The Dog Catcher Part 2

The only real prison is fear, and the only real freedom is freedom from fear.  ~Aung San Suu Kyi

dog-catcher-dog-beagle-10-9-14-Aunt-Heather-Piper

Very sad beagle found at the dog catcher, reminded me of Ryan’s dog Jake. 10-9-14

With my previous blog Dog Catcher Part 1, I set the stage with respect to our dogs taking off, giving themselves a nature run, and not returning with Avery.  Now for the truly scary part of the story.

Once mom got the message that my cousin saw some post on Facebook about a stray dog, a.k.a. Avery, we then found out they called the dog catcher.  Yikes!  This was a new one for us.  I don’t believe it was a malicious action, for this family stated that they asked around and no one claimed this stray, who happened to be a  Virginian dog.  Avery probably gave off the out-of-towner vibe up on the ridge.

Since we were moving into unknown territory, questions started surfacing.  How does one get a hold of the dog catcher?  Who is the dog catcher?  Where is the facility?  Seriously, we had no clue to any of those questions.  I called the Greensburg state police and they gave me a phone number, but they didn’t know where the kennel was located.  Really?  That’s what he said, and he wasn’t brushing me off, but on the contraire being very sincere.  He informed me that Hoffman’s Kennel doesn’t answer their phone, but I should leave a message and they’ll get back to me.

We did as instructed, but we also didn’t want to wait around for a call back, Avery was wrongfully placed in prison and it was our duty to bust her free.  This process was all new to us.  I never even realized there was such a thing as a dog catcher in the area.  To me, he was a myth you only see in cartoons. You know the mean old nasty man who wanted to catch dogs with an over-sized fishing net.

Thinking smart, mom called her veterinarian for an address.  Bingo!  In addition to the address, there was a stressful tone in the voice that gave a sense of complete urgency to retrieve Avery, immediately.

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Another curious prisoner at the dog catcher 10/9/14

Now the worrying really kicked into fear.  Even though we never spoke to this mysterious dog catcher, mom and I headed in his direction to 285 Cloverleaf Drive Delmont, Pennsylvania 15626.  We were told he lives on the property, so we might be able to pop in and get the goods before bedtime.

On the way, mom told me about a story she read on the You Know You’re From Latrobe, PA IfFacebook page.  (There are screen shots of the conversations)  According to these individuals, Hoffman’s is a dog serial killer!   There is even a Facebook page to try and shut him down Stop Hoffman Kennels.

Okay, hearing that, and only those stories and nothing to contradict, I made up my mind regarding this faceless figure.  Not fair I know, but think about the stress I was in, not to mention Nicole kept calling and hounding us, asking if we got her dog yet.

Finding the place was easy, if you knew the address.  The facility wasn’t marked like I expected a government funded location to appear, but instead it was very creepy, and almost shady.  I mean that, granted it was dark but regardless, I felt like a dog thief intruding on someone’s house.

Once there, I knocked on the door and he, a.k.a. the dog catcher, Gary Hoffman, graciously opened it, hearing me out.  I gave a description of Avery, and informed him that he was holding her.  Mr. Hoffman gave me a puzzled look and simply told me no, he didn’t have a dog by that description.  What?  Still standing awkwardly in the doorway, with no sense of invitation, I stood my ground and wouldn’t take that as an answer.  I told him I know for a fact he picked her up today.  Still sporting a confused look, he again reassured me he didn’t have my dog.  Again, sternly I informed him yes he did, I know for a fact a person called him, and he picked her up, mid-day today.  Mr. Hoffman’s response, “I was in Fayette County all day.”  Personally, I don’t give a crap where he was, he had my sister’s dog!

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Poor lonely dog at the dog catcher 10/9/14

Still not believing me, he said meet me around as side door.  I was invited into a waiting room type, that smelt horribly of ammonia!  We continued this repetitive conversation, and I never backed down. I was stern yet polite.  Finally, after repeating myself and ensuring him he does in deed have Avery, without question, he suggested, “I don’t have her, but you’re more than welcome to have a look.”  Couldn’t he have just offered in the first place when I told him I know for a fact he had my dog?

Giving Mr. Hoffman the benefit of the doubt, let me explain.  He might have been confused during the conversation because I kept calling Avery a puppy.  She is technically a puppy, just a large one, nearly fifty pounds.  But one would think if I have a missing dog, and I said she was here, he would automatically let me see the dogs?  He was almost dismissive of me.  Granted it was 7:00 pm, past normal hours, but that’s his job.

Once inside the actual Kennel, I caught Avery’s eyes immediately!  She looked so sad from behind the chain linked fence.  Now another obstacle stood in my way, literally.  He wouldn’t release Avery.  What?

He stated all dogs need to have their tags on them to be released.  Seriously, if she had her tags on her then he would have known where to find her owner.  Frustrating!  He wasn’t going to let her go without tags, which are all the way in Virginia!  I get the reasoning, to make sure all dogs have his or her shots.  I explained, I was dog sitting for my sister and the dog got away from me, and she must have lost her tags in the woods.  I informed Mr. Hoffman, Avery’s tags were in Virginia.  I also gave a solution that we could call my veterinarian’s office, they have all of Avery’s paperwork since I took her there for her final shots while babysitting.

He still was not going to release Avery, and gave me a run around saying I couldn’t take the dog.  Seriously?  I was ready to tackle this guy, grab the dog and run!  My mom was waiting in the car and when needed, she could peel rubber like the best of them.

Dog Catcher Aunt Heather PiperSolution!  Call Nicole!  My thought was that she surly had copies of Avery’s tags!  I know my geek sister and that sounded about right.

In front of Mr. Hoffman, I wasn’t shy about my intention of leaving with the dog, I called Nicole.  Once I got her on the phone, the dog catcher did ease up a bit and said, she doesn’t need tags since she’s an out of state dog.  What?  Why didn’t he just say that in the first place?  He knew she was from Virginia, a.k.a. out of state!  What is going on here?  He took down Nicole’s contact information, and filled out some form.  Now can I get her and go?  Nope!  He said there’s a fee.

Okay, how much?  He kept saying it wasn’t for him it was for the state.  Whatever.  How much?  Fifty bucks.  In all the confusion, guess who didn’t have my purse.  I felt like this was a nightmare that wouldn’t end.  It was taunting me.

Mom!  I exited the smelly waiting room to pull my mom into my nightmare, to meet our villain face-to-face.  Mom was prepared, and wrote the man a check.  This was a bit comical.  Mr. Hoffman kept repeating that the money wasn’t for him, it’s for the state funds of some sort.  Mom asked “Who do I make the check out to?”  He replied, “Hoffman’s.”  A snicker escaped my lips.  Personally, I don’t even care if the money was for him.  He was doing a job, and he should get paid, I get it, but he seemed very defensive over the money.  We did get a receipt, so as far as I can tell it was all legitimate.

Now let me lay all the cards on the table, which are fact and which are fiction, I truly have no idea?  All I know is what I went through, and eventually our own personal story was a happy tail (that’s a pun).  We got Avery back home safe and sound.

Dog Catcher Hoffman Facebook Aunt Heather Piper48 Hour Rule
I was told everyone has 48 hours to retrieve their dog before he euthanizes them.  48 hours?  Really?  That’s just enough time to realize your dog is gone, and the neighbor’s haven’t seen the 4-legged refugee.

I also heard after the situation, that Hoffman’s works with a local no-kill shelter to get the dogs before they are killed, as long as the shelter has room.  Again, I have no proof, but this is what I was told.

Finding Owners
Many people claimed Mr.  Hoffman doesn’t try and track down the owners beforehand.  Avery did have a chip in her, which he did wand but the wand came up negative.  Perhaps he needs to change the batteries in his wand.

First of all, one would think he would have done that before placing Avery in her prison cell.  What’s wrong with being proactive?

On the contrary, a close friend of mine informed me Mr. Hoffman scans microchips, and ID tags to contact the owners.  He is not required by law to seek dog ownership, only to keep them for 48 hours.  Again really?  Unfortunately, he is just doing a government funded job.  Again back to my issue with government having too much control.  Dogs die.

Location
Now, let’s get down to the location of the dog catcher and his prisoners.  No one seemed to have a clue where his facility was located, not even the police!  If you check the website, it just gives a phone number.  I’m somewhat fine with leaving a message and having him screen his calls, but let’s face it, this is a job and that’s part of the job.

While writing this blog, I did manage to find the address online, but it took a little digging.  It also helped, I was more informed of the kennel’s name and location.

This one I do have a huge issue with.  The kennel is unmarked, at least from what I saw!  It just had the house number like any other house on the street.  If this is a government funded facility, meaning I can’t even take my pistol in there even with a permit, then it should be marked as such.

I had someone share a counter point-of-view on this.  They stated that not publishing the location of the kennel was done by design so people wouldn’t abandon their dogs.  Perhaps cameras and large fines would solve that problem.

In case the contact information for Hoffman Kennels was missed here it is again:
285 Cloverleaf Drive
Delmont, Pennsylvania 15626
724-468-5505

Hoffman Kennel Contact Information Aunt Heather PiperSolution
Basically, what this boils down to is Legislation.  I don’t know who’s Mr. Hoffman’s boss, or how we can get the rules changed, but in this digital world we live in, helping these strays and missing dogs being reunited with their owners shouldn’t be like moving mountains.  Perhaps if Mr. Hoffman was required by law to photograph all captured dogs and ID them immediately, then post this information to a central Facebook page, it would help a lot of dogs and their owners, since going viral is the quickest way to get the word out,  eliminating the old fashion methods.

Also, I get it Mr. Hoffman’s job is 24-hours, but if he signed up for that, and is getting paid for such, then that is his job.  He either needs to continue or resign.  Maybe, there is a way to have an assistant, perhaps there is one in place to help with some of the workload?

I’m really not sure what I feel about this entire encounter, and the policies of the dog catcher.  I must say, it seems as though legislation needs to revisit policies and procedures.  I’ve heard both sides, yet my experience was a bit odd, not helpful and understanding, but shady.  Again, it was a strange situation.  Am I missing something?

I was suggested by many to contact the local news stations and report my experience.  Doing some digging around, I found out Hoffman Kennels was in the news on several occasions!  About a year ago, the TribLiv had this article and Channel 4 News ran a story on Hoffman Kennels.

http://triblive.com/neighborhoods/2517886-74/hoffman-animal-dog-control-dogs-kennel-walters-license-soxman-plum#axzz3GD7BLv5P  TribLive Hoffman's Kennel Aunt Heather Piper

Channel 4 news Hoffman Kennel Aunt Heather Piperhttp://www.wtae.com/news/local/westmoreland/Residents-upset-with-Delmont-dog-kennel/16200662

Thank you to everyone who reached out to me with advice, prayers and informed me on the opposing views.  All this was very new to me.  While I was touring the clink, I did manage to snap a few pictures of captured dogs.  I posted them to Facebook on the ride home, hoping to alert a dog owner.  Also, I should say thank you to Mr. Hoffman for answering the door in the evening and hearing me out, eventually releasing Avery to us.  From what I understand, he doesn’t make that his policy.  See, prayers really do work!

posted by auntheather in Church,Common Sense,Education & Learning,Family,Hiking & Outdoors,News,Observation & Imagination,Patience,Pets and have No Comments

The Dog Catcher Part 1

Stories can conquer fear, you know. They can make the heart bigger.  ~Ben Okri

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Avery relaxing on the couch. She looks more like my cat … 2014

Recently, we had a run in with the dog catcher.  Yes!  Let me step back to explain.

Last Thursday, I had all three dogs, Seven (black Labrador), Scooby (blond Labrador) and Avery (a.k.a. Acorn a Doberman mix) outside to stretch their legs and run around.  Let me step back even further that very day to state, I was suppose to put the tracker on Avery, which I was going to do when I went back into the house.  However, I didn’t get the chance.

Why?  Because all three dogs, yes they formed a posse, eluded me and made for the woods.  Truly, it was like one of the dogs said, ‘Hey look over there’ while they pointed in the opposite direction they were heading, and then took off running before I realized what had happened.  I know that makes me sound like a simpleton, but you don’t know these dogs.  Normally they are clunky, loud and up my butt, until they get into ninja mode.

Anyway, my heart sank when I came to the realization that I lost ALL three dogs, on my watch!  It’s bad enough when Seven and Scooby go on their walk abouts, but this time they have my sister’s precious mutt.  Yikes!  I knew if I didn’t get that dog back soon, I was in deep water.

Naturally, right before this happened, I had to leave.  Crap!  No worries, I thought, they’ll probably go trotting around the woods and be back in a couple of hours, at least that’s their behavioral pattern.

Upon my return around diner time, I found Seven and Scooby and Storm, my cat, waiting for me on the porch.  All three animals were ready to go inside and relax.  What!  I’m missing one?  Avery!  O no!  Now that’s serious.  Not only because she’s my sister’s dog and Nicole would go spastic, but Avery is a puppy, who doesn’t know our woods like our boys do.  Plus, we highly suspect Seven relies on Scooby’s nose to get them back.  Now Avery is completely solo.  What to do?

I called my mom.  She knew they all left in the morning, because I informed her and I was happy to report two out of the three dogs returned.  When she asked which ones, we both got a little scared.  I stated, “Why didn’t she just stay with the boys?”  Mom’s response, “‘Cause she’s an idiot!”  Later on, I would find humor in that statement, I don’t think Nicole did.

That’s when I stopped up the neighbors house to tell them to keep their eyes peeled.  While talking to the neighbor gal, she made a very good point.  She stated that I was out numbered!  Yes I was!

Mounting the quad, I drove it around to areas of woods in close proximity, places I could reach on four wheels.  Nothing!  No Avery.

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Look at this dynamic duo, Nicole & Avery walking in rain. 2013

Again, I had to depart but was planning on returning in a couple of hours.  By the time I wrapped up work, mom and I started searching for this lost bad puppy by 4:00 pm or so.  I even strapped on my boots, packed my flashlight and pistol and took Seven and Scooby for a hike through the local woods.

On a side note, there have been a number of bear sightings in the area.  Great!  I thought watch me come face-to-face with one.  My luck, I’ll startle it taking a crap or something, hence the need for the pistol.  I know if faced with a relentless bear, you are suppose to make yourself look big and menacing.  Right?!  I only look that scary when I don’t get enough sleep or Kyle is pushing  my buttons.

You see, over the years tracking our boys we’ve grown pretty custom to their running behaviors, so I had an idea where to look.  Having a few options, I chose the one that made the most sense and the one I wasn’t personally familiar with, near the soccer fields.

There is a stretch of woods from one ridge road to another.  Closest to my parents house is my Uncle Walter’s property, then it spans to other property owners before reaching Bethel Church Road.  Set back in the woods are the Loyalhanna Soccer fields.  We’ve tracked Seven and Scooby way over there before, but I’ve never hiked that far in that direction.  I guess it was a perfect time to get familiar with those woods. 

Did I mention it’s bow hunting season?  O yes!  I was praying no one took a shot at that puppy or was planning on using me as a target.  While trudging through the leaves and branches, I saw a couple of hunters in their tree stands.  Feeling bad about disrupting them, I quickly redeemed myself when I accidentally kicked up a deer and pushed it in their direction.  That made me feel a little better.

I let Scooby take the lead, perhaps bringing me in the direction of their earlier adventures.  It seemed to work for a little until he tuckered out on me and Seven was simply excited to go for another walk.

On another side note, the dogs led me into a bunch of thorns and jagged brush.  Seven refused to go first, remaining safely behind me while I got all sliced up tramping down the natural barbed wire death traps.  Then, he pushed my butt with his head to get me to move faster, nearly face planting me, yet wouldn’t take the lead.  I kept yelling at him to stop pushing me.  It was like being in the woods with Kyle!  I know the hunters saw or at the very least heard us.

As I was hiking some pretty steep rocky hills, mom called to give me a heads up, that our next step was to inform Nicole.  Mom wanted to post Avery’s picture to Facebook but not without giving her fair warning.  Agreed and understood, yet scared!  We knew that was our best chance of recovering Avery, yet we really didn’t want to face the wrath of my sister.

Eventually, Nicole did call while I was winded from hiking a cliff of death, to yell at me and to blow off some steam.  She informed me that she was personally holding me responsible and blaming me for Avery’s disappearance.  My reply, I wouldn’t think anything other.  She also asked me if I was calling her name while hiking.  Really?  No, I wanted another challenge, and I thought I’d move through the woods like a Sasquatch and sneak up on the dog. (sarcasm)  Yes, I was yelling, my throat was raw and sore.

To sum it up, I eventually found my way to the soccer fields and no Avery.  I called mom to pick me and the boys up.  I also thought, since there were games going on and kids running around, I had a touch of hope that Avery pushed her way onto some other family, but nothing.

As mom pulled in, I saw she was on the phone.  She got a lead!  Avery was found up on Butina ridge (not a technical term but if you’re a local you know where that is).  Apparently, Avery found some kids and decided to try and make friends. (I knew it!)  While Avery is truly only a puppy, she’s still a fifty pound dog that likes to jump and plant her long tongue in people’s faces, like it or not.  The kid’s dad didn’t know what to do with her, since her tags were missing and their neighbors didn’t recognize her, so he called the dog catcher.  doom doom doom.  We’ve all heard horror stories about the dog catcher!

This was the first time we’ve ever had to deal with the dog catcher.  Our boys usually stick to the woods and shy away from people when they take off.  Of course with one exception, Dog Gone Irony they always return.

Now the second part of our adventure, the dog catcher!  To be continued… The Dog Catcher Part 2

posted by auntheather in Common Sense,Education & Learning,Family,Hiking & Outdoors,Hunting & Fishing,News,Observation & Imagination,Patience,Pets and have No Comments

Laughing About Nothing … Our Dog vs. A Robber

Every act of perception, is to some degree an act of creation, and every act of memory is to some degree an act of imagination.  ~Oliver Sacks

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Seven & Scooby running & relaxing in the backyard. 2014

Even though Kyle is growing up and becoming more independent and “cool”, he still has a witty sense of humor and makes me laugh, hard!  This past weekend his humor shined through and through.

These silly situations usually happens when we have dashboard time in the car.  One of us makes a comment, then the other joins in with another comment, only more ridiculous and so on.  This continues until we have a seriously stupid yet very comical fictional story for our own pure entertainment.

What was so funny?  Our dogs!  Kyle asked about Scooby’s behavior with a stranger in the house, the DirectTV guys working on our cables to be exact.  I had to lock all three dogs in the bedroom (yes I am still dog sitting Avery), not a good thing!  Then, somehow we started on a scenario involving a robber entering the house.

For those of you who don’t know, Scooby is our blond Labrador.  Normally, Labs are very friendly dogs, well not Scooby, at least not with anyone else besides us.  Scooby is seriously the most gentle and loving dog, borderline clingy, that is ONLY with us.  Scooby is not even very nice with friends and family who frequent the house.  Yep, he’s a one dog family.  He’s too needy for my tastes, but very good with Kyle and pretty protective of him.  Kyle lays on Scooby and tugs on him and smothers him and runs him around.  Scooby loves every minute of it, unlike my dog Seven who is the Black Labrador.  Seven likes to be loved, but does not need saturated with affection like Scooby craves.  Scooby mean side is the basis of our sense of humor, at least for this particular story.

Kyle and I went off on ideas  of a robber entering the house and how Scooby would react, charging and latching on no doubt.  Typical stuff you’d see in a movie when a robber enters the house with an attack dog.  At least that’s how I envisioned it.  Then, our made up story went a bit non politically correct from there.  Do disrespect intended.

Pap-and-Piper-cousins-1977-Aunt-Heather-Piper

We loved pap! Me to the far left, Nicole, Jeremy & Chad. 1977

We started laughing about this fictitious robber who now has a wooden prosthetic leg.  I know, now-a-days most prosthetic legs are made from some sort of metal, however I also know first hand they used to be made of wood.  How do I know?  My beloved pappy had not one, but two prosthetic legs.  I’ve talked about my dad’s dad many times before Truly Homemade, Who Does Kyle Favor More, Pappy?  He had his first leg amputated below the knee before I could remember, and the other leg amputated above the knee when I was a little girl.  At the house, he used a wheelchair to get around, but when he was at work (yes he worked in a sawmill until he had a stroke and died) he had two prosthetic legs.  He would walk on them with two canes.  My pap was mentally and physically strong.

Our story started with Scooby getting a hold of this mysterious stranger’s leg and yanking it off.  To add to the fun and drama, our scene continued with Scooby gnawing on the leg and turning it into sawdust while the robber hops along.  Then, somehow Scooby got outside, still clutching the wooden prosthetic leg and running around the backyard, proud of his new “stick”.  Scooby would throw it in the air and catch it and then the other dogs would join in pulling and play with the leg.

What happened to the robber?  No clue.  We focused on the humor of Scooby running around with a wooden leg.

As we detailed this ridiculous story, I commented how funny it would be to come home to Scooby running with a wooden prosthetic leg in his mouth.  “Can you imagine him greeting us as we pulled in the driveway with a leg hanging out of his mouth?”  Kyle and I died!  We were laughing so hard, no sound was exiting our mouths.  If it wasn’t for his seat belt, Kyle would have been rolling around on the floor of the car.  It was one of those gut stretching laughs that caused your body to convulse and the muscles to tighten up, one of those perfect laughs that relaxes you.

I know my words don’t do the story justice and for the life of me I couldn’t remember all the silly comments we both made, but thinking back on it now, it’s still totally hilarious to me!  Guess you had to be there.

I love my little man!  He makes life so much fun and entertaining.  Even a simple car ride turned out to be a memory that I’ve been chuckling about all week.

Catch all the ridiculously funny stories!

Laughing About Nothing
Laughing About Nothing … True Story

Laughing About Nothing … Cats!
Laughing About Nothing … Truck Horn!
Laughing About Nothing … Dog in Space!

Below is a video of Kyle, Mr. Shirtless running around my parent’s backyard with our boys, Seven and Scooby.  Two good Labradors!

posted by auntheather in Common Sense,Education & Learning,Family,Observation & Imagination,Pets,Reminiscing and have No Comments

Playing As Kids – Car Chasing

Compassion is the basis of morality.  ~Arthur Schopenhauer

Ryan-&-Jill-1984-Aunt-Heather-Piper

Ryan holding Jill, our 1st family dog, on our front porch. She was part collie & part coonhound. She was named Jill after our cousins’ dog, Jack c.1984

As I’ve mentioned before in Playing As Kids – Tire Rolling, as these crazy stupid memories of entertainment come rushing back to me from my childhood, I will record them in a blog entry for Kyle’s later enjoyment.

Two weekends ago we had the dogs out and about since it reached forty degrees, before the anticipated winter blast from the northwest rolled in.  My mom decided to take the boys for a ride, their favorite activity after eating and sleeping that is.  While mom drove them up and down the road, it reminded me of another stupid/fun activity we invented.

What was this crazy pastime?  From the blog title one might assume we acted like dogs and literally chased cars.  Not exactly.  Let me first explain about my first dog, Jill.  She was named Jill because my cousin’s, who lived down the road from us, had a dog named Jack.  We thought it was humorous to say Jack and Jill (went up the hill to fetch a pail of water…).  Anyway, we received our beloved Jill for Christmas one year, circa 1981.  I was about six or seven years old in the first grade, Nicole the third and Ryan wasn’t in school yet, going into kindergarten the following year.

Jill-in-the-Fall-under-the-Grape-Harbor-Aunt-Heather-Piper-1980s

Jill enjoying the fall foliage under the grape harbor. 1980s

We had mom’s dog Baby in the house, but Jill was our very own dog, our first one.  The dog we were suppose to share among the three of us, and we did.  Jill was a beautiful mix of Coonhound and Collie.  Basically, she was a blond collie with black fur outlining her features, especially around her ears and eyes.  To us as little kids, she was a huge dog, but in reality she was a medium to large size dog, with a few extra pounds, as many of the Piper dogs sport.

Jill had this bump on the top of her head where her skull came to a point.  In my eyes as a youngster, that meant she was really smart.  Let me tell you, she wasn’t stupid in the slightest.

Jill loved all of us kids, cousins included.  Never, ever, did she nip or snap at us, even when we’d lay on her, chase her around, give her baths, cut her hair and all the basic things kids would do to a dog they adored.  She followed us everywhere, for bike rides, running through the woods, and she’d stay on the porch at my cousin Casey’s (and the crew) while we played in the yard.  Yep, Jill was the best dog who lived.  She stayed with us for a good long while, until I was out of high school sometime.  (Scooby and Seven are pretty good too!)  Jill even hung with Ryan’s dog Jake for many years, but she never got to meet my late cat Pudd’in, but she did have friends who were cats.

Jill LOVED car rides too, like all of our dogs after her.  (Mom’s dog Baby, Jill’s predecessor hated car rides).  Naturally as little kids we couldn’t exactly take the car out for a spin to fulfill her adventurous wish, so I got creative one day.

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A close-up of our beloved Jill. Part collie & part coonhound, she was one of a kind! 1980s

How could a kid roughly ten years old at this point, satisfy the dog’s hunger to feel the wind in her ears and feed her wild side?  Simple.  We acted it out.  I remember this day all too well, probably because it was seriously the silliest thing we’ve done, or close to it, to date.

It started with a beautiful sunny Sunday.  I remembered coming home from church and changing into my play cloths.  Since it wasn’t too hot, I would peg the season to be spring.  These crazy adventures always  started with Ryan and me looking for some trouble to get into.

Opening the door to the car, we thought it was all too funny Jill jumped in and sat down, thinking she was going for a ride.  That’s when I felt terrible for misleading her.  Knowing, mom and dad had no plans of getting in the car and taking her for a ride, I improvised.

I had an idea!  Instructing Ryan to get in the driver’s side and act like he was driving, I stood beside the car and ran back and forth to simulate motion.  Thinking back on this situation now, I truly laugh at that sight!  Ryan really got into it too.  He was motioning like he was shifting gears (mom’s car was a manual transmission) and making loud engine noises.

We even wound down the windows, while Jill sat in the backseat with her head hanging out like she was cruising along.  It even became a race, once Ryan would “rev up the engine” I would run slower behind the back passenger door, like the car was passing me.  Then Ryan would act like he was slowing down, taking that as my cue to speed up to be parallel to the hood of the car, never going too far in either direction.

Ryan-Nicole-Aunt-Heather-Piper-with-Baton-c.1983

Ryan, me & Nicole in the living room. Yes I believe we were fighting over the baton c. 1983

Oh but that was not all!  Ryan turned over the key to get juice to the car without turning on the engine, putting it in accessory mode.  With the electrical components working we were able to add to our quasi driving experience.  Ryan turned on the radio to give me some running music, and him and Jill some driving tunes.  We even thought it was funny to blast the music.  Sometimes Ryan would switch on the windshield wipers.  Great idea until he hit me with over spray with the windshield wiper fluid, although that caused giggles to erupt from both parties.  I bet Jill thought we were a bunch of idiots.  Yet I know she appreciated our sense of humor and our passion for having fun.

Nicole must have heard our ruckus and decided to investigate, finding this unusual behavior exciting.  Being so wrapped up in our activity, all we heard echoing from the porch was “What are you guys doing?” in that same authoritative brush voice of hers that still rings true today.

Would you believe even Nicole got in the car, granted she wouldn’t take turns like Ryan and me running beside the car, but she would sit and pretend to be a passenger or drive.

We were out there for hours, doing the same thing, that is until mom checked in on us and realized we’ve been draining her car battery.  That ended electronic entertainment but the car fun continued.

Eventually, we had to come in for dinner.  Jill jumped out of the car with such enthusiasm and satisfaction it made us all happy.  She loved playing with us, even though the car never left its spot.

Using the imagination is the best way to play!  At least Jill thought so.

Read About Our Other Activities

Playing As Kids – Tire Rolling

 

posted by auntheather in Common Sense,Education & Learning,Family,Observation & Imagination,Patience,Pets,Reminiscing and have No Comments

Back To Routine – Dogs Daily Hike

Sunny day
Sweepin’ the clouds away
On my way to where the air is sweet  ~Joe Raposo

Seven-broken-leg-Aunt-Heather-Piper-9-13

Seven sporting his broken leg, taking a break in the grass 9/13

This past September, the 28th to be exact, I arrived at my mom and dad’s house to find Seven slightly different.  What was this change?  His injured leg.  What happened?  Seven broke his leg!

Over the years, we’ve never experience a dog with a broken leg, ever!  I mean dogs meet porcupines, yes.  Dogs meet skunks, yes.  Dogs even get too much exercise and have sore muscles for a few days, sure, but a broken leg?

Evidently, Seven and Scooby got away from mom and they headed straight for the neighbors dog, Thor.  Yes Thor, he’s a really friendly German Shepperd pup.  Knowing our dogs, the mad dash for Scooby meant he wanted to bully the dog.  The mad dash for Seven meant he wanted another friend to play with.  Either way, our boys, mostly Scooby, do what they want, when they want, even if mom is standing on the porch yelling at the dogs to listen (my cousins down the road can hear mom yelling, no joke!) and they simply choose to do what they feel like.  Both dogs, Thunder and Lightening as I like to refer to them, headed down the driveway and onto the road, till they reached the neighbors driveway before making their way back.

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Seven even mastered running with his cast. He was a good sport. 9/13

Mom said Scooby trotted up the driveway all proud of himself, wagging his tail like he did something admirable.  Now, Seven on the other hand didn’t come back right away.  That’s not normal behavior, at all.  Seven is faster than Scooby and Seven likes to run around like a puppy.  Not to mention, he’s the one out of the two that semi-listens.  Mom called for Scooby’s sidekick and eventually he came into her line of vision, limping along the way.  What happened?

Her and dad looked it over and they guessed it was broken, but couldn’t verify.  Being later in the evening on a Friday night, there wasn’t a whole lot my parents could do for the dog, so poor Seven had to go to bed and try and rest.  Mom informed me he laid in the extra bed, the one I usually sleep in when I stay there, and whimpered all night.  Poor Seven was in pain!

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Seven walked around with is broke leg & cast pretty good. Nice tongue shot! 9/13

By the next morning, they could see an area on his leg that was swollen and Seven couldn’t put any weight on the injured limb.  By the time, I got there, mom had already taken Seven to the Vet’s office.  After a few X-rays, low and behold, one broken right leg.

The Vet’s office was praising Seven’s behavior, being mild tempered and a real trooper.  I was proud of him.  I mean, a bunch of strangers poking and prodding, being held in a strange place, all while in pain.  Seven even let them move him around to get proper angles under the X-ray machine and never said a peep.  Once they were done with him, mom and Seven headed home with my buddy sporting a cast.

On a side note, Kyle and I felt really bad for Seven, although we were both excited to sign his cast, just like I was in high school again.

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Seven gradually started to put weight on his cast. Poor broken puppy! 9/13

Seven eventually became very efficient at walking and then running around with three legs.  Soon he started to put some pressure on the cast and use it like normal.  Well, nothing about the situation was normal.  Not being mean, but it was funny watching him walk stiff legged and dragging that cast around.  Sometimes, we would bust out laughing at him walking on the cast and the ticking sound he would make on the hard wood floor.  I know mean, but Seven took us in strides, knowing it was a humorous situation.

The only part that put us all in danger, was when he became too comfortable with the cast.  He felt the need to be his old normal self, and would try and jump up in our laps, which resulted in him jabbing us in the gut with the stiff leg.  That hurt!  He even whacked me across the face a few times trying to get in my lap so I could hold him.  The worst came, when Seven was trying to jump around with excitement as all Labs like to, and he brought his cast to meet my shin.  Half hurting and half laughing I said, “O, he clubbed me!  He clubbed me!  Man down, man down.”  Kyle and I got a kick out of that one.  In all seriousness, he did bruise my shin pretty good, yet I know he didn’t mean to.

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Seven & Scooby walking on the road. Seven’s broken leg is all healed up! 10/13

As time was healing our broken dog, the vet told us to take the cast off and let Seven continue to apply weight as he could.  He was still not allowed to run around and believe it or not, Seven was not allowed in bed.  I think the later really upset him, but we wanted him to heal up without causing additional pain to our little doggie so we held tight to that rule.  I had to cut off the darn, dirty, stinky cast.  That  melted my heart.  The further I continued to cut away at the cast, I started seeing signs of distress.  Seven rubbed the back of his leg raw from itching and there was a lot of dried blood.  Poor Seven!  At least with the cast off, it wasn’t so itchy and now the air got to his fur, giving him some comfort.

Eventually, Seven was walking around pretty good.  I was not allowed to take the dogs for our usual daily hikes until Thanksgiving, which I was going to do after I came back from running in the Turkey Trot in Latrobe and after we ate Thanksgiving dinner, except the dogs took it upon themselves to go for an unapproved walk for a couple of hours in the woods.  By that Monday, it was hunting season, so no walks in the woods for two weeks.  After that, it seemed like the holidays always consumed the days, then it was raining all the time and then we moved into those few subzero days.  I couldn’t take the boys out in those conditions!  That is until last Friday.  Yep, me, Seven and Scooby headed back up to our path for a three mile hike, round trip.  We all thoroughly enjoyed the mid-day break to stretch out our legs.  I quite enjoyed watching the dogs jump around in the woods.  They were truly happy!  Can’t wait for our walk today!

Seven’s leg seems to still bother him every now-and-again, especially in the cold, but he’s doing much better.  What exactly happened to him?  No one knows.  He could have stepped wrong along the side of the road, or stepped into a pothole (Pennsylvania is famous for those) or twisted his foot wrong.  Who knows, but he survived and is still recovering nicely.

posted by auntheather in Common Sense,Education & Learning,Family,Hiking & Outdoors,News,Observation & Imagination,Patience,Pets,Reminiscing and have No Comments

It’s Called Hard Work for a Reason

It isn’t ever delicate to live.  ~Kay Ryan

Kyle-sleeping-6-9-12-Aunt-Heather-Piper

Kyle crashed… 6/9/12

Two weekends ago, well actually that entire week, I was working in my yard.  Yes, the very same yard work I should have done in the spring, or even the summer and yet here I am, trying to get it done before winter sets in and hunting season starts.  Luckily, we’ve had a pretty mild fall.  We’ve even been blessed with nice temperatures in the 50’s and 60’s and overcast with some sun.  Perfect for outside work.

I’m glad I got my work done because as of today,  the snow rolled in.  Only a few inches but still a pleasant sight.  I love snow!

You see spring always seems to sneak up on me and then I miss the boat with respect to tending to the lawn.  Then summer rolls around and I don’t handle the heat and the sun too well.  Literally!  Being outside in the sun makes me sick to my stomach.  I get really bad headaches and let’s not forget about my sun sensitive skin.  I have to be pretty well covered and protected from the harmful rays at all hours of the day, especially in the summer.  And those summer months, I am usually busy with Thrill of the Hunt events.  So there you have it, back to fall work in the yard.

What needed done?  The usual, mowing and weeding and trimming, which I have elected to do about once a month now-a-days.  I’m sure my neighbors love that sight.  Actually, they should be thankful, for I make their lawns look perfect!

Last Thursday night, early Friday morning we had one heck of a windstorm roll through.  It resulted in a tree branch taking down a power-line, right down the road from my parents.  Guess what?  I couldn’t work on my company stuff nor my freelancing work, since my “office” is in the corner of their kitchen with my desktop and my external drives.  Don’t worry, I always have something to do.  No free day for me!

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This was the beginning of my backyard steps… 2011

On a side note, I purposely set up my “office” in my parents house, as opposed to my house, to get me out, dressed and moving.  I want to make sure I never get lazy, especially with The Piper Corporation.  So I force myself to travel to my work station.  It’s perfect actually, I have a great view of my Uncle’s farm and a view of Saint Vincent College out looking through the picture window in the kitchen.  The best office space ever!  Plus my office companions aren’t too bad either, Scooby, Seven and Storm.

I recruited Kyle to assist me on Saturday at my house, since my parents were still without electricity.  I took this as a sign from God, telling me to get in the yard and finish it up.  After all I couldn’t work on the computer.

Starting my day as soon as the sun rises, around 6:00 am, Kyle and I went to work.  Yes it was not light duty chores.  It was hauling mulch and river rock, pulling weeds and walking up and down my back steps around my landscaping.  Truly hard work even for a professional landscaper.  So how did Kyle fare?

Well, at first it was a big argument.  He didn’t want to do the mulch and was seriously exaggerating his motions in such a way, I made him carry the river rocks while I took over the mulch job.  I knew I could get it done faster, making better progress than Kyle.  Then, I caught him trying to do the job half way, cutting corners that sort of thing.  I was livid!  There are few things I really truly can’t stand and detest, beside smoking, and that’s laziness.  I just can’t understand making that choice to wimp out, especially on something that is benefiting oneself such as my house.

Aunt-Heather-Piper-Backyard-Landscaping

My backyard while we were just getting started… before the steps. c. 2009

After about an hour of me loosing my patience, yelling and Kyle dropping his attitude and getting acclimated to the job of the day, he really began to work.  And I mean he worked!  That kid was on fire!  Really after, we got moving and he started to get into a rhythm and saw progress, he was such a hard little worker.  He was even proud of himself saying, “Wow Aunt Heather I think I’m getting stronger with each rock!  Soon I’ll be even better in the weight room!”  What a cutie!  I had to concur with his reasoning, because he was right.  The more work he did, the stronger he was getting.

You see, for the next few weeks Kyle is in the weight room at school for gym class.  They are teaching him how to lift and such.  He seems to really like it.  Kyle even asked me, “Hey Aunt Heather, how much can you do on the leg press?”  Truly not remembering I said, “Probably around 100 pounds or so.  Why how much can you do?”  With a victorious and ornery grin, Kyle responded proudly with “I can leg press 240 pounds!”  Wow!  Holy smokes buddy!  That’s great!  I really was proud of him.  He is a strong little compact bugger!  He said only one other kid did more than him and he did 260 pounds.  Still all very impressive.

With the weight room talk, it gave Kyle another incentive to keep on truck’in.  He was great!  All the way up until it started to rain on us.  I was almost done with the mulch, when I turned around to see my little man with his hoodie up, soaking wet carrying buckets of river rock and looking defeated.  We had to leave soon anyway.  Kyle was serving mass at 6:00 pm that night.  After seeing the look on his face, I said, “Go jump in the shower, we’re done for today.”  Shear joy fell over him.  Not to mention a sense of accomplishment.  Kyle did remark, “Wow Aunt Heather it’s actually looking nice.  We got a lot done!”  Yes we did buddy, especially with all his hard work.

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My backyard while in the progress of landscaping… ton of brush! c. 2009

As it turns out Kyle wasn’t done working, not by a long shot.  You see he had off of school on Monday for an in-service day.  So I took advantage of that fact and asked him to assist me again to try and finish the work once and for all.  Surprisingly, he was enthused to help me wrap up the yard.  That morning, we first helped my dad by stacking some wood before making our way to my dreaded lawn.

On another side note, sometime on Saturday I must have weeded out poison ivy and proceeded to scratch my face and my eye.  Yes my eye!  By Sunday, my face was all swollen, itchy and my eye looked like a big marshmallow.  Not believing in doing actual work on Sundays, I try to honor the Sabbath Day as much as possible, I took a few Benadryl pills and fell into a sleep coma.  By Monday, my eye was even worse and we had to make a pit stop at Med Express to get me on steroids again.  I really hate those things!

Yes, I worked like that with basically one eye since I could only see out of it with a sliver.  I figured, I would rather get in contact with the poison ivy again, now that I was on medication, rather than later when I was healed and had to go through this again.  Plus, I wanted to stay away from people with all my ugliness.  I even avoided the gym in the mornings.  But lucky for Kyle, I had no qualms about hanging around him.  I would even tease my little man by leaning in with my bulging eye and saying, “Go ahead and touch it.  Feel how squishy it is!”  He was grossed out and would squirm around me.  Eventually, we made a joke out of it saying “Don’t make me give you the stink eye.”  And then I would point my eye in his direction.  That cracked us both up! If you can’t laugh at yourself, then what’s the point in living.

While we were talking and working Kyle mentioned again about getting an apartment and buying land to build his house and huge fish tank on.  I said, “O buddy between me and your Aunt Nikki, we will probably have enough rental properties for you to live in so you don’t have to worry about it.”  Kyle took that as a sign that he will take my house.  It’s yours buddy, you earned it through sweat equity!

While wrapping up some of the work on Monday afternoon, Kyle started to comment about hard work and how hard our activity was.  Then, he started to get a bit sarcastic and threw out the attitude again.  He said, “This is suppose to be my day off from school and I’m not suppose to be doing work.”  Really?  Says who.  I retorted with, “What do you think most people do Kyle?  They work all week and do yard work in the evenings and weekends.  Welcome to reality.”  He had nothing to say on that note.

I get it, he was tired and not used to working that hard for that many days in a row.  I completely understood.  But I still won’t tolerate an attitude.

After that came the fury of Aunt Heather.  I asked Kyle to dump a couple of buckets of dirt up by my back fence in a mulch pile of leaves and branches.  Not wanting to walk up the hill, we both kind of laughed at the thought of making another trip there.  Finally, Kyle did what I asked and made the first trip, promising I’ll make the second.

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No this was not in my yard! Me & the boys saw this while on one of our walks… I LOVE IT!!

When I made my trip, to help him out and show he is not doing all the hard work, I noticed he dumped the dirt right in the yard, not even coming close to the pile!  Fiery anger shot out of me and resulted in a lecture on laziness.  I wanted him to understand that he has to train himself now, NOT to be lazy and to NOT take shortcuts, for it will always bite him in the butt in the long run, especially in a professional environment.  I went off explaining how I trusted him to do a job and I expected it to be done right and not to have to redo it.  Then, I went into a tangent about how he doesn’t want the reputation of being a lazy kid.  And so on and so forth.

When teaching a child to NOT be lazy, you’re actually teaching them more than hard work, you’re teaching a sense of worth and self-accomplishment, good foundation structures that I fully believe in to create a solid character.

Okay, granted I was tired too and it was a long few days, plus with all the poison ivy irritating my skin, I’m sure my nerves where just a little bit sensitive.  He felt horrible and kicked it up a notch until he was out of steam.  Seriously, I haven’t seen a kid his age work that hard in forever!  I was really proud of him, and maybe I was a little too hard on my man.  But I wanted to make a point, that it’s not just about my yard.  I am training his character, the man he will hopefully grow to be.  The one I hope him to be, minus any laziness.  And you know what?  I believe he will get there.  It was only at that moment, he was being a kid and a tired human.

Thanks buddy for all your hard work!  You earned every muscle you worked out and you earned both movies and popcorn.

This past weekend I took Kyle to see Thor 2: The Dark World and I believe the second movie of his choice is The Hunger Games – Catching Fire.  I even told him he earned popcorn, which he gave me a victorious smile.  I love paying this kid in movies.  It makes for a well deserved date night.

I never thought to get finished pictures of the yard, so once the snow disappears I will take pictures and do a comparison.

posted by auntheather in Church,Common Sense,Education & Learning,Family,Milestone,Observation & Imagination,Patience,Pets,Thrill of the Hunt Scavenger Hunts and have No Comments

Dog Gone Irony!

My little dog
a heart-beat
at my feet  ~Edith Wharton

Missing-Dog-Poster-Aunt-Heather-PiperThey always say when it rains it pours.  Sometimes that’s the case, it certainly was this past weekend, starting Friday morning.

Let me set the stage.  I’ve been developing and organizing the Dog Gone! Scavenger Hunt all month, getting ready to launch our first Thrill of the Hunt scavenger hunt event in Shadyside.  So if you can image, there’s a lot of details and last minute items that need addressed.  All week I was unable to take the dogs, Scooby and Seven, for their daily three mile hike.  That’s my normal lunch break now-a-days.  Plus, keep in mind, Kyle was at his Bricks 4 Kidz Lego Camp at Saint Vincent College.  My lunches were consumed with Kyle, going to pick him up, getting him lunch and taking him back for his afternoon sessions.  Then, the rest of my day and evenings, I was consumed with plugging away at the Dog Gone! Scavenger Hunt.  Busy, busy, busy week.

Then, Friday morning rolled around.  Naturally, I was up early with my head in my work, trying to wrap some items up before having to drop Kyle off at his Lego Camp.  I knew I had to make a trip to Shadyside and meet with the participating business owners before the work day ended, and I had to send brochures to the printers, pick them up and assemble all the Thrill of the Hunt bags for the participants before the day came to a close.  Needless to say, there was a lot on my mind and I was completely pre-occupied.  I’m not making excuses, just outlining the events of the day.

Roughly around 7:00 am, mom emailed me telling me to change Seven’s tracker, the battery was really low.  We use Tagg, which is a great service for tracking our freedom seeking dogs.  Only keeping a tracker on Seven, we’ve found that the buddies travel together so no need to weigh Scooby down.  My response to mom’s email?  “I don’t have time and I’m not planning on taking the dogs for a walk today, I have too much to do!”  Mistake number one!  Then around 7:30 am, Kyle was playing with my cat, Storm, on the porch and he had the front door wide open, without putting up the baby gate.  I was also going back and forth to my car loading it up with needed Thrill of the Hunt paraphernalia.

Then by 8:00 am, we both noticed we were two dogs short!  Around that time, I had to hurry up and update the Piper Reunion postcard and send it to press, since that was sneaking up on us; my friend Holly wanted to run hills and was calling; and mom called to ask me to bring her a large bowl to work.   Yikes!  Too much to do!  Not to mention I had to get Kyle over to his last day of Lego camp by 8:30 am and now the boys are missing.

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Seven & Scooby getting some rest after the rescue mission was a success! Poor Seven still had those porcupine quills in his face. Tired pups after 3 days missing. 6/30/13

Right around this very hectic time, mom emailed me giving me the update on the already known missing dogs.  She saw his last check-in was in Ridilliatown, not far from our house, but his tracker died so we really had no idea where their actual whereabouts were.  My response?  They’ll come back.  Did I mention this was when I was in route, between Saint Vincent, to Latrobe and mom’s work?

You see the dogs have a track record of taking off, running through the woods for a few hours and then making their way back home after they are good and tired and completely muddy (Dog Gone).  So who would have thought they would have deviated off of the norm?  Certainly none of us did!  In fact, we thought they would show up on the porch before dark, ready to sit out there punishment under the kitchen table.  That’s were they go when they’re in trouble.  The thinner, crappy doggie beds reside under there, making them really suffer their punishments out. (sarcasm)

Well, needless to say nightfall came and left and no signs of the dogs!  I woke up Saturday morning around 5:00 am to get ready for the Dog Gone! Scavenger Hunt to find the house still a little empty.  I hate to say it, but when I talked to mom, who incidentally slept on the couch so she could hear are late night arrivals, I said, “I bet someone shot them!”  Mom agreed.  I know what a horrible thought!  I didn’t say I wanted that to happen, I was just trying to be realistic and prepare myself for the worst.  That’s what happened to my cousin’s dog when we were little, it was terrible!  Jack the dog, came back with half of his jaw shot off!

Speaking of shooting dogs.  That might sound like an over active imagination and not a present day reality, guess again!  When we were going around to the local neighbors where the dogs were once spotted, a lady told us that someone in Youngstown, near Latrobe Pennsylvania is known to shoot stray dogs.  She said they shot one before and wounded another!  Can you believe it?  I understand dog owners have to be in control of their dog at all times, but come on, things happen.  There is no reason to shoot a dog!  Maybe if it was bringing direct harm to another animal or person, sure for self defense, but just because they are loose and running around?  Even if they were on your property, shoo them away!  Don’t just shoot them!  What is wrong with some people?  Apparently, they have no heart and we need to say prayers for them.

Wishing I could have stayed to help with the rescue mission Saturday morning, Kyle and I headed into Pittsburgh for the Dog Gone! Scavenger Hunt.  Before I left I had time to make a missing poster and I distributed it to my social sites far and wide.  While we were in Shadyside, the irony of the situation hit me!  I was running a scavenger hunt for dogs, when ours ran away and were lost, called Dog Gone! Scavenger Hunt.  Not funny at the time, but has brought new humor.

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My poor Seven. Did he put his face directly up a porcupine’s butt? At least he’s home! 6/30/13

The scavenger hunt went really smoothly and was well received by all the participants and business owners.  During the hunt, besides reaching out to our participants via social sites along with my sister, we were  also helping to spread the word, on our very own missing four legged pals.  I was taking calls, and checking Facebook, keeping in touch with my friend Tree who was following up on leads and touching base with my family.  Talk about a lot going on!

As soon as I got back to the area, I joined the search and rescue team.  Getting in the car with mom, we rechecked the the last areas the dogs were spotted, and a few areas we thought they might have gone through.  What made this so difficult was the location of our runaways.  They were running through mostly woods, even worse, mostly unfamiliar woods to me, making their appearance every now-and-again near someones house or a main road.  Even though it was extremely frustrating, each report brought a bit of hope.  At the start of this all, the last place we knew the dogs were located in Ridilliatown, early Friday morning.  Keep in mind it is now Saturday afternoon.

The sightings included:  Someone saw them together off of route 30 near Sleepy Hallow at 6:00 pm on Friday.  Someone saw them near Kingston on Friday around 5:30 pm.  Someone almost hit them with their car off of route 30 near Ligonier around 6:30 pm on Friday.  What?  How did they make it that far coming from Youngstown?

Well, later on Sunday when I hiked the woods in that area, I found out it didn’t take me long to cross the ridges through the woods, only traveling about four miles.  Piece of cake for a couple of four legged travelers.

Then God gave us another bit of hope, Dave Planinsek saw them off his property Saturday morning around 6:15 am.  Great!  They made the night.  He did say it looked like the black one, Seven was foaming at the mouth.  That would explain why the others who spotted our pups said the one looked like he had porcupine quills in his mouth.  My poor Seven!

Seven-with-porcupine-quills-6-30-13 Aunt Heather Piper

Seven in the car after we found him, he was lost for 3 days & apparently met a porcupine on the his travels. 6/30/13

Saturday night was fast approaching and nothing, no sign, no word.  I even walked back in unfamiliar woods of Sugarbush, calling the entire mile in and mile out.  Once darkness completely took away my sense of sight, I reluctantly left the woods.  I will admit, it was pitch black and I had about three quarters of a mile to go just to get out of the woods and meet up with dad, who was on the quad.

We arrived at my parents house Saturday night, feeling completely defeated!  Especially knowing the dogs were going to have to spend another night in the woods and knowing that Seven was hurt and possibly Scooby.

That did it!  I had a new game plan.  I woke up early Sunday morning, we went to church the night before because Kyle had to serve mass, and packed my book bag.  I was going to hike all the woods in the area to try and find them.  Our logic, since no one had seen them since Saturday morning, they were hanging out in the woods.  They were injured, tired, hungry, scared and lost.

I packed up my .22 pistol, some food and water, first aide kit and a few other essentials.  I made sure my phone was completely charged so I could check my location on my GPS.  Mom was nervous since I have a track record of getting lost, (Directionally Challenged) but I had no qualms about walking around the woods.  I knew I’d pop out somewhere.  To play it safe, as long as my phone was on, Kyle could find me on Find Friends apps.  Not to mention I was using my RunKeeper app, which Tree and mom had my login information to track my last checked in status.

Breaking some of my RunKeeper records I continued on foot, while dad was on the quad and mom and Kyle were in the car driving around and checking with neighbors and putting up more posters.

This went on for hours on Sunday, it seemed like a lifetime.  When I would make my way to a main road, I would have mom and Kyle come and get me, to drop me off closer to start again.  By Sunday at 1:30 pm, I was with mom and Kyle in the car.  We decided to call dad to see how his progress was going.  When mom was talking to dad trying to outline our next plan of attack, possibly take a break for the time being, dad spotted Scooby!  We were in complete shock!  He called Scooby, and after Scooby recognized dad, he came running over to the quad, leaping up in his lap.  All dad was saying was, “Bring the car around and get him!”  I said, “Where are you?”  His vague reply was, “By the woods.”  Really?  Is this a joke?  “What woods?” I said.  Again, vaguely dad replied, “The ones we were by last night.”  Really?  Again, we were all over the ridge on Saturday.

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Scooby just woke up from hours of sleep after being lost for 3 days. He was looking for his buddy who still was not found at this point. 6/30/13

Trying to get dad’s exact location proved to be as difficult as trying to find the dogs because he just wanted to talk to Scooby.  He was even asking our blond pal where his pal Seven was.

Once we picked up Scooby, who had a few porcupine quills in his face, that I plucked out, Scooby fell asleep in the car on the way home.  Then back we went to track down number two doggie delinquent.  Apparently, the one house saw them, just before dad got to their house while he was on the quad, and they tried to call the dogs over.  Scooby came to our good Samaritans, (to my complete surprise)  but Seven was scared and took off (even more of a shock, I thought the opposite).  Now for the first time in days, the dogs are separated.

We looked and looked, to no avail.  Finally, as we were ready to make another pass at the ridge in the car, we got a call from the same house who found Scooby.  Seven was in their yard!  Mom drove like lightening to get there.  Once I saw my obviously distraught, disoriented and in pain pup, I welcomed him with open arms.  He reluctantly came to me, but eventually made his way into the car, for our ride home.

Seven and Scooby are safe back home!  Seven spent Monday at the vets getting those darn porcupine needles out of his face.  I was going to try and remove them like I did once for Scooby (Scooby Meets a Porcupine), but Scooby’s weren’t in for three days.  Seven was also really dehydrated and starving.  I thought it be best to wait out the night and take Seven to the vet first thing in the am.  They weighed him and it seems he lost nearly ten pounds!  Poor pup couldn’t eat or drink or even sleep for that matter, for three days.

Missing-Dog-Poster-Found-Aunt-Heather-Piper.psdThe boys were gone from Friday at 7:30 am and Scooby was brought home around Sunday at 2:00 pm, while Seven didn’t make it home till Sunday at 8:00 pm.  He also had to endure another night with the quills in his face before we could take him to the vet on Monday at 8:30 am.  He’s still not quite himself, but he is coming around, at least physically.  Scooby’s really stiff and his paw is proving to be hard to walk on, but he bounced right back.

Thank you to everyone who took the time to call in the sightings of the dogs, and those that tried to help completely strange dogs and unknowns owners!   Your efforts made the world of difference!

While everyone was extremely helpful, I want to give a big thanks to specific people.  One being my friend Tree.  She gave me all the updates of the reported sightings, posted on Action for Animals Facebook, responded back to posts and inquiries, tracked me as I walked through the woods so I didn’t get lost, sent us phone numbers and helped to remind me to keep the faith and reach out to my inner Wonder Woman!  Thanks Tree, you rock!  She was saying prayers and asking for Saint Francis and Saint Anthony to pray for us too.  Then there was mom’s friend Mary, who called all the police departments, local and state and reached out to specific key individuals in the area to spread the word and retrieve updates.  All of the Planinsek’s were most certainly helpful and patient with us driving around their property yelling for our delinquents, and walking and driving our quad through their woods.  The Seminsky’s went out riding around looking for beasts.  Renee Yazvec Hall’s husband and son drove around after seeing the posts on Renee’s Facebook page.  They also offered their services if we needed them, and truly meant it!  And not to mention the fellows from Frowen’s garage went looking with trucks and quads.  Thanks everyone, and those who I did not mention, some taking it upon yourselves to make calls and assist.  Thank you!

Although everyone in the surrounding areas were more than helpful, a big kudos goes to PJ Self and his family.  That young man, saw the dogs and let us know.  Then joined our rescue team on foot and ran through the woods and made a huge circle to look for Seven.  He actually ran.  Seriously, I mean he actually ran!  He even kicked up some deer, I saw them leaping like gazelles through Steiner’s field, while PJ ran along the tree line, miles from his house!  We never asked, he just wanted to help out.  Thank you so very  much!

Thinking about it now, I wonder if our boys learned a lesson?  Somehow I doubt it!  But for now they are safe and sound!

posted by auntheather in Church,Common Sense,Education & Learning,Family,News,Observation & Imagination,Patience and have No Comments

Foiled – Greed is a Shiny Turd

The greed of gain has no time limit to its capaciousness.  Its one object is to produce and consume.  It has pity neither for beautiful nature nor for living human beings.  It is ruthlessly ready without a moment’s hesitation to crush beauty and life.  ~ Rabindranath Tagore

Seven is such a stinker!  Actually both dogs are, but this one takes the cake, or should I say the aluminum foil.  I think I’ve mentioned it a time or two how Scooby and Seven are like children Dogs Acting Like Two-Year Olds! – Aunt Heather Piper.  Yep, that still holds true today, maybe even more so.

Last Wednesday or Thursday, dad had the dogs out. Naturally, being cooped up in the house all day while the parents were at work, makes the beasts a little hyperactive and rebellious. Nothing new, except this one came in the form of mischief that ended badly.  Mom put the garbage out on the porch, why she placed the bag of unwanted items by the the trash can instead of in it, I will never know, but Scooby took this as a sign to help himself.  He chewed a hole in the bag and began to pull out goodies, at least according to him.  Dad saw the disaster unfolding and yelled at the blond troublemaker.  Just then Scooby dropped the wad of aluminum from his mouth, my guess mom cooked with it and it still had a food taste.  At that moment, dad said Seven ran up to troublemaker number one, Scooby, and snatched up the wad of aluminum foil like it was gold and downed it in one big gulp. Dad didn’t even have a chance to get it from Seven.  Yes, Seven swallowed, in one big gulp a mass of aluminum foil the size of his fist. What? Are you kidding me? Seriously? Was that necessary? Seven just didn’t want Scooby to have what Scooby “found”. Greedy dog!

Now what?  We knew that couldn’t be good for troublemaker number two, Seven, but what do you do?  Mom called the vet to ask the professionals.  They said we had to temporarily remove Seven from his usual diet of dog food and start giving him small amounts of chicken and rice.  Well, then what do we do with Scooby who wanted what Seven was getting? Again greedy little buggers!  We gave them both small amounts of chicken and rice.  Mom did slip Scooby a bit more, while monitoring them.  Like children, you can’t turn your back on the greedy beasts.  It was almost comical, because of Scooby’s orneriness he was now on a diet too.  This was suppose to go on until either Seven passed the wad of aluminum foil, or Seven showed signs of sickness, meaning the item was lodged.  At that point we were instructed to take troublemaker number two to the animal hospital for surgery.  Yikes!  As humorous as this was, and almost unbelievable, I didn’t want that.

By the time I saw Seven last Friday he seemed perfectly fine.  The only problem was, we really didn’t know if he passed the obstruction.  The dogs have a nice area to run around and they usually go into the woods to do their business.  And let’s face it mom and dad are not going to run around checking the dogs fertilizer in the woods.  Not to mention trying to keep up with those two is next to impossible, even for me.

As Saturday rolled around, me and Kyle took the boys out for their weekly hike.  The ground was covered in a blanket of white, a few inches or so, and the sky was dropping more fluffy white snowflakes all around us, really quite pretty.  Unlike other hikes, my goal was not to take in the scenery, but to get Seven’s digestive system moving along.  The hole hike I watched him intently so I could check on the outcome of his bathroom duties.  Gross!  But someone had to do it.  I really wanted to report back to mom and dad with a victorious, passed!  But alas it did not happen.

As Kyle and I hiked through the woods, a rather difficult course might I add to give Seven a good workout but to Kyle’s demise, Kyle and I started talking about the issue.  He was concerned, as was the rest of the family, about Seven’s health and what was going to happen.  I took this situation as an opportunity to prove a point.  Nonchalantly, I said, “See what happens with greed. You get a shiny turd!” Kyle laughed and agreed.  To reinforce my point, I continued “If Seven wasn’t being greedy and wanting everything Scooby had, then we wouldn’t be in this position.  Now Seven has to take longer walks (not that he minded) and he is only allowed small proportions of grub.  No more all you can eat.  Let’s not forget, the worst case scenario, he will need surgery to remove the aluminum foil.”  Kyle pondered my summary and nodded in agreement.

By Sunday, Seven was running around and playing, although early in the morning he was making a retching noise like he was going to blow chunks, but nothing.

Once Monday rolled around, to ensure all was good, mom took Seven to the vet for an X-ray.  The wad of foil moved from his stomach, through his small intestines and into his large intestines.  Well that’s a good sign, things are moving along so to speak.  The doctor put Seven on these horse pills and re-outlined his eating choices.  He was allowed dog food and a special treat, Mom was to give him a slice of bread a day coated in Vaseline.  Yuck!  As mom said it, I was gagging.  Kyle was talking to mom on the phone at the time and all I heard was Kyle inaccurately repeating “You have to give him bread with gasoline?”  Kyle was horror struck!  All of a sudden, my attention was moved from our ravioli dinner to the conversation.  Once mom clarified she said Vaseline and not gasoline, Kyle was put at rest.  A little disgusted but not alarmed.

During all this, something struck me as a mystery.  I asked mom how they got Seven to sit still while they took the X-ray.  As a waving thought mom uttered, “You know, I’m not sure. I wasn’t allowed to go back with him.”  Outraged, I retorted, “Mom! They probably clubbed him and you didn’t know!” Kyle busted out laughing at that comment, which did uncover a giggle from me. To reassure us of Seven’s well-being, mom interjected, “I think they gassed him.”  To make it easier on everyone involved on this call, Kyle and I were listening to the conversation on speaker phone.  We both looked at each other after that declaration and lost all control and busted out laughing.  The way mom blurted that out, was too funny!  Not letting and opportunity like that one pass me up, I added, “That’s what we need, is for that dog to have more gas!”  All three of us found such humor at the expense of Seven.

Needless to say when a member of the Piper family is in trouble, the rest of the family is on standby, following up and offering support.  Mom has been keeping us all in the loop via email, phone and text.  On Tuesday, I received an email from mom stating that she had to sleep on the couch with Seven on the floor beside her.  Apparently, those pills gave him gas and mom was afraid of Seven having an accident in bed.  She said every time the dog passed gas, she would get up and take him outside in case he had to make a deposit.  Nothing!  Not really finding this funny, probably due to a lack of sleep, mom said, “He would just stand on the porch and look at me like ‘what?’.”  That’s our Seven.  Who would have thought we would be going through this when we picked him up from the pound.

As of today, there were no accidents in Seven’s corralled area of the kitchen.  Did he pass the aluminum foil?  No one really knows for certain, due to the fact the restroom for the dogs is in the woods.  There could be a foil lined pile of crap by a big tree.  I’ll take them for an extra long hike this weekend to make sure everything is moving along, but Seven seems happy and healthy and Scooby is excited he is no longer on a diet. Our boys, they are such a part of the Piper family.  As I’ve said to Kyle greed is a shiny turd!

posted by auntheather in Common Sense,Education & Learning,Family,Observation & Imagination,Patience and have No Comments

Dogs Acting Like Two-Year Olds!

If dogs could talk, it would take a lot of the fun out of owning one.  ~Andy Rooney

When did dogs start acting like two year olds? Scooby a blond Labrador Retriever of about six years and Seven, a black Labrador Retriever of about 2 and a half years have stepped back in the terms of maturity.  They always get in trouble, I believe that’s unavoidable, but recently they are completely out of control.  They live with my parents so it’s not like I have to deal with them everyday, however if that was the case, they would have no choice but to straighten up.  Over the last few weeks, we’ve been at our wits end with these defiant kids.

Now what could those adorable dogs have done that sparked this blog entry?  Let… me… tell… you!  But first, in order to really understand the stories, I have to explain each dog’s behavioral and characteristics physical.

Let’s start with the old hand of the household, Scooby.  He is a little bit chubby, slower moving by choice, except when there’s food around; very stubborn, yet a sensitive dog.  When he’s scolded, he looks like he’s ready to cry.  However, he will push the boundaries and break rules, especially when no one is looking.  He tries to get away with as much as possible.  Scooby is not a people person, ironic since he’s a Lab.  In fact, he hates anyone he doesn’t know and is particularly protective of Kyle.  Not so much now-a-days but years ago.  If I was chasing Kyle around the house or tickling him while Kyle screamed, Scooby’s hair would stand on end and the dog would give me this look like, ‘Keep going and I WILL take you down.’  I don’t think he’s particularly friendly to kids.  We’ve never wanted to test that theory out, even though Scooby’s been around Kyle since he was five years old or so.

If Scooby was a person, he would not be athletic and he’s certainly not agile.  He does however, have an iron stomach.  He can eat anything at any time including a stick of butter, silver wrapper and all.  True story!  Scooby’s never had very good eyesight or hearing, but like a true Lab he uses his olfactory senses to lead his way.

Now, the new pup we got from the pound about a year and a half ago when he was two.  Already named Seven when we picked him up, he slowly became a part of the household. I say slowly because Scooby wasn’t very welcoming of the addition and Pudd’in (rest in peace) hated him.  Seven is not very sensitive, he could care less if he runs into you, knocks you down and leaves a big bruise.  He will jump on your chest and kick the wind out of your lungs without so much as a second glance.  Seven is pretty obedient but he does manage to get in trouble.  Over the years, he’s been really following Scooby’s lead.

Seven is a very, very hyperactive dog, still running around like a little puppy, a puppy that is too big for the house and is as strong as an ox.  Seven is the athlete, he is agile and his body is longer than Scooby’s, allowing him to access additional areas out of reach from most dogs.  Seven has a more sensitive stomach.  If he eats too much of what he shouldn’t, then it takes a toll on his digestive track, which builds a smell in the house so potent you just want to die.  Also unlike Scooby, Seven’s senses are spot on.  His hearing, eyesight and smell are all every acute.

Within the last year, Seven has been a big bully to Scooby.  When they’re in the backyard running around and playing, Seven will wait on the opposite end of the yard and take a running charge toward Scooby to ram him and roll him on his back.  It’s horrible!  We yell at Seven, but we can’t always catch it quick enough.  Seven also bites Scooby, his legs, face, neck.  I mean sometimes he looks like a grizzly bear attacking a helpless chunky blond animal.  I’ve noticed Scooy has been loosing weight.  Well, there’s a very good reason, Seven has been snapping at him when he goes to eat.  What?  Seven has not been letting Scooby eat from his own bowl!  Again when we see this injustice, we address it immediately, the only problem is no one is home during the day.

Both dogs love attention and love to be held; in fact they wish they were small enough to be lap dogs.  But Scooby’s 87 pounds and Seven’s 77 pounds pose a little problem to sit with comfortably in a chair.  Scooby is the one who seems to need attention and affection more.  Seven does as well, but his is more a need to show up Scooby.  Seven is the ‘If he gets it I want it’ type child.  Now don’t get me wrong, Scooby can act the same way, but Scooby is the cuddle type.  Both dogs love to chase birds from the yard, specifically wild turkeys and don’t get them near deer.  They will take off so fast, sometimes I swear they wearing capes.  Both dogs would be good hunting dogs, except Scooby is afraid of guns. Now Seven on the other hand, is the complete opposite, he loves to go out with us when we shoot in the guns.

Now let’s really discuss their eating habits.  Both beasts love to eat!  I know this is not unusual behavior for dogs, but they seriously don’t care what they are eating and how much.  I’ve seen them get into the garbage.  Not long ago Scooby got into the garbage and pulled out a contain of chicken livers.  No!  We don’t eat them, dad buys them to use a bait.  Scooby pulled this old container out of the trash and proceeded to enjoy his feast until we found out.  Gross!!  Dad said his breath was so rank, he couldn’t even stomach Scooby near him.  Now that the stage is set.  This is where my story begins.

Over the last couple weeks, the dogs have literally been eating us out of house and home.  It started with the tomatoes.  This is the best time to explain Scooby’s infatuation for tomatoes!  When we have a garden, Scooby has be kept out because he has been busted picking the tomatoes off of the plants and eating them.  Seven eats tomatoes too, but my guess is he’s following suit from Scooby.  Dad is a huge fan of the fruit stand, shopping there everyday in the summer.  A couple of weeks ago, dad bought an entire bag of tomatoes, probably around 20 to 30 nice sized tomatoes.  Did dad place them on the floor?  Nope!  He had them up on the bakers rack in the kitchen.  When mom and dad came home after work, the tomatoes were missing and there was a mess on the kitchen floor.  Upon closer inspection, the mess was not contained in the kitchen but went into the living-room where remnants of tomato seeds and juice were left.  This mess was all over the floor and their beds.  The dogs ate all the tomatoes!  Where they trying to promote diarrhea?

Now mom has been putting the tomatoes in the oven to store them out of sight.  Putting the tomatoes in the refrigerator takes the tastes away.  So that was the best immediate solution we could muster.  Trying to take the temptation away from them.  None of us like to yell at the dogs, and we certainly don’t like seeing them in trouble.

The tomato situation can almost be forgiven, considering Scooby’s craving for tomatoes.  But what happens next, is not excusable.  Last weekend, I bought about four loaves of bread for mom and dad.  Placing the bread on the bakers rack, where it has been stored for years, I never thought I was doing something wrong or enticing.  Wrong!  Last Monday; mom and dad came home to shredded plastic bread bags on the floor and not a crumb to be found.  They ate all four loaves of bread!  Are they preparing for a heavy weight championship?  What is up with these dogs?  The bread has been assigned to that location for a long time now, never to be disturbed until recently.  Now when you walk into the kitchen, the bread resides beside the tomatoes in the oven.

That’s not all, for the last few weeks, periodically when mom makes dad a sandwich, all mom has to do is turn her back for a second and the hounds engulf dad’s grub.  Well, let me be exact, all of it except for the hot pepper in the sandwich.  They apparently don’t like hot peppers, but that doesn’t stop them, the warriors manage to pick out the pepper and eat the rest of the goodies.

Here’s a good one that I would have completely lost it.  Mom bought her and dad dinner the one night, roast beef sandwiches.  Mom thought she could outsmart the dogs by placing the sandwiches, placed in the containers in the center of the kitchen table, surrounded by cans while she was preoccupied.  Would you believe they are so brazen to get all the way up on the table and take the containers to the floor and eat out of them like it was their dinner?  I shouldn’t be surprised.  Mom should have known better by now, but it’s still a shock.  We deduced that Seven and Scooby are working in tandem.  There is no way Scooby would be able to get up that high, but Seven would have no problem clearing the distance.

Both dogs are also jumping on all of us.  They are not allowed to jump on people.  They are not listening when we call them to come in from playing outside.  They are just acting out, worse than children.  Last week, I was off work in the middle of the week.  It was a beautiful day, so I thought I would take the boys out for a nice long hike, thinking that would help to the keep them out of trouble.  Would you believe as I opened my car door to retrieve my hat for the hike, both dogs stormed the small opening into the car and jumped in, muddy paws and all?  I was so ticked, I almost couldn’t yell!  They never just jump into my car.  Never!  They know I don’t allow it.

Then, later that very same day, I noticed Storms kitten food was licked clean out of her bowl.  Really?  Storm never licks her bowl clean.  Then I see her cat food bag was opened enough for a large head to stick his mouth in there and feed on kitten food.  Are you kidding me?  These dogs are not hungry!  And really?  Did they need to eat the kitten little nibbles, Meow mix?  Now, I had no proof, which one of the children did it, but it didn’t make me happy none-the-less.  They have their down Dad’s Trail Mix.

What has gotten into the boys?  Why are they lashing out like two-year old children all of a sudden?  The dogs are not ignored, neglected, or without privilege.  It’s also not like they are jealous of my kitten.  I got Storm months ago, so that didn’t change.  Mom told me she thinks it’s because her and dad have been working long hours.  Apparently in the eyes of Scooby and Seven, bad attention is still attention.  I’ve always noticed Dog Acting Like Kids.  I hope this phase ends soon or these dogs are going to get it!

posted by auntheather in Common Sense,Education & Learning,Family,Milestone,Observation & Imagination,Patience,Pets,Reminiscing and have No Comments

Her Name Was Pudd’in

No amount of time can erase the memory of a good cat, and no amount of masking tape can ever totally remove his fur from your couch.  ~Leo F. Buscaglia

Puddin-2012-Aunt-Heather-Piper

Pudd'in doing her usual routine 2012

Kyle has always seemed to understand the idea of death and dying.  The concept that death is permanent and it is a part of life.  I guess that’s what happens when you loose your dad before you even really remember him, and the only answer of his absence is that he is with the angels in heaven.  I don’t think Kyle really comprehended that explanation, I mean do we as adults really understand?  Yet, it appears that Kyle has always understood, almost in an adult fashion about loss.  Although, Kyle has yet to loose anyone really close to him.  By the time I was Kyle’s age, I lost my grandpap Chester and my pappy, not to mention my cat, Morticia, along with other relatives and animals.  Once, about six or seven years ago, I was looking for Pudd’in in the house, as I did every time I entered the house.  “Pudd’in? Pudd’in?” was the only sound projected from my vocal chords, that and, “Mom where’s Pudd’in?”  Kyle came around the corner and said to me in a very neutral, as-a-matter-of-fact way, “Maybe she died, cause you know Aunt Heather she is old.”  He said it in a manner like an adult talking to a child.  I was aghast!  Instantly I came to Pudd’in’s defense saying, “She is not dead!” and Kyle retorted, “But she is old Aunt Heather” almost like preparing me for the inevitable.  Ironically, Pudd’in was still in very good health at the time.

Ryan-and-Jake-Aunt-Heather-Piper

Ryan holding Jake as a puppy c.1990

But eventually the inevitable came, today, this morning to be exact, Pudd’in’s time has expired.  She was 19 years old and I had her for nearly half my life.  She really was a good cat and a true companion.  Training her early on to stay off of the counters and tables, she obeyed the rules of the house, well most of the time.  I love cats, but I don’t believe their paws, that are used to dig in the litter box, should be allowed on eating surfaces.  I never had Pudd’in’s claws removed, I think it’s a mean practice and not fair to her since she would wonder outside sometimes.  She was certainly a house cat, remaining on a strictly Pudd’in diet all her life, I never fed her people food.

Now being a typical cat, Pudd’in wouldn’t follow me around like a dog, but she did have her moments.  I always had this thing where I would make a ‘Twoo twoo’ noise as I padded my chest as if saying come here.  Sometimes she would come, if she felt like it, unless it was time for bed.  Pudd’in always slept with me.  Sometimes she would start meowing at me in the evenings letting me know it was time for bed.  All I would say is, “Ready for bed?” and she would follow me back the hallway and run and jump on the bed.  Usually she wasn’t ready for rest because she slept all day, what she wanted was to play.  I will absolutely miss falling asleep to her purring, that sweet sound was so soothing to me.  Now don’t get me wrong, I knew what went on in the middle of the night.  You see, Pudd’in would lay with me till I fell asleep, then undercover of darkness, she would roam the house.  Doing what, I have no idea?  Then, before I would get up, she would go back to bed and lay there, still purring like she was resting all night long.

Chad Nicole Piper Jill Aunt Heather Piper

Nicole holding Jill & Jeremy & Chad in the background. Jill was a great dog.

Even with the arrival of Kyle, Pudd’in showed she could be trusted with infants.  She pretty much left Kyle alone, however she did love playing with his toys, after all A Toy’s a Toy.  When Kyle got older, he became quicker and a craftier kid, sometimes cornering Pudd’in.  She never brought harm to Kyle, even when he pulled her tail.  Once when Kyle was learning to pull himself up and walk, he got in Pudd’in space.  She swatted at his face, which made me hold my breath waiting for scratch marks, as it happened so fast.  But not a scratch, she never revealed her claws to the curious, harmless baby.  I wish she was that courteous to me when we played.

Pudd’in wasn’t always such an innocent hermit.  She was a lot like me in the respect that she loved to instigate.  Yep, sometimes she would tease the dogs to get them in trouble.  Her favorite was waiting for Scooby to lay on the floor and fall asleep, then ambush his ears.  Sometimes the dog would almost roll his eyes as the cat attacked his face, pouncing all around him.  Mom said that sometimes in the middle of the night, Pudd’in would jump into their bed, which contained both dogs and get them all wound up, jumping around, then leave to go back to her room.  Then we must remember Pudd’in vs. Dad – New Kind of War.

Pudd'in Piper-Close-Up-Aunt-Heather-Piper

Close up of Pudd'in. I wanted to get her eyes, but she wouldn't let me. c. 2012

Looking back on Pudd’in’s life, I originally got her from my friend Tree.  I was suppose to be her foster home, but we know how that turned out.  I always did laugh at that, saying “I’m Pudd’in’s foster home.”  But really she was apart of the Piper household from the time I brought her home.  Although, I had no idea how tight we would become and our special bond that would form between us.  Thinking back on that time, Ryan was still alive.  Heck, so was Jake and they were good friends.  When Jake passed away in December of 2010 at the ripe old age of 17, Pudd’in was clearly upset.  In fact, when I moved out of the house, I didn’t want to take Pudd’in for fear her and Jake would miss each other too much.  I had Pudd’in for years before the arrival of one Mr. Kyle Edward Piper.  Then three months after Kyle’s birth, Pudd’in stayed by my side when Ryan died, laying there purring and comforting me.  Pudd’in was always there through life’s celebrations and when life took some really bad turns.

Being well aware that loosing a cat is nothing of a true tragedy, especially one as old as Pudd’in, but it still stings at the heart a little, to loose someone I’ve known for so long.  I have been through my fair share of complete sadness, but this one was hard to accept, even if I knew it was coming.  I hope everyone has a Pudd’in in their life.  No doubt loosing her was hard, but I can’t ignore all the joy she brought me.  Thanks Tree for giving me such a terrific cat!  Rest-in-Peace Pudd’in Piper.

posted by auntheather in Common Sense,Education & Learning,Family,Milestone,Observation & Imagination,Pets,Reminiscing and have No Comments

Breaking News…Pudd’in Concedes – Dogs Wage War…

When most of us talk to our dogs, we tend to forget they’re not people.  ~Julia Glass

Puddin-Concedes-Aunt-Heather-PiperGiving an update to the war that was raging in the Piper household, I am happy to announce it has since subsided.  Pudd’in has thrown up the white flag and has been behaving herself, as is dad.  However, as history has always told us, it’s not long before another war breaks out.  This time it’s dogs waging war.

Scooby vs Pudd’in, well not Pudd’in per se but Pudd’in’s lifeline, her food and Scooby and Seven against mom and dad.  Ok, it’s not full blown war like we’ve seen with dad and Pudd’in but it’s certainly well played sneak attacks.  Let me step back about five or six years ago when we got Scooby.  He was a tiny little puppy that Kyle held on his lap and brought him home.  Scooby has never known a time without us.  Needless to say, over the years he has picked up certain eating habits from my parents.  Basically eating anything he wanted, when he wanted, which he did a lot of.  Now jump to a year ago when we rescued Seven from the pound.  Unfortunately, he had two sets of families that returned him back to the pound before making his way straight into the hearts of the Piper’s.  He was a year old.  Seven, as far as we can tell has only had dog food.  On a side note, I have never, in the 17 years I’ve had Pudd’in, given her anything but cat food and water.  Anyway, over the most recent year my parents tried to ease Seven into their eating habits just as Scooby has always eaten.  As it turns out Seven has a sensitive digestive system and he can’t handle different foods.  Actually, mom found out that the Dad’s brand dog food has been agreeing with him the best.

Great!  Problem solved, well no, it started another problem.  Since Seven couldn’t eat scraps from the table, mom and dad felt it’s not fair to give one dog and not the other.  Over the last few months they’ve really reinforced this rule in the house and reiterated it to me and Kyle.  So new rule, don’t give the dogs food scraps!  Check!  No food scraps to either dog and as I’ve mentioned, Pudd’in never received any anyway.  Seven, didn’t seem to know the difference, but Scooby on the other hand is taking this quite personal.

Scooby-Who-Me-Aunt-Heather-PiperA few weeks ago mom told me she made dad fish with veggies for dinner.  She set the plate of food on the table while dad took a shower.  When dad came out, the plate was cleared, however he didn’t notice the cleared plate of missing food.  I guess dad sat there for a while, then asked mom where the dinner was?  Mom responded, ‘You ate it.’ followed by dad saying ‘No I didn’t, I didn’t eat anything.’  Mom said, ‘Ron, I made you fish and vegetables, where’s it at?’  At that moment those two, who probably looked like a skit from Abbott and Costello discussing Who’s On First?, realized there was a thief among them!  All they had to do was ask, ‘Who ate pap pap’s food?’ and the guilty party walked right into his cage.  So you see, Scooby decided he wanted to eat what dad was eating, throwing a good old fashioned temper tantrum.  Scooby is basically telling my parents, you are not cutting me off of food just because of the new addition.

It gets even better, Scooby’s blatten defiance doesn’t end there.  He is now showing his discontent through an easier innocent source.  Pudd’in’s cat food!  Since Pudd’in has a heart condition and she burns so many calories, we are having a hard time keeping weight on her.  She acts very healthy and happy with long strong whiskers, shiny soft coat, and a playful demeanor, however she is very anorexic looking.  In order to help Pudd’in keep some weight on, we have her on a special indoor high calorie formula.  Well, apparently Scooby is in on the same special diet, because recently, mom and dad have been busting him, sneaking to the back room where Pudd’in’s food resides and dibing into the bowl.  Mom made a comment not long ago to get more cat food for Pudd’in.  I thought that was odd since she is only a six pound kitty and I just got her cat food.  I shrugged it off thinking it was longer than I realized, no biggie.  Then I heard the news.  At that moment my eyes opened and as I compared the dogs, Scooby is noticeably thicker in the middle than he was before.  I guess the high calorie kitty food is doing it’s job.  Just on the wrong animal.

A weekend or so ago, mom made dad eggs and toast for breakfast.  As she buttered the toast on the counter and walked away, apparently Seven decided to takes Scooby’s lead and help himself to a slice of toast.  I asked mom, how do you know it was Seven. Mom’s reply, “Because Scooby was in the living-room and when I came out in the kitchen Seven was licking his lips.” Ummm

Just like children, the boys don’t realize we are trying to help them and not limit them.  It’s for their own health.  Well, I guess there’s another war raging in the Piper household.

Read more on the wars in the Piper household.

Pudd’in vs Dad – A New Kind of War

Pudd’in vs Dad vs Kiwis – War Continues…

Puppy Problem Called Seven!

posted by auntheather in Common Sense,Education & Learning,Family,Observation & Imagination,Patience,Pets and have Comments (2)

Puppy Problem Called Seven

Dogs are wise.  They crawl away into a quiet corner and lick their wounds and do not rejoin the world until they are whole once more.  ~Agatha Christie

Seven thoughts Aunt Heather Piper Rescuing Seven from the pound seemed like a good move.  Not only did it benefit the dog, but it gave Scooby a playmate and a new addition to the Piper household.  This was about a year ago, which he was already almost a year old at the time.  Sure there was an adjustment period, especially where Pudd’in was concerned, but everyone seemed to work it out and the harmony of the house was whole again.

Now Seven seems to be going through his terrible two’s.  He is out of control, jumping on people and getting into complete mischief.  This weekend was the perfect example of what I’m talking about.  I will first tell you about the sleeping arrangements.  For the past few months, when I sleep at my parent’s house, Seven anticipates my actions and jumps into bed before I can and won’t get out.  He is like a log spread out over the entire bed.  In recent days, so I’ve let that one slide and now the route includes Pudd’in, Seven and now sometimes Kyle, for reasons I have no idea.  Great full bed!  Then when I sit in the chair in the living-room, either reading a book or watching TV, Seven feels the need to jump on me.  Jumping up a little for some attention I can handle, but he literally jumps halfway across the room and lands in my lap with his paws like baseball bats slamming my chest.  He doesn’t even care if Pudd’in is on the arm of the chair or who may hurt.  I get it, all this might be just for some attention and love, I can almost excuse these actions as a child in need of attention.  Good or bad attention is still attention.  I have been through this before with Kyle, so I understand the signs, but some actions are not excusable.

On Saturday, Kyle and I took our weekly hike through the woods with the boys (Seven and Scooby).  Now on their defense they have been really good with the walks, listening to me when they are too far away, and coming when I call.  Great!  Just to give you a comparison between the dogs.  When Scooby’s running towards you, he will zip right past you without taking you down.  He may get really close when he whizzes past, but as long as you don’t make any sudden movements he will not hit you.  Seven on the other hand, will run you over like a freight train, and leaving you like a hit and run victim.  He does not care who he plows down.  As Kyle and I started to make our way down the hill, which is a tricky path since there are a lot of loose rocks and it was icy on the flat stones where the water had once ran, I noticed that Seven was out of my line of sight.  Naturally, I called Seven and he came, however, he shot out like a missal.  Just as I turned my head to see how to avoid the racetrack he was headed on, I saw him collided with Kyle.  Poor Kyle, his feet flipped up into the air while Seven crashed through like a tornado.  I can’t believe Seven would just run into him like that!  It wasn’t like there wasn’t enough room, cause there was, at least three people could walk on the path side-by-side comfortably.  It was like he just wanted to knock him over!  After that incidence we made it home and the dogs were being good, until we decided to make oatmeal cream pies.

oatmeal-cream-pies-Aunt-Heather-Piper-3-10-12Every once in a while, Kyle and I enjoy making something new together.  We both enjoy cooking, and I will admit, since I opened my Pinterest account I do like to review different recipes and save them for later.  Well, since I showed Kyle my Donga Needs Food board and some of the recipes, he has wanted to make something new.  After we got back from our walk, Kyle said, “Hey Aunt Heather, I have a good idea, let’s make something new.”  Well, how and I resist?  We looked on my Pinterest board and he commented that he wanted to make the Oatmeal Cream Pies, which I have always wanted to make since I saw them.

As we retrieved the ingredients, both dogs kept getting in our way, but nothing out of the ordinary.  We finished making the first part of the batch and had to immediately taste the final product, still warm.  They were awesome!!  In the meantime, I let the cookies cool on the counter and me, Kye and dad were watching TV in the living-room.  Gigi was at the store.  Note the Oatmeal cookies were cooling on the parchment paper they were baked on.  As we sat there, both dogs were playing with news toys, courtesy of dad.  Just then, I heard the parchment paper moving.  It was coming from the kitchen.  At that moment, I looked around and saw everyone in the house in the same room except for Seven.  Dad called Seven and he didn’t come flying into the room.  He doesn’t realize that I’m pretty quick and I flew around the corner of the kitchen to see him with his head down, trying to escape to the laundry room.  Immediately, I saw all but two cookies GONE!  He ate just about the entire batch of cookies right off the counter!  Really?  Yep!  I was so made at him.  He still had his shock collar on and I did zap him, which I try never to use.  Then I put him in his cage and walked around like my mom, ranting and raving like a crazy person.

Seven stayed quite in his cage trying not to draw any unwanted attention for at least an hour.  Then I let him out.  He humbly walked out and joined us in the living-room.  He was good, well naturally since he was in serious trouble.  Not long after, Seven was at the door crying to be let out.  Couldn’t image that, a dog with a weak digestive system who can only eat dog food without getting an upset stomach all of a sudden needing to go out after eating a dozen Oatmeal Cream Pies!  Without hesitation, I let Seven out to do his business.  Then I realized he was out for a while, I forgot about him.  As I opened the door on the porch, I saw Seven run down the steps with his head down and his tail between his legs.  It didn’t register what had just happened, but then it hit me, Seven tore open the garbage mom had set on the porch to be placed in the trash can at the end of the driveway!  I yelled, obviously, and Seven squeezed between me and the house to get back in, running straight to his cage.  As if self punishing himself.

What a stinker!  Is this a phase of going through the terrible two’s?  Or is this in retaliation for something else?  What to do with Seven?  I can tell you Kyle felt sympathy on the dog.  After he got in trouble with the Oatmeal Cream Pies, Kyle slipped his water bowl in the cage with him, like he was suffering in the kitchen for that hour.  Then Kyle came to me to take some responsibility for Seven’s actions.  He said, “It’s not his fault Aunt Heather, I left my stool next to the counter.”  I couldn’t believe it, Kyle was trying to elevate Seven’s punishment.  At this point I was still mad, I said, “No it’s not your fault, it’s not like you left the cookies on the floor!”  Kyle retorted by saying, “But he used my stool to get up to the counter.”  I kinda laughed, because that was not true, Seven is tall enough to merely lift his head and he can reach the counter.  Ahh is it man’s best friend or the other way around?  Love Kyle’s heart!

 

Here’s the recipe I got from Blooming on Brainbridge site. Make them, they’re great!

Oatmeal Cream Pies

  • 1-1/4 c. butter (softened)
  • 1 c. brown sugar (packed)
  • 1/2 c. sugar
  • 1-1/2 c. flour
  • 3 c. oats
  • 1 egg
  • 2 T. vanilla
  • 1 T. soda
  • 1/2 T. salt
  • 1/4 T. cinnamon

Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees.  Beat butter and sugar till creamy.  Add egg and vanilla and mix well.  Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cup and level with flat knife edge.  Combine flour, soda, salt and cinnamon in a bowl. Stir. Add oats and mix well.  Add the butter mixture and blend well.  Drop by rounded tablespoons 2″ apart.  Bake at 375 degrees for 10 minutes.  Leave in pan and cool 2 minutes.  Put cookies on wire rack to finish cooling.  Spread 1 tablespoon cream filing between two cookies.

Cream Filling

  • 1/2 c. butter (softened)
  • 2 c. powered sugar
  • 1-2 T. whipping cream
  • 1 T. vanilla

Combine all in medium bowl.  Beat on low till mixed well.  Then beat on high till light and fluffy.

ENJOY!

posted by auntheather in Common Sense,Cooking with Kyle,Education & Learning,Family,Milestone,Observation & Imagination,Patience,Pets and have No Comments

Laughing About Nothing

At the height of laughter, the universe is flung into a kaleidoscope of new possibilities.  ~Jean Houston

Kyle-with-angry-bird-hat-Aunt-Heather-Piper

Kyle sledriding infront of mom & dad's house with his deloved Angry Birds Hat. 2012

Sometimes a spontaneous conversation about nothing is the funniest!  After all it worked for Seinfeld, the show that went from 1989 to 1998.  His show was based on nothing, they even did a show on that very theme.  To this day, people still quote and remember Seinfeld and the gang.  Can’t go through Christmas and not bring up Festivus and the “pole” or the “man hands”.  Being a fan of the show, I still catch a re-run every now and again, but I don’t think they ever had a show based on a goat.

If the show was being produced then Kyle and I would have the best “nothing” story for them.  First of all, it seems that most of my stories revolve around swimming lessons.   I’m not sure why, I have Kyle on other days too, but it seems like things just unfold with us during that time.  We were on our way to his lessons and I looked down off the side the road to a field.  I never noticed it before but there were goats.  All I said was, “Kyle look at the goats.” and he looks and said nothing.  As we continued toward our destination my mind started to go toward, “nothing” and I kinda laughed out loud.  Well, Kyle wanted in on whatever was churning in my brain.  Then I posed a question, “Wouldn’t that be the funniest thing ever to get Gigi and Pap Pap a goat, just to give it to them to see their reactions?”  Kyle and I started to laugh, and so started the conversation, really about “nothing”.

First we started talking about goats in general.  Kyle asked, “How do they eat everything?” and I explained their stomach acid is potent and can break down all sorts of things.  I said, “They can even eat a barbed wire fence.”  Then Kyle chimed in saying, “Ya wouldn’t that be funny if you tied the goat to your fence, then you wouldn’t have a fence anymore?” and I added, “You would just have posts sticking up out of the ground.”  We both envisioned that one and laughed out loud.  He asked very intuitively, “If they eat everything how do you keep them in a fence?”  My response was, “I guess you put them in an electric fence.  Then when they go to touch it, they would get zapped and say ‘Baaazzzzip’.”  We started laughing so hard.  We couldn’t control it.

Then I brought up the time when Pap Pap had a goat.  I was told that it kept jumping the fence and he would have to go get it.  From the story that I was told, the same as I’m telling Kyle, when the goat would be on one ridge, dad would be on the opposite.  Then as dad got to the opposite ridge, the goat would have moved.  That alone did it for us.  Me and Kyle were completely tearing up picturing my dad chasing a goat in the woods.  Kyle asked, “What happened to the goat?”  I said with much difficulty only cause I couldn’t catch my breath.  “He shot it.”  We both lost it!  We were in hysterics!  Then I calmed down enough to explain, “We’ll Pap Pap couldn’t catch it and it kept getting out anyway, well and you know Pap Pap’s fuse is a short one, just like mine.  So he shot it, and I guess ate it.”  As soon as I got the words out, we were shot with laughter again!

At this point, the conversation had a life of its own.  Then I went back to my original thought, just getting a goat and just showing up to give it to them.  I said, “Could you imagine how funny that would be? Pap Pap would be ok with it and would instantly want to put it up in the woods to eat the brush.  But Gigi on the other hand, would not be happy.”  Kyle, always thinking, “Ya we could put it in the garden to clean down the weeds so Pappy doesn’t have to.”  As we continued to laugh over this imaginary goat, we continued with our fictitious stories.  Kyle said, “What if it ate Gigi’s pants?”  I lost it, that was too funny!  I said, “What if we got it to clean the dishes?”  Kyle let out a such a gut stretching laugh that I think even took him by surprise.  Since he was laughing, that true hearty contagious laugh, I couldn’t help myself, I  joining in.

Aunt-Heather-Piper-with-fairy

I was shooting photography at a TV Commercial c. 2011

We sobered up enough to start again.  Kyle said, “Do goats eat wood?” My response, “We have two dogs who think they are beavers, what do you think?” And the laughter started all over again.  I said, “Can you image the two dogs and a goat, how much wood they would go through?  We’d have so much sawdust, it’d be like a family of beavers lived there.”  Now at this point neither one of us could breath.  Then Kyle said, “We’d have to take the goat with us when we took the dogs walking.”  That did it, I was having a hard time driving.  That was too funny!  I said, “Ya we’d have to take me, you, the two dogs and the goat on a hike through the woods.”  Thank goodness for the seat belt or Kyle would have remained in one large contracting muscle ball on the floor of the car.  I said, “Could you image if someone drove past to see me walking a goat on a lease?”  I almost couldn’t get that one out.  “What would we do, get it a shock collar like Scooby and Seven and let it fraulic in the woods with the dogs?”  Kyle’s response, although very faint since he couldn’t talk, was crystal clear, “Ya and when it gets too far we call it back.”  I died!!  We couldn’t breath, we weren’t even expelling laughs, it was pure soundless air.

Then the minute we thought we were done, Kyle starts on how the goat could play with the dogs.  O no, not again!  And of course I had to add to this story by saying, “Ya Scooby would bark and growl at it and Seven would be like ‘I have a new friend to play with’ (in the dopiest dog voice imaginable)”  Kyle added, “Ya and can you imagine if the goat would ram Seven, he would be like, what was that!”  I said, “Ya but it probably wouldn’t hurt that tank and Scooby would be like, ‘Idiots, I’m going back to bed’ (in another dopy dog voice).”

So by now if we were making up a TV show, we had enough episodes to fill a season.  That night after swimming while Kyle was taking a shower, a.k.a. playing with a hippo washcloth in the shower, or an empty shampoo bottle used as a water launcher with his swim partner and taking 20 minutes to surface, I was still feeling silly and told my sister about the “nothing” conversation over a goat.  I was actually still reliving it with her, even though she laughed, she probably thought, ‘I have no idea what she’s talking about.’  I asked Nicole to, “Tell Kyle you have a really great idea, you want to buy Gigi and Pappy a goat!”  She laughed and said, ok.

Later, after the pruning settled in from the long shower, Nicole talked to Kyle and asked him about getting Gigi and Pappy a goat.  He just looked at me and smiled and said, “Ok”.  He was slightly amused, but silliness has passed.  I love it that Kyle has my sense of stupid humor.  Actually, not just mine, but my sister’s.  Nicole has always had that type of humor, after all she was the one who introduced me to Saturday Night Live when we were kids.  Although, Kyle also joins in stories and laugh right with you just like my mom.  When my mom starts to laugh no sounds can exit her mouth and she topples forward.  Sometimes I laugh even harder when I see that.  My brother and dad would laugh out loud not like the silent stupid laughs.  Ahhh I guess the family that laughs together…

posted by auntheather in Books, Movies, Shows,Education & Learning,Family,Observation & Imagination and have Comments (2)

Pudd’in vs Dad – New Kind of War

Of all God’s creatures, there is only one that cannot be made slave of the lash. That one is the cat. If man could be crossed with the cat it would improve the man, but it would deteriorate the cat.  ~Mark Twain

There are all sorts of ways to battle.  Battles can happen physically in multiple forms using an infinite number of weapons.  Then there’s the mental battle, using wit and a persons internal psyche, and the list goes on and on.  Sometimes battles take the form of actions based on symbolism, especially when one of the warriors cannot speak, only to say ‘meow’.  I am referring to Pudd’in, my cat of roughly 17 years, who is about 19 years old now.  Her opponent: My dad, who’ve I’ve known for 25 years now, being 61 years old.

Puddin Piper - Aunt Heather Piper

Pudd'in playing with her toy mouse

My dad likes all animals, but not particularly cats.  He tolerates Pudd’in but I’ve never seen my dad actually hold a cat let alone cuddle up with one.  I, on the other hand, have always been infatuated with cats.  I’ve always had at least one cat my entire life.  When I was Kyle’s age, I used to stay on the ridge with my grandparents.  They seemed to always have feral cats running around on the edge of the woods.  I would sit in the yard behind the house and tame those cats.  Looking back on it now, it was kind of a sight. The cats would walk up to me and I would hold them until they were purring.  Then we were instant friends.  Sure they would scream a little and try to run once I was holding them, but I was never afraid and rather enjoyed playing with the kitties.  Then I would walk around the yard and they would follow behind like I was the Piped Piper, no pun intended.  Well, maybe a small pun, but it was totally appropriate!  My pappy used to call me old Cat Woman.  Aside from household cats, I love big cats, but I can get into that another day.   Back to the battle royale.

Ryan Piper holding Jill 1984 Aunt Heather Piper

Ryan holding Jill -early 1980's

Well, we have this one bathroom in the house, which is right beside my dad’s office.  Dad used to use it all the time, but within the last, I want to say 15 years or longer, the toilet wasn’t working right and it just resided as a room.  A room that, since that time, housed Pudd’in’s litter box because, well it’s a bathroom for one and it’s on the other end of the house.  Within the last few months, my parents finally got around to replacing the toilet to make it a working bathroom again.  Now, the problem arises.  Pudd’in doesn’t really like change, not at all.  I’m guessing, from what I’m about to tell you, she is not taking this change very well.

Puddin Piper 2011 Aunt Heather Piper

Pudd'in is ready to swat at my phone

Dad has re-adopted that bathroom as his own.  In fact, he is pretty much the only person who really uses it and Pudd’in is taking a stand.  In stead of using her litter box, she is now, daily, from what I understand, showing her disdain by leaving her opinion on the floor in front of the toilet.  She has also increased her war efforts by peeing on dad’s pants in his room.  And, not to mention, mom was folding clothes on the futon in dad’s office while watching TV. Mom left the folded cloths there to return to find a once clean pile of dad’s underwear wore soiled with Pudd’in liquid.

It does appear that only dad’s items have been targeted.  My guess is because dad has never been really partial to Pudd’in.  He would shoo her off the furniture and chase her back down the hallway when they encountered one another.  This has gone on for years, I guess it’s dad’s way.  From what mom tells me, within the last couple of years, Pudd’in started to become radical, actually suicidal.  At night she would climb into bed with mom and dad and walk across my dad.  That is completely unheard of and a complete kamikaze mission.  Maybe this is her last straw with taking over what she felt was her bathroom.

The Piper / Olczak cousins with the dogs.

Elizabeth, Joel, Casey, Ryan, Nicole with Jill and Baby. 1983

Now, I know how gross this war has become. Trust me, if there’s anyone who has a serious aversion to feces, it’s me.  I did pretty good with Kyle until the age when he could manage for himself in the bathroom.  Then I was glad I was done.  Even during the movie, American Wedding, when the one character eats a dog turd and has it stuck in his teeth, I about vomited.  I can’t watch that. Not funny, one bit.

Ahh, what to do with this battle between Pudd’in and dad.  Mom is beside herself and I don’t know how to fit this.  Dad is mad and expressed it to me the other day by saying, “Damn cat! I’m going to fix her. She can sleep outside from now on.”  Then I clearly stated that he should be a little nicer to her. Not that he’s mean at all, just not loving.  I said, “I’d be careful, it’s war between you two, and she’s winning.”  Dad just grunted, probably knowing it was the truth.  So what do I do?  I definitely need some professional guidance on this one.  Yikes!  It’s kind of funny, but I’ll admit, totally gross.

Help me! Any thoughts?  Suggestions?

posted by auntheather in Common Sense,Education & Learning,Family,Milestone,Observation & Imagination,Pets,Reminiscing and have No Comments

Dogs Acting Like Kids

Animals have these advantages over man: They have no theologians to instruct them, their funerals cost them nothing, and no one starts lawsuits over their wills.  ~Voltaire

Kyle with his Aunt Heather Piper

Me & Kyle stop to see a small cemetery on the ridge. I was toting a Spider-Man book bag. 11/12/11

First I’d like to say that I am aware humans have dominion over animals.  God created us, as people, to have morals, values, gifts of the Holy Spirit, a conscience, and we are blessed with free will, just to name a few gifts from God.  But I couldn’t help noticing the similarity in young behavior, at least with respect to dogs.

For example, Kyle and I decided to go hiking through the woods, on our usual route this past weekend.  This was the first time we took both dogs, Scooby and Seven.  Scooby always  gets excited over our hikes, but this was Seven’s first adventure.  I think the dogs were a bit overwhelmed.  As I watched the them I couldn’t help noticing Kyle’s behavior as well.  You see, the dogs jumped back and forth on the trail, sniffing anything on their path.  Seven in particular was climbing the side of the banks and jumping off.  Not to mention he was purposely walking through puddles, just as Kyle has done in the past.  Then Seven went out of his way to rustle up the fallen leaves.  He went barreling through them, kicking up all sorts of colors.  Just as I noticed Seven entertaining himself, Kyle did the same thing.  Kicking up the leaves, making them crunch under his feet.  It was almost comical.

Kyle with Seven- Heather Piper

Kyle & Seven hiking in the woods. Seven's first hike. 11/12/11

As we proceeded on our hike, Scooby decided to go out of bounds, and I mean way out of bounds.  He was not listening.  It was like telling Kyle to do something he didn’t want to do.  The dog ignored my order and proceeded on his chosen path.  Finally, he reluctantly circled around, taking his good old time in making a big loop before returning to us.  It was like Scooby was saying, “You will wait on me,”  like a little boy I know.

Once we made our way out of the woods, there is a long road with houses sporadically placed along the side.  Making this voyage numerous times, I knew there were outside dogs, a couple horses and goats along the way.  I was kind of nervous with Seven, being it was his first experience on this road (at least to my knowledge, I will never know where he went when he’s run off).  As we approached the one dog chained outside, I kept close tabs on Seven. He almost ran back to me when he heard the other dog barking and growling.  I had a flashback of when Kyle walked past the same dog a few years ago.  Kyle left his freedom and ran back to my side, just like Seven running to the adult for protection.

Kyle, Scooby, Seven by a cemetery in the woods- Heather Piper

Kyle, Seven & Scooby in front of a cemetery by the woods. I tried to get a picture of the three kids but, as children do, they wouldn't sit still. 11/12/11

Then, as we moved further up the road, we came across the goats behind a fenced in area.  Goats crack me up when they stand on their houses.  Kyle started to laugh at the goat who looked like he was king of the hill.  Seven approached the goats like a child, looking from afar with curiosity before moving closer to the fence and then jumping around with excitement over the sight of a different creature, or maybe at the sight of the goat on top of his house.

The dogs had an equally great time as Kyle and I did on our 3.15 mile hike.  Seven looked like a shadow of a gazelle leaping on and off the banks and through the trees with his hunter orange collar.  On the other hand, as Kyle pointed out, Scooby was almost completely camouflaged with his blonde hair butted up against the landscape of dead leaves, bare branches, and neutral colored rocks wearing his lime green collar.  Of course, please keep in mind that I was toting a Spider-Man book bag with a Thermos of water, bananas, and apples, around with me, packed courtesy of Kyle.

I know dogs are worlds away from children but I couldn’t help but pointing out fun behavioral similarities.  Even though I was walking with one child and two dogs, it felt like I had three children.  I enjoyed every minute of it!

posted by auntheather in Education & Learning,Family,Hiking & Outdoors,Observation & Imagination,Pets and have No Comments
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