Tuesday, April 28, 2009


That rant below was our 100th post.

H-Mom is now going to join Madison on the sofa and watch some Animal Planet.

Beaten bullied and zonked

H-Mom has this paranoid antennae thing going on about pitbulls and pitbull-types at the dog park. Look, some dogs are just not MEANT for the dog park. It's not a given. It's not a right. You might just be better with a long walk on leash.

So this pitbull (OH NO protests the owner, she is NOT a pitbull ... she is a BULL TERRIER ... WTF thinks H-Mom ... A WHAT? a Rose by any other name is ... still a ROSE ... and this was a PITBULL-type and H-Mom is not stupid. A little slow to react at times, but not STUPID.) sorry ... H-Mom digresses ...

So this pitbull comes into the park by the dog lake, where Madison is very pleasantly frolicking with a little mix of some sort, playing tag, playing keep-away, trading the toy and chasing and jumping into the water. And H-Mom looks up and decides that that is that, and calls Madison ... we don't even risk it with the pitbull-types. And this dog runs right up to Madison, t-squares her with its chest and starts biting. And not just play-biting. We mean, like eating a chunk of face, grabbing and gnawing and going for those gorgeous ears. And Madison runs ... and the dog aggresses (OH NO protests the owner, she is not mean) and then the two dogs are in the water where Madison runs to seek refuge from the onslaught and the PITBULL-TYPE pins Madison under the water like a bully-i'm-going-to-drown-and-kill-you and this other lady who we believe must be their FRIEND jumps into the lake and pulls the freakin' PITBULL-TYPE off of Madison and the dee-da-deeee owner is sitting there protesting that the PITBULL-TYPE is not a PITBULL-TYPE (and now H-Mom is wanting to say DON'T THINK YOU ARE PULLING THE WOOL OVER MY EYES ... )

and the other woman is worrying loudly that Madison may not be having a "good dog park experience" and that she needs to end the visit on a positive note ... and H-Mom is like


and by-the-way ... if your dog is NOT a dog-friendly type, even if you can't admit that it's a PITBULL-TYPE then perhaps the dog park is NOT THE PLACE FOR YOU.

then we went to Pet Supermarket and grandma Rosalie bought Madison a kong tennis ball toy and Madison is quite content that the dog park is a good place, no problems, no grudges held, and she has been sleeping all day.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Tug of War

They brought a brand-new green Wubba Kong to the dog lake. It was pristine. Perfect.

Yes, PERFECT. Perfect for a three-way tug of war.

You could hear it straining. Ripping.

It was great.

The two ladies were very good sports. "We brought it for the dogs to play," they insisted.

Initiation of Wubba Kong: accomplished.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Biker Babe

Sunday, H-Mom and Man-dad usually try to escape for the afternoon for a motorcycle ride and a bucket of beer. They find some cool places to hangout. Flossie's is great ... hundreds of motorcycles, live music and lots of bikers. Great people-checking-out. Leather vests full of patches, interesting hair arrangements, a plethora of bike related t-shirts. You can imagine.

This past weekend, Man-dad had buddies in from Chicago, so they went over there in his truck. And they called H-Mom: get in the car and come over, bring Madison.

Pretty funny. The bi-peds were all in the "cage" ... that's what bikers call the 4-wheel vehicles.

Three hundred motorcycles. Four piece band. A throng of bikers. Nothing phased this girl.

Madison was great. She made friends with everyone, settled in the shade under the picnic table with a beer bucket with ice, her chewbone and a lots of attention. Her dog-job resonated with the biker crowd -- Giant Schnauzers were used to guard breweries in Germany.

Excellent pedigree for a Biker Babe.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Soooooooo Sorry H-Mom :(

These things are accidents:

Bumping heads
Leaving cupboard doors open at bad moments
Slamming hands in doors
Dropping something on a foot
Pinching fingers in drawers
Splashing hot water in the kitchen
Konking someone on the chin

There are hundreds of them. Followed by "OMG I am sooooooo sorry ... are you okay?"


Madison had a huge crunchy brown palm frond. A really long one ... eight or nine feet at least. And she was chomping on it, with great gusto, macerating the stem with her giant schnauzer jaws. She has teeth that are something with which to be contended. She can demolish a toy in seconds, strip a beef shank bone in minutes.

H-Mom had what, at the moment, seemed like a great idea: she pinned the frond to the ground with one foot and grabbed the end to pop it at an angle and snap it short and toss it into the lake. For fetching.

H-Mom's grip failed. The frond had surprisingly sharp edges. H-Mom grabbed it again, with intention. Madison's jaws slipped. The frond was suddenly not cooperating with her destruction-by-huge-white-teeth program. Madison was excited. The frond seemed to be fighting back. This was good. Better than good, it was palm-frond-war.

And then Madison CHOMPED down, right on H-Mom's fingers.

There was a scream. And lots of blood. Madison let go of the frond and stopped cold. H-Mom ran to get one of the little green poop bags to wrap her finger tightly. Madison followed sheepishly, the palm forgotten. H-Mom's fingernail is split open horizontally, the tip of her finger gashed.

"OMG, H-Mom, I am sooooooooooo sorry."

These things are accidents.

Not to be confused with dog aggression, dog biting human or any behavior issue.

Turtles in the Lake

This lady was focused, trying to dig a hole to lay her eggs. The dogs were interested, a few barked for a moment and then moved on to more important things, like chasing and playing and swimming. Madison listened to a stern "Leave it," and didn't look back.

She has Esther Williams action to perfect. Water ballet to work out. Moves to synchronize.

Every morning, the turtles plop into the lake when we arrive with the dogs. They hover in the cool deeper water, watching the dog action with the periscope-like heads, diving down and then poking their heads up to see if it is safe to head back onto the sunny little stretch of beach.

Lots of the turtles in our dog lake are Red-eared Sliders, not native to Florida, but well-established populations from released pets. They are semi-aquatic and get their name from their distinctive red "ear" coloration, and from the speed with which they slide off the shore or rocks to escape perceived threats. The large turtles have shells about 10" in diameter. Their eggs hatch in 90 days; hopefully the raccoons and the dogs stay away.

H-Mom had three of these turtles - little ones - when she was growing up in Paris. The turtles lived an arty, European life, floating and diving in the bidet of the little unused W.C. on the third floor of the house. It was a great home, better than an aquarium, with its running water, spray jets and "deep end."

Wednesday, April 15, 2009


Guess what?

IT was out of the tree!

Our little wind storm last night dislodged the TOY and it was laying in the grass at the dog park this morning.

And it is now officially a "Stinky Thing." Which is something that has been left behind at the dog park, abused by the weather, mouthed by countless dogs and generally put through the wringer.

We had photos ... but H-Mom's phone-cam is not sending emails tonight. Sigh.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Still Water

Saturday morning, the New River was as still as glass. Usually you can see the tide flowing in or out - here's tide chart. The tide moves very quickly and the difference between high and low tide shows very clearly in the height of the docked boats or the water covering the cement access stairs.

The New River flows into the Intracoastal Waterway, and from there into the Atlantic Ocean. Sometimes you can see a manatee or bull shark, especially if you look down from the 19th floor of our building. The water is quite clear.

The geology of the New River is unique, because it is not truly a "river." The river is not draining fresh water: it is completely tidal saltwater. On a rising tide, the current flows upstream, as far as five miles inland. Twelve thousand years ago, the lower Florida peninsula was a vast atoll, bordered by a coral reef on the eastern side. The New River was actually cut by the tidal flow between what is now the Everglades and the Gulf Stream. As the earth cooled and ocean levels receded, this pass through the coral reef became this unusual river.

Because the river is cut deep into coral rock, it does not silt up, and does not pose the usual threats of shifting sand bars. The depths of the river do not change.

It is very deep, up to 60 feet in places with a minimum draft of 12 feet. It's not unusual to see 150 footers making their way up to the big yacht yards. It also has a few treacherously tight bends, so most of the huge yachts make use of tug escorts to stay safely in the deepest portion of the channel.

Friday, April 10, 2009


1. The new dog food we bought is a hit: Van Patten's Duck and Potato. It's almost better than TREATS, so that's really good.

2. A young woman moved into our building. We met her parents in the lobby this morning. They have a 5-year old Giant, at home in Michigan. We are looking forward to running into our new neighbor.

3. Madison is on the foaming yellow pills again, for tapeworm. Super yuck. She will be taking Comfortis again, to get rid of the evil biting fleas that carry the even more evil parasitic worms.

4. Madison swam the length of the lake. Really well.

5. IT is still in the tree.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

No Career with the Cubs

We had a really great toy in the car yesterday morning, a red rectangular fabric float with a long robe attached. Nick, the rottie, jumped right into the back of our car and grabbed it ... made a run for the dog park gate.

There was a phenomenal half hour of play. The dogs were tugging, chasing, flipping, rumbling. This toy inspired comradery and goodwill. The humans were taking turn throwing the toy, the dogs taking turns grabbing it and running circles, chased by the pack.

Then H-Mom grabbed it and stepped back to wind up for a throw. A really good throw.


The thing flipped up to the left, hurling gracelessly. It landed in the scrawny tree just behind H-Mom.

The dogs all ran to the tree. They waited expectantly, but it wasn't coming to earth. Peter and Coach muttered about "girls throwing the toys" and tried to get it down, first with a frisbee, and then with a tool made from four interlocked leashes.

No luck.

This morning, the toy is still in the tree, waiting for our first good wind and rain storm. Rainy season will get here. One morning, the toy will be laying on the sidewalk, waiting for the pack.

And that is why H-Mom never played baseball, softball ... really any kind of ball.

Monday, April 6, 2009

In Up to Her Ears

H-Mom likes to think that she is calm and collected. Not prone to panic attacks or unreasonable anxiety.

Well, today Madison figured out how to swim. Not just jump around by the shore, act crazy in the shallows and stand waiting expectantly as the other dogs bring in the well-tossed balls and the much-coveted duck decoy.

Today, Madison spread her legs like four algae-covered water wings and struck out for the deep end.

H-Mom was hyper-ventilating.

See, Madison wasn't exactly going AFTER a toy and coming back. Madison was out there just swimming for the joy of having finally figured out how to swim. She was going in one direction, circling awkwardly around (the turning still needs to be perfected) and swimming over to check out something else. She struck out for the middle, with nothing particular in her sights and seemed like she would be just perfectly content to keep going.

Peter said he would go in after her if she seemed to be drowning.

Lois suggested that H-Mom take a valium or something. Translated: relax.

And all this time, Madison was just happily paddling around. Investigating the vast expanse of dog lake, which had been so completely unavailable to her before today.

And she was loving it. And swimming with ever-increasing grace. No thrashing, no panic.

Yes, the one with the pointed ears is Madison. In up to her ears. Over her head.

And no one had to go in after her.

musings on a giant schnauzer in a little MEDIUM LARGE package