Our Sweet and Crazy Coonhound ...

Our Sweet and Crazy Coonhound ...
Run Free: birthdate unknown - Oct. 17 2008

Monday, November 24, 2008

In Memoriam

Booker has to be lounging proud at the bridge, because his gorgeous hound dog face is featured in the American Black and Tan Coonhound Rescue 2009 calendar.

H-Mom and Man-Dad just got theirs in the mail. They both almost started all this crying stuff again. Booker looks just perfect for December. He is happily luxuriating on the leather sofa, his favorite place, and giving the camera that sad, tired coonhound look.

If you need a calendar full of gorgeous dog photos, check it out. The purchase benefits Rescue. H-Mom really loves looking at the hounds. What a remarkable group of all-American dogs.

We are so sad that Booker didn't make it. It's nice to have him in the calendar to show everyone our "poster boy."

This post is from Madison's blog, With Love, Madison. She is the new pup, kissing faces and putting smiles back in place.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

special assignment

There is a puppy spreading love and healing hearts in our home.

Come say hello at "with love, Madison"

Booker left big shoes to fill, good thing this little girl has some very very large paws!

Monday, October 20, 2008

The Calm

The support of every one of our blogging friends has been astoundingly comforting. We have cried through reading your comments, which have made us feel better even though each one inspires a new flood of tears.

Thank you for caring about Booker and about us.

Thank goodness that we found the strength to make a hard decision instead of making excuses for dangerous behavior and tempting fate. That would have been a crueler ending all the way around.

Friday morning, Booker came sheepishly out of his kennel. He knew he was "in trouble" for something, because he had to spend the whole night in there. He certainly didn't remember exactly what he was "in trouble" for. H-Mom hadn't trusted his behavior overnight, and also was worried about a frozen pizza-related bowel explosion.

He ate his breakfast and then was thankful that he was invited out the door for a quick ride to the dog park.

His last morning, he chased Bella, the husky, in circles around the giant lawn and lost her in the woods, when she slipped past him and left him waiting for her in the palm fronds -- he was poised expectantly and she was already on the other side of the park. Booker trailed and treed a "raccoon" on the roof of the tiki hut shelter, barking with determination. He peed on the vending machine, more than once.

Sandy, a friend of H-Mom, who is the companion of Annie the little corgi - also a rescue dog - has volunteered for years at the Humane Society. She was very supportive and also had the advantage of knowing Booker and having watched his rehab-in-progress. Others at the park shared a story of a man who worked in Husky rescue --- a real breed pro --- had worked with a young female for over a year and then had her turn on him in a vicious attack. He was also heartbroken to decide that the best thing was to have her euthanized and released from past demons.

No one wanted anyone at the Humane Society to second-guess H-Mom. The personnel there are so used to people dropping off pets that just don't fit their lifestyle any more. This wasn't a case of a pair of chewed expensive shoes, or pee on the carpet, or barking (LOL ... absolutely not!) or of simple "pet ennui" ... so Sandy went with to the Humane Society.

All the dogs had had their hour romp together. Booker was happy, panting and tired. He hopped into the car and flopped out.

The Behaviorist at the shelter talked with H-Mom at length and concurred with every decision ... everything had been done that could be done, and Booker didn't need to head into the realm of "dangerous dog," with legal and health issues, which is the place that he had tried so hard to get out of, but just couldn't.

He was treated kindly and with compassion by everyone at the H.S., euthanised privately with H-Mom soothing him, and left for the Rainbow Bridge with nothing but dignity and hound-dog grace.

Everyone at the H.S. was crying along with H-Mom, she got hugs all around, and many soothing words. One volunteer talked about a dog she had adopted who, after many months, just snapped and almost killed her cat. Then turned on her.

There will always be glimmers of failure and guilt, but the knowledge that we did the right thing is steadfast.

Friday was rugged, fighting back tears all day and evening. Saturday morning in the wee hours, we had an overwhelming sob.

Now we are calm. There is a hole in our hearts and we know that there is the place for a new companion. Booker left us with unbounding appreciation for the sound of a tail thump on the sofa, a wet nose on your face in the morning and a sideways glance that says, "I've got your back on this one."

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Untenable Rage

Well my heart is breaking tonight and I am fighting back the tears. We had another DOG INCIDENT ... my daughter left a frozen pizza on the counter (stupid yes I know ... but we are the HUMANS and it is our house ...) and Booker grabbed it and then had an absolutely terrifying rage episode -- he lunged at my daughter on her way from her bedroom to the kitchen and bit her foot. He released his grip and clamped down on her calf. She called me, hysterical (afraid and hurt and confused ... she was crying and crying) and I had to call David to go home and deal with the situation ---

He got there within minutes, and Booker was in the kitchen RAVAGING the frozen pizza. Booker charged out of the kitchen and attacked David at the front door. He bit him twice. He made punctures in David's motorcycle boots. What would he have done on bare flesh? Booker tore his jeans. Booker wouldn't listen, he wouldn't acquiesce, he was a snarling, biting, barking terror. He doesn't "just growl," or "just snap," he ATTACKS. Like an insane cujo attack dog ready, trained, willing and fully capable of killing a mountain lion. I have no illusions about my ability to "control" him. If I would have been the one to run home to save the teen-human from Booker, he would have attacked me too. He crosses a line and he loses all sensibilities and ability to "behave."

David managed to wrestle Booker into his kennel. Jail. Booker sat there for hours, staring into the living room, glassy-eyed.

We cannot live in a home where we need a tranquilizer dart gun to get a swiped pizza away from the dog.

Booker has rage syndrome. Abuse, starvation, brutal hunting training. Something clicked a crazy switch in this dog that is not un-doable.

I am a realist.

Food is his trigger. He is dangerous. He should never have been deemed "adoptable," but who would know until he was in a normal, family situation. There was no pizza on the counter in the vet clinic that nursed him back to health after he was found abandoned.

Now. This is a dog that I have worked so hard with ... SO HARD. We have had the professional trainer consult. I have FIXED every single one of his issues, and believe me, there were many -- lunging at bicycles, going demonic over open car doors, food bowl aggression, toy aggression, pulling on the leash, manic fence-chasing at the dog park -- you name it, I have worked my ass off with this dog. I am really good with dogs and I have no illusions about what to expect or how to train one.

We were ready to sacrifice shoes to a chewer. Swab the decks after accidents. Do short sessions of obedience training that require repetition that could drive you nuts. Manage our environment and spend every minute anticipating behavior and misbehavior.

And I really really love him. omg He is my RESCUE dog and I really put everything into rescuing him. I spend hours a day with him, from the dog park to on-leash walks to training training training. He can hold a SIT STAY in the hallway while I walk all the way down to our condo and come only when I release him. At the dog park, I shout GO HOME and he goes to the gate to wait for me. EVERYONE at the dog park (and there is a "regular" crowd of about 10 people for the 7am time we go) has made comment after comment after compliment about all the work that I've done with Booker and how much he has changed, improved, how admirable he is.

So tomorrow I am going to take him to the humane society and have him put to sleep. The rescue that we got him from said that if ever we cannot keep him, we have to call them to take him back. But they SHOULD NOT rehome him. He is dangerous. It's just a matter of time before he really does some damage that requires a hospital episode. He couldn't be trusted with young children, not at all. Or with visitors.

I don't have to rationalize this. He has a serious, untenable mental defect.

arrghhhhhhhhhhhhhhh I am going to cry all day tomorrow.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Full Moon

Booker was acting all buggy last night. We went for our 9:30ish walk and he was just ... off.

On the way home, I noticed the full moon.

What do you think? Is there a connection between dog behavior and a full moon? Man-Dad says "yes" ... his dogs have always been a bit loopier when the sky is shining with a huge yellow-white orb.

The moon was illuminating the New River last night, making the yachts glow. This morning, it was still hanging in the sky, almost at the western horizon.

Booker is at doggie daycamp today. Working out his weirdness. He was just too agitated to leave him in his kennel. I am at the gallery all day and the street is starting to come to life (is "season" finally here?) It's a bit unsettling here for Booker; he gets cranky when his nap attempts are constantly disturbed by people making dopey faces at him through the gallery window. The guy with the pitbull yesterday, who walked past and then backtracked to encourage a "window fight," put us both over the edge.

So dog camp is a good idea for today. And maybe H-Mom will get a SALE at the gallery today.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

7 x 7 with photos and video!

Our big friend, the dude, Mango, tagged us to complete the 7 x 7 challenge, so here it is. H-Mom even took a photo of the girl Booker loves, just for this post.

7 Things I Plan To Do Before I Die

1. Go 'coon hunting one more time so that H-Mom and Man-Dad can see how good I am at it -- Man Dad has to bring his gun and flashlight
2. See a Treeing Walker at the Westminster Kennel Club
3. Steal a whole ham from the kitchen
4. Eradicate fleas and ticks from the earth
5. Make all humans treat their animals HUMANELY
6. Pee on every single vertical surface in Fort Lauderdale
Hear the Teen-human say "I love you Booker"

7 Things I Do Now

1. Bark a lot, loudly
2. Chase all the other dogs at the dog park, barking the whole time
3. Find imaginary raccoons in the trees at the dog park, and bark like a wild dog
4. Tell the other dogs in the building that I prefer a PRIVATE elevator, by barking loudly
5. Fling lots of foamy white slobber when I bark
6. Pretend that I'm barking by inhaling and exhaling and making my cheeks puff in and out and looking like I'm in a silent film, barking
7. Bark in my sleep, but only in a low rumble

7 Things I Can't Do

1. Maintain a level head and calm temperament at all times -- every once in awhile, I just SNAP
2. Make my nose stop leading me to things that get me in trouble
3. Resist sneaking on H-Mom and Man-Dad's bed when there is thunder
4. Pretend that I don't care when I hear the deli bin open in the refrigerator
5. Fetch a ball more than one time, maybe twice, per session
6. Pee it all out, in one big leg-lift, because I always save a little bit for the next tree and the next and the next
7. Stay away from my blog-friends ... I'm addicted

7 Things That Attract Me To The Opposite Sex

1. Girl dogs who are a little bit bossy, even a little bit bitchy
2. Hair that blows in the wind
3. A vaguely aloof air
4. A girl who runs like an antelope and actually pretends like I can catch her
5. A girl dog who is polite around my H-Mom and KNOWS that H-Mom belongs to me
6. A dog who knows how to make me jealous by paying more attention to BRUTUS the studly one-year old Doberman ... don't ask ...
7. A girl who doesn't even flinch when I bark

The picture above is of Kaylee, my best girl friend. She is such a show-off. I try to look like I don't really care, but everywhere she goes, I am just a few paces away. See me acting like I'm really more interested in some odor in the grass? Nope ... I've got my eyes on her at every minute. Isn't she beautiful?

7 Celebrities That I Admire

1. Droopy, the star of Dumb-Hounded. He looks like a Treeing Walker to H-Mom.

2. Elvis and Leon, the hound dogs in Black Snake Moan-- H-Mom spotted them when she was watching the movie with Man-Dad and she shouted, "Look at the Coonhounds!"
3. Old Dan and Little Ann, the hounds in the children's classic Where the Red Fern Grows
4. All the hounds working in Search and Rescue, especially the awesome Bloodhounds
5. Duke, Jed Clampett's Bloodhound on the Beverly Hillbillies
6. Huckleberry Hound, with his southern drawl and plodding determination
7. Elvis Presley, because he said he wasn't nothing but a hound dog, how cool is that?

7 Things That I Say Most Often

You've got to be kidding, right? I say everything often!

1. Awhooooooooooooo
2. Awhooo Awhoo Awhoooo
3. Awhoooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo
4. Woo Woo
5. Awhoo
6. Wo Wooooo Wo Wo Wooooooooooooooooooooo
7. Awhoo whoo whooo

If I had it my way, I'd always be talking, who CARES what I'm saying!

7 who get to do this now

If you haven't done it, go ahead and go for it!
We need another:
Short one
Tall one
Young one
Old one
Long-haired one
Short-haired one
and a
very unusual one!
Shout out if you fit the bill ...

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Modeling 101

This is what all the excitement is about: H-Mom emailed a photo of Booker to the American Black and Tan Coonhound Rescue. Maybe, she thought, they would like to use it on their 2009 calendar?

It's a great photo. Truly a "Booker" moment. Who could resist those eyes. That lazy hound dog attitude. He would inspire donations. He would encourage adoptions.

They emailed. The photo is perfect for December. Booker, calendar dog.

Man-Dad is already figuring out the list of people who get Coonhound calendars for Christmas presents. There is excitement in the air.

But H-Mom used the photo online and before she did, she changed the resolution, so that it isn't suitable for print use. And she didn't save a copy of the high-res photo.

Now. The challenge. Recreate a moment.

That's why she was up in Booker's face the other day, taking photos when it was really nap time.

We tried again this morning. Me and Booker. The sofa, the lighting, the red and green holiday blanket. Booker was feeling unusually submissive. He kept rolling over for belly attention.

H-Mom would pull his leg one way and his rear end would go the other.

She would adjust his ear and his tongue would fall out.

She tried to tempt him into photographic submission with a toy and his eyes slid to half-mast.

It doesn't matter. This hounddog is full of personality.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Hillbilly Dog

Halloween Face.
Scarey Teeth.
Hillbilly Mouth.

H-Mom was trying to get a photo of Booker's nasty teeth. They are Hillbilly Teeth: broken, missing, worn down, chipped.

Booker was patient for about 5 minutes.

Then enough was enough. He growled and snapped.

Enough photos. And this was worse than being at the dentist. Who wants a camera in front of your embarrassing teeth.

Especially when it's just about time for a nap.

Back off with that camera.

Sunday, October 5, 2008


We decided to go for a good walk yesterday evening. Actually, H-Mom decided to go for a good walk. Booker looked at the sky and thought better of it. But he is the one on the end of the leash and H-Mom is the boss, so off we went.

The whole day had been a drizzly mess, with off and on rain showers, but you know H-Mom ... what's a little rain?

We made it west along the river to the Andrews Street drawbridge, over and then halfway back home on the north side of the Riverwalk.

Then the sky opened up. A downpour. A deluge. H-Mom ran for one of the gazebos and tucked up along the protected side, Booker with his tail tucked between his legs looking at her with an "I told you so" hound dog look. It was Booker and H-Mom and a WTF with a bottle of vodka and an assortment of black garbage bags, watching the sheets of rain roll past.

This was not one of our 10-minute tropical downpours. This was a soaking of oceanic proportions. It was not ending in 10 minutes, 20 or 30. This was hours worth of rain.

H-Mom called home to report in. Not lost, just under a quasi-shelter. But definately stuck. Man-Dad was in Chicago, so he couldn't help. The teen-human doesn't have a license yet. No cash for a cab, and what cab would smile upon a soaking wet coonhound?

The WTF was sucking on his bottle and saying something about DOGS.

H-Mom decided to brave the rain. Booker wasn't so certain and was having some serious wavering of confidence in "the leader."

H-Mom ran for the 3rd Avenue drawbridge. The street underneath it looked dryer, at worst. It was raining so hard that after five steps, H-Mom couldn't even see where she was running.

Under the drawbridge, there was a convention of 15 WTFs. It was a WTF downpour party. With strange blankets and smokes and bottles of off-brand alcohol. H-Mom and Booker huddled under the pigeon nests, with the thumping of cars and trucks crossing overhead.

And then the teen-human called. She was coming to the rescue, with a golf umbrella and soaking wet sneakers.

But she went the wrong way. It was all very confusing. Booker was trying to convince H-Mom that we lived in a different building. A closer building. The rain was completely disorienting.

Somehow we all met at home. Wet beyond imagination.

This morning, Booker greeted H-Mom's "Let's go WALKING!" with some skepticsm.

"Walking with you," his eyes said. "What an offer."

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Dog Park Morning

This was a dog park morning. It is great to watch Booker run. He used to be sore and lame after a good run at the dog park, but he has built up his muscle tone and his stamina and now he has no problem getting off the sofa after playing hard in the morning.

Run, and bark. At the dog park, Booker is free to use his "outside voice" -- with no restrictions. It is called "Bark Park," after all. We deliver!

Inside, it is important that he keeps barking to a minimum so that the neighbors don't call security. They have visited once or twice, in the first couple of months of Booker living with us, and we have to keep the barking under control.

Noses to the ground

Living in a condo, we take regular walks with Booker: 6am, 12noon, 5pm, 10pm ... and when it is cool enough, we make certain that the walks are a respectable distance. Or time outside - David likes to sit with Booker and watch the boats on the New River and then do "agility training" by having him jump from fountain wall to fountain wall.

But there is no replacement for a good leg-stretching, muscle-singing
all-out run. A brisk walk on a leash will get business done, but Booker's natural gait is much snappier than the one he uses when walking at my side.

Emily, the "old lady" of the park

Bella the Husky -- she barks high and shrill, Booker barks low and very loud

The popular "pool flop" ... it is Florida and even the morning gets steamy!

Booker is the unofficial coach and referee of the dog park. He loves to run after a group of dogs, barking as they tear across the grass, and then stand at the edge of the resulting rumble, barking, making certain that everyone knows what terror the other dogs are engaged in.

Annie the corgi: throw the ball again!

Barking and peeing make a dog very very thirsty!

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Get your life preservers

Last week at high tide, the Atlantic washed over the seawall along A1A. The ocean was surging in the wake of the storm that hit North Carolina. At 8 in the evening, the street was swamped. Seaweed and sand roiled along the sidewalk.

When the tide receded, all that remained was a sandy skimcoat to remove with backhoes and streetsweepers. Everything was "back to normal" by mid-morning. We were actually hoping to splash in the ocean along the street for our morning walk, but no such luck.

Dogs are not allowed on the beach in Fort Lauderdale, except for a few very limited evening hours, three days a week on a 1/2-mile stretch of ocean at Sunrise. We purchased a permit to walk on the west sidewalk before 9am, so there is no sand between Booker's toes, only the temptation of salty ocean breeze and the sound of the surf.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Save a coonhound

This is the photo of Booker, from the American Black and Tan Coonhound Rescue Web site, that inspired our unanimous "That's our dog."

He has tested, strained and challenged every once of dog savvy that we thought - and think - we have. He is both a rescue and a reward.

He is the coolest dog I have ever lived with. He is smart, he is dignified, he is earnest, he is independent. He tries really hard. He gives 110%. And he looks great on the leather sofa.

Coonhounds are infinitely "American" dogs. Unfortunately, the traits that were bred into them are often their undoing, as well.

Read this sad, thought-provoking article in the Tuskegee News.

We want to add a comment: Coonhounds make incredible house dogs.

They have even been known to adapt to condo living.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

The sky

H-Mom is back. She had a difficult trip, but it is a trip that has made her thankful for a lot of things. Like being home. Like having a family. Like having a dog.

Like walking in the morning and watching the sun come up. Like appreciating the clouds, and the calm, and the vastness of the sky.

She is already looking forward to that bit of peace tomorrow morning.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

A dog's point of view

Okay, so let's say that this very high strung and anxious visitor flies into your life on the coat-strings of a hurricane.

She comes into your home.

And she makes herself comfortable in the teen-human's bedroom.

This is a room where you (as the D-O-G) have only recently re-won the privilege of h
anging out. And you have a big blue cushion on the floor, and when you are being very good and very obedient, the teen-human allows you to curl up and go to sleep. And the teen-human bosses you around alot, and you work really hard to maintain your current state of "being in good graces with the moody 16-year-old girl teen-human."

So, this visitor puts a zipped travel bag in the room. Right on top of your blue cushion. THE special blue cushion upon which you are so pleased to have earned the rights to being welcomed again.

And then you go to sleep. No one is home, except you and that V-I-S-I-T-O-R. And the travel bag is right on your cushion.

Then the visitor barges into the teen-hu
man's room (a very sacred place, which you, as a dog, are KEENLY aware of) and wakes you up and GRABS the travel bag right off of your cushion.

You see, as a DOG, you thought the TRAVEL BAG was now yours. It was, after all, on your special cushion. And, even though you have no TEETH (being the hillbilly dog that you are) and even though you can't rip the travel bag open, you have the nose-of-all-noses ... you have a HOUND DOG NOSE, and you KNOW what is in the travel bag.

You KNOW that, in the travel bag, there may be (or at least the remnants of) a:

See, you should work at the airport as a bag inspector. You should screen for contraband. You should capture and confiscate whatever your nose dictates.

You become CUJO and go after the visitor. Who, in your eyes has little to no RIGHT or AUTHORITY when it comes to being in your house, because even though you, as the DOG, are accepting that you are the bottom entity in the pack, even BELOW the teen-human, you are still IN THE PACK, the visitor
IS NOT. And you are the only pack member in the house. The pecking order, to you, as the dog is very obvious. Especially when it comes to a travel bag that involves a sandwich.

Then the teen-human comes home from cross-country, drags her tired body into her bedroom and flops on the bed. And you make the MISTAKE of growling at her. And she is ready to evict you again. PERMANENTLY. And then Man-Dad comes in, and you growl at him.
And all this time, NO ONE knows that there is a SANDWICH in the mysterious TRAVEL BAG that somehow has landed on YOUR CUSHION, and by every law in dog-dom, is now YOURS.

Until, all of a sudden, TEEN-HUMAN figures something out. She is becoming quite a DOG WHISPERER. Her relationship with the D-O-G is becoming very complicated and, actually, very special. Their friendship has been hard-won.


And then the visitor confesses to being a sandwich horder. See, she was fleeing a hurricane, and didn't know if she would ever have a meal again.

And the travel bag is cautiously removed.

And sandwich evidence is taken away and destroyed.

And peace is returned. Booker shared the sofa with the visitor all evening, watching CNN and the Weather Channel, and didn't even think twice about the TRAVEL BAG INCIDENT.

No one is making excuses for your behavior, as a BAD DOG, but they understand it. You have food issues, and they are BIG issues, and that was really an unfair test. With all the factors of high emotional tension in the house, a visitor, invasion of territory, desertion by the rest of the pack, and inaccessible food. A very unfair test.

Friday, September 12, 2008

The fury of Ike

On Monday, we thought that IKE was going to send my sister, her daughter and the C-A-T to our door, refugees from South Beach in Miami.

This afternoon, we picked up David's mother, who IKE has sent to us as a refugee from Houston. How ironic, to flee a hurricane by flying into another hurricane-infested state.

And now we have a dog issue.
David had to run to pickup the teen-human from cross country practice.

He left his mother alone at the condo with Booker.

Booker was sleeping soundly, on his cushion #2 in the teen-human's bedroom, which is where Mom is staying. She walked quietly into the bedroom -- alone in the house with Booker -- to get something out of her bag.

And Booker started out of his sleep, barked, growled and lunged at her. She was afraid he would bite.

He has completely gotten over his aggression toward my daughter. She is asserting herself and we all are careful to not startle him out of sleep, and to "boss him around" regularly. We have never had a single incident of aggression toward guests. Booker is friendly, playful, hospitable when teenagers invade the house. He is fine with my sister and her daughter. He is polite but aloof with cocktailing friends.

This is troubling. We must not leave her alone with him for at least a few days of acclimatization. She needs to be liberal with the treat jar. And assertive with the commands.

Thank goodness he didn't bite.

Blog Award

Our friend Cocoa the Beagle gave us this award. We love it! And guess what? We love the photo of Cocoa so much that I have it on my desktop! So: THANKS! We are a fan of your blog too!

Here are the rules of this

1. The winner can put the logo on his/her blog
2. Link the person you received your award from
3. Nominate at least 7 other blogs
4. Put links of those blogs on yours, and
5. Leave a message on the blogs that you've nominated

We would LOVE to give this award to all our friends, but that's just too much cut and paste and link and paste, so we are passing this award to these blogs that might be new some of our loyal readers:

The Lurchers
Biggie Z
Rubber Slippers in Italy
Key West Collies
Wandering Spirits Kennels

Stop in and say hello to these wonderful bloggers. Enjoy!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Pure exhaustion

Doggie day care worked. When David picked Booker up at 3, the front desk called over the speaker, "Booker, your Dad is here to get you!" The report was that Booker played well with others, even a couple puppies, and that he only barked when the staff members left him alone in any area. It's "cageless" boarding, so the dogs are engineered into compatible groups and given run of various play areas, both indoor and out.

He is so tired tonight that David couldn't even get him off the sofa to go outside for a pee. He rolled off and then laid down on the floor and wouldn't move.

A tired dog is a happy dog, right?

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Our own little calm before the storm

These lazy mornings in the gallery after the dog park are becoming a real pleasure. I am so fortunate to be able to bring Booker with me instead of leaving him in his crate at home for hours on end. He has made friends up and down the street, people who stop in for a quick hello or a few minutes worth of wrestle-petting.

Next week, I am going out of town, though. We think that the best option will be to have Booker go to doggy daycare. That will be five days, from open to close.

Tomorrow is a test run. I'll take him over in the morning and David will pick him up after work. If there are issues, we have a few days to find a "plan B."

EDIT! Boy are we lucky that we planned a trial run. Camp Canine requires a Bordetella vaccination. Booker got all his shots on Monday, but NOT that one. The vet only does that upon request for dogs that must have it. So the vet is faxing his records to Camp Canine and I am running up there tomorrow morning at 8am to get the missing shot. Then I will drop Booker off for an experimental day at doggie daycare.

Good thing David didn't find this out on Monday morning, after I was already gone. That would have been a major wrench in his day. He will be fine dropping Booker off in the morning and picking him up after work. That is assuming the day goes smoothly tomorrow.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008


The gallery is such a cool place to spend the morning.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Where did he go?

So, the "No SWIMMING - Alligator" sign at the dog lake is gone.

But there is no explanation. Did they catch him? Did he walk away? Did he never exist in the first place?

All of the dog owners are mumbling nervously.

Who will be the first to let their dog leap into the cool water? Is it fair to wait for a naive "weekender" and then gather around to observe the outcome? How long will it take for everyone to forget the 'gator intrusion?

Friday, September 5, 2008

It this, then that

We are making plans, just in case IKE really does slam Miami and Fort Lauderdale. We will be safe in our 19th story bunker. Hurricane glass, lots of supplies, candles and radio. H-Mom's sister and niece will evacuate from South Beach, though. And they would come to hunker down with us. They would be bringing along: We are imagining that the storm outside will divert Booker's attention from any feline disruption in the condo.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Coonhound on a Bike

Motorcycle fans! Coonhound fans! Unite! We saw Booker on a bike and he looked great!

Friday, August 29, 2008

Water Hazard

The dog lake is closed at Snyder Park.

There is an unwelcome visitor, and everyone hopes that he is not staying.

In Florida, dog owners know that dogs should not be allowed to swim in water that may be home to alligators. This includes canals, rivers and retention ponds. Alligators have even been found in swimming pools and, last spring, in someone's kitchen. That 8-foot intruder made the evening news - it crawled in through the screen door. Read the story here!

Alligators migrate in search of new territory, and when they find a place they like, they are determined to stay.

Dogs are in more danger from alligators than humans, because the thrashing motion of a swimming dog closely resembles the reptiles' natural prey. A dog is no match for an alligator's expert predatory skills. There are often news stories of pets lost to a gator's jaws when walking too close to the edge of a canal or taking a swim in a marshy area.

Maybe our dog park authorities will call in Tom Hardwick, who is often featured on Animal Planet's "Miami Animal Police," snaring ornery gators and other troublesome creatures.

Until the alligator is removed, Booker will stay on dry land and concentrate on the raccoon invasion, real or imagined.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Portrait for the Estate

Painters have included dogs on their canvases for centuries. Last year's Best in Show: the Dog in Art from The Renaissance to Today at the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston attempted to "explore the use of dog imagery to illustrate major cultural and social concerns in Western culture." [NOTE: click on VIEW THE SHOW, it is great fun!]

Animal portraiture was becoming increasingly popular by the beginning of the 18th Century. British animal portraiture reached great heights through the anatomically detailed works of George Stubbs, the naturalism of Thomas Grainsborough, and the romanticism of Sir Edwin Landseer. In the colonial United States, travelling portrait painters, like Amni Phillips, were paid by wealthy families to portray their dogs partaking in everyday life.

We photograph our dogs, collect breed-specific auto decals, mugs, afghans and more. We blog about our dogs. The ultimate expression of how much our dogs mean to us can be captured in custom portraiture, as it has been done for centuries. This lush portrait, RAINEY, is an incredible work of art created by Sherrie Rose (srosepaints@yahoo.com). She works from photographs and creates manor-worthy pieces in an old-world style. RAINEY is acrylic on canvas, 48" x 48" unframed.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Morning History Lesson

Man-Dad is golfing this afternoon, so he took the car instead of his work truck. Man-Dad is a real golfer. He doesn't get in nearly enough golfing, and this afternoon is a work-golf-function, so that is a bonus! Doesn't Booker look sad sitting by the golf clubs? Clubs out mean that Man-Dad is leaving soon.

That left H-Mom without transportation to the dog park, so it was a "power walk" morning instead. It was dark when we left the condo before 7am, and we headed along the riverwalk on the south side of the New River. Up and across the Andrews Street drawbridge ... around to the riverwalk on the north side of the river, then west through the Riverfront, Old Fort Lauderdale, and the Symphony Center.

H-Mom decided to walk all the way to the end of the paved riverwalk path, which goes to Sailboat Bend and Cooley's Landing, the site of the Cooley Massacre. Sailboat Bend is a long stretch of slips and ramps that is full of sailboats. Lots of boaters live in or pass through Fort Lauderdale. With the Atlantic, the New River, and its series of canals, Fort Lauderdale is a boat-friendly destination. Booker and H-Mom walked along the dock planks all the way past the sailboats. It was both early and a workday, so the docks were very quiet.

At regular intervals along the docks are signs warning boaters to be aware of the New River's most quiet, gentle residents: manatees. They are very shy, and don't move quickly. They are constantly in danger of being injured by boat propellers, and there are cautions everywhere to help protect the manatees.

It is very rare to see them from the shore, but boaters often see them floating along in the New River. If we look out the window of the 19th floor elevator lobby down to the river, on very rare occasions we can spot the large grey silhouette of a manatee coming to the surface for air before disappearing casually back to the deeper water.

The very west end of the river walk is Cooley's Landing, where there is a historical marker for the Cooley Massacre. In 1836, William Cooley returned from a trading trip to find his wife, children and the children's tutor brutally murdered by Indians. Cooley was one of the original settlers of the area that is now Fort Lauderdale. He cultivated and milled arrowroot, and at first maintained a friendly relationship with the Seminoles. The conflict and attack on his family sent many white settlers running from the region. This was one of the precipitating events of the Second Seminole War, and the establishment of a military outpost that was named Fort Lauderdale.

White man's settlement of indigenous people's lands has contributed many tragic stories to our country's history. The Seminole Indians were eventually pushed deep into the inhospitable Everglades, where they adapted and tried to maintain their culture.

Today, the proud Seminoles are the only Indian Tribe in North America never to have signed a Peace Treaty with the U.S. government and one of a handful that was never conquered. The tribe operates out of headquarters in Hollywood, Florida; the Seminoles own more than 96,000 acres statewide, with much of its reservation land located deep in the Everglades on the Big Cypress reservation. (Remember Anna Nicole's death? It occurred under Seminole jurisdiction at the Hard Rock Hotel in Hollywood.)

In modern Fort Lauderdale, there are more curious potentially life-threatening hazards than Indians. One study suggests that more than 150 people worldwide are killed by falling coconuts - 15 times more than are killed by sharks. Although these figures may not be well-documented, it is suggested that pedestrians avoid walking under coconut-laden trees, and that you do not park your car under palms.

On the way home this morning, H-Mom and Booker passed city trucks doing their regular "coconut removal." We don't want tourists bonked on
the head! Booker is getting so accustomed to his "city life" that he doesn't bark at huge trucks, WTFs or other dogs out enjoying the morning very often any more. And he has absolutely no interest in coconuts, either.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

On the topic of ears

Our friend Barley blogged about his ears. Actually about how his H-Mom calls his ears "potato chip ears." That made us laugh. Sometimes Booker's ears look like potato chips, too.

They don't ever stand up -- he's got floppy hound ears -- but they twitch up and down and back and forth and they are remarkably
communicative. The wrinkles in his forehead and his soulful hound dog eyes help with Booker's tendency toward overemotional expressiveness.

But WAIT! Check out Copper's ears! If you are looking for a dog with absolutely remarkable ears, Copper is your guy! He is up for adoption through the American Black and Tan Coonhound Rescue. He is a liver Bloodhound. He rocks. He has some tracking experience, too. Those long ears help "sweep" scents up from the ground so that they go in his nose, where they are essential for doing things like tracking. Or "mantrailing." They are very useful
ears, if you are a Bloodhound.

H-Mom is in love with Copper. She can't stop looking at his ears.

Of course, Booker has great ears too. Booker's ears even turn inside-out and then go back to right-side-in all on their own. Not Bloodhound ears, but EXCELLENT ears, right?

Friday, August 22, 2008

Artful existence

Booker is spending some mornings at the gallery, from opening until about 1 or so. Today he has been here for more than six hours! He is doing great - that is a record!

It's very quiet on the street in the summer, as it is "off season," and few people come in. H-Mom thinks that gallery-time is good for socialization ... and that the handful of humans
who come in and out help Booker perfect some important things like not-rushing-the-door and not-trying-to-barge-out and staying-calm-somewhere-besides-home. These tasks are actually a lot of hard work. When Booker lays down-- IF Booker lays down -- it is only for a short respite from watching out the window.

And then something exciting happens.

These are some of the exciting things that occurred just this week:
  • Landscaping crew removed all the pavers in the median with sledgehammers. That made lots of noise.
  • Two giant chestnut horses with mounted police clomp-clomped slowly past on the street. These creatures were AMAZING and FRIGHTENING and STRANGER THAN FICTION ... much bigger than raccoon! It was very obvious that Booker has never seen a horse before.
  • Quite a few people opened the door just to say "HI" to the "DOG." That kind of annoys H-Mom because Booker gets all riled up and it's not even for a s-a-l-e. Sales are important to H-Mom and this is a slow month. That is good for Booker visiting the gallery, but it is not good for H-Mom's bank account.
  • The "DUCK" drove by. The "DUCK" is a huge amphibious vehicle that hauls tourists up and down the street. We think they go in the water somewhere too. It is very tacky. All the tourists shout "quack quack quack" on command, which is very silly, as they do not look anything like ducks.
  • Man-Dad stopped to say hello. He snuck in the backdoor and had Booker totally confused. What was Man-Dad doing HERE? That was fun and very exciting.
  • The mailman comes everyday and is becoming a f-r-i-e-n-d!
  • Booker got brave and decided that the leather chair is much, much more comfortable than the cement floor.
H-Mom has a little dish of snappy-snacks and Booker gets one whenever he gracefully manages the in-and-out of pedestrians. Now Booker comes over to the desk when he has been well-behaved to request his reward.

He still has to wear his citronella collar because sometimes he is a little "tightly wound," as H-Mom is starting to call it. She is sure that it is a Coonhound thing ... and she forgives him for it every single time. "Tightly wound" is kind of a creative personality trait, anyway, right?

Here, let Booker take you for a quick tour. He hasn't peed on a single thing. Booker has great respect for the arts:

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

After the storm ...

At the gallery yesterday, when H-Mom opened the front door in the afternoon - she saw a hint of sunshine - she knew that Tropical Storm Fay had passed. It didn't matter what the Weather Channel was reporting: the parakeets had returned. They were fiesty, arguing and pushing each other from palm frond to frond. Settling back in after having been so unceremoniously dislodged by the evil weather. (Thank you, Google images ... H-Mom doesn't have a telephoto lens!)

Those of us who live and work in downtown Fort Lauderdale have become pretty oblivious to the troops of green monk parakeets that quarrel in the trees of the Las Olas median, or fly from wire to wire in the alleys.

The brightly colored and loud-voiced birds demand attention from out-of-town visitors. People often stop outside the gallery window, with their heads and cameras turned to the palm trees. The parakeets create quite a bit of excitement. Most Americans have seen parakeets only in pet stores, zoos or Caribbean-themed bars.

Immigrants, monk parakeets are native to South America. The Fort Lauderdale parakeets have descended from birds that were released by their Floridian owners on purpose or by accident. Urban legend contends that many were freed from Parrot Jungle by Hurricane Wilma. They have established stable, feral communities in Fort Lauderdale. The birds are self-sustained breeding colonies, established populations that have easily adapted to Florida’s climate and ecosystems. Birds that seem tame are most likely recently escaped or abandoned pets. Wild birds rarely tolerate people, and can be befriended only with dedicated attention.

Although not native to Florida, here the monk parakeets cause only minor ecological distress. The main problem the birds create is for local utility companies such as Florida Power & Light. They cause hundreds of thousands of dollars in damage to electrical equipment because they often build their large, communal stick nests on electrical transformers. The bulky nests get wet during rainstorms and fall, causing short circuits to electrical transformer boxes.

In the late '60s and 70's, Florida Fish and Wildlife Service attempted to eradicate the wayward parakeets. The effort was abandoned because of the huge scale of the bird invasion. Now, there is a market for captured parakeet chicks. Trapping and selling monk parakeets is legal in Florida because it is a non-native species.

We don't encourage our visitors to climb after parakeet hatchlings, however. Every once in awhile, there is news item on an industrious parakeet hunter who got tangled -- and fried -- in high voltage wires.

Rain rain go away

H-Mom is a nut.

She put on the yellow slicker that Man-Dad bought her at the marine supply store. It is "foul weather gear" for boating types.

Then she snapped on Booker's collar. And off we went. Yes, to the dog park.

In the wake of Fay, which wasn't tragic, but which was windy and very very wet. And H-Mom said "COME ON, BOOKER, LET'S WALK!"

Like that was supposed to be exciting or something. Like that was a really great idea.

So walk we did, in the pouring rain. Are you surprised that there was no-dog and no-one else there? And rain was running off Booker's ear tips like little rivers, and streaming off the brim of H-Mom's slicker hood.

No-dog and no-one else ever showed up. H-Mom made Booker stick with it for about half an hour.

"Well," she said outloud to NO-ONE, "We don't have a yard, so this is necessary exercise."


It was so rainy, in the wake of tropical storm FAY, that H-Mom didn't even have the camera out. Now, don't you think that would TELL her something?

Monday, August 18, 2008

Fay Closing In

H-Mom was smart and got to the dog park with Booker early this morning. We got in an hour walk, with Booker OCDing just a little over the potential of raccoons in the trees. H-Mom had to be vigilant and refocus his attention on the walk. He played with the usual set of dogs too.

Minutes after we got home, the sky opened up. Thunder, lightening and sheets of rain thick enough to obliterate the view out of our 19th floor windows. We are "hunkering down," as we should only get strong winds and lots of rain. Booker is "hunkering" in the bathroom. That seems to be the best place to take cover from thunder booming. For our coast, Fay will be closer to a tropical storm than a hurricane. We won't evacuate even if it gets bad. Our building is only three years old, with certified hurricane windows and a generator. It would be uncomfortable without air conditioning, but we would be safe.

David is a building inspector, and he feels safe here. He says, if a pickup truck comes hurtling through our window, 19 floors up, everyone in Florida has a lot more to worry about than some rain and wind. And, we would probably be in more danger on the road, trying to escape in a traffic jam of evacuees.

Walks will be a challenge if the weather really deteriorates. Booker isn't a "walking in the rain with the one I love," kind of dog.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Booker on the Arts

Booker is spending the morning at the gallery with H-Mom.

Booker is an art- and culture-friendly candidate. Posing at the gallery window is a great opportunity to take a stance in favour of local and state arts and humanities councils, and to advocate for support of the NEA. Booker is vehemently opposed to cuts in school art and music programs, believing that these are integral to the development of well-rounded, diverse, critical and creative thinkers.

Actually, Booker has a propensity to over-vocalize; H-Mom accessorized him with the citronella collar.

... no one appreciates a bombastic candidate.

The candidate's motorcade will be taking him back to the home office for some downtime around 1. A few hours is enough campaigning today.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Tennessee Lead

Very few people in South Florida recognize Booker's breed. We are a region densely populated by little condo-perfect dogs -- all fancy purebreds and designer crossbreeds -- with a few high visual-impact large dogs, like borzoi and afghans, thrown in.

"Wow, that's a beagle on steroids!"
"What kind of beagle-mix is that?"

We get those all the time.

Fort Lauderdale has a hefty share of the Domicile-Challenged (as our friend
Biggie Z refers to them ...) also known as WTFs for their frequent outbursts at innocent citizens and tourists.

Yesterday I was walking Booker along the river, where many of our local WTFs (another Biggie Z-ism) hang out. Actually at times, it looks like a WTF
convention around here.

Anyway, more than once, the older black men in the generally eclectic WTF population have addressed us, often loudly, and often with very southern accents.

"Hey, lady, my bossman had some of them coondogs."
"That's a Walker hound, isn't it ma'am."
"I used to keep them Walkerhounds for hunting, lady."

Yesterday, one of them looked at us and asked excitedly, "That's a Tennessee Walker, ain't it missus?"

His friend jumped up, annoyed. "No, that's a Treeing Walker," shouted his bench buddy.

George Washington Maupin (Left), Tennessee Lead and William J. Walker (Right) (courtesy Google images)

I smiled. "Actually, he's a Treeing Walker, and they were bred from a dog named Tennessee Lead originally."

"SEE," shouted the first one and he began whapping his buddy with a rolled up newspaper.

Booker and I beat a hasty retreat along our riverside path. David has suggested that I don't walk along the river any more. We are fairly water-bound. The options are not many. And as long as the WTFs appreciate a good coonhound, I guess we are okay.

Sign at the Tennessee-Kentucky stateline (click to enlarge) marking the trail of Tennesse Lead, a stolen hounddog. (courtesy Google images)