Snow Day

Last Sunday I heard there was some sort of Significant Sports Event happening (the Mega Cup?  Souper Spoon?  Something like that.) Because of this I hatched a cunning plan.

Assuming there was a significant overlap between people who like sports, and people who like to play in the snow, I had the idea that there would be considerably fewer of the latter because they would be, or be getting ready to, watch the former.  This would leave the dogs and I a considerable area to play in the Sno Parks (yes, that’s how they’re spelled) up in the mountains without any, or at least very few people around.

Here we snow!
Continue reading “Snow Day”

Snow Day

Technical Difficulties

I took the dogs up to the mountains to play in the snow this weekend.  I took a ton of pictures with my big, beautiful DSLR… which my computer isn’t speaking to at the moment.  While I engage in some couple’s counseling (and a good deal of swearing) please enjoy these few pictures I took with my phone.

This was Marsha’s first time in the snow.
I didn’t realize it looked quite so dirty when I was taking the pictures!
They had a much better time when I found somewhere I could let them off leash.  Graham still tried to make the best of it.

Stay tuned for better pictures and much more fun!  Now, where did I put that sledgehammer…?


Technical Difficulties

The Stealth Foster Pt. 3

Read Part One here!

Read Part Two here!

The man hadn’t been over to the house for a few weeks.  As far as I could tell, no one had. This would have been a death sentence for Marsha if she hadn’t basically been living with me.  It got to be such a long time that I was becoming concerned  As I said, he was rather old.

The only relative of his that I’d met was his son who lived about an hour away.  We had exchanged phone numbers after the break in, and I’d called him a few times to discuss Marsha.  He was unhappy with her situation as well, and he had even tried to discourage his father from getting a dog in the first place.

So I called, asking after his father, and learned a bit of what had happened.  It turns out there had been a death, just not the man’s.  The woman he had been living with died, suddenly and unexpectedly, from what I understand.  I also came to learn that most of the people who I’d seen with him at the house on occasion had been her relatives, not his.

This put him in a predicament.  Apparently none of his wife’s (Or maybe girlfriend’s?  It never was very clear) family felt like keeping him in the style to which he had become accustomed (If he treats people the same way he treats his animals that isn’t surprising).  So it was decided (again, apparently)* to have him live with his son.

So they started to move all of his stuff out of the house next door!  Sad, I’m sure, for this man, who had held on to this house for so long, but a great opportunity for Marsha!  A clean break!  I called the son again and made it clear that I’d keep her.  Well, I tried to.

They brought her over to her old yard again, a day or two after I’d talked to the son.  There was, perhaps a lack of communication, between the son, father, and others.  After that I made it a point to keep her in the house while the man, and the people who were helping him move out.  She was mine, she had been mine for a long time, but she was officially mine, and I wasn’t going to give her up!

So he’s an hour away now.  I’ve seen him and the son over there a couple of times in the last year.  Marsha is officially mine, with shots, tags, and vet appointments, and officially home, with buddies, a warm bed, and someone who give a damn.


She’s so quick!  It’s hard to get a clear picture of her!

*This paragraph has reached maximum parentheses.


The Stealth Foster Pt. 3

The Stealth Foster Pt. 2

Read Part 1 of the story here!

I can honestly say it was Marsha’s idea.

A few weeks after she was first left next door, I came home one afternoon to find a third dog in my back yard.  It hadn’t been a difficult thing for her to do.  No one knows when the fence between the two properties was built.  Some say there’s a painting of it on the walls of Lascaux.  Some say it’s obviously the work of trilobites. Some say the early Earth coalesced around it.  Anyway, it’s old, it’s rotting, and it was easy for a determine young pup, or even one that wasn’t trying that hard, to get through.

The process of Marsha becoming (spoiler alert!) my dog was a gradual one.  She came over to visit several times.  As the man next door realized she was getting out, her escape routes started being patched up. I soon started loosening fence slats at the bottom so that she could have hatches to come through to my side when it was safe.  Naturally I had to seal these hatches up during the day in case the man came over.

I gradually learned his schedule: He, and sometimes his family, would come over for an hour or two about three days a week.  During that time he would putter around the house and yard, but paid little attention to the little dog who was so desperate for it. When Eris (before she was mine) had her kittens on his property he had had a bag of cheap cat food.  My Marsha-To-Be warranted no such expenditures, and greedily ate whatever table scraps were thrown on the ground for her.  If anyone HAD broken into that house again, she probably would have shown them where all the good stuff was, and then gone with them.

So visiting my side of the fence regularly became eating regularly, which became coming inside, which became staying the night.  Part of the reason she got to stay was selfish.  If I hadn’t she would be up all night barking.  The other part was sympathy for a cold and lonely little dog who I was getting increasingly attached to.

marsha bed 1
The first time she came inside she made a beeline for the bed!
Marsha bed 2
I texted these pictures to a friend who replied “Looks like you’ve got a dog.”

I kept up this Stealth Fostering for many months, many nerve wracking months.  I was worried that I would be found out, and get in legal trouble.  I was worried that if I found a forever home for her the guy would just get another dog.  I was worried she would be put on a chain, or taken away.  Worry, worry, worry.

But there were some joys and milestones in there as well.  She quickly became housebroken (yay!)


She had her first (and only) heat before I had her spayed, probably because she was finally getting enough to eat.

She was (and still is, every day) deliriously happy to see the cats.

She got her own pretty blue collar and leash and quickly learned the joys of taking her person for a drag.

She was a joyous, and playful little dog, and it was increasing awful to have to put her on the other side of the fence to keep up the illusion that she was anyone’s but mine.    Then tragedy struck, and with it an opportunity.

Part 3.


The Stealth Foster Pt. 2

The Stealth Foster Pt. 1

The fact that Marsha lives with me, and that her life turned out much different than intended is a tale of crime, neglect, and late night barking.  To explain this I’ll have to diverge a bit and talk a little about the neighbor situation.

As is typical for the Western U.S. my back yard shares fences with the houses next to us.  The house to the north of mine has been owned by a man who doesn’t live there.  In fact no one lives in there.  For reasons I’ve never been privy to (but have speculated about) it remains unoccupied.  This lack of occupation invites trouble.

The uncharacteristic barking frenzy Hershey engaged in one evening was a result of that trouble, though I didn’t know it at the time.  I figured a cat, or possum was doing catty/possumy things, and called her in and went to bed.  It wasn’t until the next morning when I notice the next door gate was ajar, and the back door was left wide open.

Not having anyway to contact the owner, I called the police who responded with unusual speed and numbers.  It took a total of four officers about 20 minutes to determine that yes it had been broken into and that no one was in fact in the house.  They wired the back door shut, left and contacted the owner.

I was on a nodding only acquaintance with this elderly man for several reasons.  The first of which was we didn’t speak each other’s language.  The second was he was only at the house occasionally, and usually not when I was at home.  The third (and most important reason for this story) is that I didn’t like the way he treated his animals.

Over the years, there had been a string of benignly neglected animals there including one I had the vet put to sleep on my own; as well as a mama cat who’s kittens I found homes for and who I adopted and named Eris.

So in April of 2014, several months after the break in, when I heard unfamiliar barking from that back yard, my heart sank as I looked over the fence to see the new dog he’d bought,  presumably to guard the place.


Yeah. Right.
“i scare dem wiff my woofs?!”

That was the first meeting I had with the dog who would become my Marsha.

In Part Two of “The Stealth Foster,” we actually get to the stealth fostering!

The Stealth Foster Pt. 1


When I first saw Marsha, she looked pretty much like this:

My apologies to anyone with nosephobia.  Please bill me for therapy.

This was because she was on the other side of my fence sticking her little black snoot through the numerous knotholes.  This earned her the highly original moniker “Nose,” which I called her for many months.

As she transitioned from neglected guard dog to a member of my herd she was labeled Marsha(mellow) to complete the S’mores theme begun with Hershey and Graham.  However, her essential nose-ishness never really went away.

Many of my animals have a signature problem solving style.  Hershey’s is chewing, Morph’s is soul piercing yowling, Graham’s is whining.  Marsha’s, as has been true since I’ve known her, is using her nose.

Door to somewhere interesting slightly ajar?  Shove it open with nose!

Covers too flat to get under?  Nose around until she can get her whole body under!

The human of the house playing too much damned Fallout 4?  Bop him with nose until he pays attention to her!

Marsha’s nose is the swiss army knife of her universe.  Anyone have any unique ways their critters solve problems?