Thursday, June 30, 2011

Always On My Mind

My mind seems to be racing from one topic to the next these days - making it hard to focus on any one thing. Maybe if I commit some of them to black & white, it will slow down just a little.

++I've always had a weak spot for Elvis - from his more widely known hits to his religious hymns. I blame this for my obsession with a new favorite tv show, Memphis Beat. It's a darn good cop show with the lead character played by Jason Lee. His character always sings a song - often one made famous by Mr. Presley - in every show. What most people don't realize is the voice behind Jason Lee is really that of I-94 singer Mark Arnell. I couldn't find Mark's version anywhere except Facebook...but his voice is so worth tuning into the show.(Mark Arnell singing Suspicious Minds from Memphis Beat)

In the meantime, here's the King:

++I blame my Elvis obsession on my dad. He sang this song to my mother in his sweet baritone voice. I guess when I hear this, I think of their long sad sweet love affair. It makes my heart ache, wishing that somehow, life could've been a little kinder to them both.

++Work or the lack of work is still freaking me out. I'm turning my resume into six different versions and trying to narrow down my skillsets into specific jobs. But after years of looking for work, I have so many doubts about ...everything. Am I still employable? How will Mabel handle it? And...How do I stop looking at going back to an office job as the end of my life? UGH!

++I've had an overwhelming urge to just clean out and purge all the crap out of my life. It's absolutely insane that one woman and one dog take up this much space. (OK, one woman, one dog and three businesses but still!) Each possession I rid myself of makes me feel just a little lighter and a little better.

++That need to clean and organize led me to redesign part of my website this week...which led to a coding nightmare! In the end, I got it all worked out and the triumph of woman over code feels mighty good!

++I look at my beautiful dog, standing in the creek at sunset. She is on guard, sniffing the air, ever ready to roll. As I listen to that babbling spring...knowing it will be gone in a matter of weeks, I am so grateful to whatever forces landed me here. When I think of the last eleven years, only three have been financially easy for me. But this creek, this scene, this sound, this happy dog are exactly what my soul needed. This has been my sanity. I may be poor, but life is still good!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Bart Sez

Bart phoned and asked Mabel Lou and I if we would put up a special post on his behalf today. Of course we obliged...

Happy Birthday Mom!!!

I love you so so much and THANK YOU for finally adopting me. I wanted to be yours from the beginning! I hope your birthday is extra special!!! 

xoxo, Bart
the dog

Monday, June 27, 2011

Charity Schmarity

I know that many dog bloggers read this blog ... dog bloggers with even bigger audiences than my own. So I'm hoping we can all spread the word about Dogs Deserve Better. Please read this on CNN.

Dr. Fiala questioned where the donated funds were going and suddenly her application says she is going to chain the dog in her yard and her mental health is paraded around on their website??? WTH? "Charities" like this do NOTHING for dogs and everything for their own pockets! The way they have treated this woman and this dog is just plain WRONG!

Please spread the word... Dogs do deserve better and they won't get it from a charity that pulls this kind of crap! Just be aware of where you donate.... cause I know we all have a soft spot where dogs are concerned!

Joel's Facebook Page
I am reprinting the CNN article here because every time I've linked to CNN the story disappears eventually. Please don't sue me!
Two months after a rescued pit bull named Joel was confiscated from  his foster mother, Dr. Suzanne Fiala, while at a doggie day care center  in West Seattle, the custody battle between Dr. Fiala and Dogs Deserve  Better (DDB) has turned nasty.

Dr. Fiala had a verbal agreement with Kelly Page, a representative  from DDB to adopt Joel. Dr. Fiala began to develop growing concerns over  the Chip-in donations received by DDB for Joel’s care. A majority of  the expenses were paid for by Dr. Fiala with the agreement that she  would be reimbursed. When she questioned Page regarding the donations  for Joel’s care, their relationship grew cold without any resolution.  Once Dr. Fiala signed and mailed Joel’s adoption contract, she emailed  her concerns to Tamira Thayne, founder of DDB, which were forwarded to  Marie Belanger, the regional representative in Indiana. When Dr. Fiala  was finally contacted by Belanger, she was greeted with hostility and  there were no plans to investigate.

Prior to Dr. Fiala expressing her concerns, the news of the adoption  was posted on DDB’s Facebook page. Supporters of Joel and DDB were  ecstatic “Oh Joel Fiala, love it! There is absolutely no better place  for Joel to be. You have given him love like he has never known and he  went from the edge of death to the luckiest dog in the world!” wrote  Ashley George, volunteer for DDB- WA.

On April 14, approximately two hours after Dr. Fiala dropped Joel off  at doggie day care, she received a message from DDB saying that her  adoption contract had been rejected and that Joel had been seized  directly from the day care center. She has not seen Joel since.

According to DDB, the contract was denied because of two slash marks  under the statement “will not chain dog.” The words “will not” were  crossed out. Dr. Fiala denies crossing out those words.

Given that Dr. Fiala had fostered 10 other dogs prior to taking in  Joel, and had been praised by DBB for her compassion and dedication, any  reasonable person would have picked up the phone to question whether or  not the cross marks were intended. If not, a new contract would have  been sent for signature. This never took place and DDB accused Dr. Fiala  of intending to keep Joel chained, which goes against the very  principal of their organization. Dr. Fiala believes the contract was  denied in retaliation for questioning Page’s ethical conduct in handling  the donations.

Dr. Fiala decided to fight the DDB for custody of Joel. A Facebook  page called Bring Joel Home was created which to date has gained over  2600 supporters from around the world. Since then, DDB has brought up  new allegations against Dr. Fiala.

DDB posted an article on their Facebook page written by Dr. Fiala in  2003 regarding her battle with bipolar disorder, with the intent to  discredit her mental stability in adopting Joel.

In a book written by Thayne, “Scream Like a Banshee: 29 Days of Tips  and Tales to Keep Your Sanity as a Doggie Foster Parent,” Thayne writes  about what triggers her “mania” and has considered taking  anti-depressants in the past, “as depression runs on both sides of my  family.” Her obsession with rescuing chained dogs has sometimes gotten  the best of her, but she has since found balance. Dr. Fiala too has  found balance, so the claims of her mental stability over an article  written 8 years ago are irrelevant.

The other allegations refer to the dogs Dr. Fiala had fostered in the  past and were returned. What they didn’t specify is the reason the dogs  were returned.

The first dog, a pit bull/staffie mix named Luna, was billed as  'wonderful with dogs, kids and cats.' After proper introduction, Luna  almost killed Dr. Fiala’s cat. Dr. Fiala contacted Page and told her she  should could not keep the dog and risk endangering her other pets.

Shortly after Dr. Fiala took in 3 pit bull puppies until her son was  critically injured in a near fatal accident and hospitalized in  intensive care. Dr. Fiala asked Page to take the puppies temporarily  while she stayed by her son’s side. Her son was released from the  hospital 12 days later and Dr. Fiala had taken the puppies back until  they were all adopted.

Next came another dog and her three 4-month old puppies which Dr.  Fiala had taken in for a month until her son had to return to the  hospital for follow-up surgery. Again, Page took the dogs temporarily  for 5 days until Dr. Fiala’s son was released from the hospital. The  dogs were then returned to Dr. Fiala.

In her book, Thayne writes about a chow named Cyclone that she had to  put down because it attacked her. The only way she escaped severe  injury or death was by hitting the dog in the head with a pot and pan. I  don’t think anyone can blame Thayne for her actions in what must have  been an extremely frightening moment. As sad and unfortunate as it is,  some dogs are too risky to be rehabilitated. Dr. Fiala’s reason for  giving back Luna is equally justified. As Thayne writes in her book, “I  no longer take in dogs that don’t get along with others. With me  traveling so much, we have a real need for harmony here. I know my  limits and choose to stay within them, for the safety of all the dogs  and for my own sanity.”

Thayne also reiterates in her book to always take care of yourself  first and move on from your mistakes as a foster. “I harbor only good  intentions for my foster dogs. Even though I sometimes make mistakes, I  know I did my best; I let go of the consequences and learn from them,  but continue in a positive direction.”

Except for Luna, Dr. Fiala did continue in a positive direction by  taking all the dogs back when she was able and cared for them until they  were adopted.

What about Joel? Taking Joel at a critical time during his  rehabilitation was not in his best interest. In an article on DDB’s  website written by Debbie Dobson, owner of “Good Dog!” Animal Behavior,  she writes, “The process of socializing and rehabilitating a dog who has  been confined requires a tremendous commitment – it may take a year or  more to see real progress.” Though most dogs are quick to adjust in  their new homes, Joel and his sister Julie were mentally scarred and  abused as observed by Page. “You can’t raise a hand above their heads  without them ducking,” according to Page in an article by Ralph Nichols,  B-Town Blog, February 15, 2011. Joel had only been with Dr. Fiala a  little over 2 months before he was taken. He was not your typical case  and definitely not ready to be abruptly removed from the only real home  he knew.

DDB did not take into consideration the consequences it would have on  Joel before seizing him. Again, given Dr. Fiala’s positive relationship  with DDB prior to this incident, a follow-up to the alterations on the  contract should have been conducted for Joel’s sake. If Dr. Fiala did  plan on chaining Joel, DDB had every right to take him. But since her  intention was never clarified, DDB was hasty and irresponsible in their  actions without any explanation or any regard to how it would affect  Joel’s rehabilitation progress.

In early June, the first round in court had given DDB temporary  custody of Joel. Though it was a huge set back for Dr. Fiala, it was not  the end. The judge’s decision was based on temporary custody only for  what the law considers ‘property’. Joel will to remain with DDB until  all evidence is presented and ownership is determined.

When I asked Dr. Fiala, why is bringing Joel home so important to  you, why not just let go? She replied, “How does one explain the bonds  of love that make a family? Joel and I share a bond that goes beyond  words. Linear measurements of time really don’t apply in the realm of  the spirit, the soul, the heart.”

“I know that Joel needs me to feel truly safe and truly joyous in his  life. How do I know? I just know. I am a highly intuitive person. Joel  and I know one another. I know what makes him nervous – sudden noises  and gestures, males in general, large crowds. I know what makes him  happy – playing with his doggie friends and my children, chewing on a  bone in the sun, knowing that I am nearby. I know his sense of humor –  barking like a girl when he is excited, stealing my side of the bed when  I get up at night, playing hide and seek when my daughter hides in the  closet and he knows where she is the whole time, but he lets her think  she is clever, or bringing my shoes out one by one by one. And I know  what brings him peace and serenity – sleeping with his head on my  pillow, lying close to me when he falls asleep, warm, and with a full  tummy. And conversely, Joel knows me as well. He can sense my mood, my  sadness, my goofiness or joy in the same manner. He is my best friend.  Joel will survive wherever he is. But surviving and living his best life  where he is meant to be are very different things. This poor little boy  has suffered so much, and I made a vow to be there for him. Asking me  if I could move on is asking me to turn my back on him when he needs me,  when he can’t speak for himself. And I will not, I cannot, leave him  behind.”

Supporters of Dr. Fiala and DDB have been battling it out on various  Facebook pages. The battle has turned into an all out war between the  two sides with vicious name calling and allegations. Meanwhile, there is  a boy out there in a dog suit that would love nothing more than to be  back at home with his family and a woman determined to bring him back.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Oh Mango! I'm Waiting....

Mabel Lou here. My blog buddy Mango is having a contest to win a virtual date with him so... this post is to show him why he should choose me!

My Dearest Mango,

I've read all the posts those other little floozies are throwing at you and, while I understand you are a dog's dog, dangly bits and all, I am a lady and need to be treated as such.

Mango, I'm a excellent choice for a date because... I'm just cute:

I have very sexy eyes:

I'm so playful:

I have a great sense of humor (pulling tails):
Unlike some bitches, I'm NOT a picky eater:

I can whip us up a nice meal and dine in...

but I love to dine out:

Or... I can take you hunting for our meal:

I'm happy to hang out at home,

or hit the beach and work on our tans

Or we can always just chill...
As you can see, I'm a laid back, easy going kinda lady...

And don't forget, I spent some of Mom's green papers to kiss YOU in the kissing booths: 

Now get your huge self over here for our date! You KNOW I'm the right gal for you!

(Sealed with a lick, 'cause a kiss won't stick!)

Mabel Lou

I Spy...

Mabel Lou...

and Bart...

Wednesday, June 22, 2011


Two for the price of one??

Sun baking and 'cuzzi* time!

(*My favorite aunt could never say the word JAcuzzi. She always thought people were saying cuzzi. Rather than embarrass her, the whole family adopted the name. It's the only word Mabel knows for a river soak!)

Friday, June 17, 2011


Yep, it's Mabel's Gotcha Day! (Although, I feel more like it's MINE! I'm so glad she got me!)

As luck would have it, I recently found a few baby pics of the girl. (LOVE Sweet Baby May pics!) These are all from Mabel's first day here - 6/17/2002.

 Looking for a place to bury her giant bone. Notice my grass is green (I had money for the water bill back then), my fences aren't scratched up as if I kept some critter hostage and the lattice isn't broken to bits from "someone" trying to catch a racoon!

Checking out the house. I had not had a puppy since I was a little girl and Mabel was a total impulse because my previous girls had died so young. Trying to take pictures of a fast moving puppy with an old 35 mm was not easy!

This photo KILLS me! Maybe it was her distrust having been placed and then returned to the shelter SO many times. Or maybe it was the curious puppy in her but she was afraid to go to sleep. I'm certain she was afraid she would miss something good!  She would darn near fall over doing this! 

This is also one of the rare photos of Mabel sitting. But she was already having issues with those long greyhound legs of hers hitting her rib cage. 

I've always said of my girls that I merely gave them a home. It was the pups that rescued me! Her love and devotion, intelligence and smile bring joy to me every day. She is a blessing for sure. 

Certainly, the best eight bucks I ever spent!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Operation Duck Rescue

After sadly coming to the realization that Mabel would not have free reign of her yard and that my ever open back door would have to be shut for two months to keep the duckling safe, I started seeking the advice of "duck rescuers."

Whenever you see "duck rescuers" in this post, please feel free to substitute the word idiot or a$$hole. One or the other is appropriate in every single case.

If you have wild ducklings in yard, let me save you some trouble. Don't bother with "duck rescuers."

First of all, what the phone book / Internet doesn't tell you is most are DOMESTIC "duck rescuers."

One lady, Carol, told me right off the bat that she doesn't help wild ducks, only domestics but that she had phone numbers for the wild duck place. She then went right on to tell me the plight of the domestic duck that gets adopted at Easter and is homeless within a month and how she was taking on the LAUSD Board because teachers have no business hatching ducks in a classroom I mean it's one thing if you track the duck and make sure it finds a good home and has no more babies but they don't do that and often....

That's nice lady but I have a crisis in my backyard RIGHT NOW! Can I just the get phone number?

"Duck rescuer."

The next guy again only handles domestics. His advice? Open my gates and shoo the family out!

"But I live on a busy street!?!"

"Well, they won't be in your yard anymore now will they?"

Say it with me: "Duck rescuer."

#3 wanted money...Lots of money. Of which I have none. But he did explain the lack of wild duck rescues. Our Federal Government (see the problem???) regulates the licenses that allows someone to rescue a wild duck. It's difficult to get and difficult to keep.

O.K. Nicer "duck rescuer."

I finally got around the weird voicemail at the ONE place in all of the county that rescues wild ducks. I left a message. They would later phone back when my actual rescue was underway and leave a message saying...they couldn't help me. "Duck rescuer."

In the meantime, my hiking buddy recalled that a friend of ours (a/k/a Kat on this blog) who rescues all kinds of animals had a duck enclosure. She phoned and Kat didn't hesitate to take on Mallory and the babies!

I phone Kat and was a blithering crying mess describing Mabel and my love for these babies that had come into my life a mere 40 odd hours before.

Kat showed up with her beau, an engineer and our hiking buddy. Mallory and the kids were in the side yard for a stroll and hunt. We walked closer to corner the family. The engineer wrapped Mallory in a towel to protect her wings and grabbed her neck (gently). She squawked and fussed but he held her close and she calmed.

We placed her in a pet carrier as the babies scattered. All were crying and fussing. The engineer noticed that the babies came near Mallory's squawking and he would open the cage door a peep and some would enter the crate. The rest, us ladies had to chase down. I finally got to hold one and give him a kiss.

Finally, there were no ducklings to be seen or heard on the ground but we could only count nine in the cage. I gave Mallory some food for the first time...she was STARVING! We were able to count all eleven! My duck family was safe and going to a good home!

I've been to visit them. They are safe and warm and happy. They have food and heat lamps and a nest. Their pool is shallower but unchlorinated.  And their tale is no longer mine. You can follow their adventures on Twinkie's blog!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Mabel and the Ducks

I immediately got lots of questions about what Mabel thinks about all the ducks. She was being such an angel, I was going to run this photo... as a joke:

I told Mabel that these were our babies and we had to protect them and she was in charge of racoons. The babies and their mom seemed to be a non issue. Mabel would notice / acknowledge and get on with her business. 
We got used to their comings and goings. Mallory Mallard had a routine of swim, walk, hunt, sleep that was repeated many times a day. 

Babies resting after a swim

Marching back from a hunt

Mallory and "Evan" - the name we gave the last duckling - there was always one - that wasn't with the others.

But seconds after that photo was taken, Mabel tired of her auntie (my hiking buddy) and her mom admiring the ducks. I could tell by her body language  that it was jealousy! Even though auntie was petting her, she had had enough. She took off for the ducks! I took off to body check her and yelled for auntie to get the water hose. 

Auntie instead threw big pieces of pottery off my porch! I was terrified it wouldn't be Mabel that hurt the ducks but that they would be smashed! 

I shooed Mabel away and  as all the ducklings got in the water safely. It was terrifying! Mabel got a good hose down for her actions and stayed in the proverbial doghouse for a long time.

But it freaked her auntie out so bad, she started doing research... it would be 2 months before they could fly! Could I / Mabel handle two months of this? In prime swimming season??? Hmmm.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Crafting for Ducks

I find it absolutely heartbreaking that the very thing Mama Duck (a/k/a Mallory Mallard) needs to keep her babies safe is the very thing that can kill them!

Since I didn't have materials to build an official duck ramp lying around, I thought I would share my solutions here.

The pool chair works beautifully and they often bed down on the dry part at night. I achored the top with a rolling wood rack and some bricks. I've since added some plastic chairs as barricades in case the dog gets curious or raccoons come.

But, the padding was a little thick for some of the babies and what if they fell in the jacuzzi?? I described duck ramps to my hiking buddy... basically wooden ramps with something for traction... and she came over with some thrift store treasures. 
She had these place mats made out of twigs. I cut them in half leaving the binding that held them together in place. I took an old shelf that I had been meaning to throw out for months and my staple gun and voila! Duck ramp!

The closest end floats in the jacuzzi. I made sure the twigs would go down to the water level. You don't need this many twigs to make one. You could staple twigs every half inch or so.

The hiking buddy also brought an old bamboo screen. I tied a rock to anchor it in the bottom of the pool because it floats a little too well. I also anchored it to the patio with rocks and lumber. I took a pool pole and pushed the rock out at an angle to keep the platform in the water taut. This is their favorite ramp! 

I also raised the level of the pool up to the lip but over 2" had evaporated by this morning and the ducklings have grown so much.

It's also really great to have something floating in the pool for them to stand and rest on!  A piece of bubble wrap or pool cover works great. This can also work as a floating dock if you can anchor it near the edge.

Friday, June 10, 2011

6/10 Duckpdate!!!

I haven't wanted to write about the duck situation because my pool man's words keep echoing in my ears: "You'll be fishing dead bodies out of the pool until they are all gone."

I didn't have the heart to tell you that my pool guy found the eggs on a few days after my last post.

And that I found Mama nesting later that night. Or... that when some neighbors sent over their gardeners to clean my yard (yes, it looked that bad!), she took off and didn't return for several nights... and temps were in the 40s! I figured coons would eat those eggs.

A few days later, she was back on the nest and my heart broke for her. I would check on her on the cold nights we had and she was still out there. I figured time would pass and she would figure it out.

So imagine my surprise when I returned home from a busy day of wedding shopping (for the niece)
and found THIS:

Yes folks! That's ELEVEN baby ducks!!!!!!!!! So I took a bunch of pics and admired them. I curled up on the sofa after my hike and I could hear them getting louder. It was dark. I kept wondering how the coons would stay away from them with them being so loud.

Then I started thinking of having to dredge eleven baby bodies from my pool and by 10:30, I just couldn't stand it anymore. I started researching. It turns out, it's not the chlorine from a properly chlorinated pool that kills them. It's the fact that they can't get out of the pool that kills them!!!!!!!!!!!! OMG!

Oddly enough, when I went outside to check on them again, Mama duck had drug a piece of last year's pool cover into the pool from the very back of the deck! The babies were all resting on that! 

I started researching duck ramps. One suggestion was to wrap styrofoam in a wet towel. That didn't work. Still another was to anchor a piece of lumber... too slippery. By now it's 11:30 and I'm running around the yard frantically, considering which of my friends I can wake up and let them know just what a big nut job I am. In desperation, I ran to the back deck thinking I could stack the folding deck chairs in the water and create something with enough traction to get those babies out of the water. And then, I saw it: my sister's pool chair

My sister loves nothing more than to sit, floating in the pool and baking in the sun. She tans. My redheaded Scotch Irish skin burns. So, for years at a stretch, my sister's pool chair stands against a wall on the deck. I knew I could unfold the back and anchor it on the side of the pool creating a ramp with traction. Within a minute, it was in the shallower end of the pool and ready for the ducklings.

I got a skimmer and that piece of styrofoam and starting shooing ducklings. Mama got in the chair and I knew the babies would follow.

I went out again around midnight and 10 were in the chair. #11 was circling wildly. Finally, he got on board by swimming between the arm and seat! All were safe! All were now quiet!

This morning I checked on them and Mama had moved them further up the seat of the chair where it was dry. But they still had not returned to their nest. Check out Mama protecting her babes:

I called the hiking buddy and she came down and quietly came in the back gate. Finally all the babies were up on the rim of the pool!!!

Tomorrow: Crafting for ducks!

Thursday, June 09, 2011

Job Outlook

I was driving across a parking lot between Costco & Lowe's and saw a huge line outside one of the little mini strip mall buildings. 

I circled around to get a better look:

These two huge lines of people were queued up to apply for a very limited number of jobs at... Panda Express! These were not the typical set of teens you would expect to see. Many were in there late twenties and several looked to be my age. And each line was around 30 - 40 people deep and more were looking for parking! The economy is still that bad folks!

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Naughty Dogs

There's one area near our hiking trail where the ground squirrels love to hide in the rocks that border the golf course. When the dogs come by, the squirrels tease them. The dogs give chase and sometimes... they notice all that lovely expanse of green! This can lead to a good frolic! I just love Mabel & Bart's body language in this series!

Bart is behind the bush in this one:

Monday, June 06, 2011

I Broke His Hearticus!

I'm one mean rotten Auntie, I am! I've hurt my Bart!
Love that Barticus Farticus!

It all started last Thursday. We were out for our usual hike. We ran into Atilla and Chloe. Chloe's dad doesn't really care to hike so we kept lingering by the creek. There was a deep "jacuzzi" with a golf ball in it that I kept trying to retrieve. It kept getting darker and the rest of the pack headed home. But Mabel and Bart hadn't really exercised yet...

Finally, using a long stick, I got the ball! I gave it to Mabel and we took off down the creek. After a bit of a romp, Mabel found a sandy spot to bread her ball and Bart was off ...doing Bart stuff.  He came up out of the water and started stalking Mabel. She got up and stalked Bart and the tussle was ON! I grabbed the golf ball and suddenly, both dogs stopped playing and stared at me.

"I want the ball."

"NO! That was MY ball."

I tossed it in Bart's direction - cause Mabel had already played with it for a while. Poor Bart! He made the mistake of picking up that ball! Mabel turned into a total WITCH! She went for him! And Bart, the street savvy dog that spent a large part of his life avoiding scrappy dogs and the last year putting up with Mabel's antics, had had enough!

He nailed her! He chest bumped her so hard, she landed in an upright "beg" position. She looked stunned! And just as fast, he hit her again and she flipped backwards and came up crying! I got mad, picked up MY golf ball and took off for the car. It was OVER. They were both looking at me like "What? We were just playin!" BRATS!

I was angry, I drove to 'tilla's house and gave him all the golf balls I found!

The next day, Mabel was limping something fierce. She had cried all night long in pain. And even though I was mad at HER for starting the fight, I live with her! I don't live with Bart. When the Rottrover called and asked us for a hot midday hike - just a short one with her Disable Listed Gizmo, we went. Without Barticus.
Look at Mabel eyes... Rimadyl

I knew I would be lugging a leash (we hike off leash, so I'm the one that "wears" it - wrapped around my shoulder to opposite waist), water, a heavy camera, and supervising a 100# whiny baby. And one more pup felt like too much.

My plan was to go back that night with just Barticus the Farticus. But it had been a stressful couple of days. My college cancelled my weekend classes - taking $300 out of my pocket - because they couldn't reach me by email for 3 whole hours. (Heaven forbid they try a phone... I was home!). I got home and cleaned the pool while swimming. I got so relaxed, I just couldn't go back!

My BFF tells me Bart spent HOURS staring at the front door, waiting for us. He could not be consoled! He didn't want to be petted. His heart was broken!

I can't ever do that to him again. He's my hiking dog.

I have to add a footnote to this story. Prior to Friday, the only form of ID Bart has been able to keep on his collar was one of my glass beads. (He is micro-chipped.) But we figured most anyone who found him at the creek would associate that with me. On Saturday, I noticed it was missing. Rottrover says that's the official sign that Bart has broken up with me! LOL!