Monday, December 20, 2010

Lighting a candle for our girl

Hello everyone. Bernie's human Ilonka here.

I can't believe it's been a year since we lost our wonderful girl Marmalade. She left us so suddenly and the void in our lives seemed impossible to fill. We still miss her and regularly bump into people we haven't seen in a while who ask about the "hounds". She was such a huge presence in our lives, our families, and the neighborhood. My parents were visiting us last year when Marmie died, and I don't think I'd seen either of them cry the way they did that day in very long time. People who are not dog people don't understand. To them, it's "just a dog." We dog people know that these creatures are our family--we worry about them and take care of them as we would a parent or child. Yet the bond is different--they're entirely dependent on us for their well-being, love us unconditionally, and are there with the same tail wag, bay, and silly grin no matter what kind of day we've had.

Marmalade was rescued from a horrible situation down south and we will always be grateful to Liz at Sterile Feral in Rome, Georgia, who pulled her out of one of the worst shelters in the country with a raging eye infection. We will also never forget the staff and vets at the Washington Animal Rescue League who took such wonderful care of her during her time in the shelter (special thanks to Dr. Caruso, who saved Marmie's eyesight).

We had gone to the shelter to meet Marmalade on a whim, and after a handful of drool and an hour in the interaction room (where she mostly ignored us and sniffed up a storm), we were filling out the adoption papers. We guess Marmalade was about eight years old when we brought her home. We have no idea about her life before she came to us, but she had a great retirement. She had a huge yard to romp in, critters to chase, hikes in the parks, and as much kibble as she wanted (supplemented by freshly baked bread, cherry cake, or steak--whatever she could get off the counter). She had a beautiful, melodic bay and was lovingly called the "neighborhood rooster" by our neighbors. She survived bloat surgery and fought back from a difficult bout of IBD, and through it all she was the same loving, sweet hound.

Her "marmalounger" is still in our living room and sometimes when I come downstairs, I still see her curled up and snoring. Bernie hound often curls up on the spot on the floor where Marmie slept, and both Paul and I are convinced that Marmalade has come back to us in feline form. She's not black and tan, but Emma Peel (E-kitty) is like Marmie in so many ways--she even moves like her. She definitely has comparable vocal cords and is constantly hungry. She also has the same sweet personality and is as smart and independent as Marmalade was. I guess everything happens for a reason.

To anyone out there considering adopting an older dog, you will NOT regret it. Although we only had three short years with our girl, she enriched our lives in ways we never thought possible.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

My Favorite Things by Bernie

In response to Wimsey's Testicle Song, I give you another Rogers and Hammerstein classic...

My Favorite Things

Pee drops on roses and hydrants and leaf piles
Licking my privates and sniffing for miles
Liver and sausages tied up with string
These are a few of my favorite things!

Warm cushy sofas perfect for napping
Rubs on the belly and wagging tail tapping
Jaunts in the park running like I have wings
These are a few of my favorite things!

When it thunders
When the cat bites
When I’m feeling sad
I simply remember my favorite things
And then I don’t feel so bad.

Stealing the cat food and chasing the moon
Hogging the bed and sleeping till noon
Snowstorms that cover the ground until spring
These are a few of my favorite things!

Jumbo soup bones
Sweet potatoes
Dead stuff on the ground

These are a few of my favorite things
That make me one happy hound!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Things to be thankful for...

Hi everyone. Bernie's human here. One of the things were most thankful this year is the nice little relationship that has developed between Bernie-hound and our main Maine Coon, Emma Peel (E-kitty). We came up the stairs one night and found them both snoozing on our bed. We've come a long way from the snarling, hissing, and chasing of last winter and I figure if a hound and cat can do it, why can't humans get along as well?

Bernie hound will resume blogging next week. He's recovering from a staph infection/hot spot and has been supervising Paul's brewing operations at Baying Hound Aleworks this week. Of course, he spent some of the time "sleeping on the job" but that's OK. House-guarding duties have thus fallen to E-kitty, and she is doing an admirable job from her sentry on the bench at the top of the steps.

Anyway, we wish everyone a happy Thanksgiving--may there be lots of turkey and trimmings for everyone. Bernie is joining us for Thanksgiving at his grandparents' and E-kitty has a previous engagement.

Inspired by Wimsey's Testicle Song, Bernie is now working on his own version of "My Favorite Things"... stay tuned!


Sunday, September 26, 2010

Bernie's best girl

Hello everyone. Bernie here. Fall has not yet arrived--it's been really hot, but I've definitely got the fall friskies, as Wimsey would say...

One of the reasons behind this friskiness is the lady in my life, Portia the Great Dane. She lives a few doors down and boy, do I ever like her. She's an older lady--twelve to be exact, but she's really beautiful. She's a lot taller than me but height has never stopped love (I should know--my Mom was a Bloodhound/Great Pyr mix and my Dad was a Cocker Spaniel!) Anyway, we ran into Portia and the human happened to have her cool new phone equipped with camera. She complained about us being moving targets but managed to get some good shots.

Well, I'm kind of hidden due to obsessive sniffing...

Portia was really happy to see me and pranced around.

Humans really don't have to bend down to pet us, do they?

Anyway, it's pouring rain today. The humans are out of the house so I'm settling in for a good nap. Hopefully my lovely Portia will visit me in my dreams. Sigh.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

The "Maine (Coon)" attraction: E-kitty photo shoot

Hi everyone. Emma Peel here. The hound is fast asleep and I'm taking the opportunity to post some "modeling" pics that one of our human guests took during his visit. I must say, they are quite good. If anyone is wondering about my clipped ear, my humans had assumed that I was feral and took me to a spay/neuter clinic at the Washington Animal Rescue League, where they clipped my ear so that if anyone trapped me again, they would see that I'd already been spayed. Anyway, it's kind of funny that I was clipped and released, and then decided to befriend the humans and join them indoors a week later.

I still spend most of my time upstairs. I love the human's office--I sleep on her desk and look out the windows--optimal bird viewing!

My relationship with the Hound has improved. We started at the hiss and growl stage and have progressed to both being on the humans' bed at the same time. Of course, he takes up too much space and doesn't heed my meows asking to be fed... perhaps he can be trained. Of course, the humans are proud that the Hound tolerates my presence (even though it's the other way around). I put it down to one thing--the power of claw!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Bacon Boy's Cabin Trip

Hello everyone. Bernie hound coming to you from soggy Silver Spring. We've been getting lots of rain, which is resulting in some good wet-hound odor. Anyway, the humans took me along on their cabin trip this week (the CAT had to stay home--ha!).

It was really nice at the cabin. I got to see my favorite girl, Mona, who still likes me (sigh--absence makes the heart grow fonder). There were also lots of other animals to check out--deer, turkeys, peacocks, chickens, rabbits... there was lots of good sniffing.

There was a lake and a canoe and the humans decided it would be a good idea to get me into the canoe for a spin. I was a bit scared at first, but it was OK. It was cool seeing all the geese and ducks in the lake.

I also showed off my escape artist abilities--the humans went to take a Japanese bath at the B&B by the cabin and left me in the cabin with the windows open. Well... they came back an hour later and found me running toward them--I had busted right through the window screen. They were pretty shocked to say the least. Evidence of my escape:

Anyway, I have to take a nap now--I was so tired from all the activity. It's amazing how tired a hound gets when he doesn't get his all-day naps.

Have a great week!
Bernie, a.k.a. Houdini hound

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Happy Birthday to me!

It was an eventful Sunday as the humans celebrated both my sixth birthday and my gotcha day. It's been five years since they sprung me from the West Virginia shelter where I was at the end of my time and brought skinny little me home for some TLC. I was only 60 lbs when I came home--a couple of months later, I was a whopping 80 lbs! Impressive, I know. Anyway, as a special treat for my dual anniversary, I got a pig ear, a new bone, and doggie frozen yogurt--banana and peanut butter flavor. It sure was yummy! Anyway, we're off on our annual cabin trip tomorrow--I'm very excited. There's a cute Ridgeback named Mona there (I hope she remembers me) and lots of other dogs, peacocks, turkeys, and assorted wildlife. There will be some most excellent sniffing. The humans are thrilled to be getting out of town since it's 100 degrees again. Happy trails!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Lights out!

Emma Peel, a.k.a. "E-kitty" here. I managed to finally get the laptop away from the large Hound, who is sleeping off three days without air-conditioning. We had a huge storm on Sunday. Well, I heard it was huge. I didn't really notice it since I was having my afternoon nap, but the Hound came upstairs to check on me once the worst was over. (I know--it was kind of sweet, but he's still a Hound.) I think he was surprised to find me asleep on my chair. Now that I am an indoor diva, I'm not afraid of anything. After all, I managed to survive on my own outdoors until last January (I'm at least part Maine Coon--we're pretty tough cats and the smartest cats in the domesticated cat world). Life indoors is good. It was especially fun watching all the snow fall last winter and knowing that I wouldn't have to get my paws wet.

Anyway, it was awfully hot and the humans were not impressed by their lack of food options, given that the big thing in the kitchen they keep their food in was out of commission. Me--I had my kibble and was just fine, thank you. I heard that the Hound gets salmon oil on his kibble. Hmmmm... E-kitty will have to investigate... and make the humans get some salmon oil just for her... Feline fish breath must be superior to hound fish breath.

The heat and lack of light put a damper on our nightly games of feather wand this week and the human was not particularly happy when I dove on top of her at 4 a.m. asking for breakfast. I have the routine down pat--first I head butt and purr, then I swat, then I do the E-kitty shiatsu special right on the stomach. If all else fails, I start to yowl at full volume. I mean, seriously--these humans should sleep more during the day and get up earlier. Anyway, I need to get back to my power nap now.

Ironic how the smallest creature in the house keeps the humans in line.

Emma Peel
Maine Coon, Kibble connoisseur, and Feline Diva beyond compare

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Bernie's new trick

Hello all, Bernie here. I'm happy to report that it rained this weekend and it's no longer 100 degrees outside. Big tail wags about that! Anyway, the humans constantly challenge themselves by teaching me tricks and I like to humor them by going along with the act. Here the latest--my new roll-over trick.

Impressive, yes? Who says you can't teach a middle-aged hound new tricks.

Speaking of age, my birthday and gotcha day are both coming up and the humans are thinking of baking me a liver cake--YUM! I've also decided that I don't like kibble on its own, so the humans have been adding salmon to it. I know, I have them trained.

I wish you all a good, houndly weekend. We're going to watch the world cup final this afternoon. All the hype about that octopus in Germany predicting the game outcomes got me thinking--grilled octopus might make a nice meal...

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Sick as a dog (hound)

Hi everyone. It's Bernie coming to you from roasting hot Silver Spring (the "spring" has long dried up, I think). Anyway, there was some hound-induced drama at the end of the week, when I caught a nasty bug--probably from something I ate at the park during my long grazing sprees. The humans think I'm part cow, but I do not want to contemplate the further implications of that analogy. Anyway, I got sick and then became really lethargic. I was promptly whisked to the v-e-t, where the techs loved on me while giving me fluids and medicine. You should have heard them in the back--"he's part cocker spaniel--can you believe that???" Yes dear vet-techs, DNA does not lie.

Even E-kitty was worried about me and had a sympathy hairball (the human was thrilled).

Anyway, one of the humans stayed home with me on Friday and was very worried since I just lay there not moving. After shoving another pill down my throat, I started to get better and managed to eat some chicken and rice. Later on in the afternoon, I got up and had a good bark at the fed-ex man, so it was clear that I was on the mend. Anyway, later on Friday evening, the humans discovered why it had taken a while for me to get better--I had spat my first pill out on the sofa and hid it (yuck!). We hounds are very smart indeed. In fact, I'm so smart that I'm refusing to eat my kibble--the chicken and rice was YUM! The humans are NOT amused.

Anyway, I advise my fellow hounds to be careful about what they eat outside.

Bernie, pill-spitter-upper extraordinaire

Friday, June 4, 2010

The humans visit Wimsey

Well, my humans left me with my favorite uncle a few weeks ago. I was a bit upset, but it was for a good cause--they went to visit Wimsey--the spectacular bloodhound who rules New York's upper west side. In a bit less than 24 hours, there was much baying, bottle crunching, pizza eating, and, of course, a Wimsey-guided tour of Central Park. It seems that Wimsey is as impressive a sniffer as I am and took his time inhaling the scents of the park.

My male human Paul had never met Wimsey before and he was duly impressed. He was well trained--making the customary plastic bottle offering to Sir.

Anyway, later that night, a pizza offering was also made, which the Great Hound enjoyed immensely. He was so grateful, in fact, that he sat on Paul!

I wish the humans got ME pizza!
And no blog post would be complete without a display of the wondrous Wimsey wrinkle.
Of course, I was very happy when the humans returned. A-roo!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Bacon Boy goes hunting

Well it's been an eventful few weeks with lots going on in the yard. The humans have been busy mulching, weeding, and planting and they could not have done it without the excellent supervision of yours truly. Speaking of supervision, E-kitty and I have had a few "supervised" nose-to-nose moments--which resulted in both noses remaining intact, so the humans hold out hope that one day we will like each other. Hmmmm... we'll see about that!

Since E-kitty is off limits, I decided to use my houndly hunting prowess in the back yard last weekend. It was a rather successful outing, as I found, caught, and ate an unsuspecting bunny. The humans were not impressed but I am, after all, a hound.

I've also been digging myself nice snooze-spots in the garden bed, which the humans are now talking about fencing off. Really--after all my efforts to make it comfy... A hound's labor is rarely appreciated. Dejected, I returned to another favorite snooze-spot.

Bernie a.k.a. Hasenpfeffer Hound

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Spring hike

There's nothing like spring weather to make this hound all frisky. The humans decided to celebrate the end of a long and painful winter with a nice spring hike in Rock Creek Park. It was a bit muddy from the snow melt from the last few weeks and there were very few dogs around to say hello to, but I had a great time. The humans even packed bananas to snack on--my favorite!

As you can see, it got a bit warm, so I was panting and had my tongue sticking out in all the photos. The humans call it my silly face.

I've been busy helping the humans in the yard. My personal favorite activity is digging a nice hole in the garden bed and then lying down in the cool soil. It's a hound's life!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Dispatch from the other (species) side

You all have seen pictures of me. I'm Mrs. Emma Peel, also known as Emma-cat or E-kitty. For those of you not addicted to old 1960s crime shows, I was named after Diana Rigg's character on the Avengers. Although my "cat-suit" is gray, not black, I think there is some resemblance.

Anyway, I've been living the good life since wandering into Bernie's house on New Year's Day. Bernie is not overly impressed with my stately feline presence, but we both have our spheres of influence. I own the upstairs while Bernie rules the main floor of the house. Of course we do have some encounters (which usually involve some growling) but all in all, it works out. The humans have a window seat upstairs that I have appropriated since it's perfectly positioned for optimal kitty-vision watching. I can see the entire back yard and regularly comment about all the birds and other critters out there. My other favorite past-time is playing with my feather toy downstairs when Bernie's not there.

The humans think I'm a lot like Marmalade the bloodhound (albeit without the drool). I will say, I'm a heck of a lot more graceful than any hound.
On that happy note, I will sign off.
Emma Peel the Fur-st

Monday, February 15, 2010

Snowpocalypse--the aftermath

Bernie sleeping off all the digging and tunneling in the snow. We have never seen him so excited or so tired.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Blizzard hound

The weather people promised a huge storm this weekend, and wow--did we ever get snow! I've never seen so much snow and the humans were amazed as well. The main road to our neighborhood was totally deserted, as was our street.

We played a lot at first, but this morning, I discovered that too much snow makes it hard to get around, even on four paws! Here I am in the snow with Dad.

Here's a clip of me stuck in the snow. I needed a bit of encouragement to tunnel back to the house.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Sniffing in the snow

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow! A-roo! It's fun sniffing in the snow--I can smell all kinds of stuff. We got over eight inches on Saturday and this hound was very excited. I played outside with the humans. Since my big ball is missing in action, the humans threw snowballs for me--which had the added feature of being edible.

I am usually a happy dog, but playing in the snow makes me even happier.

Everyone had fun in the snow, but Emma-cat preferred to watch from inside.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Winter hound blahs

Hello all. It's definitely winter blah season. I'm finding it difficult to get up in the morning and have been the official weekend-sleeper-in hound. When Dad leaves for work on Saturday mornings, I vault into bed and spend the morning snoozing with Mom. Once we're rested, we go for our late morning walk.

Emma the cat has made life a bit more exciting and more complicated. I'm gated downstairs during the day and she sits up in the window seat at the top of the steps and stares down at me. I've started making all kinds of funny sounds resembling something between a squeal and a bay, so Mom is holding out hope that the bloodhound genes will prove to be the dominant ones. We've had a few close encounters and last night the sneaky little thing came downstairs while I was asleep. The humans hope that my chase instinct will fade with time. Um, I don't think so--I am a hound.

Anyway, the week is almost over. Time for a power nap.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Upstairs cat, downstairs dog

Hope the year has started out well for everyone. I really miss my sister, but promise to keep blogging and entertaining everyone and perhaps bring out my inner bloodhound even more. Mom says I try to bay sometimes but it comes out funny. Oh well.

We had an interesting New Year's--the cat that Mom has been feeding decided to adopt us. Needless to say, there was some initial growling (on both parts) and hissing (on Emma the cat's part--I do NOT hiss). The solution you ask? For the moment it's "upstairs cat" and "downstairs dog"... We look at each other through the gate at the steps and I really just want to smell her and maybe chase her. Anyway, the grand-humans were here for over a month and left this week, so I'm feeling a bit lonely. Sigh... Perhaps this blog will need to be renamed the cat chronicles...