Fred, me, Mugsy circa 1997

Happy Thorsday, little friday, thankful Thursday and more.  October is packed full of remembrances and occasions here in the woods.  There are birthdays, death days, anniversaries, and a Gotcha’ day.  I’m not even going to try to list them all, but this is the month when many of our nearest and dearests celebrate or reflect upon something.  The girls are thinking ahead and are all ready for hunting season to begin.

Pardon the picture of the picture.  That’s a proof from my bridal portrait sitting.  Weren’t the boy-dogs handsome?  Mugsy was born on October 5th, and Fred crossed the bridge on the same day, 12 years apart.

Because this is a rather chaotic month around here, I’ll also mention that October 23rd is the 5th anniversary of Gretchen Greer’s arrival in the woods, the 24th is DIVA Sissy’s 6th birthday, and the 25th is our 16th wedding anniversary.

And I’m thankful for every bit of it.  Unfortunately, the way life rolls, if Fred and Mugsy hadn’t left us, we wouldn’t have the fur-girls.  I believe my maternal grandfather also died this week, 45 years ago.  I never met either of my grandfathers, but I’m grateful for what I do know about them.

This is also as good a time as any to note that October 11th is the end of a four-generation run for the inlaws’ family business.  That means retirement for MJ, Dae and Uncle.  The Knight will truly become self-employed, although he started his own business in a similar industry last summer, and has been working around the clock, sometimes 7 days a week for a while now.  I start a new job on the 14th, and when I’m not nursing a sore ankle and placating fussy dogs whose routines have been disturbed (and they don’t know the half of it yet), etc., maybe I’ll be inclined to share more.

I’m thankful for the 12 years I had at the inlaws’ business.  Despite the ups and downs and the end of the business, I can honestly say that yes, I worked (at one point) with my husband, his brother, his uncle, my inlaws and even the patriarch too, with Uncle’s wife showing up on Thursdays to deal with debt collections for a while, and we are all still speaking to each other, usually even in polite voices.  There were plenty of non-related by marriage employees too, and many of them were like family and are missed already.

What are you remembering today?

Senior Dogs

Happy Thorsday, little friday and Thankful Thursday! 

Courtesy of BlogPaws

Courtesy of BlogPaws

You’ll note today’s topic is addressed exclusively on this blog.  Not only is the DIVA in denial about her age, but she’s in a MOOD and is asserting herself all over the place.  

The fact is, I’ve been trying to come to grips with the DIVA’s aging process for about a year.  Her red is fading out, and she’s not leaping to high heights as often anymore.  We still log 20+ miles a week, and she’s generally the one who pushes for a run when we do run, but none of us is growing younger.


Fred, showing off his largeness

When a dog becomes a senior is as open for debate as the classification is for humans.  It’s even muddier for a basset, because some sources classify them as a large breed, and sometimes, large breeds are considered seniors around 5-6 years of age.  Most sources though classify bassets as a medium breed, so Sis, who will be 6 in October, isn’t a senior yet.  I’m selfishly going with that interpretation in part because our vets have laughed about Sis greying prematurely, and because while she’s not the tiny, petite basset I said I wanted,  she lacks Fred’s extra-dense frame. 

Senior dogs have the same potential challenges senior humans face.   They have more aches and pains, making routine activities annoying rather than fun some days.  Their metabolisms slow.  They can develop arthritis and even senility.  Hearing and vision sometimes fade, as do their coats.  The best approach is to talk to your vet about any changes in your dog’s appearance or habits.  Poor Fred required better living through pharmacology, beginning when he was about 6, but Sissy has made her own subtle adjustments, and I think that as long as she remains trim and active, she isn’t likely to need even joint supplements for a good while.

There are even vets who specialize in senior pets.  The vet we saw immediately after Wondervet moved away has a special interest in senior pet care, but she was also fabulous for timid Gg.  

I’m thankful that I live in an age when our pets are family, where limited, quality ingredient treats and pet foods are becoming the norm, where we have access to highly trained specialists for our pets.   And I’m always grateful for our blogging community.   Many of you have become treasured friends!

What are you thankful for today?



Fred Immortalized

MRM Fred Sit up

The inspiration photo from 2007

Last night, the Knight received a truly remarkable gift.   One of the firefighters is a talented artist, and he used a photo of the Knight and Fred to create the sketch, which was then signed by a significant portion of the brigade (members).

(Yes, that’s a baby Shadow in the lower right corner.   I’ve always loved this photo, so it was fun to revisit it.)


Isn’t that stunning?!  The Knight and I spent our lunch break trying to sort out all the signatures, and a couple still elude us.

Now, to make a special place for this and the things that came home from his chief’s office…


Remembering When

Earworm alert…  Remember When


1997 – Fred, me, Mugsy

Today is one of those super-significant days in my life.  In family history – mine and the inlaws combined – there are a couple of wedding anniversaries, a human death, another birthday later this weekend…  Then in our home specifically, today was Mugsy’s birthday and five years ago on another Friday the 5th, we said good-bye to Fred.

Sorry for the photo of a photo of one of the shots from my brial portraits.   Oh I loved those boys!!

But as the words of the song suggest, the boys wouldn’t want me to be sad.  Look at those happy faces!  I am so very glad for all the time we had, and I’m glad for the fur-girls, but I still miss you every single day.

What’s on your weekend agenda?  Anything to be glad about?

World Cancer Day?

Several blogs I follow have sported this powerful badge today.

I can’t find the origins, and THIS website says the date was last month.  Whatever.  I don’t think we can talk enough about cancer, promote awareness, or fight for a cure.

I’m totally copying Sue’s spin on this post.

Gold – for Angel Princess Hope


Scope it Out 5k - find one near you!

Blue for my grandmother and aunt






May is HWC Month with Pampered Chef

Pink for a family friend fighting the fight, my sister’s friend and co-worker, friends who have fought the fight… and for my physician

Gosh, there are so many.  This is SO hard… there’s someone for nearly every ribbon…





Teal for the Knight’s aunt



MRM Fred Sit upSkin cancer, thyroid cancer, non-Hodgkin’s large cell lymphoma…  The list really is unending and at this point, I fear I’ll accidentally omit someone important to me, like our own Fred and all the other sweet, sweet dogs this awful disease has taken from us…

So you see, it doesn’t matter that some big non-profit “celebrated” this day last month.  There’s never a wrong time to talk about cancer, to promote awareness, to mourn those taken from us, but don’t forget to celebrate the survivors.  As heart-breaking as the losses are, there are the celebrations of life for the conquerors.   One day, there will be more celebrations.

The Cancer Thief

Like many of you, I have a host of blogs in my reader.  One of those is Javamom, whom I discovered somehow after one of the Junior League conferences last year.   While I don’t know her friend, I do know that cancer is a thief and it steals from all of us. 


My Hooey Hound, taken too soon by the Cancer Thief

I won’t bore you with a laundry list of those the cancer thief has robbed me – and the world – of.  I will tell you that right now, I am still in awe of “Hope” and all that innocent, strong, brave, beautiful child gave those of us who knew of her.  And two women my age with happy young families were blindsided by cancers within in the past year.  (We’re talking no history, hit all of the proper milestones for routine testing, etc.) 

So here’s a link, so you too can be inspired, supportive… whatever you feel called to do.  Surely if we keep promoting awareness and routine testing according to your medical history, we can indeed “arrest” the Cancer Thief.

Lead Me On

The girls in their current harnesses

Happy little friday, dogs on thursday and thankful thursday!!  Be sure to catch Sissy’s post – yes, the DIVA herself bothered to write a post – on an easy way to support shelter pets. 


Mugsy & Fred

Today’s post is about walking, pulling and harnesses.  I think I’ve mentioned before that my dogs walk in harnesses, period.  We started with the boy dogs, first because of Fred’s back problems (didn’t want to move lower back problems up into his neck, now did we?!), then because of Mugsy’s collapsed trachea. 


Sissy 8-08

Then came Sis.  Sis got switched to a harness in obedience school, because if you’ve been to either blog more than once, you’ve probably realized DIVA likes to be in charge, even if she is sweet about it.  No amount of training has broken her of her urge to pull, and now with glaucoma, a harness is necessary to prevent straining which increases eye pressure.


Gg 11-08

Gretchen Greer went in a harness right away because she was so dang tiny.  I’d never had a 4 lb. puppy before, and we still view her as tiny and fragile.  (Go ahead and snort and guffaw, other terrier owners!!)  However, she’s developed an annoying pulling-hop when she sees something ahead she wants to get to faster, so my big project for the weekend is finding a no-pull harness that fits her tiny selfdom.

There is more than one brand of no-pull body harness out there.  We’ve used two of the brands, and most likely, Gretchen will go in the brand Sissy’s wearing in her “purple harness” photo.  Ironically, that brand isn’t the best fit for Sis, and the one she’s wearing in the top photo is one of Mugsy’s old harnesses.  Yep.  Sis is THAT skinny; she weighs more than double what Mugsy did, even at his heaviest, but she can wear his “clothes”.  I can’t find THAT style locally, nor can I find a size chart, so Gg will get what I can get my hands on.


My favorite "harnessed" photo 4-08

(Why no, I’m not linking to brands, because I’m not sure the all-black harness Sis is sporting in the first photo is still available and because I’ve learned that despite great designs and customer care, no single style fits all dogs.  You can ask questions in the comments and I’ll answer honestly, one-on-one.)

That’s my thankful too.  I’m so glad there are options and many companies out there that have our pets’ safety and well-being in mind.  I’m also thankful for my two personal trainers, who don’t believe in rest-days, but the do allow for varied intensity and duration of said walks.  Hem.

What are you thankful for today?


Thanks, Wiki! I needed a photo for the post...

I took lots of photos yesterday.  Photos for Dogs on Thursday.  Photos of the most awesome Christmas gifties from Anners.  (Yes, Christmas.  What of it?  Don’t you like getting gifts all year?)  Photos of the Virginia Bluebells I bought from Ann’s son for Fred’s side of the garden, which lacks any of HIS blue hues.

Take my word for it, and I’ll post if ever the planets align and I can upload photos from the EVO that never has a signal, or after the photos are transfered to the iPhone that will make the world a better place.

Shadow Fred2

Shadow 2 & Fred, 8-07

Are you wondering how a dog in Wahoo country ended up with Carolina Blue as his non-green color?  Well… see…  There was this awesome basset-owner in my provisional class when I joined the League, and of course when she started making custom dog collars, Fred NEEDED one – with a matching lead, you know?  Hem.  She knew our “house color” was green, so she asked what second color I wanted.  Something blue, because blue was Freddie’s color.   I should have been more specific; I knew she was a Tarheel! 

Now that she’s moved back to Carolina and Fred’s moved on too, I’m glad for the joke that turned into a warm connection, holding us all together even though time marched on.

I also have a finished object I’ll share on Friday, and I will not be one of the ones clogging up the internet on Friday night, filing my tax return.  Whooot! 

Anything pending in your life?

Blogville Gazette

Just a quick, drive-by posting here.  I had weekend plans I didn’t know about and some I’d forgotten, but I’ll catch you up eventually.  In the meantime, I dare you to go HERE and consider knitting up something quick for a worthy cause, and go HERE to learn about a new book I know I’ll have to have.  Knitting AND history?!  What’s not to love?!

It is with a heavy heart that I send you over to Gmarie’s blog to wish them all much sympathy.  Dearest Dudley fought a good fight, but Friday morning, it was clear the cancer had gotten the best of him.  That breaks my heart into a million pieces, because if you’ll recall, Dudley’s east-coast “twin” was my own Fred, whose ending was also a result of a rather aggressive cancer. 

Darling Fred... don't you see why I had such a soft spot for Dudders?!

How was your weekend?

Do You Hear What I Hear?

Scrap what I was going to post today, or pop over to see Sissy’s take on the same topic.   Gmarie posted something I find a lot more interesting than Sissy’s antics with ALL the dog bowls in the house.

G and I have very regular conversations about our conversations with our dogs.   All of my dogs have been and are master communicators.   All have had distinct voices.  Those of you who have followed this blog for a while, and certainly those who follow Don’t Mess with my Tutu probably have your own notions about how my fur-girls would sound, and I’d love to hear what you hear as you read their posts.

I can’t do this post without hoping in the wayback machine and talking about the boy dogs.   While I’m sure some of you think I’m daft, at least I know I’m not alone.  A local, blogless friend  announced one night that the boys had middle names in her world.  What’s interesting is the names she had come up with fit really well with the humanization I’d already conceived…

Fred Aloysius was the canine embodiment of an old Confederate officer, but ironically, I always heard him as James Earl Jones.   Usually calm and stoic, Fred was also capable of great rage (directed only at Mugsy and strangers perceived as uninvited guests) and had a deep “ah-wooh” that could literally rattle windows.  He was also an imposing physical presence, despite the short legs.

photo by Michelle

Mugsy Cornelius was also a southern gent, and I think he would have gladly claimed the famous Vanderbilt as his namesake.   He was a bit of a scoundrel and a scamp, an endearing bad boy to the end.   I heard something like Josh Lucas in Sweet Home Alabama when he talked to me.   He was truly a Jack of all trades; he was my sweet boy, his daddy’s fierce hunter, and never met a stranger.

Sissy Joy is a redneck DIVA.  Her theme songs are all by Gretchen Wilson, but Ms. Wilson isn’t sweet or DIVA enough to do Sissy’s voice.   I hear Heidi Newfield of Trick Pony when Sissy talks.  A little sass, incapable of completing a sentence without laughing, but sweet enough to want a love like Johnny & June

Gretchen Greer is our lady.  She’s refined and kind, but she still has that terrier spunk.   I hear Sasha Alexander as Caitlin Todd of NCIS fame when Gretchen speaks.  Kate was classy, but she also bested her male counterparts on the sparring mat.   Gretchie manages to be completely sure of herself without being arrogant or demanding, but she always get her way… always.

Do tell me who would do your pet’s voices, and if you hear something different when my girrls speak!

Happy Dogs on Thursday and little friday.  I’ll be doing a separate Thankful Thursday post in a bit.