The Possum Chronicles

It began on Tuesday night, September 4, when Major lost his mind.

Evenings are typically low-key for our blue tick hound, but something had triggered his hunting instincts. Instead of dozing his way into the night, Major ran circles around the backyard, barking, howling, and panting. I went back and forth, back and forth to the patio door, trying to discern what caused Major to be alarmed.

On the third or fourth check, I saw the culprit: he cornered a possum on our patio, and the creature was noticeably scared. He hissed and hunched as I pulled all 85 pounds of Major by the collar inside the house. 

But Major didn’t settle down. He knew the intruder was still there. Where did he go? 

Inside the dryer vent hose, of course, but we didn’t know this detail until Friday night when the boys and I spent well more than an hour trying to lure the creature out of the hose and away from the house.

We kept Major locked in the bathroom, and we were victorious. 

One might think this means the possum moved out of our backyard. Alas! No! He lives with us still. Our victory was short-lived.

Every night for the last week Major has situated himself on the patio – on patrol, you might say – waiting for the possum to return. He is on high alert, and his Spidey senses are on point. 

This translates to sleepless nights for us. Though we bring Major inside at our bedtime, he can’t help himself at 2, 3, and 4 a.m., when he feels the need to patrol the yard. 

Until last night, I was sure he was overreacting. SURELY THE POSSUM HAS MOVED OUT. After all, why would he stay? We’ve done nothing to make him feel welcome.

Last night, a little after midnight, less than an hour after I fell asleep, I woke to the sound of Major whining at the back door. Here we go, I thought. Another night of chasing the possum who’s no longer there.

BUT I WAS WRONG.

I opened the door and out Major goes, nose to the ground as he runs the perimeter of the yard. I’m standing on the patio in my pajamas, dog-tired, irritated, wanting to explain to my non-hunting hunting dog that he’s lost his mind.

Then, I see the possum. As Major circles the yard with his nose (and eyes) in the grass, I see the possum casually walking atop the fence line. He’s not even in a hurry. He is totally unbothered by the commotion. Below the fence line is my non-hunting hunting dog, oblivious to the creature he hopes to find. 

*not our possum, but an accurate visual aid

“YOU’RE NOT EVEN DOING A GOOD JOB,” I yell to Major. “HE’S RIGHT THERE.” 

I watch as the two go in separate directions, Major in a frenzy, the possum unfazed. He is laughing at us, I’m sure, me in my pajamas, Major in his panic.

The possum eventually moves out of my line of sight, into a tree perhaps, and I use the leash to bring Major back inside, where I promptly give him Benadryl to calm him down.

If anyone knows of an effective, no-kill possum deterrent, help a sister out. I miss sleeping through the night. 

Signs of Life Days Seventeen through Twenty

When Friday morning rolled around and I’d finished a laundry list of things to do, including laundry, I hibernated in my bedroom for two hours awaiting my best friend and her family to arrive. I was going into a weekend with house guests and their four-month-old puppy. For an introvert and lover of all things neat and tidy, I needed a little bit of time to prepare mentally.

That may sound terrible, like I don’t enjoy having company, but that isn’t true at all. I love hospitality and I certainly love hosting people who are important to me, but I need to ready my brain for a house to be in disarray, for extra mess in the kitchen, for an increase in overall noise. Throw in a puppy and we’ve got a busy household. Because I love these people and their dog, it’s a no-brainer! It just means I need a minute.

Corey, Gwen, Alex, and four-month-old Wrigley showed up late Friday night. In my animal-loving fantasies, I anticipated Major and Wrigley running circles around each other, spending hours in the backyard, and wearing each other out, and out-snoring each other in marathon napping sessions.

Nope. That’s not at all what happened. Despite Wrigley’s attempts, Major wasn’t having it. It’s like he knew Wrigley was a Georgia dog, and in this Tennessee house, this wasn’t okay. While Wrigley puttered around the house, Major secluded himself to my bedroom and whined. This might be the closest they got to one another.

His loss! Wrigley Chubb is a sweetie pie.

We all went to the dog park and Greenway on Sunday afternoon so both dogs and both 13-year-olds could get out some energy. Jackson wore his Georgia Bulldogs hat in solidarity.

That’s Jeremy (on the bike) and Alex (on the skateboard) and Major following them inside the dog park. Poor fella wanted to run alongside them.

Our families have strong ties to one another, so anytime we can plug in and make memories, it’s worth it. Though Major didn’t make the family photo (he was hiding in the bedroom), Salem was a big boy and suffered through it. He kept his eye on Wrigley the whole time.

Before they headed back to Atlanta this morning, we had one more visitor to welcome. My family lived in Atlanta from 1990 to 1993, and while Corey’s friendship is one I’ve kept since living there, my sister has hung on to a few friendships as well. Andre was like a big brother to me. In fact, all of my sister’s friends treated me like I was their little sister. I felt special, loved, included, all of it. This is where social media has been a blessing to people like my sister and me – it’s enabled us to keep tabs on folks from everywhere we’ve lived.

So when I read a Facebook update from Andre saying he was going to Gatlinburg for the weekend, I jumped on it. COME SEE ME! What’s it been – 18 years? More? I don’t even remember.

Of course, this means he knew Corey too, because she was always at our house and we all went to the same high school. They were seniors, we were freshman.

How does this happen exactly? To go decades without being in touch and then see someone again and it feels like no time has passed? Or even if you realize time has passed, it just doesn’t matter.

Sitting next to Andre on the couch in my grown-up living room, in a home I share with my husband and children, it was all I could to not act like a 14-year-old girl and talk about how special I felt riding around in his red Chevrolet Tracker. He was so sweet to me, and I never forgot it.

This is the stuff that makes life GOOD and worthwhile. Deep and abiding relationships, making memories with people you love, loyalty that spans decades…

And puppies. We cannot forget the goodness of puppies.

Signs of Life is a blog series I’m writing for February 2017. It was born out of desire to replace the negativity and despair that’s been bogging down our friendships, families, and communities after a tumultuous election season. This series won’t solve the world’s problems, but I hope it will create a speck of light and positivity when and where it is needed. 

Signs of Life Day Fifteen

When the day is as ordinary as today was, finding goodness can be challenging. I had little interaction with the outside world. School went along this morning as usual. I watched a bit of news, wrote a story, sorted through emails. Nothing extraordinary happened, and if nothing extraordinary happens for the rest of the evening, Wednesday will close out as a forgettable day. 

Yet when 6:30 p.m. rolled around, I felt a sudden rush of gratitude. My husband and children gathered into the kitchen. Swedish meatballs, mashed potatoes, and broccoli were placed on mismatched plates. The nightly game of Blokus began, and Salem took his place on the table as Overlord.

This is dinner time in our home.

My introverted, sentimental self loves these enclosed moments, when it’s just the four of us (or six, if you count the pets). Our dinner routine is important to me. It is a big deposit in the childhood memory banks of my boys.

I can just hear Thanksgiving dinner 20 years from now:

“Remember when we played that board game every night at dinner and Mom and Dad always won?”

“Yeah, they teamed up against us!”

“I know! So unfair!” 

But they’ll laugh and tease us and know full well that they won plenty of times, particularly into the second year when their strategy skills improved. They will remember sitting at the table together, with Salem giving us the side-eye and waiting for his own dinner. They’ll remember how I cooked more often than not and that I loved the spontaneous baking of cookies that happened when I was in a happy mood. 

I hope they will look back at family dinner and recall it as actually was: a priority. 

This is my life, and while some days are uneventful and mundane, I am thankful for it. This is stuff is so simple, but oh, it is so good.

Signs of Life is a blog series I’m writing for February 2017. It was born out of desire to replace the negativity and despair that’s been bogging down our friendships, families, and communities after a tumultuous election season. This series won’t solve the world’s problems, but I hope it will create a speck of light and positivity when and where it is needed. 

Signs of Life Day Thirteen

When social media went downhill last year and finally tanked the day after the election, I took a break (like many others) and revised the way I used it. What was the point, after all? Why be online? Why stay connected?

There are a lot of reasons to unplug – the mindless scrolling, the agitation, the constant search for approval. If you are looking for reasons to be enraged, then you don’t have to look far. Managing one’s time and energy online takes constant vigilance, and as the tension worsened during and after election season, I knew I needed to streamline and prioritize.

I decided Facebook is for general socialization and sharing with people I know in real life. These are childhood friends, extended family members, birth families, and people currently in my life. Twitter is reserved for politics and literary agents. It’s all business and information.

Now, Instagram is all joy – photos of those I love, those I admire, and some of the cutest animals on the internet. Today, I want to share with you a few of my favorites. I’m spreading the love.

Tuna is a chihuahua/dachshund rescue with “an aggressive overbite” who’s won the hearts of nearly two million people.  His expression is always perfect and he loves to snuggle. Tuna also travels the world to visit eager crowds who want to see the snaggletooth in person.

Goats of Anarchy is a special needs baby goat rescue group… I’m not sure I need to add anything else here.

Magnus is a three-year-old Mastiff/Bloodhound mix who has the sweetest (and largest) resting face I’ve ever seen. No matter the angle, no matter the proximity, whenever I’m scrolling through Instagram I always stop on his photo.

Going smaller now, we have Jill. She’s a pet squirrel. Why we ALL DON’T HAVE PET SQUIRRELS IS BEYOND ME.

Finally, meet Rhea. She has a skin disease that makes her feathers fall off. People knit her little sweaters to wear. I can’t hardly take it. Now’s the time to follow her though. She’s currently sitting on four eggs.

Signs of Life is a blog series I’m writing for February 2017. It was born out of desire to replace the negativity and despair that’s been bogging down our friendships, families, and communities after a tumultuous election season. This series won’t solve the world’s problems, but I hope it will create a speck of light and positivity when and where it is needed. 

Like new little baby teeth

You know how exciting it is when those first few teeth pop through your precious baby’s tender gums? You knew it was coming, you saw all the signs. Then suddenly one morning, there’s a tiny white speck. Eureka!

That’s how excited I feel when my newly planted vegetables take root and grow twice their size in under a week.

It brings me such happiness to go in the backyard and see new life growing.

Okra – never grown okra before, but it’s darling:

okra

Sweet Georgia Onions. Can’t wait to sauté them:

onions

Surprise sprout of potatoes, left over from last year. I decided to leave it:

potatoes

Japanese eggplant, my favorite:

Japanese eggplant

Pickling cucumbers:

cucumbers

Sweet basil for a summer of pesto:

basil

Never-grown-before artichoke. No idea what this will look like:

artichoke

The pets are loving the warm sun as much as I am and always join me outside. Look at our gorgeous boy! Major is three years old and far more chilled out than he was a year ago. Thank goodness.

Major May 2016

Salem – God bless – looks completely stoned. But hey – he’s alive.

Salem May 2016

Napping in the sun

Jeremy and I took a moment to mourn this beautiful white moth. RIP pretty thing.

RIP white moth

Though there’s a cold snap this week with temperatures in the 50s and 60s, summer is indeed on its way. Three more days of school and then I’m off the hook for a while. Amen, and amen.

“I’m sorry I have no good news.”

This is how our veterinarian began the conversation. For the second time, Salem is being hospitalized for being unable to urinate. Common in male cats, the muscles of the urethra spasm and constrict, making it impossible for him to relieve himself, which, if left alone, would kill him.

Why is this happening, you ask? The first time there were crystals found in his bladder, which helped create the obstruction along with the muscle spasms. He spent three days at the vet sedated with a catheter. This was the week before Christmas. He came home with two types of muscle relaxers and a special diet.

Then, Monday night, I found him in the bathroom sink trying to pee, the same behavior he exhibited in December when the urethra was completely closed. Bizarre behavior. A sign of desperation.

Sure enough, the urethra was locked shut because of a spasm so he hasn’t urinated in nearly two days. Salem will spend another three days at the vet sedated with a catheter.

When I asked why this happened again, the doctor said it might be because of stress.

I am so tempted to argue that remark and echo what Chuck said last night, “What in the world does that cat have to be stressed about?”

My reply, in a word, “Major.”

No, they do not get along. It used to be that they tolerated each other, ignored one another, and kept to themselves. But Major has grown bolder this year, challenging Salem with a keen eye and pointed stance when he walks by. This prodding results in Salem hissing, running away, and retreating to a spot where Major can’t reach him.

Only late at night can the two lay on either side of me, resolving to share my attention.

But I’m not sure his stress stops there. If it’s true that our animals and children sense negative energy in the house, that they will siphon it and project it in their own behavior, then I am just as guilty as Major for causing stress in this house.

worryI am so nervous and high strung that little invisible stress-filled balls of anxiety escape my body at random, swirl around each room of my house, and supplant themselves in people and pets. It’s true that women have the power to set the mood of the house, and in this house of all men, I’ve created so such apprehension that even the cat can’t pee.

I’m not making light of it, and I’m sure I’m not alone. Anxiety is why I can’t sleep, why my stomach is upset so often, why I get headaches, why I snap at the boys, why my shoulders are up to my ears even now. I take medication, I exercise, I eat mostly well. I’m not sure what else to do. There is no switch to turn off my brain.

Salem will stay at the vet for the rest of the week. Hopefully I can bring him home on Saturday. It will cost an obscene amount of money and he will be on medication the rest of his life.

And if we can’t get a handle on this, then that’s another story altogether.

When dogs and cats go shopping

My sister and I didn’t grow up in a household that taught us that Santa Claus was real. We knew full well that our parents purchased every gift under the tree and that the idea of Santa Claus was derived from the real Saint Nicholas, the Bishop of Myra. Yet that didn’t stop my parents from making a grand reveal on Christmas morning or my mother from writing a myriad of oddball names on the gift tags. For many years sister and I received presents from Bugs Bunny, Mickey Mouse, and Tweety Bird. We’d also receive gifts from whomever our pets were at the time — Peanut, Heidi, Rascal, Max — all names written in my mother’s distinct printed cursive.

In my youngest years, I thought it was funny, but when she continued to sign packages this way when I was a teenager, I rolled my eyes. (Of course I rolled my eyes!) Why didn’t she just sign Mom and Dad or even Santa, which was far more relevant than Daffy Duck and Goofy? However, without fail, the pets always gave us gifts, and I always found it endearing.

All this being said, you can imagine the surge of nostalgia I experienced the other day when sorting through a mishmash of recycled wrapping paper in a holiday gift bag and found this little gem:

To Jen from the cats

After the nostalgia wore off I paused to consider the fact that I’d hung on to a gift tag from the late 1990s. Both Precious (my cat) and Rascal (Mom’s cat) have been dead for more than a decade, and if this gift was given from them as a pair, the last time they lived together was just before I got married in 2000.

Let’s pause to consider that maybe I should clean out the bag of recycled wrapping paper more often.

“Like Mother, Like Daughter” doesn’t always apply to my mother and me, but when it does the phrase refers to our smiles, our laughs, and our persistent love of animals. Oh, and our habit of giving gifts on behalf of our pets:

To Jackson from Major

To be clear, Jeremy already rolls his eyes at me and shakes his head as he tears open the gifts from Salem and Major. Jackson, on the other hand, believes his pets have a genuine interest in giving him gifts and he always thanks them properly.

I’d like to say that I’ll stop writing gift tags this way sometime soon, but if I had to make an honest bet, I think our pets will be shopping for the kids as long as I’m alive.

My other boys

One of them was happy to take a photo this morning and wish you a happy weekend. The other pretended not to hear me. Forgive his rudeness. He doesn’t care about you or your weekend or what you think about his lack of caring. You can move along now.

Fur babies

 

 

Bird Watching and Typing

We’re studying winged creatures in science and our backyard is a great space for observing them. The new lens I got for Christmas allows us to zoom in closer than ever. We caught a glimpse of this lovely critter yesterday. Blue Bird Someone else was watching too. Salem watching birdsThe boys have also started typing lessons, which is  something I did not officially learn until ninth grade. I got tired of seeing them poke around the keyboard, and considering that modern life is built upon technology, I figured it couldn’t hurt. They are loving it!

Now I’m getting 10 to 15 emails a day from the boys, who are sitting across the room on another computer.

Email

Yay baby!

So yesterday I had the most awesome privilege of seeing brand new life appear on earth. Lesli and Jimmy, parents of Henry, had their second child, a precious little jewel named Catherine. I was over-the-moon excited to be there with them to capture her first few hours.

Catherine's dark hair

Wide awake

My favorite of Catherine

 

She is a beauty. Now, between Susan, Lesli, and me, we have three boys and two girls. My heart is bursting. I want them all in a room together as soon as possible.

Don’t think I didn’t freak out when Jeremy said, “When Catherine is ten years old, I’ll be twenty!” Wait, what?

I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention our little baby, who officially turned one year old yesterday.

This was Major at six weeks old, sleeping soundly next to his older brother:

sleeping togetherAnd here we were last night, cuddled for about ten minutes until Salem was over it:

Major and Salem on Dec. 9I’d forgotten that it was Major’s birthday until I came home from the hospital and the boys told me I needed to join them in a round of singing Happy Birthday to the dog.

Novel progress and a baby, unrelated

The novel is sailing along at more than 32,000 words. No doubt I’ll hit the 50,000-word limit by the end of November to meet the terms of NaNoWriMo and my creative writing class, but this book will be well over 50K when it’s finished. I’ve employed my dearest friend, Corey, to read it and advise me, and by “employ” I mean that I’ve cashed in 20-plus years of friendship in exchange for her expertise as a creative person. She has no idea what she’s agreed to. HA! Sucker!

Yesterday was a labor of love, but not with writing. I agreed to babysit our littlest cousin for the day, so in addition to the boys (and their school work), the dog (and his nonsense), graduate school (Lit Theory sucks), and really, really cold weather (hello, winter!), we had a tiny blue-eyed visitor. Seriously, why would you say no to babysitting this guy?

Connor at 11 months old

The boys thought babysitting Connor meant a day off from school, but nope! HA! Suckers!

School with Connor

Connor was a complete angel, and I’m not just saying that because his parents and grandparents will probably read this blog entry. He really is a calm, cheerful baby. He did not cry or whimper or thrash around or vomit or explode in his diaper, all of which I was geared up to handle. The boys can vouch for my babysitting report. They were even trying to convince me to adopt another baby, and I was all, “NO WAY.” We are just fine here, thank you. Have you met Major? The dog who ate your Mandarin action figure last week? Who steals your peanut butter and jelly sandwich of the plate? Yeah, we’re good here.

Speaking of the dog, he was oddly very sweet with the baby. After sniffing every inch of Connor’s tiny little body (he’d never seen a human that size before), Major followed him around everywhere he crawled. When Connor sat still, Major laid down next to him and waited. It was a nice display of canine loyalty and protectiveness that made me think, “Okay, we’ll keep you another week.”

Major and Connor

Canoeing, Fireworks, and Salem

But not all at once.

Our week with Jacob ended with a rainy Fourth of July Hurry-Up-and-Light-the-Sparklers extravaganza. The weather was dreadfully wet, but we managed to squeak out a quickie-canoe trip on the river on Wednesday and one more swim on Thursday before storms forced us inside for the rest of the day.

Then we swam to Dayton, Ohio, to swap Jacob for Jeremy, and swam back to our house Saturday evening. I’m so over the rain and I miss Jacob. Whether he realizes it or not, the true gift of this week was having my 12-year-old nephew all to myself.

He’s a great kiddo.

Canoe trip

Jacob canoes for the first time

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At the end of the week I asked Jacob to rank his favorite things from his time in Tennessee. No. 1 was time spent in the river, which I expected. No. 2, however, was a pleasant surprise. He said he really enjoyed the pets. That makes sense, though, since he and Salem were best buds every night during movie time. (Major was mostly tolerable, which is pretty good considering…) _DSC0101In third place, for those wondering, was all the food he enjoyed eating with his non-vegetarian aunt Jennie. We ate well and often. Nature and food = Tennessee. 🙂

Hardest Life There Ever Was

I actually missed this little menace while I was out of town, if you can believe that nonsense.Major naps

He lives a hard life, so I’m happy to accommodate his sleeping preferences.
Hard lifeHappy Weekend to you, reader! May it be filled with all sorts of immodest napping.

He’s the boss of Major.

This mischief happened earlier in the week. I considered it a challenge of authority:Major on the tableBut then this happened shortly after, and then I was reminded of who’s really in charge:Who's the bossIn other news, I saw something on Pinterest that I had to try. Actually, there are dozens of things on Pinterest that I’d like to try, but this seemed doable. Instead of tossing my romaine lettuce cores in the garbage, I stuck them in water and placed the glasses on the window sill. I was surprised to discover that the lettuce leaves actually grew back.

Growing lettuceThey aren’t spectacularly long lettuce leaves, and it’s taken a while for them to grow, but nonetheless it worked.

And finally, I got word today that the insurance claim to cover Jeremy’s hearing aid was denied. This is a very expensive denial, so I will be putting on my boxing gloves and going into the ring to fight it.

The day Major was good.

This was not the day Major was good. Mr. Persistant

StuckBut on Mother’s Day, he was exceptional. It’s as if he knew he needed to keep Mama happy. We took him to the river and he was wonderfully behaved, even when we met another blue tick hound and all hell could’ve broken loose. Though he has more brown markings than Major, this eight-month-old was pretty much his twin. (Major is on the right side of the photo.)

Twins

Major even allowed Chuck to lead him into the water, which is what we were hoping for. HandsomeThe dog was calm and obedient and walked on his leash like a pro. Unfortunately, all that goodness was left at the river because he’s been a pain in my arse all morning running around like a nutcase. Every time I tackle him to the ground, I whisper into his floppy ears, “You’re getting snipped tomorrow, big boy, so enjoy this while you can.”

The Perfect Pet

A few nights ago, on the eve on Chuck going out of town, I let out a big sigh, groaned in exhaustion, and jokingly asked, “So which kid are you taking with you tomorrow?”

He paused, then answered, “Salem.”

Yes, after three months of wrangling a blue tick puppy and nearly ten years of parenting, even Chuck prefers Salem, which is how I always knew it would be. He finally sees it my way.

Salem may be fat and irritable, but he is the most fabulous little being in this family. He doesn’t require much from us and he occasionally brings us presents. The boys love asking me to rank everyone in order of who I love the most and I answer consistently with, “Your dad, then Salem, and you two are tied for third.” It makes them laugh, they know I’m (mostly) kidding, and they’ll ask me to say it again a few days later.

But seriously. He’s awesome.

In the tree

the hunterWhat about Major, you ask? Yeah, he’s on the list. Somewhere near the bottom. Because when he’s not scratching my legs or chewing a Galactic Hero or barking at nothing, he’s doing this:

Lounge chair

The Boss

Salem is the only one with power in this house. He is the boss of us, particularly of Major, and now that the dog has started howling and baying, Salem is having none of it.

It all begins with this adorable face:
Adorable

And then he starts this nonsense:Loud

Salem is usually napping comfortably until he is disturbed:
HushAnd then he’s just pissed:AnnoyedThe boys continue to have fun with their houseguest, though my little Jack is often excluded. I remember what it feels like (Becky) to be unwelcome in my older sister’s bedroom (Becky) when she had friends over to visit. I adored my sister (Becky) and she mostly liked me, until she had a sleepover, and then I was no longer worthy to be included (Becky). I’m not pointing fingers or anything (Becky) but rather acknowledging the natural order of things when you’re the youngest child. I clearly harbor no resentment.

(Becky)

Storms are coming tomorrow so the kiddos will be outside for as long as possible tonight. Then I will shove them in their beds by 9 p.m. because it will take them another couple of hours at least to stop chatting long enough to fall asleep.

Splint and Spring

I was standing at the sink doing dishes, the boys were somewhere in the house, and I assumed the dog was with them. Still in my boots from having just gotten home, I took a step back from the sink to grab a towel and heard a loud yelp. Unbeknownst to me, Major was underfoot – literally – for I had just stepped on his tiny little puppy toe. He limped off and wouldn’t let me touch his paw. This was Thursday night and we already had an appointment scheduled for Friday morning at the vet. Perfect.

X-rays showed that I had indeed fractured his little baby toe with my haphazard step, thus resulting in a splint for four weeks and the cone of shame to prevent him from chewing off the tape. Commence Mommy guilt.

SplintRaising this dog has been a bigger challenge that we anticipated, to be perfectly honest. He is dominant, aggressive when playful, and busy, busy, busy. We knew a puppy would require extra work, constant attention, and a test of wills, but we did not anticipate the excessive biting and barking. Major is so lovable and cuddly when he’s sleepy, but when he’s awake and energetic, it’s another story. All of our tactics to curb the biting have backfired. They all make him more aggressive. We’ll be enrolling him in obedience classes very soon.

In other news, spring in nearly here, thank the sweet Lord. Little signs of new life are sprouting in our yard and this past weekend was a wonderful preview of what’s to come. It was 70 degrees and blissfully clear, which meant the pets and I could bask in the sun for hours. East Tennessee is about to get gorgeous.

Green

Red

Salem the Dog Whisperer

Look at the confidence. Salem is so certain that Major will stay right where he is that walking across the backyard is old news. No biggie. No threat. Life is good when you run the place. He who chases his own tail! Imbecile!

The Dog Whisperer

Major is still a challenge for me. He is loving and cuddly at night when bedtime is near, but the rest of the day is managed chaos. The only person who can control him is Chuck, who is second in command after Salem, and I’m desperately trying to assert my inner Pack Leader. It’s not working. My hands look like chew toys. To the stranger in the check-out line, I must look like I stick my hands in blenders.

The dog won’t be neutered until May, so I know I’ve got this amped aggression to deal with at least until then. My hope is that after we sever that testosterone he’ll calm down a bit. Even the vet recognized how dominant Major is, so I know it’s not just my pansy demeanor we’re dealing with.

In other news, we woke up to snow this morning and it reminded me that I never posted a photo from our weekend snow. Despite its beauty, we’re all very ready for spring.

Weekend Snow

Baby Smokey

We took Major to the park for the first time this week now that he’s been properly vaccinated. I’ve been eager to get him walking on a leash, which is dreadfully difficult for coonhounds. (They are consistently tempted to nose a trail, which is like having Doggy ADHD.)

I’m just going to boast a little now because every passerby at the park loved Major. I mean, LOVED him. They asked questions, called him Baby Smokey, allowed their dogs to sniff him and so on and so forth. Major ate it up like celebrity. He wagged his bum and jumped around and licked everyone’s hands. I was a proud mama.

at the parkOf course, there was one gentleman who did not stop his walk to pet Major. But he was wearing a Georgia Bulldogs hat, so I’m just going to let that one slide.

sitting like a good boyTaking Major on walks is essential because this little guy is SUPER DUPER HYPER when he’s awake. It’s no surprise that nighttime is my favorite part of the day when he crawls up in our laps to snuggle and fall asleep.snuggle time

Our growing boy

We continue to have a very busy household with Major here. When he’s not napping, he’s chewing, running, bouncing, sniffing, eating, or up to no good. We’ve learned that someone, be it an adult or child, needs to be with Major when he’s out of the crate. If we don’t pay attention, he’s more than likely eating a Webkinz or somebody’s Spiderman coloring book.

He’s also maturing, which I came to realize after catching him getting intimate with a beach blanket.  Ahem. Boys will be boys.

But we still love the snot out of him. He’s fabulous.

chew toy

Best buddies

Nosy