Monday, July 27, 2009

It's Bread. Really.

This is what happens to dinner when you're busy playing with puppies.

It was worth it.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Day Six

They're eating puppy food! (Don't worry; they're still nursing, too. This is the puppy equivalent of baby food.)

I can't tell you how tickled I am. These puppies came to us so sick and weak, and now they look like real puppies! I woke up this morning to the sound of tiny puppy barks. They were playing tug 'o war with my husband over the newspaper that lines their pen. He was trying to clean it up, and they were trying to stop him. We're experiencing a cuteness overload around here!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

And Now For Some Good News

[Picture-heavy post]

[ETA: If you want to sign a petition calling for reform at the so-called shelter that perpetrated this outrage, click here.]

First, I want to thank you all for your righteous anger, your words of encouragement, your advice, and your good thoughts and prayers for mama and her puppies. I am absolutely thrilled to be able to tell you that they are all doing extremely well!

Mama (whom my brother-in-law has named "Heidi"--and yes, we are going to convince him to adopt her) is now nursing the puppies entirely on her own! This is good for so many reasons, I can't name them all. Obviously, it makes my job a lot easier. The biggest part of the job now is just keeping things clean. That requires a startling amount of newspaper, and we're running low fast. (If you're local and have some I can come pick up, drop me a note.)

It also requires a lot of towels. Fortunately, those I have. I also have a super-sized washing machine, and it is definitely getting a workout.

And this morning, we upped the ante by giving the puppies their first baths! This was so cute that I got a cramp in my heart. Of course, I took pictures so that you can all share in the adorableness. Without further ado, let the fun begin!

Puppy wash central

First Manicure

Getting behind the ears

Soggy doggy

Warm and fluffy

All clean!

Shy girl

Queen of the litter

Little boy


After-bath snack

Puppy pile


Wednesday, July 22, 2009


As I expected, the weakest of the puppies died yesterday. It was sort of a blessing; she was so sick and was just crying non-stop. Even her mother couldn't soothe her. I got her meds in and even got her to eat breakfast, but things went downhill quickly from there. [Stop reading here if you have a sensitive stomach.]

The puppy who died had worms so badly that she was throwing up live worms when she was pulled from the shelter. I know animal shelters have a constant influx of unwanted animals, and often have to make difficult decisions with limited resources, but the way these dogs were treated is absolutely unconscionable. The mother came in ill and pregnant. Instead of euthanizing her immediately (which would have been the most humane thing to do if they weren't going to try to save her or the puppies), the shelter staff put her in a cage and left her alone, unfed, to whelp her puppies. After the puppies were born, they still did not feed her or the puppies. For two weeks! I suppose they didn't want to "waste" food on dogs they were planning to kill anyway. But what sort of person starves a nursing mother day after day? How can this place be called a "shelter"? She'd have been better off on the streets, able to look for food for herself.

This poor dog is a fairly large shepherd mix. She should probably weigh about 55 pounds. Instead, she weighs maybe 30 pounds. Her spine sticks straight out and every rib is visible. Her hips are just bones. She has severe diarhhea. And she's still doing her best to feed her eight surviving puppies. By all rights, she should be hostile and uncooperative, but she's so good-natured that she wags her tail at me and doesn't even protest when I pry her mouth open to give her nasty-tasting meds. I'm feeding her generous meals every few hours and dosing her with Kaopectate and de-wormer. She's drinking tons of water. She seems to have milk, and I'm hopeful that she will start producing more as she gains some weight. In the meantime, I'm remembering what it was like to nurse a baby every two hours--times eight!

(For those who may be concerned, my dogs and kids are isolated from the mama and pups and are not allowed in the yard where they are kept. The puppies cannot be vaccinated until they are older and I don't know whether mama has ever been vaccinated. I will clean and sanitize everything--including the grass, if I can figure out how--before I let any of the healthy creatures out there. I wear latex gloves and cover my lap with a large towel when caring for the pups, and leave my shoes at the door. The last thing we need is worms. Bleah.)

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Biting Off More Than I Can Chew

Oops, I did it again...

...only worse. This mama dog and her new puppies were in a "shelter" in San Bernardino (about three hours from San Diego). Mama and puppies missed being euthanized by about an hour, after a rescuer in San Bernardino called a rescuer in San Diego pleading for help finding a foster home...and I happened to click on the "pets" link on craigslist a few minutes later. I offered to take them, and a rescuer from San Diego drove up to San Bernardino yesterday and brought the dogs back. We met at the home of the rescue coordinator and did the hand off last night.

Apparently, the shelter didn't think any of them were worth saving, so they didn't bother feeding the mother, who is now severely emaciated and doesn't have enough milk for her pups. Mama and all the puppies have a severe case of worms. Two puppies died in the shelter, and one more probably won't make it through today. I'm bottle feeding (actually dropper feeding) the nine currently-surviving puppies, and I've become expert at administering medication to squirmy, uncooperative puppies (with nine puppies, expertise comes quickly).

We think the pups are two weeks old, so they've got six weeks before they'll be available for adoption, assuming any of them survive. Eight of them seem to be doing pretty well. If anyone has any connection to the Higher Powers, could you please put in a good word for these babies and their mama? They've had a rough start and could use a little help.

Oh, and send newspapers. Lots of newspapers.

"Elvis is Alive!..."

"...I just found him in my backpack!" (actual quote from Older Son).

I had my kids clean out their school backpacks to use for daycamp this week. This is just the trash from Older Son's backpack. No wonder it weighs 40 pounds.

Friday, July 17, 2009


I've been knitting away on Calluna, despite the 90 degree heat here in Southern California. With air conditioning, I can almost pretend it will someday be winter again.

As usual, I'm concerned about the size of this one. I'm making the 36" size for my 35" chest. I forgot that it's generally better to add a little more ease for cardigans than for pullovers. Especially with a fairly fitted design like this one. I'm also using a worsted weight yarn instead of the aran weight called for. I am getting gauge, and the measurements are pretty close to the schematics, but it looks a bit snug on Bertha.

I'm hoping (and expecting) that blocking will relax the fabric and also take care of that annoying rolling at the button band.

Knowing that this will be a winter sweater, I'd already decided to make the sleeves full length. I've also decided to incorporate ring cables into the sleeves and give them some shaping instead of making straight, moss stitch sleeves as the pattern calls for.

I'm thinking two of these cables will create a nice, slightly bell shaped sleeve. Then I'll work the upper sleeves in moss stitch, maybe set off from the cable section with 1x1 ribbing, as I did for the body.

This is a fun knit; easier than it looks, too. Even with the cables and the pattern stitch, it only requires occasional pattern-checking, so it's good tv/supervising kids/social knitting. Now I'm off to cast on the sleeves!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009


I think I'm going to have to draw the line at napping on my knitting!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Summer Knitting

You may have guessed from the lack of actual knitting content around here that, although I've been busy with other sorts of fibery pursuits, the knitting hasn't really been happening. And you'd be correct. Summer is always a little challenging for me from a knitting perspective. I don't really like tank tops, I don't wear shawls, I don't enjoy knitting socks, and we all know my checkered history with lace. So it's tough to find a summer knitting project I'm interested in doing. And when I finally do, I'm usually disappointed with the results (see this and this). Even if I like the results, I rarely end up wearing the finished product (see this--and remind me again to do an FO post of my Unmentionables, finished for weeks, but yet to be photographed, much less worn).

So I've been looking for a great, wearable summer project for weeks. I've perused Ravelry. I've dug through the books and magazines. I've fondled stash yarns. I've even wound and swatched several balls. And still...nothing.

And then I saw this. Which I love. And I have a sweater's worth of purple Cascade 220 tweed that I picked up during the last WEBS sale. I've been waiting for a great pattern to come along for it.

But, of course, no matter what you call it, a cabled wool cardigan is not a summer sweater. Around here, it's not even a spring sweater. It is, undeniably and irrevocably, a winter sweater. And winter is a long time from now.

But it will come. And I will still be here.

So I cast on anyway! You're welcome, Winter Self.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Dog Days of Summer

Yesterday I had to take Sam to the vet. As I mentioned, he originally ended up in the shelter after being hit by a car. That incident fractured his pelvis in multiple places, and since he was scheduled to be euthanized (because he was injured, and therefore "unadoptable"), he wasn't treated until after the rescue group took him. By then, it was too late for surgery. He's healing pretty well, but he'll always limp. He's also had serious problems with his teeth. Several of them were broken, either from the accident or from trying to chew his way out of a cage, and some were rotting. For various reasons, they'd gone several weeks without treatment. Not pretty, and not very comfortable for him, either. So yesterday I took him to the vet to have his teeth taken care of.

Sophie was--to put it mildly--not. at. all. happy. According to my husband, she was very distressed when we left, roaming the house, looking for Sam, and lying by the door, whining. When I got home (without him), she kept nosing me and looking at the door, clearly telling me to "go get him." Once she realized he wasn't coming in, she flopped on the floor and moped pathetically.

Sam wasn't any happier. The moment I walked him through the door of the vet's office, he just shut down. Ears down, tail tucked under, not afraid, just...if I had to name it, I'd say he was hopeless. He turned away from me, and it was as clear as could be that he thought he was being left again.

It wasn't a happy day, for any of us. Sam had seven teeth removed (in addition to the one that fell out a few days ago). Fortunately, they were mostly small front teeth, which dogs use for ripping. I'm sure he would need them if he had to bring down wildebeasts, but kibble is a lot easier to catch and doesn't require much ripping, so he won't starve. He also got the rest of his teeth cleaned, and got some antibiotics to treat any infection. He's much better off now. But I was very relieved when I was able to pick him up. He seemed pretty relieved, too. He was still loopy from the anesthesia, but when the assistant brought him out from the back, he started wagging his tail happily and walked straight into my arms to put his head on my knee.

Everyone is extremely happy to have him home. And Sophie has made it very clear...

...she's not letting him out of her sight again.