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HELP! Fireworks/Thunder

I am going to post this as a blog because  it's too long for a newsfeed

.  I have spoken to trainers who suggested a behaviorist but they are way to expensive ($700!) and there isn't even a guarantee. I have been grabbing DJ and telling him to go in his crate and he does and even though I never lock the door, when this happens and my husband is not home I do and he just lays in there fine and calm. I have to hold Bogey during fireworks and thunder and can't hold them both at the same time (Bogey 75 pound GSD mix, DJ 35 pound labradoodle. I spoke to my vet and he said fears happen once they mature even though they weren't there before (DJ is 3 now). I need to fix this and I'm at a loss. I'm afraid to leave them home alone together now. Can anyone help?

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So proud of my 9 month old Atticus who is in training to become a therapy dog that will provide support to the youngest victims/witnesses of domestic violence/violent crime.  This picture below is now on the NYC Mayor's Office To Combat Domestic Violence website and was taken on Monday, June 12, 2017 during a children's program I supervise at the justice center:

"Our friend Atticus is still a puppy, but that isn't stopping him from bringing comfort and joy to children and families who come to the Brooklyn Family Justice Center. As you can see, he's quite popular."
Find a Family Justice Center near you:

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Reflections on a Blind Doodle

I want to add my thoughts to Belle's goodby post.  

The decision to put Belle down was one of the hardest in my 71 years on this earth.  Why?  Lots of reasons.  At 5 1./2 she was way short of her life expectancy.  Her first two years were with an owner who gave her up then in and out of shelters.  So her good life was limited to around three years.  The is not a lot.  There was a long shot she could make it with diagnosis and treatment.  But I would have had to leave her at the pet hospital.  Every time I do something like that I can see the look on her face saying, "I'm not being abandoned again am I?"  And I ran the risk of her dying alone.  You have ask yourself at a time like this, "Am I keeping her alive for her, or for me?"  I know I made the right choice.

One of the things that keeps running through my mind is the mobile vet's statement on her adoption listing, :"This is a once in a lifetime dog."  She was.

I guess I should be satisfied that this very special animal was entrusted to my care for three years.  But i'm not because she had so much to give.

I really miss getting up of the morning an hearing her announce in Chewbaca (Star Wars Movie) sounds I better get dressed because she was ready to go for her walk.

Blind?  Most people we encountered had no idea - unless she ran into something.  If she did she'd shake off the sting and go on.  She was a neighborhood favorite with the kids.  She wasn't a flight risk- she didn't know where she was going.  That is unless she heard kids playing in the neighbor's back yard.  She'd charge through honeysuckle bushes and assorted other barriers to get to them.

Belle, I hurt really bad right now.  I suspect I will hurt for quite a while.  But once that clears, I'll be left with these and other memories.  I'll carry you with me in my heart for the rest of my life.

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Goodby Sweet People

Hello, Lady Belle Here,

You might recall my blog posts under the handle "Adventures of a Blind Doodle."  You will find my first blog post here.

If you don't feel like digging through all those posts, Here is the Cliff Notes version:

1.  I was born sighted but in the first year caught Blastomycoses, a fungal disease.  It cost me my eyesight.

2.  When my owners found I was blind, they turned me into a shelter.

3.  I was placed then returned two more times.

4.  Finally, a mobile vet found me on the kill line and took me home to join her pack.

5.  Once I was over the trauma of being blind and rejected she placed me for adoption through everyone's favorite Doodle rescue site, where I came to the attention of a lot of big hearted DoodleKissers who were pulling for me to find a furever home.

6.  Their wishes were granted when my new 'seeing eye person' (his term, not mine) adopted me.

7.  It was like going to heaven.  I have a home to roam, a dog yard all my own, and I get taken for daily walks, the most important thing in my life.  A number of blog posts followed.  Then i got distracted by life and stopped posting - my apologies.

Last September my Blasto came back and really knocked me down.  But with good drugs and lots of love, I came back.  But apparently the second bout with Blasto damaged some of my inside parts.  About 2 months ago I lost my appetite and started losing weight.  I spent a weekend in a vet hospital.  They thought the Blasto had come back again and started treatment.  Then a week later the test came back and the problem wasn't Blasto, it was far more serious.

Today my morning walk was limited to the driveway.  I just couldn't go any further.  We did a vet visit today.  They spent some time with an ultrasound.  Lots of fluid in my abdomen and around my heart.  My temperature had spiked.  I heard the Vet say were not sure what is wrong, but I'm so skinny and weak, there is little likelihood I can come back.

They brought me into a room with my 'Seeing Eye Person'  He held my head, scratched my neck and told me how much he loved me and what a good girl I am.  Then a squirt from a needle and I went into a permanent sleep.

Well it isn't really permanent.  You see, I'm in doggie heaven.  Guess what?  My strength is back.  And wonder of all wonders I can see again. No more running into things.  

But I am going to miss my people and all of you kind loving DoodleKissers.  Keep up the good work.  You made a difference in this girl's life!

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Fudge, The People Whisperer!

Our daughter recently bought us a sign that said, “Grandparents, so easy to operate, even a child can do it.”  She is right.  Our grandson has up wrapped around his little fingers and can do no wrong in our book.  Unfortunately, we also need a sign that reads, “The people in this house are so easy to operate, even two dogs can do it.” 


We are having a couple of bathrooms renovated and having contractors in our house since the beginning of May has altered the way the dogs behave during the day and at night.  Fudge, my bravest dog, has decided the noises their tools make is something she just cannot live with unless she shadows me.  Fudge has never been a Velcro dog and having her underfoot causes me to blurt out things like, “I need my space!” on a regular basis.  I see people on all the HGTV renovation shows talking about sight lines and open concept floor plans and all I can think is, “they must not have two dogs who stand in your day most of the day!”  Both dogs seem to want to be closer to me since we started the renovations and I feel like I am spending a large part of my day at an obstacle course. The other day I told John I am one step away from having a nervous disorder and he said he felt like I took that step years ago. FYI: people who state to others that they are on edge aren’t very receptive to jokes made at their expense.


I don’t know why the dogs are more stressed because the people working in the house have been great, but we are very routine oriented around here and our routine has definitely been different.  It has carried over into our nighttime routine and here is where I think Karma has decided to step in and teach John a lesson or two.  Usually, the dogs follow me to the bedroom when I go back there to watch my TV shows. We split up around 8 pm and don’t come back together until John comes to bed. The last time Hayley visited she said something about the lack of conversation after 8 in our house and we both looked at her and said, “Dr. Phil, if we need help, we will call you.”


Well, all that has changed now, and Fudge and Vern seem to need more of John’s attention at night.  I will come out of the bedroom looking to see where my nighttime companions are only to find John holding Vern’s paw or sitting in his recliner with Fudge on his lap.  Neither dog is settling well and both of us really need them to settle after 8 pm. In addition, from the bedroom I can hear the front door opening and closing too many times and when I yell for an explanation, John will yell back that Fudge keeps insisting to go out.  This means Vern follows Fudge and usually barks, then I bark that Vern has to come back in, then John barks that he has about had it with the dogs, and well, this is way too much partying for us.


The thing I want to know is how does Fudge make John listen to her just by staring and a couple of nudges with her paw.  The other day I had to leave early for an appointment and left explicit instructions with John about what to do when the contractors arrived.  I knew he would be leaving for work after they got to our house, so I told him to be sure and remind them to shut all doors and gates and not let the dogs outside for any reason.  He knows I am phobic about the dogs barking too much when left to their own devices outside.  I just don’t want to open the door one morning to find a petition signed by all the neighbors hanging on our front door stating that they all want to vote Fudge and Vern off the island.


So, imagine my surprise, when I arrived home and I could hear the dogs barking from somewhere outside the house.  Somehow, despite my very detailed instructions, what John heard was lock the dogs up on the upper deck OUTSIDE and then leave for work.  Even the workmen sensed there was trouble when I stomped into the house and demanded to know who left the dogs outside unattended.  All three of them wasted no time in throwing John under the bus. It took me two days to get over that one and it probably took John three days to regain his hearing in both ears.


The funny thing is it took us both a bit to catch onto Fudge’s game, but based on some highly skilled detective work and/or the fact that she immediately falls asleep when John gets into bed, we now know she wants him settled, so she can go to sleep.  The first night that he came to bed early muttering, “She just keeps pawing me and I don’t know what she wants,” she pretty much answered that thought non-verbally when she followed right behind him and promptly fell asleep.  She slept like the dead that night as if she was completely worn out from trying to get her point across to John.  I know that feeling and marvel that a few pokes from Fudge did what I can’t do with very detailed instructions.


We now have a 50 pound dog dictating to us when we should go to bed and we are hoping that changes when the contractors leave and our life gets back to normal.  Otherwise, there will be far more talking after 8 pm than is good for our marriage.  Things like, “stop flipping channels…stop asking me what is going on…yes, I like this show and no, I don’t think it is for people without any sense.”  It’s just better the old way in our household and we hope Fudge is going to let John start staying up late again soon.

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Goodbye Lucy

We said goodbye to our Lucy yesterday.  She was 4.5 years old.  The house is so empty and quiet this morning.  No clicking of her paws to the floor, no whimper to go outside, no morning walk, no flipping of the dog bowl for breakfast.  But she is free of pain from her awful disease.  I am so heartbroken.

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I hope you can help! I have a puppy that is on its way to come Sunday, but was told the vet found small sore (ulcer,) on its lip. They think its from play with other puppies, and have given her a shot of antibiotic. I'm reading that things can be much more serious then they are leading me to believe. Is this fairly common or should I be worried?

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Pet Sitter vs. Vet Boarding

I have to travel for work, just moved to Tacoma WA and need to find a pet sitter.  There are several services available but I don't personally know anyone.  I prefer getting someone to stay in my home with my dogs or at least be with them several times a day, if not staying overnight.  Any suggestions in finding someone or if you think its safer to keep them at a vet that boards. 

Thanks for your thoughts!


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Holly knows so many words...

Our six chickens live in their own little chicken yard st the corner of our property and the property of three neighbors.  The chicken yard has its own fence, so that there are actually two fences that any predator would have to cross before it could get in with the chickens.  There are low oak trees surrounding the chicken yard and we have two chicken coops, a canopy and a roofed over area to protect them from hawks.

Today they were making lots of noise.  Judy said, "Holly, what's happening with the chickens?"  Holly didn't hesitate. She ran down to the chicken area barking.  Nothing was happening except two hens had gotten into a spat.  But, Holly would have chased away any hawk or other predator. Obviously, she understood what Judy was telling her...

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Vern and the Contractors!

I love the show House Hunters on HGTV. It always amazes me when a young couple has a million dollar budget and million dollar demands. When we bought our first house, we walked in, took one look, and wrote a contract that day. I wasn’t worried about popcorn ceilings, en suites, or the color of the walls. Up until that point, we lived in a third floor apartment and I was tired of lugging two kids and laundry down to the basement to do a load of laundry in the community laundry room. All I wanted was my own washer and dryer. Years later when I had to go house hunting for Megan, she went on and on about finding the right home in the right school district and kept implying that she was sure dad and I were equally concerned when we went looking for our first house. I can still see the look of horror on her face when I finally said, “Megan, I never even asked about the school district. All I cared about was getting a washer and dryer! We were fine with you going to a one room school house that topped out at eighth grade, if I didn’t have to go to the bank for a roll of quarters every time I needed to do laundry.”

Our house hunting skills have not improved since those days and when we bought the home we are living in now, both of us walked in the day the contract was signed and said, “where is our other shower?” Turns out, we only had one bathroom with a shower and another bathroom with an enormous tub on the main floor. The bathroom with the shower we both swore was on the basement floor was missing and since we are sure we are not so stupid as to buy a house with only one shower, we can only assume we were robbed prior to moving in. Which leads us to today and the contractors we have hired to rectify the situation.

On a good day, Vern barks at people walking by our house, people thinking about walking by our house, or people in their homes maybe thinking about taking a walk soon. Vern is never off duty and takes his watchdog duties very seriously. He also seems to lack the ability to differentiate between people he has already met and people he has never met. It is like his short term memory is shot and every day is a new day for Vern. Every person is a stranger upon entering our home and has to be re-evaluated every time they walk through the door. One time, my uncle who stayed with us every Thanksgiving and had been in the house for days, came up from the downstairs in the middle of the night to get a bowl of cereal and Vern woke the entire household to alert us to the stranger in the house. In Vern’s defense, when John ran out to see what all the commotion was about, he said he was scared of my Uncle Bob too, because his hair was standing up in every direction and he was only wearing his boxers. Plus, he never uttered one word to Vern and seemed hell bent on getting that bowl of cereal. All I know is I was glad I had waterproof mattress protectors on every bed that night. We all took a vote the next day and voted that Uncle Bob stay in bed where he belonged at night or I was going to have to crate him in Vern’s old crate.

Well, the contractors have been in the house for one week now and Vern is still barking at them as they come in and out the door. I have explained to Vern it is the same three men he has seen for a week, but he still feels it is better to be safe than sorry. I couldn’t ask for a nicer group of men to be in the house and they all love dogs, but all Vern knows is they don’t belong here. Added to that is the fact that it hasn’t stopped raining in days and they walk in wearing hoodies and hats and Vern is exhausted at night trying to keep them all straight. One day, one of the workmen came in through the bathroom window to save time and later appeared in the living room seemingly out of nowhere. Thankfully, he assured me he would only do that during working hours, but it was almost comical to watch Vern process what just happened and offer up a bewildered bark or two. You could just see on his sweet face that this was getting to be too much for even his watchdog abilities. Meanwhile, Fudge sidles up to anyone who stops walking long enough and acts as if she has not known the loving touch of a human ever in her life. Between Vern’s barking and Fudge the love sponge, is it any wonder they have started shutting the door as they work in the bathroom? I did hear one of the guys saying, “good ol’ Vern,” as I was explaining to Vern one day that he really needed to pace his barking or I was going to lose my mind.

I keep telling myself that it will all be worth it when my bathrooms are done. It’s only been a week, but some days I have to remind myself of that more frequently than others. I am praying Vern starts remembering facial features soon or gets laryngitis. If I thought name tags would help him remember, I would insist the workmen wear them, but then again, maybe Vern needs glasses.

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Spring Time = Sloppy, wet weather

Well it's spring time here in Northern Ontario. To most people Spring time means warmer weather, fresh beginnings, sweet smell of fresh air. Well, to us it means rain, rain, wet snow, rain and more rain.  Most of our winter snow has melted, but we have just gotten a few inches of wet, sticky snow over night; it will melt by tomorrow as it is supposed to be fairly warm +13°C.  My issues with this weather is that Chloe will not go pee or poop in the backyard now that the snow is gone and the lawn feels "squishy".  When I let her out she will just stand at the back door and stare into the house. I can swear she is thinking that I am completely nuts if I think she is going to walk on that wet and soggy grass!  She will not go pee before bedtime, like she usually does. She will hold it until the morning, and even then at times will not go when I let her out when we get up. She will hold it until our walk.   I'll see if she does anything when I go home for lunch and let her out.  

April 25, 2017 -  Chloe has finally been starting to do her business in the yard again....still with some reluctance. We've had a few drier, warmer days which has helped the ground thaw and the water drain more. Happy to see her going pee when she's let out and not having her hold it until she bursts!!!

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Up at Night!!

My two-year-old grandson has just decided that he doesn’t want to go to bed.  I have watched him on and off since birth and the fact that he took a beautiful nap and went to bed without fussing always sealed the deal for me when they asked me to watch him.  It meant Grandma could get a break in the afternoon and watch some television at night.  Well, one week before I was to show up to watch him again, they informed me that he doesn’t want to take a nap and has been climbing out of his crib and coming downstairs.  And somehow it was all my fault because the last time I watched him, back in January, we would snuggle together every night and watch Tayo the Little Bus. Apparently, as he descends the stairs after climbing out of the crib he has been saying, “snuggle up time.”  First of all, in my defense, I babysit for free and watching Tayo the Little Bus is no picnic.  Every night that I was there I tried to persuade him to watch another show, but he would look me right in the eye and say, “Tayo,” and no amount of groaning on my part could persuade him differently.  A show about a bunch of buses that live in a bus depot was not exactly my cup of tea, but I sacrificed because I love my grandson and I knew one or two shows would put anyone to sleep.


I live with the equivalent of a two year old that fights sleep and his name is Vern.  Vern is our toddler, only he is now seven.  I don’t know if Vern has ever slept the entire night through and he is always the first one up if we try and take a nap.  At this point, I think if he ever slept all night, I would still wake up in the middle of the night to check that he was still alive and breathing.  I even save packing John’s lunch for the middle of the night when Vern wakes me up.  I hate that job so much and hope one day in my sleep deprived state I will “accidentally” pack an expired pack of yogurt, a rotten hard boiled egg, or a peanut butter and meat sandwich, and cause John to decide buying his lunch out would be a better option. So far, that has not happened, but one can hope.


Well, I made the mistake of complaining to my daughter about Vern when she complained about her son and was instantly told that our situations are nowhere near similar.  To me, lost sleep is lost sleep whether it is caused by a toddler or an oversized dog, but my daughter took great offense that I even tried to insinuate that I had it as bad as she did.  She has this weird competitive streak that she gets from her father and seemed to need to win this “who gets the most sleep” battle.  As far as I am concerned, having a dog smack you around in the middle of the night with his polar bear sized paw is far worse than having to snuggle up with my grandson.  I think next time I go I will “gift” my grandson with an oversized boxing glove and tell him to use it to wake mama up right before “snuggle up time” and see if she can at least admit I have a point.


Vern recently had to have a molar removed and came home from the vet groggy and sleepy and the anesthesia along with the pain medicines made him sleep all night.  I still woke up at 5:30 am because I was sure he hadn’t survived the night.  I felt the same way I did when I woke in the middle of the night to make sure my babies were still breathing when they started sleeping through the night.  Panic, like I forgot to do something extremely important, followed by massive relief when I felt their little chest move up and down. So, yep, there I was at 5:30 am, the person who prays nightly for their dog to sleep all night, waking Vern up to make sure he was still alive.  In my defense, I couldn't feel him breathing, he seemed cold and I forgot he is part polar bear, and he didn't respond when I finally called his name. I almost called out to John, but knew me screaming, "VERN IS STILL SLEEPING!" was probably not going to get the reaction I wanted.  It was only after I turned the light on and saw one eye twitch that I realized he was safe and made a mental note to ask my vet about the long term effects of anesthesia and pain meds if I want to continue to use them on Vern to get a good night’s sleep.  Something tells me she will say no, but it is worth a shot.


I recently returned from babysitting and was able to get Archer to bed earlier than his parents, but naps were definitely a hit or miss. I gave it my best shot and came equipped with plenty up my sleeve, but no amount of trickery or cajoling could make that kid sleep if he didn’t want to take a nap.  It is the same when Vern decides it is time to get up.  He doesn’t giggle or pop his pacifier at me, but he stares and pokes me with his nose or paw to let me know he is staying up.  In the end, I decided that lost sleep was lost sleep no matter who or what caused it.  I know Vern is always the first one up if we take a nap.  He is always the first one up in the morning, although after going out, he will go back to bed.  That is the only thing that differs from a toddler, although I still think the “awakened by a large paw swat” makes me the winner in the battle with my daughter for who has it worse.  Not that anyone is keeping score, but if they were, I would win. 

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Does your doodle sleep in the bathtub?

It's National Puppy Day, so this morning I took some pics of my beautiful, goofy 6 month old australian labradoodle, Atticus. Recently, Atticus has decided that sleeping in the bathtub is preferable to his Orvis bed, or even my bed; he has figured out how to turn the shower knob with his mouth so it drips just a bit, and I find him in the bathtub, sleeping on his back, feet in the air with his head positioned so that is mouth is directly under the "dripping faucet." I tried to get a picture of him sleeping this morning, however, he got up too quickly. I did manage to get some pics of him carrying his toy to the bathtub and lying on the bathroom floor, replete with his toys and his hair sticking straight up!  I live in a NYC apartment where bathrooms are notoriously small, therefore Atticus' rather imposing presence truly challenges access to basics such as the toilet, shower etc; in fact, most of the time getting to the toilet requires an acrobatic move, so as not to disturb my resting doodle.  Just wondering if anyone else's goofy doodle has an affinity for sleeping in the bathtub?3356636402?profile=original3356636401?profile=original3356636528?profile=original 

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Yesterday we lost our beloved Tucker to Bladder Cancer.  It was the hardest decision we had to make to let him go.  We took our other dog, Molokia so that he can have closure as we needed to be with him when he took his last breath. 

We will remember the ten years we had with him as he brought so much joy to our home and had us laughing at the funny things he did.  Our dog Molokia is so lost and I hope that we can both heal in time


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Excuse me, but that's MY seat!

To say Finnegan is a Velcro doodle would be an understatement.  He is always at my feet or I am within his line of sight. Others, who aren't owned by a doodle, may find it a little strange that we go around the house as if there was an invisible tether between us but I’ve adjusted to the extra appendage.  It’s not that he’s timid or scared.  He's loyal to a fault and believes this is the natural order of things. And, once a doodle gets something in his head, it’s darn hard to change it.  You all know what I’m talking about.  That’s why it was so alarming when I discovered him missing on Sunday morning while staying at my Mom’s apartment. It was her 9oth birthday weekend and she had lots of company. I went to make coffee and looked down.  No Finney sitting at my feet. I called him to go for a walk. I set out his breakfast and called him.  Nothing.  I went back to check the bedroom.  No Doodle.  I headed to the bathroom.  That’s always a signal for Finn to come running and scoot in before I shut the door. Nope. WTD??!


So where was he?


When Finn and I visit Grams, we always sit in her family room.  She sits in her comfy lounge chair, and Finn and I relax on the couch.  We watch movies or the news (the second is always a bad idea with my mom, but I digress).  Finn knows the living room furniture is off limits to a doodle but Grams gave in long ago and made the grand gesture of letting him have the family room couch. The previous night, everyone ended up in the small family room watching March Madness.  When Finn trotted into the room with me, there was no room for him on the couch.  If a doodle can stare in disbelief, that would pretty much sum up his expression as his head moved from one end of the couch to the other. I think he was assessing his chances of jumping into someone, anyone’s, lap, completely blocking their vision, but he looked at me and I mouthed the word “flying doodle” which is the equivalent of “don’t’ even think about it”. Then he tried the “border collie” stare to send a strong message but everyone just laughed and no one moved. Finally he took up his spot on the floor, sighing ridiculously loudly every so often, just to remind us how unfairly he had been treated.  So I guess it was no surprise that when he woke up on Sunday morning he went directly to the empty family room, by himself, and claimed his seat on the couch WITH his favorite pillow in tow– apparently for the day.  And no way was he giving it up, even if his bladder burst. That, or he was really excited for the next round of March Madness.


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Goodbye Dear, Sweet Scooby!

Our beautiful, sweet Scooby died very suddenly on February 15th.  We are heartbroken and devastated.   Our house is so lonely. We would love to bring another doodle into our home as a companion to Bella.  If anyone knows of a doodle in the Pittsburgh area who needs rehomed, please let me know.  I know we will be able to give this dog the best home possible.   

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Good News and Bad News...

The good news is that all ten of this group of dogs we just rescued from the the Korean dog meat market arrived healthy and in good shape.  These are three of the five kennels we received...

The bad news is that we are fostering seven of these dogs and there is a leak in the propane pipe from our propane gas tank to the house.  That means our water heater is not working - so Judy has to bathe the dogs in cold water.

If I had arrived earlier from the two hundred mile round trip to L.A. Airport, we could have brought the dogs to one of the local self service dog wash outlets nearby.  But, it is too late for that and the dogs were too stinky to wait until tomorrow to bathe...

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