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Busy, busy, busy.

September 5. 2020 –
Hello, what have all of you been up to lately?
I’ve been super busy sewing facemasks. Sometimes until 3 in the morning.
Here are 24 masks completed in one day.

Not selling the masks, just asking for donations. Some people have donated eggs, quarters, potting soil, fabric, thread, dog food and dog treats, more thread, flower seeds, and cash money. One woman gave me a container of cat treats because she doesn’t have a dog. I told her that was fine because none of my dogs can read the label. One man said he couldn’t give me a bag of cow manure because he doesn’t have a cow. Making masks is fun and I’ve met lots of interesting people.

One man liked his mask so much he called me a rock star. Said the mask was ‘state of the art’; after which he asked if I could alter the pattern to include a space for the filters he uses. Yes, of course. No problem.

In between sewing and walking dogs, I’ve finally managed to complete the fenced dog exercise area. It’s large enough for all 4 dogs to run around, dig holes, or just catch some sunshine. While the dogs are busy, I’m out there with them pulling weeds, pruning shrubs, or doing general cleanup. Here is Jack looking very silly and very pleased with his digging work. He’s a digging fool.

A while back, the chicken named Dottie Junior decided to hatch some eggs. Of the 18-20 eggs, she managed to successfully hatch out 4 lovely baby chicks. Three are hens and have her coloring and are small in size (the first Dottie was a bantam), and the fourth is a rooster that looks like his grandfather who was a Light Brahma. Don’t know if I mentioned it before but a black domestic rabbit has adopted my yard and is getting along really well with the chickens. Here is the rabbit sharing lunch with the hens and rooster.

Sometimes I take a break from sewing and dogs to run errands or do a little shopping. Here is a table I picked up for not much money. All I wanted was a smallish table that would fit in a corner…never dreamed I’d end up with an antique cast iron pub table from England. (Sorry for the bad photo but this sucker was heavy!)

One local woman offers specialty fruits and veggies that she imports from her home country. I purchased 8 tamarillo fruits. These are also known as Tree Tomatoes. The currently acceptable botanical name is Solanum betaceum. To be honest, I’ve never actually eaten one; only bought them to save the seeds – did the fermenting thing that I learned years ago; hope it works. The aroma of the fruit is divine! If I can grow these and get a decent harvest, there will be some lovely fragrant jams happening. (The package of Nutter Butter cookies is for size reference.)

Now that the fenced dog exercise area is finally finished, my next project will be to create a screen/blind to hide the trash cans and such. Someone on Facebook Marketplace was selling all these shutters for a whopping ten dollars. They are perfect. Updates as they happen.

Over on The National Gardening Association, they featured American Beautyberry and I was thrilled to see some of my images in the article. I tried to attach a link but can’t remember the correct way to make that happen; try this…
https://garden.org/plants/group/beautyberries/

Well, that’s what I’ve been doing lately. What are y’all doing these days?

If anyone can teach me how to make the comment section work on this blog I might actually be able to read answers.

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Dog Diapers

Do dog diapers work? Hmmm, I wonder.

Not long ago I purchased one dog diaper from a company called Dog Quality; the diapers are called Washable Wonders. The price was very reasonable. My dog Jack is not incontinent but he had spent some time in a wheelchair so I figured having a diaper on hand would be a good idea.

Recently, Jack had a medical issue which required several visits to the veterinarian and about $700 in office visits, tests, medications, etc. Free dogs are never really free, are they?

Rather than tell you about the Washable Wonders diaper, let me tell you a short story.

Here goes…

Two days ago my dog Jack ate something he shouldn’t have. It was a tube of Nystatin antifungal cream. I quickly checked online, then checked with poison control, then called the veterinarian all in the space of a few minutes. Whew, no worries. Jack will be okay. The vet said to keep plenty of water available and that Jack may have vomiting/diarrhea; forewarned is forearmed – I have spray cleaner, paper towels, trash bags, and know how to use them! I also gave Jack some plain Greek yogurt to help his tummy troubles.

Next day…Jack is fine. Things seem normal.

This morning…4:00 a.m. and it’s still dark outside but Jack keeps pacing and seems to need to go outside. I put collars and leashes on both Jack and George, we step outside just as the sky bursts open and rain pours down. Jack managed a quick pee, George said, “No way!!” so we went back inside. I dried both dogs then we all settled down.

A little while later Jack comes to me and wants something. Okay, I’ll play the guessing game…snack? squeaky toy? ball? play? I tried all of them and for a few minutes, everything was good. Then Jack did a very funny thing. He kept going where his diaper is. Over and over he went to the diaper. I asked if he wanted his diaper and he did the “happy dance” so, what the heck, I put the diaper on him and he seemed pleased. Did I mention that Jack loves his diaper?

We settled down again. I’m busy working on the computer and Jack comes into the room and. And uh-oh…I smell stinky! Someone passed gas. I think the dogs need to go outside again. I put the leashes on both dogs. We exit the front door and are on the porch when I realize that Jack is still wearing his diaper. “No, Jack. You cannot wear the diaper to go outside.”

This next part will be either gross or extremely funny depending on your experience with dogs. Since I need one hand to hold both leashes, I use my other hand to pull the Velcro (or possibly generic hook and loop tape) off the Washable Wonders diaper. The Velcro is easy to remove. In less than one second, and working with only one hand, I managed to remove the diaper, toss it through the open door and onto the living room floor…the diaper landed about 2.5 feet from the door…get ready…here it comes…and the huge pile of poop landed about 1.5 feet from the door!!!

Jack does not normally have incontinence. I only purchased the diaper because I have to put antifungal cream on him and the diaper prevents him from licking the medicine. Didn’t stop him from eating the entire tube!

But I have to say…the diaper is amazing. I looked at the huge pile of juicy poop on the floor and was grateful that I do not have carpet in the house. I looked at the diaper which was almost completely clean. Then I looked at Jack’s hind end…and it was absolutely clean. How is that even possible??? Who cares! This company is making an amazing product. Keep up the good work.

Okay, I’ll admit that I still don’t like the color of the inside fabric and really don’t like the ‘bullseye’ that fabric creates around the tail hole, but at this point, who cares!! The diapers work and that is all that matters.

I just now finished washing the diaper by hand in the sink. It washed really well and I am air drying it since it is still raining outside.

The name of the company is DogQuality. They are in Canada. Please go to their website to see the products – they make more than just diapers. There are also some helpful videos featuring some adorable dogs. You can buy DogQuality products from other companies but why not buy directly from the source?

https://dogquality.com/collections/dog-diapers

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The story of Jack

This is not the entire story of my dog Jack. It’s a long story but my involvement starts when I found a dog about three months after I lost my husband. The one on the left is an alligator; David’s the one on the right.
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Back in the spring of that year, I was roped into doing someone a favor and that put me roughly 100 miles away from home. Good deeds must be done, right? God rewards us for helping even if our friends don’t offer us gas money. On my way home I stopped at McDonald’s to use the restroom and get a cup of water with ice; it was a very hot day in southeast Georgia, somewhere around 97 degrees that day. I got back on the road heading for home. But wait.

What is that I see on the road up ahead? Oh, no! It’s a dog and he is dodging semi-trucks right and left. He keeps rolling out of the way just missing getting squashed by the huge tires. Being a Yankee from up north I pull over to the side of the road and holler in my best Yankee accent, “Get out of the road you stupid mutt are you trying to get yourself killed.” I’m sure there were some curse words in that sentence but I left them out for your delicate ears.

Well, the idiot dog stops in the middle of the road and looks to see who is yelling at him so I start cursing, er, yelling even louder. Another truck just misses him and he makes a beeline for my car. He leaps into my open car, licks my face all over…smells like he has been eating dead fish mixed with week-old garbage, yuck…and starts drinking my ice water from McDonald’s. Without thinking I put the car in gear and start driving home. The dog was covered in black tire smut but had no visible injuries. He/she/it was panting so hard and was making a clicking noise when it breathed and was so hot I could barely touch him (I’m going with the generic term ‘him’ for now); he was on fire from fear. I bathed his head and ears with some of the cold water, cranked up the air conditioning and he promptly fell asleep on the passenger seat.

Along the way, I stopped to buy a collar, leash, and some dog biscuits. Poor dog had never seen a collar and thought I was trying to strangle him. I searched for the owner but no one came forward. I wanted to name him Duke; my daughter gave him the name “Jack”. Okay, that works.

Here is Jack on our first day together, uncertain of his new situation. Would life with me be better than getting hit by a truck?
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I soon figured out that he had been mistreated and abused. He recognized ‘people food’ like fried chicken, BBQ, baked beans, and coleslaw but not dog food. I had to hand feed him and be very patient as he learned to trust me. When it finally dawned on him that he was welcomed inside the house he looked happy, but when he realized he was allowed to sleep on the bed he was in hog heaven.

My old deaf, blind cat was not thrilled. She had never met a dog before. Did I mention that she was about 15 years old? This is how “happy” Mamacat was to have a dog tossed into her life.
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But she was a good old cat and she got over her little snit. Here is Mamacat watching over Jack as he sleeps on a nice, comfy bed.

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Meanwhile, my daughter who lived next door gets a dog of her own; an American Bulldog and named her Allie. Here is Allie at 3 months old.

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The two dogs Jack and Allie become friends. When my daughter was at work I babysat for her dog and walked both dogs on leashes in our neighborhood. One day tragedy struck. We – the two dogs and I – were attacked by two full-grown Pitbulls. The dogs were aiming to kill Allie who was only 7 months old at the time. Well, Jack wasn’t gonna stand for that so Jack acted like a rodeo clown and tried his best to distract two Pits so they would not hurt his sister-dog. He even tried to protect me when one of the Pits knocked me down and started biting my hand. It was the longest event in my life. Jack was a hero. A superhero.

Someone called 911 and people started showing up…to watch. No one was willing to get into the middle of this dog attack…no one except for an 87-year-old woman. She grabbed her broom and started beating the Pits with all her strength. When the broom handle broke and the woman fell to the ground I thought for sure she was having a heart attack, but she was only trying to catch her breath; she had COPD. Police, ambulance, animal control all showed up. The owner of the Pits showed up; don’t ask me who called them. I refused treatment by the ambulance crew (they thought I was crazy but hey, the dogs are my responsibility and they come first, right?) and I told them to help the lady with COPD. The police took my info and photographed my hand. One policeman reluctantly gave me a ride back to my house so I could get my car to take the dogs to the veterinarian. Just a note: the back of a police car is not a comfortable place. It’s all slippery plastic. Yuck.

I grabbed my car, picked up the dogs…oh, where were dogs? The 87-year-old lady had them inside her fenced yard and was giving them a bucket of cool water. I drove like crazy to the veterinarian; the techs came out to carry both dogs into the treatment room. Since Jack was covered in blood head to toe they looked at him first. Not a scratch. Not one single bite. No damage of any kind. The blood belonged to the other dogs, not to Jack. So they immediately turned their attention to Allie. For a while, it was a life or death situation; no time to think. She was torn up, required surgery, stayed at the vet’s a while and later required all kinds of yucky after-care at home. While all this was happening at the vet’s office I was at the doctor’s having my hand repaired. No big deal; all better after three courses of antibiotics. We figured when my hand and Allie’s wounds healed that would be the end of that.

But we were wrong.

A few weeks after the attack Jack stiffened up, he looked like an accordion all scrunched up. He could not lift his head nor could he put his head down to eat. He was screaming in pain like a banshee. I’ll skip the next part but long story short Jack had suffered a neck and/or back injury at the time of the attack and would be in chronic pain forever. He has good days most of the time, but then he has episodes of agony. Each episode is a bit worse than the last and we do the massage/pain meds, etc. until the pain resolves itself. This most recent episode was horrible – he was dragging his back legs like a mermaid on dry land and I was about 4 minutes from having him put down. It was that bad.

The vet gave him prescriptions and advised that I lock him in a tiny crate for 2 weeks and not let him move. Nope, not gonna happen. I am a former Corrections Officer and I know what solitary confinement can do to a young man; it would be far worse for a dog who cannot understand being in a crate. I gave him the prescription meds but added my own treatment which was warm baths, massage, Turmeric and Masala, tart cherries and pumpkin. I also added fresh air and sunshine to keep his mood up. It was necessary for me to learn how to make him pee and poop – no fun but I did what I had to do. He gradually got a little better. I rigged up a plastic basket on an old baby stroller so Jack could ‘walk’ and visit with all his neighbor friends. The sunlight and fresh air are good medicine. Some days we took short walks with Jack walking unsteadily at his own pace; when he got tired I carried him home.

One day while walking the dogs (without the stroller)…hold on a minute. Let me clarify that.

I forgot to mention that in November some boys gave me a little vicious, nasty, terrible dog and no one wanted it so I decided to give the new dog the benefit of the doubt. His name is George – he is a handful and rarely stays still and never stays quiet…
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George is only quiet when he’s asleep. Even then, he sleeps with one eye open. Hates to miss out.
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But George is my dog now so I love him. Look at that smile.
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Here is my favorite photo of George; it shows off his big butt – yes, dogs and owners sometimes look alike in certain ways.

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It took several months for me to get all three dogs acclimated to each other but eventually, and a great big thank you to all my internet friends who encouraged me when I wanted to give up. Here is proof that the three dogs were happy together on one chair. Left to right: Allie, George, and Jack fading into the shadows on the right.

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With a bit more work I could even walk all three dogs, Jack on the left, then George with the white tail tip, and Allie on the right. All three walking with leashes at the same time. Please do not look at the sloppy woman in the photo. Yes, that is what I actually look like first thing in the morning; but please only look at the three dogs, okay? My neighbor snapped this pic with her cell phone before I could suck in my belly.
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Leaving Allie home in the air-conditioned house here we see Jack and George participating in a charity dog walk – The Dog Lovers’ Walk at the Landings, Savannah, Georgia which benefits our local Humane Society. Oh dang, there’s that dumpy woman again and this time she’s carrying bags of dog poop!
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In case you wonder why I don’t take Allie out in the street for walks with the other dogs, well, look at how big Allie is compared to Jack. Allie has to be walked separately as some days I’m just not strong enough to wrestle 3 dogs.

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Back to the story…okay, so I’m walking with my two dogs Jack and George slowly at Jack’s unsteady pace in my neighborhood. I spotted a known thief attempting to break into my friend’s house, and, being a former prison guard, I yelled at him to get out. Since Jack was not able to walk quickly, I lifted Jack and began following the thief to make sure he left the area.

After following the thief to the end of the street found myself standing in front of my friend Will’s house and was not looking forward to the very long walk back to my house carrying Jack in my arms. I jokingly asked Will, who is a seller of junk, if he had a spare baby stroller I could borrow for 10 minutes. Will, who is a mellow kind of guy, quietly said, “No stroller, but I have a wheelchair”. He quickly added, “You probably don’t even know what a dog wheelchair is.”

Five minutes later I had Jack strapped into the wheelchair and together with the dogs, I went back home to get the $10 to pay Will for the well-used $400 Doggon’ Wheels wheelchair. It has taken some time to do adjustments to the wheelchair so that it fits but Jack is doing great. The exercise is helping him to get stronger and I don’t have to carry him in my arms anymore.
Here is a photo of Jack’s wheelchair before adjustments.
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I know that Jack’s next episode could be the end of his life so I treasure each day with him. He is my hero. He saved his sister-dog Allie from certain death and saved me as well. I owe him whatever it takes to make him happy and comfortable. See how happy he is.

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The End…

Not quite the end…
I recently rescued a tiny kitten and my daughter named him Lucky. Thumb of 2015-10-01/greene/99b6d6

Now it’s never-ending work around here. My house will never be clean, my bank account is drained by my cup runneth over with love. Here are Jack, George, and Lucky playing together., and of course, Allie is next door sleeping on the comfy chair.
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Oh, that’s not right. Allie has just finished ripping the stuffing out of a fluffy bunny and is fast asleep on the carpet.
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It may seem like Allie spends a lot of time sleeping. She does go out for walks, she runs and plays, and sometimes she sticks her nose in places it shouldn’t be.
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Note: Just in case anyone gets the impression that I hate Pitbulls, no, not true. It’s the irresponsible owners that are to blame for the Pit’s bad reputation. I love Pits. In fact, I met some of my new neighbors a few years ago when they were given a tiny little puppy. I used my best Spanish language to let them know that the dog would grow up to be about 100 pounds. They laughed because they thought I was joking. We soon became friends and I was the person who took their dog ‘Junior’ to his vet appointments. Junior, pronounced in Spanish it sounds like “Yoon-Yor”. He is a sweetie pie.
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Okay, truth be told, one day last March Junior got out of his fence when the gate was left open by the slightly irresponsible relative of the owners and Junior tried to attack me and/or my two dogs, but ha! Having gone through this experience once before I was too fast for Junior. I acted like Superman or Wonder Woman and lifted both my dogs and jumped behind a fence and slammed the gate in his face. I love Junior, but as you can see from the photo, I love him from my side of the fence.

So, that’s the story of Jack so far.

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Blankets for dogs

A couple of weeks ago I purchased 3 lovely new white stretch fleece blankets. These blankets were intended as a gift for a friend who had recently managed to get out of the women’s shelter into her own apartment. Well, sadly, she has not communicated with her former friends in quite a while so the blankets needed to find a new purpose. A friend suggested that I donate them to the Humane Society. Good idea!!

I cut each of the 3 blankets into 4 pieces to make 12 blankets just the right size for the dogs at our local Humane Society. Since my eyesight is not all that good and the blankets were a bright white fabric, I did the stitching on the first blanket with light blue thread just so I could be sure the stitches were correct. Whew, it’s all good.

After about 2 hours I managed to complete 6 of the 12 blankets. Yes, they are a boring plain old white color but I figure the dogs won’t much care as long as they are comfortable and warm. The following day I finished the remaining 6 blankets and delivered them to the shelter.

Note: Please, donate, volunteer and support your LOCAL Humane Society to keep your dollars close to home.

SEWING, REPURPOSING, DOGS

Originally written December 27, 2017