Category Archives: family

DIY Comfort Vest For Your Dog

Yes, we’ve all seen ads for the pricey “dog shirts” that are sold to help dogs deal with anxiety caused by separation from their owners, thunderstorms, fireworks, etc. I love my dogs to pieces, but I’m not plunking down that sort of money when I can DIY it for much less.

Got an ACE bandage? Preferably an older one? Safety pin? You’re ready!

Here’s Boss, our rescue dog. He has lots of issues. He evidently flunked out of drug-and-bomb-dog training in Tennessee and hit hard times soon thereafter. We adopted him when he was between foster homes after seeing only a blurry pic of him sitting on command. He caught a ride with my eldest on his way home from college for Christmas Break his Freshman year, and we’ve spoiled him rotten ever since. I haven’t ironed a shirt for my husband in years, but I starch and iron Boss’s bandannas. #justsayin Here he is before a storm moves in:

This is the perfect time to wrap him. Or just before dusk around Independence Day. Here’s how he looks fully wrapped:

Doesn’t he model well? He’s so picky, though! I wanted a nice picture in the backyard, but he insisted on the loveseat in my office. He does look nice in that lighting, though. Pardon the sheet. He was shedding.

I used a full-length non-adhesive Ace bandage for Boss, and he’s about eighty pounds. Cut the wrap and use Fray-Check (available at all craft and fabric stores) if you have dogs that need shorter wraps. It needs to be snug, but not tight. Think “hug”, ’cause that’s what they need. This is essentially a full-body constant hug. Hmm, I may need one myself.

I can probably talk Boss into a video if necessary, but I’m gonna try to walk you through this. (If you need a video please comment and I’ll bribe him.)

Put the center of the bandage roll in the center of your dog’s chest.  Bring it up on both sides and cross at the withers (equivalent of between shoulder blades for humans). Wrap down again, crossing under belly and bringing up to attach ends above rump. *For male dogs, make sure NOT to cover penis with bandage.*

Why do you need this? Because many (OK, most) people don’t celebrate Independence Day. They celebrate Fourth of July with a drunken BBQ on their day off work and fireworks for a full two weeks, annoying the hell out of their neighbors who have to get up at 3 a.m., traumatizing all the dogs in the area (except my Saminda, who thinks it’s a tribute to her chocolate lab beauty), and probably doing horrific things to any PTSD sufferers in the neighborhood.

Last year I called my local police and claimed to have a PTSD sufferer in my household (truly, don’t know WHAT poor Boss has been through) and asked if they could at least enforce the 10 p.m. noise ordinance. Her answer? “We can’t do anything unless people are shooting fireworks AT each other.” My #StMatthews taxes are being SO well-spent.

Oh, and BTW, the whole “Fourth of July” thing is random. The Declaration of Independence was voted in on July 2nd, 1776, but there were riots in New York before it was finally approved on July 9th. By August 2nd most delegates had signed. Just fodder if you want to educate the rednecks on the next street over.

Angie and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad . . . Couple of Weeks

 

It’s kinda funny. I put this title in my Drafts box with a few reminders about a doc visit gone wrong when the car I’d borrowed died as I coasted into a parking space, but I couldn’t get the doors to open. I climbed out the driver’s side window (SUV, mind you) and ended up with enough road rash to impress a cycling enthusiast. I got cleaned and patched up by the office staff, had my visit, then called to ask my husband or son to come get me. I sat on a concrete floor against a wall, watching out the window of the office building, for two hours. It was a crappy day, but no one’s fault. That was months ago.

The last couple of weeks have been tough. Not even anything I can get my head around yet, but these are some of the quotes and images from Pinterest that I think explain it best.

(Many thanks to Mrs. Welches. Another of my Pinterest quotes is from her as well, as you’ll see). I need to hunt her down online and thank her for her words. They speak to my soul.

 

Yeah, I had dreams. Just plans, really. Nothing outrageous. But my body says, “No flippin’ way, lady!”

 

I’m fat because even sitting upright is painful. And my surgeon gets upset because I’m not getting all the protein I need. But I’m just really never hungry. (Except after seeing a DQ biscuits-and-gravy commercial – but I rarely watch TV). But I know for a fact people look at me and think, “fat.”

 

Yeah, I REALLY do.

 

I don’t even like me most of the time.

 

Sad, but true.

But my youngest is at the beach, putting his toes in the sand and having all the fun a 19yo can possibly have (with his best friend Adam and his family, of course!) and my eldest is awaiting the arrival of his second child, comfortable in the knowledge that Emma’s Grandma is there to take care of her (and grand-dog Tabby) when this baby boy decides to arrive. My boys are happy, and that’s no small thing. It’s a HUGE thing, and for that I’m incredibly grateful. The next couple of weeks are going to be wonderful!

 

My Childhood Best Friend

This is the prompt I chose for Mama Kat’s Writers Workshop this week because it brings back many happy memories. I can’t say Rebel was my “neighborhood” best friend because when you live way out in the middle of nowhere “neighborhoods” don’t exist. Or they didn’t back then, anyway!

But I remember Rebel from the first day of First Grade! Our birthdays are close together, so I’m sure she started the day in Kindergarten and ended it as a first-grader, just like I did. I wish I could find a class picture or a picture of when she went camping with us, but I can’t. So this will have to do, and I totally stole if from her FB page!

By the date, she was 4 1/2 here, so we hadn’t quite met yet. The baby is her little sister, and the dog is one of the gorgeous St. Bernards her family bred. I suspect that’s where I got my love of BIG dogs. Big, slobbery, furry dogs are just the best!

You can see her gorgeous strawberry-blonde hair here, but not her sweet smile or the perfect scattering of freckles she had across her nose. Much like my beautiful daughter-in-law. I’m hoping for freckles on my grandkids, but their parents actually have to let them out in the sun for more than 30 seconds at a time without SPF 100 to see if that will happen. They may not get freckles until they are teens. But that’s OK, too. Healthy skin is a priority.

Rebel was the most amazing natural artist I’ve ever met. Her dad was quite creative and built custom storage-underneath bunks for Rebel and her sister (coolest bedroom ever!) and a treehouse.

I’m not talking spare pieces of wood nailed up as a ladder and an iffy platform here. I’m talking house with walls, roof, windows, door, table and chairs, and serious decor. Supported by huge pillars. Rebel herself designed and painted the exterior (huge, colorful flowers) and her treehouse was the envy of every girl in school!

We had sleepovers as often as our parents would let us, and were part of a close-knit group of friends at our little country elementary school. But then I had to move away for a year. Not far, just to the next county over. I hated that year, though. I made a couple of friends, but they weren’t like my since-day-one friends. And I was starting that gangly, awkward stage every kid hits at least briefly. Mine wasn’t brief, and I was pretty much tortured on the bus on the way to and from school. And when you live in the country (as we always did) bus rides are long and drivers are deaf.

So I was thrilled to find out we were moving back close to my original elementary school. But dynamics had changed during the year I’d been gone, and for whatever reason one of the girls saw me as a threat. I was a scrawny nerd in hand-me-downs with huge glasses and a home perm. A cardboard cutout would have been more threatening. But Christina decided to pull each and every girl aside (maybe all the boys, too – I was too shy to talk to boys) and told each of them I’d said something incredibly personally insulting about them. That was my first experience with bullying that wasn’t a bigger boy picking on a smaller boy at recess. I had no clue what was happening or why.

They joined hands and danced around me in a circle, chanting nasty things. No one would play with me at recess or speak to me at lunch. My self-esteem was completely crushed. I begged my mom not to make me go to my elementary school graduation, but she didn’t understand. I didn’t even have the words to explain it.

I was eleven, my parents had recently separated, and there was a sexual predator living next door. It was a bad time in my life.

 

Years later (in high school) Rebel finally told me what Christina had done and said. It was actually a relief. All those years I’d thought there was something I’d done to make all my friends not only hate me, but want to hurt me. We were never close again, never more than a smile or wave in the hallway, and I haven’t seen her since high school graduation. But we’re FB friends (I was terrified she’d ignore my request) and she’s obviously become even more beautiful and talented as the years have passed.

The innocence of childhood friendships is so incredibly precious. Those opportunities never come around again.

 

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