Tag Archives: Labrador retriever

Good bye to a good dog

We had to say goodbye to our 14-year old Labrador Retriever, Casey, last week. Casey had been failing for some time. His cataracts left him mostly blind and we really don’t think he could hear a thing anymore. He had a bad case of arthritis in his back legs. As a pet owner, you always hope you will know when it is the right time to put your pet down — not too soon, but not too late either. We think it was Casey’s time.

Casey in 2009

Casey in 2009

We adopted Casey in January 2003 from a lab rescue group in Atlanta. We had driven to Atlanta and spent the night so we could be at the “adoption day” event bright and early. Casey won Mrs. Poolman’s heart when he leaned up against her leg and just slid down her leg to lie on his back in a definite “Please scratch my chest” pose.

As it turned out, Casey wasn’t the brightest dog in the animal kingdom, but he may have been one of the sweetest. That was one of his two definitive personality characteristics. He loved children. When he was still spry enough to go on walks, I used to joke that he was the post popular kid in the neighborhood. Small children would literally run out of their houses, calling his name. When we stopped, they would hug is neck, and he would respond with a big slurp on the child’s cheek.

His other defining characteristic is that he loved to carry things around in his mouth. He rarely chewed anything, but he had a real oral fixation. Shoes, stuffed animals, you name it. If he could pick it up, he would carry it. He wasn’t really a very good retriever, because, although he liked to chase and fetch, he didn’t want to give up whatever he had. He loved rolled up newspapers. They were the perfect size and shape. The highlight of his day was to fetch the morning newspaper from the front walk. He was known around the neighborhood as that well-trained dog that fetches the newspaper. “How did you teach him to do that?” We hated to tell people that he just came that way.

Shortly after he came to live with us, my brother- and sister-in-law came to visit us. Brother-in-law was carrying some luggage in from his car and his home newspaper was dangling from his hand in its plastic bag. They had not met Casey before, so he was shocked when Casey came running up from behind, jumped and grabbed the newspaper right out of his hand. Casey pranced around the yard, tossing the paper up in the air and very proud of himself.

It wasn’t all cotton candy and unicorns. He had a strong storm anxiety and on one occasion managed to eat the better part of two couches and a down comforter.  That doesn’t even count the numerous rainy nights we were kept awake by his whimpering and pawing.  And the last year or so hasn’t been easy.

All in all, though, he was a great member of our family for just over 12 years and we will miss him.


Pets, snow and the BCS

We had a pretty quiet weekend. Two of our pets, Casey the Lab and Penny the Fearless, underwent surgery on Friday. Casey had a growth removed from his right-front paw, and Penny was spayed and declawed (front only.) Casey came home shortly after the surgery on Friday, but Penny was held overnight, so we picked her up on Saturday.

Both did very well. With the help of pain medication, the two of them spent most of Saturday curled up together on a pallet in front of the fireplace.

And people still ask us if our dogs and cats get along. Ya think?

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I had originally planned to be in Atlanta for three days this week for the governor’s inauguration, the opening of the legislature and a Board of Regents meeting. Five to eight inches of snow sure changed those plans. It’s just as well. Now I have three open days I hadn’t planned on to get some things done.

We are cold and rainy here, but, fortunately, no signs of snowfall. Just as well — an inch of snow in coastal Georgia would shut the region down until spring.

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The college football season ends tonight. Then we face a seven and a half month drought until the next kickoff. We’ll have the NFL to hang on to for a few more weeks. We’ll be rooting for the Auburn against the “fighting ducklings” in the BCS championship game tonight. As much as I have trouble believing that Auburn’s QB Cam Newton is really as naïve and innocent as his family tries to make out, we’ll pull for the SEC standard bearer – for better or worse. Let’s make it five SEC national champs in a row!

Taxes and unhappy roommates, cats and dogs

The big excitement of the weekend was doing our taxes. We have used TurboTax for the last several years and strongly recommend it. Mrs. Poolman and I have the system down. I sit at the keyboard and she sits with all the paperwork in front of her. I ask the questions and she gives me the answers. I repeat it to confirm and then move on to the next item. We were done in about two hours. We pretty much broke even this year. We owed on the Federal but got a refund on the state. So it pretty much balanced out. I know some people get real excited when they get a big refund. I don’t think they realize it’s really their money they have been lending to Uncle Sam for the past year.

Poolboy’s roommate is giving him every reason possible to become a former roommate. They haven’t had any water in their condo since last Thursday. He came over to our house yesterday to take a shower. The two split up the utilities and Roommate is responsible for the water. For the third time in the past two years, they have had their water cut off because Roommate just can’t seem to find the time to pay the bill. I suspect that “happy couple” is headed for divorce.

Writer Princess and SIL moved in for a short stay last evening while their condo is being repaired for mold damage. They brought their cats which are quarantined in our second guest room. The kitties are not happy, but they’ll live.

Poolboy and GF joined us for dinner. We grilled some steaks and had a nice family feast. I’m still fighting a cold, so I took a half-dose of Nyquil and went to bed around 10:30 pm.

About 90 minutes later, I was ready to put Casey the Lab out of MY misery. It started raining with a little lightning and thunder – not really very much of either. It just drove the dog crazy. I was awakened by Casey trying to climb into bed and pawing at my arm.

Casey the Lab in happier times

After having no success getting him to settle in his doggie bed, I went ahead and helped him into our bed with the hope he would settle at my feet. No such luck. Within a minute or two he was back up at the head of the bed where he laid down half on top of me. Even after arranging him so he wasn’t directly on top of me, he panted so hard the entire bed shook like it was equipped with “magic fingers.” (“Put in the quarter. Turn out the light. Magic fingers make you feel all right.” – Jimmy Buffet) We fought about it for about a half hour until he must have settled down somewhere because I eventually fell back to sleep. Mrs. P had taken a full dose of Nyquil for her cold and slept through the entire fight. Next time, I’ll sic Casey on her.

Bad night

This was a rough morning. I am functioning on about three hours sleep, which is at least four hours less than I need to be on top of the game. It was not a good night.

The first problem was my own darn fault. I had two cans of Pepsi Max during the evening. The caffeine had me awake and alert.  Our dog, “Casey the Lab,” is weather-phobic. Lightning and thunder drive him around the bend. Even heavy rain and winds cause him to have an anxiety attack.  Last night, it wasn’t a major storm, but about the time we went to bed it started raining and the wind picked up. The darn dog would not settle down.  He kept panting loudly and pacing around our bedroom, with his nails making scratching noises on the new floor. Occasionally, he would try to jump up into bed with me. Then the power went off and that made him even crazier. Finally, around 3:30 am,  Mrs. P had had enough of it and went out to the family room to sleep on the couch. She took the big doofus with her.

She is not working today. I hope she can catch up on her lost sleep.

Mid-week rambles

I haven’t posted in a couple of days, so here are some random thoughts.

Tiger Woods’ family problems seem to be the headline on all the sports talk radio this week. I hope he gets his life back together, but it’s going to be tough. I do have one issue with Tiger. His initial response to the charged included a shot at the news media for giving the story so much play. Sorry, Tiger, you are a celeb. You are celeb, because you wanted to be a celeb. You have made a TON of money off of your status. You may have earned your golf winnings with your skill, but all that endorsement money is due to celebrity status. Do you think Nike is paying you millions because of your golf swing? The downside to celebrity is that when something goes bad, the sharks start feasting. Celebrity is a two-sided sword. You made your bed. Hope you can sleep in it. (or whatever and whoever you choose to do)

The biggest game of Florida’s season is coming up Saturday afternoon, the SEC Championship Game against Alabama.

Last year's game

This should be a very good game. I’m not making any predictions. I think the Gators match up fairly well, but I think this is going to come down to field possession, turnovers and someone breaking a big play. Let’s hope it’s the Gators!

We’ll be watching the game in Gator Central (aka our family room.) This will be the last game for the “Gator altar.”

"The altar"

Mrs. Poolman will take it down after the game and redecorate the fireplace for Christmas. The altar will go back up after the first of the year for the bowl game. Gotta keep the karma going.

My sister sent me an email with this picture, and I cracked up.

Don't you wish you had thought of this?

Better count ’em, Santa! You might be missing one.

Happy Thanksgiving!

We’ve been off of work for two days and it’s been busy.

Wednesday was mostly filled with preps for having a house full of folks for Thanksgiving the next day.

It works!

One project on my list was to repair our front post lamp. As I have mentioned before, I am not the handiest of homeowners. (I could really have used “More Than an Electrician” for this.)  Anyway, I figured if I could take it apart, I could see what was broken, buy a part and put it back together the way I found it. Well, it wasn’t as easy as that, but I got it to work all the same. The connections to the ceramic “socket” were rusted out and came disconnected. It wasn’t helped by the fact that the “floor” of the lamp housing was full of the remnants of about a zillion dead gnats, mosquitoes and other bugs. There is no need for a blow by blow description of the project. Suffice it to say, that courtesy of the guy at Ace Hardware, I found a replacement part, although not the exact same thing, and with a little improvisation, I managed to put it back together. When I turned on the power, the bulb lit up and it didn’t smoke, spark or catch fire. I call that a success.

Late in the afternoon, we took our lab to the vet.

Casey the Lab

He is getting older, although since he was a rescue adoption, we don’t know exactly how old he is. He has been moving very stiffly, and in the past day has seriously favored his back right leg. The vet reported he probably has arthritis, but he also has a torn ligament in the knee of his back leg. We are faced with a tough decision. There is surgery available to repair the ligament, but it is very involved, would be very painful for the dog, not to mention quite expensive. Given his age, I think we are going to treat the arthritis with medication and see how he does with the leg. We had a similar experience with our previous lab, and were very unhappy about the outcome. We allowed her to be opened up to remove a tumor. It turned out she had extensive cancer. They just closed her back up and sent her home. She died a few weeks later, but it would have been much more comfortable for her, if she hadn’t also had to recover from a major surgical incision.

Thursday dawned bright and sunny. I got up and went to 9 am mass. We have so many blessings, I really felt the need to give thanks “in person.”

After mass, I cleaned up the back yard, since I knew our Thanksgiving gathering would overflow to the courtyard and patio.

The courtyard

The patio

Mrs. Poolman did most of the cooking for this event. It is unusual for me not to be more involved, but I was occupied with the back yard, vacuuming the house, and so on.

The official “kick off” was to be at 4 pm, but our son and girlfriend (Poolboy and GF), and daughter and husband (Writer Princess and SIL) came a little early. We were joined by our friends/neighbors the W’s, Fran who works with Mrs. P, and SIL’s brother and wife who were holiday orphaned this year. We had one “holiday widower” in the group. Mark’s wife is a nurse who works with Mrs. P. She had the holiday duty, so Mark came over with their adult daughter. All told, we had 15 people for dinner. We almost always have a joint holiday celebration with the W’s. They contributed a fried turkey and various side dishes to the menu, to go along with our roasted turkey, baked ham and about a ton of other stuff.

The "spread"

As expected, we had more food than you could say grace over, and everyone seemed to have a good time. At least, if they didn’t enjoy it, they faked it real well.

It was a good day and I suspect we’ll be eating leftovers for awhile. Love those turkey sandwiches!

Stupid, but clean joke

Here is a clean, but stupid joke, blatantly stolen from our parish priest.

A woman took her poodle into the vet for a check up.

“I don’t know what’s wrong,” she said. “He just isn’t acting his normal self.”

The vet checked out the dog and reported to the woman that he could find nothing wrong.

“There must be something wrong,” the woman said. “Isn’t there something else you can do?”

LabThe vet agreed and left the exam room. A minute or two later, he returned with a large black Labrador retriever. The Lab proceeded to sniff the poodle from one end to the other and then sat down and looked up at the vet.

The vet took the Lab out of the room and returned with a cat, Catwhich walked all around the poodle, and examined him from head to toe. When he was done, the vet took the cat out of the room.

When he returned, he told the woman that he could still not find anything wrong with her dog and presented her with a bill for $750.

The woman was outraged. “How can you charge me $750 for finding nothing wrong with my dog?”

“Well, if you had believed me the first time I told you there was nothing wrong with your dog, the charge would have been just $50,” the vet replied. “However, since you insisted on the lab work and a cat scan, I have to charge you more.”


Palace or prison?

Over the past six months, we have developed a problem with Casey, our chocolate lab. He is no longer trustworthy to be left in the house for any extended period of time.  If you have read the book or seen the movie “Marley and Me” you’ll know our problem. Casey HATES thunderstorms. When we are home, he clings to his “people” and moans and whines. If he is alone in the house with just his fellow pets, he goes a little nutso.

Last spring, Mrs. Poolman and I were in Atlanta for a weekend. Poolboy was house sitting, but a storm came through when he was at work. Casey destroyed one of our couches. Then he got on our bed and ate through the comforter, blanket, sheets and a down mattress pad. Our bedroom looked like the aftermath of one of those TV sitcoms where the characters have a pillow fight, the pillows burst and feathers go everywhere.pillow fightIt looked like someone had thrown an armful of chickens into the ceiling fan.

Our partial solution is a large crate we got from a friend. Crate 1We’ve only had to use it once, when we were out overnight for the homeless ministry last month. Casey does not like his prison cell. However, after the incident last spring, Mrs. Poolman has been in no mood to worry about Casey’s feelings.

While Casey doesn’t like it, his pet cats have decided it’s pretty cool. Crate 2Maybe they could get together on this.

Which one is Steve McQueen, and where is the motorcycle?

Recently our two dogs have decided their life is a movie. Unfortunately, it’s not a regular dog movie like Turner and Hootch or Eight Below. No, they have to stretch their thespian talents and star in a regular people-movie – The Great Escape.the-great-escape-poster

We have two dogs. One is an eight year old chocolate lab, Casey, who we adopted from a lab rescue organization when he was roughly two years old. Casey is very sweet, but not the most energetic or intellectual of dogs. Sammy is a year-old female border collie mix (???) who we adopted from the Humane Society last fall. Sammy is bright, energetic and probably the happiest dog in the world.

The POWs

The POWs

They really don’t have a tough life. For the most part they are house dogs. However, when Mrs. Poolman and I are both at work for the entire day (which is only three days a week), their domain is our large back yard. They have plenty of shade and water, and access to the garage through a doggie-door. Not a bad life. It’s not air conditioned, but whatever did dogs do before AC was invented?

Our back yard is divided in half and separated by a waist high chain link fence. They normally stay in the section with the swimming pool. Their favorite escape route is to tunnel under the chain link that divides the yard, into the other section and then under the wooden fence to ultimate freedom.

The Tunnel

The Tunnel

On Saturday, the camp commandant (myself) went to Home Depot and picked up some concrete blocks and 24-inch sections of rebar. On Sunday, I dug a shallow trench on the dog-side of their favorite escape route. I half-buried the blocks and then reinforced them by hammering the rebar into the ground to hold them in place.

The Deterent

The Deterent

On Monday, we get to see how it works.