Friday, November 28, 2008

black friday

Things are not so busy at the gallery today. We aren't really a "Black Friday" kind of place. No sale tables, no huge discounts, no specials for the day.

But there are some things at the gallery that are BLACK. And some things that are sometimes at the gallery that are BLACK.

Niso Maman, "Female Torso," steel and black auto paint

Jacques-Philippe Hebert, "Bouteille Magique," murano glass, acrylic and epoxy on canvas

Viviane Case-Fox, "Black Bouquet," oil on canvas

Itzik Benshalom, "Seated Couple in Ebony," limited edition bronze

Madison, gallery mascot and darling of Las Olas Boulevard

Madison is at home today with the teen-human and H-Mom's son, who is 24-years old and an architect in Chicago. He is very tall and very kind and very much a dog-lover. He told the teen-human that when she takes Madison for a WALK, she should take her for a really good long walk, that she should really get into it. Sometimes he thinks that he in charge of the teen-human, even though he is just a brother.

Then he volunteered to take Madison out.

Just take off the pink collar and the pink leash, he said. He isn't a "metro" kind of guy. Man-Dad can handle the pink accessories, but the Architect put his foot down.

He was very serious about the expedition. Madison will certainly be tired when they get back.

Who cares about Black Friday when there is someone new to entertain you right at home?

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

sleeping on my feet

As I type, Madison is sound asleep on my feet, under the desk at the gallery.

She is getting bigger by the day - she gets weighed at the vet next week to keep tabs on her Heartguard and Advantix dosage. And to make sure that she is gaining weight at an optimum rate, not too fast so as not to stress her joints with too much bone mass, too quickly. This is a concern in large breed dogs, with dysplasia issues. Madison's parents are both hip certified "good" so we are not worried, just being diligent to take the best care of her that we can.

It is hard to believe that just about 5 months ago, she was this little. This is Madison with her littermates and her mama dog, Ariel.

Madison was so well behaved at the dog park today. Her recall is pretty good, considering the excitement of play and chase and finding odd things, not to mention really stinky well-used tennis balls. She comes when called, charging, full out and just about crashing into my legs. And, she comes when I shout "Go Home," waiting by the gate. I haven't had to chase her in circles even once, unlike some of the dog owners who have to run after oblivious or stubborn dogs in order to leave.

Madison has great vision. Today Madison found:

  1. Black wrap-around sunglasses
  2. Alien spaceship toy
  3. 7" of green garden hose
  4. McDonald's bag
  5. a foot of yellow marine rope

With each of these items she pranced in circles, showing off for the other dogs. She did a great job with "Release," though, when H-Mom honed in on the bounty.

The stinky tennis balls are abundant and a fine substitute for any odd treasure.

Monday, November 24, 2008

extra special calendar

Booker has to be lounging proud at the Bridge, because his gorgeous hound dog face is featured in the American Black and Tan Coonhound Rescue 2009 calendar.

H-Mom and Man-Dad just got theirs in the mail. They both almost started all this crying stuff again. Booker looks just perfect for December. He is happily luxuriating on the leather sofa, his favorite place, and giving the camera that sad, tired coonhound look.

If you need a calendar full of gorgeous dog photos, check it out. The purchase benefits Rescue. H-Mom really loves looking at the hounds. What a remarkable group of all-American dogs.

We are so sad that Booker didn't make it. It's nice to have him in the calendar to show everyone our "poster boy."

Friday, November 21, 2008

big woof, little package

After the dog park this morning, we stopped to get a car wash. There was a huge bird shit on the rear window, splattered in an very unflattering pattern across the tail lights and bumper. And, Madison needed a little more dry-time from her foot bath after the dog park.

We pulled in, requested the full wash, and then H-Mom signaled the team of vacuum and rag-wielding washers to wait while she unloaded Madison from the backseat. When she was out of the car, the cleaning crew jumped to action.

H-Mom was paying at the little plexiglass window, her back to the activity. Madison was standing nicely on her leash.

There was a huge WOOF. A serious WOOF.

H-Mom turned around quickly to see who the other dog was.

One of the workers, in a hooded sweatshirt and ball cap, was mid-jump, moving 5-feet backwards. Madison was standing very still, with her eyes on him.

H-Mom almost laughed. "Was that HER?"

The hooded suspect nodded incredulously and backed away. He had come toward H-Mom from behind, to pet Madison. He put his hands up in a gesture of surrender and shook his head "never mind."

The instinct to guard is very strong. And Madison was doing her very best guardian-puppy imitation. Even at 4-1/2 months, she is imposing when standing at attention.

If approaching Madison's family from the rear, looking like a mugger, we are thinking that it is best to announce your approach and be greeted amiably by the human-in-charge. Then, and quite likely only then, can you pet the puppy.

Madison obviously has a job to do, and an excellent work ethic.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

november sunshine

The weather is starting to get nasty up north, so H-Mom thought she would share a picture of November in Fort Lauderdale.

The clematis is in full bloom and the sun is shining. (H-Mom thinks it's clematis. She is not much of a horticulturalist.)

This morning, before the sun rose, the temperature was 56 degrees, and by noon, when Madison got an afternoon walk through the lovely old neighborhood known as "Rio Vista," it was in the low-70's.

H-Mom even took off her fleece jacket and tied it around her waist. She can't believe that at the beginning of our third winter away from Chicago, she is becoming such a weather-sissy.

Rio Vista is a beautiful neighborhood for long walks, and today Madison was very well-behaved on the leash. Which means she didn't attempt to eat everything within snapping distance and actually WALKED instead of digging in her feet in a sudden irrational H-A-L-T or flopping out on the grass in total disregard of the direction of travel.

She is really starting to get this "walking" concept. Today H-Mom and Madison did a long walk, not too fast, with lots of time to appreciate the sunny side of the street and chat with locals.

H-Mom is very pleased because taking long walks was one of her favorite things to do with Booker, and she really misses that time -- exploring side streets and discovering little parks or peeking through fences at the huge homes, some old and some very new.

Just south of downtown Fort Lauderdale and the Las Olas shopping district, Rio Vista is one of the oldest communities in the area. Following WWII, the city of Fort Lauderdale numbered about 2,000 residents. Sixty years later, the population of Fort Lauderdale is near 153,000.

Fort Lauderdale is a very "young" city, and its neighborhoods are not very old.

The boom of the 1920’s created an era of growth, prosperity, and transportation that transformed the city from an agricultural to a resort community. Residential areas developed, and major landholder Miami resident Mary Brickell is recorded to have the first plat of the area. C.J. Hector purchased the land upon her death, and began his “River View” development concept and by February of 1923, approximately 5,000 feet of sidewalk was laid and streetlights installed.

This is one of the oldest houses in Rio Vista, sitting right on the New River, with lots of grassy lawn, a long, weathered dock with welcoming lawn chairs and fishing pole holders, and quirky little "Floridian" decorating touches, like the fish mounted outside next to the front door. The bronze plate with the street number says, "Built in 1923."

Another sign says, "Private Property." We guess it looks just a little too inviting to casual strollers.

Today, Rio Vista is kind of a little land-locked paradise in the center of Fort Lauderdale, with approximately 1000 homes bounded by Federal Highway (US 1) on the west, the New River on the north, and the Intracoastal Waterway on the east. It's southern boundary is a one-way street. Rio Vista is not a neighborhood that you can "cut through," and it is perfect for bike rides and jogs.

And dog walks.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

angel minutes devil minutes

Puppies have "angel days" and "devil days," says one article on bite inhibition.

Madison can go from being an angel one minute to a nipping devil the next. Giant Schnauzers were bred to herd cattle, and Madison is true to her breed, with a natural mouthiness that is exacerbated by very bothersome baby teeth.

Yesterday evening, she made Man-Dad angry. Three times going down the hall, on the way in from a walk in the stimulating, nippy cool weather that we are having lately, Madison jumped up in the air and grabbed Man-Dad's hand. She has strong jaws. He shouted NO and, in her mind, the game was on. She is a puppy and her access to "brakes" is sporadic.

And we are all very gun shy.

We just had this problem. We just dealt with this kind of crisis. It is difficult not to put the word "aggression" into the equation.

But we must reteach ourselves, while we teach Madison.

We are not dealing with demons from a rescue dog's past life.

We just have a little devil for a minute.

A firm "NO" and a hand placed around the muzzle until she calms down will suffice. And we are keeping a tennis ball on the table, next to the leash. It is more intelligent to redirect Madison's excitement and desire to have something in her mouth, than to set her up for punishment.

Walking down the bowling alley-like hallway on the way in from a quick walk or potty break is the perfect opportunity to roll a tennis ball and play a couple rounds of low-key fetch. Then a "sit" at the door, and a "wait" before she goes in.

And Madison earns a "GOOD GIRL."

Tuesday, November 18, 2008


H-Mom can't stop messing around with the blog. She thinks that this template looks good. If she changes this. Then flips this color. Uses a different font. Juggles around the elements.

We just figure that as Madison grows, so will the blog.


Or she will just keep moving things around, changing this and tweaking that and confusing everyone.

This is Madison, watching H-Mom on the computer at the gallery.

She has little cupcakes on her collar. Pink and white and brown cupcakes.

This is our current inspiration.

i have eyes

Right in time for oddly cool temperatures in Fort Lauderdale, Madison got a modified schnauzer cut. It is in the 70's during the day, and drops to the 50's at night. It's actually chilly. H-Mom has been saying "freezing" a lot, but that is silly. She was born in Wisconsin and lived in Chicago for decades. Since when did 50 become "freezing?"

Madison seems to feel great, though. She is frisky and acting not-at-all naked.

What was hiding behind those straggly puppy eyebrows? Madison has eyes, intense brown, serious, intelligent eyes.

She was a dream at the groomer - Continental Pet in Fort Lauderdale - a perfect regal little, I-have-good-bloodlines puppy. She even posed on the grooming table while she was being clipped.

She looks beautiful, and is turning heads everywhere we go. Her long legs and lean body look perfect.

H-Mom thought that the clip might reduce the dust-mop effect post-dogpark, though. Not a chance. This morning, when Madison got up from her nap, there was an outline of park-grit in the shape of a snoozing puppy.

The Miele will now stay out of the closet.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

the story of how Madison found us

We had just had our Treeing Walker, Booker, put to sleep because of dangerous rage and attack issues, and were heartbroken. All of our dog-blogging friends made us feel so much better, and kept us remembering that we really LOVE dogs and that we LOVE having a dog to love.

On Sunday morning, very early, we were talking "DOGS." What kind we would have and remembering all the dogs, both the wonderful ones and the difficult ones and the ones we cried about losing, and Man-Dad made some suggestions, and H-Mom googled Giant Schnauzers. And Standard Poodles. H-Mom is like the CIA. She finds everything on the Web really fast. Just mention it, and ... BAM ... there it is.

Well, on Sunday, the Web site for El Lobo Giant Schnauzers was top on the Google list, and she trolled around the site and looked at the gorgeous dogs, and found out that the breeder lived just 20 minutes from us. The owner, Cynthia, invited us to visit, meet some of her adult dogs, and see the two 4-month old puppies that she still had from the last litter. When H-Mom told her that we live in a condo, she LAUGHED. But then she talked with us some more, on the phone, and she said, Well, if you are really dog people, why don't you come and meet the dogs and we can talk.

So Mom and Dad drove out to Davie. They found the breeder very easily. There was a giant schnauzer on the mailbox, and a REAL giant schnauzer waiting by the big gate to the front yard. That was the MOM dog, Ariel. She was very quiet and didn't even bark, just watched and then said hello with a wet nose when Cynthia came out of the front door and opened the gate.

We met the little male pup first. He was smashing. We could take him home, we knew in an instant. Then Cynthia brought "yellow girl" out to meet us. The wiggly, tail-wagging bundle of black fluff clambered into David's lap, put one giant bear-size paw on each of his shoulders and smothered him in doggy kisses.

"If you come home with us, Daddy will buy you all the toys you want," he said. She looked over the top of her head at me, winked, and the deal was sealed.

We left to "talk about it" and then went back a few hours with the teen-human to get her okay too. "Yellow Girl" seemed to know that the teen-human had just had a really terrible experience with Booker and his aggressive rage. The little puppy just wiggled everywhere and very gently climbed into the teen-human's lap and started licking all over her face. In the car on the way home, the teen-human sent a text to H-Mom:

Let's get her.

She was ours the next morning, sitting on the front seat of the car in a furry little black bundle.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

gallery girl

Madison is a very low maintenance gallery dog. Mascot. Sweetheart of the street.

She comes to the gallery every Tuesday and Wednesday morning, and stays until at least mid-afternoon. There is already a group of "regulars" who come in to say hello, just to her. She is a love-puppy, with kisses and a quiet, tail and butt-wiggling greeting for everyone.

For four months old, she is composed and relaxed. Having her with me during the day is a delight.

And she looks good in front of vibrant pallettes. Sometimes she even holds still.

And then again, sometimes she doesn't.

Madison needs a chic, trendy little haircut. Something contemporary, and fun. Urban, maybe a little Euro.

It's on the agenda for next week.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

curious potty mishap

Last night, we ate dinner and then H-Mom cleaned the kitchen, Man-Dad flopped on the sofa in front of the tv and the teen-human disappeared into her room. Madison was hovering around H-Mom, looking expectant. It was about time for a potty break.

A potty break is out the condo door, down a long long hallway to the elevator landing, pushing the button and waiting for the elevator to stop on 19, then the ride to G, sometimes with a couple stops to load and unload ... and then out the backdoor (daylight hours) or the front door (after dark) ... for a spot of GRASS and a nice place for Madison to do her business. It sounds like a prodigious effort, but usually takes less than 4 minutes (H-Mom has timed it) and Madison has never had an accident en route.

Well, last night, after she was done with the kitchen, H-Mom said to Man-Dad, "Watch her while I use the bathroom and get my shoes on," and then she went into the bedroom and closed the door.

Madison sat down outside the door.

This was a disturbing turn of events. Madison had to go. H-Mom must know this.

Madison sat expectantly for a couple minutes.

Then she got up, went into her kennel, and peed.

Man-Dad watched her in disbelief. A dog never pees where it sleeps, he was certain.

Well, Madison knows that she is not to pee on H-Mom's floor.

Or the rug.

Or the carpet.

So she peed in her own little space instead.

The crate that she keeps DRY and CLEAN all night long. Every night for 3 weeks.

Or was she just mad that she had to wait and that, indignity of indignities, she had to wait with a door closed in her face?

H-Mom felt so bad for closing the door on Madison that she didn't get scolded. They just went straight outside.

In three weeks, at four-months-old, Madison has not had a single poop accident, and only a handful of pee accidents. She is doing magnificently.

Especially for a condo dog which has a whole set of extra challenges.

Friday, November 7, 2008

fountain play

These fountains are the best. Right in front of the condo, they are great entertainment for a puppy and just a few steps from the door.

Part agility course, part water obstacle, part drinking fountain, part respite from the hot sun.

Hey, check it out. There's water up here!

Hmmmmmmmm ... no fish. How does it taste?

Look! Agility pup in action! Give me some slack, I've got a jump to make!

schnauzer ears

Our friend Tom, the English Springer in France, asked about Madison's ears.

They were cropped, and her tail docked, when she was still with the breeder. It is a matter of preference in appearance of the breed. For traditionalists, who are breeding show-quality dogs, there is a bias toward cropping and docking. In the U.S., there are no prohibitions on ear and tail modifications.

Madison's ears are lovely. Perhaps if we would have gotten her when she was younger, we have left her natural. There was no choice to be made, however.

H-Mom and Man-Dad are all for modification.

Chortle. Tattoos. Piercings. Interesting parallel.

the giant schnauzer

In the last couple of days, a handful of people have asked if Madison is a Bouvier. I was chatting with her breeder and she laughed -- time to get a schnauzer cut!

Giant Schnauzers are a separate breed from miniature and standard schnauzers, not just a variation on size. Giants were developed in the early 1900's by crossing standard schnauzers with black Great Danes for size and power, and Bouvier de Flandres for herding abilities and intelligence. They were originally called Riesenschnauzer. In Europe they are used extensively for police and military work.




Giants are in the working dog class, and were bred to herd cattle and protect farms and families. They are a breed that needs a job. Madison is already happiest when we ask her to carry her own leash to the elevator and back home down the hall. She was intent upon finding a newspaper to drag home for Man-dad. Anyone's newspaper.

We have to start remembering to bring a tennis ball with when we go out so that she has something to bring home.

This little pup is a pistol. She is smart as a whip and she needs to be given task after task, to keep her busy and focused.

Doberman Rescue of Fort Lauderdale/Miami has been recommended for their puppy classes. We are signing up.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

daddy is in love

Madison Girl is a daddy's girl. When she comes in from a walk, her favorite trick is a running-crashing-licking-kissing attack, and Man-dad is usually on the sofa, just in the right position to fall victim. He is even successful in getting her to slow down for a minute.

Madison was rushed to the vet this morning.

We had a real "ewwwwww gross" moment at the dog park.

Madison pooped and it was alive.

Worms. H-Mom didn't even need her readers to spot them. Man-dad was totally grossed out. Straight to the vet, he ordered H-Mom, little stinky black bag on hand. The evidence.

Puppy Madison has tapeworms. Poor thing. Tapeworms are transmitted by ingesting fleas. They are not contagious from dog to dog, or (thank goodness!) from dog to human. She is now on a broad-spectrum dewormer, which will take care of her unwelcome internal guests. A pill and 1/2 today and another dose in two weeks.

Madison was not keen on swallowing the pills, though. They foamed up yellow and made her gag. The pieces that she coughed up went back down hidden in the cream filling of a doggie "oreo."

Hopefully Man-dad doesn't hold it against H-mom for pointing out that HE was the one who has been kissing puppy a lot. And getting lots of face licks. And that if he feels a little itchy, you know ... down there ... perhaps HE should head to the doctor.

Everyone at the vet office laughed when H-mom told them that the worm-sighting had made everyone a little uncomfortable that morning. Just have him report to the vet clinic, they suggested.

It really ISN'T contagious.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

baby checkup

El Lobo Galassi's Madison Girl ... is now microchipped, vaccinated, hugged, admired and appreciated. What a love. She charmed everyone at the vet office, giving ear-washes and kisses and sliding her big feet along the tile floor until she was splayed out on the floor in a calm and attentive sprawl.

She is 32.1 pounds at 3.7 months. A large dog in the making.

We were concerned about "over-exerting" her, but our vet has assured us that "nature knows best." Let her run, play, roll and jump. If Madison wants to go all out, then that is what she should do. Giant Schnauzers are working dogs, and don't need to be coddled. When they are tired, they will stop.

We are having fun. At the dog park, in the "little dog" area, Madison loves the agility equipment. She hurdles gracelessly over the jump bars set on the lowest rung, clambers onto the table and looks at me with a laugh in her eyes, then bumbles up the V ramp and rolls down the other side. Her technique needs refinement, but her heart is in the right place. Do we have a giant agility dog in the making?

Photos are still a challenge. Why stop for pictures when there is fun to be had, things to chomp and corners to explore?

musings on a giant schnauzer in a little MEDIUM LARGE package