Tag Archives: poodle

Poodle pix: coiffure as costume

A friend sent me the link to a series of photos from a gal who does “creative grooming.”

My poor Molly was overcome with jealousy when she saw these because her hair is black – a poor canvass for such artistry. I mean, who wouldn’t want to look like a chicken:


or a peacock:


(This is the cut, sans feathers… see the whole deal at the link)

And how about Ninja Turtle poodle:


Pootie “Bama” takes after his namesake

Pootie: n. small adorable animal, most often a cat. Pootie pix (photos of pooties) are used to enliven otherwise dreary political blogs.

Gobama, the sleek black kitty I got at the Humane Society three weeks ago, is turning into the Cool Cat of the Century, just like his namesake President-Elect Obama.

Like Obama, little Bama is interested in everything, ruffled by nothing. Here he is in the hood of my son’s sweatshirt.


I know you’re supposed to go sloooow introducing a new cat to the home and to other pets.  Keep him in one room for a few days until he acclimates to that. Then maybe a brief supervised meeting of the other pet (both pets restrained so nobody gets hurt).

Not Bama – he wanted to explore the whole house right away and he definitely wanted to meet Molly nose to nose, even though she’s ten times bigger than him. Like Obama being willing to “meet with enemy heads of state without preconditions”…


Most pets hate the vacuum cleaner, especially the sudden loud noise it makes. Not Bama. He tips his head as if to say, what’s THAT? and then charges after the electrical cord.

Other sudden noises like toilet flushing don’t faze him either. The first time he heard it, he jumped up to watch the water swirl away and almost fell in.

Water intrigues him. He hopped in the shower last week with my son and when the water hit him he just moved to the side and continued watching. Wylie let more and more of the spray hit him, and he stayed put, getting fairly well soaked.

This is good, because I’m actually allergic to cats and am going to be washing him off a couple of times a week to reduce the dander. The first couple of sponge baths in the sink went very well. He seems to like the rubdown.

Now I need to convince him not to sleep on my head at night.

A pledge of allegiance – a poem for September

This is one of my favorite Gary Snyder poems. And a much better pledge of allegiance than our current one. (FYI “Turtle Island” is a Native American term for North America.)

For All

Ah to be alive
on a mid-September morn
fording a stream
barefoot, pants rolled up,
holding boots, pack on,
sunshine, ice in the shallows,
northern rockies.

Rustle and shimmer of icy creek waters
stones turn underfoot, small and hard as toes
cold nose dripping
singing inside
creek music, heart music,
smell of sun on gravel.

I pledge allegiance

I pledge allegiance to the soil
of Turtle Island,
and to the beings who thereon dwell
one ecosystem
in diversity
under the sun
With joyful interpenetration for all.

Poodle pix! Molly along the Clearwater River, Idaho.

Poodle problems

My dog looks young and perky. She is still lean and bouncy. However she is 14, deaf, and foolish.

Once upon a time I could let her out in the back yard when we woke up in the morning and she would do her business and come back inside.  My yard covers a third of an acre, which seemed to satisfy her need for exploration. She stayed within its bounds, even though it’s only partially fenced.

Lately she’s taken to wandering. Bored after years of the same damn dogfood every day, perhaps she seeks some hapless workman’s lunch? Bored after years of the same damn yard, perhaps she seeks new vistas? Bored after years of the same damn owner, perhaps she seeks fresh love?

Today she went too far.  Dangerously too far – like all the way to the main drag a couple of blocks away, where she was trotting up the middle of the road.  A neighbor chased her home and rang my doorbell at 7 a.m. with Molly in tow.

Whatever her reasons, I have to put a stop to it.  Legally speaking, we have a leash law and she’s not on one during these early morning meanders. But mainly she needs to be protected from cars, and cars need to be protected from her. She doesn’t hear warning honks so she just muddles merrily along.

I’m beginning to see the writing on the wall. Either I stagger out with her at dawn (in the dark…and in the winter in the rain) or I get a long lead and tie her up in the back yard while I come to consciousness.  (I could just stand there with her but it often takes her up to ten minutes to find the perfect poop place – you could say she’s a picky pooper and as I’ve said, patience is not my strong suit.)

One of the challenges of owning a dog…

Poodle patter #1

My family is a poodle family. (Mostly*).  Not the little poodles. The big ones. Standard poodles.

Our first poodle, Mitzi, was a miniature. You’d think this would be a tiny poodle, but miniatures are actually mid-size dogs. Poodle sizes are kind of like canned olives in reverse: whereas olives explode almost immediately from small to jumbo, colossal, super-colossal and even mammoth, poodles shrink quickly from standard to miniature to toy to teacup.

IMHO the last two are yipping ankle-biters for old ladies who live in trailer parks.

The bigger the poodle the mellower in mood and (my family believes) the brighter. This I can’t attest to because our experience has almost exclusively been with the big ones. We had one disastrous detour for the two months we foster-parented Pepe, a neurotic toy poodle with bad teeth, hideous breath and a game hind leg which caused him to hop every few steps like one of the Dounblemint twins.

Mitzi joined our family before I was born. She was a moody dog, given to snapping at anyone who approached her when she ate or groomed herself. Still, she would allow my sister and I to dress her in sweaters and hats from our baby sister’s wardrobe.

When I was in 2nd grade I showed Mitzi in a pet contest, which took the form of a parade down the main street of our small town. Entrants included every sort of animal, including birds in cages and turtles in bowls. Those of us with creatures on leashes had a much easier time than those whose pets needed to be carried in heavy receptacles.

Amazingly, Mitzi won the first prize (on what criteria I haven’t a clue) and I was awarded a hand-carved wooden plaque, which just resurfaced when we were cleaning out Mom’s attic. They don’t make plaques like they used to.

Our next two poodles were brown standards – Jada and her son Jing-Jing. (My parents were jazz buffs).

My favorite was Melody, a pretty white standard. So pretty that my parents decided to breed her. When she went into labor, the family gathered to watch in fascination as the puppies started coming.

One. Lick lick lick. Push. Two. Lick lick lick. Push nudge. Three. After six we figured that was about it and went to bed, but my sister stayed up with her all night. In the morning we found her asleep in the box with Melody and five more puppies, for a total of eleven.

Later when the puppies lost their blind rat appearance and moved into the adorable puppy stage my Dad took a picture of the whole little family and it made the front page of the local paper.

*One of my sisters has had several standards, I have one (who I prune myself to save money), my other sister hates pets.  Of my three kids only one has had a dog and his was a dalmation.

More poodle patter soon.

Pruning: poodle department

I love to prune. To clip away the extraneous in order to reveal the essence. It’s my favorite part of gardening – partly because you don’t have to do it on your knees as when you remove weeds… but mostly because done well it’s an art form. More about that in another post.

Once a month I practice my pruning skills on my standard poodle Molly. Again, my pleasure is partly due to my natural state of parsimony (the quality of being careful with money or resources, AKA thrifty, stingy), but more to the opportunity to spend quality time, face to face with my dog.

She does not like being pruned. Especially her feet. You would think that after fourteen years (her birthday was two days ago) she would be used to it, but no.

She knows when the pruning is coming because it’s the only time I use my shower (I’m a bath person but the shower has a moveable nozzle, which is perfect for washing doggies). She slinks into the bathroom – drawn by the prospect of the warm water and physical attention, but repelled by the clipping that will follow.

I use the standard Oster clippers which make a loud buzzing sound. She tolerates her face being shaved, but she goes nuts when I work on her feet. Perhaps the buzz and vibration tickles? Because of her age, she has a few skin bumps that I have to be careful not to trim off…

Here she is: lovely face revealed again…

Of course, MY idea of dog pruning and the dog show idea of dog pruning are like night and day. This is a miniature (mid-sized) guy named Minimoto – a winner in his category at Westminster. Holy moly – that is some serious hair-styling!

Poodle’s progress


My dog Molly will be 14 in a week.

Last week, while I was out of town and had left her with some friends who consider her their adopted child, she suddenly developed the colly-wobbles. The blind staggers, if you will. Her eyes started to go spastic and her legs just collapsed. She couldn’t stand up because it was obvious she was completely dizzy.

In a panic they took her to the vet, afraid she’d had a stroke. Turns out it was a very common disorder in older dogs – an inner ear disturbance. Old dog vestibular syndrome is what it’s called. The vet gave her some anti-nausea medication in case she was queasy and told my friends she’d probably be better in a few days.

They called me right away but I was 2000 miles away and could only rely on their good judgment and special care. Molly has been such an amazingly healthy dog that I’ve really not considered what life would be like without her. Just having her constant company by my desk, by my bed, at my chair is a comfort I’ve taken for granted. No more.

By the time I got home Molly was significantly better, though she kept her head tipped to the left as if she were perpetually saying, “Wha??”

Now, about ten days later she seems pretty much back to normal. Still deaf, but clearly not blind because on our walk this morning she took off like a rocket after a rabbit in the bushes.

Phew. Disaster averted for now.