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I can’t help but crack up at the differences between Yuki and Rudi, We got home last night at around midnight, and they were both ecstatic to see us — there was much jumping and tail wagging and presenting of toys we might have forgotten about. And then, Rudi went outside.

She’s all, “Hi! Hi! Hi! Oh my god, I’m so glad you’re home! Okay, then, peace out,” and she’s out the door.

Yuki, on the other hand, seriously hasn’t left my side since I walked in the door. Took a shower, and she laid down right outside the door. Worked from the couch, and she slept on my feet. The only time she went outside was when I went out with her and basically forced her to play with Rudi.

Rudi, who I’ve seen three times — twice when I fed her, once when I followed her to make sure she pooped. But I swear she loves me.

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You know the stories about moms who develop superhuman strength when it comes to saving their children? I, too, have a superpower — I can spot a tick on my dogs from across a room. Which is a good thing, because sweet jebus there are a lot of them this year.

I use Advantix, which is the one that’s recommended all over the place for ticks, and when I asked my vet about it, she basically said, “Yeah, they’re bad. Nothing really works. Keep doin’ what you’re doin’.” So I am. Jared actually accused me of enjoying it.

(Warning: Possible grossness ensuing. Get out now.)

I admit it, I am a picker, so there might be some perverse pleasure in getting these little buggers, especially when they’re not really attached and just pop right off. But the ones that are attached and engorged and possibly passing horrible diseases onto my poor puppies and then when I pull them off leave blood everywhere … those make my heart hurt. And sometimes make my stomach turn.

The season should be winding down, but in the meantime, the ticks? They are a bitch. Anybody have any suggestions?

So, if all the clocks in our home ceased to work simultaneously, do you want to know how I’d know it was dinner time?

Ed. by Yuki: Obviously this vile wench is starving me to death. Will nobody help? What if she forgot about Dinner? What if she is out of Food? Doesn’t anybody CARE?

In many parts of Florida, holidays are spent at the beach or at an amusement park. In North Central Florida, one is likely to go to the Springs. It’s hard to describe going to the Springs, other than, obviously, they’re freshwater springs leading to a river. At many of the Springs you can take a tube all the way down the river –yes, there are alligators, but they pretty much leave you alone — and you can bring a cooler of beer with you. The bad news is that you can’t bring dogs.

Fortunately, our friends had friends who own their own spring (how one gets to own their own spring, I have no idea), and they were totally fine with us bringing our dogs. All of us. All of our dogs. We ended up with six dogs there, three of whom had just turned a year old.

We had a ball, even though we cut the hell out of our feet and bruised our legs, and the dogs are so tired today they didn’t even drag me on a walk. Which was completely fine with me.

Also, on the way home, we saw this:

Yep, that’s a cow. In the back of a pickup.

Now that I set my own (kickass) schedule, I don’t have to get up very early. With my previous job, there were days when I did get up well before dawn, but I was Up and Going Places, so by the time I was dressed and had my teeth brushed, it didn’t feel all that early. I’m really not a morning person, but I don’t see much point in grouching around for the first hour of my day. If I have to be up, I get up and get going.

Except today. I woke up a little before 4 a.m. (!?!) this morning and Could. Not. Fall. Back. Asleep. It’s particularly strange because I had a really big day yesterday — it was the Puppy Hill Farm “For the Love of Animals Gala,” which is the main fundraiser for the rescue from which I got Yuki and Rudi. I’m on the board there, and I try to do a lot for the Gala, so I spent all afternoon helping to set the place up and arranging silent auction items. It was a FABULOUS event. If I had brought a camera, I would show you pictures. But, I didn’t, so just rest assured that we all (J, me, Mom S., and my folks) looked amazing, the food was phenomenal, and we raised loads of money for the pooches.

What’s interesting (at least to me) is that I think I’m up (at 4 in the morning) because I had a Diet Coke yesterday. I used to have Diet Coke all the time when I woke up to an alarm and not a cold, wet nose. And, I always had coffee — Big Coffee — in the morning. And now one little bitty Diet Coke keeps me from sleeping? I guess caffeine works when you don’t have it often. Who knew?

Anyway, it’s now after 7 a.m., and I’ve already been working for almost 3 hours because what else is there to do at 4 in the morning? Also, what time is lunch if you start your day that early? I’m getting hungry.

I think Rudi has crossed from being a baby puppy to a toddler puppy. What makes me say this? It’s not that she’s walking precariously on two legs or starting to say words, but she’s definitely entered a new phase.

As a baby, she would pull all my shoes out from the closet and (fortunately) mostly suck on them. There were a few chew marks, but I don’t think she actually ruined any. There were accidents in the house as she tried to figure out exactly where “outside” was (No! Not the kitchen! No! Not the office! Outside!). But it was all relatively harmless.

Well, she ate my mom’s brand new glasses a couple of weeks ago (which she only bought because Rudi had chewed on her old glasses, but the first time Jared and I weren’t there, so we figured it was separation anxiety or something that was causing her to act out — not that that makes the glasses any better. I’m just sayin’.). Then, this week, she ate my phone. No, she didn’t swallow anything, or at least not anything big. But she definitely messed up the phone and destroyed that little card that holds all the phone numbers. And of course I hadn’t saved those anywhere — why would I? They were in my phone.

In addition, as I wrote about in another post, she’s really taken to barking at other dogs on walks. It’s not that she didn’t do it before, but it wasn’t to this extent. She is so lucky she’s really cute and floppity and awkward.

I’m at my mom and dad’s house with the hubby and the hounds, and we took a walk around the neighborhood and we saw all these dead, dried out frogs in the street. Well, we saw them, the dogs tried to eat them. Same thing.

Anyway, we had some storms recently, so I think these were Suicide Frogs. Have you seen them? It’s crazy! During storms, all these little frogs go jumping into the road, directly into your car, so there’s no chance you’ll miss them.

What’s the problem? Are the frogs so depressed from all the rain that they just want to end it? “Oh, God, make the rain stop! I can’t take it anymore!” SPLAT. Actually, splatsplatsplat because there are, like, 50 of them all doing it at the same time.

Or maybe there’s a frog cult, and they believe that storms are a sign from the Great Ribbet that it’s croaking time. It would probably be hard for frogs to get their hands (feet?) on cyanide kool-aid, so maybe this is just their choice. I’ll stick to curling up with puppies until the storm subsides, if it’s all the same to you.

Earlier today, I got an email from my mom that included this picture:

That is an ice wave, and it is IN MICHIGAN. There was a big long story about how it came to be, but the main point was that it is FREAKING COLD IN MICHIGAN. Ha! Suckers.

I then took the dogs for a walk, because today is one of those rare days in Florida when it’s bright and sunny, but still pretty chilly out. Really! I wore a light jacket and long pants — it’s that cold!

(And yes, I know my Michigan folks are pissed that I’m calling it cold, but it’s all relative, man. You could’ve moved here, too.)

So, my two dogs, Yuki, who is almost 6, and Rudi, who is almost 1 (but is already bigger than the Yukster) pulled me along at approximately 5 or 6 thousand miles an hour. I did all the things I learned at Puppy School — stop when they pull, make them look at me, make them sit. Yuki is not thrilled with all this. Rudi is the one pulling, and she’s the reason I stop, but she sits when I ask her to. Yuki just looks at me with this, “Are you off your fucking rocker?” face, like she simply doesn’t deserve to be grouped in with that damn puppy. And maybe she doesn’t, but would it kill her to sit? I know she knows what I’m saying. And also, she has some naughty language. I have no idea where she gets it.

Then, of course, when other dogs walk by (because, contrary to the hounds’ way of thinking, it is not their neighborhood — it is in fact shared with other canines), Rudi just goes nuts. “Barkbarkbark!!! What’s your name?!? Barkbarkbark! Why won’t you talk to me?!?” I’ll tell you why they won’t talk to her — they are actually Good Dogs. Sigh.

Finally, I squirted her in the face with my water bottle, like people do to cats when they get on the table. It worked … sort of. I might have to do more of that. I wonder if it works on people, too …

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