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Rest in Peace, Buddy

5 Dec

Shadow Dog

1997 – 2012



We lost our dog today.  He was 15 years old, which is 105 years in human years.  He had been declining for a while, so we knew this was coming.  He took a turn for the worse overnight, and we knew that he needed to be put out of his misery today.  Shadow was a loving dog that loved our kids and never growled at them as they clamored on top of him.

I met Shadow when JB and I first started dating, and he immediately treated me as one of his family, or pack.  For several years, he was my perfect running match, as neither of us ran very fast.  Over the years, he walked with me through both my pregnancies and recoveries from C-sections, and would talk with such character when he was hungry (which was a lot).  In his younger days, he would find pieces of trash on our walks, and carry them around like they were treasures.  We always knew when he had trash in his mouth, as he got this very proud, yet sheepish look about him.

My husband had two dogs when we met, and I had one dog.  They were all large and black (one Rottweiler and two lab mixes), and we dubbed them the Black Dog Club.  It was a bit overwhelming owning 250+ pounds of dogs, but it was also a lot of fun.  It is sad to have now laid to rest the last member od the Black Dog Club.  For the first time in over 10 years, I am without a dog, and it feels very lonely.

We’ll miss you, Shadow Dog.


Scared of My Own Shadow

12 Apr

We had a scare with our 10 year old black lab mix, Shadow, this past week. I was home from work on Monday hanging out with my parents when I saw him crouching as he walked across the yard. He then lay down, and when I approached him, something was really WRONG.

He was drooling like crazy, his body was all stiff, and his eyes looked empty. I seriously thought he was dieing, and the first thing that popped into my head was the tainted pet food that has been in the news lately.

I’m so glad my parents were there. I called Mom out while I went in to get truck keys and shoes so that I could rush him to the vet. I pulled our pick up truck up right next to him, and loaded him into the bed. And then, he stood up, and was totally fine. The sparkle was back in his eyes, he was wagging his tail, and was totally oblivious to the panic he had stricken in his master’s heart.

That’s when we determined that he had had a siezure. I then recalled that he had experienced a siezure years ago when he was much younger (before I had ever met JB and Shadow).

So, I’m glad to say that Shadow is fine, though it took quite a while for me to recover from the adrenaline rushing through my body and the fear that we would lose yet another precious dog within a year’s time.

Here’s hoping that Shadow is still in it with us for the long haul. He is such an awesome, loving dog that I really hope he is.

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In Loving Memory

1 Sep


Heidi “Bella” Bellin
Went to doggy heaven on 8-27-06

We had to put our beloved Rottweiler to sleep a little over a week ago. She was diagnosed with cancer back in January, when we had to amputate one of her rear legs.

She had such a strong spirit. She never let having three legs slow her down, and resumed chasing bunnies on our nightly walks as soon as she was able.

Heidi was JB’s dog for nine years, and I came to know her when JB and I started dating three years ago. When I first met Heidi, JB claimed that she “had to have an audience” when she ate, as she would look up and wag her tail in between bites of food. (This habit was broken when I convinced him to ration the food for his two dogs better, which eliminated her need for an audience.)

Heidi’s favorite thing to do was lick people smack on the face, with bonus points for giving a nice wet lick right on the lips. But the funny thing was that she never did this to JB. I always had to be careful with getting my face too close to hers, and we were always amused at how Heidi would sneak in for a kiss on my lips when I was least expecting it.

Heidi truly was JB’s dog. I hear that Rottweilers are one owner dogs, which is true. She was friendly with everyone, but she lived for JB. When JB would walk the dogs by himself, she would frolic and run around without abandon. But when anyone would join JB on his walks, she would walk directly behind the people. I always joked with JB that Heidi wanted to protect him from me.

When I would take Heidi out for walks without JB, many times she would go off exploring, and when I’d tell her to “come”, she would stop and look at me, as if saying, “you’re not JB!” and then she’d continue on with what she was doing. It was a funny quirk of hers.

It was hard watching her go downhill over the past few months, but even in those last few days, she would wag her little stubby Rott tail for us whenever we came out to visit. The night before she died, I sat with her in the grass under the stars, petting her and hugging her. I still tear up just thinking about her. But she was so sick, and the cancer was just eating her alive. It was obvious that putting her to sleep was the right thing to do.

I had never had to actually be there to put down one of my animals, and I knew it would be hard. I can’t get those images out of my head, but it was a relief to see her finally at rest.

I still look out in the backyard and occasionally think I see her laying in the grass. Perhaps she is still watching over us.

We miss you, Heidi, and always will. You were a very good dog. I hope that there are plenty of bunnies to chase up there in doggy heaven, and all of the rawhide bones you could ever want.

A Sad Day for the Black Dog Club

30 Jan

This is our dog, Heidi.

Heidi is almost 9 years old. Last week, we noticed a bump on her back leg, and took her to the vet on Saturday. The prognosis was not good. It’s a tumor, and it’s in her femur, requiring amputation of her leg. The vet will do a biopsy on the tumor to see if it is malignant, which is probably is. If it is malignant, she probably has less than a year to live.

I took her in today for her surgery, which was a sad, sad thing to do. Yesterday, we took her on a nice walk, and I sat in the backyard grass with her giving her extra TLC.

Can’t say much else. It’s really hard preparing to celebrate the new life of our baby when our canine child is going through such tough times.

Happy New Year

2 Jan

This has to go on record as one of the quietest New Year’s ever. On Friday morning, JB came down with a nasty flu bug. On top of that, it was rainy all Friday through Sunday, meaning we just stayed at home. JB slept in front of the fire while I read Danielle Steel’s book Echos.

Luckily, for our weekend indoors, that was an incredible book. It sucked me in, entertaining me for most of the day and late into the night.

Anyway, on New Year’s, JB went to bed at 11pm in the upstairs bedroom (so as to avoid getting me sick, too), and I blew him a kiss. I stayed up ’til midnight all by myself and watched the ball drop on TV before going to bed alone in the master bedroom.

There was a lot of sleeping and relaxing going on this weekend. On Monday, we finally got snow. Luckily, JB was feeling better today, so we ventured out to run a few errands and hit the mall. When we got home, we took the dogs on a walk in the snow. We got about 3-4 inches at our house, which makes for a beautiful blanket on the neighborhood and the desert.

We watched three movies this weekend. The first one was Must Love Dogs, which wasn’t all that great. I had high expectations because it was about online dating AND dogs, but it was a snoozer. The second movie was Mr. & Mrs. Smith, which didn’t really do much for us, either. The third movie was March of the Penguins, which was adorable and funny and a total must see!

So, I’m sorry I don’t have much to report. I do, however, have pictures.

Here is The Belly at 8 months 10 days.


This is Tucker the snow dog.


This is Heidi striking a pose.


Shadow was also on our walk, but he didn’t pose for us like the other two dogs did.

Well, I’m off to enjoy my last few hours of the holiday weekend. The couch and the fireplace are calling.

Living in a Land of Coyotes

9 Nov

I almost lost two members of the Black Dog Club last night. We were out for our walk, and I got to the open field where we always take the dogs off the leash and let them run free.

Well, I got Tucker and Shadow off the leash, and had them sitting waiting for me to unleash Heidi when a coyote crossed our path, about 20 feet ahead of us.

In a flash, Tucker and Shadow were off in hot pursuit.

Ever try looking for two black dogs at night?! It’s like they vanished into thin air.

I frantically went in the direction they ran, whistling and calling for them, and I didn’t see or hear a trace of them for a good five minutes, when Tucker finally came back to me.

Luckily, Shadow eventually made his way back to me, but in the mean time, I was having horrible thoughts about the diseases they could catch if bit by a coyote, or what would happen if that lone coyote led them into a pack of angry coyotes.

And as I later told JB this story, I learned that he thinks I say coyote in a really funny way… I’ve always pronounced it “cy-OTE”, where as he thinks the correct pronunciation is “cy-o-TEA”. I’m wondering if my pronunciation is part of my “New Mexican” accent…

Got Milk?

23 Jul


Last night on our dog walk, Shadow found a milk carton, with spoiled milk in it, and he carried that milk carton for our entire 45 minute walk. I thought that warranted a picture when we got home!

Tucker the Hose Dog

21 Jun

I’ve talked about Tucker’s fascination with hoses on this site before. (Side note: that is a really good story, so I recommend you go read that after this entry!)

This past weekend, JB wanted to demonstrate Tucker’s desire to kill the water that comes out of the hose for his parents. Here are some pictures I took during that show.





And this is what he looked like after exhausting himself with that display:


Shadow The Volunteer Dog

9 Jun

Tonight, I took our dog Shadow to an assisted living home for some pet therapy volunteering. This was Shadow’s first time as a volunteer, and he was a bit shy at first.

But he soon warmed up to all of the old ladies showering him with attention. He panted like crazy, but was calm, quiet and receptive.

I spent most of the evening with a woman named Vohnell. I met her as she was telling another resident goodnight. The following conversation ensued:

Vohnell: I’ll see you in the morning.
Other lady: Lord willing, if He chooses to open my eyes. Sleep with the angels.
Vohnell: If I could find another angel, I sure as hell would sleep with him.

Now that is spunk for an eighty something year old! I decided to visit with her to see what else she had to say. She was a talker.

And after about 5 minutes, I started suspecting that she was really good at telling tall tales. Let me see if I can remember all that she told me….

  • She used to own a dog kennel and train hunting dogs.
  • She used to be a pilot.
  • She used to be a school teacher.
  • She used to be a contracter.
  • She currently owns a jet, and is working with a friend of hers that works for the State to get a commercial license.
  • She worked in a national defense plant during WWII.
  • Her house caught on fire when she was in the shower, and a firefighter had to carry her out “naked as a jaybird”.
  • Her best friend was Elvis. When I laughed and asked if she had gone to many of his concerts, she said, “no, he really was my best friend.” I said, “really, did you know Lisa Marie?” And she said, “oh, yes, I knew her.” She then showed me a “picture” of Elvis, which was really a VHS tape cover, and told me about how they were out at the races the day that picture was taken.
  • Her first husband started running around on her so she flew to San Francisco to divorce him, and ‘shocked the hell out of him.’
  • She has a son that owns two gold mines.
  • That son injured both wrists, and is currently in Arizona getting his nerve endings repaired.
  • Her three sisters were killed recently in a car crash when their car went off a cliff.

    There was more, but I can’t remember it all.

    She then took me to her room to show me pictures and her entire wardrobe, and a dragonfly lamp that she was very proud of, despite the fact that she thought it was dirty.

    Vohnell, Shadow and I then went for a walk up and down the halls of the facility, and people would shout out demands from their rooms.

    “Turn on my light!” One lady said. So I did.
    “Can you get me out of bed?” another man named Maynard asked, and I promised to go get a staff member to help him. Vohnell took it upon herself to go up to one of the staff members to tell them about Maynard, and then explained to that staff person that she couldn’t help him out of bed herself because she’s a resident and their insurance wouldn’t cover it if something happened.

    All and all, it was a good night. I was entertained by Vohnell’s stories, and it was obvious that she was craving company.

    I then came home and took all three dogs on a walk at sunset. We cut across a field, and next thing I know, my socks are covered with stickers, and all three of the dogs have stickers all over their coats. I spent about 20 minutes after we returned home picking all of the stickers out of their coats. I made a mental note NOT to cut across that field anymore!

Roly Poly Destruction

3 May

Our dog, Tucker, is the only of our three dogs (a.k.a. The Black Dog Club) that is really into toys. For the past 6 months, he has been obsessed with his ‘Giggle Ball’. He would constantly carry it around, sleep with it, and the second he saw one of us coming out to the yard, he’d go grab his Giggle Ball and would nudge it forward for us to throw.

Tucker spent hours chewing on that ball, and the older it got, the more brittle the rubber became, and bit by bit, he tore it apart. But, this toy was his pride and joy for about two years.

A few weeks ago, the last shreds of the Giggle Ball were thrown into the trash. Yesterday, I went to PetCo in search of a new Giggle Ball. Of course, they didn’t have any.

So I bought what I thought was a suitable, durable replacement.

When I came home, I presented him with the new toy, and he was the happiest dog on earth. Tail wagging, and tons of enthusiasm as he chewed on his brand new toy. I patted myself on the back.

That is, until 20 minutes later, when I discovered the toy had been completely destroyed.

This annoyed me just enough to write the company and complain. Here is what I wrote:

I purchased a Quirkies Roly Poly today for my dog. The main reason I purchased it was because you claimed it was ‘tough’ and ‘virtually
indestructible’ and can ‘take as much wild fun as your dog can dish

Within twenty minutes, my dog (a lab mix) had absolutely destroyed this toy. All of the nobs were chewed off and the squeaker had been extracted from the toy.

I’m very frustrated that I made a special trip to the store, spent $10 on a ‘durable’ toy, and it didn’t even last one day.

And this morning, I was very pleased with their response.

Thank you for alerting us to the problem your pet experienced with our product and we do apologize for any inconvenience this matter may have caused. If you will kindly provide your mailing information, it will be our pleasure to send a few complimentary toys for your canine friend to enjoy. Please include the approximate weight of your pet.

I then wrote back, offering up Tucker’s services as a durability tester.

I wish I could post pics of the destruction, but I left my camera at my brother’s house in Folsom a few weeks ago…

The Black Dogs Have A New Cousin

9 Mar

Introducing the cousin (by human family terms) to our Black Dog Club, Rex:


Rex is a 12 week old Vizsla puppy that was just adopted by my brother Chuck and his family. We’ll have to wait a while for my pups to meet this little guy, because they seem to like to pick on smaller dogs. I’m going over to meet this little guy after work today. Can’t wait!

My parents are in town, and are spending the day at my brother’s house. Between my 5 month old niece and this 12 week old puppy, they will be overcome by cuteness by the end of the day!

Introducing Shadow, Master of Being Pitiful

28 Feb

This is our pooch, Shadow:



Shadow is a black lab/german shepard mix. He is about 8 years old. I can describe him in two words.

Needy and pitiful.

It’s not a bad thing. He’s a very lovable guy, but he is very needy for attention. He’ll come up and place his head right under your hand so that you’re forced to pet him. Or, he’ll nudge you with his paw to get your attention. His very expression seems to plead, ‘Please, PET ME!!!’

As for pitiful, Shadow has the sulky act down pat. Especially if you don’t pet him when he thinks he should be pet, he’ll sulk around, and it looks like he’s thinking, ‘Oh, poor, poor, pitiful me… No one loves me! I’m just a poor Shadow dog!’

Shadow is also a butt biter. He likes to assert his dominance over our other male dog, Tucker, and he does that by growling and biting Tucker’s butt any time that Tucker is getting more attention than him.

He also has prancing down to an art form. When he’s especially spry, Shadow looks more like a show horse than the pound puppy that he truly is.

Heidi The Rottweiler

9 Feb

I’ve finished my final High Fidelity Series posting, but haven’t published it as of yet, as I’m trying to decide if it borders on airing my dirty laundry too much.

In the mean time, though, I don’t think I’ve given our pooches, aka the Black Dog Club, enough attention here at, so each dog will get their own entry.

Istn’t that democratic of me?!


This is Heidi, our only female dog and our only pure bred dog. I swear she thinks she’s a model, as she seemed to be posing for every picture I tried to take of her this past weekend. I just love this picture.

Heidi is about 8 years old, and is one big sweat heart. She loves meeting new people, and will bound up to them to lick their hands and faces. This can be a bit disconcerting for people that don’t know her, considering the reputation that Rottweilers have as a breed.

Heidi’s favorite passtime is sticking her snout in holes. She’ll stick her nose in holes as deep as she can get it and then sniff in and out and in and out. I can’t see how inhaling dirt as she does can be enjoyable, but she loves it. One time, I found her with her entire body up to her waist burried in a hole. When I finally got her out of that hole, she had dirt all over her face. It actually looked like she was wearing powder. I left that dirt on her face so that I could show JB what his little girl had been up to. I worry that one day she’ll find some critter or snake in a hole, but so far we’ve been lucky.

Heidi is truly the apple of JB’s eye. It’s not that he loves her more than the other dogs, but he just has a big soft spot in his heart for her. His official nickname for her is Meathead, and he absolutely loves how big and wide her head is.

We are both entertained by Heidi’s eyebrows, which can move independantly of each other. Even if she’s just sitting doing nothing, her eyebrows are moving all around, making her look extremely cute.

When Heidi was a puppy, she managed to break out of JB’s backyard while he was at work and she got hit by a car. It broke one of her back legs, and thanks to a plate in that leg, she can’t bend it at all. You’ll notice in the picture that her rear leg is sticking straight out.

Heidi kind of drags that leg along on our walks. It really doesn’t slow her down much unless we’re in the snow. We call her the Bucking Bronco in snow, as she has to bound up and down to get a lot of clearance in order for her to make it through the snow with that bum leg.

Heidi’s main downfall is that she doesn’t like many other dogs. She thinks she’s all big and tough out on our walks if we run across other dogs, and she’ll let loose this throaty growl that would scare the living daylights out of anyone. It takes all of my might to hold her back at times, but to date, we’ve managed to avoid any confrontations.

So that’s our little girl. If you meet her in person, be careful — she loves to kiss on the lips!

Updated Score

17 Nov

JB — 3 (as in 3 mice caught)
Tucker — 4 (as in 4 mouse traps destroyed)

It’s a close game, ladies and gents.

And it’s really sad that the most exciting thing I have to write about is mice.

Thanks for the comments yesterday on the mouse situation. I LOVE COMMENTS!

The War Continues

16 Nov

Tucker is in big trouble. The wooden shield that JB built for the mouse trap by the door didn’t even phase him. He moved it and destructed yet another mouse trap.

And now the other two dogs are getting interested in mouse traps. We caught both of them sniffing at the mouse traps last night. As JB says, they all think that mouse traps are a new kind of toy with peanut butter on them.

Fortunately, though, JB has caught two mice in two days, so despite Tucker’s efforts, there has been progress.

The score is now Tucker – 4 (as in 4 mouse traps destructed) to JB – 2 (as in 2 mice caught).

Looks like I’ll be heading back to Lowe’s soon for more mouse traps.

Liberating the Mouse Population One Mouse Trap at a Time

15 Nov

Last weekend, while we were in the midst of the shed project, we saw all three of our dogs come running around the corner chasing something. I caught a quick glimpse of a mouse as it ran under the fence.

Later that day, JB found mouse poop in the garage.

It was war.

JB set out some mouse traps in an effort to be proactive. Later that weekend, I noticed that Tucker had a new scrape on his nose, but I didn’t think much of it until we found a mouse trap torn to shreds in the garage.

Now I’ve heard of people using mouse traps as a training tool for their dogs. Put a mouse trap on a surface you don’t want the dog on, and when it snaps, the sound will scare the dog and it will stay away from the mouse trap.

Or at least that’s the theory. Tucker, on the other hand, must have gotten his little nose caught in the mouse trap. And then I think he got mad. Really mad. Mad enough to completely destruct the mouse trap.

As JB cussed, I picked up the pieces of the mouse trap, chuckling silently. I thought it was a bit humerous.

A few days later, we found a second mouse trap torn to shreds in the garage. Then, this past weekend, a third.

JB is getting really mad at this point. It’s man against rodent and dog. I keep telling JB that Tucker is an activist — he is protecting the mouse population, one mouse trap at a time.

JB doesn’t think that is funny.

So I headed out to Lowe’s and purchased six new mouse traps. I got a few extra because I knew there would probably be more destruction of mouse traps in Tucker’s future.

And there was. Despite the fact that JB locked Tucker outside while he placed the new traps, Tucker found one of them and quickly did his thing to it.

Upon discovering this, JB proclaimed a serious war. My engineer husband decided to build a Tucker shield for one of the key mouse trap placements (i.e. the place by the door that catches the most mice). After about a half hour, that mouse trap had a nice wooden Tucker cover.

Let’s just hope it’s Tucker-proof. If not, Tucker is going to be in big, big trouble.


21 May

My two animals teamed up last night. I was on the phone upstairs when I heard a crash.

Murray the cat is always getting into things, so I didn’t think much of it. But then a few minutes later, I heard Tucker bark, sounding really upset.

So I got up off my comfy bed and went downstairs. That was when I discovered both animals in the laundry room. Murray had knocked over the Costco-sized box of milkbones that I keep on top of the dryer, and all of the milkbones were gone except for one. Murray was standing close to that milkbone on top of the dryer, and Tucker was pissed. HE wanted that milkbone.

There must have been about 20 milkbones left in the box, so my assumption is that Tucker got 19 or so of them, and was wanting the 20th one, too.

It was really quite a scene. I’m not sure if Murray ate any of the milkbones… I actually doubt he did. But I hadn’t yet fed Tucker, so I figured his dinner was the mikbones that he accessed thanks to his feline brother.