Monday, August 25, 2008

It's a New Day! (And New Zanna Pix)

It’s been a wild and crazy week.

Getting Zanna acclimated has been more than we bargained for – she is too smart for her little spotted body and is into everything. She and Zack are bonding well. She learned how to jump on our bed in one day…Zoie learned the same thing at about 9 months. Zanna makes us laugh, and cry (in frustration!), she’s a snugglebug (but only on her terms!), and she HATES her crate. We caved in and let her sleep with us two nights and we’ve been paying the price for that mistake ever since. The girldog can howl and bark with the best of any grown dogs I’ve ever seen, for at least 1 ½ hours. But. We. Are. Holding. Firm.


Meanwhile, we are trying to switch Zack’s food to another type, as he has developed an allergy to Science Diet Lamb and Rice. Not fun. He won’t eat the replacement, and all of a sudden, LOVES Zanna’s food.

Last Monday night, Suzan came down from Lubbock to help us out. I was scheduled for a 7 a.m. colonoscopy on Tuesday, and we knew MLH was going to be out in the field, so Suzan played driver and helper. (All went well during the colonoscopy, and all looks good.) She’s so sweet to help us out, I’ll really be sad when she and John move permanently to Pennsylvania.

We helped with the XTO Energy-Halliburton Bustin’ Clay for United Way on Friday. As usual, it was a fun sporting clay shoot! The shoot raised $107,000 to help all the programs that United Way of Midland serves – that figure beats the prior 7 years! That was very emotional for me, since I helped start that shoot, came up with the name, everything, all those years ago. I’m so glad and blessed it’s come to this!

Elder Son came by with his girlfriend.

Younger Son came by and played some tunes...then, last night, called from the Dallas Guitar Center. (Translate: he found another guitar. He's become a guitar addict.)

That’s about it for last week. I’ll try to post more regularly starting this week!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Meet Little Zanna

We found a pup. Friends were checking their sources everywhere, and sending puppy pix (thanks, y’all). I had to be in a shoot in Dallas, and just googled German Shorthairs, Dallas. (I love Google.) The
Anderson Ranch Dogs site popped up. I liked the looks of their dogs. I had actually read about these breeders in the past. I e-mailed them, and within 2 minutes, I received a return call. The Andersons had kept one female for their own kennels, since she was the embodiment of all their (stout) bloodlines. The pup was 11 weeks of age, and just that morning they had discussed selling her. It seems the Andersons have too many training dogs, and their girls are rodeoing, so they were possibly interested in finding a home for her, thinking that the timing wasn’t right for them to have a puppy. They sent me pictures, which I in turn sent to MLH (and, of course, Zack!) back at the house. They had me at the phone call, but I needed to explore my options.

I checked her pedigree, then sent the pix and pedigree on to another hunting friend, who encouraged us to purchase this pup. I cancelled my flight home, and arranged to ride home with a friend, who was nice enough to swing by Decatur so I could pick up the pup. She travelled well, and when MLH laid eyes on her late that night, he fell in love.

It’s been a weird week, losing Zoie and gaining another pup. We miss Zoie tremendously. But we’re finding we still have room in our hearts for another – something I find I can’t explain. Also, I’d like to say, once more, thanks so much for all your support. Your comments, thoughts and prayers comforted us more than you’ll ever know.

This pup is worlds apart from Zoie in looks and temperament, but funny and loving in her own right. She and Zack bonded right away; they are playing, sleeping together on the couch, and playing fetch. It took us almost two days to come up with a name, but finally, we did so.

Without further ado, MLH, Zack and I would like to introduce you to Zanna, the newest member of the family.

And of course, she already has some nicknames...Xanadu; Zanna Montana; Zanna White; and Carla Zantana.

You knew it would happen.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Here We Go Again

After much discussion and thought, we decided to try to find a new German Shorthair pup…more for Zack’s sake than anything. We are both torn about this decision - after so recently losing our sweet Zoie-girl, it doesn’t seem like we’ve even had time to grieve. Zack is definitely showing signs that he misses Zoie, however, and we don’t want him to suffer. He does so well with a companion.

So the search begins. We’ve alerted our friends, and they are all searching their networks, sending us pictures of litters, details, the works.

We want to thank you for all your thoughts and prayers and comments during our time of loss, and ask for you to continue as we go forward. We’ll definitely miss little Zoie, the Wonder Pup, and don’t know how another pup could possibly fill the huge void she leaves behind.

For Zack, we will push through.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

In Memoriam - Zoie The Wonder Pup

“You've given your heart for a dog to tear.”
–Rudyard Kipling, The Power of The Dog Zoie The Wonder Pup - 9/2007 - 8/2008

We lost our precious, curious, crazy, makeuslaughtilwecried with her antics, Zoie the Wonder Pup around 7:20 a.m. Tuesday morning. She would have been a year old in September.

Zack and Zoie and I walked their Auntie Suzan out to her car, and when I was loading Suzan’s suitcase into her truck, Zoie hopped up in the back of the Suburban. I made her get down, and gave Suzan a hug and told her bye. In that one split second Zoie must have rounded the truck, immediately run into the street before I could stop her and was hit by a pickup. She died almost instantly.

Unbeknownst to me, a man was walking his dog down the opposite side of the street. I always look for walkers and runners before I let the dogs out, but somehow, I missed this man and his gentle dog. (I hope y’all are okay.) The little Zoie-monga didn’t miss a thing, however. I never saw Zoie dart under our truck to go say hi to them, but I heard the hit, and heard Suzan scream. It happened that quickly.

And our sweet, sweet Zoie was gone.

To the sweet beautiful young lady driving the truck , I want to say to you…no way, no how, was this your fault. There is no possible way you could have seen Zoie. Thank you so much for stopping, and caring. Please feel free to contact me – I’d love to talk to you and make sure you’re okay. I need to let you know some things, so here are some of them:

We always laughed at Zoie, her curiosity, her fearlessness. She could have run for mayor, she was such a political machine. In reality, though, this was also our only fear concerning Zoie – that she was so curious, she would see something and dart. Dart away from obedience, dart into the path of something, and be injured or killed. Zoie was a loving dog who was eager to please, in every area but this one. And in this one area, she was so hard headed. Just last Friday, she was disciplined for running across the street after a squirrel. Vehicles were nothing more to her than transportation to go hunting. Much as we tried, she never got it into her head that vehicles were dangerous things. I was in the wrong this morning, to have had Zoie off leash, and it cost us her life.

Zoie had a great, though short, life. Upon entering our lives, she calculatingly captivated (within one week!) her playmate and big brother, Zack the Wonder Dog, whom she loved and tortured endlessly – and he always calmly and lovingly endured her biting and wrestling (MLH always said Zack was looking towards the future.) Zoie had finished her (puppy) hunter training with flying colors at eight months of age, and had a great nose and a hard point. We had great expectations of fun hunting with her this season. Zoie had just experienced her first De-Snaking Clinic this last Saturday, where we saw her curiosity in full swing, much to our dismay. She was a loved member of our family, and quickly snagged the hearts of our friends.

Just this morning about 4 a.m., Zoie and Zack snuck up into our bed, burrowed under the comforter and slept until 6 a.m. with us. And the entire time I made smoothies and visited with their Auntie Suzan this morning, Zoie and Zack wrestled and played at our feet. Zoie brought the tennis ball to me, and I threw it for her. At one point, she laid down at my feet under the table, and I thought, “Oh, you thing, I remember when you were a baby, and you’d lay down like that, next to Zack, and for that first week, he would ignore you and even growl.” Here’s a look back over the past year.

Week One:Week Two: May 31, 2008

She was a lover-girl kind of dog that we initially purchased as a companion for Zack. The wee thing snuck into our hearts when we weren’t even looking. We will miss you greatly, Little Miss Zoie the Wonder Pup.

Hunt ‘em up, girlfriend. Hunt ‘em up.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Italian Joint Heifer Party!!! (What?)

Snooty, Fred, and Bessie....we finally meet! (The pictures are bad quality, I was utilizing my Crackberry and lighting was minimal, so please forgive!)

Lunchtime found me at Luigi’s, a really great Italian restaurant in downtown Midland, awaiting the arrival of Snooty Primadona and the The Bovines, Fred and Bessie. My friend (and godparent to Zack and Zoie) Suzan was in town from Lubbock, so she joined us, as well. A great time was had by all! And I love Snooty. She’s so much fun, just like I imagined! I bet we can stir up some cow poop together, no doubt…

Speaking of the bovines, they couldn't get a moo in edgewise - who'da thought it? Zack and Zoie the Wonderdogs bought the bovines a little remembrance from Texas, i.e., the requisite cowboy hat for each of them, as well as some Texas memorabilia. Snooty got the biggest kick out of that. (I was just playing like I belonged on the Midland Welcome Wagon or Chamber of Commerce or something.)
Snooty and Suzan and I stirred up the dust a little discussing mutual friends (were your ears burning? Not really, we were just lovin’ on ya – mean it) and that was fun. I had speculated that we’d know a lot of the same people, and we do. We’re going to try to get together for lunch on Mondays. Are you brave enough to join us? I think it will be great to hang out with Snooty - we share the same perverted, twisted, sense of humor. Who knows, I might even get her to start shooting sporting clays… or wearing a hard hat…or even steel toed boots and coveralls. (but she’d be wearing that cool Silpada jewelry and styling it up, I promise!)

So, watch out.

We could be coming to your town! (And the bovines most probably are!)

Sunday, August 10, 2008

De-Snaking, Dallas, and Newsflash! Snooty and Bovines to meet the Heifers

Okay. It’s 11 p.m., Sunday night, and I just got in bed. It’s been another crazy weekend.

Saturday morning, I got up at 5 a.m. in order to go to the De-Snaking Clinic. Zack did his usual keeping the trainer between himself and the snake – man, is he one smart dog. And Zoie? Well, she did just as I thought she would…she planted her nosy little self right in the middle of that snake, not once, but twice, and got the shock of her life. She jumped about three feet in the air. (Now, remember, these snakes had their mouths sewn shut, so Zoie was completely safe…and the shock was a real one, administered by way of a shock collar.) But the negative reinforcement will make her associate the smell of the snake with the hurt of the collar, and she’ll hopefully go around the snake out in the field.
This is how a dog should look when it smells a it wants to be anywhere but there.

This is Zoie, almost right on top of snake #2. She's smelling it, but curiosity got the better of her, and she just had to go say, "Hi."

And here Zoie is again, close to being within striking distance of the snake, and she's totally unaware. The snake has an orange flag tied to it, to help identify where it is. (When it gets hot, the snakes start to move.) I think she may have left her "smarts" in Kansas. (Okay, not really, I do love her!) Well, up against Zack, she doesn't measure up in brain power. But Zack may be MIT material. Can dogs go to MIT?

I stayed at the clinic and worked registration until about 10 a.m., then ran home, got ready, and packed so MLH and I could catch the flight to Dallas. Pam O pulled a good one on her hubby, and successfully planned and executed his surprise 60th birthday party. We had a great time at the party; it was great to see everyone, and to meet people we’d only heard about. We then went to Doug and Karen’s to spend the night. We were pretty tired, so I went to bed, and I think Karen did the same. MLH and Doug, however, decided to taste test a bottle of Talisker 18 until about 3 or 4 a.m. this morning and inhale some Cubans. And the empty bottle was the first thing Karen showed me this morning. Those guys had taste tested it all! Well, at least they’re thorough!

We all went to breakfast at the Original House of Pancakes, then Karen and I did a little shopping while Doug and MLH worked in the backyard. MLH and I caught our flight home this evening, and arrived at our house right on the heels of Suzan, who is Zack and Zoie’s fairy godmother. It’s great to see her! Suzan and her husband just sold their house in Lubbock, and will soon be living in Pennsylvania. We’ll all be racking up air miles visiting each other – they’re such a big part of our lives. We’re going to miss them living so close to us!

And, tomorrow, if all goes as planned, I’m having lunch with, and meeting for the first time, Snooty and her visiting from afar bovine guests. I’m excited!! And Suzan will be with us, as well. We’re all a bunch of heifers* anyway (sorry, Fred, just deal with it) and I’m really looking forward to meeting Snooty! Flea may not recognize her “babees” when they come home – they’ve already been exposed to the oilpatch, and Snooty’s idea of golf, and now…they’re going to meet me. They may never be the same again!

*The term “heifer” in my family is not an insult, but a term of endearment, so no PIW** allowed.

**Panties in a wad

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Midland Annual De-Snaking Clinic this Saturday - hosted by Llano Estacado Bird Hunting Association.

Saturday morning, Zack the Wonder Dog, Zoie the Wonder Pup and I will rise with the chickens and be out at the shooting range by 6 a.m. – and if you’re a dog owner, you should get out there, as well. Saturday, the annual Llano Estacado Bird Hunting Association’s “De-Snaking Clinic” will start at 7:30 a.m.

What is a desnaking clinic, you ask? Well, it’s just what it is an organized event where dogs are exposed to rattlesnakes so the dogs will understand the danger of such and learn to avoid the deadly creatures. Most hunting dog owners bring out their dogs to go through the training, and many dogs were there for a refresher. Regular city dogs are there, as well. Everyone’s getting ready for the upcoming hunting season, and as such, this is a timely clinic. Venomous snake bites translate into huge vet bills, long recovery time, and sometimes can be fatal.

Dogs are, by nature, nosy creatures. Dogs have a natural curiosity about snakes, and most often, will not naturally avoid them. Zack and Zoie, by virtue of their breed, are hunting dogs, and stay pretty much nose down anytime they are outside. Chances are good that one of them will stumble across one of those ornery snakes at some time, and we want them protected. Sometimes, dogs will survive a snake bite, but just as often, the snake bites are deadly. (There is also a new Rattlesnake Venom Vaccination (a series of two shots, a month apart) which lessons the toxicity of the venom, should a dog suffer a bite.)

Here’s how the clinic is set up. First, registration and release of liability is executed. Your dog is put on a lead, fitted with a shock collar, and then released to the handler. Two rattlesnakes are planted in the field. Their mouths are sewn shut so there is no chance of a bite or venomization. The handler (in this case, Ray Grappe, a renowned hunter trainer from Levelland, Texas) takes your dog to one snake, which is out in the open. Depending on your dog’s reaction, if the dog is curious and gets close to the snake, a shock will be administered. The dog will associate the shock with a rattlesnake, and won’t get close to it, should he happen on a rattlesnake in the future. The snakes also have handlers – as the day progresses, and warms up, those snakes want to move around.

Last year, Zack smelled that snake and wouldn’t have anything to do with it. He didn’t need any shock treatment at all. Zack tried to put the handler between himself and the snake, even at times leaning on Ray's leg. Zack reacted the very same way to the second snake hidden in the field. To my knowledge, Zack has not yet been exposed to a snake. Ray said that some dogs are smart, and just know that rattlesnakes are dangerous and won’t go around them. I was proud of Zack. (I’m a little worried about how Zoie will react - she'll probably try to lick the snake!)

Last year, there were 87 people signed in before I left at 10 a.m., and many of them had multiple dogs. This wasn’t just for hunting dogs – I saw Daschunds, Corgis, Westies, Schnauzers, all sorts of breeds. One young man brought an albino deaf Aussie. It was doubly important that this Aussie be de-snaked, since she couldn’t hear. She was going to have to go strictly on smell. She performed very well in the training.

There were hilarious moments, as well. One huge black lab saw that snake, and took off the other way, dragging the unsuspecting handler about 30 feet. The lab raced back to his owner, causing everyone to laugh, even the handler.

7:30 A.M. UNTIL 12:00 NOON
1.25 miles South of I-20 on FM 1788
This method is effective for farm and ranch dogs, bird dogs, or any other type of dog that may be exposed to snakes. This method requires only 15 to 20 minutes to complete.

First Dog………………………………………$35
Each additional Dog…………………………..$25
Repeat Dogs…………………………………..$25

It’s fun to meet all the dogs and their owners, see each dog react differently, and know that each dog learned something. And they’ll all be safer when they’re exposed to the deadly rattlesnakes. The Llano Estacado Bird Hunting Association does a great job, and I commend them for their service to this community. I'll be handling registration - come see me!

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Blessing for Midland Fair Havens

As y'all know, we all just participated in Blogging For Fair Havens. Recently, I received confirmation that a donation had been sent to Midland Fair Havens by the St. Mary Land and Exploration - Permian Region. The amount of the donation blew me away.

I couldn’t believe it. I was so excited, and humbled, and amazed! I called Jimmy the P right away. I doubted he would answer; it was 9:45 p.m. I just had to let him know.

JP: Hello?

Janie: JP. This is Janie. I don’t care if you’re awake or asleep, I have to tell you what happened.

JP: (He started laughing, but I can tell he’s trying to be polite – and he sounds exhausted, as well he should be – he just came off a 24 hour blogathon! But, nothing really fazes him, plus, Jimmy’s used to me doing crazy stuff like calling him at all hours of the night.)What happened, Janie? (I told him.)

JP: Pardon me?

Janie: (In a nutshell, I told him that the Midland office of St. Mary Land and Exploration donated $5000 to Midland Fair Havens.)

JP: Janie, that’s amazing!

JP’s laughing, but you can tell he’s way blessed and humbled, as well. We talk all through it, and JP opens up the Just Midland Fair Havens website. Including the St. Mary Land and Exploration donation, the donation figure is just over $17000. What’s so cool about this is that other local bloggers, through their beautiful wives, are also associated with St. Mary Land and Exploration...and if I know these wives, they had a hand in deciding their company's charities for the year. They are going to be so blessed.

What an awesome thing for St. Mary Land and Exploration to support Midland Fair Havens in this manner and with this generous donation – and what a great show of support for our local community!

So, right here, right now, I’m going to say to the good people of the St. Mary Land and Exploration Permian Region – thank you, from the bottom of my heart, and on behalf of all the lives that will be changed for the better because of your donation to Midland Fair Havens – thank you. Godspeed.