9 September 2011

Chapter 8. A new family

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Over the next few days, I spent a lot of time outside exploring and playing with the Boy when he came home in the evenings. I also talked a lot with Ferdinand, who was kind enough to explain everything to me.

The Boy's name was Thomas and the other two were his Mother and Father. It took me a while to understand what a Father was. Apparently, this person is a lot like a Mother, but stronger, more protective and strict. He was the head of the family and everyone else had to listen to him and respect him.

I pondered about this for a while. Ferdinand had told me that everyone had a Father. I had never known that... I started thinking that I should try and look for my Mother and my Father too. Although, not having met him in my life, I had no idea where to start. I hid in a small corner and whimpered to myself, feeling very alone.

The Mother was at home all the time, working. Sometimes, she made food and it smelled so wonderful, I would follow her around waiting for her to drop a little for me. I ate along with everyone, getting my own portion in a small dish. It was always delicious and Thomas always saved a little extra for me and gave it to me after everyone finished eating.

I played a lot with Thomas, who acted like a big brother to me. He had a wonderful toy, round and bouncy, called a ball. He threw it for me and taught me to bring it back to him so he could throw it again. We played until it was too dark, then went inside and after a while, everyone went to sleep.

I slept in front of the door. My last thoughts before going to sleep were about my Mother and Thomas. Good night!

18 July 2011

Chatting with pooch

I woke up this morning and something wonderful had happened. I looked into Aschiuta's eyes and she looked in mine. I instantly knew what she was trying to tell me. I could understand pooch language and she could understand me.

For the first time, I knew when she was hungry or thirsty, wanted to play with the ball or was just feeling lazy. She also understood when I tried to tell her about my life and sing to her.

I can't possibly explain this to you. I know many have felt that sort of empathy, but without actually understanding their pet. My conversations with Aschiuta are interesting and very meaningful. Everything is extremely easy now, no more misunderstanding one another. We both get along perfectly.

You might be surprised, but even for a doggie so young, Aschiuta has a lot to say.

She also has a message for everyone, here it is:

"Lavi is one big fat liar!"
Heh. We'll keep trying anyway.

13 July 2011

Chapter 7. Sam

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When evening came, the Boy also came home. He looked a lot like the Man, but the fur on his head was dark. Ferdinand told me that people only had thick fur on their heads (and sometimes their faces) and had to cover themselves with clothes to keep warm. "Hopeless these humans... hopeless. Though they do provide food and shelter." the Cat commented.

At first, the Boy scared me, making loud noises and throwing a big heavy object on the floor right next to me. I cowered in a corner, tail between my legs. The Woman berated him and that made him quiet. This reminded me of Mother, teaching me to play nice. Maybe the Woman was the Boy's Mother too. Ferdinand would know.

Suddenly, the Woman pointed in my direction and the Boy looked my way. My heart started beating furiously, afraid of what he might do to me. He came and tried to pick me up. I managed to scurry away from him, but he was fast and there weren't any good hiding places.

He hoisted me up and looked at me. He let out a roar and I trembled. I noticed Ferdinand watching us with his yellow eyes, but didn't move to save me. The Boy raised his hand above my head. To my surprise though, I wasn't thrown around or hit. He scratched the top of my head gently.

"Sam" he said and repeated the word several times, until I was sure I wouldn't forget it.

Ferdinand seemed content and put his head on his paws. "That will be your name, runt. Sam."

5 July 2011

"Kisses and huggies?"

I really think I'm making progress. I really do. Aschiuta has changed almost completely.

Remember the story about the crazy pooch who, as soon as my fiance went out the door, would jump right at me, barking and biting? Now, she's calm, sometimes sleeps and waits patiently. She often comes and nudges me with her nose, so I'll pet her back.

No more showing me her teeth, no more tugging on my sleeves until they break. We aren't arguing anymore and she lets me pet her without trying to bite.

What happened? She probably just grew out of her shenanigans. She might have simply understood that it's better for everyone if she's a good girl. I'm quite proud of her.

"Kisses and huggies?"

However, like I always do when I notice she's grown up, I wonder where the time had gone off to...

27 June 2011

Dear pooch

Dear pooch,

We've been together for one year now and you're just over a year older yourself. We've taught you many tricks, including sitting and not sticking your nose in our plates at lunch. You still pull on the leash, but I know you get tired quickly and after that you're a nice girl, walking by me.

You don't respect me much, but I can't really blame you. I do most of the work around here and I also wash your dirty paws for you. I really mind it when you bite when I try to work. I know you have a huge crush on my fiance, but really, we can share, can't we?

If I send you to the balcony to take a little time out, it's for sparing my hands a few bites and maybe teaching you some manners. Don't worry, Scorp is only out to classes, he will be back afterwards. I always let you back in when you get lonely out there, if you behave yourself.

This is what I call Pasha pooch. Always on top of the pillow pile.
Look, you're nicely sleeping now, dreaming your poochie dreams. Such a good girl! Sleep tight!


PS: if you're a really good girl, we will share a pepper later.

18 June 2011


Once upon a time, there was a little doggie who lived in a small room with a balcony at the 5th floor.
Being the very ambitious pooch that she was, she first jumped up on the low table. It was nice, comfy, and she had a(n extra) roof above her head.

It's not a very long way down...

14 May 2011

Happy birthday Aschiuta!

Today we lazed in bed for a while and when Scorp woke up, I told him "It's Aschiuta's designated birthday". So, he grabbed doggie and gave her a big hug and started singing "Happy birthday to pooch".

She's a big doggie now...

It's Aschiuta's first birthday today, at least the one we chose for her in her health file.

Pooch was found in the street as a pup. She was barely one month old at the time and looked very lonely.

At first, we thought she was older, so we chose her birthday as April 14. On a closer inspection and judging by the time she started changing her baby teeth, we talked to the vet and decided it would be May 14. This date is a combination between Scorp's and my birthdays: my month and his date.

Small fuzzy pup...
She has been with us for almost a year now and we've seen her grow older, wiser, into a very energetic dog. We've gone through health problems, vaccination, fleas and train and car rides. She has chewed on a lot of things and ate some things she shouldn't have. She has kept us warm during the cold winter nights and made us laugh and play when we were upset and worried.
She is our dear pooch and we are happy she's with us. And we don't plan on giving up on her either.

Many happy returns of the day, pooch!

10 May 2011

Spreading awards left and right

Few people might know this, but today is my birthday. Also, Aschiuta's designated birthday will be on the 14th of May.
Here, on birthdays, we usually take our friends out for a beer or something similar, to celebrate. I'd offer you all a virtual glass of beer or wine or whatever you fancy, but, since this is blog land, I'll share something more appropriate with you. It's small and insignificant, but what the heck.

A little while ago, I got the Kickass Commentor Award from Conquering the World. I want to say thank you to Pencil Girl for offering it to me. It is now time to spread it around the world.

I want everyone of my friends, followers, bystanders to feel free and take it with no obligation. This is how it was given to me and this is how I pass it on. Thank you to everyone who has visited my blogs or left me comments, even if just once. I have received a lot of nice words, encouragement and advice from you all and I really appreciate it.

Also, from the same person, I received another award, the Cherry on Top one. Thanks again, Pencil Girl.

You must know I'm quite fond of cherries and they used to be a recurring motif in my childhood. But, before I digress to much...

I have often found blogs that have inspired me and to which I was able to relate. Some made me smile, others made me think. That little cherry on top made me go back again and again to read more. I want to thank the people who write in those blogs for what they do.

Here are the blogs, in alphabetical order (because that is nice and fair, in my opinion):

  • 24 PAWS OF LOVE. This blog has a lot of heartfelt posts about the strong bond between people and dogs. This is a lesson in common sense and not giving up.
  • Catbird Scout. Deb has a certain sensitivity and a way of telling a story that mesmerises the reader and leaves them thinking afterwards.
  • Driftwood Ramblings. Desiree has become my biggest blog fan. Her mentality and encouraging comments are an inspiration to me and always a delight to read.
  • FACING 50 WITH HUMOUR. Carol has a sense of humour that leaves me chuckling for a while. She is also a good storyteller and always comes up with a good tale.
  • littledogsonlongleashes. Georgia is a very opinionated dog and also makes me smile whenever I drop by her blog. I hope the family can get over having to put Rufus, Georgia's friend, to sleep...
  • Southhamsdarling. Thisisme is always a very nice friend and, even though I think she already has this award, I'll still offer it to her too.
  • The Squashed Tomato. Linda is a very nice person, apart from being a gourmet who can talk about foods and wines until you're absolutely hungry. She also lost her pup Romeo, but trying to make a difference for other shelter dogs.
  • There can be only Juan. Juanita has a very sparkling personality. She also has a collection of very interesting hypoallergenic recipes.
  • this n that. Susan has a lot of energy and imagination and her photography is really good. Her coffee art is pretty interesting too.
I'm sorry if my list is a tad short. I'm also sorry I don't have the time to visit everyone more regularly, but I am very busy these days.

Thank you again everyone!

7 May 2011

Bad doggie!

The past week, doggie has become uncontrollable towards me. I know everyone will jump with an explanation, but I really have none.

Spoiled? PMS-ing? Jealous? I don't know...
Evil doggie sample.

It seems that, when the three of us are in one room, she's an angel. She plays nicely, eats, sleeps, occasionally steals a slipper or sock. Some people would argue Aschiuta can't even bark. She's the friendliest doggie in the world and wouldn't bite anyone.

Except for me, of course. As soon as Scorp goes out of the house (which he has done every evening for the past week trying to get a business deal), the little angel turns into a little devil with sharp teeth and loud barks.

I'm sorry to say I can't really do anything about it and I've tried a lot of good advice.

I'm sure it's probably all my fault, and she's always been a bit insensible towards me but how could I fix things?

4 May 2011

A visit from an unexpected friend

A couple of nights ago, Scorp called me to come downstairs with some dog food. We've had a few stray dogs taking shelter at the entrance of the building, so it's not the first time I've brought a share of kibble for another dog.

But then he added "It's our former neighbour, the old black dog." Some of you might remember that last year we had an old dog stay on the hallway of the first floor and we would bring it food almost every day. There is a post about him, Our new neighbour. He disappeared a few times, but he'd be back in a couple of days. But one day, he was gone and we didn't see him again...

Until two days ago. I was a bit sad, wondering where he'd gone off to and if he'd managed to get through the winter safely. But he was back, still limping, still gentle and shy, but no longer lethargic. He was walking around with more energy, sniffing us and wagging his tail happily.

Most of our strays are mutts, grey, black or yellow, medium built and with droopy or pointy ears. If you've read my more recent post about Bobita, our doggie neighbour, you can get an idea of how these dogs look like. The old dog with a bad leg looks a lot like Bobita.

We were happy to see him again, since we had been a bit worried. He sniffed the food but didn't want to eat it from Scorp's hand, so he left it on the stairs. I'm sure he'd eat it later, they always do.

"Poor sweet dog", Scorp said, looking behind as we were going back inside, "he wouldn't know how to defend himself from bad people."

25 April 2011

Hot potato is not a fun game...

"You can't stop me from eating this!" 
Aschiuta isn't the kind to steal food from the plate while we're watching. She does try to get to anything that is on the kitchen table when I'm not looking, but there usually isn't anything there.

I don't know how many other dogs do this, but when we give some new food to Aschiuta, she will take it in her mouth for a quick taste, drop it on the floor to inspect it and then eat it. Of course, this doesn't happen with meat or bones she finds in the grass. Prudence also goes out the window when she is caught stealing.

She knows she's not supposed to eat certain things and that we'll take them out of her mouth if we catch her and is ready to gobble everything up before we can do anything about it. This is never a good idea. We usually present her with a more enticing treat to make her let go of her dangerous prey.

Easter with a bad twist

This Easter night though, there was no time for that and, before I could even reach her, she gobbled a hot piece of sausage right in front of my eyes. No berating could have helped things, so we decided to leave her alone without any special treats that night.

Unfortunately, pooch really got herself into big trouble this time and the sausage (almost unchewed) came out almost as fast as it had gone in. Poor doggie had really upset her stomach and she spent about two hours throwing up. She was mellow and salivating and looking at me with the saddest little eyes.

We were extremely alarmed. We tried calling our vet, but on Easter at 1am we didn't get any answer.

Little pooch gets better in the end

So, I just sat next to her to pet her back and take care of her. Little by little, she calmed down, stopped throwing up and salivating and eventually fell asleep. Relieved that she was better, we went to sleep too and she came to curl up at our feet.

I must have woken up a few times that night, checking on her, to see if she was still sick or if she was breathing normally. I woke her up once and she raised her head, looked at me and then got comfortable again and dozed off. Somehow, I realised she would be alright.

The next morning, she was back to her usual self, bouncy and happy and ready to play. I gave her some food and she ate hungrily and nothing bad happened afterwards. Little pooch was all better now, but she did give us a huge scare.

You can look, but there's nothing there to steal.

I hope everyone had a safe Easter and remember, you can never be too careful when pets are involved.

23 April 2011

Hapy Easter! Peter's story

Aschiuta got into the photo to complete the Easter-y feeling.
With just a day until Easter, everyone is talking about eggs, bunnies, spring and wishing one another happy Easter.

We haven't caught the rabbit craze too much here as we got the chocolate one. One spring though, about ten years ago...

Bunny for sale!

I was walking around the market place with my dad, buying vegetables and fruits for home, when my eye caught something different on one of the tables. A box with a little rabbit inside.
The rabbit was white with brown on its back and face and brown ears.

We stopped to look at the little fellow and admire it and dad asked me if I would like to have a rabbit. Thoughts of responsibility raced through my mind.
Even if I hadn't had a pet before, dad taught me to take care of grandmother's dogs and also, there was the story of my best friend's rabbit. She also got one, a cute little albino. It was however too small and had been taken away from the mother too soon. Even if she tried her best to take care of it, the poor thing died in a couple of days.

My dad assured me that he would help me out and, since the rabbit looked old enough, we decided to try our chances.

Of course, mom was surprised, to say the least. She doesn't like pets, except maybe for cats, but not even those in our own house. Deaf to her protests of "it will smell" "it will chew", we started making the little one at home. Needless to say, the first thing it did was wet the bed.


My dad came up with the perfect name, Petrică, which we often turned to Peter. He kind of got used to both.

Since we had a big flat with two hallways, we decided to keep the rabbit in one of the hallways, where there were few hazards for him. We got him a small sand box and he apparently taught himself how to use it instead of the floor or carpets, so we were very impressed.

He ate a lot of vegetables and we always asked the salespeople in the marketplace not to rip the leaves of carrots or radishes, since we had a chewer back at home. One of our favourite treats was sharing a pepper. The little thing was also licking my feet a lot and we heard that he needed salt, so we gave it a big chunk.

I spent a lot of time with Peter and we used to play chase on the hallway. The fridge was also conveniently in the same room and, whenever we would open the door, Peter would dash with the speed of light and try to steal some carrots or cabbage.

Of course, greens weren't the only thing he'd chew. He chewed my shoelaces until I couldn't use them anymore and also took a bite of the tv cable. From this point of view, he was a lot like Aschiuta.

We would go out to the forest for picnics and we also took Peter with us every time we went. Rabbit leashes were unheard of at that time, so we just let him run off around. He dashed through the grass like a bullet, but always came back when we called him.

No more time for bunny?

This all happened over the summer holiday and our rabbit grew up. We realised then that we had a female rabbit, but the name remained Peter.

Unfortunately for all summer holidays, it was soon coming to an end and my parents were starting to talk about what would happen to the rabbit when I started school again. They seem very strict about school and that nothing should stand in my way to knowledge.

All in all, they decided that Peter had to move out. My aunt used to have a lot of cats and dogs at her house and also a big yard with a lot of other farm animals. They decided we should leave Peter in her care and ask her not to make a stew out of her.

We went and visited after a while. Peter was in a cage and had grown very fat from the lack of exercise. I was very sad and made the decision to never ask about Peter again. I'm half sure she ended up as stew... I'm just sorry I wasn't able to keep her for longer.

My little story has a sad ending and I'm sorry about that. I know a lot of people out there might make the same mistake we did, taking a pet only for a summer. I hope they think about it seriously, because pets are not toys.

Hope everyone has a happy Easter!

20 April 2011


She's lying at my feet, napping lightly, legs twitching in her sleep from time to time. I'm watching Star Trek again, letting her calm down and then maybe get back to work.

The front door opens, then swings shut with the usual dull bang. The sound instantly makes her lift her head off the blanket. Her ears fold back and her tail swings vigorously up and down. It's taking all her willpower to stop from lunging towards the door and scratching at it. I can see her almost smiling.

The door to our room doesn't open though. The light stays on in the kitchen and we can hear the door to the bathroom closing noisily. So it's not him yet.

I get halfway up and rub her back. She stops wagging her tail and looks back at me. She then turns back towards the door and puts her head back down.

She growls in annoyance, stretches and heaves a sigh. Mother never comes to say hello to her and Scorp will be home late from the darts game.
I guess we'll keep on waiting...

15 April 2011

Romania's strays in danger and Romeo's Wish. Blog the Change for Animals

Today is one of the four days dedicated to Blog the Change for Animals, which is an incentive for people all over the world to talk about animal causes, hoping that more people can find out about them and lend a hand.

1. The stray dogs in Romania are in danger of mass killing
As some of you might know, I live in Romania, a small state where stray cats and dogs have found homes near dumpsters, in parking lots, wherever they were accepted. Their biggest plight is that the government has been thinking of voting for euthanising all of them. You might have heard about the 100 sleigh dogs killed in Canada. That would be nothing compared to what could happen in Romania.

I have written about this before, in the post Our strays in danger. People all over the country have organised protests and a petition has been started to prevent this massacre. I know that people from other countries might not be able to help in any way, but I can't help talking about this. I hope that, maybe, the stray dogs (some of which have become our friends, see Bobita, our doggie neighbour) will be allowed to live.
If you are interested in this and understand Romanian, you can learn more about this at the site Adoptii Caini. They are trying hard to convince people to sign the petition against this horrible governmental decision, fighting for the fate of our stray dogs.

If you are Romanian, please take a moment and sign the petition. Every helping hand matters.

2. Giving meaning to the death of Romeo the puppy: Romeo's Wish
I would like to talk about another animal cause. Linda has lost her puppy Romeo in a car accident and has decided to offer the gift of a better life to other rescue dogs and cats in need.

She has started a fund in Romeo's name, to help rescue dogs and also improve the conditions of shelters in South Africa, in particular the one where Romeo spent the first part of his life, Bellville Animal Anti-Cruelty League. You can read about this and about how you can help too at Animal Outreach and also the pdf Romeo's Wish, where you can also read his story.

I wanted to write about this because Desiree, Linda's mother, and after that Linda herself have become good friends of mine. Romeo reminds me of my own dog Aschiuta, with his exuberance, friendliness and intelligence. Linda has also adopted another rescue puppy from the shelter and has given her a warm loving home.

They have organised a raffle to raise money for the cause and you can read about it on this page. I invite you to buy a ticket and help those dogs live a better life.

Rest in peace, Romeo! I hope your wish will come true.

10 April 2011

"The dog ate my homework"

The oldest excuse in the book, right? "The dog ate my homework" is a classic excuse for a missing homework the next day at school. The interesting part is that it's entirely plausible.

The manual paper shredder

Aschiuta loves to shred paper. Tissues, toilet paper, random pieces of paper lying around are doomed to be torn to pieces by this little paper shredder. One day, when we came home from an evening out, we saw that she had also torn pages off a book in the bookcase. The book was about Mathematics, so I totally agree with her choice.
"This is my paper. Get your own!"
The terminator doggie

Recently, I have been wondering what to do about her chewing habits, especially when she's home alone. She has chewed parts of the bed and couch and also the table legs. If there are any objects that look interesting, especially made of plastic or rubber, she would chew them. Even the cables have felt the sting of her fangs, as you can read in my post Spaghetti? Yes, please, with meatballs!

We have several chew toys for her, including a nice new one from Scorp's mom, but she barely looks at them. Instead of letting her chew on the furniture and other things, I had to give her a more interesting alternative. And, cheap, since we're both kind of out of jobs.

I actually had the idea of making her stuffed toys out of old rags and cotton, but Scorp argued I shouldn't use cotton, so I was still wondering what else to do.

Confetti is the way to go!

Somehow, she gave us the answer herself. While we were out one day, she found a couple of old notepads and tore the papers out. We were happy to know she didn't even bother destroying anything else.
Working on that confetti.
Since then, we've been out three times and every time, I would leave some pieces of paper at the edge of the table, in a handy position. When we came home, the papers would be shredded and the doggie happy.

I'm glad we have a safer alternative for her chewing madness, at least for a while.

Leaving the scene of the crime.

5 April 2011

Scorpio's artistic designs

It seems like both my fiancé and I have finished the same (tedious and boring, as all Romanian schools) University with a degree in Informatics, but we are back to doing what we know best. I'm happily writing on three blogs and Scorp has started polishing his graphic design skills.

Meet Scorpio

I have been mentioning him here and there, as Aschiuta's favourite person in the whole world and the owner of the green fuzzy cow slippers. Well, he's my fiancé and a really great guy (if I do say so myself).

Scorpio Design

Since we're both kind of unemployed right now, he started making logos and 3D designs for various companies. He's been learning and studying, nagging me from time to time "Hey, look at this one!" "What do you think of that one?". I'm really glad he's doing something he enjoys and he's getting better and better. He takes a simple idea, adds his own artistic touch to it and ends up with pretty cool logos.
Today, I wanted to congratulate him for the release of his portfolio site. It's still small, but it's just at the beginning, so it will definitely grow. I invite you to visit him and look around at the logo samples.

That is his site's logo.

He promised to make nice headers and buttons for my blogs too, if I'm good. But until I can make up my mind what exactly I want, since I'm very picky, there's something he asked me to share with everyone.

Free logos or buttons for my followers for the whole month of April

Yep, the headline says it all. If you like the way his logos look like, you can ask him to make you a logo or blog button too. He did say "for my followers", so if you're not one yet, you can cheat and become one now (yes, it is as "yay, followers!" as it sounds).

Just think of your design idea, no matter how vague, and contact either him by mail (the address is on the site) or me (I do have a Contact page). Or you can just drop a comment, either goes and we're not picky.

I hope you'll drop by and get a button or logo done, since it's all as free as air.

4 April 2011

Spaghetti? Yes, please, with meatballs!

Sometimes, you have to learn the hard way, if there is no other way. Aschiuta did too and I hope she will stay far away from cables, shoelaces and spaghetti. Well, at least from cables.

The low-roof oasis

It all started this summer, when she was a lot smaller and still learning about life and its many dangers. She also learned that there were such things as internet cables. And she found them delicious.

The good thing was that she never got shocked by them, even if she chewed and chewed. The bad news is... well, you can imagine it. Scorp had to repair the cables over and over again.

At the same time, the summer was a hot and scorching one (as all summers in the tropical Romania are) and poor Aschiuta was overheating, with all our attempts at cooling her off. One day, she decided that it might be a lot cooler under the bed. And so, she would crawl under there, go all the way to the corner and nap.

Cable proofing number 1

Of course, after a nap, she would get hungry and the handiest thing she could find was the roll of spare internet cable that we had tucked under the bed so we wouldn't trip on it. After many such "snacks", Scorp finally decided he'd had enough of patching wires and we'd have to barricade the bed. He used an old carton box and artificial snow (the kind found inside the carton boxes, keeping the monitor or computer safe from damage), lots of double-sided tape... Well, you can imagine the rest. But she never got through it again.
The view from the inside after pulling the mattress aside. You can admire the masterwork on the left. The green and yellow is the end of a patched cable.
That was wire doggie-proof number 1.

Cable proofing number 2

Number 2 was when she noticed the wires coming out from behind the bookcase and out through the edge of the door. She subsequently began to munch on those.

We weren't short of ideas, as you might find out. We put a chair that would block the access to the wires. It was rather tricky, because we had to close the door at the same time. It did hold pooch back for a while. But only for a while.
Notice the chair blocking the wires. Hmm, who might the puffy green cow slippers belong to?
And number 3...

So, Scorp had to get the tools out again and patch up and barricade these wires too. With a lot of scotch tape.

Aschiuta, curious about the new decoration, decided to rip a piece off. Unfortunately for her, the piece she ripped revealed some naked tv cable. A jump and a small yelp and she never touched it again.

And that was the story about our efforts to get ahead of doggie's wire chewing and how she eventually learned her lesson... Poor silly pooch, good thing it was a very light zap.

30 March 2011

Chapter 6. Be a good dog

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The first day in the tall creatures' home was full of rustle and new events. I sniffed around and eventually found a nice spot to sleep, where the floor was a little softer. The Woman gave me some food. It smelled very good and I ate it quickly. I had never eaten anything so delicious and I kept following her for a while, hoping she would give me more.

I talked to the Cat again, who knew everything about the place I was in. He told me I was in a house, that the creatures were humans, or people, and that the one who had brought me there was the Man and the other one the Woman. They also had a Boy, who was always away and only came home at night.

The Cat's name was Ferdinand and he wasn't very friendly. He did talk to me though, because he said I needed to learn how to behave. "I will take you under my wing, if you will." He made a strange rolling noise in the back of his throat. "Remember not to get in trouble, you will make me look bad too." So I did my best to behave.
He also told me I might stay there for a long time and that I might not be able to see Mother any time soon. The thought made me incredibly sad, but I willed myself not to whimper and stay strong.

24 March 2011


She comes and pushes the edge of the blanket with her nose. It's like she is saying "let me in, it's cold". I lift the blanket and she sneaks underneath, rolling into a warm doggie pretzel.

She presses tightly against my belly, so close that sometimes I feel I can't breathe properly. She then swallows a few times and sighs. Shifts a little until she feels that she is in the perfect position for napping. Another sigh.

I don't know if Aschiuta comes to cuddle under the blanket with us because she is really cold or if she just enjoys the closeness. She is nevertheless welcome any time. Especially during the colder weather, we keep one another warm like that. A little sandwich. Call it a "hot dog" if you're feeling humorous.
Pretzel doggie, waiting for someone to cuddle with.
I take a small paw in my hand and dive my head under the covers to give her a small kiss on the head. She smells a bit like raspberries. She smells a lot like doggie. Her ears flutter in her sleep, tickled by the covers. She doesn't seem to mind burying her nose in there, without much air. I still leave the blanket raised a little.

I then fall asleep, hugging a pretzel doggie. Gnite. Sweet dreams.

20 March 2011

Bobita, our doggie neighbour

You might remember one of my first posts, On the streets. I talked about one of our friendliest stray dog neighbour, the dog from the other block. It's been a while and we've had time to get better acquainted with him.

Aschiuta and Bobita. The photo is a bit fuzzy.
A very smart doggie

He lives in front of the entrance to the block of flats next to ours. The people like him and take care of him. He has a nice little dog house and they also give him food and water. They even gave him a name, Bobita (the Romanian equivalent of Bobby), which seems to fit him quite nicely. I used to call him Don Juan, because of his advances to Aschiuta, but he has been a good boy lately.

Bobita in front of his home.
He has the best strategical position among the other strays: next door to the pet shop. A lot of people who buy dog food leave him some in the corner. I've even seen cat food around there, although there are almost no stray cats around.

Making friends

When we first met him, he was very curious about Aschiuta and tried to mate with her, but of course we didn't let him. For a while, he kept his distance, pretending he wasn't interested in her anymore. A few days ago, when we were out for a walk, he actually came after us all the way to the back of the parking lot. That was a very brave move, despite my "shoo"s and "go home"s. The whole pack in that area chased him away barking.

Even when we aren't with Aschiuta, he comes to greet us when we pass by. He's always sweet and lets us pet him on the head. He once came with me inside the pet shop, but the shopkeeper knew him and didn't make him leave. He was very well-mannered, sitting down and waiting for me to buy what I needed. He then followed me outside and I left some food for him in his usual spot.

The clearest photo Scorp could take for me. That is Aschiuta in the corner too.
Like brother and sister

Just imagine a black version of Aschiuta, with a big white patch on his chest and only the stub of the tail remaining. We always say they are like brother and sister, because they look alike (pointy ears and all), they act very much alike and get along really well. Aschiuta loves meeting him and always wants to play. Bobita will jump around her too, catching a sniff or two. I think they might even be around the same age.

This is a video Scorp took while on a walk with Aschiuta. Bobita and she are great friends and always play together.

That's the story of Bobita, our friendliest neighbourhood stray. I hope you'll get to hear more about him.

17 March 2011

Beauty is in the teeth of the beholder

Aschiuta most likely thinks I have great taste. Why else would she chew on my phones, my darts and my hair scrunchie? It's her way of telling me that she too shares my good taste in technology and accessories. And also that they taste good.

Phony excuses for chewing

I can't bring myself to understand why, all of a sudden, she grabbed my phones (first my nice expensive phone, then its cheaper replacement) and chewed them? My phone has always sat nicely on the nightstand or laptop table, happily unnoticed and unchewed.
"I can see the charger. Where did you hide that phone?"
Now, it seems she just can't part with it. I'm at the third phone now and I'm sure that if I left it within reach, she would devour it in the blink of an eye. That's why I keep it high out of her reach.

Duck à l'orange?

And my darts? They often stay on the laptop table, but today I went to feed the neighbour dog and when I was back, one of the shafts was chewed at the end and one of my new flights destroyed. I'd just changed the flights today, proud that the new ones worked a lot better (and were more stylish, with a duck on them). I even played a few games. Scorp did too and his darts were just a few centimeters away from mine on the table. What drove her to pick mine? Does she perhaps like duck?

All I can do now is keep a constant eye on her and keep any plastic item (with or without ducks) away from the little chewer. Especially if it's something of mine. I do have good taste, after all.

15 March 2011

Adopt the Internet Day. Open your eyes

Petfinder Adopt-the-Internet Day

Today, as most of the pet bloggers out there already know, is Petfinder's Adopt the Internet Day. For their 15th birthday, they are trying to get as many people to promote pet adoption on the Internet. On Facebook, Twitter, talking about an adoptable pet in particular or adopting in general.

Pet adoption sites in Romania

I haven't used Petfinder, since it's only for pets in the USA, but Romania has its own sites, Adoptii Caini and Adoptii Pisici and I recommend people to use these sites to find a new furry friend.

The situation of strays in Romania

I have already talked about the desperate situation in Romania. Our streets are full of stray dogs and the government has decided to euthanise them. There have been protests and you can read about this in my post Our strays in danger. We only hope for the best.

We are responsible

I want to make people think about this. Our streets are full of dogs, yet I see new breeder-bought dogs being pampered by their owners. We are killing our stray dogs by doing that. Overpopulation is not just "somebody else's problem". We can't just solve it by allowing other dogs to be killed when we take such good care of our beloved purebred Fido. Dogs here are often a fashion accessory and we often discriminate between "our dogs" and "street dogs".

Why don't people want to pick a dog off the street and take it home? Because it's too much trouble, it might have diseases, parasites. Well, that's what we have vets for. Our vet helped us a lot with Aschiuta's problems, even if we didn't have a lot of money.

Oh, and of course, it's a bit embarrassing to say "my dog is a mutt", rather than "my dog is a purebred [breed], we have a certificate and all". Honestly. Why should we discriminate like that? Dogs are dogs and they are all wonderful in their own way.
I won't even talk about the "puppy" and "cute" craze. It's bad enough to be known worldwide.

The vet that took care of Aschiuta at the dog hotel told us that people abandon their dogs there. They give false addresses and never return for their dogs. And at least they are considerate enough to send their dogs to a nice place, but others just leave them on the streets.

If you live in a place like that, think twice before buying a "ready-made" dog or cat. Pick one up off the streets or from a shelter. It might save a life or two.

Aschiuta's first boarding experience

We're back! And so is Aschiuta, of course. A couple of weeks ago I told you in the post Pooch away on holiday that we sent Aschiuta off to a boarding place for dogs. Thanks to everyone for your comments, we had fun, but so did pooch.
"What, home already? But I was having so much fun..."

Spoiled little doggie

You see, the place was nice and comfy and she had a huge space to run in. And she sure loves running. She also had a nice indoor space, the blankie and the food we brought for her. They even offered transportation and we were relieved that we didn't have to take her in a taxi again. She gets car sick and it's very troublesome taking her for a ride. We even prefer to walk most of the way.
The person who runs the place is actually a vet and was really nice to Asciuta. He walked her and played with her and I'm sure she was very spoiled. She didn't even miss us, just wanted to get more attention from her temporary caretaker.

And the happy owners (happy not to wonder what she chewed on)

Scorp called every day to check on her and we were happy she was having fun. Her first boarding experience was great and I only wish we could one day offer her even a small garden to play in.

I would recommend this place for other people who want to send their dogs boarding (although only available  in Bucharest, Romania), the site is Pensiune Canina Bucuresti - Aldo.

11 March 2011

Pooch away on holiday

We sent Aschiuta off to a dog hotel today. It was just on the spur of the moment, since we didn't think we'd have the money to go to a big darts competition. However, a couple of good friends offered to help us out, so here we are, about to go away for a couple of days... without Aschiuta.

Aschiuta... home alone

We have never been away from home for an entire day since we got Aschiuta and even a few hours alone would make her sad, anxious and bored. And what does Aschiuta do when she's bored? She chews on things. Lately, her newest obsession has been the headboard, which is made of wood and her teeth almost wouldn't want to part with it. Unfortunately, she also chews on wires sometimes and after she got a small shock from the TV cable, we were hoping she'd learned her lesson about not biting thin long plastic things. Yesterday though, she chewed on other, more dangerous cables connecting Scorp's monster sound system. We don't want to take any chances.
Even with the great new toy, wood is still yummier for Aschiuta. Hence her name.
Doggiesitting mom

I originally asked mom to doggiesit, but she was going out of town for the weekend too. After finally agreeing to take care of the crazy pooch, we had second thoughts. Yes, we can't trust mom with taking care of Aschiuta. She lives with us, but stays far away from her and has never walked her. She even insists on giving the doggie away to my grandpa, which we vehemently refuse.

Five star hotel? Does it have a jacuzzi?

We searched around on the internet and found a few dog hotels that offered nice accommodations, with a small indoor space for each dog that had heating through the floor. Which is in my opinion perfect for a dog (I'll tell you more about this later). They offered to walk her 2 or 3 times a day and I'm pretty sure Aschiuta will be comfortable there. We sent her the blanket on the bed, food, treats, her toys, even "how to" instructions in her medical dossier. She also loves meeting new people and dogs, so if the caretaker will become friends with her, I hope she won't miss us... too much.

Maybe the blankie will make her feel more like home.

Missing silly pooch already

However, waiting to hop in the car and leave, we can't help missing her already. Nobody to greet us at the door. Nobody to jump and run around my legs and sniff everything in sight. We can leave the door open without the blonde hurricane darting out.

Hope she'll be ok there. Take care Aschiuta!

9 March 2011

Our strays in danger

Often, too often, I feel sad about the cruelty and narrow-mindedness of my countrymen. Lately, they are planning to kill stray dogs in masses, because of the overpopulation. It has been done before and they are planning to do it again, only this time a lot of people have raised to protest against this atrocity.

A photo from one of the protests. From www.adoptiicaini.ro.

What the pro-euthanasia people have to say
There is a phobia (rational or not) of dogs, especially stray dogs. People mistakenly believe that these are savage beasts, intent on harming humans at any given chance. They often quote the case of a woman bitten by stray dogs who eventually died because of the wounds. They claim it should be a "survival of the fittest" and that for one person, they have to commit genocide.

Of course, stray dogs will leave a lot of dirt on the streets and it is unpleasant. Taking care of them in shelters costs quite a lot, so most of them are still out there, in packs, trying to survive. Every person who feeds these dogs is frowned upon (at least).

What the sensible minds respond to all this

I myself can say that the majority of stray dogs will not attack people unprovoked. None of the ones I've seen (and there are plenty in my neighbourhood) are violent. Most are frightful, which is understandable, and some are even friendly. The only problems we've had were a menacing bark at Aschiuta from dogs protecting their territory. They rarely get close and try to bite her and if I'm alone, they don't even flinch.

If we can accept having dogs on our streets, population control can be done through spaying and neutering stray dogs. It is actually cheaper than euthanising the dogs (sterilising costs 15 euros, euthanasia 62 euros). I'm sure readers from more civilised countries agree that is the best solution.

Moreover, the whole action is illegal, contradicting the animal rights here in Romania.

What can be done?

There have been two protests against the euthanasia law the past couple of weeks. There is also a petition addressed to the Parliament, asking for the law not to be passed. The petition can be signed online here.

Adoption is always a great solution. I cannot stress it enough. Our streets are full of stray dogs needing homes, still I see almost only breeder-bought dogs being walked by their owners. Aschiuta was once on the street too and if we had the means to, we'd adopt another dog too. What we did, others can do too.

I have heard about a lot of programs for free or low cost spaying/neutering. We talked to one of the shelters here about trying to get our neighbourhood dogs sterilised this spring. I do hope we'll still have what to spay and neuter...

6 March 2011

Bath time for doggie

Drowning buggers

When we first got Aschiuta off the streets, she was full of fleas and ticks. We had to give her a bath, but the poor pup was crying because of all the skin problems she had. She was clawing at us, desperately trying to get away from the water basin. Good thing I had Scorp and our flatmate to help me out.

The parasites didn't all die in the baths, but I'd say we decimated a good deal of them. Of course, the vet gave her the drops that killed the rest of the bugs. We were also warned that those bugs were quite dangerous and could carry disease. It's a good thing that almost none of the parasites jumped on us. I was carrying Aschiuta in my arms for hours to the vet and back and none wanted to climb on me. I guess they were used to doggie blood.

Skin care

Another problem we had was a bad allergy Aschiuta got from food (although we didn't know the cause of that at the time). The vet advised us to give her a bath using sulfur soap and rinse her using apple vinegar. Some of you might remember my older post, The Vet, where I talk about this problem and others Aschiuta had.

Wiping away muddy paw prints

Today, we still use the sulfur soap. We also have hot water all the time, so we wash her with lukewarm water, not too hot and not too cold. She also has her very own towel. In fact, I am the one who washes her, Scorp does so only from time to time.

Aschiuta is very calm when she's in the bath tub. She usually sits still, folds her ears back and looks very docile. I usually only wash her paws after going out and she has learned to raise each paw as I put the shower on it. I soap her paws well and then rinse the soap thoroughly. After that, it's towel drying and she will sit inside the room for a while. Drying is quite uncomfortable for her, but the blow drier is worse. She would lick the water off her paws and sit in bed for a while.

After that, she's her usual happy self.

Hopping away happily (the towel is just a tug toy).

I'm quite proud of how nice she is during bath time. It helps, since we usually walk in the mud and I have to wash her after each outing. Stay clean everyone!

1 March 2011

Happy 1st of March!

Today is the 1st of March, the first day of spring (at least according to the calendar). In Romania, we celebrate this day as Martisor (a diminutive for March). Women and girls receive flowers and little trinkets adorned with a red and white lace (this is also called martisor).

Our little symbol of spring.

It is a nice holiday and all of us wear our trinket(s) to school or work. I bought some from my mom, Scorp's mom and a couple of good friends.

Aschiuta seems to have been in style today. Her little winter coat is red with a white fur collar and padding. I managed to make her stay still for a few photos.

A very nice side-view.

Notice the "hugging" flaps.

The classic "give paw" pose.

Have a beautiful sunny spring everyone!

Taking care of the doggie economy-style

Scorp and I are getting by on one salary at the moment and Aschiuta is a third (albeit smaller) mouth to feed in our little room. We often have to cut down on costs as much as possible. And it's not hard to take care of a dog economically while also providing for all its needs.
Of course, some things can't be found at lower prices and good quality, such as some medicine or vaccines, but for the rest of the stuff, you don't have to spend a lot of money.


The big issue for everyone. After trying a lot of options, we've realised a few important things:
  • Cooked food can be cheaper than commercial dog food, but doesn't last as long and it might not cover all the necessary nutrients. As a compromise, we also give Aschiuta other things, like chicken, raw bone, cheese or sour cream (the occasional milk is ok too, but can cause stomach problems) and some fruits and vegetables (carrots, peppers and apples are her favourites). We give her a little of the food we eat if it's something that will be ok for her. Rice, oven roast chicken and soup are quite ok. You can find good recipes for homemade dog food and treats all over the internet; I'll recommend Doggy Dessert Chef (the writer is very careful about what a dog shouldn't eat).
  • The cheapest dog food isn't always the best. There are some good cheap brands too though (our vet recommended a few brands to us) and we've found out that we can afford to buy relatively good quality food (stuff like Acana, Pro Pac etc.)

We used to try and make a small bed for Aschiuta from a cardboard box and some old clothes. Aschiuta though had other plans. Once she grew old (and bold) enough, she started sleeping in bed with us or on the couch.
Very comfy.

A wooden crate and old clothes (you can even make a pillow out of them) can be a good solution, depending on the size of the dog. Aschiuta kept outgrowing her carton beds.

Bowls for food and water

Scorp bought a plastic food bowl from the pet store, which we used for water. Other than that, we used big plastic ice cream boxes. Talk about recycling, right? My mom keeps all of those boxes, so I thought I'd put them to good use.
Unfortunately, Aschiuta chews on plastic things, so after a few of the makeshift bowls and the pet store one being chewed to pieces, we decided to not leave them within her reach. She has learned to ask for water too.


I'm still using a sulfur soap for doggie baths, since the vet advised me to give Aschiuta baths with sulfur soap and apple vinegar rinse when she had her skin problems. We don't use the vinegar anymore, but the sulfur soap does its job well. It's not expensive and it doesn't smell appealing enough for her to try to eat any of it. In fact, Scorp claims it smells too bad and Aschiuta's docile manner during bath time might be because she also hates the smell.


Another hot topic. Well, here we've improvised a lot. We have the famous old socks that she loves to play with.
Aschiuta helping the sock do some stretching exercises.

The two things we bought were a rope toy and tennis balls. But if you can find a sturdy rope, you can make a toy for your dog too. I've also read a lot of interesting ideas for makeshift treat dispensers. All you have to do is use your imagination.
Ever since she was a puppy, she's always loved her tennis ball.


Not all dogs need clothes, but for the short-haired ones, it is a good idea to have a jacket on during the winter. Aschiuta's jacket was made out of one of my old t-shirts.
Not quite in fashion, but still necessary (saved us from red spots all over the place).
There are a lot of ideas out there about reusing old clothes to make jackets (or other clothes) for your dog. At Sew DoggyStyle, you can find some interesting ideas about making doggie clothes and accessories.

And, Aschiuta was lucky and got a nice winter coat from Scorp's mom for Christmas. Bought, but we're planning on getting the design idea, buying material and making others ourselves.

Spaying or neutering

There are programs for free or low-price cat or dog spaying or neutering. All you need to do is get informed. Consult your vet too for the best possibilities. We are waiting until spring and will spay Aschiuta.

Well, these are the tips I can offer for keeping your dog healthy and happy without emptying your pocket.