it’s a fuzzy fuzzy world…

life in the heartland… with dogs… and cats…


Mr. Murphy has a home!

Mr. Murphy, originally my sister’s foster dog but who became a joint project when she moved back east and he stayed in Indiana with me, finally found his furever family and went home this weekend.

He’d been taking his time about the whole process, having had meet-and-greets with a couple of other families before this one, but we were really hoping for that sometimes-elusive “perfect match”… the one where the humans fall head-over-heels in love with the dog, and where the foster mom (or moms, in this case) thinks “Oooh… I like them… I like them a lot!”

[lj-cut text=”details and pictures back here!”]We’d met other people who I liked a lot (and who will make outstanding adopters when they find their perfect Shiba!), but this was the first time we’d hit the magic combination of excellent approved adopters who also just absolutely fell in love with Murphy.

We got together for the first time last weekend, and I opted to do things a little differently this time. Previous meet-and-greets had been at a dog park in West Lafayette, which was a great meeting place but which put Murphy on unfamiliar turf and provided a lot of distractions. This time, to give him the best opportunity to make a good impression, and to have the best controlled environment for him meeting the potential family’s current Shiba, we met at my house.

Granted, that’s not always an available option (due to needing to meet people partway if they’re travelling, etc.) but I really think it worked in Murphy’s favor this time (it helped that the potential adopters were local, so I wasn’t having to meet them part-way). He and Lola (their year-old female Shiba) hit it off immediately and had a grand time playing, first in the house and then out in the yard. I put the big boys in their crates for the duration since they can be a little, well, overwhelming when there are newcomers.

The initial meeting went really well and they spent about an hour hanging out and getting to know Murphy. By the end of the visit, he was making overtures to both of them (after a bit of typical Shiba wariness of the strangers) and I was convinced that I could be happy sending our boy to live with them. (If you haven’t fostered and you’re consider doing so, make sure you’re working with a rescue who gives the foster a lot of input into the final decision… at that point, you’ll know the dog better than anybody else in the rescue!)

Wednesday was their home visit, and they were so excited about Murphy that I think they’d’ve picked him up on Thursday if we could have materialized all the necessary paperwork that quickly! Instead, we settled on Friday after work, so I could get paperwork printed up and get all Murphy’s stuff together, and so I’d have one last night to get myself ready to let him leave. (Naturally, the little rat chose that night to hop up on the bed and sleep with his head on my ankles… he’d never slept with me before, and I’m convinced that he knew something was up!)

Then it was Friday, and it was time for me to get ready to let the little guy go. I picked up a bag of the Evo Red Meat that he’s been eating, and gathered up his favorite toys, then we headed out into the yard for a few last pictures.

lying in the grass

lying in the grass

Murphy in the sun

Murphy in the sun

Murphy... all grown up

Murphy... all grown up

He was content to just hang out, and didn’t seem too interested in romping with the big boys, so we headed back in the house to wait for Allie and Richard.

smiling dog

smiling dog

And then they were here! Murphy couldn’t decide whether to bark at the front door or to run back into the living room and look out the window. I caught him and let them in the house and after a few minutes of visiting, we settled in to do all the adoption paperwork. With the formalities out of the way, we got him “dressed” in his new finery… a red IU harness and a blue collar and Colts leash, and then I got a few pictures of the happy family.

Murphy and new family

Murphy and new family

Murphy and Richard

Murphy and Richard

Murphy relaxing

Murphy relaxing

Getting ready to leave

Awww... they look so happy together!

Murphy takes his leave

Murphy takes his leave

G'bye, Mr. Murphy!

G'bye, Mr. Murphy!

As much as I miss the little guy, I’m thrilled that he finally has the perfect family of his own. He’s got a Shiba playmate who’s just a few months younger than him, and people who love him and want the best for him. He’s settling in nicely and looks happy and relaxed in the pictures from his first night in his new home.

Murphy, the fosterShiba

I finally managed to get camera, camera battery and then card reader into useful locations and I have pictures of Murphy, the household’s foster Shiba Inu. He just turned a year old, and he’s turning into quite the nice little guy. He’s also generally an excellent housedog. Of course, as I typed that, I heard crunching noises and found him munching on the buckle to one of my sandals. Thankfully, he hadn’t done any damage yet when I redirected him back to a bone and a toy.

[lj-cut text=”pictures are back here!”]These span the last few months, starting in February and progressing through this past weekend. He still looks a little adolescent, but he’s much less gangly now than he was just a few months ago. 🙂

Murphy, looking cute...

All covered up and ready to nap

Enjoying a sunny afternoon


Posing on the hillside

Watchfully resting

A little more relaxed...

Sleeping puppy is sleeping now...

[/lj-cut]I hope you enjoyed the tour of Life With Murphy!

Damp house… confused critters…

Since I moved into this house, back in July, my primary living space has been the huge walk-out basement. My bedroom is down there, and my big-screen TV and comfy squishy sofas, perfect for lounging on with dogs and cats while working (or playing) on the laptop. There’s easy access to the backyard, by way of the screened porch, and it’s just an altogether more convenient and pleasant “critter space” than the upstairs. (It also allows me to keep the upstairs relatively cat-free, since I have friends and family who are allergic to the feline members of the Reddogs clan.)

Last night, having spent most of the day upstairs doing laundry and unpacking books and generally doing rainy-day chores, I headed down the stairs to grab a laundry basket and realized that the carpet looked funny. Then I got closer and realized the carpet was drenched. Oops! The basement was flooding

As I started the process of contacting the insurance company (who ultimately didn’t cover it because it was a “groundwater incursion” for which I’m not covered) and moving furniture to the dry side of the basement, I also relocated all the animals to upstairs. The cats all got caught and stashed in the small bedroom, where they’re safe from the possibility of escaping while workers are in and out of the house. Conveniently, that room opens onto the main upstairs bathroom, so I can go into the bathroom, close the hall door, then open the bedroom door to go in and feed/water/snuggle cats, letting the bathroom act as a kind of “airlock” to keep kitties from escaping.

Then I drug all the dog crates upstairs and stashed them in the master bedroom, which is my temporary sleeping space (on a twin futon… bleah) until the Big Noisy Fans are gone from downstairs and I can have my room back. The dogs have taken this in stride, ’cause they’re pretty much just happy to be wherever I am, and they can still hang out in the living room with me (Thunder the English Setter looks very elegant sprawled on the leather sofa). The cats, however, are extremely unhappy about this turn of affairs. They’re used to being able to sleep with me, and to snuggle against me while I’m working on the laptop. They do not like being banished to a single room, but we’ve got at least three more days of contractors being in and out of the house to finish drying out the basement and I can run the risk of freaked-out kittie escaping through an open door. 🙁

I want my bed back… and my DVR (it’s hooked up to the big TV downstairs)… and I want my house to not sound like I live in a wind-tunnel. But we can all survive a few more days of this, and the good news is that the water was limited to the floor… the walls aren’t wet, and the carpet is probably okay (yay for really good water abatement crews!), and in a few days life will be back to normal.

Check it out!

My niece, also known as “the really cool teenager who lives upstairs from me,” has started a neat new blog. She’s writing a teen advice column, Ask Jaqi, and you should check it out (and recommend it to the teenagers in your life!).

She’s got a lot on the ball, so I think she’ll give great advice!

The dog food dilemma

I’ve fed Eagle Pack Holistic for several years, and until recently I was happy with the results. The boys maintained good weight and had great coats.

Since the move, though, and especially since fencing the yard, Drummer’s on the skinny side and Thunder is positively gaunt. The Eagle Pack doesn’t seem to be nutrient-dense enough to keep the BusyBoys at a good fighting weight while they’re running running running in the new yard. I’ve also been unhappy with (not to put too fine a point on it) the volume of doggy “output” that I’m having to pick up in the yard. Since our standard lamb & rice formula didn’t seem to be suiting Thunder, I first tried a different Eagle formulation, but the fish & oatmeal didn’t help, so the next phase of the quest was to find something completely different. This time the goal was no grain, minimal carbs, and more protein and fat.

[lj-cut text=”food, food and more food”]

The last time I read all the bags at my favorite purveyor of pet food, they didn’t have anything substantially better than what I was already feeding. This time, though, I found two possibilities, one with 10% more protein than the Eagle Pack and the second with 20% more.


               EAGLE PACK          BEFORE GRAIN 3          EVO RED MEAT
Protein        22%                 32%                     42%
Fat            15%                 15%                     22%
Fiber          4%                  3%                      2.5%
kcal/cup       403                 383                     487
1st ingred.    lamb meal           buffalo, deboned        beef
2nd ingred.    ground brown rice   chicken meal            lamb meal
3rd ingred.    ground white rice   potato, dehydrated      potato
4th ingred.    chicken fat         turkey meal             egg
5th ingred.    oatmeal             canola oil              sunflower oil

So… current plan is to feed a mix of the BG and Evo, starting w/ mostly BG and converting over to mostly Evo by the time the current 6.6 lb bag of the BG runs out, then I’ll feed the Evo for a couple of months and see what happens. Since both have more fish oil in them than the Eagle Pack had, I’ll reconsider which supplements I’m adding. I think I’ll keep adding probiotics for now, at least until Thunder’s perpetual yeast infection in his ears finally clears up.

[/lj-cut]Things I like about the Evo Red Meat: After the five ingredients listed above, four of the next five are meat (and the fifth is oil), and four of the next five are fruits and vegetables. Only thing I don’t like about the Evo, at least so far? It’s 50% more expensive than the Eagle Pack, which was already pricey. Ouch. I hope they do well on it!!

Entertainingly, this experiment in food means that the dogs are now eating a higher-protein kibble than the cats, who are of the opinion that the dog food smells really really good now.

So, dog-people… what do you feed, and why? (And yes, I’ve heard all the arguments for feeding raw, and that’s not a path I’m ready to go down.) Anybody with experience with either the BG or Evo Red Meat?

If you ever wondered…

… if your vote counts…

Tonight I know for sure that my vote made a difference, at least on a micro scale. My little county in Indiana, with 100% of the precincts reporting, went 49.6% Obama and 49% McCain.

And as I was in the midst of typing this, McCain made a very gracious concession speech and the electoral college projections moved up to 306 votes for Obama.

It’s been a good day.

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