Saturday, October 29, 2005

Wanna see a crack house in East Flint?

This lovely place was raided late August and subsequently boarded up. It was a buzz of activity before that. Cars coming and going, groups of men, women, little kids (sad) drinking and hanging out, chained pits, piles of trash. Two other smaller, active houses were evicted too.
It is three blocks from my house. Most of the other houses on the street are relatively well kept, some very well kept with nice gardens. In fact if you enlarge the top photo, you'll notice there's a cute little house just to the right, lots of flowers in the front yard. I bet they are delighted to see that place closed down, although living next to a boarded up apartment house can't be that great either.
I love the sign someone put high up on the telephone pole, too. (Apparently it is OK to hustle and be noisy before midnight.)
A bar on a nearby highway is having a "pimps and whores" Halloween party. A big sign out on the street. Sigh. The local Rite-Aid sells t-shirts saying things like "Pimp Daddy" and "Mickey's Malt Liquor, Breakfast of Champions." Great. At least I didn't see any in little kids' sizes.
And for the record, there are plenty of white crackheads around here too. Herds of them. Just to debunk automatic stereotyping.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Nitwits, small children and big out of control dogs.

OK, I think this is not only stupid, but potentially downright dangerous.
On the way home from an agility fun match today, I stopped at Pet Supplies Plus to pick up good canned food for Elvis the cat.
Walk in with Cooper (Rottweiler). Half way up the aisle is a standard issue family of four, the little girl holding a large male St Bernard which outweighed her by about 100lbs. The Saint immediately charges us - I duck into the next aisle as the male parental unit grabs dog.
Now wouldn't you think even a minimally functioning parent would have the wits to take the leash of this dog at this point? Uh, no.
As we're cruising the aisles looking for cat food, I hear family in the adjacent aisle.. With Coop behind me, I poke my head around the corner to see if it's safe. Wouldn't you know, little girl is still holding the humungous dog and the parents have their backs to her talking to the store manager. Clearly these parents should not have been allowed to breed.
So, I say "Sir, could you please take your dog...."
At this point the dog charges around the corner, dragging the kid, Cooper is trying to lunge from behind me in full snarl, damn Saint is roaring, kid looks terrified, I am backpedalling trying to avoid a really ugly confrontation and all I can think is this little kid will be dragged into a dog fight involving maybe 300lbs of combined dog.
Father grabs dog, giving me a filthy look. Probably he didn't like being yelled at by a female stranger in front of his family, but wouldn't you think an apology was in order? Meanwhile the twenty-something store manager is standing there like a mute idiot. Saint is barking wildly and trying to drag father towards us. Cooper is growling like a bear, but staying put.
Get cat food, stomp up to the register, pay and request a word with manager. Inform him that it just might be a good idea to require that dogs should be in the control of an adult. He's blithering about store policy being only that a dog is leashed and he knew it wasn't my fault (gee, d'ya think?) Christ, a whole storeful of nitwit adults.
The last time this happened was maybe two months ago, when a large dog charged us at the Renaissance festival dragging a kid. Luckily I was with intelligent people who intervened. (Thank you Cheryl and HRH Queen Elizabeth the first.)

If Cooper or myself had been injured in any way I would be contacting a lawyer and suing Pet Supplies Plus. This is America, after all. I would really like a pristine Saab SPG turbo.

So, it might be adorable to let your cute little child walk your giant untrained dog around in public, but if you do so you should be neutered.
Oh, I forgot to mention. You know what the family was looking at when I first walked in? Large choke collars.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Three big black dogs in one day.

Maybe I missed it and today was national "let your big black dog out to run down the street" day.
Dog number one was on Davison Road (50mph speed limit) as I was coming back from the vet. Big Lab mix type dog. Trotted right across the street in front of me. I pulled around but it took off into a neighborhood. Handily enough there was a cop car right around the corner, I pulled over to tell them a large dog had been running across a fairly high speed road. They said thank you and 30 seconds later took off in the other direction. Oh well, so they don't care. That dog had a red collar, I saw no tag.
Dog number two - I was on a job. Looked out the window, and ditto. Large black/brindle dog, almost looked like a Mastiff mix. No collar. Again, a fairly busy road running along a park and around the corner from a big hospital. Dog takes off into the park, stopping traffic on the way. Oh well. At least it is not in the street any more.
Dog number three, driving home. Another big black dog! NO visible collar, running through a park, no human in sight. It was heading away from me, I didn't even bother stopping. What the hell am I going to do with a large black collarless dog anyway?
After yesterday's adventure with the sick, possibly rabid, raccoon (In Which Carina Traps It) and last week trying to chase down the freeway- bound Beagle and feeding stray cats, I am pretty much over being Mrs St. Francis for the day. The three black dogs were all in fairly upscale neighborhoods. Not that I suppose that makes a difference.
Why don't people at least put tags on their dogs' collars? Dogs can get out, it happens, it's happened to mine. If I see a dog with a collar tag, I am much more likely to stop, because I can at least, hopefully, call the owner. When you pick up an animal with no identification, the choices are:
1: Call Animal Control. There is a teensy weensy little chance they may actually send someone out for the animal.
2: Take animal to a vet or AC and check for a microchip. Since there are more than one type, that's an iffy proposition. Why aren't there universal readers for these things? It's stupid.
3: Take animal home because you are kind and you feel sorry for it. Then it's a total pain in the ass to find an owner, assuming there is even an owner to be found. Not to mention the hairy logistics in bringing an animal into a house where you have two territorial, bossy Rottweilers, and a fairly territorial cat. (Elvis chases other cats away from the house, and has the scars to prove it.)

So anyway, put a damn tag on your dog's collar if you live in a city. Thank you.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Poor Daphne.

She isn't feeling good. Again. This little ghetto Rottweiler has got the most messed up immune system. All the good diet and immune supplements (they are not working, apparently) and doing my best to give her a healthy, active stress free life just don't work. Or perhaps they do, and she'd be a really horrid mess otherwise. It's been over three weeks since she dislocated her knee, and she really seems to be walking much better. She's even initiated play with Cooper a couple of times lately.
Well, we had the staph flare-up a month ago - the first one in almost a year, so that's good. Cephalexin for that. It's cleared up for now, she's still on it though. She's been taking Proin for incontinence. It works wonderfully as long as I give it to her once a day (recommended dose is 2x daily.) I went through a large, expensive bottle of herbal kidney supplement stuff which was a total waste of money. When she was so depressed about hurting her leg, I was worried and left her at my vet for a whole day with permission to do anything they could to rule out anything bad. And boy, did they. Full blood panel (the more expensive one), urine tested, xrays, feeling her from head to toes, looking down her throat, checking every tooth, loooking in ears, etc. Every single thing came back normal, and both vets checked her out. So. Aspirin wasn't cutting it, so I got ten Rimadyls. I'm not sure they helped, but it's a pretty effective painkiller so they must have.
Then 2 weeks ago there was the golf ball sized swelling on her jaw. I dosed her with Benadryl bigtime and it was gone in the morning. Idiopathic, which is a fancy word for "we haven't a clue what it is."
Today, she's all depressed and mopey again. Check teeth, ears...uh oh. Yeasty red nasty ear. Again. Since I have a small Daphne crate of potions and pills and unguents and three types of hoo-hah cream, I dig around and found some otomax for ear infections. I cleaned out both ears with oticlens and dosed her bad ear.
Since she hasn't been able to exercise, she is getting more anxious than usual and licking...herself, the carpet, the dog bed. She's also shredded part of the sheepskin. :( Despite having a knuckle bone AND a huge bully stick to work on. A month ago she utterly destroyed a really nice wool rug. I haven't a clue why.
I've taken her for a couple of car rides because she likes those. I have to harness her to the head rest, otherwise she runs from window to window, back and forth. So, she sticks her nose out, pants constantly, and drools all over the windows. I tried Clomicalm for three months, I think it made her more submissive. Agility and obedience classes make her anxious, plus she wants to kill the smaller dogs. I think she enjoys bike rides, but it's hard to tell. It also seems to make her anxious. She enjoys walks and running, but a friendly young dog ran up to us in the park 6 weeks ago, she lunged and bit him pretty good in the hindquarters. She was onleash, he wasn't, and his humans took responsibility and told me not to worry.
I dunno. How happy is this dog, really?
The picture of her is right after I did her ears tonight. Daphne is sad. I hate that she is sad.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Bluebell Beach, early morning

I know, I may be going overboard with photos, now that I can download photos again!
This morning, I took Cooper up to Bluebell Beach at the county recreation area. It's about 5 miles from the house. It was about 8 am & there wasn't a soul there.
The advantage of living in a place where people barely get out and enjoy the outdoors and exercise, though apparently for many, running on a treadmill while staring at a television counts. If this was Colorado, there would be lots of people out there....lots of trails along the Flint River, a big pretty lake, deer and birds, green fragrant woods, playground, even bathrooms. All right by the city. So all you sluggy people, I guess it's OK that you stay inside and let me enjoy the outdoors!
Anyhow. So I had a nice ramble and Cooper got to run off leash.
On the way home, I saw a Beagle sniffing around by the I475 onramp. Yikes! So, I had to turn around...I parked on the shoulder, grabbed a leash and tried to get him to come to me. No go. He took off at a dead run through a high chainlink fence. Only two ways he could go. Up, traight onto the freeway. Or down into an industrial park. Because of all the underbrush, I couldn't see which direction he'd gone, and I couldn't get through the fence. Went around the overpass, no Beagle.
By now I'm terrified I have actually chased him to inevitable squishing on the freeway. I got in the truck and went up and down that stretch of I475. Thank doG, no stupid Beagles. Phew. Well, I did what I could.
Daphne is still limpy from dislocating her knee, so she hasn't had a walk for almost 3 weeks. Poor dog. She got a fresh marrow bone in the back yard to work on in lieu of a walk.
PS, the first photo is really good, Cooper looks airborne. I think you can click on it to get a full size image.

So I guess it's going to be time to move my barrel of goldfish into the house soon. And all the house plants and herbs that have spent the summer on my back porch.
Elvis update: He is now more an inside cat than an outside one. I now have a covered kitty box for him. Thank you Charles! Elvis is using it, too.
Trevor update: His mother has moved them several miles south of here, but at least he can stay in the same school. He called last week to tell me. He thinks his mother is an alien.

Saturday, October 08, 2005

Oh well.

Just did another agility trial, a humbling and learning experience! We NQ'd THREE times and have yet to get that pretty purple "New Title" ribbon. Waaahhhh.
I was heartened by the fact there were more NQ's on the board than qualifying scores in every class, so we were hardly alone.
But I don't like not doing something well.
Guess I know what to work on now, control, contacts, contacts, contacts... Mr. Turbo-pants likes to launch off the top of obstacles, race exuberantly at the first thing he spots, and sometimes run around jumps just because he can.
Cooper had a blast, but he does need to differentiate between merely having a blast and working.
Back to class we go, back to class we go, hi ho de diddly-o, it's back to class we go....

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Last month's agility pics

Photos from our first agility trial

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Daphne not killing Elvis

Elvis waltzed over to Daphne, rubbed all over her and lay down. Daphne Is Stunned. And, not killing Elvis.
Elvis is very relaxed, and apparently simply doesn't believe a dog might try to hurt him. This is the first time Daphne & Elvis have interacted without me nervously holding Daphne's jaws, chirping "Good Daphne! Gooooood girl!"
Daphne & Elvis are now ignoring each other.

Backyard wildlife.

For a smallish back yard in the 'hood, I have a huge variety of wildlife.
First, this is a pic of a skwirl with a red collar on. It's been around since spring; how it got the collar I haven't a clue. I have a huge maple tree out front, and two in the back - lots of maple seeds for squirrels. Mr. Red Collar is chowing down under the bird feeder.
Birds. About a zillion varieties of finches and sparrows. Starlings, cardinals, woodpeckers, creepers and blue jays. I saw a red tail hawk the other day in the park 3 blocks away.
Ants. I have major ant colonies both front yard and back.
Flies. I think we covered those in an earlier post. They are mostly gone. Thank fucking doG.
June and July, I had major light shows from lightning bugs. They were just everywhere.
Mice. This fall, I decided to regard them as large cockroaches instead of little furry beings with cute faces and adorable ears. This spring, mice ate the lining out of my Columbia snow boots. They smell. I do not like mouse poop in my silverware drawer. I do not like little fast things darting past my peripheral vision when I walk into rooms. I don't like storing everything remotely mouse-edible in the fridge. And, did I mention the smell? I tried the humane traps, but they don't find them interesting. Poison is cruel and they die in wall spaces and smell. Did I mention the smell....? Glue traps are cruel too. I want them gone. Bye bye. No mouses in houses. I ordered the rat zapper 2000 from the local hardware store, I pick it up Tuesday. Let the killing begin. Bwahahaha.
Spiders. I love spiders. A spider saved Scotland. They kill flies. :) There's all sorts of interesting spiders around the house, both in & out. I don't kill them.
The usual suspects, earwigs, worms and centipedes. I caught a freaking humungous centipede thingie in the house earlier this year. A million legs and two feet long. OK, two inches. Still alarmingly huge.
Carpenter bees. (Gosh, I luv the internet.) I have those too. Drilling perfect round holes in the beams above my deck. Amazing how precise they are.
In the pool and basins I put out to attract skeeters for fish food, water teems with interesting and tiny bugs. Red and black worms. Prehistoric-looking larvae. Tiny little brown and tan dots swarming around the edges. Big spidery-looking water skimmers. Bright green things that look like extremely miniature dragons. All very tiny life; I have to wear glasses to see it.
I also have a big barrel with goldfish on my back deck. I bought 10 feeder fish for a buck last spring, scooped up some pretty water plants from the Flint River, and let it go nuts. Three fish survived and they appear very happy. Certainly happier than they would've been living out their destiny as feeder fish. There's also a large snail that cruises around in there, cutting swooping paths through the algae growing on the sides. I guess I'll have to bring the barrel in for winter, otherwise the whole thing will freeze solid.
There's possums, skunks, groundhogs and foxes, along with a huge array of waterfowl, living along the banks of the Flint River. That's a mile away and I haven't seen any evidence wild critters venture far from its banks.
And I guess the local crack dealers would be wildlife. But since the big bust (thank you Flint PD) about a month ago, the street has been blissfully quiet. No chirping cell phones and cruising vehicles all night. Yaya!

Elvis is in the house.

I've been ignoring my blog. Bad Carina. No cookie.
This is Elvis, who is apparently my new cat. He has startlingly bright blue eyes and heavy black eyeliner. Very 1980s glam rock cat. Also, a pink nose. He hugs in a rather endearing way, doesn't meow much, and is utterly unafraid of the dogs. Who kinda ignore him. Daphne hasn't tried to kill him, which is good. Cooper thought about it, but I grabbed his muzzle and backed him into a wall. Now he just sniffs Elvis's butt and lies down next to him.
Elvis is mostly outside. He runs up to greet me when I come home. He comes inside for food, then settles down on his stool. He also comes in for breakfast. I guess I need to get him neutered. He also chases the other cats away from the front door, though he's OK with them eating out front under the big tree.
I imagine he'll be inside more when it starts snowing and being really crappy outside. I hope he's a good mouser.