Thursday, December 23, 2010

Warm Holiday Wishes

It doesn't feel much like Christmastime here in Texas at the moment. Until yesterday, it was sunny, dry, and in the mid-80s.

If there's dead grass in the photo, I know it's winter. Or possibly summer.
I tried to get the dogs to make a cute Christmas photo in front of the tree. This was a total failure.

"So, what's my motivation in this scene?"

"OOOOHHHH!!!! A chance to be the center of attention!! Move over!"


"Yeah! Front row!! Here I am!"

"Dozer? Where are you going?"

"O hai! What's that little flashy box you're holding?"

Though Dozer has always had an obvious distaste for Star (who schmoozes and fawns on him obliviously), only recently has he been actively avoiding her. In fact, many of us are avoiding her. Her breath reeks. Consequently, she will be going in for a dental cleaning next week. This will be her first time under anesthesia since we got her... and really, her first time at the vet's office for anything more than an annual checkup.

Dozer is also going for surgery next week. He has an odd little skin bump that would be harmless anywhere else, but unfortunately, it's on the underside of his eyelid and is likely irritating his cornea.

As you may recall, Dozer's Christmas gift last year was a second knee surgery. His Christmas gift this year is eyelid surgery. Poor old guy, no wonder he's such a Scrooge. :)

Happy Holidays!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Foster kitteh

What have I done??
Approx six-week-old kitten
Yeah, I fell for that little face. Well, Byrd fell for it first.

I was out on the town on Black Friday when I got a text message from Byrd: we have kittens. I called him right then and there. Sometimes it's better to convey one's thoughts directly. Mine were: "WTF do you mean, 'we have kittens'?!?" (My sister and mom, two cat lovers who were in the car with me, squealed in unison.)

The truth was that we had one kitten, and it was hiding in the pipe that went under our driveway, and was unwilling to come out without a fight. Rather than leave it there overnight with the first freeze of the year upon us, I put the live trap at one end of the pipe, and slowly shoved a PVC pipe through the other end. Into the live trap it went, hissing and spitting like a tiny evil demon.

She's significantly tamed down after a bit of food and quiet. And now she's my newest foster.

"Chibi," aka "Tiny" for the U.S. crowd
I gave her a bath on the first day. I was not prepared for the fleas. Do you know what a fire ant mound looks like when you step on it? The fleas swarmed similarly as I rinsed the baby kitten with Dawn. The water ran bloody red. I spent several hours picking off fleas, but she still has tons. (Currently working on securing a better flea treatment.)

My tasks this week are getting her vetted and scheduled for spay. These costs are coming out of my pocket for this kitten because we're doing the foster independent from any rescue group.

Although I prefer to foster for rescue groups, because they cover medical costs, this is not an option for Tiny. The local rescue/foster groups pull directly from kill shelters--they don't take animals from the community. So I cannot "surrender" Tiny to a no-kill group and let them rehome her. I would have to drop Tiny off at the local open-intake (kill) shelter, and hope that a rescue group pulled her or someone adopted her before she was euthed. There's always the chance that Tiny might be killed by the shelter in such a scenario.

So I'm doing the foster, the vetting, the spay, and the rehoming legwork myself this time. Merry Christmas, kitteh. Your vet bills are going to eat up a good chunk of the money I was going to spend on Christmas gifts this year. :P

Oh well. It's a good learning experience for Star, whose only previous experience with cats went like this:

Me: What a nice garden center. Look at all these plants, Star!
Star: Oh yes, what nice plants. I shall smell this big one here. Sniff sniff.
Cat leaps from behind plant and claws Star across the face.
Me: Dear God, the plant is trying to kill us!! No... wait...
Cat: Nyaaah! Stoopid dog! (runs off)
Star: MY FACE!! I will DESTROY YOU!!! ...Where'd it go?
Me: Too late. You got whupped by a cat. (mops up cat-inflicted wounds)

Star hasn't been too keen on cats since the day her face got shredded by one. I don't really blame her. But I've been looking for an opportunity to desensitize her to cats in a controlled environment. This is a baby step.
"It's one of those evil THINGS! In MY HOUSE!"

"Gee, you sure have a lot of toys in there."

"When am I going to get that many toys?"
Actually, the toys are on loan from my sister's cat.

Okay, I promised a foster puppy update. I've gotten pics from a few of the adoptive families, and I got to see King Louie on Friday. The pups are a little over four months old now. If they're anything like Louie, they must all be total dolls. Louie was a class act.

Momma Nancy was a Boston Terrier x Beagle. Daddy was a mystery. Puppy Louie looks a bit like a Saint Bernard, Chow, Cocker Spaniel, or Dachshund. He's got thick fur, but his body is long and his legs are short. He's the most adorable, friendly, playful little furball... and surprisingly quiet, considering he was the leader of the Scream Team when he was born. 
King Louie, now King Louis
Bowser, now Maverick
Princess Daisy, now Sister
That's all for now... I'm hoping to get more updates when they are six months old!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

What a computer virus taught me about feeds

So my desktop computer caught a virus last week. I don't know how that happened, considering we have three different virus scanners running on that thing, and they all scream at me every time I try to do anything on that machine. But it happened. And my desktop stopped booting.

I lost neither files nor time. The desktop files were able to be retrieved and saved to an external hard drive.
And I have a very nice laptop where I do most of my real work. So the desktop can go off to the computer repair center to be fixed up.

The only thing I never set up on my laptop was email. I used webmail to check email from the laptop as needed, and I used Outlook on my desktop to download the emails and store them offline.

With the desktop dead, I suddenly lost the email organization once provided by Outlook. I now had to keep up with six different email addresses somehow. So I caved in to peer pressure (my sister), and started using Microsoft Live Mail to check and sort through all the email.

And boy am I glad I did. I won't say it's a perfect system by any means, BUT I immediately noticed an interesting feature up at the top: Unread Feeds.

Here's where the story gets embarrassing.

My old-school Outlook hadn't had this feature. I observed that I had approximately 1300 unread feeds. What feeds were these, anyway? I clicked on the Unread Feeds box and found myself reading new and old posts from several blogs that I enjoyed.

I was, I admit, floored by this technological miracle. Previous to this discovery, in order to read blogs, I'd made it a habit to personally click on the link to each and every blog I wanted to follow. Once there, I had to figure out where I'd left off and whether there were any new posts. Doing this for the 40+ blogs I wanted to read required a minimum 1-hr chunk of quiet time to click and look—and even longer if there were new posts. It became almost unmanageable to find that hour of time, much less to comment.

I felt sure that there was a better way to do it, likely using these mysterious feeds that everyone subscribed to. But figuring it out would have taken some time I just didn't have.

And then the virus made me upgrade my email program, and the new posts started magically appearing in my mailbox. How easy, how relaxing, to see the new posts and comment on them as they arrived, rather than forging through 40 or more in one sitting!

I have one puzzle left, which is--how does my email program know which blogs I want to follow? For some reason, Windows Live Mail has some, but not all, of my favorite blogs in the feed list. How it came up with this list, I can't figure out. How to add the rest of the blogs, I also can't determine.

It might take me a while to get around to fixing the settings.

I can't believe it took a virus to shove me into the 21st century. I feel so out of touch.

Next time: I gots me some foster puppy updated pics!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

The Fetch Incident

What happens when one dog runs face-first into another dog at full speed?

Dozer, post-collision
The story, as I was told it, went like this: Poor Star was just sitting in the yard, minding her own business, when the frisbee toy came sailing down and landed softly beside her. She leaned over to pick it up, and SURPRISE! she got a mouthful of Dozer's face instead.

Dozer lives to fetch. He is a retriever in a pit bull body. Unfortunately, out in the yard, he becomes a mindless fetch zombie, and is well known for his indiscriminate, unstoppable battering-ram fetch style. The fact that he's 90 lbs does not make this a safe exercise for anything in his way. Frisbee throwers are instructed to make sure his path is clear of any object larger than a golf ball.

Over the years, fetch has resulted in broken teeth, ACL tear, bloody paws (carpet burn effect), bloody cuts, missing fur, and a kinked tail.

Considering these effects, I have forbidden the game. My husband, on the other hand, is a sucker. He plays fetch with Dozer when I'm not home to stop him.

Which is why the first question out of my mouth when I came home on this particular day was, "Ohmigod, why does my dog look like he's been in a bar fight?!?"

Star still loves her best buddy Dozer, even though he crashed into her with such force that she did two complete backward somersaults. I appreciate the tolerance that Star has. I'm not sure how a lesser dog would have reacted, but Star apparently brushed the whole incident off as just-another-thing-that-happened-to-me-today.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Pit bull ownership: a felony?

Texas is about to start the 2011 legislative session. Already, East Texas legislators have been presented with a proposal to ban pit bulls.

The proposal would make a felon out of anyone who is found in possession of a "pit bull" (currently defined in the proposal as APBT, AST, SBT, AB, mixes, and any dog that resembles one).

Probably aware that a ban is a longshot, the group has a fallback proposal: force "pit bull" owners to follow a variety of special restrictions, e.g. muzzles, special containment, special license, liability insurance, etc.

Being a Texan "pit bull" owner myself, I'm deeply concerned not only about the proposal, but about the logic driving it.

East Texas has a dog problem. A large number of abusive, neglectful, irresponsible dog owners reside there--and their unfortunate dogs happen to be "pit bulls" (the most common type of dog, because the definition is so vague and generic). Because much of East Texas is rural and impoverished, many of those areas have pathetic dog laws--not even a leash law in many areas--and they are lacking in animal control officers, dog owner resources (spay/neuter clinics, training classes, etc.), and humane societies.

But while East Texas wants to deal with their dog problems by getting rid of "pit bulls," the rest of the state doesn't seem to need such regulations. In my area, for instance, we have three nearby low-cost spay/neuter clinics; regular vaccination clinics; more humane societies, rescue groups, and shelters than I can count on one hand; training classes galore; a highly responsive animal control department; and decent dog laws that let AC do their job before there's a real problem.

We still have a "pit bull" problem, in that there are tons of "pit bulls" in our local shelters. Again, that's due to the extremely vague definition of the term "pit bull," resulting in almost any medium-sized, short-haired dog being labeled as such. (I suppose what we really have is a shelter glut of short-haired dogs.)

But around here, "pit bull" isn't such a dirty word as in East Texas. We have several active groups in the animal community that stick up for pit bulls, educate about them, and work hard to rescue, train, and rehome them. The normalization of pit bulls--that is, the framing of pit bulls as pets and family dogs--has reduced their desirability with thugs and idiots.

Love-A-Bull, in particular, has been boldly pushing responsible ownership values, and their large group of responsible, upstanding, pit bull-owning supporters has demonstrated to the less-responsible crowd, as well as the general public, that "pit bulls" are not necessarily status symbols or badass dawgs. These dogs can don pink tutus and glittery bunny ears, and parade amongst hundreds of other "pit bulls," and not have a mentionable incident. The theme of spay/neuter was prominent at Love-A-Bull's heavily-attended Pit Bull Awareness event last week--much to the crowd's pleasure.

A pit bull ban would only infect the rest of Texas with the pit bull problems experienced by East Texas. The attitude of the general populace toward a particular breed ultimately becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. When you portray a particular breed as dangerous, scary, evil, or threatening--as they have done in East Texas, and as breed-specific laws do--you will find that that breed becomes used almost exclusively in a negative manner.

Just ask Ohio about the results of their breed-specific state law:
Shawn Webster, a Butler County [Ohio] veterinarian and former state representative . . . believes Ohio’s singling out of the breed has helped foster the vicious stereotype, and led gang members and drug dealers to seek them as status symbols and for protection.

“From that point on, the population of pit bulls exploded,” he said. “I think it’s put a stereotype on this breed that’s been harmful to everyone involved.”
Only through social normalization of the breed, and intolerance for irresponsible human behaviors--as is being worked toward in Austin and other areas--can you reduce the number of thugs and irresponsible jerks who acquire the dogs for inappropriate purposes.

Get with the program, East Texas.

Friday, November 05, 2010

Hives and staph and allergies, oh my!

Dozer has allergies. (If you follow this blog, this is not new.)

They were once seasonal and a simple cortisone shot could get him through the worst of it, but for the last couple years, the allergies have been year-round.

Dozer's third and most recent bout of staph sent us to a specialist. Who knew there were canine dermatologists? And that there was a good one just around the corner from my house?

So off we went to the dermatologist. Her office was fancy. I think the level of office fanciness is a big clue that you're now in Specialist Land, because Dozer's orthopedic specialist had a similarly swanky pad. We're talking polished concrete floors, vaulted ceilings with cedar beams, a plethora of looming tropical indoor plants, huge windows gazing out into greenbelt. Nothing resembling the cheap white tile and plain white walls of the regular vet.

The new strategy is a food allergy trial, meaning a restricted diet. Dozer eats nothing but a special rabbit-and-potato kibble for the next six weeks or more. He can't eat anything with artificial flavors, meaning he has to have ivermectin instead of the standard beef-flavored heartworm medicine. A few natural vegetables, like carrots and pumpkin, are okay.

Dozer HATES his special food. I think it smells awful, so I sympathize. I mix canned pumpkin into the food and it becomes magically delicious. Go figure.

Dozer also got a four-week course of cephalexin to treat the staph infection. Those pills go into a spoonful of pumpkin twice a day.

Just when I thought, hey, we might get this stuff under control after all... HIVES. The worst case of hives he's ever had.

I have no idea what set him off, but when he came up to me on Monday morning looking unhappy, I noticed the raised red weals all over his stomach. Blotchy, but not horrible. Yet.

Day 1
When they didn't disappear in a few hours, I called the dermatologist. The dermatologist advised giving him four Benadryl every eight hours. Now, I know Benadryl is the popular solution for many histamine reactions like hives, and it does work well for some dogs, but for whatever reason, Dozer has never really responded to Benadryl. But then again, four Benadryl sounded like a mega-dose that nothing could stand up to, so I decided to try it.

Hello? Benadryl? You working?
By the next morning, Dozer was one giant hive. His stomach was red as a tomato (and turning purple and even brown in places), his feet were puffy like marshmallows, and the hives had moved into the areas where the staph was already a problem, so he basically looked horribly diseased. Through another phone consultation, the dermatologist agreed I should take him to our regular vet for some serious intervention.

At the regular vet (who said, without batting an eye, "Wow, his skin is really inflamed"), Dozer got a cortisone shot, and some take-home prednisone pills for the next week.

Day 2

The dark spots aren't freckles--they are uber-hives.
Dozer's stomach is usually uniformly pale.
 It took another 24 hours for the swelling to go down. Dozer gets two cephalexin and a prednisone pill twice a day. Here we are four days after the initial event, and he still has blotches and scabby spots.

Sure wish I knew what happened so I could get rid of whatever it is/was.

Anyway, I'm still hopeful we can get a handle on his allergies, despite this ridiculous setback. We may resume allergy shots if the food trial turns up negative for food allergies.

Here is a totally off-topic closing quip for your enjoyment.

Text message exchange between me and my sister:

Me: i wanna put my recycling in your receptacle

Sister: dirty

Friday, October 15, 2010

Some stories

Lumps and Bumps

With Dozer less than a month away from his 10th birthday, I've become super-paranoid about his health. Most recently, I observed two new lumps under his skin, and went into a panic.

He's prone to fatty lipomas, which are harmless lumps, so I should have realistically determined that these were likely just more of the same. But no, I obsessed. Every day, I poked at them, and made Byrd poke at them, and talked about how large they were getting, and how they could be cancerous.

Several days of this was enough to work Byrd into a panic as well, and he finally told me to take Dozer to the vet and get the lumps checked out.

So I did, and sure enough, they were just a couple of lipomas. And small ones at that; the vet had trouble finding them, and when I ran my hand over the spots and guided him to the lumps, he muttered, "Geeze, you're good at finding these."

Okay, so maybe I sit down with my dog every single night and give him a thorough rubdown for lumps and scrapes and other things. I'm sure that's something every dog owner does, right? Right?? I'm not obsessed. I just care. A lot.

The Mouse in the House, Part V

If you recall some months ago, we had a mouse in the house, that caused a bit of chaos. Well, technically, Byrd caused the chaos by tearing the kitchen apart.

After that mouse, we saw signs of another mouse in the house (mostly in the form of chewed-on fruit in the fruit bowl, and Star barking into the kitchen late at night), so I put the live trap out on the counter. Sure enough, within a few days I had a mouse in my live trap. Then a few weeks later, another. Then another. Each time, I walked out to the far corner of the yard and let the mouse free.

Every one of these have been little Deer mice or Texas mice--cute little field mice with big round eyes and chubby bodies. They aren't the big, slinky, traditional "house" mice. We've never had a mouse problem prior to this year, so I started wondering where on earth all these mice are coming from. And why were we only getting one at a time?

Last night, I investigated a racket coming from the kitchen and discovered that the mouse trap had been tripped yet again. And this was no placid, terrified mouse. This was a lively one. The trap was scooting all over the counter.

I carried the trap out to the front yard, rather than the back yard, and flipped it open. Another Texas mouse. When I dumped him out into the flower bed, he sat there and stared at me. His look said !@#$@# It's cold out here. I went inside, set the trap up on the counter out of habit, and went back to bed.

Four hours later, the trap was alive again. I stood there in the kitchen, at 4 am, in my bathrobe, and watched the trap jiggle across the counter. I'd never caught two mice in one night. Much less two very brazen, noisy ones.

Then I realized that there was a distinct possibility that this was the same mouse. It certainly had the same spirited personality inside the trap. It also knew exactly where to go for delicious peanut butter.

In fact, how probable was it that all of the mice I'd caught thus far were in fact the exact same critter? It would certainly explain how each new mouse seemed increasingly familiar with the nooks and crannies of our house. It would also explain this mouse's lack of timidity around (and inside) the live trap. And it might even be the reason why I caught this mouse in record time--because he already knew the fastest way back inside.

So this time, I left the mouse in the trap until morning. In the morning, Star and I went on a walk.

Star carried the mouse trap, with the mouse, in her backpack. I found it incredibly ironic that the mouse she always tried so hard to corner was now actually a foot from her face.

Totally oblivious to the fact that she's carting around her nemesis.
"Achoo!! What smells like rodent?"
We walked a quarter mile down the street, to the cow fields at the edge of town. From here, there was no way in hell that this mouse was going to find its way back to my place. I put Star in a down-stay and opened the trap at the cattle fence. It was a beautiful day, sunny, with a breeze, and the smell of cow patties and hay wafting across the thick grassy fields. This is where a Texas mouse should live.

But the Texas mouse had other ideas. He refused to come out of the trap. I knocked the trap on the ground until he tumbled out. He whipped around and raced between my legs, then started climbing--up my pants. His fur was matted with peanut butter and he looked desperate and pitiful. I knocked him off my pants into the deep grass, grabbed Star, and ran out of there before the mouse could jump into her backpack for the return trip.

Star either did not notice the whole affair, or did not care. She was in 100% Angel Mode for some reason. I'm lying down, being good... The grass smells like cow... Why are you jumping about? What? Are we leaving already? Make up your mind. Yes, okay, I'm getting up. Ow, hang on, I've got a burr in my paw.

And we walked back home, with me checking the backpack occasionally to make sure we didn't have a rodent hitchhiker.

Class and Work

There's no story here. Two jobs plus two math-based (blargh) college classes plus website duties make Jen a dull girl. The good news is that I'm working from home for both of my jobs (for now), so I don't have to waste time on a commute, and I can juggle priorities easily.

That's also sort of the bad news, because I have a very hard time putting down the work in order to do normal things like eating and sleeping. The work is always there, calling to me, and I have to leave home to get away from it.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

And they're gone

All the foster puppies went to their new homes yesterday.

I cried a little bit.

Typical day in the nursery

When the two girls conspire, you know there's gonna be trouble.

Big boy Bowser and little Yoshi were play buddies.

Yoshi won every puppy battle. Bowser preferred to roll around.

Princess Peach was the rowdiest of the bunch.

Princess Daisy loved to sneak behind me and bite me on the butt while I wasn't looking, then clamber into my lap with a blinding halo over her furry little head.
For a while, I thought Mario would never get adopted. When prospective owners came to visit, he would fall asleep behind the toilet.
King Louie was the biggest goofball. Here I caught him passed out with his head in the crook of the toilet base. It made him snore incredibly loudly.
After a struggle, I regained my senses and ultimately decided not to adopt Luigi. But I admit, I kept hoping his adoptive family would back out so I could keep him.
So long, little guys. Good luck in your new homes...

I realized as I went through all the puppy photos that I didn't get any pictures of the puppies with Dozer or Star. Not that they really hung out at all.

Dozer thought of the puppies the way a person might think of a pillbug--strange little pests, not worth even a sliver of interest. He usually acted as if they weren't even there, though he did a good job of not stepping on them.

Star was... Star. Weird and silly. She developed a habit of strolling over to the nursery and making gutteral grunts and grumbles through the baby gate, as if holding some sort of conversation with the swarm of puppies. You know those YouTube videos of dogs that say "wow wuff wroo" and people in the background say "Awww! I love you too!!"? Star's conversation was a bit like that, a very human-sounding babble.

And so, life resumes its "normal" pace. I'm about to go back to work full-time, on top of the freelance job I'm working. And I'm still taking economics and statistics classes too.

Don't even get me started on the massive list of extracurricular items I want to tackle by year end.

In other news... new mailbox, completed front wall, and functional wall lights! Yeah! One more project crossed off the list.

The folks across the street had their mailbox stoned in at the same time, so we match.

Monday, September 06, 2010

Foster puppies, week six

WARNING: The puppies in these photos are disturbingly adorable. Be sure to view them in a well-lit room, and stay back from the screen. I do not assume liability for any side effects you may experience from viewing these photos, including an overwhelming urge to squeeze a puppy.

Here are the pups' glamour shots at six weeks old. These are going on the web--the pre-adopt process begins this week. (Tell your Austin-area friends!)

Nancy, the momma dog
King Louie
Princess Peach
Princess Daisy
Well, I admit, I haven't submitted Luigi's adoption info or photos yet. I'm struggling with an inner voice that tells me he's my puppy. It tells me to write a really awful bio so that no one would even consider adopting him.

Nancy is officially DONE with these pups. She still has some milk, so they swarm her whenever she comes into their room, but it's not enough to satiate them--and Nancy runs all over the room like she stepped in a fire ant mound, so they don't have much of a chance to latch on.

What this means, for me, is a new cycle of feeding and cleaning up that takes almost all day, every day. I feed them, then I change their newspaper (which, with seven puppies, is completely soiled as soon as they finish eating), then I wipe the floor and change out towels and dishes, then I rotate through them so they each get some solo time in another part of the house or yard. That process takes 2-3 hours. Then I have about an hour to myself while they nap. Then it's feeding time, and the cycle starts anew.

Mega Thanks are owed to:
  • My cat-loving sister, who helped me do all kinds of things to the puppies today: bathe, dry, trim nails, take photos, wrangle puppies, and socialize them. Amazingly, she even kept cuddling after Peach pooped on her.
  • Byrd, who, on his birthday no less, helped me take Nancy and the pups to the medical building for their six-week vaccinations. All seven puppies AND Nancy got car sick--the result was something I can't describe in polite company. The worst part was that they got car sick within the first five minutes of a two-hour-long round trip. And in Texas this time of year, it's too hot to drive with the windows rolled down. What a birthday present.
  • My dad, who has been faithfully providing me with mounds of desperately needed newspaper. I couldn't do it without the newspaper.
  • All of you, dear readers, who are undoubtedly calling up your Austin-area friends at this very moment, and telling them to go to Austin Pets Alive to adopt the world's cutest puppies!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Puppies, week four

We're into the middle of week four with the foster puppies, and I finally have some videos. I even added some elevator music. Enjoy!

Here are some highlights from the puppies at three weeks old. At this time, they were living in a large box that a nice person gave to me for free.

Here are the puppies at almost four weeks old. They were being incredibly cute, so I didn't edit the video. Consequently, it's a bit long, but if you really need a puppy fix, here you go.

And here are the puppies recently, at four weeks. They have moved out of the box and now have most of the floor in our guest bathroom for running around.

This is probably my favorite video. The puppies are really in their cutest stage right now. Can you guess which one is my favorite? :)

It's a pretty far cry from a month ago, when they were like this:

Friday, August 20, 2010

To be fair, I didn't invite it in

Text exchange between me and Byrd

Me: Sad to report we have another mouse in the house. I think bcause no sheetrock in back room. Critters wander in from outside.

Byrd: bs they think its a flop house after seeing u bring in all these animals

Well played, sir.

In other news, the puppies are in the dangerously adorable stage, so no photos right now. Your eyes will bleed and you will vomit. They are just that cute, and I don't want to be responsible for your medical bills. Photos to come, later, when they are less cute.

If you recall, or you may not, I am taking a series of prerequisite undergrad courses as I apply for grad school in pursuit of an MPA. The prereq courses are intro to accounting, microeconomics, macroeconomics, and statistics. Sounds fun, right? (Barf.)

Summer semester is over. The accounting professor said to me "I don't know why you're in this class." Possibly because the students were asking me to tutor them. The microecon professor told me (ironically) that I should be a proofreader, because I kept emailing her with corrections to the quiz questions. Hey, I ignored the minor typos and whatnot. I only sent her the major problems, like answers that were, um, totally wrong. Anyway, I made an A in both classes, hooray.

Fall semester starts next week. I will be in a statistics class and macroeconomics. Both are online courses. The macroeconomics course has already opened for the more ambitious folks, and I was very excited to see that the first 4 of 12 chapters are identical to the first four microeconomics chapters. So I will only have to read 75% of the total material, since I remember 25% of it from last semester. Yay!

I am biding my time waiting for the graduate school application to open up. I can't even start on it until next month, and then I won't know if I'm accepted until January or something, and then I don't even start the degree until Fall 2011. Argh! Impatient!!

Next Tuesday I take the GMAT. I'm ready for it. I think. I hate the math part. But I generally do well on standardized tests, and I never did learn how to study for things like this, so I'm not stressed. I don't know what to be stressed about. Ignorance really is bliss!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Foster puppies, week three

The puppies are now 18 days old. Here are the updated glamour shots.

King Louie. This guy knows how to play it. He will scream AT THE TOP OF HIS LUNGS until you pick him up. Then he's all sunshine and rainbows and cuddles and sleepy round adorable baby, and you forget why you have a pounding headache.

Princess Peach. Along with Louie and Bowser, Peach is one of the "scream team," though she's a lot quieter now that her eyes are open and she can avoid getting stuck behind things.

Mario. He's a big, quiet, slow fellow. He doesn't do much except sleep.
Luigi. My personal favorite, the most developmentally advanced of the group, and very easy going. He's almost walking on his own now.
Princess Daisy. She chirps like a prairie dog. She's a really quiet, sweet puppy that gets trompled on by everyone else.
Yoshi. The smallest puppy. He likes to sit and stare with HUGE round eyeballs and a bobbly head. Freakin' adorable. He's so dangerously cute, I have to constantly resist the urge to squeeze him until he pops.
Bowser. The BIG boy. His two talents are screaming, and peeing. Once you get him started peeing, be prepared to wipe for about three minutes.
Poor Nancy can't hold up against the swarm of hungry puppies. I have to supplement with formula occasionally.
So that's the crew.

Nancy avoids the puppies whenever possible. I have to make her lie down or sit down to feed them every few hours--and I have to sit there and make sure she doesn't run off while they're eating. I also have to: pee and poop them, bottle feed them, comfort them when they're crying, medicate them as necessary, clean up after them, etc.

I'm going to be SO glad when they're weaned and pottying on their own! No more 2 am / 6 am potty times...

Star and Dozer have taken this invasion in stride. Since the puppies aren't vaccinated yet, we have to keep their exposure to our dogs at a minimum anyway. So the pups and Nancy stay in our guest bathroom, and our dogs are not allowed in there.

Sometimes I will bring a puppy (usually Louie, who is screaming to be held) out of the bathroom with me. Dozer could care less. Star is very curious, but not so much that she's naughty. She likes to gently smell the puppy, then run off and do zoomies at a safe distance. Dozer gives a few sniffs, but shows very little interest in anything more.

I don't mind the puppies myself, but they are SO much work, I can't do this again any time soon; I don't have the time or energy for it. One puppy is a lot of work, seven puppies is truly a full time job!

Anyway, if you live in the Austin area, tell all your friends: these pups (and Nancy!) will be available for adoption in mid-September, from Austin Pets Alive.