Thursday, December 24, 2009

Christmas Bells

by Henry W. Longfellow

I heard the bells on Christmas day
Their old familiar carols play,
And wild and sweet the words repeat
Of peace on earth, good will to men.

I thought how as the day had come,
The belfries of all Christendom
Had rolled along the unbroken song
Of peace on earth, good will to men.

And in despair I bowed my head:
"There is no peace on earth," I said.
"For hate is strong, and mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good will to men."

Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
"God is not dead, nor doth He sleep.
The wrong shall fail, the right prevail,
With peace on earth, good will to men."

Till ringing, singing, on its way,
The world revolved from night to day--
A voice, a chime, a chant sublime
Of peace on earth, good will to men!

Friday, September 25, 2009

Our new dog, Rocky

Last Saturday (Sept 12), we went down to Wayside Waifs and got a dog. We'd been wanting to get a dog for a long time, and have been seriously considering that the time was getting close for about a year. Wayside Waifs was having a promotion that weekend, half-off the adoption fee, so it seemed a good time to go down and look at the dogs, and see if the dog we were looking for was there.

I'd been thinking that I'd like a dog that was about 20 pounds or so, like both dogs I had growing up were. Big enough so as not to be stepped on too easily, but not too big. I didn't really care what breed, in fact, a mutt would do nicely.

Of course, the dog we saw and all fell in love with at the shelter is a much bigger dog than that. He's about 60 pounds (they weighed him at 50 pounds at the shelter, and 60 pounds at the vet the next day. I think someone's scale is off). He's got black hair, with reddish-brown highlights around his ears and the fringe of his fore-paws. They think he's about 2 years old. That's about the age I wanted, not a puppy, but still pretty young. Probably what drew us to him was the paper they had on the door of his kennel, with a little bio on it. Most of the other dogs just had their basic information up about them. I wish I had that bio, but the basic info on it was something like this: He'd been transferred there from another shelter where he'd run out of time, to this one. Back when they got him, he had some sort of skin condition that caused him to lose a lot of his fur, but that's better now. He's really smart and eager to please, loves playing with other dogs.

We can tell that he's a really great dog. An over-grown puppy, really, that doesn't know his own strength, and needs to be taught a few manners, but really loving. He spends most of the day sleeping, but gets into what we're calling his "super-hyperdrive mode". He runs around crazily, chasing his tail, growling at his toys, and the like. It probably means he's not getting enough exercise. I've been trying to run him a little when we go on our walks around the house, and on the longer walks. When I'm walking with one of the kids, I let them run him. We've also started putting him out on the line the previous owners of the house set up for their dogs. It runs between the deck and a tree on the edge of the lot. He can probably go about 8 feet on either side of the line. Don't worry, we're not going to leave him out there alone for hours. I've been putting him on it, and then sitting in our sky chair, watching him, and knitting, reading, or writing, for about an hour. Then I put him back on the leash, and walk out to get Gidget from the bus stop.

The main problem we've had with Rocky has been him "pooping" inside the house. He's picked a spot in the play-room, and goes there. On the carpet, of course. He was supposed to be housebroken, and has no problem wetting outside. We're not sure what the problem is, if he's just not used to the idea of pooping while on the leash, or what. I'm hopeful, he's pooped outside twice within the last two days, that he'll get the idea, and stop pooping inside. It hasn't happened yet, though.

Rocky also has a bad habit of "mouthing" things when he gets excited. He jumps about and puts his mouth on things. I've been trying to tell the kids that he's not trying to bite them (even though we can feel his teeth), he's just excited, and trying to say how much he likes something. And screaming about him biting them is more likely to make him more excited, making the situation worse than better. They understand mentally, but are having trouble putting than understanding into action.