Dog as weather forecaster

Kelly and I were amused at our dog Rocket’s attempt to hide himself in our closet at bedtime last night. He’s usually banished to the den so that we aren’t kept awake by his snoring. Occasionally, he’ll park himself outside our door when he wants company but his sneaking into our closet was quite unusual. Four hours later, at 2:30 AM, thunder first rumbled outside. Like most dogs, Rocket is terrified of thunder.

Today I’m left wondering: did our dog somehow know about the thunderstorm long before it arrived? If so, how? Was it the drop in air pressure? If air pressure is the answer, why doesn’t he react similarly when fronts move through that don’t cause thunderstorms?

In other news, I’m thinking of selling my weather radio. 🙂

Highlights of 2008: Rocket

I ended last year on a sad note when we said goodbye to my longtime feline companion, Smitty. Then in the following months we moved into a new home (and judged the kids ready for a pet), so we decided it was time to get a dog.

We met Rocket through a Lab rescue organization, and decided to “test-drive” him for an hour one evening. It wasn’t long after then that Rocket joined our family for good.

He’s led us on romps through the neighborhood, kept good company, become a great car traveler, learned a few tricks, and pretty much been everything we could’ve hoped for in a dog.

Dog foods

Here’s a great forum thread on dog (and cat) nutrition. Our dog trainer mentioned some of this last week and it opened my eyes. I never gave much thought to what is being put into dog food.

The good news is that the food we’re feeding Rocket is some of the best. Check the label of the stuff you’re using to see how it stacks up.

Hit the street, dog!

Just because I can’t scold my dog for leading me on a neighborhood chase Tuesday doesn’t mean I couldn’t exact some revenge! So, yesterday afternoon I hopped on my mountain bike, leashed Rocket up, took my life in my own hands, and took off through the neighborhood as fast as he could run.

My original plan was to take him on the Middle Crabtree Creek greenway, where I could ride and he could run for 11 miles without turning around. Instead I turned him around before we got within a quarter-mile of the greenway. He was winded and not used to this kind of exercise. On the trot back home he was putty in my hands: something I haven’t seen much of since we got him.
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We decided after meeting him that Rocket was our dog. He was delivered Saturday afternoon following Travis’s birthday party.

Rocket (or “Rocky” as I like to call him) is a super-sweet dog. He’s a two year old black Lab, and a rescue dog as I mentioned before. He’s playful, strong as hell, loves exercise but is also quite content to snooze on the floor.
Kelly’s been taking him on afternoon runs and reports that he’s very well behaved around other people and dogs.

He is also quite attached to his humans and desperate to please them. He greets us with a friendly lick to the face and full-body hugs. And he cries when he gets put in his crate when we leave. Boy does he complain! This boy’s got a bark that will send shivers down your spine!

We’re still getting used to his mild snoring and snuffling at night, but on all accounts he’s a wonderful addition to our family!

Test-driving a dog

Every now and then we’ve talked about adding a dog to the family. We wanted to be sure the kids were ready for it, and that we had the home and yard that would support it. We had reached this comfort level about the time I got an email saying Lab Rescue of North Carolina was looking for foster homes for labrador retrievers. We checked out their website, found some dogs we were interested in, filled out their comprehensive application, and waited.

We got an interview call this weekend from one of the facilitators and was referred to a foster dog owner here in Raleigh. Another call Sunday night and we arranged to meet this dog. We prepped the kids beforehand, letting them know this might not be the right dog for us. They seemed to understand, though, and looked forward to the meeting.

Last evening, the dog and its foster parents came over. We watched as Rocket, a 2-year-old lab, explored the back yard and got to know us as we got to know him. The kids gleefully chased the dog around, patting him on the back and tossing sticks for him to “retrieve.” Rocket also seemed to feel at home inside, and before long was lounging on the floor and licking faces clean.

Kelly and I think Rocket might be our dog. We’re going to wait until tonight to share the news with the kids, maybe to give us more time to consider things. Getting a dog is a big commitment but one that should reward us for years to come. Judging by the looks on our kids’ faces its the right thing to do.

Jupiter is gone

Jupiter in better days

Jupiter in better days

Today was the day I was hoping would never come, as impossible as it is. Today was the day we said goodbye to Jupiter, our porch cat.

Jupiter wandered into our lives ten years ago, his initial wariness giving way to unabashed love. Once a feral cat darting from home to home, he knew he had found his home when we stopped to feed and love him. The only night he ever spent indoors was his last one, last night.

I am in shambles.

He was the most dog-like cat I’ve ever known. He was super-chill, rarely letting anything faze him. He would come up and hug anyone who happened to stop by to chat. He would sometimes tag along with us when we would take the dog for a walk, trailing behind us and darting from home to home as if he were stalking us. He also always came running when he would hear our front door open or our voices calling to him.

He was a superstar of a cat.
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Highlights of 2020: Abbott and Tobin join the family

Abbott and Tobin  play tug-of-war

Abbott and Tobin

It was hard losing our last dog, Rocket. He went downhill quickly and we beat ourselves up questioning whether we had let him suffer too long. Someone once described owning a dog as an “emotional time bomb” and I agree. You invest so much love and affection in your pet to the point where you may take it for granted. But the bomb is always ticking and when it goes off it can really hurt. It took a while to get over the pain and consider getting another critter.

In February 2020, we began to get the itch to get another dog. One neighbor friend works with rescues and brought over one pup she was trying to home. While we chatted in the backyard, this dog went tearing around the yard, following the scent of our porch cat. The dog never paid any attention to us! I could tell this wasn’t the dog for us so we politely declined.

Then Kelly mentioned a neighbor friend had two dogs she was looking to home. The neighbor runs a kennel a.k.a. “pet spa” and had acquired the dogs from another kennel where the foster group seemed to abandon them. We set up an opportunity for the neighbor to bring them over so we could decide. Once again we chatted while getting to know the dogs, only this time they were friendly and interested in us! We laughed as they went tearing around, chasing each other around our backyard.

“This is progress!” I thought. We agreed to keep them over the weekend. That was March first and they have never left.
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Now he belongs to the ages

The last photo of Rocket

“Now he belongs to the ages.”

Such was the quote of Edward Stanton upon the death of Abraham Lincoln. While my dog Rocket was not Abraham Lincoln, I could not help but think that he, too, now belongs to the ages. He died around 8:35 PM last night, surrounded by his Turner pack.

The veterinarian, Dr. Janelle Fenlason from Azure Holland Mobile Veterinary Services, showed up about 15 minutes early to our 8:30 PM appointment. This was added some pain for me as it meant there was less time left to spend with Rocket. Kelly hurriedly gathered the kids so they could have some time with him before the vet arrived. I offered to snap their photos with Rocket but the idea wasn’t well received. I didn’t care because I wanted a photo of myself with him before he was gone.
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How does he know?

I witnessed very interesting behavior from our dog, Rocket, this evening. He was napping on the floor next to me while I read in the recliner and Hallie surfed the Internet from the other room. Kelly had been at work all day and was bringing Travis home from his piano lesson.

Everything was quiet in the house so I was wondering where our dog was going as he suddenly hopped up from his nap and walked over to the door leading to the garage. Seconds later, the garage door went up and Kelly and Travis walked in with Rocket greeting them.

I sat there astonished. Could it be the dog had somehow known they were coming home? How? He clearly hopped up from his nap and went directly to the door as if he knew they would arrive. I can’t say for sure what his intentions were but to my eyes it certainly seemed like he was ready to greet someone at the door.
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