Bull Terrier Tuesday: Dog Sitting

After a long and eventful weekend, Murphy and I are back in Lamar with an additional guest:  my childhood friend’s eight-year old blue heeler mix Gracie.  My buddy is going to the beach with his wife and kid, and needed a place along the way to drop their pup.

As such, I’m now running an assisted care facility for elderly dogs.  In all seriousness, the dog, Gracie, is a real sweetheart, and she and Murphy seem to get along well enough.  Murphy quickly established dominance once we got back to the house the other day, but then I put Murphy on her back to remind her who is really in charge, and it’s been relative peace in the house ever since.

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TBT: Walkin’

The big “hit” piece (that is, the successful, well-liked post, not a piece attacking some famous personality) this week seems to have been my post about driving to and from Athens, Georgia.  In the spirit of forward motion and scenic trips, I thought I’d dust off this chestnut from 5 August 2020, right before the previous academic year began.

I’d just gotten into walking right before school resumed, and was hoping to get in a couple of miles every day.  That goal sure fell part quickly, and I realized I did not walk nearly as much as I thought I would at work.  It turns out that 10,000 steps a day is actually a lot of steps.

That said, I did manage to get in over 30,000 steps in a single day once in the past year:  when I spent an eighteen-hour day at Universal Studios.  Needless to say, I slept until nearly noon the next day.

But that outlier aside, I did not come close to achieving that dream.  When I dog-sat my girlfriend’s German Shepherd, we took some lengthy, sweaty walks.  I was hoping that Murphy and I would do the same, but the old girl doesn’t go much beyond the yard before she is ready to turn back for another round of water, snacks, and naps, so my dreams of long, energetic dog walks have been smashed on the arthritic knees of my ancient dog.

Or I’m just making a bunch of excuses for myself.  With that, here is 5 August 2020’s “Walkin’“:

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Preserving Old Varieties

My local paper, the Darlington New & Press, features a number of editorial writers typical of the kind that get gigs writing human interest pieces for tiny small town papers:  local pastors writing brief devotionals; a guy griping about the things we all gripe about; an astronomer.  They all write in a similar, mildly folksy manner, which I’m sure appeals to the more advanced age of the paper’s readership.

One of their writers, Tom Poland, wrote a fascinating piece last week about rare heirloom vegetables, “Long-lost treasures and heirloom seeds.”  The piece tracks down the Bradford Watermelon, a watermelon variety thought to be extinct, but which survived on the land Nat Bradford inherited from his family.  The watermelon variety dwindled in popularity in spite of its sweet, superior flavor because the rind was too thin to survive bulk shipping.

After years of research into arcane newspaper clippings and agricultural history, Bradford discovered that the melons growing on his ancestral farm are, indeed, the legendary Bradford Watermelons.

To quote Poland quoting Bradford:

In Nat’s words, “The greatest watermelon to have come from the great age of watermelon breeding fell out of cultivation. Lost to the world, the melon lived on in the Bradford family farm fields. The last seeds on the planet of this wonderful melon were in a couple of mason jars.”

What a remarkable legacy—and a fortuitous one.  Heirloom varieties of many plants are enjoying increased interest lately as part of the current homesteading movement, as these varieties are often tastier than their supermarket, genetically-modified alternatives.

I suspect, too, that there is a certain joy in knowing that by planting these forgotten seeds, you are directly contributing to the survival of a variety.  There is a link to the past, and the agricultural experiments of our forebears.

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Murphy’s Vet Update

Yesterday I took Murphy to the vet, and Audre Myers of Nebraska Energy Observer asked me to provide an update.

Murphy is doing well.  Other than some very sensitive skin and a possible flea problem, she is in good shape overall.

She also has an inverted vulva (click at your own risk), which could be the result of excess weight.  That means I have to take extra care to clean out her lady parts, as the extra folds can harbor bacteria.  I also have to clean the vulva itself, which can bleed slightly if she rubs her butt too much.  Fortunately, the veterinarian expressed her anal glands, providing much-need relief in the hind quarters, so Murphy hasn’t been spinning on her butt quite so much.

She is on a two-week antibiotic to help with her skin inflammation, and I have special shampoo that’s supposed to help with her skin.  She does not like getting a bath, but once I put her doughy, sixty-pound body in the tub, she stands there very patiently while I wash her.  I just wish she would sit down in the warm suds—it would feel soooo good on her stomach, and would make cleaning a bit easier.

The vet saw one flea on her, but she has a good flea collar and took her first monthly dose of flea medicine last night.  I’ve also given Murphy her first monthly dose of heartworm medicine (she’s heartworm negative, but we want to keep it that way).  I’ve washed all of her bedding (and mine), and I think we have eradicated the flea menace.

All the medicine has given her some diarrhea, but it’s not uncontrollable (thank goodness).  She goes outside when we walk, and I clean her rump judiciously when we get back inside.

That sounds like a lot, but she really is doing well for an eight-year old who has endured a great deal of change in the past few weeks.

On the plus side, her nails are finally trimmed!  That seems to have helped with her limp considerably, and today was the first day in over a week that we have taken some good walks (and runs).  We still aren’t going very far, but she has enjoyed getting out more, sniffing every bush and fence post she can find.  We ran into some neighborhood kids, and she completely hammed it up for them, rolling around in the grass and begging for pets (and, knowing her, treats—she’s quite the chunk).

She’s dozing now on the couch while I write this and watch The Last Drive-in with Joe Bob Briggs.  She enjoyed some steak in her kibble tonight, and probably won’t more for another couple of hours (or she’ll pop up as soon as I’m about to click “Publish”).

There you go, Audre!  I always deliver for my readers.

—TPP

Bull Terrier Tuesday I: Big Vet Visit

Despite the sheer volume of dog-related posts a couple of weeks ago, I promise that the blog isn’t going to become a dog blog.  Bull Terrier Tuesday won’t be a regular feature, but maybe once a month or so I’ll give some updates on Murphy, the eight-year female bull terrier I’m fostering for The Bull Terrier Rescue Mission.

We’re nearly three weeks into the thirty-day foster-to-adopt process, and today Murphy has a big vet visit.  She had a good first visit the day after I got her, and her bloodwork has come back clean.  She’s also heartworm negative, which is a real blessing.  That first visit got her vaccinations updated, too, so Murphy is street legal now.

But today’s visit is a really big one.  Murphy is an old girl with a number of issues, all of which are easily resolved (I hope), but which will require her to go under sedation.

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Lazy Sunday CXXIII: Murphy

The big news this week is that I got a dog, Murphy, an eight-year old female bull terrier.  I promise that I am not turning the blog into a gushfest for this lovable, chunky fur ball, but given how much I’ve written about her this week, it made sense to dedicate this Lazy Sunday to posts about Murphy.  I mean, she is super lazy (she’s asleep at my feet at this very moment), and so I am; why scroll through a bunch of posts from all over the years, when I can just rehash the three related to my awesome dog?

Happy Sunday!

—TPP

Other Lazy Sunday Installments:

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SubscribeStar Saturday: Dog Days: Early Reflections on Dog Ownership

Today’s post is a SubscribeStar Saturday exclusive.  To read the full post, subscribe to my SubscribeStar page for $1 a month or more.  For a full rundown of everything your subscription gets, click here.

Note to subscribersI am still working on last Saturday’s post.  It should be up later today.

As I noted in the title to Wednesday’s post, this blog is going to the dogs.  Don’t worry—not forever, and not always.  But with the experience of fostering sweet Murphy still fresh, I wanted to take some time today to reflect on the past two days of dog ownership.

Naturally, it’s a bit early yet—the term of the foster is thirty days, and after which I am allowed to adopt the old girl if I so choose—but it’s already been a positive experience, both for myself and, more importantly, the dog.

Murphy is an old girl—she is eight-years-old as of June—and was caught up in, as far as I can gather, some family drama, leading to her placement in a shelter in Havelock, North Carolina.  The Bull Terrier Rescue Mission swooped in and got in touch with me, just a week after I’d put in an application to become a foster for the organization (you can read that story here).  As such, she’s been through a great deal in the past week, and is already inclined to be a bit more relaxed, given her advanced age (the life expectancy for bull terriers, per the American Kennel Club, is between twelve and thirteen years, though I frequently hear of bull terriers passing around the age of ten).

That means we’ve enjoyed a lot of short walks and long naps.  She’s definitely my kind of girl.

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Supporting Friends Friday: The Bull Terrier Rescue Mission

The big news this week was that I would be fostering a dog.  Well, I picked up sweet Murphy—an eight-year-old female bull terrier—yesterday at the Sam’s Club in Goldsboro, North Carolina.  As I write this post, Murphy is sleeping soundly in her crate, and seems to have made herself very much at home already.

It is thanks to the efforts of The Bull Terrier Rescue Mission, Inc., that Murphy is alive and well (I hope!—we go to the veterinarian this morning) today.  My post from Wednesday details how I stumbled upon the organization, so I won’t rehash that here; that said, I am thrilled that I discovered them, and would like to encourage readers to check out the organization (and to consider making a donation to them).

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TBT: Catching Up

It’s been a week for playing catch up after the long weekend of moving, and I’m driving to pick up Murphy today.  Since getting back to South Carolina Monday, it’s been a blur of teaching lessons, dog-proofing the house, and painting (I’ve finally stripped the old lady wallpaper and have put on a nice coat of a yellowish paint I picked up at Lowe’s from the discount rack for $9).  Thank goodness it’s summertime, so I have plenty of time in the mornings to take care of things around the house and run errands.

That’s what I will miss most about summer:  the work-life balance.  Teaching a few hours of music lessons two or three afternoons a week, with some Town Council work sprinkled in for good measure, has been glorious.  Instead of waking up at 6 AM and rushing through the same morning routine, I’m able to rise at a more stately 7:30 or 8 AM; take my coffee and breakfast; and leisurely settle into a morning of writing, gardening, cleaning, or the like.

I understand why people work so many years to retire:  not having to rush into work is amazing!  I’m blessed to have a gig where I can live like a retired person for two months out of the year.  That doesn’t mean I’ve just been sitting around the house in my underwear (uh, well, not too much); if anything, I’ve been even more productive, because I’m not constantly exhausted.

That said, I still have some catching up to do on this blog—and around the house!—and an old pup to pick up.  So with that, here’s 27 July 2020’s “Catching Up“:

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