April 14, 2014

White Dog and The White Dog Army took extra naps so that they could delay their bedtime walks VERY late in order to view tonight's Blood Moon Lunar Eclipse. Steve, who needed sleep because Tuesday is his VERY late teaching night, was as insistent as they were and agreed to an after dinner nap so that he, too, could go out at 1am to view the phenomenon. 

Here is what the website EarthSky has to say about the specialness of the event…A lunar tetrad – four total lunar eclipses in a row – begins on the night of April 14-15. People are calling it a Blood Moon eclipse. The first Blood Moon eclipse in a series of four is coming up on the night of April 14-15, 2014. This total eclipse of the moon will be visible from the Americas. We in astronomy had not heard the term Blood Moon used in quite this way before this year, but now the term featured in a book by John Hagee is becoming widespread in the media. The second total lunar eclipse of the coming lunar tetrad will take place on October 8, the same night as the Hunter’s Moon. So there will be two reasons to use the term Blood Moon that night.

This is information that Steve found more interesting than the White Dog Army but all walked the neighborhood and stood in awe on the deck watching the eclipse turn the moon, indeed, blood red. And the WDA joined several of the other dogs on our block...also out with their humans to view the night sky...in a song of respect to the magic and power of what they witnessed.

Here are a couple of photos taken by our local TV station of the eclipse as seen in Albuquerque, New Mexico.


April 13, 2014

White Dog looked at me for an answer when the server skated up with our order and not paying any attention said to the driver...White Dog..."Do you need any ketchup of extra napkins with this?" THEN she noticed WD and let out a squeal. "Oh my gosh! What a cute dog!" Of course the others were compelled to let her know that WD was not the ONLY cute dog in the car and she looked in the back window to see the entire White Dog Army patiently waiting for their popcorn chicken. "They are ALL white! Are they the same kind of dogs? They are SO cute!"

Steve, sitting in the back passenger seat (to better share our post park treat), took the bag and his sundae. As he handed the teen a tip, he told her a bit about the White Dogs and the Eskie breed. "Can I pet them?" she asked. "Sure, they are all friendly." "OH MY GOSH! She is so soft!" was her response as she stroked White Dog and then Puff. "They are AWESOME!" The WDA tried to look humble and adorable at the same time.

Our server fumbled in her apron pocket. "Can they have...oh, all I have are peppermints. Can they eat them?" I saw her face fall when Steve suggested that they might be a choking hazard but she perked up when he told her how happy she had made them just by bringing the chicken bites. "Well...." she said. "I better get back to work."

As the WDA enjoyed chicken and a few spoons full of ice cream, we were amused as the rest of the servers slowly skated past our van or came out of the building to peer toward our car. "Seems news of you White Dogs has spread. Wonder if we could leverage this interest into a contract to become spokesdogs?" I laughingly asked. YoYoMa stopped chewing and looked up. "Do you think such a deal would include free munchies?"


April 12, 2013

White Dog and Steve chose the movie, The Desolation of Smaug, the second part of Peter Jackson's trilogy of The Hobbit by JRRTolkien. We had not had a family movie night in what Puff estimated to be thirty-seven years and we deserved a night of escapist entertainment (or so I was told by Taiko).

We made two big bowls of popcorn so every pup could share. I always laugh at this as we go to such great lengths to remove corn from the diets of The White Dog Army...but as WD explained movie theater style popcorn the way Steve makes it (with real butter and a hint of sea salt) is a Universal treat served since ancient times. I totally do NOT believe her, but long ago made peace with the idea of "all things in moderation."

The two bowls allow half of the WDA to cluster around Steve and the others to sit at my side. The alignment changes and shifts (WD captaining from the bed) but we all share and are all ultimately grateful for the convenient dispensers and the big glasses of water that Steve always remembers to bring along with the napkins.

Quickly, the White Dogs jumped into the movie's action curling their lips and making growling noises at the Orcs and Orc hounds chasing the heroes. They cheered when the band found safety and protection from an enemy that turned out to be a friend. And they jumped up barking a warning to Bilbo about the giant spider behind him (too bad he did not hear them)!

By then the popcorn was gone and the action slowed to allow for character development. White Dog eyes began to grow heavy and close.

I am not sure how the WDA knew in their sleep but all were awake and alert to warn the Master Thief about the HUGE dragon eye slowly opening as Smaug awakened to find his lair had been breached. The WDA is certain if THEY had been there the battle would have gone differently!

But we won't spoil the movie for you! Even though this Hobbit is not totally true to Tolkien's book, Peter Jackson's expansion is credible and well-done. Family movie night at White Dog Ranch was everything it ought to be--popcorn, reasons to cheer, spookiness, bad guys you want to tear apart and good guys that have you barking encouragement at!


April 11, 2014

White Dog daintily licked the frosting from her lip. "Good Dog, the Boy can eat!" She was referring to her brother, YoYoMa, as he slurped his entire piece of Gotcha Day Cake in three bites and was snoofulling around to make sure no crumbs were going to waste.

It had been a day of good eating for the White Dog Army as we celebrated the third anniversary of Yes! Another White Dog's arrival. There had been buckwheat pancakes with blueberries and apples topped with cream cheese for breakfast.

Then special treats sent by Rachael from Clark's Pet Emporium. Duck and Potato Jerky Bars...enough to share. (Actually enough for several rounds of sharing but don't tell the WDA)!

Steve suggested a trip to the Park to run in the grass and work off some of the calories of the morning. White Dog gently corrected him not to be too harsh about our Big Boy's slight weight gain on this special day. The WDA enjoyed a nearly empty park on a perfect Spring day. Oso and I watched as the others ran, sniffed, rolled, and explored.

But the calories burned were lost when his siblings slipped Steve their allowance and asked if they could take YoYoMa to Sonic for vanilla ice cream cones. The server on roller skates was surprised and delighted when she discovered the cones were being delivered to a van full of exuberant White Dogs, not the children she had imagined.

Back home, while the Army napped off their snacks, Steve prepared lamb burgers stuffed with spinach and carrots accompanied by baked sweet potato slices for the Gotcha Day celebration dinner. I mixed and slid the zucchini banana cake into the oven and looked up to see Puff and Taiko ready to keep watch over the baking. I pureed blueberries and yogurt and cinnamon into frosting.

When it came to be time for pre-bed time, post-walk treats, I thought no one would be interested. HA! Yo was second in line (behind Taiko). He rested his head on my lap and looked up with his adorable smile. "Happy, special boy?" He nudged the hand that held the treats. He gently took the small training treat and turned to go to his sleeping space but stopped and turn back to me...and tenderly kissed my hands.


April 10, 2014

He got here with a little help from our friends...
Standing on a corner in Winslow AZ...Gotcha Day
I see him, dad!

White Dog jumped into my lap as the end point of a leap that took her across half the living room...her landing was NOT gentle. "Oh. My. Dog. Momma." she sputtered. "You really messed up THIS time!" As a result of my blank look and to emphasize the importance she started stomping on my chest.

"Stop, White One! Calm down and tell me what you are so worked up about?" "Momma, you are usually so good about these things, how could you?" she continued without giving me even the barest of clues. "You know he is such an easy-going guy that he won't complain but he has every right to...and to be VERY hurt. You really let him down."

Him...ok that narrows things a bit in our family. In my mind I was racing through possibilities and still not making a connection...then suddenly...

"OH NO!" Last week in the midst of Oso's near drowning and the discovery of the bullet that lies buried in the vertebrae of Taiko, we missed celebrating YoYoMa's Third Gotcha Day! It was last Thursday, the 3rd.

I called my fiercest protector who has a special gift of being able to make me laugh to my side and wrapped my arms around him. "Sweet Yo, momma is SO very sorry for overlooking your special day. I have no real excuse except that it seems like you have been with me always so calendar time kind of falls away. It is not because I love you less. It is not because I do not give thanks to the Universe every single day for the fact you are a part of my life.You DO deserve a celebration...a YoYoMa Tribute Day!" He snuggled his head into my lap and invited me to rub his ears.

"Dad is home tomorrow all day and we will "Gotcha" in all your favorite ways...pancakes with cream cheese for breakfast...a trip to the Park...special treat shopping...and a CAKE with dinner." White Dog pushed her paw into my back. I looked at her. "And?" she said. "And????"

"AND momma and dad will make a donation in your honor to help the pups with special needs at the Blind Dog Rescue Alliance," WD filled in. Yo's tail was thumping. "And..." Puff quietly added. I threw up my hands..."And momma will ask all of our Blog family to leave you special Happy Third Gotcha Day wishes all day tomorrow. You are loved by so many and we are all glad you came to be a part of the White Dog Army."

Finally, something I could grab on to without prompting. I kissed YoYo's nose. "I simply cannot imagine our lives without you as a part of it. When I think back to all of the craziness in finally getting you to us (thank you amazing friends), I am so grateful that everything finally fell into place."

So please, stop by and leave a comment for my loyal, amazing inspiration blind partner. He doesn't play the cello...yet...but give my boy time, he can do anything!
One of my favorite photos of YoYoMa at the Park


April 9, 2014

White Dog and The White Dog Army
Wonderful World Wednesday
White Dog and her siblings are devoted to raising awareness of Comparative Studies Research that we are certain in our hearts is the key to finding the causes, preventions, therapies, and cures that will end catastrophic diseases like cancer and epilepsy that are shared by humans and pets. The members of the WDA are amazing ambassadors in spreading the word that we, two- and four-leggeds, can build bridges to cures together. And they were the first to volunteer to help when an exciting opportunity called The Pollination Project came our way.

Paws To People, our charitable organization, is gaining momentum and support. You all have been with us since its inception but to most of the world we are still new or unknown. "The Pollination Project believes in the power of ordinary people to do extraordinary things. They make $1,000 seed grants to individual change-makers every day of the year. 

Here is what they say about their mission: "We seek to fund at the very grassroots.  We are interested in projects that are created by and with those who are impacted.  We look to fund people and teams who have considered the many ways their project impacts life, directly and indirectly, all over the world and who have made thoughtful choices about how to achieve their goals.

As we are deeply interconnected to all life, we play an integral role in supporting or obstructing its ability to thrive, through our thoughts, words, and deeds. Every person has the potential and power to transform our world, and that change starts with ourselves. How we show up is like the soil in which we plant our intentions, vision and hope for the world. If we are fearful, anxious, angry and resentful, what we plant will reflect this.  If our soil is rich with love, compassion, beauty and joy, what we plant will be loving, compassionate, beautiful and joyful.  As we are, so our work is."
With the encouragement of many, including the White Dog Army, we applied for this grant. We won't know for 8-10 weeks. Part of the application process included creating a video of our project...and of course, The White Dog Army helped. 
Tonight we share our effort and ask for Power of the Paw to guide the decision makers to see the potential of a new way to attack the over 400 diseases that take too many too soon. We also ask you to thank the Universe that there are people out there who, as the founder states, "have been blessed with an education, skills, and resources that allow me to create financial wealth. Rather than let it coagulate in a bank account, my family and I have formed The Pollination Project. We bring financial resources to help manifest your vision."
Here is the Paws To People video, made with help from the White Dog Army...

April 8, 2014

White Dog and The Army have debated all evening tonight’s order of bedtime walks when Steve gets home from his late night of teaching. Each wants to be the first to share a rare astronomical treat when Mars, Earth and the sun will be arranged in a nearly straight line.

Every two years, Mars reaches a point in its orbit called "opposition," when the planet lies directly opposite the sun in Earth's sky, according to Astronomy magazine.

This month we’re closer to Mars than Earth has come for almost six-and-a-half years. At their closest point, Mars and Earth will "only" be about 57 million miles apart. Mars appears brighter and bigger in our sky than it has since December 2007.

This means Mars will rise today near sunset and will remain visible all night long as it moves nearly overhead across the night sky. It will be a bright burnt orange color, NASA's Mars Exploration Program reports, and almost 10 times brighter than the brightest stars in the sky. None of the White Dog Army wants to miss the opportunity of sitting with dad and gazing skyward to view this phenomenon.

With no big storms forecast Tuesday night, according to the National Weather Service, Mars should be visible in most areas. Thus far, the night is filled with stars and invitingly mysterious. I am certain that all decorum will be dashed when the WDA hears Steve’s car pull up...and it is probable that walks will supersede dinner. But then I am not so sure Steve, an avid sky watcher, will mind one bit.


April 7, 2014

White Dog and the White Dog Army are a constant source of education for me as I watch their daily interactions and the way they adapt to accommodate changing needs within the pack. Last week was a traumatic one for our Little Man, Oso; he has spent the time since regaining his balance and confidence.

The WDA seems to understand some of what he is struggling with. They are a bit more aware of his tiny presence when charging into action around the house; there is a additional restraint in the surging and leaping so that Oso is not knocked down or trampled in the excitement.

The Vulture Food Club, headed by Puff and YoYoMa, still hover watching Oh, Another White Dog slowly, very slowly, attempt to eat...but these past few days there seems to be less of an attempt to press in and intimidate him. And on the days this weekend when Little O needed feeding help, the entire WDA sat surrounding us patiently encouraging their brother to eat. Of course, they DID still all want to lick out the empty bowl afterward.

During the night Oso awakened and softly whimpered as he shifted positions in his cradle. I heard him and stayed still, listening for sounds of distress. White Dog and Bella, too, responded to his sound. WD moved up the bed to make sure I had heard him. Bella came around to the edge of the bed and put her paws on my arm to alert me. Together we all leaned into his basket to make sure all was well. I adjusted his position slightly and gently stroked his side until we heard him settle again. Then we three returned to a one-eye open sleep.

This morning as White Dog and I watched out of the window while Steve, Oso, Bella, Puff and Taiko were outside I was ready to bang on the window and yell at Taiko...and Steve for allowing the act...until I realized Taiko was NOT pushing Oso out of the way but rather letting the Little Man lean against his side as they walked! I was amazed and felt instantly guilty for jumping to the wrong conclusion but generally Taiko exhibits little patience for Oso's unsteadiness that causes him to bump or press against the bigger boy. An exception made during this time of healing?

When he is better and more of his usual self the Army might be less accommodating. They make some allowances for Oso's dementia but he is not given a "free ride." The White Ones seem to instinctively know what Dr. Julia needs to keep reminding this overprotective momma...that it is important for Oso to be challenged to maintain his physical capabilities and mental acuity. But for now, my Little Man has a houseful of insightful guardians to keep him safe and encourage his recovery.


April 6, 2014

White Dog and the rest of the White Dog Army were not entirely heartbroken when Steve returned from the Asian fish market to report that it was out of the Norwegian Atlantic Mackerel that is the usual protein source for their homecooked dinners.

Steve cooks it up then mixes it with whole grains or brown rice, fresh vegetables, and fruit. This becomes their dinner meal for the upcoming week. The mix of veggies and type of carbohydrate changes from week to week depending upon what looks fresh at the market, so the WDA gets a fair amount of variety.

We try to avoid chicken, a habit we got into because Angel Nuka was allergic to it...and YoYoMa shows a slight intolerance if overfed. But every pup LOVES turkey...roasted and freshly carved into their meal (sans skin and fat, of course). So they were THRILLED at Steve's announcement that he would "just run over to the grocery and pick up a whole turkey for this week."

Famous last words.

Little did Steve know that in Albuquerque at least whole roasting birds are considered "seasonal fare;" in other words they are not stocked. Our normal grocery did not have them. Nor did our healthy alternative food store. The Costco? Nope. Not even the Big Box everything store with grocery had none. Oh, they all had tiny little boneless turkey breasts of three pounds or so...but we have an Army of White Dogs and that simply would not suffice.

Midway through the treasure hunt, we almost talked ourselves into salmon but balked at the price for wild caught.

We ended up at the premier butcher shop in town. Keller's had turkeys. Of course they did. Lovely organic, locally raised, kosher, fresh never frozen birds dressed like my grandmother's butcher would have and wrapped in white paper before it was passed over the chin high glass fronted case filled with meats arranged like a cooking magazine photo.

"Here is this week's dinner," Steve announced when we returned home. "Hard won and the best our fair city has to offer. Enjoy it because next week, it is back to Norwegian fisherman food for you all, my Northern beautifies."

I kissed Steve as he reached to pull out the roaster. "It WAS still twenty cents a pound cheaper than the salmon AND I can make stock from the carcass." "Good thing, love, because you and I? We are living on turkey stock and vegetable trimmings this week," he responded.

The WDA assembled in front of the oven to watch over the bird. "Mmmmmm, thanks Dad!" Spoiled????


April 5, 2014

White Dog voiced the complaints of the entire White Dog Army who were still struggling to open eyes and get to all fours from their sleeptime positions.

"You are waking us while it is still dark so that dad can go to school like at six in the morning and we have to eat breakfast and be social despite this undogly hour. THEN he is going to be gone for twelve hours, leaving us with only a few measly snacks and nothing fun to do all day.

"And now you are telling us, momma, that YOU are going to spend the entire day getting tax stuff organized? Really?"

"Yes, White Dog that pretty much sums up the day...except that it is still dark and I, too am up and have NOT had my coffee!" White Dog looked at me and then at the WDA. "No coffee yet, huh? Maybe we better fix that as a first priority!"

"Good idea!"