Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Liveblogging Halloween 2012

We're back in 2012 for an epic adventure of Mina trying to convince children to take her home with them. This has been her dream for eleven years, so maybe tonight is the night!


6:10 pm: Butterfly shows up and politely asks to pet Mina. Mina says yes. Mother rushes over, "I must take a picture, you don't see a butterfly and ladybug together often enough!" Truth! Evidentiary material now exists on someone's phone that butterflies and ladybugs can coexist. Brother Tiger not so impressed as Butterfly and refuses to take pictures with Mina. Boo. You Fail as a Human
 This is basically Mina between trick-or-treaters. I can't tell you how much Mina loves children, it's kinda gross.

6:20 pm - Mina once again tries to leave with a princess. Princess more interested in candy but does politely pet Mina.

6:26 pm - Fierce lioness exclaims, "She's dressed like a ladybug!!!!" Yes, I reply. "Mom!!! This dog is dressed up as a LADYBUG!!!" Mom not impressed. "MOOOOMMM! A Ladybug! Did you hear me?" Yes, cute, get your candy. Grumpy moms for the win!

6:31 pm - Football Player reacts in horror upon seeing Mina. HORROR. Flees three feet backwards and I have to wander outdoors waving candy at him so he would realize the risk of Mina eating him don't outweigh the benefit of getting candy.

6:33 pm - Ninja tells brother Batman to say thank you. Batman gazes up at me with big, blue eyes. And walks off. "You tried." I tell Ninja. Ninja is silent. In a ninja way.

6:40 pm - Mina barked at Harry Potter. WTH, Mina?

6:46 pm - "It's the dog again!!!" - An admirer from last year. Mina gazes forlornly after her, wishing for a princess of her very own. Geez, thanks Mina!

6:48 pm - "You dressed your dog up!" Yes. "Why?" It's her favorite holiday. *blank stare* Her friend, a female Thor sees the look on my face and politely quips, "Nice house!" Big smile. Girl Thor is the best.

6:51 pm - Giraffe waves goodbye to Mina.

As always, I feel a small sense of evil glee that Mina - the ebil Pit Bull - is beautifully well-behaved, loves children, and my neighbor has to make sure her Labrador Retriever doesn't eat anyone (the dog got out one year and nearly attacked several children). It's not right, I know.

6:57 pm - A giant rubber ducky scares Mina. She politely trots back inside, so as not to offend. She comes back out when she hears a toddler princess. But then the princess pokes her in the eye, so she politely trots back inside again. Mina should probably raise children for a living.

7:07 pm - A lot of "male" children dressed up as "female" characters - this is more than I've ever seen, which makes me happy. And a bit sad that children only get this day during the year that "male" children get to dress up in "feminine" clothing without fear of judgment. I hope this changes.

7:08 pm - Glenda the good witch blesses Mina with her wand. Mina is all I AM A LADYBUG, LADY, but accepts the blessing nevertheless.

7:20 pm - Little kid tries to leap out and surprise me, and then leaps two feet back when he sees Mina. "DOG!" Mina stares at him. And wags her tail. She thinks he is the bees knees. Or the ladybug's, if they have knees. He is not so sure, but he comes forward for some lollipops.

7:25 pm - Mina sees a Boston Terrier - YOU ARE NOT DRESSED UP, BASTARD. Boston Terrier is all WUT? I AM A TUXEDO and then he laughs maniacally. Bwahaha. Children still pet Mina, despite her ill behavior towards the Tuxedo. One girl does tell Mina "Get back, dog!" and MIna does.

7:32 pm: Serious conversations.
Red witch: You like dogs don't you?
Me: Um, yeah?
Red witch: Because you have paintings of them on the wall.
Me: Oh! Yes, those are my dogs.
RW: Where's your other dog?
Me: She's afraid and hiding.
RW: And what is this dog's name?
Me: Mina
RW: And how old is she?
Me: 14
RW: And how many dogs do you have?
Me: 2
RW: Only?
Me: Um. Yes.
Dad: Red Witch! Come along. *to me* Sorry, she'll move into your house if you open the door wider.

7:40 pm: Mina sees another Pit Bull dressed up as a hot dog and is all, Wut? The other dog is all Wut?

I'm all, it's like my bed-time, why are your children out so late?!?

7:45 pm: Unknown-outfit child - "It's the ladybug dog!!" as if she's seen Mina as a ladybug before! Everyone pets Mina, and then get candy, and say thank you. One girl looks me straight in the eye, "I like your dog," she says softly. Mina is all over that like white on rice and implores the child to take her home because she is being abused with costumes. Alas, the child wanders off.

7:47 pm: Mina has given up on a child taking her home, she is now solacing herself with a big bowl of V-dog, of which she is a fan.
Moar children if you want to read about Mina's halloween as it happens go to

 Are we done yet?

8:01 pm: Mina is no longer interested in getting up from the couch. Evidence:
Children monsters are a lot of work and make Mina sleepy

Monday, October 22, 2012

Book - Huntress, Malinda Lo

I don't usually cry reading a book, but I ended up doing so while reading Huntress by Malinda Lo.

First, I cannot tell you how gratifying it is to read books where nonhumans are referred to properly as "he"and "she". In one scene, a deer is being hunted, and the buck is referred to as a "he', and his death -ugly and certainly painful - is not glossed over...the main character is disturbed and haunted by it.

I had just finished Stiefvater's The Scorpio Races where the treatment and death of nonhumans is treated so flippantly and callously, where even supposedly "beloved" animals are still referred to as property and inanimate objects. I find this common language disheartening. Then to pick up Lo's book and read wolves, pigs, deer, horses, etc referred to by their biological sex (when known). Refreshing, yo.

Second, LOVE to any author who creates and allows for the growth of strong female characters. Lo writes female characters beautifully and she crafts societies and cultures that are just and fair...and where being a woman is just, you know, being a woman...ain't no thang.

I had read Lo's other book Ash and really enjoyed it as well, but I loved Huntress more.

We are still in a society and world that treats non-hetero relationships as "other" and "less than". In Lo's world, love is love. I can get behind that.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Letting Go

KADE ON THE SOFABig old Dude has moved on to his new home.

He is now living with a shy little cat and a lovely woman in Nevada.

More importantly, he is with someone who will allow him to adjust and grieve again (in a smaller way than he did with me) without deeming it burdensome.

A few weeks ago, another person applied to adopt Dude. It was not a bad home. In fact, by most standards, it was a darn fine home. Some fencing had to be fixed, but other than that, it was on an acre of land, with a person who would be home most of the time.

Still, after seeing the home and meeting more with the applicant, I never felt the same kind of joy and lightness I felt with other adopters interested in a dog I am fostering.

The rescue felt my feelings were sufficient reason to deny the adoption. I think another dog would be fine in this person's set-up, but my intuition guided me away from this home for Dude.

I grappled with my feelings. One person told me it was because I wanted to find a way to keep Dude. Untrue. There is absolutely no way I can have a third permanent dog with Celeste and Mina. 100% impossible. I think some have the impression that when I have a foster dog, all three dogs are lounging in the living room, playing in the yard, and coexisting beautifully.

In reality, baby gates separate the house. Crates keep foster dogs and house dogs safe. Only Mina can happily interact with interested foster dogs (and only Mina will put up with obnoxious puppies). Celeste is afraid and intolerant of other dogs. Mina cannot handle certain pack dynamics. And some of my foster dogs haven't even liked Mina (Kassie). It's not hugs and snuggles, folks.

So the denial wasn't because I wanted to keep Dude...I just wanted the absolute best for him. I wanted a home that would understand he was a sweet, soft-tempered dog who grieves fiercely and share loyalty and friendship with ease. That he howls and pants and sometimes paces. That he sometimes wants to be outside, snoozing on the porch rather than inside with people. That he is dog-selective and probably chases deer.

More importantly, I wanted a home where I would have NO doubt that he would - extreme circumstances excluded - live out the rest of his life. He lived seven years in one home. He saw and smelled and heard his pack-mate taken away, never to return. He took two weeks to finally want to be a part of my pack, his grief was so strong.

I think he has found that in his new home. I did not cry, although my heart hurt. It felt right.

So here's to Dude, the best old-man foster dog ever. Happy sleeping!

Friday, October 12, 2012

In My Hands, You Are Stopped

I went out and took photos yesterday. I had not done so in a long time. Francis chewed cud for me. And now, you.

 There is a camera I want, but I am afraid I want it only because it is more expensive and better than my current ones. They are good cameras, but it's amazing how quickly the digital age puts a 2, 3, 4 year old camera to shame. And well, a good camera, a good lens, does not make you a great photographer. I could become a great photographer if I spent my life committed to this small, burning passion of mine. But I won't right now, so I'm a happily decent snapper of one-eyed cows chewing cud.

 When I was younger, I lugged around my dad's Minolta. In high school, I would stand transfixed in the film section of my local pharmacy store, trying to pick out the best film for the shots I wanted.

I could carefully remove a used reel from my dad's camera, beneath a black cloth, and transfer it to a canister tank for development. Those were precarious seconds, when cherished moments in time could be deleted from this earth forever.  They may not have been my best photos, but those black and white pictures I developed with my own hands are some of my most precious.

 I love the digital age, to be honest. I love snapping a bazillion photos and not worrying that I will become penniless from spent cash on wasted film. I love gazing instantly at these snapshots. LOVE, people. It's a childish wonderment - that what I see can (imperfectly) be transferred to something permanent and shared with everyone else. That sometimes I catch real, honest to goodness emotions in the faces of powerful that others can see it too.

And that sometimes, in a rare brilliant light, my photo tells a story. Those are my favorite.

 My dad's Minolta is still alive. It works perfectly well and is probably older than I am.  Dakota Looking Handsome

Did you know Dakota, the turkey, can alter his bloodflow to those bumpy caruncles on his neck and snood (long dangly thing)? That his coloration indicates his mood, his feelings? He is in a dapper, good mood in this photo.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Let's Make This Celebrate Mina Day

Christopher Columbus was an asshole.

There, I wrote it.

He did not discover North America, for one. There were already people living there, so obviously it was already "discovered".

What did he do?

He enslaved the native population. He raped their young girls. He kidnapped people and shipped them to Europe (and during that ugly ship trip, most died). He allowed his men to randomly behead people, beat them, cut of their hands, implement "tributes", test their blades on people's body parts, rape, pillage, etc. ad naseum.

The guy was a jerk. I don't know if he was a jerk by 16th century standards, probably not. He was human, and he explored a lot, but he introduced so much trauma, devastation, and cruelty to so many of the native peoples in the Americas.

Nothing to celebrate.

So I'm going to celebrate Mina. Because this is how she would have done it:

Upon landing, she would have presented this visage to the native people:

Smiling Mina #pitbull

If that failed, she'd obviously have to get serious:

Mina is sad, per usual
And put a freaking squirrel on her head. WHO CAN RESIST?

But let's say they DID resist (wtf is wrong with them, you might ask), well, then:

You are a failed people if that doesn't move you to tears of sadness and joy.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Mina Makes Me Melodramatic

Mina threw up brown bile this morning, after a few days of digestive woes and strenuous urination sessions.

I immediately took to the internet, which inspired nothing but a panicked call to the vet to make sure Mina was not bleeding into her stomach and dying right on the spot.

It was confirmed Mina was not going to expire at my feet, but I still made an appointment at my favorite vet office.

Who then siphoned a lot of money from me to declare that they didn't know what was wrong with her - that it was either IBD or cancer, but not likely cancer. Maybe a UTI, but urinalysis won't come back for a few days. At least I know her heart, eyes, ears, kidneys, and liver are all fine and dandy. Thank goodness for CareCredit.

She received a cerenia injection, which is apparently a miracle drug that cures all woes. JUST KIDDING. But it does make Mina feel less painful in her gut and helps stop vomiting. She also received a B12 injection. Low B12 is common, according to the vet, in older dogs with GI issues.

I was sent home with metro and sucralafate, both of which will help her gut. She is also supposed to be on a bland low-fat diet.

I've decided to see if Mina wants to be vegan like me. V-Dog is a great vegan dog food that is soy, corn, and wheat free. It's also GMO-free. Mina is allergic to strange things, like barley, but also regular things like soy and corn, both of which are very common in many dog foods. She is also allergic to cow flesh  (and baby sheep flesh) because she is part-cow and not a cannibal. V-Dog is also low-fat, and since she has some minor pancreatitis, this is a good thing.

She also lost 3 lbs since last year, bringing her down to 34 lbs. I need her to gain weight, like woah. I want her to weigh 40 lbs, because when she is REALLY ancient, she'll have that extra padding. Fact.

Mina's all twitchy-sleeping next to me as I type this. In a month, she officially turns 14. I cannot express to all of you how grateful I am that she continues to age with fierce grace. She does not have arthritis. Her heart is healthy. Her eyes are aging normally, and her ears and teeth are in fine condition. She has spunk and is a punk, when she feels appropriate. Each day, she looks forward to her afternoon cookie session with my boss and her two itty-bitty dogs.

While I still get frustrated with her irksome stubborn nature, I am cherishing each and every freaking second I have with her - even the annoying ones! For the past eleven years, she has been my constant companion. And I hope to share another five or more with her - showing her with kindness, cookies, food, exercise, snuggle-time, doggy play time...that I love and appreciate her.