The Wizard of Drool

This post is about dog drool and Walter’s copious dispersal thereof.  He’s very good at slinging the slobber so don’t forget to pick up your Drool Abatement Kit before proceeding.

Safety First!

 

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Having a drool-producing canine can be an annoyance.  If you have a big dog like Walter, it can be life-changing.  He drools…a LOT!  Think of a St. Bernard and a Newfie combined.  Yeah, you get the picture.  The very drippy, soggy picture…

It wasn’t supposed to be this way.  There are two types of Great Danes:  American and European.  American Danes have, what I would call, normal jowls.  European Danes have jowls that droop to their knees.  Walter should have had taut, trim American jowls like most of his ancestors.

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No hint of drooly, droopy jowls when he was a puppy

 

Instead, his jowls are so droopy, it’s amazing that he doesn’t trip over them.  All of his ancestors were American except for one European great or great-great (I forget) grandfather who came from Euro stock.  I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised that Walter is a throwback, I should have thrown him back years ago!

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The Wizard of Drool

 

If there was a Department of Drool at Hogwarts, Walter would be the Wizard of Drool.  The Wiz of Drool has a rather fun ring to it, don’t you think?  He could also be the Wiz of Whiz but that was the subject of one of my previous posts.  Walter’s urinary indiscretions are, after all, legendary.  Between the drool and the pee, Walter’s most-heard words are “Walter, no!  Walter, get away from me!”  Walter never goes away.  If there is any chance at all that he can pass a little slobber along, he will find a way to do it.

People are not his only targets, either.  Windows and doors are obvious choices, but for Walter, any vertical surface is fair game.  Horizontal surfaces are not immune either.  I always say that anything less than 7 feet off the ground isn’t safe from him.  (If you are a banana, I might stretch that to 8 feet.  Walter loves bananas.)  But the drool knows no limits.  Ceiling-slobber is not unheard of.  Do you know how hard it is to clean dog drool off a tin ceiling?  Repeatedly?  I do, and I wish I didn’t.

 

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Tulip wore Walter’s head as a hat…just before he ‘kissed’ her

 

The cats have not been left unscathed, either.  Our little kitten Tulip likes Walter.  I don’t know why, but she does.  One particularly slobbery day, Tulip walked up to Walter and he gave her a kiss…one long lick from her toes to the top of her head.  I’ve never seen a cat shake like a dog does in order to shed water, but she did just that.  Oh, Walter…

 

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The drooliest, droopiest jowls ever!

 

One might think that dog drool is only a negative thing and nothing positive could possibly come from it, but that’s not true.  Much like his shoe-peeing prowess, the drool thing tends to keep away unwanted visitors.  Being an introvert, that is sometimes a handy thing.  “Oh yes, he tends to jump and drool on you.  He peed on your shoes?  Yes, he tends to do that, too.  Oh, must you go so soon?”  Heh heh heh  Goodbye salespeople, religious pamphlet-bearers, and the dreaded “oh I just thought I’d drop by”-ers.  Seeya!  Or not.

Unfortunately, Walter’s fluid-sharing predilections can keep away wanted visitors, as well.  This can be a problem.  I will often try to corral Walter in the living room if it’s just going to be a kitchen table sort of visit.  But if we want to sit and chat on the sofa for a while, I have to march Walter past the wanted visitors to the other end of the house.  He does not like to be marched past potential targets…especially if they are unsullied drool-wise.  Drool virgins are his favorites. I feel sorry for the drool virgins.  There are few things scarier than a 150-pound drooling dog who is eyeing your shoes for their potential as a good pee-stop.  He really likes to slobber chests, too.  Boob-drool is more common than I care to admit. I just thought I’d mention these things to all of you who make excuses for Walter and think he is just awesome.  I dare you to come and visit me for a dose of boob-drool!  I.DARE.YOU!

 

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“Any drool virgins down there?”

 

The other day, I realized that Walter had outdone himself drool-wise.  He had a long line of it strung across the top of his own head.  That takes skill.  I got out the drool towel and cleaned him off.  Yes, I have a drool-towel.  Actually, it’s a purple batik drool-bandana and when I’m not using it to clean him up, he wears it as a fashion accessory!

 

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Pigeon Preventers And The Hangry Cats

 

This was originally written as a guest post for the “Hair of the Dog’ series on It’s a Dog’s Life

I don’t think I’ve published it here, but my brain has been acting up lately.  I think I might have given the link.  But I somehow remember really screwing the whole thing up.  If I’m duplicating it, just smile and nod like you would for someone who just isn’t connecting the dots…because you know…I’m not!  If I haven’t posted it before…it’s yet another dog story…with cats!

 

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One might think that keeping cat food where it should be would be an easy task.  Even with dogs in the house, most people are quite successful in keeping their cats well-fed and happy.  Our cats, however, are food-insecure.  When I first heard the term “hangry” I thought of my cats.  Putting the words ‘hungry’ and ‘angry’ together was brilliant and a perfect way to describe what my poor felines felt about their disappearing meals and the dog burglar who committed these crimes.  You’ve heard of cat burglars?  Leave it to us to have a dog burglar.  His name is Walter.  Walter is a Great Dane and when this all began, he was a puppy.

If it isn’t obvious already, Walter LOVES cat food.  We have a table next to the window in the kitchen.  On this table is a cat bed along with the cats’ food and water bowls.  The cats can sleep, eat and watch the birds there.  Perfect, right?  No, not right.  Not right at all!  Even though we tried to block the access to those bowls with kitchen chairs, and every other type of obstacle we could think of, every once in a while Walter would sneak in and clean out the cat bowl.  Sometimes he’d even drink their water!

When I made a change in the cats’ dining arrangement, all hell broke loose.  Since Echo was 18 years old at the time, I figured he deserved a bit of luxury in his waning years.  I decided to feed him his favorite soft food.  Old age has its rewards and all of that, right? Because Lily, our 11-year-old, tends to be a very hungry big girl (she takes after her mother,) it was necessary to keep the cats’ food dishes separate so Echo could eat all he wanted without Lily’s interference.  Great plan, right?  Yeah well, not so much.

Trying to keep Walter from getting the dry cat food was a battle every now and then.  Trying to keep him from the wet food was war.  Constant war, at that.  I thought I could outsmart him, though.  I’m smarter than the average Dane!  Yeah well, maybe not so much.  It seems that Walter is not an average Dane.  So what next?

I had some shelves in the kitchen corner and I should have known the shelf wasn’t high enough.  Still, that worked for a while till Walter was tall enough that he could reach it.  Next, I got one of those little plastic drawer affairs to put on top of the shelf.  You know the ones where you can add or subtract drawers to your heart’s content.  There wasn’t going to be any subtracting here…I kept adding drawers and the cat food rose higher and higher, but I still found the cat dishes on the floor and they were so clean that I could see my reflection in them.

As this process unfolded, poor Echo practically needed an oxygen mask to climb high enough to reach his food bowl.  It was about five feet off the floor and Walter was still getting taller.  As fast as I raised the bowl, he grew enough to reach it!

Then I had an idea!  I was actually pretty smug about it, too.  I took the top off of the set of drawers and put Echo’s food inside the top drawer.  That way Walter would have to climb five feet and then go up and over the side of an 8″ drawer.  My smugness was short-lived.  It wasn’t long before he figured out a way to outsmart me and Echo continued to be calorically deprived.

Then Walter started reaching beyond the drawer!  There was a little shelf on the wall where I kept the cat food cans.  One morning I got up and found these on the floor…

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Walter had figured out a way to take the tops off those cans and then he chewed them into oblivion as he got every last bit of cat food out of them.  How he didn’t lacerate his tongue or his intestines, I will never know.  Those cans of cat food were nearly seven feet off the floor!  How was I ever going to thwart him?  When people are fed up they often say ‘enough is enough’ but in this case, enough was more than enough!  This was beyond enough.  I started to scheme until I had another idea. I wasn’t smug this time, I was merely hopeful.

My plan was to put the cat food in its usual place, put a mousetrap next to it and then put a newspaper over it all.  My theory was that if he got up there, he’d spring the mousetrap, it would snap up and make a racket against the newspaper and scare the heck out of him!  Bill reminded me that a 19-year-old cat might have a heart attack if he happened across my trap before Walter did.  Bill had a point, but I was undeterred.  There had to be a way to stymie this ever-growing dog.  I needed help to implement my cunning plan. There was only one place to go.  I went to the hardware/farm store.

The people at the store are very nice.  They never look at me like I’m an idiot when I ask crazy questions.  I might hear a snicker or two as I’m leaving, but they never do it to my face.  I appreciate that in hardware/farm store people.  Anyhow, I explained my predicament and asked where the mousetraps were.  I was desperate.  If I had to, I’d take the cats to another room for a night or two and put my devious plan into action.  The gal who works there nodded her head as though I wasn’t crazy at all.  She was giving me one of those ‘smile and nod’ looks when suddenly, it was obvious that she’d come up with a crazy scheme of her own.  Did she take me to the mousetraps?  No!  She took me to see a product called Bird Be Gone!

At first, I didn’t understand.  Then she opened the box and took out these spikey things they put on house eaves to keep pigeons away. Pigeon preventers!  They had both plastic and metal versions.  We opted for plastic since there was the possibility of impalement with the metal ones.  At this point, I thought a good bit of impalement was just what Walter needed!  Once I put those evil thoughts out of my head, I went home with the plastic pigeon preventers and some velcro.  This is what they look like…

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My theory was that if he got his collar caught on the pigeon preventer and the little plastic prongs didn’t snap, the velcro would come apart and he wouldn’t be left hanging there.  See?  I really didn’t mean him any harm!  However, at this point, it wasn’t about the cat food anymore (sorry Echo.)  This was about me trying to keep one step ahead of Walter.  This whole Great Dane outsmarting his owner thing was going to stop!

That night I put a strip of the pigeon preventer spikes on the front of the drawer in which I fed Echo.  There!  If Walter wanted to get up there, he was going to feel plastic spikes against his neck and back off.  That ought to stop him!  It didn’t.  The next morning, the pigeon preventer was on the floor…with the empty cat food bowl.

The next night I not only reinstalled the first preventer, but I put a second one up there for good measure.  The next morning I was thrilled to see that the cat dish was where it belonged and all was well with the world.  I had thwarted Walter but good!  His days of cat food burglary were over!  And for a few days, I really thought that was true.  I was wrong.

It wasn’t long before I woke up one morning and walked into the living room and found Walter chewing one of the pigeon preventers like it was a dog toy.  When he saw me, his face was a tapestry of emotions.  I saw surprise, guilt, sheepishness; but most of all, I saw triumph.  I quietly went into the kitchen, picked the cat food dish off the floor, and went straight back to bed.

 

 

 

Gumby Is Dead

I think Walter and Greta’s relationship has taken a turn.  When Greta first came to us from the rescue, she and Walter had a rough start.  She wanted his food, he bit her ear, she wouldn’t back down, he bit her in other places, she bit him.  There was a lot of bloodshed and a couple of stitches.  We won’t even talk about the little notch Walter created at the tip of her ear.  I had no idea an ear wound could be that bloody, but, let’s just suffice it to say it was bad.  It really was a pretty serious thing to the point where I was seriously thinking of returning her.  Experts told us that it would never get better and they could harm each other or us seriously.  I was devastated.

I did call the rescue to see if they had any ideas and when I mentioned that it might not work out, it was a problem because they had no foster home for a dog as big as Greta is.  Maybe that was fortunate because things have been getting better.  I can give them treats at the same time!  There was one snarl recently when Greta dared enter Walter’s eating palace, otherwise known as the pantry.  He snarled for about two seconds and then they just sat there looking at each other.  No bloodshed. Progress!

Those of you who have been around for a while have heard my tales of the crazy things Walter has eaten.  I think the SOS pad was his most impressive meal, but there were others that were right up there.  No matter what he chose to devour, there was never any real animosity involved.  Walter just ate whatever was available in his ‘zone.’  If something wasn’t seven feet off the floor, it wasn’t safe…and even then it might be in peril.  So he basically trolled the area and ‘tasted’ this and that.  I figured that Greta would be that same type of indiscriminate grazer.  Tonight I realized just how wrong I was.  Greta has an agenda.

This is only a hypothesis at this point, but I think she knew what she was doing when she ate Gumby.  Gumby was Walter’s very first toy when he came to us when he was 8 weeks old.  He never mutilated Gumby like he did so many other toys.  Gumby was untouchable…until Greta joined the fold.

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It was only a few days ago that I realized Gumby had been decapitated.  That elicited a frown from me, but I really felt bad for Walter.  It was as if a bit of his puppyhood had been desecrated.  I really didn’t think any more about it until tonight.  Tonight Greta regurgitated Gumby’s dead limp body right in front of Walter.  It looked like one big soggy mess of spite.  Was it a hate crime?  A crime of passion?   Perhaps she is just feeling stifled in her desire to physically hurt Walter and has taken on a more nuanced approach.  Whatever it is, Gumby is dead and Walter is not happy.

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Greta, on the other hand, may look like she just can’t be bothered but under that sweet face is the mind of a devious schemer.  Greta definitely has an agenda.

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Greta Thinks She’s A Labrador Retriever

Remember when you were first in love and the idea of taking a shower together seemed like such a romantic thing to do?  That is until you realized that only one person could get under the shower head at a time.  Plus, there really wasn’t enough room and soapy elbows polked soapy “insert your favorite body part here.”  Ever since I came to that realization I have had wonderful, solitary showers…until now.

You know that moment when you’re just starting to rinse the shampoo out of your hair and your eyes are closed and you suddenly get licked on the tush?  Oh?  You don’t get licked on the tush in the shower?  I never have, either…until we got Greta.  Let me tell you, that is one weird sensation when you aren’t expecting it!  At least she wasn’t coming after me with a knife “Psycho” style.  Though I think the yelp of surprise that came out of me would have made Hitchcock proud!

Greta loves water.  I’ve never seen anything like this in a Great Dane before.  Danes drink water out of a bowl.  On a hot day, they might walk into the lake and get their legs wet.  This is how a Great Dane should act.  Great Danes are not water-loving dogs.  Danes are not Labradors!  Apparently, Greta never got the memo.  Apparently, Greta thinks she’s a Labrador Retriever.  So far she’s only licked me, but if she tries to retrieve me, we’re both in for a surprise!

Anyhow, back to the shower situation.  After trying repeatedly to keep her head from poking around the shower curtain, I finally pulled the curtain around so she couldn’t get to me.  I figured she’d get tired of being thwarted in her tush-licking endeavor and go away.  That’s when I heard the noise.  She was climbing into the tub!  It was my turn to peek around the shower curtain and sure enough, her two front legs were in and she was just about to climb in completely when I stopped her!  I’m too old to share a shower, especially if my shower buddy is a Great Dane who thinks she’s a Labrador!

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What A Day!

YOU WON’T BELIEVE WHAT HAPPENED TODAY!!!

I should probably start at the beginning.  I’m Kota and I’m a Great Dane.  At least I was Kota till Linda started calling me Greta.  Linda says I should call her Mom because I’ll be here forever, but I’m not sure about that.  In the last few weeks, I was kicked out of the only home I ever knew and then taken to a nice place with other dogs and then I was shipped off in a truck that moved for a whole day and night while I was cramped in a small cage.  No one wanted me anymore, that was for sure.  Then after four days in another little cage, Linda came and got me.  I thought I was going to live in cages forever.

Excuse me if I don’t believe any place is truly home.  Every time I thought someone wanted me, they made me leave.  It’s nice here, though.  I hope they don’t send me away because there’s this big Great Dane named Walter and he likes to play with me!  It’s really different here.  I get to sleep on the couch and play as rough as I want as long as we go outside.  There is a cage here but it has the thickest bed ever!  It even has a cover so it feels like a cave.  The best part is that the door is always open so I can just go in and have a nap if Walter is being too much of a pain.  I never get locked in!  You should see the toys I have here, too.  Dozens and dozens of them!  Not only that, I don’t even get scolded because Walter gets blamed for everything.  It’s a pretty sweet deal!

Oh wait, I was supposed to tell you about today.  You will never believe it!  I got to ride in Bob Watson today with no cage!  Walter and I got to ride in the back together and it was soo much fun!  Who’s Bob Watson?  That’s Linda and Bill’s Honda Element.  It’s the only vehicle they have that would fit us.  Linda has weird names for everything.  Don’t even get me started.  Anyhow, we drove along for a while and then we stopped to talk to this nice man on a dirt road.  We talked to him for a long time.  Walter barked at him like crazy at first, but Linda said it was ok and he stopped.  I didn’t bark at all.  I was a good girl.  Linda said so!

After we started driving again it seemed like we were going further and further into the woods.  We finally parked and Linda and Bill let us out with no leashes.  We were free!!  There was some weird stuff on the ground as we made our way down to this little house but I didn’t really pay attention because Walter and I ran and ran and ran.

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When we came out of the woods there was this big flat field and I started running across it and Linda was calling me back.  When I was getting really close to her the ground crumbled and I fell…into water!!!   It was cold!!!  I’d never felt that cold before.  Next thing I knew, Walter was running over to another place with more water and I had to go splash him!!

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When we finally slowed down and took a breath I saw more of that weird stuff we’d seen where we parked.  I sniffed it and it really didn’t have much smell to it.  I tasted it and it was cold and made my tongue feel funny.  I tasted it a bunch of times and then Linda saw me and rushed to get her phone.  She wanted to take a picture of me experiencing snow for the very first time!!!  I had learned about cold, I didn’t even know snow existed before today!

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It was so much fun!  I got to chase Walter all over the place with no leashes or fences.  I got to run on ice and play in the cold water.  I even got to eat snow!  I got to do the best stuff ever!!!

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Mom says we’ll be able to go back there again and again as soon as the snow is gone.  I can’t wait.  Yeah, I guess I’ll call her Mom.  She’s done all sorts of stuff around the house and bought a bunch of stuff just for me.  She wouldn’t do that if she wanted to send me away.  I think I have a Mom and Dad again…and a Walter!!

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THE END(S)

 

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Walter Graduates and Greta Sees The Vet

Yay!  Walter graduated Advanced Obedience yesterday!  Check it out! We weren’t there to pick up his diploma, but he graduated!  I would have been there but I sprained my wrist.  Which wrist you might ask?  My left…my leash-holding wrist.  Any guesses on how it was injured?  Yup, it was from hauling Walter around during the Advanced class of which he is now a graduate.  Sigh…

If you look at the photo above, you will see that all of the dogs are staying without anyone holding their leash…except one.  See that big Great Dane in the back on the left-hand side?   The one with the ears extended making him look like he’s about to take flight?  Yeah, that’s Walter.  See that leash that is NOT on the floor?  That’s because I was at the other end of it, just in case.  The most advanced student in the class…he is not.  Sigh…

 

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The bright news of the day was that Greta went to her first local vet appointment.  Before we picked her up, just a week ago, she had been poked, pilled, and prodded…and caged.  Yesterday was meant to be a fun visit to set her up as a patient and give them the copious amount of veterinary paperwork that came along with her.

As you can imagine, Greta’s first vet visit was a hit.  Everyone at the practice came out to meet her and they LOVED her.  She acted like a perfect lady as she was checked over and her nails were clipped.  The vet and staff took extra time to just marvel at her wonderfulness.  They kept saying how well-mannered she is.  I know they were thinking “in comparison to Walter.”  But you know what?  A win is a win!

The Walter and Greta Chronicles 4/14/18

Greta settles in:

 

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Here they are in a rather docile moment.  Those never last for long.  Don’t they look like an old married couple?  A few minutes ago, Walter was trying to kill her because she got too close to his food bowl.  An hour before that, she was snarling at him because he was he wouldn’t stop bugging her.  Yup, a bickering old couple.  I still think it would be wise to move Walter’s food bowl.  I don’t want any ‘old married couple’ murders happening on my watch!

 

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Greta finds the fish tank mesmerizing.  You can almost hear what she’s thinking:  “Hmmm…that big one looks tasty!”

 

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BUSTED!!!  She emptied out an entire bin of dog toys and threw them all over the floor.  She then ‘sampled’ them one after another till her eyes glazed over and even her ears were disheveled.  After she was done, it looked like a pet shop threw up all over my living room.

 

Greta’s First Day In Cornville

We got her!  Yup, she is officially named Greta.  She responded to it immediately.

 

After a night kept apart, she met Walter in the kennel and wanted to play immediately.  They jumped on each other and chased each other.  She tuckered Walter out.  Walter has never been tuckered out!  She is a sweet girl unless Walter shoves his face in hers, then she will growl at him!  Hah!!!  Take that Walter!!!  Karma has arrived.  Maybe that’s what we should have named her!

Here are a few pics:

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Midnight on Puppy Eve

Yup, it’s midnight on Puppy Eve.  Her big crate is set up in the kitchen so she’ll have a cozy place to hang out on the first night.  We can’t have Walter chasing her all over creation!

I have a bunch of stuff packed up for the trip, including lots of treats and some of Walter’s toys.  TWO rolls of paper towels.  Hey, if a Dane makes a mess, it’s a BIG mess!  I also put in a spare leash and a collar.  Water and bowl.  Hey, I’m ready for any eventuality!  Hopefully, she’ll sleep the entire 3 1/2 to 4 hours home and I’ll need none of that stuff

To say that I’m excited would be understating it greatly.  There is a combination of over-the-top joy, fear, trepidation, and hopefulness rolled all into one big ball of anticipation.  You might think the fear and trepidation are a little strange.

I have two fears that feed the trepidation.  What if she (probably Greta) and Walter totally hate each other?  I know there will be a period of transition, but what if they never become buddies?  My second fear is that the two of them will break my long-suffering husband.  Just this last week he had back spasms that were so bad that he couldn’t even sit down.  It was heartbreaking to see him in such pain.  What if the dogs are so rambunctious they injure him?  Scary stuff!

In spite of those fears, I am beyond excited.  I’m hopeful because she is absolutely perfect for our situation.  The only reason she was given up was that she got too big for the people who owned her.  SHE’S A GREAT DANE!  Of course, she’s going to be big!  Their loss and stupidity is our gain.  Unless she tries to eat Walter or breaks Bill.

All of this rambling was the preface to my true message.  I will probably be rather busy over the next couple of days so I won’t be here as much as I’d like.  I promise there will be pics and stories, but I might be dealing with growling dogs and broken husbands.  Wait!  That should have been ‘broken husband.’  No plural because that would be bad!!

Wish us luck!  The next few days are going to be eventful, I’m sure.

Pets in Jest Walter

Hey, you down there!  Yeah, you!  Don’t tell my Mom I was here, ok?  She doesn’t need to know that I’ve learned how to use the laptop.  She might figure out why Amazon boxes keep showing up with dog toys she hasn’t ordered.  We don’t want to mess with a system that works, do we?

I’m here today because I’m worried about my Mom.  Over the last few days, she’s been really anxious and then yesterday she was really happy.  These mood swings are scary.  I’m afraid she might be bipolar now and that’s a really serious thing.  I’m going to have to stay REALLY close to her and make sure she’s alright.

Usually, I have my head on Mom’s lap while she balances the laptop on my head.  If I’m not being a laptop shelf, I usually look over her shoulder and watch what she types.  She doesn’t know I understand most words and she doesn’t need to know that, either.  When she orders stuff for me online, I like to have a heads up so I know when the UPS guy is coming.  He brings all sorts of goodies for us but I still bark at him.  I know Mom says he’s a good guy but he still might be here to kill us and I don’t want him to get any ideas.  If I look all scary, he’ll know who is boss.  He has to know that I will protect my Mom and Dad forever…unless he has treats.   If he has treats then that changes everything!

Over the last few days, I was looking over Mom’s shoulder and I saw another dog on the screen.  I won’t lie, I was startled.  She looked sort of like me but she was a different color.  She’s really pretty but why would my Mom be looking at her?  Oh My Dog!  Mom is cheating on me with another, younger dog!

When Mom was all happy yesterday she was telling me I was going to have a new sister.  What!?  I was just getting used to the idea of being an ‘only dog’ and now this?  I guess I have to put up with it because Mom doesn’t usually consult me when she makes these big decisions.  That dog does look like she might be good at tug of war, and I’ll always win because I’m bigger than she is!  This might not be so bad after all…as long as she stays off my side of the couch!