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.