dogs

My dogs have “Embarked”…

As some regular readers know, my husband Bill and I adopted a dog last fall. Noyzi came into our lives after a dog we had tried to adopt from Sardinia escaped his pet transport taxi and got hit by a car. We had tried to adopt the dog from Sardinia months after we lost our precious Zane, a beagle mix we adopted from Atlanta Beagle Rescue in December 2009. Zane was a very special dog to me and I missed him terribly, but it’s not so easy for Americans to adopt dogs in Germany. A lot of the reason stems from animal shelters near U.S. military installations having been burned by servicemembers who adopt animals and bring them back when it’s time to leave. Or they just dump the animals they brought over to Germany.

Naturally, Bill and I aren’t like that. Our dogs are family members, and we would never consider leaving them at a shelter. But thanks to the irresponsible actions of some of our countrymen, we figured we’d be wasting our time going to a local shelter. Additionally, thanks to COVID-19, getting a dog from a German dog rescue was also not going to be feasible. Last spring, we were not permitted to travel out of the area where we live. After the botched delivery attempt from the pet transport, we decided we’d rather be responsible for picking up our new friend ourselves. At least then, we could be sure the dog was properly secured before we took him out of the car! I am still haunted by the memory of that sweet hound from Sardinia, terrified as the taxi driver took him from her vehicle and set him on the ground, unsecured. Once that happened, there was nothing at all that we could do, and I knew in my heart that he was doomed.

Noyzi (also known as Noizy) was named for an Albanian rapper by a young man in Kosovo who found him wandering the streets, shrieking at the top of his lungs. He was a very young puppy when he was found; perhaps not old enough to be away from his mom. The young man gave him to an American woman named Meg, who rescues street dogs in Kosovo. A couple of years later, a mutual friend put me in touch with Meg, and we arranged to bring Noyzi to Germany. Noyzi was one of a few lucky pooches who found new homes last fall, just in the nick of time. If we had waited another month, it would have been hard to get him up here to Germany, thanks to COVID-19. I sure have loved having him around, though. It’s rewarding to see him evolve and his personality is very endearing and sweet.

I have never had a dog like Noyzi before. All of my dogs in recent times have been beagle mixes of some sort, although they’ve all been mixed with different breeds. Our first beagle rescue, for example, probably had husky mixed in with his beagle heritage. He had ice blue eyes and shedded constantly! Our other rescues were beagles to varying degrees; Flea was probably the closest to a purebred beagle, while MacGregor was definitely part basset hound, and I always suspected Zane had a touch of Labrador in him.

Since DNA tests are all the rage right now, I decided we’d see what breeds make up Noyzi and Arran. A couple of friends recommended Embark DNA tests. After a few weeks of resistance, I finally took the plunge. I bought two tests from Amazon. When they got to me, I used the high speed Q-tip like swabs in the kits to collect saliva from the dogs’ cheeks, attached the swabs to the vials of solution that came with the kits, put the completed kits in the included postage paid envelopes, and sent them off. Last night, after about a two week wait, we got the results, which included genetic health tests and breed analyses.

When we first got Arran, I figured he was a beagle/coonhound mix. But then Bill had a colleague who said he looked like a German Shorthaired Pointer. After reading up on GSPs, I thought maybe she might be right about that. As for Noyzi, I had no idea… At first, I wondered if he was part hound, due to his coloring. But then, after living with him for awhile, I figured he had some herding dog in him. He likes to collect toys and put them in his bed, or more recently, up in the spare bedroom we use as an entertainment room… but since we don’t have proper seating in there, it’s more of a doggy hangout room. Zane used to like to sleep in there during his last months.

I kind of knew that when we sent in the DNA samples, Noyzi’s would probably come back as “village dog”. Sure enough, I was right about that. However, I think it’s cool that his DNA is another sample for Embark, adding to the bank of unusual dog breeds they have in their database. I was pretty tickled with Arran’s results, especially since they sent us a cute video and guessing game for his results (Noyzi didn’t get a video for his). It turns out my instincts about Arran were right. He’s mostly beagle, with American English Coonhound and Llewellin Setter and “Supermutt” DNA. I had never heard of a Llewellin Setter, but it seems it’s kind of like an English Setter. When I was a kid, we had a dog who was a mix of Cocker Spaniel and English Setter. Now that I think about it, Arran shares a few traits with her… and he’s definitely got bird dog proclivities. But he doesn’t have any GSP, after all. I guess I should trust my instincts.

I resisted getting the tests done because I wasn’t sure how well they’d work out. I’m sure there aren’t a lot of dogs like Noyzi in the United States. I was right about that, hence the Eastern European Village Dog label. I thought we could get them done over here in Germany, but the results would have been in German. We did have our vet do DNA testing, but it turns out the kind she ran is more for breeders to show genetic information to buyers and prove bloodlines. It doesn’t tell you anything about the breed. It’s also NOT cheap! Apparently, Noyzi doesn’t have any significant genetic issues anyway. Arran is at a higher risk of getting disc disease, thanks to his beagle ancestry. The Embark vet sent us an email ahead of the results to let us know about Arran’s increased risk of getting IVDD. But as he’s about 12 years old and still very much a scrapper, I’m not too worried about it. I think he’s going to be our longevity dog.

Anyway… I highly recommend the Embark DNA tests. It was a lot of fun learning about our dogs, and I suspect that as the systems refine, we’ll learn even more about them. I wish I could have done these tests on our other dogs, too. I will make it a point of having them done whenever we add new canine family members. I think they’re helpful in determining the best ways to take care of our dogs. As the weather gets nicer, Noyzi gets more playful and sweet. I made another video yesterday featuring my crappy guitar playing… but at least Noyzi is a cute co-star.

I’ve been wanting to try this song for ages, but needed to be able to play it. Now I kind of can play it… I’ll keep practicing, while Noyzi continues to be adorable as he interacts with Tommi, the neighbor’s Lab.
Standard
complaints, dogs

A pox on people who don’t leash their dogs…

We’re expecting a few packages today, but the weather is really nice– sunny and kind of warm– so I decided to walk the dogs a little earlier than usual. Actually, this is more like a return to an old habit. When we lived near Stuttgart, I used to walk them in the mornings as a matter of course, but lately I’ve been walking them later in the day.

Arran has me a little worried. His poop is looking kind of abnormal. Parts of it look normal and parts are dark brown/black and greenish. I know he’s been having some digestion issues lately. We took him to the vet last month and had him checked for worms, which they didn’t find. But although he’s pretty perky and playful, he’s not his usual self. He’s also gained some weight lately, which may be causing acid reflux (maybe he also has another mast cell tumor, although I haven’t seen it).

In any case, on our walk, we had to wait for the trash truck, which was maneuvering out of our narrow, crowded street and down the one way road out of the neighborhood. Then we made our way through the main drag, which is narrow and crowded with cars parked on the street. The sidewalks are also crowded with trash bins. I was about to breathe a sigh of relief as we were turning down a pedestrian area where people keep their gardens. I noticed Arran was about to poop and I wanted to have a look at it before I threw it away.

This is one reason why Noyzi is always leashed. He runs like a freight train.

I noticed a guy with an athletic looking female dog approaching as I bent down to pick up Arran’s poop. I had managed to scoop up the shit, noticing that it looked somewhat more normal, although I think I saw some remnants of a toy in the last turd. My dogs were both on leashes, although Arran’s is a Flexi-lead tape leash. He probably doesn’t need it anymore, since he doesn’t run as much as he used to.

Guy with athletic female dog did not have her leashed. She started barking at Arran as I was finishing cleaning up the poop. She also lunged at him, which caused him to lunge back. German guy grabbed his dog, but still didn’t have her secure. So I was trying not to get shit on my hands while handling two dogs who were leashed. Meanwhile, his unleashed bitch was harassing Arran.

I probably gave him a super annoyed look. I didn’t say anything, since my German sucks… but I’m sure all he needed to know was written all over my face. Then I noticed another person with an unleashed dog, but he stayed out of the altercation and was obviously better trained. His owner managed to get him in her house before he got into any trouble.

Seriously, though… why not put your dog on a leash? Especially when you see someone is trying to be responsible and clean up dog shit, plus they have two dogs they’re juggling? Fortunately, this time, no one got hurt. This is not the first time someone’s out of control dog has intruded on my dog’s space. One time, it happened when a dog was able to climb out of his fenced yard. We were living at Fort Belvoir, an Army installation, at the time. He attacked my beagle, Flea, who was feisty but only weighed about 25 pounds to the other dog’s much larger stature. We ended up with a $200 vet bill, thanks to that incident.

My dogs are ALWAYS on leashes. Until we got Noyzi, our dogs have always been beagles, and we can’t let them go off leash because their noses can get them into trouble in a hurry. Aside from that, I don’t fancy having one of them get a bee in his bonnet and wind up on the Autobahn, which is very close to our house. We already lost one dog to that deadly highway last year.

The guy hurried ahead on the trail. I noticed his dog was staying by his side… until she wandered out into the field and took a big crap. Naturally, he didn’t bother to clean it up. That doesn’t really surprise me at all. Asshole.

Standard
complaints, disasters, dogs

See you next fall…

Many years ago, when I worked at Busch Gardens in Williamsburg, Virginia, I had a friend who worked on the Rhine River cruise ride. He was a big, strapping guy who sweated profusely and carried his lunches in Igloo coolers. I knew this guy, not just because we worked in the “German” part of Busch Gardens, but also because we were both from Gloucester, Virginia. He was the eldest of a large Irish Catholic family. I think he had eleven brothers and sisters, but I can’t say for sure. ETA: A mutual friend says that Shawn is the eldest of fourteen.

Anyway, this guy, name of Shawn, used to get a huge kick out of me. One time I asked him why he was so amused by my comings and goings. He said it was because I was always hurting myself somehow. And because I could swear a blue streak that would make a sailor blush.

This morning, I’m not so proud to admit that I did both of those things. The sad thing is, this morning’s injuries come almost exactly a week after my last significant injury… significance being a relative thing. I’m not talking about broken bones or even sprains. I’m talking about scraped knees and sore muscles from breaking sudden falls.

Last week’s accident happened when I was about to walk the dogs. It was cloudy and a little rainy. I was preparing to walk the dogs when I decided to check the mailbox. Noyzi has been getting a lot braver lately, so he followed me outside. Suddenly, I had a flashback to about a year ago, when the beagle we tried to adopt escaped the pet taxi driver who had brought him to us. He panicked and took off, as we watched helplessly. Hours later, he ended up getting killed on the Autobahn, which is very close to our house. Watching our would-be family member run to his death was devastating. We had been so looking forward to having him, only to see him take off running before we even got to pet him.

Noyzi runs like a locomotive. I don’t think he wants to run away. He seems to enjoy being a pet. He has his own big bed, doesn’t have to fight over food, and loves to take walks. He also seems to like me a lot, although he’s still afraid of Bill. Still, I knew that if he got spooked, as he occasionally does sometimes, I might be shit out of luck in getting him back. He is really fast! I panicked a bit when he came outside. I made a grab for his collar, but missed. I fell down, having lost my balance, and made another grab for him, which I missed. He quickly hit the deck, peeing submissively in the process. I tore off part of a thumbnail and badly scraped my right knee. I also got a big bruise.

It hurt. Falling down is not as painless when you’re middle aged. I literally saw stars and felt nauseous after I fell. Like, I might have been in danger of fainting from the sharp pain. I yelled a bit, because I was pissed off, humiliated, and hurt.

Healing takes longer, too. That knee is already pretty badly scarred from other spills, including one that happened during the summer of 1991, when I was working at Busch Gardens. That was by far the worst knee scrape I’ve ever had. I had just finished work and was taking my till to the cash control office when I slipped on the pebbly walkway. Because it was dark outside and had just rained, I didn’t realize how badly I was hurt until I went into cash control and handed over the till. I looked down and saw blood streaming from my knee. I asked the teller if she had any paper towels. She got a load of my knee and called the first aid office, who carted me off to the first aid station and patched me up. It took weeks for the wound to heal and I still have a deep scar.

So all last week, my knee has itched, bled, stung, and throbbed. My right thumbnail hurt like a motherfucker, since I broke the nail at the quick. As of today, it doesn’t hurt anymore, since the nail has grown. I’d say that injury, at least, is about recovered. But then I renewed my clutzy woes this morning.

Arran woke up at about 4:30am. He wanted his breakfast, since I didn’t have much of a dinner last night and he got few scraps. I got up, let him and Noyzi out, and fed them. Then I went back upstairs, but noticed that Arran hadn’t followed me. I know this trick. Arran will often stay behind and stealth pee if I don’t watch him. Not wanting to clean up an unnecessary mess, I went back downstairs to get Arran. Somehow, I tripped on a shoe. I remember feeling horrified as my ankle wobbled and I went down on my nice rug.

Mrs. Fletcher and I have something in common.

“FUCK!” I screamed. For the second time in a week, Arran was looking at me with a mixture of concern and fear. The expression on his face was like, “oh dear… she’s fallen and can’t get up!”

Yes, I literally screamed and wailed, in part because I was hurting, but also because I’m angry and frustrated. Because now, not only did I reopen the wound on my right knee and undo a week’s healing, but I also now have a scraped left knee and my left big toe is fucked up. This time the scrape is on the top part of the knee. It’s more of a rug burn, so I don’t think the flesh wound will take as long to recover. However, I also have a big bruise on top of the knee, and walking hurts. Add in the normal pain and stiffness I experience just for being old and fat, and you have someone whose Monday has gotten off completely wrong!

The kicker is, I’m supposed to drive somewhere today. It’s literally been months since I last drove anywhere. Like, it’s been so long, I don’t remember when I was last behind the wheel. It might have been in 2019, it was so long ago. And I have to drive the Volvo, because my car’s tires are low on air and even if I wanted to drive on low tires, I’d need to move Bill’s car anyway. Bill has been trying to find a working air pump at a gas station, but for some reason, the Wiesbaden area is low on functioning air pumps. We’ll probably end up ordering one.

Fortunately, the Volvo practically drives itself, and I only need to go about two or three kilometers. But the reason I have to drive is because I need to drop off a sample of Arran’s shit at the vet’s office. That just seems like a perfect Monday morning chore, doesn’t it? I still need to collect one sample before I go, too… and I’m not sure I can manage our usual walk today. My left knee really hurts. But the sun is out, and the dogs need the exercise. I need it too, but maybe only after I put on knee pads and elbow guards. Shawn would be so proud to see that nothing has changed since the 1990s, except now I’m older, heavier, and even more profane.

I haven’t even had an alcoholic drink since Saturday afternoon, so I can’t even blame this on being drunk. At least I finally finished binge watching Growing Pains.

You’d think I played rugby.
Standard
celebrities, dogs, funny stories, music, true crime

Shit happens.

I decided to take yesterday off from writing. It was mainly because in the wee hours of Friday morning, I awoke at about 2:00am and had trouble getting back to sleep. I had been having an erotic dream. I don’t have a lot of those anymore, so I was disappointed when I woke up. Weirdly enough, I dreamt I was having sex with Wil Wheaton. I have never even thought about having sex with him, so I’m not sure where that came from. Maybe it’s because I was recently triggered on his page. He’s definitely cute, but we’re both happily married to other people, so I doubt that’s a dream that will ever come to fruition.

Once my eyes cracked open, I got up to go to the bathroom. And then– sorry for the TMI– but I got a case of the shits. After I was finished, I left the bathroom and noticed I smelled it in another room, only it wasn’t of the human variety. Arran, bless his heart, sometimes poops when he sleeps, so I thought maybe that was the issue. But I didn’t see any evidence of that, so I checked on Noyzi, who was in his bed. The smell of poop also faded downstairs, so I could tell he wasn’t the culprit. Noyzi still doesn’t venture upstairs on his own.

Then I went into my office and, though I wasn’t wearing my contacts, I could see a fuzzy, stinky, brown puddle on one of my nice rugs. It’s one that doesn’t get walked on a lot, so it’s still pretty pristine. Arran had gone in there and dropped some diarrhea. Bill got up and cleaned up the mess while I let the dogs out. Noyzi went out and pooped, too… and it was at that point that I realized we all must have eaten something bad. Later on, Bill also had a touch of the shits. My guess is was the chicken from the chicken man, who sells his wares on Thursdays. This has never happened before, so I count it as a “one off”, as the Brits would put it.

In any case, I was kind of tired yesterday and not in the mood to write. I also find that when I take a day or two off, it’s good for my brain. Gives me a chance to refresh. Gives my readers a chance to catch up, if they want to… not that many people do. Right now, it appears I have lots of folks interested in my posts about Jocelyn Zichterman, Scott Drummond, Richard Jahnke, and Erin McCay George. These are all mostly book reviews, which rarely get a lot of attention when I first post them, but later attract readers. That’s one reason why I’ve been reposting stuff from my original blog. The book reviews are fairly “evergreen”– as in they attract views and money, if this blog were monetized, which it’s not. I post the book reviews as a “service” for the interested. Sometimes I read and review books that others are interested in but may not want to buy or can’t borrow.

I spent all day yesterday watching Snapped episodes from 2013. If I were still writing my old blog, I might write about some of the cases I saw on that show. Like, for instance, Nancy Gelber’s case… I found her a fascinating subject. She’s a wannabe author who self-published a novel called Temporary Amnesia, which boasts a very complicated storyline that she claims she dreamt up when she was a teenager. She said that’s where a lot of her ideas come from– her dreams– which are apparently even weirder than mine are.

Nancy’s book is on Amazon.com and it gets terrible reviews. I would probably hate it, and I sure don’t want to spend the amount of money they’re asking for it, especially since Nancy Gelber is a criminal. However, as someone who is interested in psychology, I found her very interesting to listen to. You can tell that beneath her cheerful, chatty demeanor, she’s a hot mess psychologically. Gelber tried to have her ex husband bumped off, but “hired” an undercover cop instead of a real hit man. Then, she claimed that she hadn’t known what she was doing.

This wasn’t what I watched on Snapped… it’s another program about Nancy Mancuso Gelber.

It’s actually interesting to watch this show, as opposed to the Snapped episode. It offers more of her ex husband’s viewpoint.

What a piece of work!

Nancy says she’s going to go to hell… and admits that having her husband offed is a “horrible” thing to do, as she laughs. On this show, she seems a lot more sinister than she appeared to be on Snapped. If you see her on Snapped, she seems a lot more pleasant and normal. How scary for Jody Gelber, her ex husband. I wish I were more of an expert in psychology. She seems like a fascinating subject. I’d love to know what her DSM V diagnosis is. My guess is narcissist, for sure.

Busted! If you listen to her fake reaction to the lie that her husband has died, she sounds like a really bad actress.

This morning, after I watched the YouTube videos about Nancy Gelber, I watched a couple more about Diana Lovejoy, who in 2017, fainted when she was found guilty of murder for hire. I’m not familiar with her case at all. I just found her reaction to the verdict fascinating.

Wow…
Off she goes to the hospital… complete with handcuffs.

I probably should get back into reading more true crime, now that I’m less interested in politics. To be clear, I’ve never been all that interested in politics. I was just horrified by four years of Donald Trump and his delusional political theater of the absurd. Trump is now reportedly refusing to refer to himself as a former president. His new legal team is referring him to as the 45th POTUS, which is technically correct. BUT– their main defense in the upcoming impeachment trial is that Trump is no longer president and therefore can’t be impeached. So which is it? Rachel Maddow has a good chuckle about it in the video clip directly below this paragraph. If you ever wanted a textbook example of grandiose malignant narcissism, Trump is your guy. By the way, as far as I’m concerned, Trump was never MY president. 😉

And finally, I probably could opine about the recent uproar regarding country singer Morgan Wallen, who was caught on video drunk and uttering racist epithets in the middle of the street with his rowdy friends. He’s facing a lot of backlash… more than the idiots who stormed the Capitol last month, actually. Looks like his fans are still buying his music, even though he’s no longer eligible for music awards and his label has suspended him. I remember when the Dixie Chicks pissed off their base by dissing former President George W. Bush at a concert. They were quickly canceled by a lot of their more redneck fans and country radio. Morgan Wallen uses the n-word and many of his fans are still fine with him.

I hadn’t heard of him before this happened. I do remember reading about Morgan Wallen being canceled from a gig on Saturday Night Live because he was caught on video partying with a bunch of people while unmasked. SNL canceled him because his appearance would put a lot of people at risk. And now, they have another reason not to have him play.

I’m not big on cancel culture. I think people should have the ability to redeem themselves. Morgan Wallen, at age 27, is probably too old to be acting like a drunken frat boy, and I did see and hear the video… and there is no excuse for his behavior. I don’t know that it should ruin his career forever, but I do think that if you’re lucky enough to be able to make a living in the arts, you owe it to yourself and everyone else to realize that with that platform comes responsibility. And, sad to say, it shows an ugly side of him. Clearly, he’s comfortable using that kind of language casually, which is too bad. It’s not the word itself that is offensive– it’s the attitude and meaning behind it. And the fact that so many people are protesting about Wallen’s “right” to free speech and missing the fact that with that right comes responsibility. Yes, he has the “right” to say what he wants. BUT that doesn’t excuse him from consequences. Wallen needs to grow up.

Last night, I was listening to old school Chicago and marveling. I can’t name most of the members of that band. I’m sure being in Chicago, which has been around for many decades now, paid off handsomely for a lot of the members. It occurred to me that is a band– along with so many others– like Earth, Wind, & Fire, Blood, Sweat, & Tears, and Three Dog Night– comprised of people who are passionate about music rather than just money and fame. It occurred to me how much time, dedication, effort, and TEAMWORK goes into making that tight sound. These are very talented people working together for something awesome, not to be rich and famous. I’d like to hear much more from people like them, as opposed to privileged, clueless, jackasses like Morgan Wallen. Just saying.

Well, that about does it for today. Gotta finish the laundry and practice guitar on this dreary Saturday.

Standard