Saturday, January 31, 2009


Most of you never met her. When people hear that we have rottweilers they are almost always surprised, and yet, Allen and I have always had rotties, since we moved out to the country and could finally have a dog.
Gretchen was our third rottie. We were looking for a puppy after losing Della (Della Street and Perry Mason were our first) to cancer in 1999. We were still fairly ignorant about dogs generally but were lucky. We drove to a breeder in Wisconsin who was expecting puppies later that summer. As we chatted, a gorgeous four year old bitch met us and was immediately and earnestly committed to winning Allen over. I think it took about ten minutes. After an hour or so, the breeder said she’d let us purchase Gretchen if we’d consider an adult dog. We drove home, thought about, and drove back a week later to pick up Gretchen. We celebrated her 4th birthday on the fourth of July a few weeks later.
She was too heavily-built for agility and I didn’t know much about obedience at the time, which is a shame as she would have loved it, I think. They don’t come much smarter and more eager to please than she did. But she had never been socialized around cats, and was, we found later, a bit reactive (she and Maggie fought) so she didn’t get out much. After losing Mason, Stormy came to us as a re-homed dog from another breeder, and our two-pack continued. I’d certainly do things differently today, but at the time this was just more lessons about dogs.
“Pie” as Allen called her, was diagnosed with spondylosis in 2005 and that further curtailed her activities, but she enjoyed walking the trails on Mushtown for several years. One day she disappeared, then returned with an opossum in her mouth. I asked her to leave it and we finished our walk, then I went back to retrieve it so Allen could bury it. I carried it, by its tail, back to the barn and set the carcass down in the barn. Imagine Allen’s surprise when he opened the door to find it Very Much Alive and glaring at him.
We have coyotes in the woods and both Gretchen and Stormy howled right along with them. The “girls” alerted us to the UPS and FedEx trucks, and counted the agility students arriving here for class.
It was obvious this winter that Gretchen was starting to fail. She started to lose weight, regurgitated her meals, and was losing strength and balance.
Today, we made the decision to let her cross the bridge in search of Della, Mason, Precious (our foxhound), several cats, and that possum. Stormy said goodbye very somberly and I know she will be grieving with us. When I came back into the house, Maggie slowly flipped over for a belly rub as if to say goodbye in her own way, too. She and Winn have stuck close to me all afternoon.
We’ll miss her tons.
Praetor Gretchen V RCR, CGC

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Funny, I couldn't find exactly what I saw but this will remind me.

Frosty morning

I drove to an appointment this morning--lucky me, since the trees were covered in frost and the scenery was breathtaking. On my drive home, the sun had come out but it wasn't yet melting the frost so it was even more beautiful, especially crossing the Minnesota River. I'm sure there will be photos somewhere so I'll try to grab one and post to help me remember......when the wind comes up tonight and the temperature drops below zero again...just in time for the weekend.

Monday, January 19, 2009

old posts that I could not figure out how to merge

Dew point

I was sitting in the van Sunday morning in the parking lot of the local gas/convenience store. Allen was inside and his errand ended up taking about ten minutes.
I started to notice what people were carrying as they returned to their cars, and I was amazed at the consistency of one purchase: Mountain Dew. Bottles. Big bottles. But mostly 12-packs.
The next most-purchased item was the Sunday paper, however purchasers of these two things did not overlap.
What did go with the Dew? Cigarettes.
Also in a regular parade--energy drinks: Red Bull, Monster, others I didn't recognize. Colored water enriched with god-knows-what
Unique purchase---a man emerged with a huge number of lottery tickets (later reported to be 75)
Most amusing purchase: A large box of Cap'n Crunch and a quart of milk.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Celebrating zero

Although I wasn't home this week, the weather here was awful. Below zero Monday morning until today (Friday) at noon, the horses stayed in the barn, the rottie girls stayed in their doghouse, and Allen and the corgis went outside as little as possible.
Today when the thermometer registered no degrees, everyone breathed a sigh of relief--without frozen nose hairs.
Once the thermometer went to 2.7 degrees of course, it started to snow. Just a few flurries which lasted no more than a few minutes, but still.

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Happy New Year!

I am now on day #15 of a cold, and although I suspect I will survive, it's been enough to keep me from doing a lot of things I'd planned on getting done over the Christmas break. Finally to the point where I don't fall asleep on the couch, I sort of miss being able to do that.