As Promised

I promised  you a little stroll with my mis-adventure in canine couture. And I’m delivering. It’s a first, I know, but there is no need for your mock fainting.

Liza Lee said in a comment, “I hope Sophie likes clothing more than Ruby.” The thing is, Sophie doesn’t have a choice. Here’s why:

A few months ago, I came home with a Polo T-shirt for the dog from a local store. I’ll admit, I bought it on a whim and it was a total fashion thing at the time. But, within days of wearing it, we began to notice that Sophie wasn’t tearing into her skin with quite the same intensity. I argued that the t-shirt made her feel safer. IZ suggested, my deft psychological analysis of the dog aside, the t-shirt probably just protected her from herself. I promptly went back to the store and dropped a bit of change on more dog couture.

Sure enough, Sophie has healed up and is actually sporting hair in places we didn’t know she could grow hair. She’s still allergic to everything on the planet, and she still scratches herself into a bloody mess if left alone–just not where the t-shirt covers her. If I could wrap her in jersey knit, I would.

The problem came a few weeks later. I began to notice that these little t-shirts weren’t holding up in the wash. What can you expect for $10 a piece? Right??? They probably never were intended to be worn quite the way my dog wears them. Since they were coming apart at the seams, I reinforced all the seams to keep them from unraveling completely. I won’t lie, there was a sense of satisfaction. I’m easily impressed by my own ingenuity.

Of course, I’d just put my finger in one hole of the wall only to encounter another. Soon enough, there were holes in the fabric everywhere, and not just in places where Sophie could scratch. Not to be out-done, I crafted up darling little appliqués of apples in vintage material to patch the holes. But soon, it became apparent that no amount of restitching and appliquéing was going to save these particular t-shirts.

And that’s when I had one of those regional TV Consumer Reports moments. You know, where some guy in a  cheap $300 suit and a bad comb-over suggests to you that dumping $3.50 a day into a latte out adds up to a chunk of change you’d be better investing in an espresso machine for your home. And where, despite his OBVIOUS lack of fashion sense, he makes a bit of fiscal sense? You hate to admit it, but he’s right and you’re throwing money away for no good reason. You get so angry, you click off the TV and swear to subscribe to cable. At least the talking heads on CNN know how to dress and don’t really make you think.

Yeah, and that’s when Wende realized she’d probably  made these very t-shirts several times over just trying to salvage them!  And it’s also when I realized that despite my dog’s scratching, these shirts should not have disintegrated after 6 washings. Sophie needed new t-shirts, but I’m in NO mood to be investing that much into shirts that will end up in the land fill in a month. So not cool.

I ended up cutting up the old shirts, crafting a crude pattern, and making up a shirt from remnant jersey I owned. When it worked, I found some inexpensive red jersey at a thrift store and set about making t-shirts en masse. But that fabric turned out to be too thin—so I cut out the cute iron-ons off these and appliquéd them to a new knit that has a touch of spandex in it. PERFECT.

As you can see, I’ve not finished the edges. I was in a hurry, my machine is going in for maintenance and I needed to be done. But, it seems pointless, really. These are dog t-shirts and not meant to last forever. They are already better constructed than the first set! When they do finally die, I think I’ll cut the cute iron-on off and appliqué them to next t-shirt.

So that’s it. I spent $3.50 on the iron-on decorations which were on deep discount at JoAnn’s. That should make 8 t-shirts assuming I never recycle them. I spent $2 on 3/4 yard of fabric that made 3 t-shirts. You do the math. I’m feeling ever so clever. The dog is offended. But I’m sorry, Sophie, I couldn’t find an iron-on that said, “Vermin Killah”.

I just wish my light-bulb moments weren’t so fashionably late.

Say a Prayer for Sophie


This dog. This dog is breaking my heart.

We picked Sophie up from the kennel on Thursday and it was puppyville for a day. She went a little nuts coming home—which was fun. I seriously think she didn’t stop licking and nose-butting and pouncing on everyone for at least 20 minutes. Poor IZ nearly had his arm pulled out of the socket trying to get everything out of the car while Sophie clearly wanted nothing but to come inside!

We’ve jokingly called her our “door stop dog” for so long, because she really is a low energy pup. These long winters take a toll on her. She’s solar powered, like the rest of this family, but with an edge; she gets to hibernate! And hibernate she does, typically on the edge of the couch. If she moves, it’s to find a sunspot on the carpet. Having her frisk around like a puppy was such a change in her energy, we were a bit taken aback to find her sick 12 short hours later.

Thursday quickly melded into Friday and it all went down hill from there. I’ll spare you the bodily fluid descriptions, but last night found me in tears. I lost a dog to Parvo when I was Boy Wonder’s age and that experience has never left me. And I guess I go to that place when Sophie is this sick. She’s such a sweet dog, I can’t help but mourn with her when she’s ill. She looks at you with such pain in her eyes and I melt. She’s a tender soul, she’s embarrassed and shamed to be sick. So, there you are, cleaning up messes and she’s too sick to find a place to hide, but she’s looking at you with a million apologies. And all you want to do is scoop her up and hold her, except she winces in pain when you touch her. It makes you want to weep!

While we were certain she didn’t have Parvo due to her age and inoculations; her symptoms just couldn’t be ignored, which precipitated an early run to the vet this morning for fluids and medication. She’s home for now while we wait and see. We’ve been cautioned that she may need to come in for IV fluids tomorrow if the meds can’t stop the vomiting. Clearly, we’d like to avoid that.

So, this is where I find myself this morning. I’d had every intention of sharing with you my thoughts on compassion while the experiences from last week were still fresh. As you can imagine, after last week, I have quite a bit to say about that! But it will hold for Monday. Right now, this dog, this dog is breaking my heart.

UPDATE: Thank you, all, for your comments. IZ and I so appreciate them. It’s Sunday afternoon and while Sophie is still wonky on the medication, she’s showing signs of rapid recovery. I think she’ll be back to herself in a few days.

Hunting Vermin


Snickers doesn’t get much face time on this blog. Mostly, because she’s IZ’s cat and torments my dog enough to keep me in an almost perpetual state of peeved. It’s an unfair relationship, really. Because if Sophie responds we have no choice but to crack down on her. She’s a terrier and her instincts are intact; she’s genetically predisposed to hunt and kill vermin. Snickers certainly behaves like a weasel, but up against the snapping jaws of an enraged dog, she doesn’t stand a chance. You’d think that be enough to stop her wily ways.

I like this about my dog. I am a city girl through and through, but I harbor delusions of living “out” and having a whole pack of terriers to call my own. Like my dog’s instincts, my fantasy life is intact; I have visions of plaid riding jackets and leather knee-high boots (What?! By now you people should know my fantasies come with wardrobe options.) and five or six lovely, black and tan Welshies jumping at my feet. We spend countless hours roaming the vast expanse of our country estate nosing out assorted vermin. We come home, hot and sweaty and tired and triumphant, having once again cleared our fair land of weasels. (Hey, if you’re reading metaphor here, good for you.)

A Welsh Terrier is no slouch when it comes to nosing out a vermin. Just ask my Miss Sophie. There’s not a garbage can or telephone pole she doesn’t growl at when we’re out walking. Never mind our neighbor cat out for a midnight stroll. No, she has bigger prey in mind; namely her own shadow! Clearly, I’m not the only one with a rich fantasy life.

Now, I don’t believe in letting a person, or dog, dream alone. So, I can’t resist whispering, “Kill it, Sophie. Kill it!” even though it’s perfectly obvious that the only vermin in her life is the cat. Vermin she can’t kill. Vermin she must tolerate.

Which brings us back to Snickers. Lord only knows what goes on in her fantasy life.

Look Outside at the Raincoats Coming, Say Oh*


Mary asked that my next post be CHEERFUL and SHALLOW, and you know I’d be only too happy to oblige if I could. Clearly, churning water and my angst wasn’t doing the job. Perhaps a photo of my supermodel dog will do the trick? What’s not cheerful about a dog in a pink shirt?

You might not want to read further.

You can see from this photo her eyes are leaving us. Lest any one think I’m being “Cheerful and Shallow” about that, I’m not. I’ve just accepted that she will probably go blind, sooner than later. She doesn’t seem to care or to be in any pain—the only deficit we notice is her constant growling at her own shadow on our midnight strolls. Other than that, she’s adapting to “seeing” the world with her nose. Trust me, she has NO problem in that department. This dog can smell a “TREAT” in a deep sleep.

However, while I’m still floundering around with eye drops several times a day, she’s become far more adept at passive resistance. Instead of avoiding me, she now comes when called. Only, as she jumps onto the couch to sit she purposefully faces away from me. You can make me come, but you can’t make me like it. It’s the canine version of “Talk to the hand.” Heh. Clever dog. Of course, this means I have to wrangle her to face me, and she uses the moment to clamp her eyelids firmly shut.

They tried to give me medication, I said, “No, no, no.”

So, there I am, one hand on her snout, the other hand trying to pry open her eye all the while, I’m sitting there wondering exactly what hand I’m supposed to use for the eye drops. She’s smart, I’ll give you that. I’m smarter, tho. Eventually, I call in reinforcements; her beloved IZ gets involved.

Does that mean I’m any less reviled by this dog, now that I have a co-conspirator? Uh, no.

What can you do? I mean well but from this dog’s perspective I’m a walking torture device. She decided before she ever entered our home that she adored IZ best. He can do no wrong. Nothing he does will change her love for him—or her perspective that I’m the anti-christ of eye-drops.

Of course, it probably doesn’t help that I dress her in pink polo shirts either.

*Cheerful and Shallow

Why Yes, Yes You Do


This weather is glorious! I had a chance to get out in it yesterday and found myself wandering into LaDeDog… oh. my. Heaven.

Yes, yes, I have serious problems. For starters, I adore a dog who barely tolerates me. But I can’t help it… she’s my supermodel dog. She’s BE-YOO-T-FULL! And she knows it.

Anyone living in Astoria knows that Couture can be hard to come by—so, hard, it requires a trip into the big city. But if you’re a pooch, you’re in luck! LaDeDog can set you up in style without sending your owner’s pocket-book into shock. That’s what the vet bill is for after all!!

Do I look like the kind of girl who would dress up my badger-hunting terrier in darling pea-coats?

sophie walking 1.jpg  sophiecoat2.jpg  sophiewalk3.jpg

(I swear, her tail wags every time she sees me coming with the coat. Yes, it’s bribery, but I think we’ve established that I have issues.)