Thursday, January 29, 2009

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

5x5 tag

We just cruised over to Joey's blog - he is a fellow-Floridian - and decided to grab the 5x5 challenge, because we were curious about what would be on the computer here at the gallery. Well, there are a LOT of documents and pictures, so H-Mom went to the desktop, counted to the fifth folder and then took the 5th photo. It was kind of confusing, because she had to skip some program files and there were folders inside folders, so she just counted the documents, and then she had to actually DELETE some stuff because she found some random and errant photos (flamingo shaped holiday lights? what was that doing in there?)

Well, she finally found this photo, which is a bmp file and thank goodness it uploaded okay. It is a painting by Dominic Besner, just labeled "untitled," which doesn't help anyone much.

It looks kind of like an alien or a lizard or some kind of scarey creature with its tongue sticking out. It doesn't look like a dog because there are no ears. We can kind of imagine the noise that it would be making. Not a pleasant noise.

H-Mom really likes this artist, but some of his paintings are difficult to enjoy. There are others that are "prettier."

she's at it again

Now this time, it's getting out of hand. The dvd is in the machine and H-Mom is all revved up. Even after an hour at the dog park and 20 minutes at the doggie lake.

She's not even paying attention to Madison.

These are the diversionary tactics attempted this morning:
  • plant herself in the middle of rug between H-Mom and the TV
  • put both front paws in the water bowl and bark
  • run across the room from the left, dragging H-Mom's sweatpants behind
  • disembowel the lamb stuffie and kill the squeaker right behind H-Mom
  • bark
  • run across the room from the right, swinging H-Mom's underwear in the air
  • snap at H-Mom's rear-end
  • bark bark bark
  • try to grab H-Mom's feet
  • pull the leashes off the hook by the door
  • bark
Madison was beyond frustration. Pushed to the limit. Ready to burst.

H-Mom was focused. Walking away the pounds. On a mission, and not willing to relent.

Madison went into the master bedroom, posed on the clear plastic deskchair mat, staring forlornly out the balcony doors -- out to the green tops of the trees and the great outdoors -- and peed.

Peed a lot. Peed a flood.

Tomorrow, Madison gets a quick pee break before H-Mom gets into this exercising thing.

Fair is only fair.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

not nice, but necessary

This is what H-Mom is up to. It all started yesterday. Madison is unimpressed. She curls up for a nap, right next to the living room rug. She sighs. She snorts. She stretches. She yawns.

H-Mom is determined to get back to a daily routine. Somehow, the "dog park" replaced "working out." Even though she spends a great deal of the hour there talking and chatting and bossing Madison around.

The concept of "power walking" seems to have gotten lost.

So this is not nice, but necessary.

The dog park may also be the source of Madison's misery. She is suffering from gooey eyes, really icky oozing eyes. A trip to the vet confirmed H-Mom's fear: conjunctivitis, probably caused by the dirt -- and bacteria -- at the park.

Madison is a dust mop with astounding powers of attraction for the fine, gritty black dirt, and the long eyebrows that H-Mom was trying to grow out are exacerbating the problem. Dirt and hair in your eyes creates problems.

Madison is on a regimen of two drops per eye, three times a day. For ten days.

Not nice, but necessary.

The groomer clipped back Madison's eyebrows. And trimmed the stray hairs around her eyes.

Not nice, but necessary.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

saturday with man-dad

Drop H-Mom off at work and then they are off. Madison is dressed for the day: the pink bandana is perfect.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

iguanas falling from the sky

If H-Mom is laying on the sidewalk on her back, just push her into the sun. That should warm her up and get her going again.

Good thing H-Mom was watching the news on TV this morning. There was a quick little blurb about the stunning effect that our three-day "freezing" snap has had on the local iguana population.

Seems the cold is sending tree-dwelling iguana of all sizes in "shock hibernation," making them lose their grip of their branch and sending them hurtling to the ground. There they lie, motionless.

A warm sunbath should revive them.

H-Mom and Madison were at the dog park this morning, the first ones there, as usual, bracing the bone-chilling temperature of 41 degrees.

Half-way around the track, Madison spotted it first, right under one of the large trees.

She obeys a stern "leave it" with commendable promptness. The "frozen" iguana was tempting, but Madison didn't even touch it.

H-Mom waved down the park caretaker on his golf cart and requested that the stiff green lizard be relocated so that it didn't become a 2-1/2 foot long chew toy. Max said that he had been moving iguanas all morning.

Someone at the dog park had a wonderful suggestion for a YouTube video:

Line all the frozen iguanas on a sun reflector, face them into the sun and then video them as they slowly revive with the warming rays.

What a great concept, but who has the time? So, we leave it to your imaginations.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

duck, duck, big black dog

Madison is particularly fond of the slick trails of duck shit in the alley behind the gallery. As a food stuff.

She is also adamant that the ducks maintain a respectful distance from the gallery door. Don't cross the yellow line, or deal with the big black dog. Bred to drove cattle for hearty German farmers, the hiss of a snotty Muscovie duck doesn't even phase her.

Three blocks from a small canal, the ducks are plentiful here. And ugly ducks start out intensely cute. They are real tourist pleasers. Even if the adults are particularly unattractive.

Feral, domestic Muscovies are abundant in Florida. The ducks were released by owners for ornamental purposes or as pets. Domestic muscovies create nuisance problems -- they are messy -- throughout the state.

Muscovies are protected by Florida Statute 828.12 regarding animal cruelty, which is incentive to keep your dog from haranging the local population, even if she considers it in her job description as gallery-pup. And to drive carefully down the alley; duck pate is best left to the restaurant next door, not your tires.

Stay behind the yellow line. Can't you guys retain anything?

These ducks are prolific, and local populations, if uncontrolled, can increase dramatically in a short time. As a result, controversies frequently arise between residents who enjoy the birds and residents who consider them a nuisance.

There is an occasional space of time where there is a conspicuous absence of ducks in the few blocks by the gallery.

The shop owners suspect that the property management people are engaging the services of a "duck-eradication team." Horror stories abound of ducks brutally dispatched at 4 am.

Madison doesn't mind the ducks, as long as they stay in the parking lot, and keep the gallery doorway clear.

If they deposit a few slick trails she can swipe at before H-Mom sees, all the better.

It's a very simple relationship.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009


Man-Dad stopped by Madison's Job #1 this afternoon, disrupting her Zen, and stealing her away for a trip to the post office.

Madison is much-in-demand as a companion.

The more errands she completes, the more tired she is in the evening, the better behaved she can be expected to be.

It's a winning formula. Book her solid.

very zen of H-Mom

H-Mom forgot to bring dog treats this morning, when she was leaving for the gallery with Madison.

See, Madison gets a treat every time someone opens the door and comes into the gallery -- and the treats are dispensed AT THE DESK, which means that gang-rushing the door and snorking all over customers is not acceptable behavior. Then H-Mom sings out "Hello, how are you today," and Madison LAYS DOWN while keeping a watchful, calm eye on the customers. Or should we say "potential customers," because there haven't been ANY customers lately, and everyone has potential, but, as H-Mom says, no one's potential seems to be fulfilled lately.

Anyway, H-Mom had to stop at the pharmacy and grab some dog treats, because they have a very integral place in our work day, and she also had to grab some lime diet coke, because that is what keeps her awake since there are so few customers, potential or not.

H-Mom saw these:

First of all, they are low protein, which is perfect for Madison, who does not need to grow faster and does best on a low protein, slow-growth program.

And then, there was something about "PEACE" that appealed to H-Mom.

Especially after last night, when Madison had a spate of bitchy behavior.

And some unnecessary sassiness.

And the concept of Zen seemed gallery -appropriate. Peace in the art world is a good thing. "Wild, crazy, unruly" dogs are definately NOT art-compatible. And tend to repel credit card-wielding art buyers.

The bag has 50 semi-moist tidbits. H-Mom cut each one into 4ths using a white plastic knife on the white counter in the back of the gallery, which turned the recommended FIVE daily treats into 20 potential daily treats.

Like she thought she would get 20 customers.

Or just 20 potential customers.

Madison napped all afternoon, anyway, barely interested enough to lift her head when the door opened once, maybe twice, every couple hours.

An hour-and-a-half at the dog park, a quick swim, a trip in the car to deliver the visiting almost-adult to bartending school, and then an hour chewing on a marrow bone, probably had more to do with a mellow gallery pup than ZenPuppy Peace Treats.

But Madison will let H-Mom have her spiritual moment.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

while H-mom is at work ...

Man-dad is spoiling the little princess.

He spilled the beans by falling for a sweet face and e-mailing a photo.

No way to keep a secret.

Friday, January 16, 2009

look what they are making me do

Sit. Stay.


OMD. Behave. Don't embarrass me. Stop pulling. Madison! OMD. I mean it!

The teen-human is being enormously patient. Madison is actually quite well-behaved. Things go a bit too slowly for her at times, though, and she gets feisty. Or starts barking. Last night, the second session of six, she actually laid on her "mat" with her head on her paws and barked under her breath. Like she was pissed off and mumbling at the instructor, who turned around, pointed at Madison and said "SHHHHHHHHHHHH."

Madison stopped barking and looked at her from under perfect schnauzer brows.

When the instructor turned her back to walk away, Madison barked again, looking right at her.

The two of them repeated this three times. Until the instructor said, "Madison, you don't have to be a movie star tonight."

After class, H-Mom talked with the instructor for a moment, to apologize for the sassy barking. "Don't worry," said the instructor. "She is just really smart, and she's letting me know it. She's not being bad at all - we've had really really badly behaved dogs here, believe me!"

"Here's what you have to do with Madison," she continued. "Start talking with her. Have a conversation, help her learn how to communicate to you what it is that she needs. Teach her words and teach her actions. When dogs are really smart and they can't tell you what they want, they get frustrated and that is the kind of barking that Madison is doing."

That made the teen-human feel better. Actually kind of proud. Which is way better than just being embarassed that Madison is now the class barker.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

angst-ridden artist

Madison has heard that artists must wrestle with deep inner angst in order to emote through their art.

As a gallery dog, she spends a great deal of time immersed in an environment replete with artistic passion.

Now Madison is perfecting her look as an angst-ridden art-pup. From the cool acid-stained concrete floor. Or the black leather sofa.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

someone blew it

Blew it big time. Forgot the camera. Was all distracted in the car, saying, "Did I bring the camera? Do you have YOUR camera? Why didn't I remember the camera?"

Yesterday afternoon, Madison went socializing. We drove to Davie with Man-dad and his daughter, who is staying with us for awhile, planning a move to Fort Lauderdale. We went to visit El Lobo kennel, to see Cynthia, Madison's breeder, and to meet the new litter of puppies, just five weeks old and just with their first set of puppy shots.

So why didn't H-Mom bring her camera. Like she wouldn't need it. Like she wouldn't keep saying, "Why didn't I bring it?"

Because here is what Madison did:
  • Nuzzled right up and kissy kissy licky licky-d Cynthia
  • Explored the yard where she had played as a little puppy (did she remember?)
  • Tousled with her brother - a really big boy - who is waiting to picked up by his new human from Texas
  • Played in the "North 40" with her sister, Gypsy, her "face twin" but a bit stockier in the body
  • Rolled and wrestled and reveled in the country - Madison is definately a city girl
  • Rubbed noses with her mother through the fence
  • Passed out in the car on the way home
Each one a photo opportunity of major proportions. The material coffee table books are made of.

Meanwhile, H-Mom is taking pictures of the puppies with her ... phone. How lame is that? And of course the photos are terrible. Just embarrassing. You can barely tell that they are puppies, really really cute puppies.

But H-Mom and Man-dad and accompanying daughter all held them and kissed them and can attest that they are really really cute puppies.

Madison was tired from running with Gypsy and happily flopped into the car. She was more than pleased, as well, that not a single one of the little puppies found their way into the automobile.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

fog and a sunset

We have had cooler weather for the last week. It is downright CHILLY, in the 70's with a dip to the 60's for early morning hours. H-Mom has a fleece jacket that she loves when it is cool, and it is good too, because there is the perfect depth pocket for training treats.

One morning this week, there was a fog warning. It just seems like fog is something for the rolling hills and valleys of the northern U.K., but we do sometimes get a "tropical" fog in south Florida. The white stuff was hanging low over a few parking lots, the dog park and a huge cemetery that we drive past on the way to play.

Here you can see the fog across the street from the dog park, lingering over an industrial lot. It was kind of mysterious and calming for our early morning walk.

Yesterday evening, we all went to Coconuts, a wonderful Fort Lauderdale restaurant that bills itself as "dog-friendly for friendly dogs." Well-behaved canines are allowed EVERYWHERE, even in at the bar. When people place their order, the waiters always bring a stainless dog bowl with ice water and a milkbone! Madison has been there twice now, once for lunch on the deck overlooking the intracoastal, and last night for an early dinner, again on the deck. She was entertained watching the giant pelicans catching pita bread that Man-Dad was tossing on the pier.

Our sunset doesn't match the beautiful Key West sunset, but it was pretty impressive, over the Intracoastal and the yachts in the Bahia Mar harbor. It was warm sitting in the sun, but it definately got cooler as it got dark. Madison was very nicely behaved, even though she let out a few very loud, high-pitched YIPS on a rather random basis.

The girl just needs attention. And a second dog biscuit would have been appreciated ... after all ... the humans ordered appetizers AND a main course.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

coincidences abounding

So today, H-Mom was sitting at the computer in the gallery and Madison was sprawled out on the floor, snoozing.

A man and a woman and a dog stopped at the window to look in. They were admiring a sculpture displayed in the front of the gallery.

H-Mom stared back out at them, confounded. What was she seeing?

A Giant Schnauzer. A huge black schnauzer. Staring back in at her.

H-Mom jumped up and waved at the couple. "Look," she mouthed. "Come in," she waved, rounding up a sleepy Madison and going to the door.

The couple live in Rio Vista, the neighborhood where H-Mom often walks. Their 6-year-old Giant is Polly, and her mother is Gracie, which makes her related to Madison in a round-about-way. From El Lobo kennel, of course.

What a wonderful conversation. And Madison and Polly sniffed and humpfed and both just flopped out together. Polly was perfect and calm and composed and, of course, huge.

Another day, another Giant. This is becoming rather ... normal.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

coincidence over lunch

Man-dad was having lunch at one of his regular places, and chatting casually with one of his regular servers. She always takes good care of Man-dad and the other guys from his office. The restaurant, Antonio's, has good salads and pasta and lunch specials, like Italian grilled chicken and mixed seafood and stuff like that.

Well, the server, Dani, a nice German lady, said something about her dog, in an informal kind of way, and Man-Dad said that, yes, he has a dog too. And Dani said, "Well, I have a Giant Schnauzer." And Man-Dad said, "Why, I do too!"

And then they figured out that her dog -- a five-year-old male from El Lobo Kennels - is related to Madison.

"Why would you ever get a Giant Schnauzer?" she asked. "Why not just shoot yourself!"

And then they compared notes:

  • Demands attention with a sharp bark
  • Demands, demands, demands
  • Obstinate
  • Stubborn
  • Willful
  • Prone to planting all four huge paws and refusing to move

Dani told Man-dad that she actually took six months off of work when her Giant was a puppy so that she could work on training him.

Dani adores her Giant, and said that he is really great at the dog park. They go to the one in Plantation. They promised to make a playdate, so that Madison can play with one of her "own."

Sounds like a blast!

musings on a giant schnauzer in a little MEDIUM LARGE package