December 18, 2018

Stella Tests My Sanity

She looks so innocent doesn't she. Just a big, happy-go-lucky, loose skin ball of fun. Don't get me wrong with what I am about to write this afternoon. I love all my hounds, even Stella. I knew when I 'rescued' her in August 2015 what her issues were. I was going to be her 4th owner in her first 6 years of life. She is the most funniest hound I have had in 31 years of having a hound every year. Like some dogs and some dog readers, we all have our hidden issues don't we?
She was more than I had bargined for in the 'damage' department. Oh yes ... unbelievable damage. Some so destructive I would be embarrassed to post photos of it. (I never will) Her severe separation anxiety was a mystery until I found her original owner and breeder on Facebook. Basically to cut a long explanation short, you can read what happened to her here to cause her anxiety.

Some people say, like her previous owner, it takes a different type of dog owner to have bloodhounds ... they are so different in many ways from other breeds.
One of her habits didn't show up until her first freezing winter in 2015 since moving here. When I say obsessed I do mean obsessed. Even a gentle tug on her collar wouldn't work and sometimes a harder tug on her shoulder wouldn't work ... but she would never growl at me. She was like a 80 pound anchor that wasn't moving. This morning was the same thing. Here is her addiction ... deer scat.
Since I am not a deer hunter I had to do some searching on the internet years ago to find out what this stuff was. This morning was the first time I saw it this color. Most of the time they are deep black nuggets. This type could be from elk, llamas or deer. Here in 'the tropics' of Southern Indiana, deer is the only possibility.

Where I could always let Sadie lag way behind us on the walk, knowing eventually she would be seen sprinting as fast as possible to catch up to Stella and I, I cannot let Stella lag behind like that. I tried one time only to find out she never came back home. A little more than an hour later I had to retrace my steps.

That day a few years ago I found her in back field over by the 'deer highway' in the far right corner. She was in the same position you see her today ... head down, inhaling as many of those nutritious tiny morsels as she could.
Needless to say, in today's morning walk the eating of deer scat was the objective in her point of view. No, not enjoying the quietness, the crisp temperature, or the sunshine just barely shows on the horizon ... her main objective was to EAT ... and that makes this short 12 minute walk seem like a lifetime.
Still with her separation anxiety only showing up a few weeks ago for the first time in 17 months, she is a fantastic house dog. She always goes to the door to go out, nudging the knob with her nose. If the handle was the lever she would open the door herself.

She will howl like you think a bloodhound sounds minutes before she is fed twice per day. Although, unlike Sadie, she is not a protector of the house. Any stranger at the door is her friend not foe.
There is no doubt you have noticed too many changes with how the blog looked the past few days. You will be happy to know this is the final design and I love it. I feel this will be it for many years to come like my other blog on Blogger, where I stopped blogging to come here.

It took some work to get everything the way I wanted it. Then when I thought I was finished, it had a hiccup this morning only pointed out by an observant reader. The Old Fat Man was trying to make a comment and couldn't see a way to get there.
While drinking my 1st cup of BLACK coffee to escape my sugar addiction, some smart Wordpress techie pointed out to me what I had forgotten to do. It was something at the start of every post, just like I was doing on my older blog. That was the simple click of the icon for inserting the 'read more' tag. That little modification will 'the OFM' and other readers an easier way to see where to make a comment and it gave me the front page that I was looking for.
I took this picture this morning looking directly into the sun. I decided to keep it, and post it because to me it looked cool ... it's hard to tell if it is sunrise or sunset.
After one week I see a system developing here. A little change from the prior blogging routine I had which was writing about what had taken place from 9am to 9am the next day, one post per day. Then sometimes weeks of nothing.

Here I planned on writing more than just about the hounds or the daily morning walk. I was going to move some personal thoughts to these pages and that would possibly mean multiple posts per day. I do have to resist sometimes not to post that 3rd post of the day.
Based on the traffic stats that Wordpress provides all of it's bloggers, I need to have that first post of the day to show up 5am-6am eastern time. People are clicking in early to read a new post but leave within seconds if they only see the post they read the previous day or even night. 'Schedule' is a great blog invention.

I also know that my blogging tendencies change based on seasons, the weather and my state of mind. So my plan is to write when I want, to keep those inner thoughts coming to blog pages. To prevent me from flooding you with my drivel I'll save them as draft copies to be posted at a later date. Like a squirrel storing nuts for the winter, I will be storing blog posts for the spring and summer.
Some will have photos, some may not. Some will be over the edge of logic and some may seem boring, even mundane. Some might make you mumble and shake your head and others might make you think. You choose.
For new readers, if you are into wild flowers growing in a field, or sharp pictures of butterflies, stay tuned-in here because that is a common theme in the spring and summers as we change from the frozen tundra here in the Midwest.

I will admit, with Sadie gone the blog's tone has changed a little. Heidi and Stella are the definition of the word 'laidback'. Heidi rarely takes walks in the field even in good weather. You've seen what Stella does, not much. Oh, when it's hot she will move to the backyard to take her siestas under the hot sunshine.
There are times I have to lay a hand on them to see if there is a pulse ... where Sadie was always looking for action and if there wasn't any she was just a thought away from creating some. Plus like I have said, I have not seen deer in this field behind our house in 13 months. I have seen them in the field across the highway a couple of months ago, but not here. So those high speed bloodhound deer chases are probably a thing of the past and nothing more than a funny memory.

That photo is about the best I can do to prove just how slow she walks right in front of me, to the point at times I stagger my steps not to walk into her. If I pass her, she will pass me back and resume her slow walking.
This morning was a little different. We had just entered the backyard upon our return when she stopped. She didn't sniff the ground nor did she look anywhere else. She just stopped like she was standing in concrete.

That small cord you see laying on the ground has turned into a 'marker', so I can find the anchor in the field that use to be used for Stella, Sadie, Winston and Heidi before I could trust them to roam tether free. I'll come up with a different solution by next spring for marking that anchor. you cannot pull out of the ground. It is made for horses and believe me, a shovel doesn't help getting it out.
As I got to the corner of the house I turned to see her not moving. What is this about ????  Ah, funny dog.
While I took a couple more photos around the house and sky, she needed one more scratch, making me wonder if there is something in the Glucosamine supplements that she is allergic to.
She finally decided it was time to come inside. While she slept I did my workout program, a few games of Mahjong on the MacBook Air with the best view in the house. You cannot give up working out just because you are not losing weight as fast as you want.
It was just a tad over 40° by lunch. I could see as soon as we were outside neither hound was too motivated to go too far. That was a good thing for me since I had just found out I had a lot of work to do on the pages of Winston and Sadie that are linked at the top of the blog.
The two different Wordpress editors don't play well together. Besides that I had copied and pasted both pages from my blog on Blogger in HTML format and pasted that here on the new editor so I could import photos and words at the same time.

That did not work this time. While checking the pages this morning for any errors many of the photos were not spaced and ran together where there was no content. I knew due to the formatting of the new editor my only choice was to start a brand new page for both on the classic editor and then reload all the images. (~100 each)
I was finished with both pages sooner than I expected and while looking at the hounds I announced to them this would be a "nail cutting, ear cleaning afternoon". No problems with Heidi, she likes getting them cut ... but her nails were too long when I got her in 2011 and I have never been able to get them shorter. The vets tried in September to cut them back while she was in surgery and didn't have much more luck than I have.
Stella was good with me cutting her nails when she showed up in 2015. No resistance until last summer (2018). At the last mini-second she jerked her paw, possibly tickled, at the same time I was pressing the nail cutters ... she yelp, I cussed, she bleed, and I had cut her nail toooo short. It all happened in a split second after getting three out of four paws completed. Today ... didn't happen ... she pulled a Sadie and took off running for cover.
You see that Heid's skin allergies have come back a little. That is normal for the winter months for some reason. That tells me it's environmental rather than food. Back in August 2015 I wrote in detail with photos about her skin issues she was going through. They just flared up the past few days.

Besides that not much went on. Stella stayed with Heidi behind closed doors in the bedroom without any breakout attempts. I made a fast trip to the library to look for some new reading material. No luck. I'll pull something off of my bookshelf to read.

Questions of the day --- Do you think it is safe to write the name of your town in a blog post? Some bloggers do, some don't. Is my paranoia showing itself?

What percentage of you stay home for the holidays? Who goes on skiing trips with the family? How many travel out-of-state? How many have Xmas dinners or go out to eat?

Just curious. I promise there are not any spreadsheets planned for those answers.  :)

Another bright sunny day here in 'the tropics' of Southern Indiana.

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