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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Celebratory Saturday; SubscribeStar Saturday Delayed

This weekend I am celebrating some big family milestones, including my older brother’s birthday.  As such, this weekend’s installment of SubscribeStar Saturday will be delayed.  With all the fun this weekend, it’s hard to get the ire up to write “Decline, Part II” (read  the preview of “SubscribeStar Saturday: Decline, Part I: Afghanistan” and read the full post here).

It’s been a very long week at work—not bad, just long.  It was one of those weeks where I felt like I was working constantly, but never quite getting ahead on anything.  Finding time to write is getting harder, unfortunately—there’s not enough time in the morning, and by the time I get home in the evenings, I am wiped out.

That said, all is well.  I’m getting excited for the next Spooktacular, and should be placing an order for t-shirts soon.  I’ll have the designs for those shirts uploaded once I place the order.  I have two designs this year, so make sure to collect ’em all.

Thanks for reading, and thanks for your support!  If you’d like to subscribe to or view my SubscribeStar page, you can do so here.

Happy Saturday!

—TPP

Bull Terrier Tuesday II: Back to the Vet

Sweet Murphy Girl and I are heading back to the vet’s office this afternoon to get her skin examined.  She had some really painful looking welts and pimples on her underside that required an antibiotic and some special medicated shampoo to clear up.  Fortunately, her painfully long nails were trimmed (under sedation) during her last vet visit, and that has dramatically improved her quality of life.

When I got Murphy, she also had a bit of a flea problem.  The shampoo, along with a strong dose of flea and tick medicine, took care of that no problem.  I also nuked the house with a bug bomb while we went away for a long weekend, so any lingering critters should have been gassed out of existence.  So far, I haven’t seen any new unwanted visitors.

As far as I can tell, the antibiotic has done the trick, and she is looking much better.  Hopefully the skilled eye of the veterinarian will confirm what I hope I am seeing.  I’m not sure what caused the welts on her underbelly, but I suspect the fleas played a role.

If Murphy receives a clean bill of health from the vet today, then I will able to adopt her from The Bull Terrier Rescue Mission.

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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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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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Tuesday TPP Update: Moving Weekend

Apologies to readers for some delayed posts Saturday and Monday.  I will be working to get those finished today and tomorrow, and to get back on my regular posting schedule.  Even this short update post is a bit delayed.

I spent the entire weekend helping my girlfriend move to her new apartment, and while it was one of the easier moves I’ve done in terms of furniture heft, it was also a situation of Murphy’s Law:  what could go wrong, did (well, not entirely—I suppose the U-Haul could have exploded en route).  We made an initial run Friday morning to drop off a small load and to get the keys to her new place.  It turns out there were several bits of documentation that the various utility providers had either not sent or did which my girlfriend did not realize she needed until the night before, but fortunately that all got sorted fairly quickly and headed back to South Carolina for the big load.

Unfortunately, when we arrived at the U-Haul pickup location, the place was totally dark—and this was at 3:30 PM.  There was also a massive storm system rolling in, with lightning popping in the area as we waited despondently on the off-chance the proprietor of the fly-by-night used car lot where my girlfriend had made the reservation would show up.

When it became apparent this mystery proprietor was not going to materialize miraculously, I began calling every U-Haul location in the general vicinity.  On the fourth attempt, I got through to a location.  They did not have a twenty-foot truck, but were able to place a reservation for me at a location that was a mere half-mile away from the shuttered used car lot.  As the storm began to shower its sky babies upon us, we booked it to a U-Haul Super Center and got the twenty-foot truck, which I drove gingerly through the downpour to my girlfriend’s apartment.

(An aside:  I love U-Haul trucks, with their lower storage cabins and their easy-to-drive cabins.  What I do not love is the willy-nilly fashion in which U-Haul hands out franchises to every Tom, Dick, and Skeletor out there.  Virtually every move I’ve ever made has involved going to a seedy, dilapidated, remote location, and asking the surly gas station/hardware store/dirt-floor shack attendant to give me the keys to the truck.  There’s always something unseemly about it—it’s like buying drugs, or purchasing an escort [I don’t know what those things are like, to be clear, but I’ve watched enough 70s movies to get the idea].  One time I picked up a U-Haul at a shack with a literal dirt floor and one bare light bulb burning overhead.  I’m surprised I made it out of there alive, much less with a truck!)

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Saturday Updates; SubscribeStar Saturday Delayed

I’m moving my girlfriend to her new apartment this weekend, and despite a flurry of writing throughout the week, I was unable to get SubscribeStar Saturday done before the insanity of the move hit. It’s been an unusually difficult move logistically, but the worst of it is over, and today should be a breeze.

The planned SubscribeStar Saturday post is going to be a real doozy, so keep your eyes peeled. It might be Tuesday before I can get it done, but it will be worth the wait.

A big thanks to Dr. Rachel Fulton Brown for sharing my review of Centrism Games. The good doctor herself sent along her kudos via Telegram, and told me that my analysis of the poem is accurate.

I have some other potentially big news pertaining to the folks at the Bull Terrier Rescue Mission. Details to come.

Those are the quick updates for now. Apologies for the delay, but as soon as sore, battered body has recovered, I will have this weekend’s SubscribeStar post done.

Happy Saturday!

—TPP

Decency Prevails: Make-A-Wish Foundation Rescinds Mask Requirement for Children

Well, this morning’s post aged poorly, but thankfully so:  The Make-A-Wish Foundation has reversed their decision to require terminally ill children and their families to be fully vaccinated in order to received their wishes.

You can read the full statement and a three-point summary here.  Here is the second bullet point from the summary:

We understand that there are many families whose children aren’t eligible for the vaccine yet, and we also know that there are families who are choosing not to get the vaccine. We respect everyone’s freedom of choice. Make-A-Wish will not require anyone to get vaccinated to get a wish.

The line about respecting “everyone’s freedom of choice” is key:  the organization received enough blowback that they’ve reversed their rhetoric from that of the “vaccinate-or-be-a-second-class-citizen” COVID Cult crowd to “you can make your own decisions about your healthcare.”  That’s a big shift, and demonstrates the power of speaking out against further Virus-related insanity.

Kudos to The Make-A-Wish Foundation for doing the right thing.

—TPP