Category Archives: Pets

Odin, Aussiedoodle Extraordinaire

Odin, Aussiedoodle Extraordinaire

If you follow this blog, you already know about our Corgi, Winston. If you are not familiar with his work, check out this post Winston, Not Your Majesty’s Corgi  Now it’s time to meet the newest member of our Crew, Odin Kirk Nicely.  Odin is an 8 month old Aussiedoodle, who has never met a toy he didn’t like and is always ready for action.


That Face!

It all started tragically enough when we lost our beloved dog, Loki.  We were all beyond sad and the prospect of getting another dog seemed impossible.  But, Winston (aka Super Corgi) took the loss especially hard; and, had what I swear was a bout of hysterical deafness.  He appeared to be suddenly deaf. Loud noises which used to send him into high alert now elicited no reaction from him whatsoever.

We took him the vet only to be told there was nothing wrong with his ears, except for the not working part of course. We thought maybe he had been deaf for a while and Loki served as his hearing ear dog, but we just didn’t know.  It was clear, like us, Winston had a huge void in his life, so we decided it was time to start the search for another dog.

This is where the cheese gets a bit more binding.  My husband, for some reason unknown to me had his heart set on a Vizla, a short-haired, hunting dog.  My daughter wanted, again for some unknown reason, a Bearded Collie, a long-haired, herding dog.  You could not choose two more divergent breeds of dogs if you tried.  OK Mom, you’re up. Go ahead and try to please everyone.

Enter the Aussiedoodle.

I began researching, trying to find any rescue groups that might have either of these types of dogs, no luck.  I looked through Petfinder daily looking for something that might please everyone.  Finally, I found a Australian Shepard puppy from a hobby breeder, that coincidentally lived 5 miles from my mother in rural Ohio.  So I called my mom and asked her to drive by to make sure this was not some horrible puppy mill.

An hour later, my mother confirmed this was just a lovely small farm, with several happy dogs that greeted her when she pulled in the driveway.  I texted the lady, only to find that the puppy was claimed a few hours earlier. However, she had a standard Poodle that was going to have Aussiedoodle puppies in a few months. Interesting.  So we had a family meeting and decided we could be the kind of family that would have a Doodle, and reserved one of the puppies.

Fast forward to December, when I received this picture.  Cookie had her puppies, 4 girls, 4 boys. A big pile of cuteness.


A week later we chose boy #4 to be our Doodle.  We named him Odin, as a nod to our beloved Loki.  If you don’t get the reference, I suggest viewing, Thor: Ragnorak, a fine film, both entertaining and educational (sort of).  His middle name is Kirk, according to my husband that is for Captain James T. Kirk.  If you ask me, it is for my favorite Gilmore Girls character.  Plus, we all love the actor, Bob Odenkirk, so it works on many levels.

Remember when I sent my mom to scope out the joint?  Well, guess who else got Doodle fever and adopted boy #1,  a fine lad who is now named Sherman.  Sherman was the largest puppy in the litter and has grown into a giant goofball.

A few months later, this little family reunion happened in my living room. There is nothing cuter than two 3-month old Aussiedoodles.


That’s a whole lot of adorable, am I right??

Odin may be grown now, but he is still all puppy.  He has been through puppy training class, and will be heading back to school later this month.  His bark has not completely developed yet so he has what can only be described as a dog scream. It is very jarring when he decides to make an impromptu announcement.

I will not go so far as to say Winston was thrilled to have a new puppy to care for, but he dutifully adopted Odin as his apprentice and showed him the ropes.  Amazingly enough, his ability to hear returned, shortly after the little black and white menace arrived. Miracles do happen.

Corgi Doodle sleeping

















A few weeks ago, Sherman came for another play date.  This time it poured rain all day, but they did not let it dampen their fun.  They ran, they rolled, they wrestled for hours without stopping. It was exhausting just to watch.  After 20 minutes we abandoned them in the backyard and sought shelter in the house.  About an hour later, we looked out the back door to see this ridiculous scene.

wet aussidoodles













I hope you enjoyed Odin’s story, thank you and have a nice day.

Winston, Not Your Majesty’s Corgi

Winston, Not Your Majesty’s Corgi

As you may already now, our family cares for a well curated domestic zoo, which currently consists of 2 dogs, 3 cats and 5 chickens.  This is the story of the elder statesman, Winston the Corgi

Welsh Pembroke Corgi

Isn’t he handsome?

Winston is a Welsh Pembroke Corgi who came to us as a rescue. His story begins when he was purchased as a puppy at the Quarter Horse Congress in Columbus, Ohio, probably on a whim.  I can only imagine how freaking adorable he was as a puppy.  As it turns out, whoever purchased him was not prepared for a dog with separation anxiety issues.  Especially one with the destructive power of gang of hooligans.

This destructive behavior landed our hero in a shelter.  From that shelter, he was taken in by a kind woman who runs a breed rescue group for Corgis and Bernese Mountain Dogs, which is a really odd combination.  We found him on Petfinder when we were looking for a companion for our other dog, Loki.


Loki and Winston, the dynamic duo

Winston has, what we call, oversize canine boldness.  Basically, there is no off switch on the Corgi machine. He attacks everything he does with the bold confidence of a dog three times his size. He loves to eat, go for walks and meet new people.

This boldness has caused him problems over the years. Such as the time he overheated and had to spend a night in the hospital because he would not stop playing.  He loves to herd things, dogs, cats, chickens; people are his favorite especially young ones.  His exuberant herding has caused him to blow out the ACL in both of his stubby back legs, resulting in two surgeries to repair the damage.

Corgi in a cone

Post-Op Corgi, still on guard duty.

Winston is full of energy, until he isn’t, then he fully enjoys his naps.  We often find him in his favorite sleeping position, white side up.  Because of his short legs, he looks like road kill when he sleeps. This position is doubly disturbing we he sleeps at the bottom of the stairs, because it really looks like there has been a terrible accident.

upside down corgi

White Side Up

Winston is now the elder statesmen of our household.  In his senior years he has taken up new hobbies, such as hiding chewy bones in furniture cushions, under bed pillows and in the dirty laundry and then obsessing about them.  He still enjoys wrestling, although he as adopted a sit and spin method to conserve energy.  Finally, he loves being a farm dog even though the chickens kind of creep him out.

Corgi garden

Gardening is his life

Thank you for taking the time to meet Winston, I hope he has brought a little spark of joy into your day.


Is that a cheetah? Adventures at the San Diego Zoo.


A hippo lifeguard, seriously? Are they familiar with the video of the hippo attacking that guy on the Amazon?

In my ongoing series about our recent vacation in San Diego, I would be remiss if I did not cover our trip to the San Diego Zoo. Clearly, the reputation as one of the world’s best zoos is well deserved, this is place is phenomenal.

We have a really good zoo in Toledo, Lil Mayhem practically lives there in the summer because they offer camps for kids and I think she has attended them all. In fact, she is designing new zoo habitats at this very moment. The number one attraction for us at San Diego was the panda exhibit, but I approached the Panda Trek with some trepidation, Toledo hosted the pandas from the National Zoo a few years back, they were a really big deal.

The day I went the line was ridiculous, but I patiently waited to see these rare creatures. The line moved surprisingly fast, when I got to the front I realized why. The panda had been asleep in the far back corner of the exhibit for hours, so basically I saw an immobile spot of black and white fur. The experience was not unlike driving past a dead skunk. Needless to say, I was a bit underwhelmed.


I call this one “Panda, in Repose”

The San Diego pandas were amazing. The exhibit allowed you to get really close, they had three different sections so the line moved along, there were a lot of bears and they were very active.  But the cherry on top was the baby panda, he was adorable. Now this is what a panda experience should be.

They also have a huge koala exhibit called Koalafornia. It was right across from the giraffe exhibit which we exited quickly as one of the male giraffes was feeling particularly randy and I felt at any minute it could turn into a scene I would prefer my kid not see.  So, thank God for the koalas!


Fun fact, koalas are members of the suborder, Vombatiformes, sounds violent, perhaps the reason they keep them sedated.

The koalas are really cute, part of their charm is their sleepy, sloth-like attitude.  This seems less adorable when you learn their lethargy is caused by malnutrition.  Yep, as it turns out, the eucalyptus they are always eating has zero nutritional value.  Makes you wonder why they don’t feed them supplements, maybe an active koala would present a danger to the public so unfathomable, they don’t dare. Reminds me of a line from Burn Notice, “I like my psychotic killers a little sleepy, thank you.”

Finally, our favorite story comes not from the animals, but the people on display that day.  When we arrived at the park they were doing a demonstration featuring a real live Cheetah. They gave all kinds of interesting facts about the Cheetah and described how the Cheetah hunted and why the Cheetah is endangered.  After the demonstration the women asked if there were any questions.  This kid raises his hand and honestly asked the following “Is that a Cheetah?”  This, of course, became our catch phrase for the day, because even my 10-year-old immediately recognized the comedy gold in that one.


Is this really such a frequent occurence that it necessitates a permanent sign?



Who takes their dog to Seaworld?


“Sorry folks the park’s closed, the moose out front should have told ya”..
(only funny if you’ve seen Vacation.)

This is not a question I ever thought needed to be asked, but I pose it now, who takes their dog to SeaWorld? While in San Diego, we did what most families would, we went to SeaWorld. As a member of the animal welfare community (I am on the Board of a low-cost spay neuter clinic), I suffer a bit of a moral dilemma when it comes to attractions like the circus and SeaWorld, but in the end, let’s face it, those whales are super cool.

But back to my original query, why would a person take their dog to SeaWorld? I saw it with my own eyes. This was not a service dog, it was a small, white fluffy creature, if I had to guess, I would go with Bichon Frisee. It had no orange vest or other visible credentials which would lead you to believe it was on the job. Frankly, it looked just as confused to be there as I was seeing it.

Of course, I irrationally obsessed on the dog all day, it was at the Shark exhibit, which could not have been pleasant.  I was uncomfortable around all those sharks, but the dog was even lower on the food chain than me.  I saw it at the Penguin Encounter, it was still not impressed, probably because it was dark, people were almost stepping on it, and it couldn’t see the penguins over the wall. All in all, I suspect this dog did not have the great time that I was most likely promised by its owners that morning.

We had a few other observations about SeaWorld.  First, it is apparently a must see destination for Swedish people.  I don’t know why, but there were a lot of Swedes there.  Attractive, fit, healthy people, I couldn’t understand a word they were saying, but they seemed nice.  I wonder if it is the fish theme that draws them.

Second, the sea-lion show was fantastic, it made me forget I was sitting in the unrelenting southern California sun for an hour.  Third, the Blue Horizon show was strange, almost like watching a live version of a David Lynch film, it did not make me forget about the sun.


I know how you feel buddy, sometimes trying to get out of the pool makes my dorsal fin flop too.

Lastly, the whales were amazing.  There was a young whale that swam along with two adults in the show and while I won’t kid myself into thinking they were having a great time entertaining us, they were truly awe-inspiring to see.  A few years ago, one of the trainers was killed by a whale, it was a big deal here because she was originally from Sylvania.  It was tragic, I heard someone on the radio questioning the propriety of training these animals, he said one thing that stuck with me, “they are not called Tickle Whales.”  Point taken.



It’s a hard knock life.



This is GG, she is the latest addition to our domestic zoo.  I know you are thinking, oh God, not a story about how much this lunatic loves her cat, but I think you will find her story inspirational, or at least be glad this happened to her and not you.

GG’s story is a classic rags to riches, fish out of water irony rich tale.  GG was a “hood cat” living on the mean streets in a seedy part of town.  My husband’s fire station was in this neighborhood and GG (then going under the handle, Princess) found her way to their door begging for food and attention.

She was small, skinny and pathetic but exceedingly friendly.  My husband, being the big softy that he is, took pity on her and gave her food and water so she stayed.   I serve on the board of a low-cost spay neuter clinic, so he decided to get her spayed, because we are responsible people and that’s what we do.

This is the point in the story where my daughter, Lil’ Mayhem gets involved. They go to the station, package up Princess and take her to the clinic.  We thought she was a kitten, turns out she is 4 years old, has had several litters of kittens, survived broken ribs and is full of worms.  In short, she’s the total package.

Because our intent was to take her back to the ‘hood, they took the tip of her ear off, this is how they mark wild cats as spayed.  But, since they took her in on a Friday they made my husband promise to keep her in overnight before he released her in order to let her get her faculties back in order.   This is where I enter the story.

I get home from work to find this pathetic creature in my garage.  She was a mess scrawny, bloody ear, drunk as a sailor on shore leave.  But even in her stupor she found the quiet dignity to use the tiny litter box in her pen.  I could totally relate.

Of course, I could not allow this cat to go back to the ‘hood, she had clearly used up at least 6 of her alloted lives so I and Lil’ double team the husband and convince him to let her stay and be our outside cat.  He reluctantly agrees, silently hoping she runs away as soon as we open the garage door.  His only request is that the name has to change, so we rename her GG which stands for Ghetto Gato.

It didn’t take long for GG to take up residence on our front porch, I suspect the pillows, blanket and endless supply of canned cat food had something to do with it.  Before you knew it she was part of the family, following us around, stalking our chickens and bringing home dead animals and hiding them under her pillow.

All was well until one day when GG was missing.  That night I found her in the shed and clearly something was wrong.  She was in shock and holding her front leg awkwardly.  We rushed her to the 24 hour vet clinic to be told her leg was broken and because of the nature of the break she will probably have to have it amputated.  YIKES!

Luckily, our regular vet just happens to be the only vet in the state who is a specialist in orthopaedic surgery.  What are the odds.  So $1,200.00 later GG still has her leg although she walks with a limp and of course she now lives in our house. She does not comprehend the concept of free choice food and eats until the bowl is clean, therefore GG now stands for Gordo Gato.

The cause of the broken leg you may ask, she was shot.  So to summarize, we take a cat from the mean streets and relocate her to our suburban home as an act of kindness.  Over the course of the next six months she proceeds to lose her ovaries, part of an ear and full use of a limb.  Oh the irony!