she passed away yesterday from a bloodclot that burst in her lungs. Rest in Peace little lion cat!

Hot Chicks!…Cool Chicks!

There’s a cool new Summer night spot in Todd’s Backyard!…The party starts at 6pm, nightly at Gerti’s ‘Goody’ Garden, where Gerti (our desert tortoise) host’s a nightly event… the Chick Party! Girls only!!!

And the guests?…

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3 hot chicks, one hot dog and one ha ha hot mama 😉 With the daily temps of over 100 degrees for about the past 2-3 weeks, everyone is looking for a little cool down…which we’ve found at sundown when the shadows start to cool the yard and the sprinklers shut off on the grass. Daizy (the puggle) and I round-up the chicks and head off to Gertie’s!

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There, the smaller guests enjoy a nice veggie salad while lounging in the wet grass. I enjoy a nice glass of wine, while putting my bare feet in the wet grass…ahhhhhh. But, things can get pretty wild when the chicks finish their snack. This is when the fun and games begin! Daizy never actually eats her snack, she just likes to claim it, nibble on it a bit, then wait for her feathered friends to come after it….a great game!

And quite entertaining to watch the chicks, relentlessly chasing Daizy around until she gives it up, which in the end, she always does!

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After the games, there’s time to catch up on some gossip…

chickparty3And time to rock out!

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Daizy usually likes to see if she can dig up some other friends (lizards, baby bunnies, etc.) to join the party…

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You may be asking, “where’s Gerti?” while all of this parting is going on? Gerti is pretty much a ‘legs-off’ hostess. She’d much rather hang out on the sidelines than get involved in the friendly frolicking! And she really does NOT enjoy the pecks on the cheek!  But she will do a little mingling when there’s a special guest!

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Gerti stuck her neck out to join the party when my niece Megan was here! Gerti adored her and the chicks thought Megan was pretty cool too!

It’s a Wild Life!

Well, December 21st came and went. The Mayan calendar ended, the planets aligned, 2012 is coming to a close and life is going on without any major events…Except some nice stormy and wintery weather for the Holidays! For the most part, its been a good year. Todd’s projects have yielded a lot more landscaping, a beautiful revamped pond complete with fish, an outdoor potting/work bench, a chicken coop with chicken and a large garden plot ready for planting this spring! Our little desert acre is a mental sanctuary that keeps us from dwelling on the pressure and stress of ‘real life’! We have been so blessed!

Of course, one of the things we most enjoy about living here is having all of the wildlife that we can watch from our living room or the porch! This time of year, all of the reptiles, squirrels and dirt monkeys are safely tucked away in their underground homes, sleeping the winter away. We lose some of the variety of birds, as most go south, but we still have the quail, sparrows, mourning doves, and the cardinals…

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The cardinals dot the winter landscape with their brilliant color!  (I just missed getting the 3rd bird in this shot!)

The javelina are thick and having lots of babies!

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But, the baby javelina are good eatin’ for some during the winter…

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Bob has been hanging out  a lot!

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Although, we have not seen the bobcat get a baby javelina, we have seen him get rabbits! Quite gruesome!  I think the coyotes are more interested in the baby javies than the bobcats! (This next year I hope to get a photo of a coyote..the only pic that I don’t have!) We rarely see coyotes during the day, but almost always hear them at night, yipping and yelping! The other night Todd ran outside because we thought they might be trying to get into the chicken coop! Since then, Todd has put lots of reinforcements on the coop to prevent that from ever happening! I think the coyotes and bobcats have been a major contributor to the dwindling rabbit population! Now, we are lucky to see just one or two bunnies at a time!

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Awww…One bun’s just no fun!

So we decided to get a couple of our own!

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Meet C-Lo (Carrot LOver) and Odie

They are living happily inside,  and hopefully, we might train them to be good house rabbits (i.e. to use a litter box). We got a big portable  pen to put on the porch so they can go out and run around a bit. It’s a riot watching them running and hopping around! They are little hip hoppers! We can’t leave them unsupervised for a moment though.

Fresh buns  would be delightful delicacy for this guy…

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More than once, Mr. Hawkins has flown under the porch to check out our other possible menu items…

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Like Feline ala Furreir

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Or perhaps just a plain hot dog!

The only other possible pickings we had to offer was Petite Puggle…but I believe that she is no longer on Mr. Hawkin’s  menu…

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But Daisy had better watch out! Plump puggle would be a lovely dinner for Coyotes!

Mother Clucker!

We recently, and suddenly decided to expand Todd’s Backyard into Todd’s Backyard Farm! Thanks to our good neighbors, Pat and Tracy, we acquired a 6 month old Rhode Island Red hen. They have a large herd..(or brood…or whatever you call a bunch of chickens) one of which they kept separated because it didn’t play well with the others, (actually  I believe it was visa versa) In any case, this chicken was kept in a small cage which they wanted  eliminate because they were installing a brooder and didn’t have room. So, they were going to eat her! Of course, we couldn’t let them do that, especially since they might have brought some fresh fried chicken to our next Friday afternoon neighborhood happy hour, and that would definitely bring down my ‘happy’!

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Seriously….look at that face! And it’s not that that I have anything against eating meat/chicken….I just can’t eat an animal that I personally know!

So, with no time to lose, Todd  raced to Home Depot for lumber and chicken wire. Luckily, we had the perfect spot for a coop, under the walk-through storage area next to our shed! Todd worked his construction magic and in 2 days had built  coop fit for a chicken queen!

This is the living area… It’s a spacious 30 sq. feet, complete with perch, nesting house filled with straw and a hanging, stainless steel feeder and water dispenser. There are also wonderful floor to ceiling views of  Todd’s Backyard South!

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A door under the nesting house, leads to the outside play and party area…

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Here, we find a 25 sq. foot, reenforced and enclosed patio, complete with multilevel perches and 180 views of Todds’ Backyard North. It’s also located in the popular Javelina hangout area, so the coop residents can socialize, if so desired. (Hopefully, javelina don’t want to eat chicken!)

Pat brought the hen to her new home last weekend. She immediately took to her new living conditions!

We named her Mother Clucker, aka Ma.

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She will soon have a couple of room mates when Pat’s new batch of chicks get old enough to tell the sex….no roosters for us please! Not that we have anything against roosters, but we want eggs without ‘red eyes’! And by the way….Ma has laid an egg everyday since she’s lived here! In fact, this morning we will be having them for breakfast! Good thing that she is going to do some work for her rent! This thing cost us a small fortune! Although it’s going to take a LOT of eggs to pay this off. But, of course, we do get more than just eggs from our new, dare I say, pet…There is huge entertainment value in talking to a chicken…”Baaahck Bahck Baaaaahck?” And she talks Baaaahck to you!  The only draw baaahck I see in having a chicken…

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Uuuuughhhh! Mother Clucker!!!!

Puggled

One month ago, we welcomed a new member to our family….Daizy….A puggle! Todd and I have had several very special dogs we have shared our lives with over the past 20 years. All were spaniels (except Lulu, our chihuahua) and have inherent traits that we have grown accustomed to. Daizy, being a mixture of pug and beagle, is definitely a VERY different breed!

In, fact, I’m not sure she’s even a dog!

A master manipulator,  a crazy comedian, a stubborn brat, a 4 legged ball of non-stop energy…just a few things that could describe her. She keeps us screaming and laughing at the same time!

Unlike all of our other 4 legged kids, we’ve had to keep her ‘on-line’ when we are on the porch. This, after having to chase her around the yard, our neighbor’s yards and down the wash one too many times! Todd’s backyard is not a great playground for a young puggle with no desert experience. The first time she tries to jump on a cholla will be her last!…And I don’t think Jairy the javelina would be very tolerant upon a chance meeting!

So, poor puggle must be on a rope…

But, Daizy still finds ways to stay entertained! Just the challenge of untangling herself, keeps her busy…’follow the yellow steel rope, follow the yellow steel rope, fa la la la la la la la, follow the yellow steel rope!‘ Then it’s off to see what else she can find to do in her little patio kingdom!

She has staked her claim on a patio chair…

And has found a nice smooth rock she likes to push around with her nose…we call it rocky hockey!

Daizy helps Todd keep the porch clean, snuffling up any debris and rooting round the pots eating all the lizard poop she can find! She is also very good a catching and eating flies! But, when Daizy turns off her crazy, and turns on her lazy….oooohhhh….She just wants to make you to snuggle with the puggle! Just don’t let her kiss you on the mouth 😉

The King of Hearts

Once upon a time, there lived a dog that was so full of love, he had a heart on his head! His name was Cooper and he was a very special part of our family!

We always wanted a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel.We found Cooper, eight years ago, when he was nine months old. He lived with  two very eccentric old ladies who bred and raised Cavaliers. When he joined our family, he wasn’t a tiny puppy. He had also picked up some pretty interesting habits in the first 9 months of his life!

The young prince in his normal pose

When we brought him home, he immediately took to his new family! All he needed was a soft spot to curl up. He even liked Zoe, although I’m sure he had never seen a cat before and wasn’t quite sure what to do with her!

Cooper was the perfect little puppy! Never chewed on anything, potty trained perfectly. Laid back and gentle, we could not have asked for a better dog! But he DID have one little ‘flaw’ that was a bit annoying, although funny as hell! He refused to eat out of a dog dish…I had to feed him with a fork! I kid you not!!! And he didn’t just lick the food off of the fork, like a normal dog would. He opened his mouth, closed his lips and pulled the food off of the fork. Just like a furry little human!  (I wish I had gotten pictures of that!)

It wasn’t until after we got his brother, Baily, that Cooper started eating like a normal dog. But, there was still nothing quite normal about Cooper! He had the most enormous capacity for love, patience and humor, that I have ever seen in another living creature.

One of Cooper’s greatest loves was his little brother!

Cooper and Bailey were inseparable!

Cooper and Baily both received the royal treatment!….

They got to share dinner with us on special occasions. This, however,  only lasted until we added little sister Lulu to the mix. Her ‘uncivilized’ behavior was not conducive to relaxing family meals.

Cooper and the little hellion, Lulu

The 3 ‘kids’ still had lots of fun! One of their favorite pastimes was napping together on their comfy chair…

That chair was the ‘it’ spot to hang out… it always looked like this….

When he wasn’t hanging out on his comfy chair, Cooper was hanging out on the porch.

Spending many hours on porch, lounging in the sun, he became a comfortable presence for all of the backyard wildlife!

He liked to check in on Gerti from time to time!

And even had a few civilized conversations with Jairy (the Javelina).

But quite possibly, the most extraordinary relationship Cooper developed, was the one he had with the quail… his Wootoos!

Coop enjoying a relaxing scratch ‘n’ massage from his quail friend.  (See the post, A Quail Tale, for that story!)

Cooper enjoyed life to the fullest,even though we realized several years ago that he had gone completely deaf. He always kept eye contact with us and could read lips/body language/hand signals perfectly.He was such a well behaved boy!  And as such, received  lots and lots of treats and love! He truly enjoyed the finer and simpler things in life! All he needed was a comfy chair, a bit ‘o’ sun, family and  friends, a glass of fine wine and possibly a bowl of Honey Bunches of Oats OR vanilla ice cream OR even better said cereal ON vanilla icecream….Oh, and a massage from anyone who would comply….and lots of kisses!

We know that Cooper is enjoying all of this and much more in Heaven! We had to say goodbye to him last week. It has left a huge hole in our hearts and our lives. But, we can consider ourselves the luckiest family for being blessed with such a special  gift!

Long live the King!…in our hearts!