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Sunday, March 4, 2012 12:41 PM
(Last updated on Sunday, March 4, 2012 01:44 PM)
 by Fëanor

True story: when I pulled up to the kennel where I was going to hand over Floyd to his new owners, Soul Asylum's "Runaway Train" came on the radio. You know, the one with the video about lost children? I was like, you've gotta be kidding me.

As you may remember from previous posts, for a long time now (wow, those posts are from over three years ago!) we've had trouble with our greyhound Floyd peeing in the house. Well, lately he's just been getting worse and worse. Every day, multiple times a day, we'd come into his room and find puddles, or - even better! - piles, of waste. He even took to laying in his pee and... well, I won't go into further detail, but suffice it to say, Floyd and his room were both continually a smelly mess. There was just no way to keep them clean. Besides being just plain disgusting, it was not a healthy environment in which to live, and to raise a child. And ever since our son was born, we've had a lot less time for the dog. It had basically become an untenable situation for all of us.

Thankfully the organization we adopted Floyd from is serious about taking care of these animals and asks that if you ever think of giving up your dog, you please contact them first so they can take him back, find a foster home for him, and hopefully get him adopted again by someone else. We'd considered doing this a number of times over the years, but never got up the nerve. It's hard to give up a dog you've had for so long, even one as weird and gross as Floyd. But recently, for whatever reason, we just hit a point where we couldn't deal with it any longer, and poppy and I agreed it was time for Floyd to go. I called the place, and they called me a few days later to let me know they'd found a foster home for him. I dropped him off this morning.

It was hard to do, and we can't help feeling a bit guilty about it, but I think it was the right thing for all of us. Griffin liked the dog, but he never really developed a relationship with him. After all, he wasn't able to pet the dog or play with him, partly because Floyd was usually too disgusting to touch, and partly because Floyd would run away from him whenever he got close. So Griff might be upset for a little while that the dog is missing, but I think he'll get over it quickly. As for Floyd, we had some good times with him, and I hope he has a happy rest of his life. I think he will. He's going to get to be with other greyhounds now, and with people who have more time, energy, and resources to take care of him. I bet he won't even pee in his new house. Much.

P.S. Most of Floyd's stuff is not in any shape to be used again and we're just trashing it, but we do have a couple of dog toys that are mostly untouched, food and water bowls that can be cleaned and reused, some bandages, and some nail trimming equipment, so let me know if you're interested!

P.P.S. Oh, and also pee pads, of course!

P.P.P.S. Also also, a large bin on wheels for holding pet food. Has a capacity of over 50 pounds, so good if you have a large dog or lots of cats.

P.P.P.P.S. Also also also, that damn song is really stuck in my head now.
Tagged (?): Animals (Not), Dogs (Not), Floyd (Not)
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Tuesday, September 1, 2009 01:33 PM
 by Fëanor

We recently returned from a week-long trip to Duck, North Carolina. My parents rented a house there and poppy, Floyd, and I stayed there with them, their dog Rusty, my brother, his wife, and their daughter. I spent most of the time eating, blogging, playing video games, and hanging out at the pool. Good times. A few further notes:

  • The house was surrounded by spiders, a number of them quite large - although thankfully none of them ever got inside the house. Mom and I, with the help of the internet, identified the biggest ones as orb weavers. They were generally very still, although they did twitch if you made a loud noise. They were a little frightening, but did not capture any of our cars in a giant web, or jump on anyone's face.

  • Floyd tends to get a little freaked out on long drives, so the last time we took him with us to Duck, we drugged him both ways. We used a mild sedative the vet had given us for this purpose, which left Floyd acting like a drunk zombie. We used the same drug this time on the way down, but whether because he's built up a resistance to the drug, or because it lost its potency since it was prescribed, or because we gave it to him on a full stomach this time, it didn't really affect him until many hours into the journey. Despite this fact, he actually handled the traveling quite well, and did pretty good in the house, too, so on the way back we decided not to drug him at all. He was very calm for most of the ride, and only seemed to get freaked out when we stopped in a strange place (I think he was afraid we were taking him to the vet). What a good doggie!

  • The night before we left Duck we watched the great majority of Mega Shark vs. Giant Octopus on Syfy. Wow. What a terrible film. It was a failure in every way: bad writing, bad acting, bad editing, bad effects, bad story, bad sets, etc. The biggest name stars in the movie were Debbie Gibson (who played a scientist) and Lorenzo Lamas (who played a gruff, arrogant, irritating military man). The best scene by far was the one where the Mega Shark leaped out of the water and chomped an airliner out of the sky. Sadly there were very few scenes like that; the majority of the movie was painfully badly acted dialog scenes on really cheap sets.

  • I was lucky enough to be a big favorite of my niece Cara this time around. I was often requested to sit near her or help her with one thing or another. I was very flattered. She's a sweet little girl.

  • On the way back home I became so desperate for coffee that I got some at McDonalds, even though I was pretty sure that McDonalds coffee would be terrible. Turns out I was right. Even with all the cream and sugar I put in it, it just tasted like hot, bitter water. That doesn't mean I didn't drink the whole cup, of course.

  • Also on the way back we made a special u-turn so we could stop at a Dairy Queen and try their new Thin Mint Blizzard. Thumbs up!
Tagged (?): Animals (Not), Dogs (Not), Drink (Not), Floyd (Not), Food (Not), Movies (Not), Personal (Not)
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Friday, March 13, 2009 10:55 PM
 by Fëanor

I was very excited to receive in the mail today the RAM I ordered a while back for our laptop. Recently the laptop has been frustrating poppy and me a great deal with its agonizing slowness. Cleaning up the hard drive and defragging didn't seem to make much difference, so more RAM was the obvious next step. I popped it open a few hours ago, installed it, turned the computer on, and was cruising right along... until the computer just froze up completely. I got scared I might have dislodged the hard drive when I was opening literally every compartment on the bottom of the machine trying to find the RAM slots, but it turned out I just hadn't pushed one of the RAM chips all the way down into its slot. I settled it in there more firmly and now everything's going swimmingly. I haven't really given the computer a serious workout yet, but it already seems quite a bit snappier.

One of the first things I did on the new sped up computer is give Floyd his own Twitter account. His username is floydthegrey. I'm going to try not to get carried away and add his Twitter feed to my blog index, and give him his own Facebook account, and stuff like that. But we'll see what happens.
Tagged (?): Animals (Not), Computers (Not), Dogs (Not), Floyd (Not), Greyhounds (Not), Technology (Not), Twitter (Not)
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Friday, March 13, 2009 06:23 AM
(Last updated on Friday, March 13, 2009 07:03 AM)
I'm Exhausted. Here's Why
 by Fëanor

At around 12:30 this morning, the neighbor's dog began barking insistently and repeatedly. This was accompanied and followed by an insistent and repeated pounding noise, which itself was followed by some shouting. I'm guessing one of the other neighbors went over and complained about the dog. God bless that person, because the dog stopped barking after that.

At around 3:00 this morning, our dog started whining, the way he does these days. I think I got him to quiet down pretty quickly, but it didn't really matter, because at just about the same time a helicopter flew in low and began to circle the neighborhood over and over with a loud buzzing noise that sometimes actually shook the house. This continued for about an hour. I have no idea what it was about. I put on the TV and tried to find some local news, with the idea that there might be a story that would explain the presence of a helicopter in our area (a search for escaped criminals? A fire?), but to my consternation, nobody broadcasts local news at 3:30 in the morning. I even considered calling the police to ask them if they had a helicopter patrolling my area and why, and if they didn't, to please come and remove the machine immediately. (UPDATE: I also thought about going outside, in the hopes that I'd be able to tell what was going on just by looking around. And also that I might be able to convey to the pilot, via hand gestures as he was flying by, that I'd really appreciate it if he flew somewhere else, and that, once he got there, I wouldn't mind if he died horribly in a fire.) Actually, it's a good thing we don't own a gun, because I was fantasizing about stepping outside with a rifle and shooting the helicopter down. (UPDATE: I might have taken a few shots at the neighbor's dog while I was at it.) I was also wishing for the pilot to fly away and then crash and burn in an empty field nearby.

The helicopter finally left a little after 4, to my great relief. The dog whined some more but eventually I got back to sleep... only to wake to the dog whining again a little after 5:30. Which is just as well, because I usually get up at 5:30, but I forgot to set the alarm last night.

Normally I'd be exercising right now, but I'm just too tired.
Tagged (?): Animals (Not), Dogs (Not), Floyd (Not), Greyhounds (Not), Personal (Not)
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Sunday, March 8, 2009 01:43 PM
The Dog Urine Saga, Continued
 by Fëanor

So, as the more realistic and less optimistic among you might have guessed, I spoke a bit too soon in this post when I predicted that our problems with Floyd peeing in the house were over. Sadly he has done it again a number of times since then. I'm still kind of hoping that when he finishes out his pills he'll miraculously get better, but I'm not so sure anymore. We already scheduled another appointment with the vet just in case, and we're even trying various pseudo-magical alternative medicine options.

In the meantime, we decided we really had to do some serious cleaning, so we rented a Rug Doctor from the Wegmans. Unfortunately, it somehow only made things worse. The urine smell, which had mostly dissipated, got stronger and spread all over the room. Awesome.

But the story gets funnier! This morning we went back to Wegmans for two reasons: to do our grocery shopping for the week, and to return the Rug Doctor. We managed to forget both the shopping list and the Rug Doctor. We remembered enough of the list to do most of our shopping, then hurried back home so I could load the Rug Doctor up and get it back before we'd be charged for another day's rental. I made it with fewer than 10 minutes to spare. Then I finished the shopping and had the clever idea of also picking up a spray for the rug to try to fix what the Rug Doctor had ruined. It seems to have worked pretty well - anyway, it now smells like potpourri in here instead of urine - but we'll have to see if it lasts.
Tagged (?): Dogs (Not), Floyd (Not), Greyhounds (Not), Personal (Not)
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Saturday, February 28, 2009 07:01 AM
(Last updated on Saturday, February 28, 2009 08:56 PM)
The Dog Urine Saga
 by Fëanor

(As you could probably guess from the title, the following contains a lot more about dogs peeing than you ever wanted to know, so feel free to skip if you'd rather not deal with the subject.)

The last few weeks have been really frustrating for poppy and me, as Floyd reverted to his old behavior of peeing in the house. He did this a few times when we were in the condo, and then for a week or so after we moved into the new house. Both times we were pretty sure it was a behavioral issue - he was experiencing anxiety, either because of a huge change that had just occurred in his life that he was not adjusting to well, or because he couldn't handle being alone and separated from us. Both of those times, we pretty much just waited it out and eventually he stopped. In the one case, we began trying various training methods to make him stop, but I was never convinced they had much effect on him.

So this time, I once again assumed it was an anxiety problem. Recently, Poppy and I got really sick with the flu and one or the other or both of us were home with Floyd for an entire week. It was shortly after that that he started peeing again - once every day while we were away at work, always in almost exactly the same place - so I figured he'd probably gotten used to us being home with him and was upset that we were going away again. I thought we'd be able to just wait it out as we had before and pretty soon he'd get used to us going to work again and he'd stop. But he kept doing it, again and again. And then eventually it even got worse; he started peeing at night, too, while we were upstairs sleeping. I tried some training methods, but like before, I really couldn't tell if they were doing any good. The whole situation was just incredibly frustrating. Floyd is a big dog, and when he pees, he doesn't pee a little bit. He pisses like a horse, in fact. We were spending 15-20 minutes, twice a day cleaning up huge puddles of pee. And you can't just explain to the dog, "Look, please don't do this. We always come back, don't we? Just wait a little while and we'll take you out." And you can't exactly yell at him or kick him for something he did hours ago while you weren't there. He wouldn't understand that at all. (Normally I wouldn't consider kicking him for any reason at all, but a couple of times during the past couple weeks, I sure thought about it.)

So, having run out of options and patience, we took the dog to the vet Thursday night. We have a great vet who really knows and loves greyhounds, and who's also quite kind and considerate, and happy to take the time to talk everything out with you in detail and explain everything to you. He decided from what we were telling him, and from what little he could gather from the tiny urine sample we were able to bring in (by the time we tried to collect, Floyd had already expended everything on the floor; probably we should have sopped some up with a paper towel and wrung it out over the container!), that Floyd might very well have a bladder infection, and he gave us some pills. This was actually quite a relief; maybe this problem was something we could just apply pills to and it would go away! We gave Floyd the first pill as soon as we got home. He peed again that night while we slept, but when we got home yesterday evening, even though we were a little late, we discovered to our great joy that he had not peed. The floor was also dry when I came down to let him out this morning.

We'll of course make sure Floyd finishes out his treatment and takes all the pills, but I think he's already turned the corner and most likely won't have an accident again any time soon. I'm still not sure if it was a physical problem, and the pills started working right away, or it was really an anxiety issue and it was just a coincidence that he got over it when he did. Regardless, it's a huge weight off our shoulders.
Tagged (?): Animals (Not), Dogs (Not), Floyd (Not), Personal (Not)
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Monday, December 29, 2008 06:37 PM
Merry Poochmas!
 by Fëanor

I can't let this day go by without pointing out that it is the anniversary of the birth of our boy Floyd, an auspicious occasion I have chosen to call Poochmas. Our mighty, neurotic hound is now eight years old, and enjoying his new home, even if he only really uses one room and the backyard, and consents to walk through a couple of other rooms and hallways. So a merry Poochmas to all, and a happy birthday to Floyd! Many happy returns!

Floyd at Ag Field Day

Tagged (?): Dogs (Not), Floyd (Not), Greyhounds (Not), Illustrated (Not), Photography (Not)
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Thursday, December 25, 2008 06:12 PM
(Last updated on Friday, December 26, 2008 01:57 PM)
Xmas Haul - Now with Pics!
 by Fëanor

UPDATE 1: I added some photos! Click here to see the entire Christmas set. (All pics of my niece have been marked private, to protect her from evil. If you are a relative who would like to see them and cannot, let me know!)

UPDATE 2: Added a new item that I just received.

Below are all the awesome gifts I got for Christmas this year. If I forgot a gift, a gift-giver, or attributed a gift to the wrong gift-giver, I deeply apologize. Please know it is no reflection on you or your gift, but merely a reflection on my very poor memory.

My personal haul
Stuff I got from poppy and poppy's Dad.

  • From poppy's Dad:
    • Garmin nüvi GPS - This was a big surprise, and a very cool gift. We already used it driving to my parents' house this morning; it told us a slightly different route than we're used to, which worked pretty well. Plus, we've already switched it to talk in a British accent, and named it Cassandra.

    • Star Wars: The Force Unleashed color changing lightsaber - Aww yeah. It looks like you're a good guy with a green blade until you click a button that extends spikes from the sides and changes the blade color from green to red. Then you stab your enemies! I have two other lightsabers in the basement; I'm tempted to bring them all up, load them up with batteries, and have people over for a giant lightsaber fight.

    • Vivitar binoculars with UV-coated optics - For spying on the neighbors.

    • $100 debit card

    • Uncle John's Bathroom Reader: Golden Plunger Awards - I'm one of those people who can't stand just sitting on the toilet doing nothing, and poppy's Dad knows this. I've already made use of this book; it's full of fascinating trivia.

    • Open It! - This is a very handy little gadget for opening hard to open packages. It's a pair of serious-looking shears with a tiny screwdriver and a razor blade hidden in either handle. I've already used it a lot opening other Christmas presents.

  • From my grandparents:
    • $30 Olive Garden gift card - Yummy!

  • From poppy:
    • LEGO Mars Mission Crystal Hawk - poppy knows I love the LEGOs, so she got me this cool little spaceship with a dude riding it. Then she stole it from me and put it together herself. But she has since taken it apart again so I can do it, so I'll forgive her.

    • Christmas Star Wars figures - These are three pseudo-super-deformed SW figures (Han, Chewie, and C3PO), repurposed for Christmas with holiday-themed accessories. Han has a wreath around his blaster, Chewie is holding a Christmas tree, and 3PO is wearing a Santa hat.

    • The Complete Superman Collection - A DVD containing every one of the Fleischers' fantastic, award-winning Superman cartoons. Truly awesome.

    • Flight to Mars - A DVD of a cheesy sci-fi flick! Should be fun.

    • Hellboy Animated: Sword of Storms on DVD - My favorite of the animated Hellboy movies.

    • Jenny Finn: Doom Messiah - A graphic novel that I had on my wishlist, and that I actually know nothing about apart from the fact that Mike Mignola wrote it. But that's all I need to know!

    • Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers) by the Wu-Tang Clan - My first Wu-Tang CD. I suspect I will love it.

    • Bat-Manga! - A book of reprints of some odd Japanese Batman comics made I think during the '60s. Can't wait to check this out. The book is big, colorful, and beautifully designed.

    • The Marvel Vault - Very possibly my favorite gift this year. A huge book telling the entire history of Marvel Comics, from its beginnings to present day, with a lot of fantastic Marvel memorabilia secreted into plastic sleeves throughout the book, including reprints of sketches by famous artists, Marvel fan club cards, posters, postcards, and all kinds of other crazy little things. I'd never heard of this, but it looks amazing and I'm looking forward to digging into it.

  • My personal haul
    Stuff I got from my parents and my brother and sister-in-law.

  • From my parents:
    • Iron Man and The Incredible Hulk on DVD - Yes, my friends, it was a very Marvel Christmas for me. Excelsior!

    • $25 iTunes gift card - Most excellent. There's definitely a few albums lying around that I need to get.

    • Once Upon a Time in the North by Philip Pullman - I just discovered this existed recently. It's sort of a prequel to the His Dark Materials trilogy. Exciting.

    • The Goon: Chinatown and the Mystery of Mr. Wicker - Nothing says Christmas like the Goon.

    • Green Lantern: The Sinestro Corps War - Volume Two - Woo hoo! Been looking forward to this.

  • From Steve and Evelyn:
    • Brookstone Mini Charging Valet - A handy dealie for storing your devices while they charge.

  • From our friends Susan and Matt:
    • The Ultimate Encyclopedia of Mythical Creatures - We haven't known Susan and Matt for that long, but somehow Susan was still able to guess I would like this. She was right! I love books full of monsters.

Poppy also got a lot of cool stuff, and the pooch received some fun toys and treats (although he got nothing from us, because we're terrible dog parents). All-in-all, it's been a pretty awesome Christmas. Hope yours was as good!

All our gifts under the tree
All our stuff safely ensconced under the tree.

Floyd enjoys a Christmas present
The pooch enjoying his present from his granddad.

Tagged (?): Books (Not), Christmas (Not), Comic books (Not), Dogs (Not), Floyd (Not), Food (Not), GPS (Not), Green Lantern (Not), Greyhounds (Not), Hellboy (Not), His Dark Materials (Not), Hulk (Not), Illustrated (Not), Iron Man (Not), LEGO (Not), Mike Mignola (Not), Movies (Not), Music (Not), Photography (Not), Star Wars (Not), Superman (Not), Technology (Not), The Goon (Not), Toys (Not)
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Saturday, September 27, 2008 08:52 AM
 by Fëanor

Here's Floyd cuddling with his toys. He's so cute!

Tagged (?): Dogs (Not), Floyd (Not), Greyhounds (Not), Illustrated (Not), Photography (Not)
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Thursday, August 7, 2008 01:21 PM
 by Fëanor

Here are some camera phone pictures I took while I was on vacation in North Carolina. You'll notice I took no pictures of people, only of animals and objects. This is my way.

Here's Floyd on his bed, being totally adorable.

Here's Floyd and my parents' dog, Rusty, being adorable together, waiting at the front door for everybody else to come back.

Here's a Pepsi machine, located outside a gift shop near the house my parents' rented for us, with an amusing message on it; in case you can't read it, it says: "USE AT OWN RISK - DOES GIVE WRONG DRINK AND TAKES MONEY."
Tagged (?): Dogs (Not), Floyd (Not), Greyhounds (Not), Illustrated (Not), Personal (Not), Photography (Not)
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