The Great Mouse Chase

Sounds like a Disney movie, right? But, alas, it was only the title I’ve given to last night!

I have to preface by saying that we live very rural and since our home was purchased in ’96 by my husband, we’ve had our fair share of woodland visitors. We met in ’98 and married in 2000 so we’ll say, for the sake of argument, that in 17 years we’ve had visits from a bat, several wayward birds, a chipmunk (or 2), snakes, and countless field mice. We are humane. We never set out to kill animals for being animals. After all, no bird flies by thinking it would be great fun to become stuck in someone’s kitchen! Catch & release has always been our policy.

Buster, being a non-human, has a more of a catch and eat policy. We’re not sure if he is trying to play or that Whippet side of him wishes to hunt and eat its prey. The bat & birds were pre-Buster and got in during a remodeling of the kitchen. They escaped unscathed. Mice have been casualties of war. Field mice are almost a given in rural areas. Humans encroach on their space. Winter comes. So on and so forth.

My husband is pretty good at catching them without incident when possible. Several have not made it past Buster. R.I.P. Unknown Field Mice. Truthfully, since we did some fixing up several years back, I haven’t seen any mice at all. But, a few weeks ago, Buster began pacing and sniffing around. I thought perhaps he’d caught a scent through the open window or that the Febreeze plug-in was bothering him. Occasionally, he dislikes the scent! I told my youngest son that whatever it was, ‘Bus was on the case!’. We watched him awhile then followed him into the kitchen.

Sure enough, there was a tiny and I do mean tiny, field mouse trapped in a corner under the heater. Safely removed and non-Bustered, we figured that was the end of it. *Sigh* I was wrong. Around midnight, last night, Buster barked. Now, he doesn’t bark unless there is something not right. Usually, it’s an animal outside (deer, a cat, coyote, etc.) When I woke up, and got my glasses, I saw Buster laying in front of my dresser. It has double doors in the front and 3 pull-out drawers on each side. Doing a funky dance, Buster was growling, standing up then laying down.

Being that my husband isn’t the type of man who one wakes up unless they are steps away from Heaven or the house is burning, I crept around Buster to turn on a low-wattage light. I have to admit that I felt a bit like Shaggy following Scooby. I saw the double doors lightly move. Buster was on it! He jumped into action but his lack of opposable thumbs didn’t allow him to open the doors himself. I’m not stupid so I slipped on my tennis shoes and put on ski gloves. Work gloves would’ve been best but it was midnight!

As I bent over to tie a shoe, I heard the doors bump again and Buster jumped. A growl followed and his focus went to a drawer that I saw was ajar. This line of action repeated which just affirmed my thoughts that we did indeed look like Scooby and Shaggy. Somehow, Mr. Mouse was alternating between drawers and as Buster picked up his scent, it drove him bananas! All this commotion awakened my youngest.

He’d crept down the hall and scared the snot out of me when he asked from the dark hallway, ‘Are you ok?’. Thankfully, I stifled the scream. As we watched the uncoordinated Buster dance of jumping between drawers, we decided to go all do or die. Clad in my pajamas, ski gloves and tennis shoes, I grabbed the double doors and threw them open. They revealed- nothing. Drawers were opened one and a time. Finally, with one left, I sent my son to get a shopping bag to snag Mr. or Ms. Mouse. My mistake was turning my head to talk to him while
opening the drawer.

Yes, you guessed it. As the drawer opened, because the mouse HAD to be in the LAST drawer, he/she made her majestic leap to freedom. Buster in his sonic speed mode missed it by a millimeter. Past me, past my son that determined little bugger ran like The Flash. *Sigh #2* We lost him. I swear even Buster groaned at our epic failure. My son, speechless, walked back down the hall and simply closed his door. I had no idea where to look or go and by now, it was 3 AM. How we didn’t wake my husband is well beyond me!

I looked at Buster and told him we should just go to bed. But, he never gave up. When my husband woke, 3 hours later, for work, Buster was still diligently placed in front of the dresser. We will find the little intruder. For his sake, he should hope I find him before Buster does. I must salute him though for outwitting 2 humans and a pit/whippet! Good show, little mouse. Good show!

Pup-Peroni: A Winning Treat For Your Dog

img_0304-2My Buster loves his snacks. I’ll admit I can be a bit of a helicopter mom about what he eats. All his snacks need to be quality and from a brand I trust. I won’t except less for him. As my best friend and constant companion, I want him to have ‘goodies’ that taste good while still maintaining a healthy eating plan.

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He’s an active little bugger and likes to take his snacks on the go. Pup-Peroni sticks are perfect for that. The fall season is as busy for us as it is for most families. While we aren’t really a sports-oriented family, we do have a lot of tasks outdoors that have to be completed before bad weather hits. Whether it’s ‘helping’ Dad with winterizing or following our boys around while they’re doing chores, Buster seldom sits still. Youth groups, school, work- we’re often on the go, too. 54

My guys need fuel for all they do and so does Buster. So, when I make everyone lunch, Buster stops to eat with us, too. One of his favorite foods (and a word he truly knows!), is bacon. Pup-Peroni’s new Filet Mignon & Bacon Flavors is a winner! From the first taste, I knew he was hooked! Plus, because it’s made with real angus steak and bacon flavors, I’m comfortable with him eating them. Pup-Peroni is a well known, well respected brand. I appreciate that, too.

Buster loves the taste. Trust me, they disappear quicker than you can say ‘Filet Mignon’! Their bag  packaging makes them a convenient way take them on the go. The resealable bag delivers a fresh snack every time. Eventhough Buster adores his Milk Bones, I’m pretty sure that these are now his new favorite. As you can see in the picture, he was so happy when he got the first Pup-Peroni that he jumped into Dad’s arms!

With all he does for us, it’s nice to be able to give him a little thank you. We can’t remember life with out him and we wouldn’t want to. For all those special pups in your life, you’ve got to try the new Filet Mignon & Bacon Pup-Peronis.

Join the ASPCA in Their #ShopWithYourHeart Initiative

SWYH-Shareable_square_062916_cow-decideDo you worry about where your food comes from & how it’s obtained? If not, then  we should. Join in the Shop With Your Heart Initiative. The ASPCA is shining a light on inhumane practices within the food industry. Most of the facts will alarm you. Hopefully, they will also change the way you view your food.

Visit their site and see how many people have decided that enough is enough. Watch the Video here. Make your own decision to avoid food brought to you in an unethical fashion. Take to social media & join the movement. It’s simple and completely free.

We all love taking selfies, so take one with your hands in the heart-shape. Add the hashtag #shopwithyourheart and @ASPCA. Sign the pledge as an educated consumer & tell your kids about it. After all, for things to have a lasting impact, our next generation has to pick up the torch, too. Once you sign the pledge on their website, you’ll have access to “an exclusive Shop With Your Heart Grocery List, including welfare-certified and widely available plant-based brands.”

We may not all be able to travel, donate, or hold elaborate fundraisers. But, we can all do something! This is simple & quick. I know you love sharing on you Social Medias so go for it! Spread the pledge!SWYH-Shareable_square_062916_chicken_factory-farms

 

Drama With the Vet

Never in my wildest dreams did I think it would be so difficult to find a vet! We’ve used a great local clinic for all Buster’s shots & his very first check-up. However, I wanted to find him a full-time, more personal vet. What I definitely wasn’t prepared for, was the drama it would take to find one! Ok, let me be more specific- to find one I was willing to pay to see Buster!

I was surprised to see that not a lot of folks had rated vets on various sites. More groomers than vets had ratings. So, I started with listings close to home & went from there. Several calls resulted in me hanging up after 20 or so unanswered rings. My frustration grew a tad. Next, I reached a vet stationed in PetSmart locally.

When the young lady answered the phone, I laid out my speech about being a new patient, Busters, ya da ya da ya da. An awkward silence ensued & I was placed on hold. As the elevator music played on, I waited. Almost 5 full minutes later, she returned to tell me she was new. She didn’t have answers to any of my questions. She couldn’t even tell me the cost of the initial visit! Finally, I appealed to her to at least find this out. Tack on an additional 5 minutes of music. $79 she replied into the phone. I hung up.

It wasn’t the price. It was the fact that they hadn’t even given this poor child the basic info to answer questions. Therefore, in my brain, you either A.) Don’t value adding new patients to your business or B.) Run a very dysfunctional business. Perhaps C.) Both. Either way, we weren’t going there!

Finally, yes, finally, I called a place called ‘All About Pets’. Not far away, its website seemed professional. It appeared well staffed. Deep breathing & I dialed their number. Two rings (already a plus) lead to a pleasant, happy voice greeting me. We discussed dog breeds, neutering, vaccines, & obviously, pricing. She had answers! Good, I had questions!

Not once did she dismiss my concerns. She was attentive & though I heard a phone ringing, she never put me on hold. Hooray! I had to tell her how much I appreciated her professionalism & her kindness. I definitely appreciated the price she gave. $50 was more than reasonable, especially considering the $79 people didn’t even know what to charge!

We’re heading there shortly. Fingers crossed that he’ll be a good boy & that my intuition has served me well.

Buster: Home Alone

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After giving Buster more independence, he seems much, much happier. Several days after removing his crate, we decided to try leaving him home by himself. Da-da-daaaaaa……

My husband and I left him for about an hour while we went to pick up our youngest from Youth Group. We expected the worst & hoped for the best. Not surprisingly, he stood at the kitchen window & stared at us like we’d completely abandoned him. However, when we returned, he wasn’t in the window any longer.

He’d been given a treat, had a full bowl of water & enough food before we left. It was only an hour after all! As we came in the front door, there was Buster, his goofy, dog smile on his face. He jumped and greeted all three of us like he always has except this time, he wasn’t nearly as anxious. After just a minute or two he went along as if nothing had been different.

There were no accidents and everything was in order. My husband was initially concerned that he’d break some things. You know, throw a toy in the air, as he so often does, and we’d come home to discover it stuck in the t.v. Fortunately, we have an amazing dog. He played nicely and did everything we wanted him to do.

Now, the next test will be when he goes boating. We purchased a life vest for him and now that summer has arrived, we’d like to get hm out on the water. It should be quite interesting!

Buster Goes Crate-Less

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Buster has definitely gotten bigger. When he came to us almost a year ago, we were told he was 4 months. Neither the groomer nor I are so sure. He may have been older. Also, as time has gone by, it’s become increasingly obvious that Buster isn’t a Jack Russel/Chiweenie mix. We now believe he is a Jack Russell/Pit Bill mix. Our first clue being the tell-tale pink splotches & freckles.

But, besides altering my opinion of the Pit Bull in general, Buster has challenged many things I thought I knew about dogs. I believe he is a gift from God & no one can convince me otherwise. Not only has he encouraged me to be increasingly mobile, he’s been my companion & friend when I needed one most. Affectionately, I’ve dubbed him ‘Bussy’ and he readily answers to it.

So, when friends are not acting right, those closest to them need to be aware of clues- whether or not those friends are human. Two nights ago, I noticed a drastic, non-Buster mood with him. Now, to preface, this May has brought PA our unwelcome visitors- cicadas. As they’ve been hatching, Buster has decided they are like fruit snacks & can’t seem to stop eating them. When night came, I was concerned that perhaps he’d indulged in a few too many of them. A quick internet search assured us they were safe (gross, but safe) to eat.

With the enormous amounts of goodies I feed my ‘baby’, I have NO earthly idea why he’d want to eat bugs. Yes, he’s a boy, but geez! I digress. He seemed to me to be bothered. He was agitated, lethargic, & snippy. He growled at everybody in the family. Buster has never growled at me. Never. The biggest kicker was that he lifted his leg on my bed. My bed! The person who cares for him, feeds, babies, & pampers him. Yes, I was pretty indignant about it, too!

It was then I decided something major was bothering him. The very next night, Buster refused to sleep. We (he & I) were up all night. I tried countless ‘potty’ trips for him, food, water. He wanted nothing. He also refused to go into his crate. Truth be told, Bussy is a very emotional soul. He expresses himself clearly through sound & expressions on his face. He grunted and pushed off that crate like nobody’s business. There was thrashing & I can’t believe that no one heard his commotion. Finally, desperate, I took him to my room & told him we were going to sleep. That little bugger curled up under my comforter & was out.

At daybreak, I searched the internet once more, but this time I looked up emotional things for dogs. Numerous times, the same thing jumped out at me. Buster was done with the crate. On one hand, it’s good. The thing is unsightly & cumbersome. He was definitely outgrowing it. On the other hand, I worried about him disturbing everyone, tinkling, etc. Boy, did he surprise me.

When the husband got home yesterday, we took Bussy’s bed part out of the crate. I’d told my husband that if the dog fussed, I was wrong. In actuality, Buster got happier. He jumped, he was curious, he was pleased. We just looked at each, without words communicating how dumb we felt. We took his stuffed Wookie (he can’t sleep without Chewie) and put it on the bed. Buster took a look, laid down, & streched those long horse legs. Then, he jumped up & went to play.

As we began our day today, we found Buster, sound asleep on his bed. No crate. No fuss. Curled up with his Wookie in his paws. I may be no novice when it comes to human kids, but obviously, my fur baby taught me a lot. What we thought was a digestive issue (EW!), turned out to be Buster stating his independence.

Today, he’s incredibly happy, playful & the Buster I love.

Chelsey: Day 2

Sunday March 6th:
20160307_150800After Chelsey’s first, mostly sleepless night, I stayed at home with Buster while our youngest & my husband drove her to the Vet Clinic. Usually, these clinics are open for only two hours & I’ll admit that I was concerned when they were gone until long after the clinic closed. I had nothing to worry about!
When they arrived home, both my guys were smiling. Chelsey was wrapped in a blanket (my overprotective nature though the wind was chilly) and happily purring. With both his arms loaded with bags, my husband began detailing the day’s adventure.
When they arrived at Petco, there were very few people waiting ahead of them. That’s rare. When we took Buster, both times, it was crowded. A lovely female vet looked her over thoroughly. Miss Chelsey is 8 weeks old. Although her diet consisted of stinkbugs for at least several days, possibly a week, she weighed in at 2.2 pounds. Fur growth was sporadic with some thick spots & some quite thin. Rib bones were visible as well. Eyes & ears are both clean & healthy which is truly a miracle.
Chelsey got all the shots for her age & the vet gave my husband some sound nutritional advice for her. Our Buster has eaten 4Health since we got him & we were delighted that they make a comparable cat food. She didn’t seem interested in wet food. I have no idea if that’s personal preference, bad memories, or taste. But, the vet gave solid advice about how much dry food to give. Along with the shots & information, the vet provided him with pamphlets & wellness materials to help us out.
Grateful, he thanked her for all her help & decided that they’d run over to Tractor Supply to get the 4Health food and anything else they wanted for her. My son had tucked her into his hoodie as the wind outside had picked up. As the entered the store, Chelsey popped her head out of the hoodie. Nearby customers gushed over her, asking to pet her and showering her with attention. She ate that up with a spoon!
Content & purring, Chelsey seems to be the cat minority who really likes driving and doesn’t mind crowds! If nothing else, I hope she felt loved & appreciated during her moment of fame.
Back at home, we let Chelsey reset as we discussed food measurements & keeping Buster from ‘sharing’. Testing the waters with just a few nuggets of food, she heard it rattle in the dish & dashed to the kitchen. Before we could comment, she’d gobbled it down. A few more nuggets were gone in a heartbeat. Buster was feeling hungry or perhaps a tad jealous, so we gave him his own dish of his own food. Happily dining, he’d glance at Chelsey once in a while. In what I consider a beautiful moment, she looked up at me and meowed. Now, surely it was a tiny one, but to her, it was a tiger’s growl. Dipping her head, she made it clear that she was still hungry.
We were afraid to overfeed her, but God only knows when she’d really eaten last. About a handful of food later, she was full. It was a beautiful thing. Not too long after, she meowed again, this time at the door where her litter box is kept. She marched right in & used the litter box with zero discomfort! All poison, for lack of a better word, from the stink bugs was gone. Real food in her system made her one sleepy girl. She slept for about 10 straight hours.
I was worried, again needlessly. My husband reminded me that she hadn’t slept the first night here really & we aren’t sure how long she was outdoors in the arctic weather we’d had. This might have been the first quailty sleep she’d gotten in a long time. As an insomniac, I can relate!
When my menfolk had gone to sleep later that night, Chelsey was still counting sheep. My sleepless self was awake reading in my room. Around 4 AM, I had a teeny little visitor meowing at my feet. In true ninja fashion, she’d snuck right in. Climbing into bed with me, she curled up on the adjacent pillow, happily purring as she drifted off to sleep again. That is where she stayed until the alarm went off.
Stay tuned for more Chelsey updates!!!