Friday, October 26, 2007

My pretty girl

Sheba crossed the Rainbow Bridge friday, 10/26/07 at 11am. She was 13.5 years old. I think Mike and I are reeling in shock since this was rather sudden. Sheba's been feeling poorly on and off since tuesday night. On tuesday evening she suddenly stopped walking, she could only take a few steps before collapsing and refusing to get up. On wednesday we called the vet but that evening she started feeling a lot better and by thursday she seemed to be almost back to normal. She was alert, walked around outside, and even fetched the ball a couple of times. Unfortunately by thursday evening she was suffering again, her stomach was a bit bloated, she didn't eat dinner, and seemed a bit out of it. We made a vet appt for fri afternoon, but took her to the emergency vet on friday morning because she had gotten significantly worse.

Sheba had a cancerous mass in her spleen that had ruptured and was leaking into her abdomen. The vet guessed that it started around tuesday but the body tried to clot the leak which is why she was feeling better on wednesday. After doing an ultrasound, they found a mass of tumors (hemangiosarcoma) on her spleen, major part of her liver, and on her abdomen covering. Even if they removed her spleen and patched her up, another mass would burst within a few weeks putting her back in the same situation. We had no choice but to let her go.

We were able to spend time with her until we were ready. She seemed more alert and curious about her surroundings. She even gave me a couple of kisses while we were all together and then it was over. I have no regrets, not even about waiting until friday morning because it gave me that much more time to spend with her.

I miss her terribly. I see her ghost everywhere I look. I see her lying on the ac vent cooling off, on the couch with her front legs hanging off and eyes watching for a hint of food, and laying on the dog bed with her head hanging off the end. It's strange not to hear her tail wag in the morning when we come downstairs or have her follow me into the bathroom.

I've had Sheba for almost 12 years, longer than I've even known Mike. Right out of college I wanted a dog and my sister's friend had a lab she could no longer take care of. When I first got Sheba she was the perfect little robot. She didn't beg, she heeled without a leash, didn't got into rooms without permission, extremely submissive--the perfect dog for some. It took me over 2 years to turn her into the mercenary spoiled diva she became. Everyone loved Sheba and she knew it. She had a wonderful face, great personality, and she was gentle with everyone. She shared her home with her brothers, Quinn then Max, and all the fosters that came into her house. Sheba was responsible for several small kids getting over their fear of dogs and learning to love dogs.

While all our dogs are special and wonderful, she will always have a special place in my heart.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Wine party

Last weekend we had our second wine tasting party, this time with white wines. We didn't have quite as many attendees as our red wine party which was good for two reasons. First, it wasn't quite so crowded and people all had chairs this time (last time there were a lot of standers and floor-sitters). Second, I could pour more wine in each glass instead of just a smidgeon. Rules were the same as the last party, everyone brings a wine under $20 and the group winner gets a small prize. We decided on Lord of the Rings theme this time so Mike made a cool scoring sheet with various LotR references.

When we had sent evites out for the party, we noticed a bit of a trend on the responses back. Several people were undecided because they had to work out childcare issues so we decided that wouldn't do at all. We ended up hiring a neighborhood teen to watch the kids in the basement which turned out to be quite a success. Not only were more people able to attend, but the kids (six total) ended up having a blast in the basement (ping pong, twister, snacks, movie, other kids). I think we'll definitely use that idea in future parties.

We had a total of 11 different wines, the winner was Leonard Kreusch Piesporter Michelsberg wine. Apparently Ben (the bringer of the wine) took his wine tasting seriously this time and tried 6 different wines before deciding on bringing this one.

The party was a lot of fun for us, we got to see friends we haven't seen for a while (not working makes it harder to see people regularly). Now we just have to decide what our next party will be about....perhaps mixed drinks?

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Miss Maddy

Maddy is our current chocolate foster. She's about 5 yrs old and has a fair bit of gray on her already. Even her eyebrows are gray which sometimes gives her an "angry" appearance. She definitely does not act old though.

Maddy is one of those all-around fitting dogs. Most of the rescue dogs have certain preferences (w/o other dogs, prefers dog, low-energy, likes children, etc) when we place them. Maddy seems to adjust to pretty much everything. Overall she's extremely mellow in our house because we tend to be low-energy. She's happy either finding a dog bed or laying right next to your seat for the occasional petting. She is very sweet and just loves people, she's also a HUGE licker and always goes straight for the face.

I think I'd like Maddy a lot more if she wasn't so pushy about attention for herself. I can give her tons of attention but as soon as I go to pet Sheba, Maddy is all over us and she's pretty intent on getting all the attention for herself. She'll wedge herself between Sheba and I, then wiggle her whole body to knock Sheba out of the way. If Sheba is laying on the ground while I'm petting her, Maddy will walk all over Sheba to get closer to me. Mike and I have taken to either keeping her at arm's length when we're petting Sheba or double-teaming her. One of us will keep Maddy occupied while the other one will pet Sheba. I guess I feel pretty protective about Sheba so anything that causes her more discomfort makes me upset.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Favorite thing in the world (currently)

Hard to believe earlier this year we were in the upper-80s, lower-90s since we're in the 60s now and it's gotten quite chilly especially getting into bed at night. As I was huddled under the sheets trying to get warm, I realized Sue was right, I needed a heated mattress pad. I figured I'd order one from L.L.Bean but lo and behold, Costco was selling them! It works great with dual-controls and pre-heat setting and they've come a long way from the electric blankets of my youth.

Having pre-warmed bedsheets is definitely a wonderful luxury and one I intend to keep using this entire winter.

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Bye Herbie, Hello Maddy

We moved Herbie to a new foster home today and got Maddy (Madison) in exchange. Herbie has really grown on us in the past two weeks we had him. He's such a mellow, shy dog that he doesn't quite have a lot of personality (goofiness, affection, counter-surfing) that other foster labs have had; however some of his playfulness does start to come out after settling into the house.

I'm quite curious about his history because while he craves attention, he's not terribly affectionate. Unlike any other lab I've ever met, Herbie NEVER licks or gives kisses! He'll get close to us and sniff but the tongue never comes out. He never licked our dishes after dinner, even after watching our dogs. He sits as close to us as possible to get pet (and can get QUITE pushy about it), but he never just lays on us, or tries to climb into your lap, or any other lab-type behaviors.

Herbie is also the most submissive foster dog we've ever had. He's submissive even to Max! The most ridiculous is watching both of them submit to each other. They walk face to face, and both will turn their heads away and avoid eye contact. When Max play-bowed and pounced towards Herbie, Herbie ran to the far side of the room and hid --silly dog.

As long as he finds a home that wants to give him lots of attention and spoil him, I think his confidence will build (after all, Sheba had no personality until I spoiled her rotten). I do hope that is soon, he is a really sweet dog.

I'll post about Maddy in a week or so.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Knitting needle case

For years my knitting needles have been stored in a pillowcase jumbled together. I never really thought about it much other than when I had to find matching needles and realized what a hassle it was. Then one day a few months ago, Cindy pulled out this really cool knitting needle case. It had individual pockets to store her needles and rolled up to make it easy to carry around. I thought it was very cool but not enough to buy one for myself.

A couple weeks ago I found myself rummaging for needles again and realized I had to do something so I went online (I love the interweb) to see what I could buy for needle storage. I didn't find anything I liked until I found this site. This was perfect! Not only did it store various needle sizes but it also stored dpn (double pointed needles) and circulars. Course the only problem is that I had to make it myself.

After reading the tutorial at least a dozen times over a few days, I felt confident enough that I understood what needed to be done. Picked up some fabric from Joann's, borrowed Sue's sewing machine and got to work. It took literally all afternoon and evening to complete the case but I think I did a really good job. The only difference from the tutorial is the binding on the outside of the case, I felt it gave more stability and looked nicer. Hardest part was cutting the fabric and making sure everything was the correct size. Its definitely not perfect, but the binding covers a lot of the little mistakes. I'm extremely pleased because I created everything from fabric, including the bindings and ties and it only cost me about $10. More pictures of the completed needle case are here.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Herbie the love bug

We've had Herbie for about a week now. He's a great yellow lab, about 3 yrs old. He looks very similar to Harper, our previous foster so I would continually call Herbie Harper accidentally. Course I don't think Herbie knows his name yet so I'll just continue to confuse him while he's here with us.

Herbie has been very well-named by the rescue. All he wants to do is sit next to you and get lots of petting. He's got the arm-nudge down perfectly. If your hand is resting on your lap, he'll get his head under your arm and nudge it onto his head or neck for petting. He'll keep scooching closer until he is RIGHT next to you to make it easier for the petting. Herbie can get a bit annoying about the petting. Since our game chair is right at dog height (ie on the floor) he'll keep pushing at us while we game which gets very distracting.

No one knows his history. He wandered into the DC shelter with lots of scrapes, bumps, and bruises. The vet looked at him and said they were consistent with being hit by a car and scraped by the road. You'll notice lots of shaved areas on his body, those were his boo-boos that needed mending. He's doing great now.

Herbie is a hit-and-run eater. He'll grab a few bites of food, then wander around the kitchen, check out what we're doing, then grab a few more bites and repeat. It takes him 10-15 min to finish his food. As long as we're in the kitchen during this time our dogs don't eat his food; however there are times I forget and leave. That's when Max makes his move and eats the leftovers. Course that isn't the case for human food. Herbie seems to understand that human food tastes MUCH better than dog food. He's taken a potato chip right out of Mike's hand as it's come out of the bag on the coffee table. When there is food around, Herbie is intense at begging. Otherwise Herbie is a fantastic foster. He does really well at the bus stop with lots of parents and kids around. He'll go right up to the nearest person, plunk his butt down and wait for the petting to begin. Not much of a retriever but he does have random puppy-crazies when he's in the backyard. We only have him for one more week until he has to move to a new home.