Our Sweet and Crazy Coonhound ...

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

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!