Enjoying Spring in Alabama

March 16, 2015 ~ a post by Dusty


Dusty watching the yard

Mom and Dad had a busy weekend. Mom didn’t get to do any needlepoint, she was outside working in the yard all weekend. Dad was digging holes. Mom put sticks in the holes and held them while Dad put dirt around the sticks. In three of the holes he said the sticks would grow into black raspberry bushes. In three other holes he said the sticks would grow into red raspberry bushes. Then he dug a trough and put stringy stuff in it that he said would be asparagus.


Dad working on first garden box

After the hole digging was done, Mom and Dad cleared three large spots. I thought they were doing this so I could roll in the leaves without dumping into trees or shrubs, I have great parents. I rolled in the cleared areas but didn’t let Mom take any pictures. After the rolling was done  Dad built some raised garden boxes.

Chopper on patrol

Chopper on patrol


Dusty resting after rolling in the leaves by new garden box.

3_garden boxes_blog

Three raised garden boxes done.

While Dad was building boxes, Mom hauled the little trees and branch clippings to the wood cutting area. Then she dug a hole in the front yard and planted some garlic. Once the garlic was covered with mulch she went over by the driveway and started digging bricks out of our yard. She found enough bricks to build a two story strawberry bed!

Strawberry bed

Strawberry bed

After the garden boxes were done Dad took Chopper and me for a truck ride. He stopped and bought chicken thighs to cook on the grill and he took Chopper and me to McDonald’s for ice cream cones. When we got home Dad helped Mom build the strawberry bed and loaded it with dirt. I didn’t get to roll in that dirt. Mom planted 50 strawberries. After that she told Dad she was very tired and was going to take a shower. I supervised Dad by the grill.

new strawberry bed

Chopper with new strawberry bed

After all that supervision Chopper and I slept real good. I bet Mom goes back to needlepoint soon.



Something is Going on Around Here

Last weekend Mom and Dad took Dusty and I for a long ride. We stopped at a place to sleep and had to walk up two flights of stairs to get to our room; then we were told not to bark at any noises. I like to bark at noises, but I don’t like to get scolded, so I jumped up on the bed and snuggled close to Dad and tried to ignore all sounds.

Dad calls this the Gray Shark.

Dad calls this the Gray Shark.

The next day we went to a big parking lot with lots of campers. We had visited here before. I like jumping up into the campers and looking around, but this time was different. Dad took us inside a building and we met a man who said he would let Mom drive one of the big campers, the one Dad calls the “Gray Shark”. Mom said she was nervous; I was surprised, I thought I was the only one in the family who got nervous. We left the building and went to one of the campers we had seen the week before. It has a super nice sofa for me to sit on and a big kitchen for Dad to cook in.

Nice white leather sofa for me and Dusty to lay on.

Nice white leather sofa for me and Dusty to lay on.

Sunova 35G kitchen

Sunova 35G kitchen

Dusty and I walked around inside the camper while Dad and the man looked at switches and talked about how to close things up. Mom moved the table over to the wall and safety belted it in. Then the floor I was standing on started to move. I got VERY nervous and went to Mom and sat on her foot. She patted my head and said not to worry, but I WAS WORRIED.

Big window to view the road.

Big window to view the road.

Once everything was closed up, Mom sat down in the driver seat and Dusty went and stood beside her to make sure she was doing everything right. Dad called Dusty to come sit on the sofa with us and Mom started to pull out of the parking spot. The man told her to “Stop”, then he got out of the camper and did something. When he came back he laughed and said he took the balloons off the mirror; we would look a bit silly driving down the road with balloons on the camper.

When we got going I got more and more nervous. The camper makes lots of scary loud noises. I went and sat next to Mom and put my head on her lap, but I didn’t look out that big window. I looked at the floor and tried real hard to tell Mom we should Go HOME NOW, but she couldn’t hear my thinking. I snuggled closer and closer to her (and closer to the accelerator). Mom finally asked Dad to call me back to the sofa, she said she was worried that I would end up with my but on the accelerator and she’d lose control of the camper. Dad called me and I reluctantly went back to sit with him. After what seemed like forever, Mom told the man she thought we should find a place to turn around. He agreed and soon told her to turn left. She did and we were on this really narrow street with a truck coming right at us. I did not see this of course, cause I was looking at the back of the camper, but Dusty was standing up front looking out the big window and told me about it later. Mom sucked in her breath and willed the camper to be a little thinner so we would not lose the side mirror and it worked. The camper was so close to the shoulder that you could hear it kick up a couple shoulder rocks, but we made it past the truck and safely to the end of the street where there was a parking lot that Mom pulled into and stopped.

Mom came and sat on the couch with me, by this time I was drooling and drops were landing on the nice sofa, Mom wiped them up with her sleeve. Dad got to drive back to the camper store with Dusty standing at his side the whole way. When we got back they thanked the man for the test drive and we got back into our truck and drove to Karen’s house. Mom and Dad talked about how you have to pay more attention when you drive a big rig (Dad kept calling her Big Rig Mama). When we got to Karen’s house I tried to bite Rufus’s head because he kept barking at my Dad and I didn’t like that. I got scolded for trying to bite Rufus, but I tell you he deserved it, he was being TOO LOUD.  Mom and Dad left Dusty and me at Karen’s for the day. I don’t know where they went but I was glad I didn’t have to ride along. They were gone a long time. Dusty hung out with Karen and Rufus while I chilled on the back porch and tried to recover from the scary ride.

The next day we drove home. Mom and Dad talked about the camper and how nice it is. Dad was very proud of Mom and how well she drove the big machine. Mom said she will need time and practice to get comfortable driving something so big, but she now believes she can do this. Mom said she would prefer to drive a shorter one, but likes all the living space a long one has to offer. Thankfully they both agreed that now is not a good time to buy an RV. They said we have to “get settled first” and maybe in a year or two they will go shopping again.

I wonder what they meant by “get settled”? I tell you, something is going on around here, I just cannot put my paw on what it is. Maybe Dusty knows.

I’m a Schnoodle!

Dusty photo in kennel

Shelter photo of "Soft Coated Wheaten/Mix" looking for a home

Mom finally figured it out, I’m not a Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier mix, I’m a Schnoodle. When she saw the posting for me on petfinder.com it indicated I was a SCWT mix. Mom looked at the photo and said, “That’s the strangest Wheaten I’ve ever seen, I must go meet her.” She and Chopper met me and it was love at first sight. For years when people asked Mom or Dad what kind of dog I am, they would say, “She’s a Wheaten mix.” But they weren’t really convinced of that. Mom’s been grooming me for two years and my coat just isn’t as Wheaten-ish as she thought it should be. Mom thought about having my DNA checked to see what it would reveal, but after going to Dogtime.com and seeing the photo they have posted of a Schnoodle, she’s 99% sure that’s what I am.

If I could talk I’d tell her she’s right, but since I can’t I just get real excited when she and Dad call me their little Schnoodle girl. The only difference between me and the cute dog shown below is that I have a long tail and she doesn’t.

Photo of a Schnoodle

Photo of a Schnoodle from Dogtime.com

For those of you who are unfamiliar with some of the new hybrids, a Schnoodle is a Schnauzer / Poodle mix. The size of the Schnoodle depends on the size of the parents. Since Schnoodles are not yet a recognized breed, there are no standards or size categories, but as you can imagine we can vary a lot in height and weight. According to Dogtime.com we range in height from 1 foot, 3 inches to 2 feet, 2 inches tall at the shoulder, and in weight from 20 to 75 pounds. I’m a petite girl at just 30 pounds.

My favorite quote from Dogtime.com:

“The playful Schnoodle loves nothing more than to be the center of his family’s attention.”

I love jumping on my parents when they get home from work and sitting on them when we watch TV! I also love it when they take me for walks and I can stalk squirrels. I want to play with a squirrel so bad, I don’t know why they won’t let me off my leash to chase one.

Learn more about Schnoodles at: http://dogtime.com/dog-breeds/schnoodle

Till next time! Chopper's signature Dusty (the schnoodle girl!)

Dusty by the pool

Dusty by the pool

Why I like having a big brother

  • I have someone to chase and chase me
  • I have someone to nip on my ears and beard – I nip right back at his
  • I have someone to share my walks with and help me smell all the great smells 
  • I have someone to run to my rescue when I let out a loud “Yip!”
  • I have someone who protects and defends me at the dog park
  • I have someone to run the fence with
  • I have someone to watch me get brushed and groomed

And best of all, I have someone to share the back seat with. . .

Sharing the seat

Riding to Wisconsin with Chopper

Choppers adoption story

SCWT baby
Anonymous Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier puppy less than 6 weeks old

I was born in a puppy mill. I lived in a box with my mother and litter-mates for a few weeks, then I was taken away from them and shipped across the country to a puppy store in the Phoenix area. I lived in a box at the puppy store that had a glass wall so people could look at me. It frightened me when people would knock on the glass wall. The people who worked at the store would get me out once a day for a brief play period, but I really missed playing with my brothers and sisters. A nice family with 4 kids bought me and another Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier (SCWT), they named me Chopper and her Charlie. Charlie was a feisty fun puppy we had a great time romping in the back yard when the weather was nice. When I was 15 months old my family realized they didn’t have the time needed to train 2 puppies and care for 4 kids, so they contacted S’Wheat Rescues & Adoptions, Inc. and placed Charlie and I into their care. We went to live with a foster family who had to have us shaved down because our coats were very matted.

Chopper foster photo

Chopper foster photo


Charlies foster photo with a short haircut

soft coated wheaten terriers

Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier adults

In case you have not met a Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier, let me tell you a little about my breed. We originated as farm dogs in Ireland. We protected people and property, worked cattle, kept down vermin, hunted badgers and foxes, and were even used as gun dogs, I couldn’t be a gun dog cause I’m scared of loud noises. According to The Dogs of Ireland by Anna Redlich, sporting or hunting dogs were reserved for the gentry, while the terrier like me remained the poor man’s dog. SCWT are medium size dogs (30 – 40 lbs), as adults we have soft wheat colored coats that need a lot of brushing and clipping. My Mom says we have Velcro coats, cause when I get the chance to romp in the woods I come out with leafs and twigs, burs and seeds sticking to my coat.

Hobes and Kiara

Muddy dogs after a walk

My mom can’t imagine dogs with Velcro coats like mine as farm dogs, but maybe  the farmers didn’t care if their dogs were covered in seed pods and twigs.

Back to my story, Charlie and I spent a couple of weeks with Aunt Pam. She was real nice. She had family members that came to visit just to play with Charlie and me. In May she had a vacation planned, so Charlie and me needed to move to a different foster home.

Cadi, Chopper, Lynn, Charlie

Cadi keeping an eye on the foster kids

Lynn and Julia had contacted the rescue to offer their services as a foster family. They had a SCWT for years in Wisconsin and really liked her, so they thought fostering would be a fun way to spend time with Wheatens again. They had an old dog named Cadi, they thought having some young dogs in the house would get her up and exercising more. I was very respectful of old Cadi, but Charlie wasn’t so nice. Charlie thought everybody in the whole world should love her and play with her. She did not understand why Cadi didn’t like it when Charlie jumped on her and knocked her down; that’s just how puppies play. Lynn fell in love with Charlie, he called her spit-fire and wild child. Julia liked me best, we would go for walks. Lynn and Julia even took Charlie and me to school. We learned to walk nice on a leash, and sit, and down. We tried to learn stay, but that was a hard lesson. We wanted to be by our people all the time; we didn’t want to stay behind while they walked away.

After a few weeks at Lynn and Julia’s the rescue decided they were not going to be able to find a home that would take both Charlie and me. Lynn and Julia tried to adopt us both, but the rescue did not want to place Charlie with another female dog. Wheaten females can get territorial and fight with other females. Cadi and Charlie already had to be kept separated if there wasn’t someone actively supervising them. Placing Charlie in the home would not have been fair to Cadi, so my adoption application was approved, but we kept looking for a special home for Charlie. After a couple of weeks a great family was found for Charlie, they had 3 kids who were so excited to meet her. We kept in touch with them for the next two years and I got to spend time at their house when my parents went on vacation and Charlie got to come to our place when her family had to go out-of-town. It’s so nice to have friend you can stay with.

Anyway, that’s how I came to live with Lynn and Julia. I’m still a nervous boy, but I know I’m safe with them and my new sister Dusty.

Chopper and Dusty fall 2011

Chopper (in his ThunderShirt) and Dusty, fall 2011

Need some extra love?

Do you have an older relative that could use some extra love? Why not talk to her about adopting a cat or dog. A pet gives a person a reason to get up in the morning, someone to talk to, and cuddle with, and a reason to stay active. Older people with pets tend to live independently longer than pet-less seniors. Studies also show that pets can lower our heart rate and blood pressure and reduce the frequency of serious illness.

When deciding on the right type of pet, consider the abilities of the person and the needs of the pet.

A cat is relatively easy to care for, doesn’t need daily walks or a lot of space; however, if your senior hasn’t had a pet recently I’d suggest a short-haired kitty so that grooming isn’t a big chore.

Caring for a dog is a bit more work, but has additional benefits that cats don’t offer. Many dogs can easily be trained to alert you when someone is at the door and will provide your loved one with a daily exercise partner.

Whichever way you decide to go, if at all possible, accompany your loved one to an adoption center and discuss the pros and cons of the available pets. Spend some time interacting with them to find a good match.

Chopper with Russ

Chopper and Papa getting ready for a walk.