Goodbye, Fast Boots, and the Feline Tyrant

20 Jan

It’s been a week of ups and downs around here.  We had to say goodbye to our resident “old man” kitty, Jamie last weekend.  He lived a nice long life, and his age has been catching up to him for several months now, but it doesn’t make it any easier to say goodbye.

Spartacus got some fancy new booties to protect his paws from the severe cold we’ve had, combined with the salt that we’ve had to use to keep things under control.  While he doesn’t love them, he’s certainly a good sport about them, although he seems to prefer to run everywhere with them.  Our five year old nephew, Jack would be proud.  When we went snowshoeing as a family over Christmas, Jack brought his wonderful imagination with him and put his “fast boots” on to keep up with us.  When he started getting tired, he’d tell us they were running out of batteries, and we’d encourage him to keep going by convincing him we found new batteries.  So, here’s Spartacus in his very own “fast boots”

Spartacus and his new "fast boots

Spartacus and his new “fast boots

We also had a bit of a sleep over with our dear friends’ dog Gypsy while they were out of town for business for a few days.  Gypsy is a frequent visitor of our house, and has stayed with us several times but this time was an experience we haven’t had before!  Our indoor cat, Dora gets a long quite well with Spartacus, even plays with him on occasion.  She’s not a fan of any visiting dogs though, as we’ve watched a few that have had very poor cat manners.  Gypsy isn’t one of those dogs though.  She is interested in the cats until they look at her, at which time she promptly changes direction of travel and avoids eye contact.  The last several times Gypsy’s been with us, Dora has gotten rather brave, even following her around.  This latest time, however, she seemed to gain a whole new sense of confidence when she smelled Gypsy’s fear of her and spent two days straight down-right terrorizing poor Gypsy.

I knew this visit would be different when I got home from work to let Gypsy out (her owners dropped her off and crated her while I was at work) and she followed me into the bathroom.  A few seconds later, Dora appeared in the doorway…and there she stayed…staring at the dog with that crazy cat look in her eyes.  She was on a power trip, and a TERRIBLE hostess!

The Feline Terror

The Feline Tyrant

Dora wouldn’t move from the doorway, and Gypsy wouldn’t go anywhere near her.  I finally had to come to Gypsy’s rescue and chase Dora off.  The evening continued much the same way.  Gypsy quietly snoozed at my feet until Dora would appear out of no where, charge at her and Gypsy would go running, with Dora on her heels.  If Gypsy started to walk around you could hear exactly when Dora would appear and she’d quickly come running back, with Dora on her heels assuming the charging bear stance, puffed up, running slightly at an angle.  What’s that saying?  Oh yeah, cat’s are jerks!  Gypsy would resign to just laying as close to me as she could for protection.  She’d stay there for 15 minutes or so, then suddenly get up and move away.  When I’d start looking around, there Dora would be, creeping around the couch, chair, or coffee table, eyes fixed on Gypsy.

Please, save me!

Please, save me!

Here, Gypsy joined me in the bathroom getting ready for work, and became trapped as Dora perched herself right in the doorway.  Just staring at her, clearly knowing she was scaring the bejeezes out of the poor dog.  Seriously, she’s such a jerk!

Trapped again

Trapped again

I honestly love my cats, but Dora is a serious jerk…

The Deep Freeze

9 Jan

Winter has really set in here and I’m not a fan.  Normally I kind of like winter, but when temperatures reach -20 without windchill (and -50 or worse with windchill!) I start to wonder why I live here!  The other day I was crossing the frozen tundra to give the barn animals water while a friend was complaining it was too warm in Florida, where it was a full 90 degrees hotter…not factoring in the terrible wind chill!  That same day I put a gallon of milk outside to freeze because we weren’t going to use it before the expiration date otherwise and it was a solid rock 2 1/2 hours later when I checked it.  I kid you not…I am living in a deep freeze.  Today, we reached a balmy 7 degrees above 0 and I was TICKLED!

Meanwhile, the barn kitties are bringing pure joy to our life around here.  Buddy, our fluffy black cat has been nicknamed Velcro, for her amazing ability to attach herself to anyone who will let her.  In this cold weather when we’re bundled up, she’ll climb up your leg and cling to your chest purring in your face before you even realize she’s nearby.  The other day she scrambled up my arm and perched on my shoulder as I walked by the hay bales she was sitting on.  Goofy is almost as friendly as Buddy, and only slightly better at respecting your personal space.  A few weeks ago we had guests staying with us and the barn cats were a big hit with the kids as they soaked up any and all attention directed in their general vicinity.

"Pleaase pet me!" -Goofy

“Pleaase pet me!” -Goofy

 

Weekend, weekend, how you fly by…

14 Nov

Well, I still have two cats in my wall.

Who knows why.  They come out to eat every day but they refuse to come out when I’m around.

New barn guardian, Buddy

New barn guardian, Buddy

Buddy on the other hand, is living up her new life of freedom.  She completed her round of wormer and is now free to roam the farm.  She seems to fit in just fine and has made friends with Stella, our resident guard-horse and Jamie, our older farm cat.  Buddy must be keeping busy, I rarely see her during daylight hours, but every evening when I go out to feed she comes running in the barn from the woods to say hi.  Actually, her name should be Velcro…I’ll have to get a picture of it sometime.  These days it’s cool enough in the evening that I dress in my Carhartt overalls and jacket…better known as Buddy armor.  While I do chores, Buddy prefers to climb up my leg and stick herself Spiderman-style to my chest so she can meow, purr and rub my face.  Daily I remind her of just how much she hated us when I first brought her home.  I don’t think she remembers, it might have been her evil twin.  At any rate, she’s fast become my sweet Buddy!

While Buddy was getting used to the lay of the land over the weekend, Spartacus and I hit the show ring.

Getting handsome for the show!

Getting handsome for the show!

My “home” kennel club hosted it’s show over the weekend so Sparty and I put in some long days.  Ok, so mostly Spartacus had it pretty easy.  Aside fr om the short time he was in the ring, he mostly napped in his crate and visited people at the club’s information table.  Ok, let’s be honest, mostly he just slept.  And then we came home and, well…

Momma, I'm so sleepy...

Momma, I’m so sleepy…

We had a great time visiting with lots of exhibitors, some old friends, and some new ones!  Spartacus did a great job the first time in the ring as a Special (finished Champion) and took Best of Breed on Saturday, and Select Dog, Best Owner-Handled, and Owner-Handled Group 4 placement on Sunday!  Now we take a break from the ring for a couple months.  If I’m ambitious, we’ll start obedience training again and see if we can finish some more titles on the end of his name.  Those are really his favorite.  He should be able to pick things up again quickly, he loves the obedience ring so I think he’ll train eagerly.  Now…to get myself motivated!

I kissed a camel, and I liked it!

6 Nov

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Katy Perry’s got nothin’ on me. Seriously, this guy is the sweetest ever!

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That is all. Kind of like wordless Wednesday…except not…

Adventures Never Cease

1 Nov

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Know what this is?

This is what happens when your new barn cats get stuck in the wall.

Yep, that’s right.  So I was perusing good ol’ Craigslist a few weeks back when I saw a post from a lady trying to find homes for her outdoor cats.  She had taken in something like 15 cats over the years as strays and had taken care of them as outside cats.  Problem is, she’s now moving to a small home in town…can’t take all those cats with her.  I thought, well…we have a barn, we have a pole barn, we have mice…maybe we have a home for a few.  

No good deed goes unpunished, I’ll tell you that much.  She was a very nice lady…but…  She had three that were siblings she’d had since they were kittens, they were all fixed and she wanted to keep them together.  Since I don’t want to end up with a cat farm, I thought getting some fixed cats for free sounded like a good idea.  

Well…

What was supposed to be a 50 minute drive to her house was more like an hour and 45 minutes.  Then, as we loaded the cats into crates, we realized just how unhappy they were about crates.  That’s when one escaped and clawed the crap out of the lady’s arm as she tried desperately to stop him from escaping.  I departed her house with 2 of the 3 cats, one of her little crates, and a promise that she’d catch him and bring him to me because she desperately wanted him to go home with me.  

When I got home, Buddy, the black cat was angrily trying to kill me through the bars of the crate.  My husband came to help move the crate and looked at me like I was nuts.  I assured him that she had been very sweet when I picked her up, but she apparently didn’t appreciate the crate or the car ride.  Buffy just hid in his crate, never making a peep.  I put them in a nice insulated room in our barn with litter boxes and lots of food and yummy treats until they got used to their new home.  For a few days Buffy just hid behind some boards against the wall and Buddy hissed at me anytime I came near her hiding spot.

A few days later, Wednesday I think it was, I got a call that the escapee, Goofy had been caught, and she was on her way to my town.  Nevermind it was the middle of the afternoon and I was at work.  She begged me to meet her just outside town…she’s terrified of city driving.  So, off I went to meet her.  She sent me off with Goofy, another crate she told me to keep, a big bag of cat food in a container, and $20 to buy more.  Goofy wasn’t super impressed with the crate but let me pet him a little once I got him in the barn with his brother and sister.  

After a couple days I thought I’d made some great progress with Goofy and Buddy.  Goofy loved attention and Buddy quickly decided she wanted in on the action.  The two of them enjoyed scratches, extra treats, conversation, and even let me carry them around.  That was last week.  

Tuesday night I went out to feed the cats and discovered Buffy seemed to be missing.  He never came out of hiding before, but this time he was actually gone.  I searched high and low, enlisted my husband’s help, and we determined he was gone, though we couldn’t really find a way out of the room.  Wednesday night I went out to feed the cats and discovered I was down to just one cat…Buddy.  Yep…the one that appeared to be a rabid (she’s not, she was just crazy), demon possessed cat when I first brought them home was my lone ranger left.  

Where the heck did they go?!  

I called and called for Goofy, who usually would talk back to me, but I got nothing.  I searched everywhere, went outside in the dark to see if I could see any slivers of light coming from that room that might tell me where they’d escaped…nothing.  After a good 10 minute search, I had given up with one last call to Goofy when I heard a faint call back.  

You have to be kidding me…he’s behind the wall!  Ugh!  With my husband’s help we dismantled the section of the wall you see in the picture and sure enough, when I checked with a flashlight there were two sets of eyes at the far end of the wall staring back at me.  Goofy has decided he doesn’t like me anymore, and now prefers to hide in the wall with Buffy, who never did like us, and Buddy is still, well, my buddy.  Who would have guessed?  Certainly not my husband!  

Honestly…it’s never dull.  It would have been so much easier to get some kittens…

The Road to a Champion

30 Oct

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This is where it all started. My little baby, squishy little sweetie pie that fell asleep just about anywhere. Now that sweet little boy is my all grown up Champion!

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After a lot of learning, meeting fantastic new friends, some ups and some downs, my sweet Spartacus finished his AKC Champion title with a 4 point major over the weekend. I’m so proud of my sweet, smart boy. I know this road could have been a lot shorter if I’d given in and sent him with a professional handler, but I’m so very happy I didn’t and can say that every point was earned as a team. I’ve learned a ton about the breed I love, about dog shows, training, raising dogs, and made so many priceless memories with amazing people I’m so glad to call my friends! This journey with Spartacus is only the beginning, and I look forward to getting him back in the obedience ring and trying for his Grand Champion as well. I can’t believe where that sweet little puppy has taken me!

With this win, Spartacus has put one of his breeders in the Hall of Fame for Breeders, was his other breeders’ first bred by champion as well as the first champion for both his parents. So many people have been able to celebrate with me which makes this experience even sweeter.

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Pardon the Hiatus

18 Oct

Oh my, where did the time go?

Well, summer got to me and here we are!  We’ve had a busy summer around here with various projects, a few dog shows, and…I have no idea what else happened!  Isn’t that how summer always goes though?  

Now we’re finding ourselves getting ready for cooler weather.  Of course, that would be a little more enjoyable if the furnace guy would get on the ball and finish his project.  It’s dropped into the upper 30’s the last few nights and we can’t turn our heat on…not impressed.  We gave him the job at the beginning of the summer.  Sigh…he won’t be hired again.  

We haven’t added any new critters to the “farm” just yet, but we are currently waiting to hear if Spartacus will be a daddy for the first time.  If puppies are on their way, they will be due at the beginning of December.  Paws crossed for Nala!  The fun thing is, Nala and her owners live in our area and we actually met a few years ago at a dog show briefly but never knew we live in the same area.  Through an odd series of events they found us, but didn’t realize it at first.  It took a little bit of talking to realize we’d met before…and my husband and I recently changed churches…to the same church as them.  Small, crazy world.  So the great news is, if puppies are on their way, we’ll be able to see them in person as much as we want.  Awwww puppies!  

Speaking of Spartacus, we’ve been patiently waiting for a show not too far away that will be big enough for a three point major to finish his championship.  We’re finally able to go to Sioux Falls at the end of the month and we should have 3 chances for that big win.  Fingers and paws crossed!  We’re oh, so close!

Signing off!  Promise we’ll be back soon!

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