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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Monday Morning Movie Review: Near Dark (1987)

August is an odd time be writing about vampires.  With the intense heat and humidity of the brutal South Carolina summer beating down upon us, it doesn’t feel like vampire weather.  But the crisp autumnal nights of October are closer than we realize, even if they seem impossible right now.

That said, the Southern vampire is a particular niche of Southern gothic horror.  All the mystery and romance of “moonlight and magnolias” is enhanced with these mysterious, romantic creatures stalking about crumbling old plantation houses in the night.  I’ve been reading Anne Rice’s novel Interview with the Vampire (the film version of which I reviewed last fall), and the titular vampire and narrator, Louis, is from Louisiana.  The exotic setting of New Orleans plays a prominent role in the first half of the book, and provides the perfect backdrop for Louis, Lestat, and Claudia’s lethal nocturnal escapades.

This week’s film, 1987’s Near Dark, isn’t exactly about Southern vampires, but Midwestern vampires.  That doesn’t exactly fit into the mold of the seductive, mysterious vampire, but that’s one of the film’s strengths:  these vampires are crazy Nebraskan (or Oklahoman?) low-lives, terrorizing the prairie in a aluminum-foil-covered panel van.

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Supporting Friends Friday: The Music of John Pickett

The local music scene in the Pee Region of South Carolina is surprisingly robust, with some truly stellar musicians.  The creative heart of this scene rests in several open mic nights at local coffee shops.  Currently, the two big open mics to have resumed are at The Purple Fish Coffee Company in Darlington, South Carolina, and at Crema Coffee Bar in Hartsville, South Carolina.  The Fish hosts its open mic on Friday evenings, and Crema hosts its on Tuesday nights.

The other major open mic—probably the most enduring of the current Big Three—was at Lula’s Coffee Company in Florence, South Carolina.  Lula’s, however, has not resumed its legendary Thursday night open mic night—an open mic so artistically fervent, it inspired an entire book of poetry—much to the chagrin and bafflement of its most devoted performers, yours portly included.

But before there were any of these establishments, there was Bean Groovy, a now-defunct coffee shop that used to occupy a magical little bit of strip mall in Florence.  I know the former owner of Bean Groovy—himself a studio engineer in the distant past—and despite some attempts to reopen the establishment at other locations, it’s never made a return.

Nevertheless, Bean Groovy was where I got my start in local music in the Pee Dee, way back in the hazy, halcyon days of circa 2012-2013.  It, along with The Midnight Rooster in Hartsville (still in business, but it’s shifted from being a quirky coffee house into a frou-frou upscale dining establishment) were my old stomping grounds as I broke my way into the region’s open mic scene.

It was at Bean Groovy sometime in probably 2012 or 2013 that I met one of my best friends, John Pickett.  John is an excellent guitarist and singer, and he possesses one of the best ears for music I’ve ever encountered.

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Monday Morning Movie Review: She’s Allergic to Cats (2016)

Regular reader and Nebraska Energy Observer contributor Audre Myers frequently tells me that I am offering a valuable service by describing movies people should not see (if you agree with Audre, I take donations).  This Monday’s film, 2016’s She’s Allergic to Cats, likely qualifies, and I would like to apply it towards my contributions to humanity.

The description for the movie on Shudder.com reads thusly:

A lonely dog groomer in Hollywood searches for love, but his true passion is making weird video art that nobody understands. His menial routine spirals out of control when he meets the girl of his dreams, crossing boundaries between reality and fantasy as he dives deeper into his video experiments.

I guffawed as soon as I read the line “making weird video art that nobody understands.”  That sold me on the flick, which I actually found enjoyable, if baffling.

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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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Big News: TPP is Going to the Dogs

According to PetSmart.com, this week is National Adoption Week.  I suppose that’s appropriate, because I’m getting a dog.

For some reason, I became obsessed with the idea of finding a canine pal a few weeks ago.  I can’t really explain why, though I do have some theories, but I think it’s the same obsession my father succumbed to last summer when he purchased a rat terrier puppy, Atticus (née Mike).  After dog-sitting my girlfriend’s German Shepherd, Lily, for a week, that desire only deepened.

I was looking at my county’s humane society, which has a number of very adorable pups up for adoption.  I really fell in love with an old Shepherd mix named Mattus, who has now been adopted and sent to a new life in Vermont (their politics aside, that sounds a bit like paradise).

But then I began searching a bit further afield, and stumbled upon a very old dog, Riley, who is fostered in a town nearby.  Riley is a bull terrier, the breed perhaps best known due to the Budweiser mascot Spuds MacKenzie or the Target spokesdog, Bullseye.  I was not considering the breed at all, as they are quite mischievous and can be a handful for newcomers to dog ownership, but the description of old Riley—a chilled dude nearing the end of his life, just looking for a place to crash in comfort and snacks in his final days—seemed like a good fit.

After notifying the Bull Terrier Rescue Mission of my interest in Riley, one of their placement coordinators, Anja, contacted me for an in-depth discussion about the breed, Riley, etc.  Among other things, I learned that some bull terriers suffer from a form of obsessive-compulsion that causes them to chase their tales for unhealthily long periods of time; in England, they’re known as “nanny dogs,” as they will watch children under their care with an eagle eye; and that the breed possesses an unusually high pain threshold, meaning it doesn’t feel pain nearly as soon as other dogs.

We also determined after our hour-long discussion that Riley would not be a good fit for me.  Indeed, I’d woken up the night before contemplating the life changes necessary to care for an extremely elderly dog with a heart murmur.  Anja stressed to me that the Rescue places animals and owners together with the best possible fit, and that no owner should have to totally upend his life just to take in a dog.  I agree completely, but it was good to hear it from someone whose life is, arguably, consumed with dogs much of the time.

So after a long, productive conversation, Anja had all of my information and my preferences, and told me to be patient—it could be a couple of months before the right dog showed up in my area, but with bull terriers coming in all the time, she would be in touch.

With that, I made a small donation to the Rescue, and continued looking at the local humane society, if for no other reason than to whet my appetite.  I did go ahead and purchase a copy of Jane Killion’s When Pigs Fly!: Training Success with Impossible Dogs, figuring that having the authoritative training text for bull terriers would come in handy with most dogs, but especially if I ended up with a bull terrier.  Then I went about the business of moving my girlfriend to Athens.

It was on the long drive back to Columbia Friday afternoon, after completing our first run down to Georgia, that I received a text from Anja:  there was an eight-year old female bull terrier named Murphy who’d just been taken to a shelter in North Carolina.  As soon as I saw her picture, I knew that my life was going to get much more interesting:

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